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Thread: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

  1. #381

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    You realize that we play towards direct damage, mill, and deterministic wins by complete mana denial; depending on the color config right? We are always attacking on more than one axis if correctly built. This ability to oscillate provides different context to cards - and this is where skill turns into win %.
    In what meta are you playing such that combat denying cards (peacekeeper, bridge, moat) are seeing lots of play? So much that having no non-combat wincons is a significant weakness??? Against a deck like ds terminus, strix and coatl arenít that different from plow. Not to mention that those cards see little play as well

  2. #382
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    - You can't play aggro/tempo as well as UR because your removal spells don't double as burn/reach and you have discard spells in your deck

    - You don't want to play a long game (at least in game 1, you can build a sb to do this in certain matchups) where you play your own card advantage sources because if you give your opponents time they will have a deck that can make better use of them having more mana mid/late and your discard becomes much worse if the opponent is topdecking

    - Therefore the deck walks a pretty fine line in the sense that it has no lategame but it's trying to kill the opponent quickly while having a low threat count and no burn spells and gets heavily punished if it overextends into swords to plowshares

    So because it operates on such thin margins if there is anything that slightly pushes a % in favour of the opp it can be enough to make a matchup bad and the deck not very well positioned
    - Uro
    - Skyclave Apparition
    - Veil
    -Strix
    etc

    So what is the upside to playing this deck vs UR/RUG?
    - You get a slightly better combo matchup because you have Thoughtseize in your deck and your opponent can't interact with your life total or your creatures
    - You have worse matchups vs basically every midrange/control fair deck
    - Maybe in the pseudo-delver mirrors your winrate is slightly higher but it's still very close

    Generally for legacy this equation doesn't really make sense (as in the % you gain from playing shadow compared to any other delver flavour vs combo isn't very large, and the meta % of combo also isn't that large)

    I think what would make shadow a more decent choice again
    1. Uro ban (not saying this will/should happen)
    2. Printing of a better 2 mana secondary threat that provides CA (like if Ethereal Forager didn't die to bolt, or some UB wrenn and six kind of card, or slightly stronger confidant, something like that)
    3. Printing of a 1 mana delver alt that's still a strong topdeck late (like a black hexdrinker)

    Edit



    The main problem is that the threats are too fragile, not that they only win by combat

    The deck needs threats that are more resilient or provide CA so that it's not so backbreaking if you have to attack into strix.
    The solution is not some kind of fling effect that lets you shoot opp face directly
    That was a great answer. Do you think UB Shadow has been relegated to (or has always been) purely a meta-deck that preys on combo-centric metagames?
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  3. #383
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    In what meta are you playing such that combat denying cards (peacekeeper, bridge, moat) are seeing lots of play? So much that having no non-combat wincons is a significant weakness??? Against a deck like ds terminus, strix and coatl arenít that different from plow. Not to mention that those cards see little play as well
    Killing their guys = removing the combat step. E-Bridge = removing combat step. Invalidating 3dmg chunks w/ Uro = removing combat step. You kill the combat step and no amount of skill will result in a Shadow win.

  4. #384

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    Killing their guys = removing the combat step. E-Bridge = removing combat step. Invalidating 3dmg chunks w/ Uro = removing combat step. You kill the combat step and no amount of skill will result in a Shadow win.
    Thought seizing abrupt decay or push is more reliable than dazeing them. Ensnaring bridge sees no play in legacy anymore since Chandra stompy was replaced by fire flux squad stompy. Gain 3 life is more relevant against 3/2s and bolt face than it is vs 8/8s. Death shadow is weak vs fair control and midrange decks, but that is because the unique interaction vs plow. Not because they donít have non combat wincons.

    Having multiple game plans is definitely valuable. But so is having a focused game plan. I refuse to believe that running painter grindstone in your burn deck improves it.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Thought seizing abrupt decay or push is more reliable than dazeing them. Ensnaring bridge sees no play in legacy anymore since Chandra stompy was replaced by fire flux squad stompy. Gain 3 life is more relevant against 3/2s and bolt face than it is vs 8/8s. Death shadow is weak vs fair control and midrange decks, but that is because the unique interaction vs plow. Not because they donít have non combat wincons.

    Having multiple game plans is definitely valuable. But so is having a focused game plan. I refuse to believe that running painter grindstone in your burn deck improves it.
    Burn is unplayable vs the idea of lifegain. This is why they have diversified and gone to Roiling Vortex-types to maintain 2 paths to victory: combat damage and direct damage.

    Shadow is a more complex deck in the sense that it runs a life-loss engine with multiple moving parts...but Burn, as bad and simple as it is, rewards player skill to a higher degree. There is no difference between the outcomes and play patterns of Shadow once you hit the ceiling. While Burn rewards skill, the standard deviations of success above its roughly 40% winrate ceiling don't really matter; you're still losing more than you win.

