Death’s Shadow Jund by Josh Utter-Leyton at GP Vancouver – 1st

Creatures (13)
4 Death’s Shadow
4 Street Wraith
4 Tarmogoyf
1 Ghor-Clan Rampager

Non-Creature Spells (29)
2 Liliana of the Veil
4 Traverse the Ulvenwald
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Thoughtseize
1 Collective Brutality
3 Fatal Push
2 Kolaghan’s Command
2 Temur Battle Rage
3 Tarfire
4 Mishra’s Bauble

Lands (18)
1 Godless Shrine
1 Stomping Ground
1 Blood Crypt
1 Overgrown Tomb
4 Verdant Catacombs
4 Bloodstained Mire
2 Wooded Foothills
1 Marsh Flats
1 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp
1 Forest

Sideboards (15)
1 Collective Brutality
2 Ancient Grudge
1 Ethersworn Canonist
3 Fulminator Mage
2 Grafdigger’s Cage
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Liliana, the Last Hope
3 Lingering Souls
1 Ranger of Eos


The talk of the tournament at Grand Prix Vancouver (and the Team Constructed Open in Baltimore as well, to an extent) was a Death’s Shadow deck that was dominating the tournament. Without Gitaxian Probe, many players assumed that the Death’s Shadow Zoo deck that had been putting its mark on the format over the last few months was as good as dead, but 5 players traveling to GP Vancouver felt differently. Among those 5 players, 3 were left in the field when the top 8 was reduced to a top 4, and one of them, Josh Utter-Leyton, took home the trophy.

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Unlike the Death’s Shadow Zoo deck, this deck is more easily compared to the classic Jund decks. It has discard spells, removal, and Tarmogoyf. However, it forgoes some of the more card advantage-centric options in favor of a package to facilitate Death’s Shadow, including 4 copies of Traverse the Ulvenwald, which is easily turned on by just playing the normal Death’s Shadow game, with cards like Mishra’s Bauble and Street Wraith putting themselves in the graveyard without any effort at all. Tarfire is a really…cheeky inclusion in this deck, but one that has its merits over the more traditional Lightning Bolt. Sure, it only deals 2 damage instead of 3, but it counts as 2 different card types for Tarmogoyf and Traverse the Ulvenwald, two cards that are critical to this deck’s gameplan.

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The sideboard has a more copies of some mainboard cards, like Liliana of the Veil, as well as several cards to improve some of the deck’s bad matchups. Fulminator Mage is excellent against Tron, Ancient Grudge keeps Affinity at bay, Grafdigger’s Cage helps disrupt Dredge, and Lingering Souls gives the deck some resilience against more traditional Jund or Abzan decks.

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During his winner’s interview, Josh Utter-Leyton was asked about the deck’s bad matchups. He said that more the more common midrange decks like Jund and Abzan have a favorable matchup, due to their suite of hard removal and sticky threats. Continuing with this, it’s safe to assume that this Death’s Shadow Jund deck will struggle with decks that are able to deal with its 4 copies each of Tarmogoyf and Death’s Shadow easily. Additionally, the printing of Fatal Push has actually slightly hurt this deck, as most black decks will now have access to the 1 mana instant that can kill a Death’s Shadow or Tarmogoyf, no matter the size.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:


-1 Fatal Push

+1 Liliana, the Last Hope


-1 Liliana, the Last Hope

-1 Ethersworn Canonist

+1 Ancient Grudge

+1 Grafdigger’s Cage

This is day 51 of’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 50 here, where we covered a Modern deck that’s looking to out-value its opponent from start to finish.

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