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Thread: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

  1. #81

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fallen_Empire View Post
    I'm considering brewing up a list that runs copies of hunted horror and toxic deluge main instead of delver & street wraith. Has anyone else been down this path?
    Is this a troll? If you don't get exactly deluge then you can't kill the Centaurs so nothing can attack (Horror AND Shadows AND Anglers), nothing of yours can block or target them, so you're in a very awkward spot if your opponent wants to get aggressive, and you wouldn't even have Delver to fly over them

    I played Shadow for the first time this weekend

    First event

    4 Delver
    4 Shadow
    2 Tombstalker
    4 Wraith

    2 Reanimate
    2 Hymn
    4 TS
    4 BS
    4 FOW
    4 Ponder
    4 Daze
    2 Dismember
    1 Push
    1 Darkblast

    2 Sea
    4 Grave
    8 Fetchlands
    4 Wasteland

    SB
    1 Lili
    2 Diabolic Edict
    1 Bitterblossom
    1 Winter Orb
    1 TNN
    2 Surgical
    1 Cage
    1 Null Rod
    2 Marsh Casualties
    1 Dread of Night
    2 Ratchet Bomb

    R1 Loss for turning up late (whoops)
    R2 2-0 Depths
    R3 0-2 Miracles
    R4 1-2 Miracles

    Second Event
    Maindeck -1 Wasteland +1 Hymn
    Sideboard -1 Marsh Casualties -1 TNN -1 Worb +1 Lili +1 Flusterstorm +1 Unmoored Ego

    R1 2-0 UW Delver-Blade
    R2 2-1 Miracles
    R3 0-2 Miracles
    R4 0-2 LED Dredge

    As a long-time RUG Delver player it was very interesting to get a feel of playing this deck:

    1. You don't have sticky threats (Goose) and you replace a reactive card (Stifle) with proactive cards that become much worse as the game progresses (discard spells). This means that Shadow plays much more like an aggro deck and generally wants to keep its foot on the gas starting from turn 1. Overall I would say that Shadow seems much easier to play than RUG for this reason, because your role is generally inflexible and you have fewer decisions to make in that regard. (Note that this doesn't imply at all that RUG is better than Shadow if both decks are played optimally).

    2. Having access to hard-removal spells (specifically edicts) is a huge boon. Facing down a resolved TNN it's very hard to win as RUG but with Diabolic in your deck you can just untap and kill it. This means you can afford to be a bit more 'loose' both in terms of gameplay decisions and sideboarding (e.g. with these additional ways to deal with resolved permanents you can be more confident in boarding FoW out, which is something you want to do in post SB games vs fair decks anyway because you don't want to be 2-for-1ing yourself).

    3. "ThOuGhTsEiZe IsN't A tEmPo CaRd" is true in the strictest sense but there are many times where e.g. you Thoughtseize their ponder and they just have to pass turn 1 after playing a land, so you functionally countered their ponder and got info on their whole hand. Not having any counters that cost mana is great because you never have to decide whether to leave up mana or tap out for a cantrip/discard. This isn't just 'training wheels', it's a significant tactical advantage

    4. In RUG vs the fair/control decks you wanted to play Winter Orb because the fair decks were too resilient for you to stop them from getting to the lategame, so you needed some way to strangle your opponent's mana so your late-drawn dazes and pierces were still live. When you have black mana in your deck Hymn to Tourach can fill this role because the straight 2-for-1 is a significant resource tax that either strips their spells or hits their lands: together with the pressure that this deck can pump out (foot on the gas) it can force your opponent to play into your Dazes. RUG doesn't have any card that can 2-for-1 the opp by hitting their resources (only Loam, arguably, which isn't even that good vs Miracles anyway) so that deck doesn't have this angle. I therefore think winter orb is probably not the correct fit for Shadow because Thoughtseize and orb are applying pressure from 2 different directions. (I.e. what's the use in your opponents' lands not untapping if they don't have spells in hand to cast). I think the most effective strategy is to focus on burning all their cards away. This seems like it lines up badly vs AK but I think you can play around that with Surgical

    5. Tombstalker is much better when you replace Stub with Hymn because A) It's hard to have 3 mana to pay BB for Tombstalker and leave U up for Stub B) Playing Tombstalker as your only BB spell (with Stub instead of Hymn) is awkward because you are raising your curve up for only a couple of cards which means it's hard to make in-game evaluations about how important your lands are. "I'm an efficient Delver deck which can play on 1 mana, oh no wait now I want 3 lands so I can resolve Tombstalker through a Daze." I noticed this problem with RUG a lot in the builds that played 1 or 2 TNN maindeck as the only 3 drop. When you have 2 Tombstalker and 3 Hymn you have a 'lower-variance-manacurve' and can more reliably plan on casting BB spells, and resolve your cantrips/wastelands accordingly. (Tombstalker might still not have enough upside over Angler to be correct regardless, but I think this point is worth explaining).

