The Ultimate Death's Shadow Matchup Guide

by Magnus Lantto on 30 March 2017, Thursday

Magnus Lantto

The Ultimate Death's Shadow Matchup Guide

 

Traverse the Ulvenwald Death's Shadow


A few days ago, you got to see my latest decklist and the results of my 20 most played matchups. Today I'm going over them one by one! For your reference, this is the decklist once again.

 


 

 


Eldrazi Tron

+3 Fulminator Mage
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push
+2 Surgical Extraction

-1 Godless Shrine
-1 Tarfire
-1 Collective Brutality
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope
-3 Inquisition of Kozilek

In my opinion, this deck is highly overrated and a lot of your wins just comes from them failing to do anything that's powerful enough to match that you are doing.

Endbringer and Karn Liberated are good, but most lists don't run enough to consistently get them into play early and you have enough answers to their other threats.

Chalice of the Void is annoying, but not as good as it was against the suicide zoo deck. Here you have more cards that don't cost one and you have plenty of answers if it's in play.

Just remember to try to keep something around to trigger Revolt at all times. If you don't your Fatal Pushes become much worse.


Jund Shadow

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push
+1 Painful Truths

-1 Stomping Ground
-1 Tarfire
-1 Collective Brutality
-2 Temur Battle Rage
-2 Kolaghan's Command

This matchup is all about grinding and the cards going in are all about that. While Kolaghan's Command usually is a pretty good grind card, it doesn't really pull its weight in this matchup. The two damage mode will only ever kill a Spirit token and the discard mode is easy to play around.

I shave a land in this matchup even though I am adding more expensive cards to keep the threat density high. The games usually go long enough that you have time to draw out of any mana troubles.

Some people advocate boarding out some discard in this matchup as it's usually bad in midrange mirrors, but I don't like to do that. For one the planeswalkers are incredibly important and the way the games play out the board is often clear, and with discard you can take away removal waiting in their hand before deploying your threats later in the game.


Burn

+1 Fatal Push
+1 Terminate
+2 Collective Brutality
+3 Fulminator Mage

-4 Street Wraith
-1 Thoughtseize
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope

In my current list, I have more bad cards in my main than I have good cards in the board.

 

I'm experimenting a lot with the least bad card to bring in and currently I'm trying Fulminator Mages. You can sometimes get lucky and steal a game, but they are still quite bad. Luckily Collective Brutality is great and requires to discard cards!

I keep most Thoughtseizes in as I've seen lists with as many as four paths and three Deflecting Palms post board. Be ready for those.


Affinity

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push

-4 Thoughtseize
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Liliana of the Veil

You have so much removal post board that you basically only lose two ways - their nut draw and Etched Champion, that happens a decent amount of time though. Be prepared for those scenarios and make sure to either have cheap interaction or a fast clock in your starting hand.

Thoughtseize is good against Etched Champions, but I still think they should all be boarded out. Affinity can usually empty their hand in two or three turns which makes it a terrible top deck.


Jund

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push
+1 Painful Truths

-1 Tarfire
-1 Collective Brutality
-2 Temur Battle Rage
-3 Thoughtseize

Another grindy matchup, but here I like the commands. They have a target in Dark Confidant and the discard mode is much more effective as they usually can't keep extra lands in their hand.

Something has to go instead and here I cut some Thoughtseizes. It's a bad top deck at low life as they have burn in their deck and there are few cards you care about for more than three mana.


Red-Green Titan

+3 Fulminator Mage
+2 Collective Brutality
+1 Terminate
+2 Surgical Extraction

-1 Tarfire
-3 Fatal Push
-2 Abrupt Decay
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope

The sideboarding is pretty self-explanatory. Cards that mess with their game plan goes in and the bad removal goes out. If you see multiple Chalice of the Void in game two you could board back in the Abrupt Decays in order to note be too soft against them. Abrupt Decay is also ok against Khalni Heart Expedition if they play with those in their deck.


