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Thread: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

  1. #181

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Hymn attacks a resource that doesn't matter unless you're winning/poised to be winning. The moment they reach two mana and play any onboard value engine you are now losing. Hymn might be a "good" card b/c it's a 2-for-1, but they're drawing 2 cards a turn and you're not really addressing that issue by taking a turn off to Hymn. Trophy has multiple decision trees you can follow, one of which includes killing their turn 2 value engine such that you can do things like play a Delver again (looks pretty bad when opponent has a Wrenn, you Hymn them, and yeah...you still can't deploy a Delver while each turn Wasteland and Daze keep accruing irrelevance).

    This is one of those points where you need to look at your deck's composition and apply the theoretical scenario of "my opponent has a Wrenn." Of your 60 card deck 18 lands + 4 Delver + 4 Daze + 4 FoW + # of Drown/Hymn = 33'ish cards that can't really fix the problem. Then you add 8-10 cantrips and 4 Wraith, which will only be used to find Gurmag or Shadow. There's not any left over space in your deck to do things differently - so you now have this deck that can only be played one way; the result is that all your individual player skill doesn't really matter. You're simply managing a deck, and the opponent has the luxury of now playing against predictable forced moves. All your moves are pretty slow as well (sorcery speed and summoning sick); your deck is lacking tools to incite an opponent to enter your turn with any tapped lands.
    If my pile opponent plays a wrenn and ticks up and then I trophy it and they find a basic I've traded 2 mana for 2 mana and I am down 2 cards. Not interested. If my opponent is on RUG they can't find a basic but they are still up a card and they have Daze/Snare to fight over Trophy. So if my opponent resolves Wrenn against my Hymn deck then sure, I might be behind. The same is true if they resolve Jace against my UB creature deck (or Moon, or Chalice, or B2B, or whatever). Rather than panic and say "oh shit my deck must include clean answers to this resolved permanent" I am hedging towards making it difficult to resolve the Wrenn in the first place (with my 4x TS 4x Daze 4x FoW 4x Hymn deck). Maybe this approach is still not a winning strategy against the Wrenn decks, but I can't help but feel that if that is true then the solution must be "play a wrenn deck" not "play a bug deck with assassins trophy in it"

    Now Hymn can randomly win a game all by itself, it's just not reliably converting and we know that b/c the Hymn spammers are nowhere to be found.
    I wrote why I think Hymn is bad in Pile decks atm but could be good in aggressive strategies and you still haven't addressed it and just keep repeating this same vapid point over and over

    We're at a point in legacy where you need to attack a different resource with multiple card types, rather than wholesale hand destruction. When it comes to other Delver decks every single successful one is playing Wrenn, or Oko (which can kill a Wrenn), or Dreadhorde (the pseudo-PW) - so yes, I am saying that is the case. Delver + Hymn is a losing proposition, Delver + any [or all] of those is how you win.
    Your explanation for "why" here is meaningless ("we're at a point in legacy where you need to attack a different resource with multiple card types") so if you peel that away then what you're saying is "how you win is by playing these decklists that are currently winning" which is hardly a masterstroke of analysis.

    In terms of the UW example with Trophy, just let them begin the game with JTMS in play (turn 0) with this condition: you can't use white mana - this is a pretty easy win for Shadow. People that play UW understand that [if they have the tools] they have to fight over anything that threatens their access to white mana. Few decks outside of R/G Lands can really call them out on that weak point, but do understand that this is the weakest point of UW. Any time you make the white side of their deck count for nothing, they lose convincingly.
    Turn 0 JTMS with only access to blue mana might be losing but that's not a realistic analogue. If you're hitting 2 of their basic plains with trophy DURING A GAME then it means they must have had access to white mana at some point. They can make sure they don't get their W sources deleted for free by only fetching when they have a W spell ready to go. Trying to thread this needle with a counterable LD spell from a BUG delver/midrange deck is going to be pretty fucking hard. It's not like lands where you just recur Ghost Quarter for free over and over.