    6. I agree with the arguments put forward by Friedman et al. that this deck doesn't want all 4 Wastelands. I think the swap I made for tournament #2 was good and would be happy playing this maindeck again.

    7. Liliana is a very nice swiss army knife in the SB and I definitely think I want 2. At this point I think a confident SB would be something like
    2 Surgical
    2 Lili
    2 Edict
    2 Bomb
    1 Bitterblossom
    1 Cage
    The rest feels more flexible and I would want to test the different matchups more to get a better idea of the kind of effects that I want.
    The deck is very fun to play and I am looking forward to registering it again

  2. #82

    [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Nice write up KombatKiwi. I also enjoyed testning this deck. It’s a different kind of delver deck, but i like the ’almost burn deck approach’.

  3. #83
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Great write up, thanks. I’ve been playing a ton of leagues online in the hopes of finding a mix of disruption I like. I really like Dismember, to the point where I am now playing 4. I also have been unimpressed with Stubborn Denial, I feel like everyone expects it now that the decklists are so known, I’ve been much happier with good ol Spell Pierce. I’ve lost to two things mainly: 1) Marit Lage & 2) Swords to Plowshares (+Snap). Bitterblossom has not played well, you take too much damage that you just die when you stall.

    More to come here if I can snap off some 5-0s with a solid config.

  4. #84

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Hello, I'm playing the deck now since PT25 online and buying it in paper. I have a question about Thoughtseize vs. Force of Will when boarding: Which one of these do you want to board out normally against control decks like GControl and Miracles? I often go down to 2 FoW against fair decks but thinking about cutting them entirely since I feel like having better board cards and also that Thoughtseize does a similar job. On the other hand I often like to board out 1 Thoughtseize when I board in 2 Hymn to Tourach simply because I don't want to draw to many discard spells late game...

    Against which decks do you normally leave FoW and Thoughtseize in and which one of those do you want to see more often normally?

  5. #85

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post

    As a long-time RUG Delver player it was very interesting to get a feel of playing this deck:
    First off, your write-up was great. I am a former Team America player (Delver / Tarmogoyf / Tomstalker version) and I think I share a lot of your viewpoints. That said I would like to bring an open discussion, agreement, or disagreement to some of these points:

    1. You don't have sticky threats (Goose) and you replace a reactive card (Stifle) with proactive cards that become much worse as the game progresses (discard spells). This means that Shadow plays much more like an aggro deck and generally wants to keep its foot on the gas starting from turn 1. Overall I would say that Shadow seems much easier to play than RUG for this reason, because your role is generally inflexible and you have fewer decisions to make in that regard. (Note that this doesn't imply at all that RUG is better than Shadow if both decks are played optimally).
    This is a REALLY good one-paragraph synopsis. In LSV's article, he explicitly says "Unless you know the opponent is on beatdown, aggressively fetch Graves. The idea is to play a turn-2 or -3 Shadow, so don’t be shy." I think it's easy to casually miss this point but it's important to keep in mind: you want to be killing the opponent. Traditional UR or RUG Delver is generally okay letting the game play out because all of your cards are good at reliably setting up 1-for-1 exchanges, usually with mana advantage, and then you're only playing 14 or 15 colored mana sources so you draw more action over X turns. Playing with discard, against good players with Stifle, or both (like I used to on BUG) significantly reduces your ability to play the long game like that. Green can offset that a bit with Sylvan Library but straight UB not so much. We really should be emphasizing the aggressive aspect of playing this deck properly.

    3. "ThOuGhTsEiZe IsN't A tEmPo CaRd" is true in the strictest sense but there are many times where e.g. you Thoughtseize their ponder and they just have to pass turn 1 after playing a land, so you functionally countered their ponder and got info on their whole hand. Not having any counters that cost mana is great because you never have to decide whether to leave up mana or tap out for a cantrip/discard. This isn't just 'training wheels', it's a significant tactical advantage
    This is another great point but I would like to add to it a bit. This deck's focus on aggression over standard Delver style aggro-control means that we aren't really trying to control the game state in the same way. We still want to be using Thoughtseize and Force to be protecting our threats most of the time so that's the same, but it's more common to let things go and sandbag counters to try to kill the opponent through some things. Daze is a bit of an exception, where if you have a threat on the table it's usually good value to jam Daze just because the disruption is so much better behind a clock.