  6. #386

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    There is no difference between the outcomes and play patterns of Shadow once you hit the ceiling.
    This is a tautology.

  7. #387
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    This is a tautology.
    There's only one way a Shadow game ends: you have 1 Shadow in play and 1 Shadow in hand vs a deck with SCM, Plow, Wrath, and Ice-Fang. Welcome to the stock circumstances of every game vs fair magic; the card names will change, but it's all the same thing. Play the second Shadow, your deck is chock-full of instantly lethal dead draws, jam jam jam (or don't jam and still lose). It's not like you're ever winning without turning a dude 90 degrees; skill doesn't change this basic truth.

    This is the end of the road for Shadow, take your skill and light it on fire; it doesn't matter. You only needed to hit the skill ceiling to unlock this endgame where only your opponent is making meaningful decisions. If you're a grand master Shadow pilot you realize that, although it is bound to fail, the only mistake you have left to make is not playing towards hardcasting Street Wraith.

    It's a pretty miserable play experience when your deck is early-game Daze/Wasteland-gambling into the same situation of thoughtlessly executing game actions without compensation for skill. This is the Shadow experience, and you don't want to run this in a setting where combo isn't.

  8. #388

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    The skill ceiling is defined as the skill level at which you cannot improve your performance any more even if you get better... If you can improve past a ceiling it isnít a skill ceiling by definition.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by Fox View Post
    It's a pretty miserable play experience when your deck is early-game Daze/Wasteland-gambling into the same situation of thoughtlessly executing game actions without compensation for skill. This is the Shadow experience, and you don't want to run this in a setting where combo isn't.
    This is why UB Shadow is a Modern deck. I never understood why it became a serious Legacy thing, other than that Modern players wanted to play Legacy events and couldn't afford Volcanic Island. (UR Delver is by far the better tempo deck, and since FoN & Borrower the deck even shored up its weaknesses in noncreature matchups like combo).

    Even playing combo, you can outplay Shadow by playing for small win conditions instead of big ones. When the opponent suicided half their life total and has barely no threats in the deck, suddenly things like 4 Goblin tokens, a pair of Narcomoeba, or EOT Brainstorm setting up Tendrilsx4 represent actual win conditions. So although they have Thoughtseize + counters to attack the big things, how do they deal with these additional mini-threats when they're starting the game at 8 life? If you're a combo deck running discard, you can troll them with postboard Surgical. Then you have forever to sculpt a hand to beat counters.

    I agree with Reeplcheep that cards like Ensnaring Bridge see little Legacy play. Perhaps the result is not enough decks have to meaningfully thought about what to do if you turn off the combat step. UWx control has so many ways to shut that door if it wants to. I'm doing that with Energy Field lately and it's winning more than it should because many decks can't fight that game (do I have more counters than you have Disenchants? GG). Karn decks could build to maindeck Bridges too, then leave them scrambling to answer it while it does other broken things undisturbed.

    Edit: Back on topic, could Dreadnought + Dress Down patch the threat density issue?

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    It's a band-aid for a bullet wound @FTW. Drawing 4x Dress Down in a row is a helluva lot better than having 4+ Torpor Orb in play and wondering "why am I not winning?" The problem is the Shadow thing doesn't really work, and doing it harder is not progress. You're even weaker to Chalice and fair magic is still gonna answer your stuff for 1 mana, such that Daze will never have text...and all your opponent is playing against is the combat step - they're still the only ones making relevant decisions.

    Dress Down here is being used like Scroll of Fate in monoU StifleNought. The raw power of Scroll's 3 mana Gideon [+1] impersonation will sometimes bail monoU out despite deck construction flaws; just like occasionally Dress Down will murder someone who went a little too heavy on deathtouch exploiting.

    You didn't really increase your ownership of meaningful decisions in a game...you just maybe had a Dress Down cheese that was potentially devastating or game-winning. It's not really a game plan you can pursue, so much as a cheese the opponent will plan to play around.

    If you want ownership of decisions, you have to attack a different resource they can't defend with SCM/kill spell/blah blah blah boring fair magic 1-card combos. So again we're waiting on Diamond Valley mode from Arguel's and a playable, hard-to-target Vito effect that says "12/12 on the stack, hemorrhage blue cards right now opponent...or I will resolve this, hold priority & sacrifice as activation cost, putting a gain 12/lose 12 trigger on the stack, that not even Sudden Edict will help you stop."

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    If Life's Legacy was an instant or Momentous Fall cost 2G, I wonder how much of a difference that would make. Converting a failed Dreadnought or Shadow to cards is a very good backup plan, but all the Greater Good effects currently cost too much. Lategame the green splash also lets you play Varolz scavenge to turn mana dorks into 13/13s, while the sac outlet draw engines ensure these cards make it to the grave even against white decks.

