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Thread: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

  1. #301

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    I would say that the "stock build" of the deck has 2 main. I wouldn't rely on primers much because they can become outdated pretty quickl
    That's good to know. So its just the case of the primer not being up to date.

    How was your experience with Vantress Gargoyle? I can see you're running Hymn but did you have any difficulty in turning the Gargoyle on? Someone earlier mentioned the card Thieves' Guild Enforcer, do you think it can help as an additional yard filler if you're using Gargoyle? It can also act as your 1-drop threat since you already drop Delver.

    Another thing, would you say that Gargoyle is better than Delver in a field of Oko? Both requires some setup but Delver is much faster.

  2. #302

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by jethstriker View Post
    That's good to know. So its just the case of the primer not being up to date.

    How was your experience with Vantress Gargoyle? I can see you're running Hymn but did you have any difficulty in turning the Gargoyle on? Someone earlier mentioned the card Thieves' Guild Enforcer, do you think it can help as an additional yard filler if you're using Gargoyle? It can also act as your 1-drop threat since you already drop Delver.

    Another thing, would you say that Gargoyle is better than Delver in a field of Oko? Both requires some setup but Delver is much faster.
    Gargoyle is not very difficult to turn on (although 4x Hymn is of course a factor in that), usually if you need to activate it 1-2 times that's acceptable. Against Uro it's not great but the overall 75 has a plan for that.
    You could play a deck with Thieves Guild Enforcer and Gargoyle but it would be far more aggressively slanted, probably that deck should play 4x Delver also and then it's likely not a Shadow deck.
    I prefer to use those extra card slots (from playing fewer creatures) to play more interaction like Hymn to Tourach and then just win with 1 big thing after the dust settles.
    You should take this advice with a grain of salt because it's obviously not a popular approach.

    The main consideration for playing Delver vs Gargoyle is not really anything to do with oko but I don't like playing Delver in a deck without bolts. I still think the explanation given by Ben Friedman applies

    Dimir Death’s Shadow is an incredible deck, but Delver of Secrets does not belong anywhere near it. I still stand by this statement. Delver of Secrets is best with the reach provided by Lightning Bolt, or to provide a bit of early pressure that prompts the opponent to begin acting, thus unlocking your Dazes and Spell Pierces to be effective.

    Death’s Shadow needs neither the light pressure of an early Delver nor a way to chip shot in damage prior to ending the game with a pair of Lightning Bolts. It just doesn’t fit in with the gameplan. Death’s Shadow is just a way, way better Grixis Control deck with the ability to actually close out the game.

    See, it works like this. Grixis Control wants to trade off resources like cards in hand and creatures on the battlefield and eventually take over the game after a chain of interactive two-for-ones. The hope is that eventually a Jace, the Mind Sculptor will close the game out despite the powerful engines or heavy-hitting topdecks of other Legacy strategies.

    In contrast, Delver decks want to temporarily pin their opponents on one resource axis, buying just enough time to finish the game with whichever threat they have found with their copious cantrips. Hymn to Tourach is a Grixis Control card; Spell Pierce and Stifle are Delver cards.

    Death’s Shadow is just looking to trade off resources and win the game in a short timeframe after a flurry of tempo-negative discard and Dazes by sticking a 5/5 or larger threat for a single mana.

    The plan of hitting an opponent for half of their life total, trading resources, and then deploying a big threat to actually finish the job in one or two turns is substantially worse than just trading the resources even more effectively and deploying the big threat to finish the job in two or three turns.

    To trade resources more effectively, you need more virtual copies of your best spells, which means you need the Snapcaster effect. Unfortunately, Snapcaster Mage with Hymn to Tourach is too expensive, but Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy offers the same flexibility with a two-turn mana investment.
    Overall I still think this is mostly true but I don't think JVP is the right place to be, because by cutting it you get to play a maindeck creature suite that's lightning-bolt immune. (Of course, you could say the same thing about e.g. Arcanist in RUG Delver, but JVP isn't as good as Arcanist, it doesn't snowball as hard because you can't repeatedly flashback spells with it, and all flashback spells are free unlike JVP where you pay 2 mana for the flashback Hymn in addition to the 2 mana upfront that provides not-much, just a loot and maybe a pw with a plus ability that's not even very good). Instead you can play e.g. the 4th Hymn or some other controlling card (strix maybe) over JVP to achieve the desired 2-for-1 effect.