    It's important to step back after reading what a card does and figure out what it really means. In the case of Trophy you're not just backing up a train of dudes, you're looking to create a subgame your opponent has to sink resources into, such that they can't sit there focusing solely on killing your one-dimensional combat step wincon. You can't create that subgame by throwing raw power [Hymn] at them b/c it's already outclassed by their raw power [Wrenn/Oko mostly]. It's definitely easier to give up and just play Wrenn/Oko/Dreadhorde + Delver, but you can still play dudes-only if your spells are creating a virtual not-creature threat, while also having dual utility to support your dudes.
    Again, this is just a word salad, watch:
    In the case of Hymn you're not just backing up a train of dudes, you're looking to create a subgame your opponent has to sink resources into (either they get 2-for-1ed by Hymn or they have to spend resources fighting over it), such that they can't sit there focusing solely on killing your one-dimensional combat step wincon. You can't create that subgame by throwing removal [trophy] at them b/c it's only a 1-for-1 (or a 1-for-2 if the opp has basics) and you're trying to hit things that already provided value on etb [Wrenn/Oko mostly].
    This makes much more sense than shit like 'your power is outclassed by their power' as if it's some kind of DBZ episode

    Lim-Dul's Vault
    In a non-combo tempo deck there's zero chance I play a 2 cmc spell that's card disadvantage.
    I think Plunge into Darkness is probably better and I wouldn't play that either

  2. #182
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    {regarding Lim Dul's Vault} In a non-combo tempo deck there's zero chance I play a 2 cmc spell that's card disadvantage. I think Plunge into Darkness is probably better and I wouldn't play that either
    I would be playing Stifle + Dreadnought. I don't know if that is a strong enough reason to play Vault yet, but it has synergy with Death's Shadow by being a customizable life-loss tool while setting up a Dreadnought combo. If Stifle is dead in hand, Vault for a Dreadnought. If no threats, Vault for a Shadow on top while setting it up to be outside of Bolt range/bigger than a Tarmogoyf. If I have three mana, Vault + Brainstorm gets me whatever I need to protect Shadow/Dreadnought in specific situations. It also increases my odds of getting a key sideboard card (ie Ratchet Bomb against Chalice) while being a 2 mana way to do it, that plays around Chalice. I think this is tipping towards magical Christmasland, but I would still like to try it out. It may fail or underperform, and that's fine. Then I just move on with better tech like adding Spell Snare or Stubborn Denial back in.
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  3. #183
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    If you're playing Hymn to beat Wrenn & company, it's not going to work, and it doesn't matter how aggressive your strategy is. It's not a matter of if they get Wrenn, it's when - and that happens to be turn 2. Yes you can Hymn them after that, maybe you can even Hymn them twice and only hit spells and get a win b/c of it; but that doesn't make it reliable. That Wrenn on board is catastrophic for you; you just lost 12 of your best cards from having any future impact (Delver/Daze/Wasteland) until you fix that problem. Hymn just defers that problem to turns down the road (vs. a +1 that grows their hand) until you can potentially deploy a Shadow/Gurmag.

    This is not a vapid point; you can't get back into enough games from behind with Hymn and that's why the best Hymn decks dropped it. Your deck doesn't have a recovery mechanism, and Hymn doesn't change that. It's great and wonderful to say "I just won't let Wrenn resolve," but the thing is...RUG Delver is a better deck, and he will resolve. During deck construction you need to account for scenarios where opponents have a Wrenn (+/- other recent design mistakes).

    You're missing the point of Trophy - you see I know it's counterable. In that example, I actively want a UW player to play around it and be forced to trade cards with it and enter my turn tapped down; that is the point of an effective distraction. The last thing you want is to give opponents the luxury of sitting back and playing against exactly one thing [the dude train]. I certainly understand the sentiment that if they sit back you Hymn them, but their topdecks are way better than yours. Your threats don't exactly line up well against JTMS floating Plows, Snapcasters, Oko turning them into elk, Dreadhorde casting what you took from their hand anyway. This isn't like they just drew the right card and then we went back to a real game of magic, these cards persist and continue to be problematic. Once your low-to-the-ground + Hymn window of opportunity is gone, it isn't coming back.

