Ready for a refreshing change of pace? Well, great, because we are talking Legacy today! The deck is the most successful one we saw played at the 25th Anniversary Pro Tour and did the best in the hands of Josh-Utter Leyton, as his Legacy prowess helped propel his team to a second place finish in the tournament. Going into this tournament Death's Shadow wasn't on the radar, especially this specific list.
The surprise factor likely helped the group that decided to play this deck at the Pro Tour. That is why it wasn't obvious to me how good it would actually be once other players are prepared for it. So, I decided to play some Blue-Black Shadow online here, despite not being the greatest pilot of the deck. Still, we can see winning comes fairly easily, and it is clear to me that this is one of the top strategies in Legacy at the moment.
Reanimate being a built-in way to disrupt actual Reanimator decks is really cool, when that does come up. Of course, in any given league you can't control the pairings, but it does feel like the Death's Shadow deck is favored against Temur Delver. In fact, that deck that has no good answers to a Death's Shadow once you get it into play. Often you can get it on the board on the first or second turn. The only creature out of their deck that can't be dealt with once on the battlefield is Nimble Mongoose, but as we saw it is possible to race. Playing the deck with the bigger creatures on the ground feels good.
As far as the sideboard goes, we didn't get a chance to utilize many of the cards in this set of matches, but that's okay. Sometimes it is important to recognize a bad matchup game one and then devote a lot of the sideboard to that one archetype. We see that with the three copies of Dread of Night that will only be brought it for one matchup (Death and Taxes). This deck does have a healthy amount of discard which often leads to playing with perfect information.
In a format like Legacy where the opponent could be playing anything, Thoughtseize is very valuable. Leading off with a Thoughtseize helps with sequencing your later plays and knowing when to use countermagic. In many ways this is a fancy Delver deck, as the life loss element almost feels seamless. The best part is that you can do whatever you want to with only one land in play. Once you can exchange resources with the opponent, oftentimes Death's Shadow is left to win against a helpless opponent.
Having Death's Shadow in your deck provides the ability to have one single card that can kill the opponent extremely quickly. It is a card that also gets even better when the opponent tries to pressure you. The key is knowing how to use your life total in an advantageous way. Part of this is knowing when to fetch a Watery Grave or Underground Sea. Othertimes, it will be correct later in a game to not cycle a card like Street Wraith to preserve your life total. Compared to Modern, there aren't that many answer to Death's Shadow itself. This Death's Shadow deck is on the rise, and is a strategy I will be strongly considering for the upcoming Legacy Grand Prix.
Thanks for reading,