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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Don't think you play black if you're transmuting 1 mana into quad-Ancestral. Much easier to develop mana in a dependable 2c way and saying that sac Uro with the backup mode of draw 6+1 is good enough. Ideally it is both draw X and gain X for 1G. Until then, Lotus Field is the best thing to be doing in UG. You also have the ability to use Reclaimer to tutor up Cavern on Phyrexian (don't need to add black for PE). This has the added benefit of picking fights you don't care about on the opponent's end step with Dress Down with risk of uncounterable 12/12s.

    Shadow does not synergize with this type of plan, and black doesn't offer any PWs. We get PE for free, and really are only missing 1 card black could possibly offer: Cling to Dust.

    With Dreadnoughts you go UBw [Shadow] or UG [Uro/Lotus]. BUG (heavy in all 3 directions) is uninteresting as long as DRS is banned. We don't go where the mana isn't.

  13. #393

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    That was a great answer. Do you think UB Shadow has been relegated to (or has always been) purely a meta-deck that preys on combo-centric metagames?
    Relegated to, maybe? Was always, no

    The "your only axis of attack is the combat step" problem is true to a certain extent, but compared to the other delver decks it only reflects the idea that your opponent can use their life total as a resource with more flexibility because you don't have burn spells. If your opponent has a hand that's fully stocked with Strix/Plow/Verdict etc then any variant of delver is going to be hurting vs that, even the red ones. The "heheheh Swords is a 2 for 1 if you have double shadow out, deck is unplayable vs anything with W mana" idea is way overstated. Yes it's something you have to play around / be aware of but thats why you have cantrips/discard etc

    Having multiple game plans is definitely valuable. But so is having a focused game plan. I refuse to believe that running painter grindstone in your burn deck improves it.
    Accurate

    The upside of shadow is that
    - You have hard removal that kills anything compared to e.g bolt which struggles against big creatures
    - You have discard and countermagic in your deck that also answers anything
    - You're playing threats that are A) huge and B) cheap

    So your deck has a supreme ability to ignore / answer whatever the opponent is doing and just kill them

    Because you have this plan of "stopping the opponent before they start", games that you lose because things slipped through the cracks often looks/feel very silly/bad, e.g. your opponent resolves Jace and unsummons your guy and you don't have bolt in your deck. But if you played the matchup enough times what % of games would you have won by Thoughtseize / Hymn the Jace away? The point is not to play the deck that lets you feel smart the point is to play the deck that wins matches regardless of how supposedly 1-dimensional it is

    Edit: Lack of reach is a problem for death shadow for sure. But being the most xerox-y deck with the hardest disruption gives you more agency over a game than most midrange piles. Saying that a game where you go thoughtseize, t2 ponder thoughtseize, t3 gurmag has less agency than UWx piles with mentor in them (and only plows and forces as t1/t2 interaction) is rediculous.
    So yeah, pretty much this comment is what I am also saying

    Invalidating 3dmg chunks w/ Uro = removing combat step.
    Gain 3 life is more relevant against 3/2s and bolt face than it is vs 8/8s
    This is like a fundamental misunderstanding of Uro, Reeplcheep is right that the healing salve mode is not really a problem at all, but the card would still be horrific for this deck to face even without that part of the text.

    The problem with Uro is that in the gameplan of "Use your flexible disruption to ignore whatever the opponent is doing and kill them" is that Uro is fundamentally un-ignorable and un-disruptable with the tools that you have. You can't discard it to get rid of it and you can't counter it to get rid of it and you can't snuff out to get rid of it, it's just always there offering free resources. The entire gameplan of keeping the opponent low on resources just doesn't function against that card. Resolved Uro is also pretty backbreaking vs any kind of Delver but if you are UR then you can execute the plan of "Ignore whatever the opponent is doing by killing them extra quickly with my multiple haste threats and pointing my burn spells at their face" rather than "Ignore whatever the opponent is doing by Thoughtseizing it"

    If Life's Legacy was an instant or Momentous Fall cost 2G, I wonder how much of a difference that would make. Converting a failed Dreadnought or Shadow to cards is a very good backup plan,
    If you want to splash green for card draw as insurance against plow then you can just play Sylvan Library

    This is why UB Shadow is a Modern deck. I never understood why
    If you don't understand it then why would you bother thinking you can improve it by turning it into some kind of Varolz Dreadnought Greater Good nonsense

  14. #394
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    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by kombatkiwi View Post
    If you want to splash green for card draw as insurance against plow then you can just play Sylvan Library

    If you don't understand it then why would you bother thinking you can improve it by turning it into some kind of Varolz Dreadnought Greater Good nonsense
    I understand that UR Delver plays tempo much better overall and just keeps getting better tools. As for most of the things you mention that UR can't do (attack the hand vs combo, kill bigger threats, produce bigger threats), Grixis Delver can already do that. Grixis' downside is more vulnerable mana. But overall Delver variants have a better history of results than Shadow.