    Partially the other reason why the deck from that article (https://articles.starcitygames.com/p...deaths-shadow/) played 4 Shadow and 2 Angler as the only creature "threats" was that at the time Gargoyle didn't exist, and therefore the only realistic consideration for threats was Angler (or maybe Tombstalker). It's not realistic to play a list with 4 delve cards because it's too hard to have a deep graveyard to cast multiples. At GP Niagara Falls my deck had 2 Tombstalker 2 JVP and then later I tried a list with 2 Gargoyle 2 JVP, then I just cut the JVP and moved to 4 Gargoyle. After HJKaiser figured out the Sanctuary+Painful Truths plan (Cruel Bargain in this deck) you still have the card advantage option that JVP theoretically provided, but it's not vulnerable to cards like e.g. Plow that are also very good against the rest of your deck

  3. #303
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I tried Gargoyle and I was *incredibly* underwhelmed. My personal opinion? Straight garbage. I think of it was any good, in any sort of blue deck, it would be seeing play.
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  4. #304
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    For some reason people who understand the playability of Thing in the Ice fail to recognize alternate versions (ex. Vantress, Whale, Thin Lizzy, Stormwing Entity), which have the same level of playability. Every time you see such a creature ask yourself “how good is TITI really?“ because that‘s the card you‘re considering.

  5. #305

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    For some reason people who understand the playability of Thing in the Ice fail to recognize alternate versions (ex. Vantress, Whale, Thin Lizzy, Stormwing Entity), which have the same level of playability. Every time you see such a creature ask yourself “how good is TITI really?“ because that‘s the card you‘re considering.
    Thing in the ice fucks up your sequencing, because it asks you to play it before all your Hymn/Removal etc and it's not Modern UR Phoenix where you can flashback your looting / lavadart etc to remove all the counters off it if you topdeck it mid/lategame. I know it's easy to have a mental shortcut to group all these together but they are really not the same

    Whale has similar issues to JVP, having <4 toughness

    No idea what Thin Lizzy is supposed to be (Lizzy = Lizard = Pteramander?)

    I tried Gargoyle and I was *incredibly* underwhelmed. My personal opinion? Straight garbage. I think of it was any good, in any sort of blue deck, it would be seeing play.
    If you splash other colours it's mostly worse than Goyf/SFM/Arcanist. There are a few mono blue Delver 5-0s, admittedly without gargoyle, and they all seem to have a 2-2 split of Whale/Stormwing.
    Maybe whale isn't so bad, but they're all playing 3-4 Gut Shots as a Stormwing enabler which seems loose. Gargoyle would be much worse in these monoU decks too, because they don't have Hymn/Thoughtseize/Actual Removal spells

  6. #306
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Thin Lizzy is indeed Pter[rible]mander. This is a cluster of creatures which die to Pyroblast while also requiring extra work. Ignoring the inherent weakness to Snapcaster/REB, these are all cards you can‘t afford to topdeck from behind - they don‘t just keep you from regaining tempo, they actively put that tempo further out of reach.

    The easiest example is the dies to Goyf test: you‘re dying to Goyf -> this creature won‘t stop the fact that you‘re dying to Goyf -> even if you manage to dump in extra work these creatures need, you‘re still dying to Goyf. I lump all these creatures into the TITI category b/c that‘s the only one that can actually brick a Goyf (if you make it to magical christmasland). Now even if you somehow passed the Goyf test, you‘re still playing sorcery speed “I can‘t win with this b/c it‘s actually just a 3/3 elk“ [Oko is the most widely-played wincon in the format].

    This block of creatures sounds cool and edgy, but the assessments are out of touch with the realities of legacy. Playing the TITI family of creatures is a starts-from-behind penalty, in a format where that is increasingly hard to get away with.

