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Thread: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

  1. #321

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Maindeck pop is really bad in Delver unless you can reliably pivot to being a burn deck, which you can't really do with this list (compared to e.g. a UR delver list which would probably have multiple chain lightnings instead of cards like thoughtseize or snuff out)

    This is by far the deckbuilding article I have linked people to more than any other and I still have to keep doing it:

    https://articles.starcitygames.com/p...ughtseize-you/
    A common pitfall that I see among newer deckbuilders is a draw towards B/R decks that feature both a lot of burn and a lot of Thoughtseize effects. This is natural because black and red are a likely pair according to Magicís flavor and those are among the most iconic effects that each color has to offer.

    However, the reality is that Thoughtseize is exactly what a burn deck does not want. The strength of burn is that itís difficult for the opponent to interact with through ordinary means, so if you add Thoughtseize to the deck in the place of a card that would otherwise contribute to your game plan, youíre really just giving your opponent exactly what they wantóa way to trade off cards against you.

    In my experience, such decks are excellent at getting the opponent down to five life but are not the best at actually winning games.
    Winter Orb is a really feast-or-famine card in the sense that some situations it's great and sometimes it either does little/nothing or it actually harms you more than the opponent.
    You should realize that this kind of delver/daze/fow etc strategy that you are using yourself and recognize Orb can be good in is one of the most popular decks in legacy, and therefore a large number of your opponents will be also playing a deck that Orb doesn't help against. You probably don't want to play a card like this in your maindeck.

    Cephalid Coliseum is a cute idea but I think it will just hurt you in the long run more by not being a dual land than the draw-3 ability will help.

  2. #322
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Thank you both for the feedback!

    Winter Orb: Excellent point that other Delver decks can consider running this card in their sideboards; casting it is likely going to hurt us both about equally, making it a blank draw in those matchups. Against something like the old BUG Deliver lists those might be fine but the current UR lists are a different deck entirely. I'll move these to the sideboard to bring in against decks like Jund and Maverick. This also lets me replace Snuff Out with Dismember in the maindeck.

    Price of Progress: Comparing this to Flame Rift makes both cards look pretty bad. Although it's still an interesting card I'll cut it for now but keep it in mind.

    Lands: If I put two Brazen Borrower into the maindeck it makes even more sense to run a single basic Island. I admit, I forgot about the various 8-Moon type decks.

    Thanks for the link to the great article about Thoughtseize, especially in the context of Price of Progress in this deck. I'm dabbling with Death's Shadow coming from a BUG Delver and Jund background, which are much more aggro-control decks rather than this more aggro-tempo archetype.

    Spell Pierce versus Force of Negation: I'll admit, this is because I don't own any FoN and they're relatively expensive (I'm also short a Volcanic Island).

    It's not very unique or exciting, but these changes (-2 Orb, -2 Price of Progress, -2 Snuff Out, -1 Cephalid Coliseum, +2 Brazen Borrower, +3 Dismember, +1 Preordain, +1 Island) do look like they will streamline the deck.

    At that point is it worth running red for Bolts and Pyroblasts? Maybe I should be straight UB like the generally-accepted standard version of the deck, or splashing green (for which I do have a Tropical Island).

    I'll rework the sideboard too to incorporate Winter Orb and pick some less expensive removal.
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  3. #323
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Brazen Borrower does heavy lifting in the matchups where it is good.

    I'm partial to the green splash for Berserk, but not positive the splash continues to be worth it with Oko banned.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by AngryTroll View Post
    Spell Pierce versus Force of Negation: I'll admit, this is because I don't own any FoN and they're relatively expensive
    Spell Pierce is probably fine for now. Being a Thoughtseize + Force of Will deck does a lot against combo, and without worrying about Oko in the format you don't have to have the extra Forces to stay on tempo. In the Oko era you would have to make sure to get on-board yourself, using all of your mana, and still have a Force up for Oko. Long story short: I don't know how many maindeck Forces are correct anymore. It was standard to play 6-7 in the Oko/Arcanist era, but I'm not sure it's correct anymore (despite me already saying otherwise.) Regardless, plan to pick up some Force of Negations for tournament play if you are going to do paper events in the future.

    It's not very unique or exciting, but these changes (-2 Orb, -2 Price of Progress, -2 Snuff Out, -1 Cephalid Coliseum, +2 Brazen Borrower, +3 Dismember, +1 Preordain, +1 Island) do look like they will streamline the deck.
    We are just going on previous knowledge of what worked; I don't think it's wrong to experiment or put your own spin on a deck based on playstyle or metagame. This forum is so you know what others have done, whether it worked or not, and how to move forward. Truthfully, I'm always struggling on how to splash red in this deck because I love Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast and Abrade are awesome sideboard cards, and it naturally feels like it serves the aggressive plan. It doesn't always pan out that way, but that doesn't mean that the fundamental approach is wrong. Timing is everything.