    Wrenn takes over games reliably (even from behind), Hymn doesn't. One of these cards is more powerful and reliable and proactive by itself. As long as Wrenn is legal, he's has successfully power creep'd Hymn to the legacy has-been tavern where it can have a drink with Werebear and Mongoose and all the other cards whose era has ended. This has nothing to do with DBZ, there are two metrics for every legacy deck: power and consistency. You can have all the consistency you want with cantrips, but it really doesn't matter if you're cantripping into underwhelming tools (see every UW/x Blade deck). I wouldn't get too hung up on the word power, you can read it as payoff or value or whatever you want. The problem with using 2-for-1/1-for-1-type equivalents is that you're missing the need to identify angles of attack/power cores/points of strategic focus [or whatever you want to call it]. Shadow isn't playing x-for-x magic, it's a combo deck and you need to put tools together to create virtual advantage which can't really be enumerated in those x-for-x equivalents.

    Edit: just have to be aware that Hymn lives in that pool of ~53 cards that isn‘t called “my only way back into the game“ [Gurmag/Shadow]. Doesn‘t matter how much consistency you jam into that pile; it‘s too dilute.
    Last edited by Fox; 11-08-2019 at 10:53 AM.

  4. #184

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    If you're playing Hymn to beat Wrenn & company, it's not going to work, and it doesn't matter how aggressive your strategy is. It's not a matter of if they get Wrenn, it's when - and that happens to be turn 2. Yes you can Hymn them after that, maybe you can even Hymn them twice and only hit spells and get a win b/c of it; but that doesn't make it reliable. That Wrenn on board is catastrophic for you; you just lost 12 of your best cards from having any future impact (Delver/Daze/Wasteland) until you fix that problem. Hymn just defers that problem to turns down the road (vs. a +1 that grows their hand) until you can potentially deploy a Shadow/Gurmag.
    - I'm not suggesting playing Delver and Hymn together
    - Hymn hitting lands is also fine because it keeps your Dazes/Waste/TS live and makes it harder for your opponent to find the mana to cast shit

    This is not a vapid point; you can't get back into enough games from behind with Hymn and that's why the best Hymn decks dropped it. Your deck doesn't have a recovery mechanism, and Hymn doesn't change that. It's great and wonderful to say "I just won't let Wrenn resolve," but the thing is...RUG Delver is a better deck, and he will resolve. During deck construction you need to account for scenarios where opponents have a Wrenn (+/- other recent design mistakes).
    The recovery mechanism against wrenn is "drop a big threat quickly", which the quote-unquote 'best hymn decks' cannot do. This is the point I was trying to make in the previous post. Again you insist that "X card must only be used in Y deck in Z role otherwise it's a mistake". (Regardless of whether it's not a smart plan in this specific instance, the argument carries no weight)

    You're missing the point of Trophy - you see I know it's counterable. In that example, I actively want a UW player to play around it and be forced to trade cards with it and enter my turn tapped down; that is the point of an effective distraction. The last thing you want is to give opponents the luxury of sitting back and playing against exactly one thing [the dude train].
    I emphasize the fact that it's counterable because of your questionable suggestion that you can colourscrew UW players off their white sources with it. If you somehow get into the exact situation that you can hail mary waste a card to Sea's Claim their final plains you're going to want to make sure that shit works. In 90% of situations it's just a Doom Blade variant that gives your opponent a land, which a lot of the time they will be happy to let happen. Even if it's targeting something seriously scary (e.g. Jace), the PW already gained value on ETB and now that play still put you slightly behind. You don't have better topdecks than them and are just delaying the inevitable.

    I certainly understand the sentiment that if they sit back you Hymn them, but their topdecks are way better than yours. Your threats don't exactly line up well against JTMS floating Plows, Snapcasters, Oko turning them into elk, Dreadhorde casting what you took from their hand anyway. This isn't like they just drew the right card and then we went back to a real game of magic, these cards persist and continue to be problematic. Once your low-to-the-ground + Hymn window of opportunity is gone, it isn't coming back.
    Trophy is also rubbish vs most of this, so I'm not sure what your point is. I guess (to borrow your language) I'm trying to maximise strength in the "low to the ground" window rather than spread my deck into a kind of protracted midgame topdeck situation, where you definitely aren't favoured even with a couple of BG removal spells. Like it might *feel* bad to sit through situations like "oh my opponent resolved X, I guess I'm dead", but skewing your deck by including removal to deal with this isn't correct if it makes you lose more games in the long run (even in those games where it kills an Okos or whatever it might not even be helping you that much).

