Are you an adventurous and brave player that knows when to be conservative?
Do you like to feel like you've earned your wins through hard work and skill?
Do you like winning?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, I've got a deck for you.

Death's Shadow

Modern is still reeling from the Banned and Restricted announcement we saw a couple of weeks ago. But Death's Shadow decks have already put up a few good performances online.

There's no denying that Death's Shadow decks are skill intensive and make you work for your wins, but this guide to Modern Death's Shadow will give you a head start in understanding how the deck works. 

The Foundation

Every good Death's Shadow list starts the same:

For a while, it's been safe to assume these cards are your starting point and build from there.

Black is the core color of all Death's Shadow decks. Red is typically played due to the power and synergy of Temur Battle Rage, but the color combinations are usually Grixis (blue, black, red), Jund (black, red, green), Mardu (white, black, red) and four-color (blue, black, red and green).

At the moment, Grixis and Four-Color Traverse decks are the most popular choices, and I am not personally interested in exploring Jund or Mardu too deeply.

Playing the Grixis version of Death's Shadow primarily gives us access to Snapcaster Mage, which is not often played in four color Shadow decks.

Stubborn Denial

Four-Color Death's Shadow can be built in different ways—I am currently playing it with a Jund core featuring Stubborn Denial.

There are a few differences between Grixis and Four-Color Death's Shadow decks. One of the biggest is whether you wish to play Tarmogoyf or Gurmag Angler and whether Snapcaster Mage is required. This decision is entirely dependent on Modern's metagame.

Components

When building any Death's Shadow maindeck, I like to look at it in terms of its individual components:

There are also some flex slots. One decision point is whether you should play Lurrus of the Dream-Den. While I like having one copy of Lurrus of the Dream-Den in the mainboard, I am against having Lurrus of the Dream-Den as our actual companion. This is largely due to the power of Street Wraith, as well as Gurmag Angler in Grixis and sideboard options.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Four-Color Traverse Shadow by Jess Estephan

'Four-Color Traverse Shadow' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Jess Estephan

Event:

Rank: 0

Modern

Market Price: $794.73

Cards

Death's Shadow

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218843_200w.jpg

Death's Shadow gets -X/-X, where X is your life total.

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Traverse the Ulvenwald

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $2.35

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/115897_200w.jpg

Search your library for a basic land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.
Delirium — If there are four or more card types among cards in your graveyard, instead search your library for a creature or land card, reveal it, put it into your hand, then shuffle your library.

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Collective Brutality

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.90

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/120116_200w.jpg

Escalate—Discard a card. (Pay this cost for each mode chosen beyond the first.)
Choose one or more —
• Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose an instant or sorcery card from it. That player discards that card.
• Target creature gets -2/-2 until end of turn.
• Target opponent loses 2 life and you gain 2 life.

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Breeding Pool

Color Identity:G,U

Market Price: $20.09

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/182842_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {G} or {U}.)
As Breeding Pool enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Kolaghan's Command

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $5.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/96518_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
• Target player discards a card.
• Destroy target artifact.
• Kolaghan's Command deals 2 damage to any target.

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Ashiok, Dream Render

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.34

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/188627_200w.jpg

Spells and abilities your opponents control can't cause their controller to search their library.
−1: Target player mills four cards. Then exile each opponent's graveyard.

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Lurrus of the Dream-Den

Color Identity:B,W

Market Price: $3.89

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/212282_200w.jpg

Companion — Each permanent card in your starting deck has converted mana cost 2 or less. (If this card is your chosen companion, you may put it into your hand from outside the game for {3} any time you could cast a sorcery.)
Lifelink
During each of your turns, you may cast one permanent spell with converted mana cost 2 or less from your graveyard.

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Assassin's Trophy

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $12.08

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/175575_200w.jpg

Destroy target permanent an opponent controls. Its controller may search their library for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle their library.

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Tarmogoyf

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $37.67

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/179491_200w.jpg

Tarmogoyf's power is equal to the number of card types among cards in all graveyards and its toughness is equal to that number plus 1.

