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Thread: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

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    SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    This deck is designed to use overlapping synergies to bring together Hollow One, Vengevine, and Death's Shadow. You may be thinking 'one of these is not like the others', and you're absolutely right. However, each of these creatures overlaps in at least one significant way, allowing the support system of the deck to gel together. Street Wraith helps to cast free or cheap Hollow Ones while also reducing life total to support Death's Shadow. Vengevine needs a discard outlet alongside cheap creatures to trigger it, so Putrid Imp and Shadow both fit that category. Careful Study feeds both Hollow One and Vengevine synergies. A fetchland mana-base allows for perfect mana but the simple act of using budget-minded shocklands such as Watery Grave feeds the Death's Shadow plan. Other attempts at bringing Hollow One and Vengevine together have focused around having as many creature-based discard outlets as possible (Putrid Imp, Tireless Tribe, Lotleth Troll.) I still use Putrid Imp and Lotleth Troll, but I eschew Tireless Tribe in order to fit in Death's Shadow. If there is to be a viable non-Delver aggro deck for the format it needs to have heavier hitters than Tireless Tribe and Basking Rootwalla. Those creatures can allow for explosive turn 1 plays but don't actually get the opponent dead fast enough to matter. The other problem with a Vengevine/Hollow One all-in aggro plan is that it isn't better than the other primary Vengevine deck in the format: Hogaak. In order for this deck to be viable it needs bigger than 1/x creatures. Well, what about a 7/7 for one mana?

    The other issue of a purely aggressive Hollow-Vine deck is that it needs a way to be resilient to grave hate. Hard-casting Vengevines isn't exactly the best plan, although it could be an option. Living long enough to pull that off is unreliable. Having an aggressive creature-swarm plan and a big Shadow plan B in the mid-game seems like a great way to offset the predictable graveyard hate that I will face. Surgical Extraction is by far the most common graveyard hate, followed by Grafdigger's Cage, Rest in Peace, and Leyline of the Void. A single surgical on Vengevine won't completely ruin the game plan...especially if I board it out games 2-3 for additional targeted disruption for the matchup. Now I don't need to worry about how to cast Vengevine, the hardest creature to cast at that point would be Prized Amalgam at 3 mana. The other additions that make the strategy come together are Thoughtseize and Daze. Thoughtseize is still an incredible turn 1 play against most decks and having a 'free' way to protect a turn 'combo' with Daze is very good.

    What about losing the 4 slots of Tireless Tribe? Doesn't that leave the deck short on enablers? It can, but the recent addition of Once Upon a Time to the card pool does a lot to mitigate the lower saturation of enablers, especially alongside the London mulligan. Add to that other ways of drawing into those enablers (Careful Study, Street Wraith) and the velocity of the deck is really decent. Is it Brainstorm/Ponder good? In this deck, yes, I think so. The approach is to enable the correct mix of creatures to be aggressive enough, rather than having a critical mass of creatures that relies on random opening hands to work correctly. Over the course of the 30 test games so far, Careful Study and Street Wraith have increased the consistency of this deck in a big way.

    As this deck evolves I will continue adding updates. For now the list is locked in for testing purposes, and is running very consistently. The current outline is to be an explosive graveyard-based deck in the maindeck and switch to a more Shadow-oriented list post-board. I will still have ways of interaction with graveyard hate, but the sideboard won't be dominated by answering hate such as with other graveyard-based decks.

    Current development as of 10/9/2020 - There is a potential divergent path with this deck by cutting Bloodghast and Prized Amalgam for Hogaak, Hooting Mandrils, and Deep Analysis. It is likely that some mix of all of those cards will become apparent, but that precise mix hasn't been established yet. Main reasons for Hogaak/Mandrils: bigger, trample threats to put more pressure than 2/1's and 3/3's. While Boodghast/Amalgam are usually 'free' the support (Wraith/OUAT/Study) doesn't always line up, but with Hogaak/Mandrils the support is always working towards making those cards possible. Deep Analysis seems very good as card advantage that supports Shadow. It's a different effect than Bloodghast/Amalgam, but it may prove to be more valuable than a few more anemic threats.

