Saturday, February 13, 2016

Death's Shadow Lunge

Starting out as a Standard format deck for the Zendikar and Scars of Mirrodin blocks, Death's Shadow Lunge leverages the life payments from Phyrexian mana to grow Death's Shadow large enough to end the game in a single strike.

Death's Shadow Lunge is naturally strong against one and two color aggressive decks, using the damage taken to gain momentum and bypassing blockers with Apostle's Blessing. It has an advantage against decks utilizing discard, due to it's low mana curve and Postmortem Lunge. Noxious Revival and Surgical Extraction give it defensive options against decks using the graveyard.

4x Death's Shadow 4x Kiln Fiend 4x Surgical Extraction 4x Apostle's Blessing 4x Tainted Strike 4x Mutagenic Growth 4x Noxious Revival 4x Assault Strobe 4x Gitaxian Probe 4x Postmortem Lunge 4x Duress 6x Swamp 6x Mountain 4x Quicksand

Gameplay Notes

An ideal starting hand would comprise of two lands, and either a Death's Shadow or Kiln Fiend. Past that, Gitaxian ProbeTainted Strike, and Assault Strobe are your most valuable cards to have in hand. Against control decks, DuressPostmortem Lunge, and Surgical Extraction become more important. Quicksand and Apostle's Blessing work better against creature-heavy decks.

It's also important to note that as a deck derived from the suicide black playstyle, defense is a low priority for this deck.The only life point that matters is the last one.

Card Breakdown

  • Death's Shadow - Death's Shadow acts as the main offensive threat in this deck. With Tainted Strike and Assault Strobe, it only needs a very reachable 10 power to kill an opponent with one shot.
    Against decks that have little or no graveyard removal, Death's Shadow can be cast early to set up in the graveyard for Postmortem Lunge.

  • Kiln Fiend - Kiln Fiend is the other win condition with this deck. With the low mana curve of this deck, turn three kills aren't too uncommon.

  • Surgical Extraction - Surgical Extraction removes threats from the opponent's graveyard, hand, and library. It also makes for a very effective scouting tool and synergizes well with Duress and Gitaxian Probe.

  • Apostle's Blessing - Apostle's Blessing serves as protection against removal while also clearing a path for either of the win conditions.

  • Tainted Strike - In this deck, Tainted Strike effectively halves the power threshold needed for lethal damage at instant speed for one mana.

  • Mutagenic Growth - Mutagenic Growth does exactly what it's designed to do in the deck, but also manages to pull double duty. Casting a Mutagenic Growth with a Death's Shadow on the field will effectively give it a permanent +2/+2, as well as +2/+2 until the end of the turn. With Kiln Fiend, the total bonus ends up being +5/+2 for a 0-mana investment.

  • Noxious Revival -  When played in response to Noxious Revival, it can tutor up any card in the graveyard while helping to fix your life total for Death's Shadow. Even without its synergy, it provides a delayed tutor and life cost, as well as the potential for both giving and protecting from graveyard hate.

  • Assault Strobe - Assault Strobe effectively halves the power threshold needed for lethal damage by giving a creature double strike until end of turn. Usually, this or Tainted Strike will be the last spell played in a game.

  • Postmortem Lunge - This card helps to ensure Death's Shadow has a way around counters and removal. Bringing back a huge Death's Shadow with haste will usually make for an effective last ditch attack.

  • Duress - Combined with Surgical Extraction, this makes for the strongest defensive option this deck offers.A first turn Duress into Surgical Extraction often ensures that your threat goes unchallenged.

  • Quicksand - Quicksand acts as both a mana source and an early source of removal against early rushes. It can be taken out for other lands, but I prefer it due to the low life total that the deck works with.

  • Vendetta - Vendetta can be slotted in instead of Duress if you play in an aggro-heavy meta. Against metas with lot of control decks or variety, Duress makes a safer option.

  • Street Wraith - Street Wraith can be used instead of Noxious Revival, trading graveyard recursion for card draw. The body will rarely come into play; due to the low mana curve of the deck.