    Side note, it's usually better to NOT try to mana screw the opponent with your discard spells. Like if you Hymn them and it happens, yeah sure. But you will win more games in the long term by playing tight and taking good value cards rather than flipping the coin for an easy win.

    I therefore think winter orb is probably not the correct fit for Shadow because Thoughtseize and orb are applying pressure from 2 different directions. (I.e. what's the use in your opponents' lands not untapping if they don't have spells in hand to cast). I think the most effective strategy is to focus on burning all their cards away. This seems like it lines up badly vs AK but I think you can play around that with Surgical
    While they might be playing from opposite directions, I think it might be okay anyway? My current stance is that Orb slows down whatever method Miracles uses to see a ton of cards over the course of the game. A lot of the time, Miracles is just trying to get the game to a lock to find the win button and press it. Orb slows down both their ability to kill opposing tempo and their ability to find the wincon. Thoughtseize helps with this somewhat- you just take whatever cards actually get in your way (usually Swords or Force) and then kill them. I agree that there's some conflict, but it's still a reasonable plan. It's even better now that both Ponder and AK builds are increasingly common.

    "I'm an efficient Delver deck which can play on 1 mana, oh no wait now I want 3 lands so I can resolve Tombstalker through a Daze."
    There's actually an even better reason (although yours are great too). A ton of our best pressure plays involve casting two spells of 0 or 1 CMC in the same turn for blow-outs on turns 2-4. So this would look like:
    - Brainstorm / Ponder / Thoughtseize / Inquisition / Fatal Push / Dismember -> Angler / Shadow
    - Angler / Shadow / Reanimate Wraith -> Wasteland / Force / Daze
    - Dismember / Fatal Push / Thoughtseize / Inquisition -> Reanimate_Your_Card_Lulz
    - Delver -> Ponder (classic)
    - You get the idea. This entire deck is fucking full of these reversal plays

    Hymn / Tombstalker make that REALLY hard to do turn 2-3, even if you're willing to drop an extra land. Like yeah those cards are powerful but jamming two almost-as-powerful spells in the same turn is what gives the "hee haw" hands that Delver decks are known for (especially this one). I really wanted Tombstalker to work in this deck because it's one of my favorite cards of all time, but Angler is just SO much more aggressive in the larger context of solid technical play.

    Again, I loved this write-up and it was full of good information. But I also wanted to add to it to maybe start some discussion as well.

  6. #86

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Hi, thanks for the reply

    1. "Side note, it's usually better to NOT try to mana screw the opponent with your discard spells" I'm not sure if this is a direct response to my suggestion that I sometimes Thoughtseize my opponent's Ponder, but to address this, I'm not necessarily only trying to stop my opponent finding their second land. It might be the case that I look at their hand and they already have lands in hand, but I have Fatal Push for their SFM and Daze for their TNN so taking Ponder is the best play because Ponder is the most threatening card in their hand. The fact that it makes them waste mana on turn 1 is a side-benefit.

    2. "While they might be playing from opposite directions, I think it might be okay anyway?" Yeah, I could see that. I assume you meant "PORTENT and ak builds" because it's not like there is any miracles deck not playing Ponder

    3. "There's actually an even better reason (although yours are great too). A ton of our best pressure plays involve casting two spells of 0 or 1 CMC in the same turn for blow-outs" I think you are placing at least some unwarranted arbitrary value on casting multiple spells in the same turn. For example you list Delver -> Ponder. Of course it's good to be spending all your mana in 1 turn but if you had some hypothetical creature: "UU: 3/2 Flying, when this ETB Ponder", that would obviously be better than casting 1 Delver and 1 Ponder (assuming no counterspells). So, would "UU: 3/2 Flying, when this ETB draw a card" be better than Delver + Ponder? Probably. (Unless you place an extremely low value on card advantage). The point is that there is some power level of 2 mana spells that is sufficient to overcome the drawback of costing 1 more mana. Would "BB: Pay 4 life look at opp's hand and discard 2 nonland cards" be better than Thoughtseize + Thoughtseize? Yes. You wouldn't cut all (or any) Thoughtseize for this hypothetical 2-mana card because you do need a certain density of 1 drops for curve reasons, but obviously there are going to be points in the game where you have 2 mana available and then this BB card would be better than two 1-mana cards, and you might play it in some flex slot in the deck. Is BB: Opp discards 2 random cards better than Thoughtseize + Thoughtseize, or Thoughtseize + Ponder etc? Maybe. At some points, definitely yes. So this is the kind of discussion that needs to take place rather than just "Hurr durr all spells must cost 1 mana"