    While JVP is close in many ways, the card is unconventional whereas the TITI types are heavily conventional. Unconventionally different can find successful homes. Conventionally worse cards disappear once people tire of their newness and the accompanying high loss rates. While JVP favors combo-control shells, and Shadow is part of that family, he is better strategically suited to Dreadnought and UB Reanimator [higher incidence of unconventional interactions].

  7. #307

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    some more results with gargoyle

    4 Shadow
    4 Gargoyle
    4 Wraith
    2 Strix

    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 FoW
    4 Daze
    4 Seize
    4 Hymn
    1 Snuff
    1 Dismember
    1 Push
    1 FoN

    4 Wasteland
    4 Grave
    2 Sea
    8 Blue Fetches

    SB
    2 Cling
    2 Eliminate
    2 Ratchet
    2 Contract/Bargain
    2 Engineer
    2 Liliana
    1 Surgical
    1 Sanctuary
    1 FoN

    1-2 vs Green Post
    2-0 vs Burn
    1-2 vs Bant Blade

    0-2 vs RUG Delver
    2-0 vs Turbo Depths
    2-1 vs Stryfo Yorion (4C Punishing Dack)

    1-2 vs RG Lands
    2-0 vs Pokimoki RUG (the No-Delver Uro Stifle deck)
    2-1 vs Jund Hogaak

    I like strix and eliminate
    Unfortunately this deck is very weak to Maze of Ith which contributed significantly to the losses vs lands / post

    edit: now a 3-0
    2-0 vs Gyruda Bomberman
    2-1 vs Green Post
    2-0 vs Eldrazi Aggro

    edit:
    2-1 vs Chalice Post
    1-2 vs BW Eldrazi
    2-0 vs RUG Delver
    Last edited by kombatkiwi; 09-04-2020 at 11:44 AM.

  8. #308

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    @kombatkiwi have you considered playing Thieves' Guild Enforcer in place of Delver? It helps turn on gargoyle and has some fairly interesting uses like Thoughtseize > they brainstorm and you let it and then resolve Thoughtseize if no counter > cast TGE to mill their assumingly most needed cards that they hid from TS with their BS. Can also randomly give you a surgical or Reanimate target. Can change board states when "turned on" as a flashed in blocker.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    @kombatkiwi have you considered playing Thieves' Guild Enforcer in place of Delver? It helps turn on gargoyle and has some fairly interesting uses like Thoughtseize > they brainstorm and you let it and then resolve Thoughtseize if no counter > cast TGE to mill their assumingly most needed cards that they hid from TS with their BS. Can also randomly give you a surgical or Reanimate target. Can change board states when "turned on" as a flashed in blocker.

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    Slower deck, the payoff for Thieves’ Guild Enforcer [TGE] would be to spam Drown in the Loch; which is otherwise hard to justify vs Chalice and Vial decks (harder to fill their yard). The issue with such a deck is the 1-mana playable problem (Vantress and Bitterblossom and Drown have 2cmc covered). Shadow is the lower yield creature alongside TGE as compared to Delver, as it is better able to keep you in the realm of Daze/Wasteland/Thoughtseize.

  10. #310

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    Slower deck, the payoff for Thieves’ Guild Enforcer [TGE] would be to spam Drown in the Loch; which is otherwise hard to justify vs Chalice and Vial decks (harder to fill their yard). The issue with such a deck is the 1-mana playable problem (Vantress and Bitterblossom and Drown have 2cmc covered). Shadow is the lower yield creature alongside TGE as compared to Delver, as it is better able to keep you in the realm of Daze/Wasteland/Thoughtseize.
    Respectfully, I'm more on board with the whole "Delver is less good" than I am the "run a threat out" sort of fellow when it comes to Dimir Shadow, especially if I were running them in a Gargoyle build. For the record, I'm not, and I play delver, but I would replace it if I found something suitable. However, considering Gargoyle and the synergy it holds with Hymn to Tourach, I think I like having that much to do in black early game. I think a 3/2 Deathtouch end of opponent's turn can really change the math mid game. Worth testing if you are already playing gargoyle, I think.