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Street Wraith

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.27

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/161827_200w.jpg

Swampwalk (This creature can't be blocked as long as defending player controls a Swamp.)
Cycling—Pay 2 life. (Pay 2 life, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.49

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with converted mana cost 3 or less. That player discards that card.

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Verdant Catacombs

Market Price: $59.41

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/128280_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Verdant Catacombs: Search your library for a Swamp or Forest card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Ceremonious Rejection

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/122644_200w.jpg

Counter target colorless spell.

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Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $15.80

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

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Watery Grave

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $8.68

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/175205_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {B}.)
As Watery Grave enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Stubborn Denial

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.59

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/93033_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays {1}.
Ferocious — If you control a creature with power 4 or greater, counter that spell instead.

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Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $23.32

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/92830_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Plague Engineer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.91

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/190985_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
As Plague Engineer enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Creatures of the chosen type your opponents control get -1/-1.

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Overgrown Tomb

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $10.08

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/175196_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {G}.)
As Overgrown Tomb enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Abrupt Decay

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $5.20

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/128562_200w.jpg

This spell can't be countered.
Destroy target nonland permanent with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Dismember

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/98390_200w.jpg

({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)
Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn.

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Nurturing Peatland

Color Identity:B,G

Market Price: $8.51

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/190787_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life: Add {B} or {G}.
{1}, {T}, Sacrifice Nurturing Peatland: Draw a card.

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Nihil Spellbomb

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.28

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/161909_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Nihil Spellbomb: Exile all cards from target player's graveyard.
When Nihil Spellbomb is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, you may pay {B}. If you do, draw a card.

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Temur Battle Rage

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/219600_200w.jpg

Target creature gains double strike until end of turn. (It deals both first-strike and regular combat damage.)
Ferocious — That creature also gains trample until end of turn if you control a creature with power 4 or greater.

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Damping Sphere

Market Price: $1.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/162250_200w.jpg

If a land is tapped for two or more mana, it produces {C} instead of any other type and amount.
Each spell a player casts costs {1} more to cast for each other spell that player has cast this turn.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/215937_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Disdainful Stroke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/176441_200w.jpg

Counter target spell with converted mana cost 4 or greater.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.12

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Polluted Delta

Market Price: $24.04

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/92829_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Veil of Summer

Color Identity:G

Market Price: $6.19

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/192543_200w.jpg

Draw a card if an opponent has cast a blue or black spell this turn. Spells you control can't be countered this turn. You and permanents you control gain hexproof from blue and from black until end of turn. (You and they can't be the targets of blue or black spells or abilities your opponents control.)

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Mishra's Bauble

Market Price: $2.43

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218598_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Mishra's Bauble: Look at the top card of target player's library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $13.48

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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This list is really close to what __bmj__ used to make Top 8 of the MTGO Modern Champs. I've made some changes, but agree with the direction.

Mana

Four-Color Shadow plays 19 lands: one basic land, ten fetch lands, four shock lands and four horizon lands.

The number of horizon lands has been contested for some time, however, I'm going to go with Death's Shadow expert, Magic Online user __bmj__. If there's an increase in Burn and/or Blood Moon decks, I would recommend adding a Forest in lieu of a Nurturing Peatland.

Discard

One of the essential aspects of any Shadow deck is your suite of discard spells.

Thoughtseize ||Inquisition of Kozilek

Playing four copies of Thoughtseize is essential. First and foremost, you're able to play with information about your opponent's hand, and losing 2 life to have them discard a card is an upside in this deck.

From there, I've chosen to play three copies of Inquisition of Kozilek. This brings us to seven discard spells and allows us to maintain control of our opponent's hand.

When casting a Thoughtseize or Inquisition of Kozilek you need to look at your opponent's hand and break it down into categories. Put the lands to the side, we can't touch those.

What's left is usually three to five cards. Look at them in terms of threats, value, removal and other interaction. Generally, if they only have one threat or value card, I'll take it and leave them with only interaction.

One of the key things to choosing a card for them to discard is considering your own hand in a similar way.