Bant Eldrazi

+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push
+1 Ranger of Eos

-1 Tarfire
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Polluted Delta

I like Ranger of Eos in this matchup as Death's Shadow is your most important threat. They usually try to mess with your graveyard through either Rest in Peace or relic of Progenitus so you can't rely too much on Tarmogoyf.

If you see multiple Rest in Peaces I would also cut a copy of Traverse the Ulvenwald. Drawing too many of those without a target to get is really bad.

There is a chance that it's correct to board in the Fulminator Mages. They are a bit slow, but their mana base is somewhat weak and it's a card that's not too affected by their hate. I have not tested them enough to say for certain, but right now I'm bringing them in on the play, but not on the draw.


Merfolk

+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push

-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Thoughtseize

There are two cards in this matchup I try to take with discard above basically anything else - first Spreading Seas and second the Silvergill Adept. If you take away those, your one-for-one removal is more than enough to deal with the rest.

I keep all 18 lands in this matchup out of fear for Spreading Seas and seas claim. One of the easiest ways to lose this game is if they screw you off black enough to race you.


Naya / White-Green / Bant CoCo

+1 Fatal Push
+1 Terminate
+1 Collective Brutality

-1 Godless Shrine
-2 Kolaghan's Command

These decks vary a lot so you have to go with that you've seen, but in general they have quite few cards you have to deal with and lots of fillers like mana dorks and such. Just put on pressure and make sure they don't pull off any big cocos.

The GW version with big creatures and multiple Ghost Quarters is your hardest matchup out of these. The other two I'm quite happy to face.


Abzan

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Terminate
+1 Painful Truths

-1 Tarfire
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Temur Battle Rage
-3 Inquisition of Kozilek

This matchup is similar to Jund, but I prefer Thoughtseize over Inquisition of Kozilek. The life loss is less of a problem and they sometimes have planeswalkers like Sorin or Gideon which are hard to deal with.


Grixis Shadow

+1 Terminate
+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+2 Surgical Extraction
+1 Painful Truths

-2 Temur Battle Rage
-1 Tarfire
-1 Fatal Push
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Kolaghan's Command
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope

It's a tricky matchup to sideboard as the games play out very differently. Sometimes Painful Truths and ranger are great and sometimes they just stare at you in your hand while you get beaten down by a turn two delve creature.

Liliana is usually great in grindy matchup, but here I think she has to go as the +1 ability rarely kills anything. Command is better as it can at least kill a Snapcaster Mage at instant speed. What the correct amount of pushes and decays is in post-board games is also tricky as they just have four targets for them, but keeping them all of the board is very strong.


White-Black Eldrazi

+1 Fatal Push
+1 Terminate
+1 Ranger of Eos

-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Liliana of the Veil

I think this deck is quite bad and usually don't sideboard much. You just have to know their tricks with aether vial and not run into blowouts from arbiter or Flickerwisp and such.

If they have Tidehollow Sculler you might want to add Ancient Grudge as well.

They are usually pretty heavy on the Rest in Peaces post board so I like to rely less on traverse and Tarmogoyf for the win.


Esper Control

(Creature version)

 

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Painful Truths

-1 Tarfire
-1 Fatal Push
-1 Collective Brutality
-2 Temur Battle Rage


(Creatureless / Token version)


+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Painful Truths
+2 Collective Brutality
+3 Fulminator Mage

-1 Tarfire
-1 Traverse the Ulvenwald
-3 Fatal Push
-2 Inquisition of Kozilek
-1 Abrupt Decay
-2 Kolaghan's Command

Esper and UW comes in many different forms so it's hard to formulate an exact sb plan. In general though you want to go grindy to keep up with their sweepers, but also need something to keep up with their threats.

If they are heavy on creatures like walls, finks and angels you need to keep some of your removal in the deck. If they instead go for tokens like Secure the Wastes, Lingering Souls and Elspeth, you want Temur Battle Rage to help push through.

I like Fulminator's Mage against the slower versions as they are very good against colonnade and they often have a six drop to top the curve, but against the creature heavy version I don't have enough to board out.

I'm hedging against the creatureless version boarding out one traverse and keeping one decay, cause of Rest in Peace and enchantments like Detention Sphere and Runed Halo. Against some lists decay is dead and against others you want both. In the blind I split the difference and go with one.


