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Death's Shadow has been a premier deck in Modern for the last couple of months. This is a deck that’s super interesting because of the tension it applies to its own life total. You constantly have to be afraid of whether the damage you’re dealing to your opponent is helping you close out the game, or helping to give your an opponent the opportunity to steal it out from underneath you. Most Death's Shadow lists are relatively standardized now, but this one has a couple of exciting choices to break down:


The idea behind this deck is to utilize cheap and free spells to cycle through your deck and deplete your life total to power Death's Shadow and overpower your opponent early on in the game. Monastery Swiftspear is typically the backup threat of choice, since she gives you the ability to combine Mutagenic Growth and Temur Battle Rage to kill your opponent out of nowhere, even if you can’t find a Death's Shadow.

People have gone through many iterations to try to find other threats to fill in the last couple of slots of the deck. Wild Nacatl and Steppe Lynx are common choices, but this list opts for Gnarlwood Dryad. Delirium is trivially easy to obtain in a deck packed with so many free cantrips of various card types, and deathtouch combines very well with Temur Battle Rage to force through a few extra points of damage.

The card that excites me most in this list is the inclusion of Traverse the Ulvenwald. When delirium is easy to achieve and Death's Shadow is so much better than the rest of the cards in your deck, it’s almost certainly worth playing a copy or two of a card whose only purpose is to tutor up extra copies of Death's Shadow.

If you’re looking to steal games as early as the second turn, and with relative consistency on turns three and four, this is a great deck for that. There’s not a ton of resilience to effects like Path to Exile, but Mutagenic Growth is a particularly good counter to Lightning Bolt. The raw speed means that you don’t care about what much of the rest of the format is doing, and that’s kind of what Modern is all about right now.


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