Is your hand full of threats when they only have one removal spell? Do you have a useful Stubborn Denial for their singular noncreature threat? Look at what your hand can answer, and take what it can't. This varies matchup to matchup, and learning how to Thoughtseize correctly is a skill that comes with experience.

If I have one copy of each discard spell in my opening hand, I'm more likely to lead off with an Inquisition of Kozilek to target Expedition Map, Amulet of Vigor, Tarmogoyf and other cheap spells without "wasting" the Thoughtseize.

Removal

Fatal Push

Four copies of Fatal Push is typical for these decks. Aggro decks are always popular, and having cheap answers to their small creatures is good. Fatal Push has a small amount of flexibility and shines against most of the field.

While you can often use your fetch lands liberally, if you know your opponent's playing a lot of three and four-mana-cost creatures, I recommend using them more conservatively and holding onto them. Often you can keep them in play without activating them if you don't have to.

Dismember ||Assassin's Trophy

Singleton copies of Dismember and Assassin's Trophy is a nod to the larger creatures in the format and the noncreature threats that can be a bit of a headache for our deck too. Dismember being a nonland way to reduce our life total is a definite factor here, and some of the four-color Shadow lists are running two or even three copies of the card. Assassin's Trophy is obviously very flexible which is the key reason we're playing it. There's a wide variety of threats in the format at the moment, and having an answer to enchantments that resolve is helpful too.

Finally, we have one copy of Abrupt Decay. There are a wide variety of permanents with a converted mana cost of 3 or less that Abrupt Decay is useful against. However, in the future this could be a second copy of Assassin's Trophy.

Creatures

Death's Shadow||Tarmogoyf

Death's Shadow and Tarmogoyf are the threats of the deck. They attack, they block, and they combo really well with Temur Battle Rage and Stubborn Denial.

Tarmogoyf is especially nice in the current format, as it doesn't rely on you to go hard on your life total before it becomes a formidable threat.

We're also playing one copy of Lurrus of the Dream-Den. This is a great card to grab with your Traverse the Ulvenwald. I love having access to Lurrus of the Dream-Den, but unfortunately, we lose too much to make it our companion.

Everything Else

Mishra's Bauble: One of the mainstays for this deck. It synergises well with Thoughtseize, Street Wraith, and especially Lurrus of the Dream-Den.

Street Wraith: Functions as a cantrip and life total reducer. I've definitely put this 3/4 body to work before, so it's an all-rounder. You really want to sideboard this card out against any Burn or Prowess matchups.

Traverse the Ulvenwald: Thanks to Mishra's Bauble and your other assortment of spells, achieving delirium is relatively easy. Being able to search for your single copy of Lurrus of the Dream-Den, other creatures, and even Nurturing Peatland or fetch lands to continue growing your Death's Shadow makes this a great card. I try not to use it too early in the game without delirium, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Cling to Dust: Flexible in being able to exile any card in a graveyard while also potentially gaining us life. Life gain is typically frowned upon in most matchups, but in this deck's instance, your ability to win with Tarmogoyf or Lurrus of the Dream-Den loops means that you're less reliant on Death's Shadow.

Temur Battle Rage and Stubborn Denial: Mainstays in all Death's Shadow decks. Temur Battle Rage is often sideboarded out against decks where you're looking to leverage resources and grind, as it is often a dead card that gets you two-for-one'd, and you can't really afford that in those matchups. I prefer taking it slow and winning without throwing cards away. Stubborn Denial is great against every Modern deck except maybe Humans, and playing it feels wonderful.

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Grixis Shadow by Jess Estephan

'Grixis Shadow' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Jess Estephan

Event:

Rank: 0

Standard

Market Price: $674.75

Cards

Cling to Dust

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.22

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/206655_200w.jpg

Exile target card from a graveyard. If it was a creature card, you gain 3 life. Otherwise, you draw a card.
Escape—{3}{B}, Exile five other cards from your graveyard. (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its escape cost.)

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Liliana of the Veil

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $56.55

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/179467_200w.jpg

+1: Each player discards a card.
−2: Target player sacrifices a creature.
−6: Separate all permanents target player controls into two piles. That player sacrifices all permanents in the pile of their choice.