    I acknowledge that Angler vs Stalker is a much bigger hurdle than Hymn vs any 1-mana spell, because paying 1 extra mana for Stalker doesn't give you an extra card worth of value, but there is some kind of benefit to Stalker over Angler and this can be factored in similarly. (At the moment I would agree that Angler is probably better and Stalker only makes sense as a meta call vs TNNs)

  7. #87

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I updated the OP a little bit today:

  8. #88

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Mini Report
    4 Delver
    4 Wraith
    4 Shadow
    2 Tombstalker

    2 Reanimate
    4 Ponder
    4 Brainstorm
    4 FoW
    4 Daze
    4 Thoughtseize
    3 Hymn
    2 Dismember
    1 Push
    1 Darkblast

    3 Wasteland
    4 Grave
    8 Fetchlands
    2 Underground Sea

    3 Surgical
    2 Liliana
    2 Edict
    2 Bomb
    1 Cage
    1 BB
    1 Casualties
    1 Dread of Night
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Null Rod

    1-2 Eldrazi Post
    2-1 Elves
    2-0 Jund

    DON/Fluster/NullRod seem flexible but I think I like the rest of it.
    Fluster should at least be pierce to have another anti-permanent card (Trini, Chalice, Moon, etc)

  9. #89

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I just recently switched to this deck from UR Delver, as I really like tempo decks, from my understanding UB is better than UR, and I had all the cards for it (minus the U-seas). My question is, until I can acquire the dual lands I am running the following:
    1 island
    1 swamp
    4 Watery Grave
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 blue fetches
    2 black fetches
    4 Wasteland

    I see many lists running a Marsh Casualties in the sideboard, how often do you ever actually cast with kicker? My thought is that with my manabase, BB would likely present more of a challenge to cast this on time, then 5 mana to kick it, so I'm wondering if Shrivel would be an acceptable substitute or if I should run Toxic Deluge instead? Or just stick to Marsh Casualties?

    Thoughts?

  10. #90

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by coff33bit View Post
    I just recently switched to this deck from UR Delver, as I really like tempo decks, from my understanding UB is better than UR, and I had all the cards for it (minus the U-seas). My question is, until I can acquire the dual lands I am running the following:
    1 island
    1 swamp
    4 Watery Grave
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 blue fetches
    2 black fetches
    4 Wasteland

    I see many lists running a Marsh Casualties in the sideboard, how often do you ever actually cast with kicker? My thought is that with my manabase, BB would likely present more of a challenge to cast this on time, then 5 mana to kick it, so I'm wondering if Shrivel would be an acceptable substitute or if I should run Toxic Deluge instead? Or just stick to Marsh Casualties?

    Thoughts?
    Yeah you never play it with kicker
    It has the downside of killing your unflipped Delvers, and all your creatures hit for one less damage in the turn that you cast it
    If you have basic island in your manabase then Shrivel or Deluge would be an acceptable switch if you are finding it difficult to get double black

  11. #91

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    Yeah you never play it with kicker
    It has the downside of killing your unflipped Delvers, and all your creatures hit for one less damage in the turn that you cast it
    If you have basic island in your manabase then Shrivel or Deluge would be an acceptable switch if you are finding it difficult to get double black
    As a follow-up question, I don't foresee being able to acquire both U-Seas at the same time. So for the upgrade path what would make the most sense?
    1) -1 island, +1 u-sea
    2) -1 swamp, +1 u-sea
    3) -1 island, -1 swamp, +1 u-sea +1 watery grave
    4) other

    I'm thinking 1 would make the most sense, as I can still deploy my threats under a blood moon/B2B and wastelands. I often see the discussion about 2 u-seas or no u-seas and not just a singleton.

  12. #92

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by coff33bit View Post
    As a follow-up question, I don't foresee being able to acquire both U-Seas at the same time. So for the upgrade path what would make the most sense?
    1) -1 island, +1 u-sea
    2) -1 swamp, +1 u-sea
    3) -1 island, -1 swamp, +1 u-sea +1 watery grave
    4) other

    I'm thinking 1 would make the most sense, as I can still deploy my threats under a blood moon/B2B and wastelands. I often see the discussion about 2 u-seas or no u-seas and not just a singleton.
    1. you never play marsh casualties with kicker, like NEVER EVER and you only need -1/-1 so Casualties is completely fine.
    2. I play 9 fetchlands, 3 Watery Grave, 1 Island and 1 Swamp. When I get to uprade to USseas I will go for 4 Grave 1 Usea and then -1 Grave +1 USea. 9 fetch and 3/2 is strictly the better combination and 1 Usea and 4 Watery Grave feels also better than Basics imho.

