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5 Queues: Dimir Death Shadow

Written by LegitMTG Staff on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

(This article contains a twitch video that will autoplay.)

It has been a very long time since I have last written anything for either site. I had grand plans (Delusions of Mediocrity? Illusions of Grandeur?) about writing every week, and some things worked for me and against me. I guess having to sell off my MTGO was one of those things that worked against me, but we sure have added some great talent to the site, so that worked out for me. I’ve enjoyed throwing myself into the work here at Legit (and at Puremtgo.com for that matter.) and having all the writers do great work has really made my job easier.

Of course I miss writing sometimes, and today’s update is going to fill a hole in the schedule and a need that needs to be met personally. It’s got to be better than logging on to World of Warcraft and trying to find a pick up group for Blackrock Foundry right? Dragons of Tarkir is on MTGO finally, and two mans are paying out in something besides Khans of Tarkir packs, so I have felt a draw back to the client anyways. Maybe it’s the new set, maybe it’s the desire to set thirty tickets on fire at a time during PreTQs, maybe it’s because Magic: The Gathering is just the best game out there.

Today we’re going to take a look at a cool Modern deck that I have been playing off and on to blow off steam in the two man queues. It’s not the best deck, it pretty much gets rolled by Burn, so blowing off steam with this deck is something that comes with a little bit of trepidation. Apparently there is a ton of Burn online, if my Twitter feed is to be believed, but I rarely see it. I guess I’m blessed somehow and do not have to worry about the dreaded turn one Goblin Guide. The deck looks to play quick fatties as soon as turn two, and revolves around a much loved rare from Worldwake in Death’s Shadow. People have tried to play around with that card before, but the Delve mechanic making its return has really helped it out a ton. This deck features some all-stars for sure. Cards like Gurmag Angler, Tombstalker and Street Wraith all make an appearance here. Truly the featured player is Death’s Shadow.

You have to make some pretty terrible plays to take full advantage of the Shadow. Land, crack fetch, take two, I’m Conley Woods. No wait, I’m still Joshua Claytor. To be honest that’s not a terrible play. It’s actually fairly normal. Of course a typical turn one might look something like this:

Fetchland, crack it. Bring a shockland into play untapped. Play Thoughtseize. Play Gitaxian Probe. Cycle Street Wraith. That’s nine points worth of damage on your first turn. Thankfully with Death’s Shadow in the deck that’s the kind of turn you want to take. While a 2/2 on turn two is not the best play for the deck, knowing that each fetch land typically takes away three life, each Street Wraith takes away two and Gitaxian Probes and Thoughtseizes take away two per, your Death’s Shadow can quickly get out of hand!

Let’s take a look at the decklist that I will be playing today. It’s a bit old, from February, and has not been updated for Dragons of Tarkir yet, but I am not entirely sure what the deck would want from the newest set off the top of my head anyway.

This deck is a lot of fun! It was on my short list of things to play during the last Modern PreTQ cycle on MTGO, but I never found the courage to play it. I stuck to my old favorites in Gifts Tron and Mono Blue Tron. I also played the Splinter Twin Living End deck, which took considerably more courage to play than this deck should. You have a very delicate balancing act to consider when playing this deck. While you want to blow through your life total, which remember is a resource just like your library or graveyard, you need to know when to actually cast Gitaxian Probe or Street Wraith instead of hitting yourself for two. I like to grow my Death’s Shadow to a 5/5 before I actually start to think about casting my free spells, this turns on Stubborn Denial, and let’s face it, an early five powered beater is nothing to scoff at. Remember Tarmogoyf is a card like Death’s Shadow, in the fact that they are quick fat beaters, not like they are both green creatures or carry an absurd price tag.

You could buy 61 Death’s Shadow for the cost of one Tarmogoyf.

If Tarmogoyf gets any more expensive you could probably fill up a sideboard worth of Death’s Shadow. Who would want to do such a thing?

Modern is an outstanding format, and while I feel like it gets love, and it does, I mean what other formats are getting sets designed to get more cards into the card pool because of costs? I’d love to see Vintage Masters get a paper printing. Alas, the reserved list is going to make that dream a little bit harder than it needs to be.

I wonder how much a paper pack of Vintage Masters would cost?

I’m getting off topic, and starting to ramble a bit, let’s watch the deck in action!

We’ll start off with a stream that I did earlier covering the deck, and after that we’ll watch some individual matches. After that I will shortly discuss the Dragons of Tarkir cards I would consider adding to this deck.

Stream Recap:

Watch live video from JoshuaClaytor on Twitch

Video Recap, presented without audio:



Storm Combo

It’s going to be a rather short discussion!

Encase in Ice

The card in interesting as we already have Deathmark in the board. However with the banning of Birthing Pod it may be more prudent to negate Green and Red creatures instead of Green and White. While there are plenty of answers to the enchantment in the Modern format, all we really need a card to do is remove a blocker. Encase does this as it taps the creature when it enters play, and can really help put the breaks to cards like Goblin Guide and Tarmogoyf. Much like Deathmark though, this card does not do a ton against Splinter Twin. It may be worth looking in to.

Damnable Pact

Could be a neat way to draw a few extra cards and fuel your Death’s Shadow. It’s probably a bit more expensive than the deck would like to have, but the ability to draw cards, which eventually puts more cards in the graveyard to help with Delve and feeds your Shadow more could be neat to try out.

Self-Inflicted Wound

A Deathmark variant, while it costs one more you get the added benefit of shocking the opponent. Only truly better than Deathmark in the early parts of the game as this is a sac effect. However, it is outstanding against Bogles, as you could not target anything outside of Arbor and Kor Spiritdancer with Deathmark anyway. This is a card I am excited to try out in the board over the aforementioned ‘Mark!

Virulent Plague

Probably not better than Illness in the Ranks. While it is -2/-2, the extra cost does not really really matter much anyway. Illness is quicker, and it still nullifies the Splinter Twin combo. I’d keep Illness until bigger tokens start to see play, and I still might keep Illness in over it I feel.

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