Sideboard Guide: Grixis Shadow (1/19)

Yesterday was a detour into Standard but today we are getting back into Modern. Hi, I’m Ben Jones – perhaps better known by my MTGO handle __BMJ__. I have had my fair share of success with the Death’s Shadow archetype. I’ve also won a Grand Prix with the deck, so it’s safe to say I know what I’m talking about. I regularly post updated decklists on my twitter feed here and less regularly an attached sideboard guide. This time I will be sharing it here as well.

Decklistscreen shot 2019-01-24 at 9.00.40 pm

Affinity (Modular)
-3 Stubborn Denial, -1 Street Wraith, -2 Gurmag Angler, -1 Thoughtseize
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Jace Vryns Prodigy, +1 Collective Brutality, +1 Abrade, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +2 Grim Lavamancer

Affinity (Traditional)
-3 Stubborn Denial, -2 Street Wraith, -2 Gurmag Angler
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Jace Vryns Prodigy, +1 Collective Brutality, +1 Abrade, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +2 Grim Lavamancer

Amulet Titan
-3 Fatal Push, -1 Temur Battle Rage
+2 Disdainful Stroke, +1 Abrade, +1 Lightning Bolt

Burn
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Collective Brutality, +1 Stubborn Denial, +1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Abrade
-4 Street Wraith, -2 Dismember
Just take as little damage as possible as a rule, fetching basics wherever possible. In very rare scenarios you can shock early to make a quick Shadow and tempo them out, but your hand has to be pretty insane for this to be good. A pretty common decision point is when your opponent makes a Turn 1 creature on the play, and you have the choice of casting a discard spell or remove the creature on your first turn. Usually in this spot you just have to kill the creature and hope there’s no Eidolon on Turn 2, since by casting the discard spell you take too much damage. Assess on a case by case basis though and determine if you can afford to play the discard spell.

Death’s Shadow Mirror
-2 Temur Battle Rage, -2 Lightning Bolt
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +1 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy
This is a war of attrition and if you know that you are facing this matchup you should choose to be on the draw.

Dredge
-4 Thoughtseize, -1 Fatal Push (draw)
-3 Fatal Push, -2 Dismember (play)
+3 Surgical Extraction, +1 Stubborn Denial, +1 Lightning Bolt

GBx Midrange
-2 Temur Battle Rage, -1 Street Wraith, -1 Faithless Looting, -1 Thoughtseize
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +1 Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, +1 Lightning Bolt
As in the mirror, you should choose to be on the draw if you know that this is the matchup.

Infect
-2 Stubborn Denial, -2 Street Wraith, -2 Gurmag Angler
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Collective Brutality, +1 Abrade, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +2 Grim Lavamancer

Humans
-3 Stubborn Denial, -2 Street Wraith, -2 Gurmag Angler
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Jace Vryns Prodigy, +1 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Abrade, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +2 Grim Lavamancer

Izzet Phoenix
-2 Lightning Bolt, -3 Snapcaster Mage
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +3 Surgical Extraction
Their non-Arclight Phoenix threats are easily dealt with by your removal, so the game is just about balancing your life total so you don’t lose to Arclight Phoenix attacks + Lightning Bolts. It makes sense then why taking Phoenix out of the equation with Surgical is so effective. Countering a Looting effect is usually very good against them.

Living End
-2 Lightning Bolt, -3 Fatal Push, -1 Snapcaster Mage
+1 Stubborn Denial, +3 Surgical Extraction, +2 Liliana of the Veil

RG Ponza
-2 Fatal Push, -1 Snapcaster Mage
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Stubborn Denial, +1 Liliana of the Veil

Spirits
-2 Street Wraith, -2 Gurmag Angler, -1 Stubborn Denial, -2 Snapcaster Mage
+1 Lightning Bolt, +1 Jace Vryns Prodigy, +1 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Abrade, +1 Liliana the Last Hope, +2 Grim Lavamancer

Storm
-1 Fatal Push, -2 Dismember, -1 Snapcaster Mage
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Stubborn Denial, +1 Lightning Bolt

Tron
-3 Fatal Push, -2 Dismember
+1 Stubborn Denial, +2 Disdainful Stroke, +1 Abrade, +1 Lightning Bolt

UW/Jeskai
-2 Lightning Bolt, -2 Fatal Push, -2 Temur Battle Rage
+1 Stubborn Denial, +2 Disdainful Stroke, +2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Liliana the Last Hope
Snapcaster Mage is your best card since they have to deal with it before they can stick a planeswalker. Terminus builds are pretty clunky and that is their weakness, Stubborn Denial can generate huge tempo in this matchup if you plan the game around it. Try not to give them any two for ones with their sweeper effects, the exception being topdeck situations where you don’t have Denial. Stay above 5 life so you don’t randomly die to Colonnade. Versus Jeskai it’s a similar deal except your life total is more important. Instead look to stay around 8 life so that Colonnade + burn spell doesn’t kill you. The good news is they have less hard removal against you.

Whir Prison
-3 Fatal Push, -2 Lightning Bolt, -2 Temur Battle Rage, -2 Dismember
+2 Liliana of the Veil, +1 Jace Vryns Prodigy, +1 Stubborn Denial, +1 Abrade, +3 Surgical Extraction, +1 Disdainful Stroke

Wrap-Up
Grixis Shadow is an extremely skill-testing deck as you often have to put yourself at the edge of defeat in order to win. There are few who can do so at the level Ben Jones has and we appreciate him stopping in to share his strategy with us. If you are an aspiring Shadow player, make sure to follow his Twitter to stay up to date with his current list and results with it. We will be back tomorrow with a deck that is on the cutting edge of the Modern format right now. We hope that you will join us but in the meantime check out our discussion group to get in touch with the authors, vote on future topics, and share ideas of your own. 

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