    Part of this paragraph is why I think you're just on a totally different planet: "Your threats don't exactly line up well against JTMS floating plows". If you're using any Shadow build and your opponent has resolved a JTMS you are 99% dead. Including 2-mana Path-to-Jace-Exile in your deck is not going to change this at all, and the few games you do hit the perfect situation (you have 1 shadow and they're forced to tap out for Jace and they bounce your shadow and then you untap and trophy and go on to win the game) are not going to be worth the losses elsewhere.

    Wrenn takes over games reliably (even from behind), Hymn doesn't. One of these cards is more powerful and reliable and proactive by itself. As long as Wrenn is legal, he's has successfully power creep'd Hymn to the legacy has-been tavern where it can have a drink with Werebear and Mongoose and all the other cards whose era has ended. This has nothing to do with DBZ, there are two metrics for every legacy deck: power and consistency. You can have all the consistency you want with cantrips, but it really doesn't matter if you're cantripping into underwhelming tools (see every UW/x Blade deck). I wouldn't get too hung up on the word power, you can read it as payoff or value or whatever you want. The problem with using 2-for-1/1-for-1-type equivalents is that you're missing the need to identify angles of attack/power cores/points of strategic focus [or whatever you want to call it]. Shadow isn't playing x-for-x magic, it's a combo deck and you need to put tools together to create virtual advantage which can't really be enumerated in those x-for-x equivalents.
    We're back into word-salad territory. This sounds like "it's wrong to not play a Wrenn deck", which might be true (as I said in my previous post), but seems entirely separate to the Hymn/Trophy issue.
    It's meaningless to call something a combo deck when the "combo" gets nuked by Strix and Plow (also why I don't like LDV). You're an interactive fair deck with FoW and Thoughtseize, you certainly can reduce it to x-for-x magic. Yes, you can get virtual CA off your low land count but this is what delver decks have been doing forever, and nobody calls those combo decks. (In fact now with Wrenn people seem more likely to call them midrange decks). Just because you can attack with a 10/10 doesn't mean Shadow = Infect

    Edit: just have to be aware that Hymn lives in that pool of ~53 cards that isn‘t called “my only way back into the game“ [Gurmag/Shadow]. Doesn‘t matter how much consistency you jam into that pile; it‘s too dilute.
    This is just a different flavour of salad because you're not using the words "consistency" and "dilute" in ways that have clear meanings. What are the implications of the statement you are making?
    - Ways to get back into the game (creatures) are key, we must cut counters and discard for more creatures?
    - Should we cut cantrips too? Or are those considered an acceptable "dilution" of the pile?
    - Does extra removal actually count as a way back into the game? Are you just reiterating that trophy is good or do you mean something else? Which is what? I have no idea.
    It sure would be nice if you could provide a concrete illustration of your ideas (i.e. a decklist)

    Edit:
    This list just won the challenge
    It seems like a really solid version of the Delver list and I think it's a good metagame call in the modo meta of mostly RUG/Storm/Reanimator

    3 Grave
    2 Sea
    9 Fetchlands
    4 Wasteland

    4 Delver
    4 Wraith
    4 Shadow
    2 Angler

    4 FoW
    4 Daze
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Push
    2 Snuff Out
    2 FON
    2 Reanimate

    SB
    2 Submerge
    2 Bomb
    2 Engineer
    2 Hymn
    2 Stub
    3 Surgical
    1 Nihil Spellbomb
    1 Lili's Triumph

    I think this is slightly too much gy hate in the SB and I'd like some more options against non-delver fair decks (which are the only matchups that really punish you for the "dude-into-dude-into-dude" plan, as our bombastic friend likes to describe it)
    Last edited by kombatkiwi; 11-11-2019 at 08:18 AM.

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