    SHV version 1.0 9/24/2020
    SHV vesion 1.1 9/24/2020 (sideboard change, -1 Sickening Dreams, -1 Silent Gravestone, +2 Brazen Borrower)
    SHiV Version 1.2 9/25/2020 (sideboard Change, -4 Force of Will, +2 Bitterblossom, +2 Cabal Therapy)
    SHiV Version 2.0 9/28/2020 (maindeck change -1 Watery Grave, -1 Lotus Petal, +1 Breeding Pool, +1 Once Upon a Time; sideboard Change, - 1 Oko, -1 Dismember, +2 Abrupt Decay)
    SHiV Version 2.1 9/30/2020 (maindeck change, -1 Island, +1 Cephalad Coliseum)
    SHiV Version 2.1a 10/8/2020 (added blacksummer's list below, testing shows a divergent possibility of Hogaak/Mandrils/Deep Analysis over Bloodghast/Amalgam)

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Death's Shadow
    4x Bloodghast
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hollow One
    4x Prized Amalgam
    4x Street Wraith
    1x Lotleth Troll

    3x Thoughtseize
    3x Daze
    4x Once Upon a Time
    4x Careful Study
    3x Lotus Petal
    1x Reanimate

    4x Polluted Delta
    3x Verdant Catacombs
    2x Watery Grave
    1x Breeding Pool
    1x Bayou
    1x Swamp
    1x Cephalad Coliseum

    Sideboard
    2x Surgical Extraction
    2x Bitterblossom
    2x Cabal Therapy
    2x Brazen Borrower
    2x Abrupt Decay
    1x Sylvan Library
    1x Dismember
    1x Sickening Dreams
    1x Karakas
    1x Engineered Explosives


    blacksummer has also been working on developing this deck, here is their current list for reference:

    4x Putrid Imp
    4x Death's Shadow
    4x Vengevine
    4x Hollow One
    4x Street Wraith
    3x Golgari Grave-Troll
    2x Hogaak
    2x Hooting Mandrils

    3x Thoughtseize
    3x Daze
    4x Once Upon a Time
    4x Careful Study
    3x Lotus Petal
    1x Reanimate
    2x Deep Analysis (thinking of maindecking 2xsnuff out instead)

    4x Polluted Delta
    3x Verdant Catacombs
    3x Watery Grave
    1x Breeding Pool
    1x Overgrown Tomb
    1x Swamp


    Sideboard
    4x Force of Vigor
    2x Surgical Extraction
    2x Stubborn Denial
    2x Brazen Borrower
    2x Abrupt Decay
    1x Thoughtseize
    1x Dismember (can switch out for Nature's claim or pithing needle if maindeck snuff out)
    1x Karakas


    This version goes even deeper into overlapping synergies, taking out some of the smaller anemic threats (Bloodghast/Prized Amalgam) and instead works at getting bigger threats on board (Mandrils/Hogaak). It also incorporates an actual dredge card with GGT, which is unlikely to be hardcast or Reanimated, but it supercharges the delve Mandrils/Hogaak package.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 10-09-2020 at 09:57 AM.
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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    How easy has it been to enable vengevine? You only have 8 1 drop creatures + hollow one sometimes.

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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    I would be cutting Amalgam's postboard instead of Vengevine unless you need the blue spell count for Force of Will. They require Vengevine or Bloodghast recursion to trigger them, so cutting Vengevine means you're more likely to have to hardcast them, and 3 mana for a 3/3 isn't very good.

    You mentioned Brainstorm in the opening blurb, but I don't see it in the list. I would absolutely find a way to run 4 Brainstorm in this list. You already have Careful Study and Once Upon a Time, so you don't need Ponder, but Brainstorm should definitely find a spot in here.