Storm

+1 Fatal Push
+1 Terminate
+2 Collective Brutality
+2 Surgical Extraction

-1 Godless Shrine
-1 Tarfire
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope
-2 Kolaghan's Command

I go quite heavy on the removal in this matchup so they never get to stick one of their cost reduction creatures. With the discard I usually go for their rituals to slow them down enough to beat them before they can do much except a small Empty the Warrens.


Dredge

+2 Surgical Extraction
+3 Lingering Souls

-1 Abrupt Decay
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Liliana of the Veil
-2 Kolaghan's Command

With my current sideboard this matchup is quite tough, but luckily it's easy to change if this deck increase in popularity.

You need to be aggressive in this matchup to win and because of this the discard is actually pretty good. You will never be able to completely disrupt their game plan with discard like in other matchups, but if you can take their first discard enabler or just keep them off having multiple you gain some valuable time.

I add Lingering Souls mostly to for the same reason. They can usually chump block enough to give you an extra turn to find a Temur Battle Rage if that is what you need. Other than that they are not very good though.


Tron

+3 Fulminator Mage
+1 Ancient Grudge
+1 Terminate
+2 Surgical Extraction

-3 Fatal Push
-1 Collective Brutality
-1 Tarfire
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope

If you disrupt their mana successfully, you usually win. If you disrupt their hand, they have very few turns to top deck. Sometimes they get turn three Tron with multiple threats and there is not much you can do, but hopefully it won't happen two out of three games.


Grixis Control

+3 Lingering Souls
+1 Ranger of Eos
+1 Terminate
+2 Surgical Extraction
+1 Painful Truths

-3 Fatal Push
-1 Tarfire
-2 Abrupt Decay
-2 Temur Battle Rage

They have very few targets for your removal so all of that goes out even if it leaves you open to Creeping Tar Pit.

The matchup plays out like a normal control matchup, but you have to be very aware of your life total so you don't die to Lightning Bolt / Snapcaster Mage / Lightning Bolt out of nowhere.


Ad Nauseam

+3 Fulminator Mage
+2 Collective Brutality
+2 Surgical Extraction

-1 Godless Shrine
-1 Tarfire
-3 Fatal Push
-2 Liliana, the Last Hope

Be prepared to lose a lot to Leyline of Sanctity. It's still worth it to maximize on discard, because if they don't have it you just win.

I like adding Fulminator's Mage as they do something in the games where your discard is turned off. I don't like adding Ancient Grudge as I've noticed that they often board out multiple prisms.


Elves

+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push

-1 Godless Shrine
-1 Liliana of the Veil

Not much change post-board here. If this was a common deck I'd like some sweepers in the board, but as of now I'm happy to hope to win with either Liliana or a Death's Shadow with Temur Battle Rage. Without either of those you're often in trouble though.


Abzan CoCo

+1 Terminate
+1 Fatal Push
+2 Surgical Extraction

-1 Godless Shrine
-1 Liliana of the Veil
-2 Kolaghan's Command

I wouldn't have expected this matchup to be quite so easy, but I think it is. They have a very hard time comboing through all your removal and between useless combo pieces and 8+ mana dorks their deck has too much air.

Surgical stops their grindy creatures like finks, witness and renegade. Sometime you can also remove all their companies from the deck.

 

 

 

Well, that's it, 20 of the most common matchups you'll encounter in Modern! I hope this helps you understand the new Death's Shadow deck and how to play it better and that it helps you in your upcoming Modern tournaments. I also hope that you'll enjoy the deck as much as I do!

 

As usual, I would love to hear back from you guys, so feel free to post any comments or feedback below and I'll try to answer any questions. Thanks!




Cards in the Articles


Articles you might be also interested

A cycle of color hosers are in Hour of Devastation! Let's examine their impact in Constructed!
Martin Dang shares his updated Black-Green deck post-ban!
As usual, Soh Weng Heng tirelessly works on Red-Green Pummeler and shares a sideboard guide!




Copyright © 2002 - 2017 MTGMintCard.com