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By: Plainswalker83, Marcus Brunstetter
Jul 19 2017 12:00pm
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It has been a crazy few weeks since I first started this article. My laptop would not work and I had to get it repaired in order to play or write about Magic. Since that time I was fortunate to watch some good Modern coverage and see how the meta has shaped up on Magic Online.

This card has been at the top of the meta for a while now and I do not see it going anywhere.


Only a short time ago it was surround by the Jund or Abzan shards and partnered up with cards like Tarmogoyf and Traverse the Ulvenwald. However the more recent trend is to add blue to mix for powerful cards like these.

Snapcaster Mage Serum Visions Stubborn Denial

These spells give the deck a different way to fight and allow it to protect or find its threats more easily. Adding blue also fills your graveyard allowing you to play some other powerful creatures like this pair.

Tasigur, The Golden Fang Gurmag Angler

In previous versions the deck’s threats were usually just Death's Shadow with the occasional Goyf. However having access to Tasigur and Angler really make anything you throw down into a must answer threat. Tasigur even gives you access to a very powerful late game.

What we have seen is that Grixis Death’s Shadow is not unbeatable. In fact many decks have shown up to take out the “best deck” in Modern.

This first one recently won the SCG invitational and is a personal favorite of mine. 

This deck has also had a few 5-0 finishes in competitive leagues as well and appears to be in a great position in the Modern meta.

I will only highlight a few of the card choices because I covered the deck before.

Mirran Crusader Weathered Wayfarer

Crusader is very good when the biggest threats in the format are black. Not to mention the main removal are cards like Fatal Push and Terminate.

Wayfarer serves a different role and I have used him in other decks. However I never thought to include him in Death and Taxes. There are times where you want access to the different utility lands in the deck and Wayfarer does just that.

This deck also has Phyrexian Revoker making an appearance. The Legacy staple now has a place in Modern shutting down things like Walking Ballista, Planeswalkers, and other random cards.

Thraben Inspector is back in the deck after some replaced it with Judge's Familiar. Having 2 toughness and allowing you to get an extra draw is a very valuable thing and I love that this creature is seeing play in Modern.

The rest of the main deck is pretty common along with the sideboard except for one card. In the past these types of decks would run cards like Wrath of God or Day of Judgment but then Amonkhet came along. Dusk/Dawn is a card that is even better than Wrath in this type of deck. Restoration Angel and maybe a golem token is all the spell will destroy and it will bring back everything else when cast from your graveyard.

Overall the deck is at a good place in Modern as it can adapt to punish what is currently “popular”. As an additional bonus it is cheaper than a lot of other Modern decks.

Another Aether Vial deck has been making a comeback as well. This list won a SCG Classic and has had some good finishes on Magic Online.

This deck always seems to pop up when people forget about it. The last time it was popular was during the dreaded Eldrazi Winter. It is once again in a good spot. One thing the deck can do is apply a lot of pressure very quickly and there will be certain draws you can just run over your opponent.

Another benefit is that with the aid of Vial and Cavern of Souls you do not have to worry about having your important Merfolk countered. That allows you to play out your threats confidently and sometimes with flash.

Harbinger of the Tides is very good against attacking creatures, sending them right back to their owner’s hands.

Also with Master of Waves you can create a ton of blockers and not even worry about having a large Death’s Shadow even threatening you behind your wall of elementals.

For a mono blue deck, I actually really like the sideboard. Unified Will is a very strong counter in this deck because of the ability to flood the board with Merfolk.

Relic of Progenitus is the graveyard hate of choice. Perhaps because it allows you to get an extra card? I have seen others play more white lands in the main and then play Rest in Peace in the board instead. I am unsure which is better at this point.

Echoing Truth allows you to get troublesome permanents off the table so you continue your gameplan of smashing your opponents face. You never want to see an Ensnaring Bridge or Ghostly Prison. Plus there are always those dream scenarios of bouncing multiple permanents at once.

I have been playing Modern since its inception and honestly have never played Merfolk. This may be something that I will have to try. There are certain draws that can just feel unbeatable and you can also tweak some of the spells to give you other outs.  

What else is crawling out from under the shadow of death? 