    At that point is it worth running red for Bolts and Pyroblasts? Maybe I should be straight UB like the generally-accepted standard version of the deck, or splashing green (for which I do have a Tropical Island).
    You can always make an argument for a red splash to fight blue mirrors. In the Top-Miracles era red was splashed *only* for Pyroblast and Red Elemental Blast, because it was so important to fight the mirrors. What makes the decision sticky is Thoughtseize, which does so much heavy lifting for the deck that it can be possible to avoid the mana-base instability. Thoughtseize isn't a perfect answer for anything in the format, but it's useful against more decks than Pyroblast.

    I'll rework the sideboard too to incorporate Winter Orb and pick some less expensive removal.
    The card you're looking for is Plague Engineer; you can play it under Thalia and it does a ton of work against D&T, Elves, Goblins, and a slew of other decks as well. It's easier to cast because it only needs 2B, so that's why it's better than Fire Covenant. The best removals are Fatal Push, Snuff Out, Dismember, Plague Engineer, Toxic Deluge, Drown in the Loch, and Liliana's Triumph.

    In general, you want complete control over your life total. Cards that are conditionally awesome (like Price of Progress) open you up to variance. Street Wraith does the same job but instead of being a conditional removal it's an unconditional card draw, every time. If you're looking for cool tricks the aforementioned Berserk is a good one, but also Apostle's Blessing is a great option. I've always wanted to mess around with a singleton Tainted Strike as a pseudo-Berserk in black, but it doesn't provide trample and if you don't have a 10/10 unblocked Shadow it literally does nothing (a 9/9 Shadow outclasses most threats already, you don't need infect to shrink opponent's chump blockers.)

    I've also messed around with Dark Confidant, a card that on it's surface looks tailor-made for Shadow decks. It doesn't pan out that way simply because again, you don't have control over your top-decks unless you have Ponder/Brainstorm, and if you have Ponder/Brainstorm you should be digging into ways to win already. Confidant could be a sideboard card if we ever decide to board out Force of Wills, but even then it might do too much damage, or too little, to make it worth playing with Shadow. Another pet card of mine is Bitterblossom, something I'm always trying to shoe-horn into my decks. In general it's a very powerful card against certain matchups that could see some play again.
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  5. #325

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    I'm thinking of trying a list with stifles and 'Noughts. Stifle isn't what a lot of people like, and especially in Thoughtseize lists, but I often choose cards I like over honed lists unless it's for a large competitive event. Has anyone considered this before?

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    I'm thinking of trying a list with stifles and 'Noughts. Stifle isn't what a lot of people like, and especially in Thoughtseize lists, but I often choose cards I like over honed lists unless it's for a large competitive event. Has anyone considered this before?
    Not enough room to run Shadow and Dreadnought. The card that unites them does not currently exist (land or 2-3cmc not-creature effect that says for every life gained by you is life lost by opponent), to be combined with Orzhov Charm and Arguel's Blood Fast. This is not a viable mash-up at this time.

    There is no Dreadstill or Stiflenought list in UB that can post a higher winrate than UBw Landstill.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Secretly.A.Bee View Post
    I'm thinking of trying a list with stifles and 'Noughts. Stifle isn't what a lot of people like, and especially in Thoughtseize lists, but I often choose cards I like over honed lists unless it's for a large competitive event. Has anyone considered this before?

    Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk
    I tried it for a little while, back before covid derailed my local legacy scene. It was certainly fun, but as Fox eludes, it's hard to get everything in there. I ended up trying several different routes: Dark Confidant, cutting Delver, cutting Daze, etc. It got derailed into an Arclight Phoenix/Shadow discussion for a little bit at the end, too. This is a link to the theory-crafting/discussion:

    http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...8-Death-Nought
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  8. #328

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Hey thanks for sharing your experiences. I was going to replace Gurmag with Noughts (and not play the full set, likely 2x) as support, either for the early ultimatum off stifle or to upgrade to a trampler from just a big fat vanilla guy. I don't want it to dominate the build, just to slide in as a slight spin-off.

    I like Stifle as a tempo play in Delver even without a secondary use; it is because I am old and when Scourge came out I liked the gotcha aspect (it also won me a match when I played UG madness vs. a fully powered worldgorger vintage list in an event back when mana burn was a thing, which has admittedly solidified my love of the card even with all evidence to it being subpar).

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    The issue is that making StifleNoughts isn't really a gameplan. You're just reinforcing a primary weakness of Shadow to Chalice, while Dreadnought tech [which you lack dedication to support] ignores Chalice.

    Shadow's mana puts you in a terrible spot b/c the single best card UB has vs Chalice is Karn (that you can't cast this reliably), which can then let you wish for a SB Dreadnought. The deficits you're trying to cover are best approached by being BUG Shadow with around 2 Berserk, 2 Library, and 2 Trophy (you're no longer playing Street Wraith).

  10. #330

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    The issue is that making StifleNoughts isn't really a gameplan. You're just reinforcing a primary weakness of Shadow to Chalice, while Dreadnought tech [which you lack dedication to support] ignores Chalice.