    I'd probably cut the Amalgam's for it, actually. Brainstorm can help dig for more gas, so you can probably afford to cut some. I guess that's personal preference though... maybe in playtesting, Amalgam is just better. I don't really see anything else that would be worth cutting, either.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    How easy has it been to enable vengevine? You only have 8 1 drop creatures + hollow one sometimes.
    Pretty easy, actually. It doesn't always happen turn 1, but it happens by turn 3 regularly. Vengevine having haste means it isn't crucial to do it immediately. This list isn't all-in, it sculpts a hand turns 1-2 and then plays out turns 3-4. Having 7 'free' extra draws in the deck for turn 1 helps to craft a pair of creatures to enable Vengevine. If not, I just play out what I have. Getting Hollow One for 1 mana isn't uncommon, even if I can't get it for free. The plan is to sculpt into the right combination of creatures rather than just any combination of creatures that enables Vengevine.

    It plays better than it looks, so if you have a legitimate interest in the deck I suggest proxying it up and trying a few hands. As I mentioned in the GB Vengevine thread, this deck is just fine with a turn 1 Thoughtseize/Careful Study. It doesn't need Putrid Imp + Vengevine + Hollow One on turn 1 every game.

    Think of this as a more aggressive Shadow deck rather than a less aggressive Vengevine deck. Shadow fails when it's few threats are answered, this deck goes further into threats and trims on traditional tempo elements (Force/Wasteland/removal.) I don't think UB Shadow is very competitive right now because it's threats aren't resilient enough. This has recurring creatures that can punish non-Swords to Plowshares removal.
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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    I would be cutting Amalgam's postboard instead of Vengevine unless you need the blue spell count for Force of Will. They require Vengevine or Bloodghast recursion to trigger them, so cutting Vengevine means you're more likely to have to hardcast them, and 3 mana for a 3/3 isn't very good.

    You mentioned Brainstorm in the opening blurb, but I don't see it in the list. I would absolutely find a way to run 4 Brainstorm in this list. You already have Careful Study and Once Upon a Time, so you don't need Ponder, but Brainstorm should definitely find a spot in here.

    I'd probably cut the Amalgam's for it, actually. Brainstorm can help dig for more gas, so you can probably afford to cut some. I guess that's personal preference though... maybe in playtesting, Amalgam is just better. I don't really see anything else that would be worth cutting, either.
    This is what I said about Brainstorm:

    Add to that other ways of drawing into those enablers (Careful Study, Street Wraith) and the velocity of the deck is really decent. Is it Brainstorm/Ponder good? In this deck, yes, I think so.
    What I mean is that in this deck, Careful Study + Street Wraith + Once Upon a Time are as good as Brainstorm/Ponder in Delver. The difference is these cantrips can generate actual card advantage rather than just card quality (by making Hollow One cost lest, getting multiple creatures from the graveyard so Careful Study is really +2 cards.)

    Post-board if I'm bringing in Force of Will I'm not cutting Amalgam, no way. I need the blue count. Vengevine is essentially uncastable, Amalgam in slower matchups is reasonable. In matchups where I want Force of Will and I want to play around grave hate, Amalgam as a 3/3 for 3 is going to have to be good enough. I am preparing for the inevitable situation where I will have to hard cast Bloodghast and Prized Amalagam, both of which are in the realm of possible. Vengevine with double green isn't reasonable, not without making the mana-base absolute shit.
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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Fair enough on cutting Vengevine instead of Amalgam, although I think you underestimate how good Vengevine can still be postboard. Not every deck has the luxury of aggressively mulliganing into graveyard hate, especially when you have diverse threats like Shadow and Hollow One that don't use the graveyard, as well as your ability to fight through hate with postboard answers.

    I realize how good Careful Study and Once Upon a Time are for you, but Brainstorm is still the best card in the format for a reason. It feels really wrong to not run it when you're in blue and have fetchlands, but I suppose Sultai Hogaak is in the same boat, so maybe you just don't need it.