    Playing against UB Shadow has always felt easier than playing against Delver. Shadow is more all-in on a linear plan that's easy to attack, and opponent starting the game with half life is a handicap most decks can exploit.

    The card draw was just a theoretical question, if there was a version of that effect that was powered up enough and costed cheap enough. Not actually playing Greater Good here. Any deck can run green for Sylvan without needing to deal with Shadow's other vulnerabilities, and will probably have an easier time converting life to cards. A 2-mana Momentous Fall effect is something that a Shadow or Stiflenought player could uniquely exploit and could theoretically help the situation where you walk into removal/deathtouch and run out of threats. Maybe that isn't a weakness Shadow players want to fix, or maybe it doesn't help anymore than running conditional protection like Stubborn Denial. Playing against Shadow though, that's an easy pressure point to attack... Do you have a better solution for the threat density issue?

  15. #395

    Re: [Primer] UB Death's Shadow

    Quote Originally Posted by FTW View Post
    I understand that UR Delver plays tempo much better overall and just keeps getting better tools. As for most of the things you mention that UR can't do (attack the hand vs combo, kill bigger threats, produce bigger threats), Grixis Delver can already do that. Grixis' downside is more vulnerable mana. But overall Delver variants have a better history of results than Shadow.

    Playing against UB Shadow has always felt easier than playing against Delver. Shadow is more all-in on a linear plan that's easy to attack, and opponent starting the game with half life is a handicap most decks can exploit.

    The card draw was just a theoretical question, if there was a version of that effect that was powered up enough and costed cheap enough. Not actually playing Greater Good here. Any deck can run green for Sylvan without needing to deal with Shadow's other vulnerabilities, and will probably have an easier time converting life to cards. A 2-mana Momentous Fall effect is something that a Shadow or Stiflenought player could uniquely exploit and could theoretically help the situation where you walk into removal/deathtouch and run out of threats. Maybe that isn't a weakness Shadow players want to fix, or maybe it doesn't help anymore than running conditional protection like Stubborn Denial. Playing against Shadow though, that's an easy pressure point to attack... Do you have a better solution for the threat density issue?
    Yes, if you want to play this deck with the card Delver of Secrets in it then it's basically just worse Grixis Delver:
    - No red spells
    - Casts BB spells more easily
    - You get the benefit of playing a 1 mana 6/6+

    Usually this is not a very good tradeoff (losing bolts / pyroblasts is really big) which is why I think playing UB Shadow with the card Delver of Secrets is bad

    If you don't play the card Delver of Secrets then the lack of red spells isn't an issue because strategically you aren't as interested in any of your cards having a lava spike mode and being able to play BB spells more easily becomes more relevant because you are trading threat density for the ability to exchange resources more efficiently (Hymn to Tourach). Not playing Delver of Secrets "makes sense" (admittedly not to some people) because when your main threat is like 6/6-10/10 in size then pairing it on the board with a 3/2 doesn't really produce any meaningful effect. Instead of the 3/2 you would rather have a card that lets you trade resources with the opponent more effectively and "clear the way" for the 10/10

    The lack of threat density is a conscious decision, it's both a strength and a weakness. It's not really the case that the deck is waiting for a good enough threat to be printed so that it can play more threats and increase threat density, it's waiting for the meta to shift so that the gameplan of sticking 1 threat and exchanging resources super efficiently can be good. This is not likely to be a realistic outcome while Uro is legal

    Edit: for an example current build that plays to the unique strengths of the deck

    4 Deaths Shadow
    4 Street Wraith
    4 Baleful Strix
    2 Murktide Regent

    4 Force of Will
    4 Daze
    4 Ponder
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Thoughtseize
    4 Hymn to Tourach
    2 Removal
    1 Force of Negation
    1 Removal #3 / FoN #2 / Flex Spot (Darkblast is a funny combo with the Dragon and it's not bad in the format atm vs all the monkey/elves etc but possibly too cute still)

    4 Wasteland
    4 Watery Grave
    2 Underground Sea
    8 Fetchlands

    4 Hymn and 4 Strix the best ways to 2-for-1 while trading away resources (as opposed to something like Night's Whisper which is also a 2 cmc 2 for 1 but keeps the opponent on the same number of cards)
    A few huge threats and then all the efficient interaction
    Certainly some matchups would not be favoured but possibly it can be addressed with SB cards
    Last edited by kombatkiwi; 06-07-2021 at 04:30 AM.

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