    Shadow's mana puts you in a terrible spot b/c the single best card UB has vs Chalice is Karn (that you can't cast this reliably), which can then let you wish for a SB Dreadnought. The deficits you're trying to cover are best approached by being BUG Shadow with around 2 Berserk, 2 Library, and 2 Trophy (you're no longer playing Street Wraith).
    Right, I agree it isn't a game plan, it is just a deviated list for the sake of a favored strategy, not a better strategy. It seems to me that bug is similarly flawed as it also deviates in a fashion and opens the plan up to different issues such as color denial and a less stable mana base in general. I get that berserk may be better, but isn't delver, and DSD in particular just a bit weak to Chalice in general and the concensus just that you counter the chalice or lose to a fast clock (ignoring the luck draw of Decay)? Thanks for your response! I'm enjoying talking about magic again now that the bans have happened!

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    The difference is that BUG Shadow has a very methodical approach to Counterbalance decks. You turn the Stifle and Wastlands onto exposing Tundra to board, and then you murder 2 basic Plains with Trophy....and then it gets worse for them, as up to two otherwise unplayable Needle can come in from the SB....and now your opponent can get into a ton of trouble if they fail to fight over aggro-Needle on maybe Vista/Tarn/Strand.

    Keep that wheel turning as you add 2 Decay to SB, meeting up with maindeck Cling vs Sevinne's. Youre already bad against DnT, and they [Counterbalance] play Mentor - it's time for 2-3 Dread of Night again. Make them trade blue cards for anything but your blue cards, choose what doesn't get to resolve, and they will eventually die to whatever bereft of white mana.

    This is where most shadow lists fail. They can't attack basic Plains, so they can't ever dictate the direction of a game. They just trade their dudes [only wincon] into stacks of white cards and Snapcasters, and then find themselves up against a deck with more blue cards.

  12. #332

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    That is really solid strategy, I didn't think of it from this perspective. Thanks for clearing that up for me. You have saved me a few hundred in purchases lol. I'm back to the drawing board for my "fun" blue list.

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  13. #333

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    That is theorycrafting way too far up the ass, "colourscrew opp off white" is just not sensible. In an ideal world it might sound nice (just like surgicaling all of RUG tropicals or whatever).

    The idea that you could reliably trophy 2 plains is already nonsense (2? copies of trophy vs how many plans + fetchlands your opp has, also the act of casting the first trophy on a plains assuming your opp has a 2nd one is just spending 2 mana and a card to do absolutely nothing) but consider that the umbrella of "blue plow deck" right now still includes Uro decks with Abundant Growth / Prism / Carpet. Trying to cut the opp off casting their white cards is not a winning gameplan.

    There is no Dreadstill or Stiflenought list in UB that can post a higher winrate than UBw Landstill.
    I still basically agree with this because dreadnought is basically a huge clunker in present-day (stifle as a card on its own merits is maybe _okay_ right now), so it needs a shell with a lot of support for it for it to be even remotely playable, and not just "I want to play stifle in my Ux delver deck oh I guess I get to play a 1 mana 12/12 too now yay"

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    That is theorycrafting way too far up the ass, "colourscrew opp off white" is just not sensible. In an ideal world it might sound nice (just like surgicaling all of RUG tropicals or whatever).
    Fox is quite an expert in UWx control so he's probably not wrong here in seeing how UW loses that matchup.

    Normally UW is heavily favored because Snap-Plow + Terminus is way more answers than Shadow has threats, and UW can happily grind out the counter war and card advantage vs Shadow. Shadow will win some out of variance, but overall it'll be really hard to stick a win condition and get there. You're fighting an uphill battle. The way UW loses is if they can't cast their white cards, then they lose their removal and some win conditions and Shadow's threats can safely get through for the kill.

    Given that UW is very slow with few win conditions, you're playing a long grindy game and it may actually be feasible to slow roll and take every white source off the board first than to go balls-out Shadow and walk into a loss. Some builds will only have 2 Plains + 1 Tundra + 1 Karakas, they will normally play to have at least 2 white sources in play (if both Plains are out to dodge Wasteland then Trophy is strong), while they probably have 4 Flooded Strand to hit with Pithing Needle. Their manabase is blue-heavy and built to beat Wasteland/Blood Moon/B2B but not destruction of basics. It won't work in every game, but it may be a more winning strategy than just playing out Shadows into removal.

    But yeah, throwing Dreadnought in as a random card here seems bad. Stiflenought is very marginal these days unless you can support it with a full plan (including Scroll of Fate). It's not good enough to splash Dreadnought and get 3-for-1d by Snapcaster into Plow.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    On a semi-related note, discussing good cards against the blue control/midrange decks, brings me back around to a pet card: Bitterblossom. I always liked the way it really pressured the slower blue decks and its decent against Marit Lage by making perpetual blockers.
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