    Any consideration to running additional copies of Lotleth Troll between main or side?

    I also think you need more than just 1 Engineered Explosives as artifact/enchantment removal. Assassin's Trophy deserves some consideration for your sideboard, I think. You do have Oko, but that seems like a stretch on 13 lands + 4 Lotus Petal, and you'll perform much better with an answer to Leyline. Hardcasting Bloodghast and Amalgam is all well and good if you have to, but it's definitely better to blow up Leyline and then cheat them out (and be able to recur them later on if they die).
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    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    I am not completely discounting Brazen Borrower just yet, either. It answers Marit Lage, Chalice, Leyline of the Void, and is blue for Forces post-board. I think that will be my go-to answer alongside Oko and Explosives.

    Post-board I will have Borrower for Leylines, Explosives/Borower/Oko for Chalice, Explosives/Borrower for Rest in Peace. I will also have Forces available if I feel like they are worth the effort against non-Leyline hate.

    Also considering these for the sideboard:
    Bitterblossom
    Nature's Claim
    Assassin's Trophy
    Veil of Summer
    Cabal Therapy
    Darkblast
    Plague Engineer
    Additional Lands
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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Brazen Borrower is legit. Easier to cast on your manabase, and probably better than Assassin's Trophy vs Leyline so you don't give them a free land drop. Getting a 3/1 flier out of it later is a pretty good bonus.

    Echoing Truth is better vs double Leyline and doubles as an answer to ETW tokens and whatever else, so that should be a consideration too.

    EDIT: Brazen Borrower can be grabbed with Once Upon a Time, so yeah, that's going to be way better for you. Brazen Borrower might actually be worth it in my Tireless Tribe version too, to be honest.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hanni View Post
    Brazen Borrower is legit. Easier to cast on your manabase, and probably better than Assassin's Trophy vs Leyline so you don't give them a free land drop. Getting a 3/1 flier out of it later is a pretty good bonus.

    Echoing Truth is better vs double Leyline and doubles as an answer to ETW tokens and whatever else, so that should be a consideration too.

    EDIT: Brazen Borrower can be grabbed with Once Upon a Time, so yeah, that's going to be way better for you.
    Yes, I agree on those. Ratchet Bomb is traditional UB Shadow tech as well for Chalice. Still leaning towards Borrower for all of these reasons (plus blue for Forces.)

    Regarding Troll: I am testing the 1-of Reanimate currently, which is the slot that Troll #2 was taking. I'm leaning towards going back to 2x Troll maindeck. Sideboard is very full at the moment, but I won't discount 1-2 more copies of Troll if it ends up being better than something else.
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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    I like the second copy of Troll better than Reanimate, although I do get the value in Reanimate life loss for Shadow. Troll helps enable the core portion of your deck, and Troll is a much scarier threat than reanimating Wraith.
    Sligh
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMogg View Post
    In porn terms, Zoo has a 11" shlong and an impressive money shot, but it's over in 4 minutes, whereas Landstill is a good 8" and can go for 30 minutes.

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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    I tend to agree. The primary reasons for testing it is that it supports Shadow, is perfectly serviceable as a way to reanimate a hasty Vengevine, and it triggers Prized Amalgam regardless of which creature you reanimate.
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    Re: S.H.V. (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    I am not completely discounting Brazen Borrower just yet, either. It answers Marit Lage, Chalice, Leyline of the Void, and is blue for Forces post-board. I think that will be my go-to answer alongside Oko and Explosives.

    Post-board I will have Borrower for Leylines, Explosives/Borower/Oko for Chalice, Explosives/Borrower for Rest in Peace. I will also have Forces available if I feel like they are worth the effort against non-Leyline hate.