One way to stop a 13/13 from taking you out is gaining infinite life. This deck has been around since the Birthing Pod days. It changes and adapts as it gains and loses tools. This deck has so many different weapons and ways to attack. This might be the best Collected Company deck just do to the fact that you can just win off of an amazing hit. I really like how the deck has changed and added a new way of winning. Even if you don’t get the combo, you can still grind out a win with Gavony Township and even Rhonas.

One of the greatest strengths this deck has is its sideboard. Being in these three colors gives you a lot of options. For Shadow you have access to Path to Exile. You also gain access to good graveyard hate as well. Scavenging Ooze is a great answer to tutor up with chord or to hit with a company. Tireless Tracker is a powerful creature that can give you huge card advantage. I even have a friend that plays him in Legacy lands. You have other utility creatures like Tidehollow Sculler,Orzhov Pontiff, and even Linvala, Keeper of Silence. Plenty of options to give you that toolbox feel.

Once again Modern is in one of the best places it has been in a long time. There are so many viable decks and they don’t all cost you a million tickets. That alone is a huge draw. You can scour the 5-0 lists and see that some decks cost 250 tickets and less.

This format rewards you for knowing not only your deck but what you will be up against as well. In fact the more informed you are the better you can perform.

Combine that with a ton of practice and sharpened skills and you can start to see success in this exciting format.  

For me the struggle with Modern is not to play the format but what to play. I love a lot of the established decks but I have been continuing to work on some brews as well. As they take shape, I will be sharing them with you. I want to use some forgotten cards and some cards that hold a certain nostalgia for me.

However I am a realist and I know that I have to build something that can compete with the top dogs of the format. I will put in the work and the testing. I will share the results with you. This site has been essential to helping me grow as a player. I am looking to grow even more and I know the more time I put into it the more experience I will gain.  

Not only do I want to play something that gets out from under the shadow of Grixis Death’s Shadow but I wrote this article for another reason. I want to get out from the shadow of the current funk I am in. I need a spark, a reignition, or something to bring back the fire. I am looking for it. Currently I am not sure what is causing it. Do I want to win more? Do I want build the “best deck”? Or do I want to build a “new” deck that can compete?

All of these questions I deal with every time I play magic and I am hoping the answer comes to me soon.

Until next time!



I've been doing a knightfall by neckfire at Wed, 07/19/2017 - 21:08
neckfire's picture

I've been doing a knightfall variant with maindeck Mirran Crusader. He steals so many games.

He is great again :) Which by Plainswalker83 at Fri, 07/21/2017 - 12:46
Plainswalker83's picture

He is great again :) Which makes me pretty happy!

Nice article. Can I ask by MichelleWong at Thu, 07/20/2017 - 05:45
MichelleWong's picture

Nice article.

Can I ask you: Have you found Scavenging Ooze worth including in the main deck? I know you can tutor for it, but in my experience when you actually need to tutor the Ooze in the toolbox fashion, it's usually too late, and you are now 1 card further away from reaching your 3-card-combo. For example against Living End, by the time you have a Scavenging Ooze resolve off a Collected Company or a Chord, the horse has already bolted. And the Tasigur/Snapcaster decks usually can deal easily with an Ooze.

Not to mention all the times when the Ooze is so awkward to draw in so many matchups. For example, against Merfolk, you desperately need to find your combo before they slam you with their lords and islandwalk, and the Ooze is like fighting fire with a match-stick.

Wouldn't you prefer a Tidehollow Sculler instead, or an extra Viscera Seer? What's your feedback?

I think ooze is usually good by Plainswalker83 at Fri, 07/21/2017 - 12:48
Plainswalker83's picture

I think ooze is usually good as a 1 of in the main deck because of how good it can be against other matchups as well. Sometimes just gaining the extra life can be good enough against burn or aggro. I know what you mean about the combo though. It never hurts to text the extra sculler or seer :)

Thanks for your feedback by MichelleWong at Mon, 07/24/2017 - 04:14
MichelleWong's picture

Thanks for your feedback Marcus, I do appreciate it.

I do however challenge you to something. In future, whenever you draw your Scavenging Ooze or randomly hit it off Company, ask yourself "Would I prefer that to have been a Viscera Seer"? I bet you that it will be overwhelmingly in favor of Viscera Seer.

Then keep note also of the times when you have tutored up an Ooze with Chord of Calling, and count that as a goal for the Scavenging Ooze.

I bet you that the second copy of Viscera Seer will defeat the Ooze hands down.