  13. #93

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Small report
    Same maindeck as before (4 Grave 2 Sea 8 Fetches 3 Wasteland 2 Dismember 1 Push 1 Darkblast 2 Reanimate 3 Hymn 2 Tombstalker)
    SB
    2 Edict
    2 Bomb
    2 Liliana
    2 Surgical
    1 Cage
    1 Pierce
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Dread of Night
    1 Null Rod
    1 Marsh Casualties
    1 Bitterblossom

    0-2 Turbo Depths
    1-0 Bye
    1-2 UW Stoneblade
    2-0 Scapeshift Nic Fit

    I still like the maindeck I think
    I'm considering going up to a 3rd Edict because it's a good answer for both TNN and Marit Lage, both of which seem to be fairly problematic / annoying
    The Null Rod is probably unnecessary

  14. #94
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Try a copy or two of Echoing Truth. Nice out to Marit Lage and problematic permanents that also pitches to force.

  15. #95

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by eldub View Post
    Try a copy or two of Echoing Truth. Nice out to Marit Lage and problematic permanents that also pitches to force.
    People have suggested bounce before but I'm not convinced I want it in any other match-up except Depths, so I think extra edict might be better overall

  16. #96

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    People have suggested bounce before but I'm not convinced I want it in any other match-up except Depths, so I think extra edict might be better overall
    Iits actually a very flexible card. Planeswalker, Ensnaring Bridge, Dephts, some Enchantment, there are a lot of things you can bounce which can be crucial in the right moment. Because Shadow has this HUGE clock bouncing a card in the right moment can be quite powerful. I also play 1 Echoing Truth as my flex spot in my board and I bounced Dephts, 3 Arclight Phoenix and a bunch of Empty the Warrens tokens so far. The card is really good imho.

    My sideboard:
    3 Surgical Extraction
    2 Hymn to Tourach
    1 Bitterblossom
    2 Liliana, the last Hope
    1 Echoing Truth
    2 Diabolic Edict
    1 Darkblast
    1 Marsh Casualties
    2 Ratchet Bomb

  17. #97

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by IamHANDSOME View Post
    Iits actually a very flexible card. Planeswalker, Ensnaring Bridge, Dephts, some Enchantment, there are a lot of things you can bounce which can be crucial in the right moment. Because Shadow has this HUGE clock bouncing a card in the right moment can be quite powerful. I also play 1 Echoing Truth as my flex spot in my board and I bounced Dephts, 3 Arclight Phoenix and a bunch of Empty the Warrens tokens so far. The card is really good imho.

    My sideboard:
    3 Surgical Extraction
    2 Hymn to Tourach
    1 Bitterblossom
    2 Liliana, the last Hope
    1 Echoing Truth
    2 Diabolic Edict
    1 Darkblast
    1 Marsh Casualties
    2 Ratchet Bomb
    Also cleans up goblins, elemental and monk tokens. Lets talk about darkblast instead. Is that card actually good enough?

  18. #98
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I wanted it to be, but I ran through 3-4 leagues and it was just too low impact to be eating my drawsteps every turn even in places like Elves where you'd want it. I've been much happier packing 2x Marsh Casualties.

  19. #99

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Dark blast is excellent against Strix based strategies which is one of the 4 strategies that can completely shut us down. (chalice, swords and blood moon being the others). It also powers out anglers as the card reads kill a x/1 and add three mana to your mana pool when angler is in your hand. It kills most of the creatures that really hinder our strategy notably Mom, Thalia, Wirewood Symbiote, Young Pyromancer and end-step Snap Caster. It also lets us win the angler and reality smasher battles. I have played Dark blast Main for the last 3 months and it has single handedly won countless games in a G control heavy meta.

  20. #100

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Short report
    R1 2-0 RB Reanimator
    R2 2-1 RB Reanimator
    R3 0-2 Mono Red Sneak
    R4 2-1 Grixis Control
    R5 ID
    Top8 2-1 Rw Goblins
    Top4 2-1 Grixis Delver
    Finals 0-2 Esper Stoneblade

    Won a scrubland

    4 Delver
    4 Shadow
    4 Wraith
    2 Tombstalker

    4 Ponder
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Force
    4 Daze
    2 Dismember
    1 Push
    1 Darkblast
    3 Hymn
    2 Reanimate

    4 Grave
    2 Sea
    3 Waste
    8 Fetchland

    3 Edict
    3 Surgical
    2 Lili
    2 Bomb
    1 Blossom
    1 Pierce
    1 Fluster
    1 Cage
    1 Casualties

    3 Edict seemed good

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