    Also considering these for the sideboard:
    Bitterblossom
    Nature's Claim
    Assassin's Trophy
    Veil of Summer
    Cabal Therapy
    Darkblast
    Plague Engineer
    Additional Lands
    Hey Mr Safety, i have been following your GB Vengvine for awhile now. With the new additional of Death'shadow, have you considered having a sideboard that is able to convert the maindeck into a death's shadow deck?
    Previously i was playing Grixis Arclight pheonix with the standard discards/GY plan maindeck . However in the sideboard i have included 3xTNNs and more discards (additional thoughtseizes/therapy) to replace the GY pieces which really worked well.
    The idea was that postboard, opponent would definitely board in GY hate, be it surgicals/leylines/crypts or cage and cut counterspells. By doing so, we double dip into the fact that opponent just brought in 4-6 useless cards while we have more discards to make their hand even more useless. Really liking the sideboard choice of Therapy + bitterblossoms + borrowers.

    I think it is difficult to fight opponents on their GY hate front (eg.having removals for leyline), and even if we had it, we are still allowing opponent to play their game freely. Also we do that, we might be playing too narrow cards which without cantrips make it difficult for us to align it with opponent's hate. (rough eg. holding on to EE while opponent already have a leyline in play, thus chalice dont matter, but instead if we play a bitterblossom, it advances the game for us)

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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Very cool post! I was definitely trying to figure out something in that vein, so you're right on time. That same thinking was why I started considering Sylvan Library and Oko; rather than fight on the graveyard axis, just switch gears into powerful mid-range tools to crack open the control matchups.

    Summarizing, these are the matchups/cards/situations I need to prepare for with the sideboard:

    Big Creature Strategies (Reanimator, Depths, Sneak/Show)
    Delver
    Storm/spell based combo decks
    Critical Mass Creature decks (D&T, Elves, Goblins)
    Snoko/Miracles/Blue Stew
    Chalice/Blood Moon/Stompy

    Your mix of Bitterblossom/Borrower/Therapy sounds very, very good. I think the Force of Wills need to go in that situation, which is something I'm ok doing. As long as those anti-combo slots are filled back in with alternative anti-combo cards, everything is fine. So essentially it would be -4 Force of Will, +2 Bitterblossom +2 Cabal Therapy. I really like it, actually. It's much more proactive, which I think is what you were going for with your comments. Those cards are incredible against Blue Stew/Delver and the Therapies are good against combo.

    Mapping it out, this is what it would look like:
    2x Surgical Extraction (Reanimator, Dredge, Storm, Sneak/Show, Uro)
    2x Bitterblossom (Delver, Snoko, Miracles)
    2x Brazen Borrower (Depths, Sneak/Show, Chalice, Blood Moon, Reanimator)
    1x Karakas (Depths, Sneak/Show, Reanimator)
    2x Dismember (Delver, D&T, Elves, Goblins)
    1x Oko, Thief of Crowns (Snoko, Delver, Chalice, Miracles)
    2x Cabal Therapy (Snoko, Miracles, Storm, Sneak/Show)
    1x Sylvan Library (Delver, SNoko, Miracles)
    1x Sickening Dreams (Elves, Goblins, D&T)
    1x Engineered Explosives (Chalice, Elves, D&T)

    EDIT: The more I think about this, the better this plan gets. Force of Will is possible, but not realistic. I would be exiling necessary cards, so I wouldn't lose but I'm not getting any closer to winning. Therapy, rather than being card disadvantage is card parity. I like it. Change made in the OP. I still want to figure out a way to get an additional Lotleth Troll into the deck, either in the main or the sideboard. I don't know quite how to do that other than cutting the Oko, which could be fine. Three mana is a lot for this deck, so that seems like the natural place to adjust.

    EDIT #2: I'm not sure where Abrupt Decay fits in the big picture. It's difficult to cast, generally speaking, which means I would have to include a Breeding Pool over one of the Watery Graves. That isn't terrible, it's just a double-splash color dual in a deck that pretty much always wants black mana available. If I include Abrupt Decay, I think it has to take the place of some number of Oko/Dismember/Explosives slots.
    Last edited by Mr. Safety; 09-25-2020 at 08:43 AM.
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  15. #15

    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Yea the list looks real tight now...probably just have to rack up some games to see how it goes.

