Deep Analysis – I Walk Through the Valley of the Shadow of Death

Welcome back Disciple of Bolas!

The ban of Gitaxian Probe was suppose destroy a number of unfair decks in Modern.  It certainly changed the way Infect plays and several of the other degenerative decks have had the bubble popped.  Somehow one deck survived the ban, one that it was supposed to hurt significantly.

So how did this deck not die when Gitaxian Probe was banned?

Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash.

— Bruce Lee

So let’s take a look at the evolution of Death’s Shadow.

Joel Larsson – PT Oath of the Gatewatch
Death’s Shadow Aggro

19 CREATURES
4 Death’s Shadow
2 Goblin Guide
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Street Wraith
1 Tarmogoyf
4 Wild Nacatl

20 INSTANTS and SORCERIES
3 Become Immense
4 Gitaxian Probe
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Temur Battle Rage
3 Thoughtseize

4 OTHER SPELLS
4 Mishra’s Bauble

17 LANDS
1 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Stomping Ground
3 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

SIDEBOARD
1 Dismember
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Forest
2 Hooting Mandrills
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
2 Lightning Helix
1 Natural State
1 Phyrexian Unlife
1 Pyroclasm
2 Stony Silence
1 Tarmogoyf

This was the major version that grabbed our attention.  Considering it was done around all the broke Eldrazi decks (pre Eye of Ugin ban), that should tell you about the power level of the deck.  The main piece of the deck involved that blistering pace to which you can drop your own life total, play a Death’s Shadow, and then proceed to finish your opponent in one swing.  This was due to the interactions with Fetchlands, Shocklands, Phyrexian Mana spells, and Thoughtseize to get your life total low enough for a Temur Battle Rage and/or Become Immence finish.

Brad Nelson
SCG Somerset Invitational – 3rd Place

3 Steppe Lynx
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Monastery Swiftspear
4 Street Wraith
4 Wild Nacatl

3 Become Immense
4 Gitaxian Probe
2 Lightning Bolt
4 Mishra’s Bauble
4 Mutagenic Growth
4 Temur Battle Rage
3 Thoughtseize

1 Arid Mesa
1 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
1 Godless Shrine
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Sacred Foundry
1 Stomping Ground
2 Verdant Catacombs
4 Windswept Heath
1 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard

1 Ancient Grudge
1 Dismember
1 Forest
1 Grafdigger’s Cage
2 Hooting Mandrills
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Nihil Spellbomb
2 Path to Exile
1 Pyroclasm
1 Ranger of Eos
1 Stony Silence
1 Tarmogoyf

Brad Nelson’s version added Steepe Lynx to help with fast kills.

So how did banning Gitaxian Probe change the deck?

Death’s Shadow
Michael Majors – 5th Place at StarCityGames.com Modern Open on 2/25/2017

Creatures (13)
4 Death’s Shadow
1 Ghor-Clan Rampager
4 Street Wraith[/mtgi_card]
4 [mtg_card]Tarmogoyf

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Liliana, the Last Hope

Spells (27)
4 Mishra’s Bauble
1 Abrupt Decay
4 Fatal Push
2 Kolaghan’s Command
1 Temur Battle Rage
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Thoughtseize
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
3 Tarfire

Lands (18)
1 Forest
1 Swamp
1 Blood Crypt
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Overgrown Tomb
1 Stomping Ground
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Wooded Foothills

Sideboard
1 Big Game Hunter
3 Fulminator Mage
1 Abrupt Decay
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Kozilek’s Return
3 Surgical Extraction
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
2 Collective Brutality
1 Maelstrom Pulse

Michael Majors brought this version to the SCG Indy Open this past weekend.

This deck is very creature light (I’m not counting Street Wraith or Ghor-Clan Rampager) and very removal heavy.  The deck was designed to be much more controlling but still be synergistic.  To do this, Tarmogoyf was set up as the other major threat in the deck.  The goyf can grow to a 7/8 in this deck thanks to the wide variety of card types in the deck (Artifact, Tribal, Instant, Sorcery, Creature, Land, Planeswalker).  So beware the ‘gofy too.

When the deck turns the corner, it will close the game very fast.

Traverse the Ulvenwald gives the deck the search that it needs and both Kolaghan’s Command and Liliana, the Last Hope allows you to recur those hard hitting threats.

Some versions of this deck use White for Lingering Souls and Renegade Rallier.

Can you fight the shadow…or join it?

Is this the new face of Modern?

Until an answer can be found, it’s here.

@Nicol_Bolas_ on Twitter
Nicol_Bolas@MTGDeckTechs.com

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