    It has obvious downsides in that it gives SCM and Arcanist targets, turns on their delve or Hogaak, LFTL, and probably many other things. It's a circumstantial effect, but I think it could be leveraged into a useful tool as far as these in-deck synergies are concerned.

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  11. #311

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I don't think enabling your opponent's gy synergies is a huge issue otherwise I wouldn't be playing Gargoyle.

    The main problem with TGE in the context of "I don't think delver is very good, what else can I play instead" is that TGE is just another 1drop with 3 power, so if the ability to attack for 3 is a large justification for playing the card then you have to explain why you aren't just playing Delver in the first place.

    If you want to play TGE as a 4x then you can play it in a deck with a threat base of like 4x Delver 4x TGE 4x Gargoyle (Or if you're really high on the idea of being this super lean every-spell-costs-1-mana deck then 4x TGE 4x Delver 4x Shadow) but then you are running into the problem of "my 1-drop aggro delver deck has no bolts in it", and if you add red then you should probably cut some creature to add Arcanist.

    If the ability to attack for 3 is not a large part of the justification for playing the card (so it's mostly in the deck as a flash removalspell that has the auxiliary upside of also attacking) then you have to compare it to Baleful Strix, and I guess there are some pros/cons either way:

    TGE
    - Only 1 mana
    - Flash
    - Better at attacking
    - Can enable gargoyle

    Strix
    - Pitches to force
    - Blocks flyers
    - 2-for-1

    Strix being a 2-for-1 is a pretty big deal and I don't highly value the angle of having an aggressive 1drop but I could try 1 or 2 TGE instead of the strix.

    PS I just re-read the card and realised that not only the +2+1 but also the deathtouch is contingent on the opponent having threshold, this is a pretty big drawback I think

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    Respectfully, I'm more on board with the whole "Delver is less good" than I am the "run a threat out" sort of fellow when it comes to Dimir Shadow, especially if I were running them in a Gargoyle build. For the record, I'm not, and I play delver, but I would replace it if I found something suitable. However, considering Gargoyle and the synergy it holds with Hymn to Tourach, I think I like having that much to do in black early game. I think a 3/2 Deathtouch end of opponent's turn can really change the math mid game. Worth testing if you are already playing gargoyle, I think.
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    The 2-drop interaction you should care about more is Drown in the Loch, rather than making building decisions based on being good for TITI 2.0. Note the trend of moving up cmcs heavily undermines the ability to leverage Daze/Wasteland (you really need to get on the table reliably on turn 1 with 8x 1-drop threats to unite this Waste/Daze plan with 2-drops). Wanting Delver, TGE, and Vantress doesn’t leave a lot of room for Shadows and you still have to figure out why Vantress is being played over a rogue factory (Bitterblossom triggers TGE) which might allow continued Shadow use.

  13. #313
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    If I played TGE I would want at least 2-3 maindeck Hymn to Tourach. I'm not sure there's a way to jam that in there and still keep a high enough blue count to feed 6 forces. Call me crazy, but I'm still on Delver. Everything I listen to or read tells me it's the best blue creature for a tempo deck, and it's not even close.
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  14. #314

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    same list
    2-0 vs BR Reanimator
    2-0 vs RUG Reclaimer (maybe a brew idk)
    1-2 vs RUG Delver
    Still a winning record but seems impossible to get the RUG delver matchup much better than 50/50 (although that is mostly true for the entire format at this point)

  15. #315
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Pretty cool list here that just won a Legacy challenge. It's playing green for Decay, Oko, and a spicy 2-of Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse maindeck. It seems to be a way to generate a wider board presence, which is something Shadow has always struggled to do. Bitterblossom still in the sideboard, but only 1 of them. Oko obviously adds a lot of punch to the deck.

    https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=27491&f=LE

    Another list, using Scourge of the Skyclaves:

    https://www.mtgtop8.com/event?e=27486&d=418484&f=LE
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