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Blood Crypt

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $13.48

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/182838_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B} or {R}.)
As Blood Crypt enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Watery Grave

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $8.68

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/175205_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {B}.)
As Watery Grave enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Bloodstained Mire

Market Price: $23.32

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/92830_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Bloodstained Mire: Search your library for a Swamp or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Swamp

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.33

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/215937_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {B}.)

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Thoughtseize

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $15.80

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218934_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it. That player discards that card. You lose 2 life.

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Snapcaster Mage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $37.75

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/179455_200w.jpg

Flash
When Snapcaster Mage enters the battlefield, target instant or sorcery card in your graveyard gains flashback until end of turn. The flashback cost is equal to its mana cost. (You may cast that card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

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Death's Shadow

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $3.42

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218843_200w.jpg

Death's Shadow gets -X/-X, where X is your life total.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.97

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/216403_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.26

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Inquisition of Kozilek

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.49

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/128476_200w.jpg

Target player reveals their hand. You choose a nonland card from it with converted mana cost 3 or less. That player discards that card.

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Gurmag Angler

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/180787_200w.jpg

Delve (Each card you exile from your graveyard while casting this spell pays for {1}.)

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Drown in the Loch

Color Identity:B,U

Market Price: $1.08

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/199207_200w.jpg

Choose one —
• Counter target spell with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards in its controller's graveyard.
• Destroy target creature with converted mana cost less than or equal to the number of cards in its controller's graveyard.

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Eliminate

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $0.70

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/215516_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature or planeswalker with converted mana cost 3 or less.

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Kolaghan's Command

Color Identity:B,R

Market Price: $5.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/96518_200w.jpg

Choose two —
• Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
• Target player discards a card.
• Destroy target artifact.
• Kolaghan's Command deals 2 damage to any target.

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Plague Engineer

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.91

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/190985_200w.jpg

Deathtouch
As Plague Engineer enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.
Creatures of the chosen type your opponents control get -1/-1.

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Mishra's Bauble

Market Price: $2.43

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218598_200w.jpg

{T}, Sacrifice Mishra's Bauble: Look at the top card of target player's library. Draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.

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Dismember

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $2.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/98390_200w.jpg

({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)
Target creature gets -5/-5 until end of turn.

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Street Wraith

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.27

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/161827_200w.jpg

Swampwalk (This creature can't be blocked as long as defending player controls a Swamp.)
Cycling—Pay 2 life. (Pay 2 life, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Scalding Tarn

Market Price: $62.94

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/128282_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Scalding Tarn: Search your library for an Island or Mountain card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Temur Battle Rage

Color Identity:R

Market Price: $0.18

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/219600_200w.jpg

Target creature gains double strike until end of turn. (It deals both first-strike and regular combat damage.)
Ferocious — That creature also gains trample until end of turn if you control a creature with power 4 or greater.

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Polluted Delta

Market Price: $24.04

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/92829_200w.jpg

{T}, Pay 1 life, Sacrifice Polluted Delta: Search your library for an Island or Swamp card, put it onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library.

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Surgical Extraction

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $12.56

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/98646_200w.jpg

({B/P} can be paid with either {B} or 2 life.)
Choose target card in a graveyard other than a basic land card. Search its owner's graveyard, hand, and library for any number of cards with the same name as that card and exile them. Then that player shuffles their library.

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Damping Sphere

Market Price: $1.39

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/162250_200w.jpg

If a land is tapped for two or more mana, it produces {C} instead of any other type and amount.
Each spell a player casts costs {1} more to cast for each other spell that player has cast this turn.

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Steam Vents

Color Identity:R,U

Market Price: $10.33

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/175202_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U} or {R}.)
As Steam Vents enters the battlefield, you may pay 2 life. If you don't, it enters the battlefield tapped.

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Disdainful Stroke

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.06

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/176441_200w.jpg

Counter target spell with converted mana cost 4 or greater.

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Fatal Push

Color Identity:B

Market Price: $1.12

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/218830_200w.jpg

Destroy target creature if it has converted mana cost 2 or less.
Revolt — Destroy that creature if it has converted mana cost 4 or less instead if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn.