    Hmm...with just 13lands + 4petals, trying to get up to 3lands would be rather difficult, casting Oko might be a stretch (although it's always good to have the most OP card in legacy xD )
    So probably Decay to replace Oko? But then having a 2nd Troll just seems so good, provides the deck with some sort of redundancy against chalice decks for both discard outlet or just pure board domination (since chalice decks usually does not have hard removal and trample is just perfect to deal with thropter tokens/urza golems)

    I have played the Jund pheonix version also with 14lands + 4landgrants, and the deck does really well, i think previously KyFly did 8-0 in 2019 legacy challenge.
    The biggest problem "problem" i found wasn't the landless opening hands, they were actually legit, it was more to what hands to keep lol.

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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    I'm actually re-evaluating Lotus Petal. So many of the cards are 'free', like Wraith/Daze/Once upon a time. So I might go up to 14 lands and pit rootwalla back in. I have needed some extra creature plays on occasion, Rootwalla seems to be the best alternative to extra mana. If I'm going to get something more for free, a creature is better than 1 mana for a turn. Birds of Paradise isn't off the table as mana acceleration, either. Birds makes sideboard Oko better.

    Edit: I'll add a breeding pool for land 14
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  17. #17

    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    I'm actually re-evaluating Lotus Petal. So many of the cards are 'free', like Wraith/Daze/Once upon a time. So I might go up to 14 lands and pit rootwalla back in. I have needed some extra creature plays on occasion, Rootwalla seems to be the best alternative to extra mana. If I'm going to get something more for free, a creature is better than 1 mana for a turn. Birds of Paradise isn't off the table as mana acceleration, either. Birds makes sideboard Oko better.

    Edit: I'll add a breeding pool for land 14
    i usually use a sample hand generator http://www.triskaideka.net/mtg/shg to test out the opening draws. i tried out the current list and i tink 8/10 of the hands have at least 1 land so we good.
    Im not sure about removing petals for rootwalla though, depends on your experience on the deck, i have not played it enough to determine which is better.
    14lands + 4OUAT sweet spot?

  18. #18

    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Actually just curious what was your reason for going green instead of the usual red.

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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    It offers the most versatility, mostly due to Lotleth Troll. Sideboard would have something like Veil of Summer instead of Pyroblast. It's still fundamentally Bux, with the x currently being green.

    What's on your mind with red? What does it offer other than Faithless Looting?

    I do think 14 land plus 4x OUAT is probably correct. I have noticed a trend of getting a bigger graveyard than with the all-in 5c list, due to fetches, wraith, and careful study. I think a card to re-evaluate is 1 Gurmag Angler.

    I tried rootwalla instead of petals, it was terrible. Currently on 3x Petal/1x Gurmag to test if I can support a mid game 5/5 delve.
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    Re: SHiV (Shadow-Hollow-Vine)

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Safety View Post
    It offers the most versatility, mostly due to Lotleth Troll. Sideboard would have something like Veil of Summer instead of Pyroblast. It's still fundamentally Bux, with the x currently being green.

    What's on your mind with red? What does it offer other than Faithless Looting?

    I do think 14 land plus 4x OUAT is probably correct. I have noticed a trend of getting a bigger graveyard than with the all-in 5c list, due to fetches, wraith, and careful study. I think a card to re-evaluate is 1 Gurmag Angler.

    I tried rootwalla instead of petals, it was terrible. Currently on 3x Petal/1x Gurmag to test if I can support a mid game 5/5 delve.
    Why would you run Gurmag Angler over Hogaak? The delve cost is less, you have enough black/green creatures to pay for it, and it's a significantly better threat than Gurmag. Not to mention the better synergies with the rest of the deck, costing 0 mana to help trigger Vengevine, discarding to Lotleth for the pump, discarding to Careful Study for value, etc.
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