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Brazen Borrower // Petty Theft

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $12.52

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/199387_200w.jpg

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Stubborn Denial

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.59

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/93033_200w.jpg

Counter target noncreature spell unless its controller pays {1}.
Ferocious — If you control a creature with power 4 or greater, counter that spell instead.

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Thought Scour

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $1.05

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/216526_200w.jpg

Target player mills two cards.
Draw a card.

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Ceremonious Rejection

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://6d4be195623157e28848-7697ece4918e0a73861de0eb37d08968.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/122644_200w.jpg

Counter target colorless spell.

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Mana

Grixis Shadow usually plays 17 lands: two basic lands, ten fetch lands and five shock lands.

The flex slot here is whether you want a second copy of Blood Crypt or a third Scalding Tarn. This has changed over the years the deck has existed, but I currently prefer playing the second Blood Crypt.

Discard

In Grixis, I'm opting to play four copies of Thoughtseize but only two copies of Inquisition of Kozilek. This is largely due to having Snapcaster Mage to potentially recur these spells, as well as more ways to interact.

Removal and Countermagic

Kolaghan's Command || Dismember || Drown in the Loch

I'm choosing to play one less copy of Fatal Push in Grixis because I also have Kolaghan's Command, Dismember and Drown in the Loch for removal spells.

Grixis Shadow aims to be more controlling and grindy than its four-color Traverse counterpart. Having access to Kolaghan's Command and Drown in the Loch provides flexibility and in Kolaghan's Command's instance, generates something close to card advantage.

For these reasons, playing all four copies of Stubborn Denial in our mainboard is the correct choice.

Creatures

Snapcaster Mage influences the number of copies of instants and sorceries we play. This card is great against midrange and control decks, while also being good against aggro. It attacks, it blocks, and it lets us flashback most of our spells, making it a great card and one of the biggest reasons I love Grixis Shadow the most.

Gurmag Angler

Gurmag Angler is a huge creature that we can play relatively cheaply. Thought Scour, Mishra's Bauble and our cheap interaction make this an easy choice.

Keepable Hands

You want your opening hands to feature two to three lands (at least two fetch lands), two discard spells, a removal spell or a counterspell, a cantrip and a threat.

Essentially, you need your hand to do something. If you have enough cantrips and a fetch land, any hand is keepable. You'll see a lot of cards-fetch lands will help with Mishra's Bauble, and you should dig your way to whatever you need.

Especially in Grixis Shadow, the easiest way to lose is not finding a threat in time to close the game out.

The Burn Matchup

People are always talking about Death's Shadow vs Burn. While it's not a great matchup, it's closer to even than the average person thinks, and you just have to learn to navigate the matchup.

A good Burn player will attack with creatures and save their burn spells to try and "get you" over one to two turns. That way they're not helping you along to big, bad Death's Shadows.

As the Shadow player, you should be conservative with your life total-sideboard out Dismember and Street Wraith, and avoid taking damage where possible. I cut a reasonable amount of Thoughtseize post-board, too.

Focus on removing their creatures so that they're forced to cast noncreature spells, at which point you can leverage Stubborn Denial to your advantage.

Once I hit 14 or 15 life, I start to consider the possibility of taking some damage in order to cast a Death's Shadow, but this ultimately relies on if I have one in hand. If I don't, I avoid taking damage. This decision is impacted by whether or not I have a Stubborn Denial in hand to protect my threat.

Eidolon of the Great Revel is an easy way for Burn decks to run away with the game, so I try to Inquisition of Kozilek them away.

An important thing to keep in mind is how you win this game.  In some matchups you can take your time killing creatures and winning at your own pace, but against Burn the easiest way for you to lose is not having a threat to close out the game, and dying to random burn spells.

Tips and Tricks

Choosing Between Grixis and Four-Color Shadow

Learning the ins and outs of a Death's Shadow deck will teach you principles that you can apply across most variants of the deck. Based on the current metagame, I recommend playing Four-Color Shadow over Grixis Shadow, but both are great choices.