The February 20, 2017 Update

Posted in Daily Magic Update on February 20, 2017

By Blake Rasmussen

Blake is the content manager for, making him the one you should email if you have thoughts on the website, good or less good (or not good). He's a longtime coverage reporter and hasn't turned down a game of Magic in any format ever.

The Daily Magic Update is a roundup of everything Magic you should know on February 20, 2017. Today's Update is brought to you by Josh Utter-Leyton and Death's Shadow.

What You Might Have Missed This Weekend

This is the big news of the weekend, and not just because it was a Grand Prix win by a player who will be on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year and who seems like a shoo-in to be elected, but because the Team ChannelFireball Fire team member actually wasn't qualified for the next Pro Tour. So all Utter-Leyton did was go out there and win a Grand Prix to qualify for the next Pro Tour, stay on the train, and keep contributing to ChannelFireball Fire.

Catch up on the weekend with video replays on, or relive the Top 5 Moments here.

  1. Baltimore Open Weekend

This team tournament was taken down by three top-level pros, as Ben Stark, Matt Nass, and Sam Pardee walked away with the trophy. The unique tournament had each player playing one format on behalf of the team—best two out of three matches took the round. Stark, Nass, and Pardee's victory can be relived on If you just want to look at decklists, you can do that right here.

  1. Top 5 Moments of Grand Prix Brisbane | Wizards of the Coast | Ray Walkinshaw

Let's not forget Brisbane, which had its own exciting weekend. This Top 5 Moments list also has the most important thing for driving readership: decklists. Unique, winning decklists.

Standard Showdown Returning

  1. Amonkhet Standard Showdown starts May 6

Starting May 6, Standard Showdown is returning to local stores, with a few changes from the last time we saw it with Kaladesh. For one, it can be run on Saturdays or Sundays up until the Hour of Devastation Prerelease. Second, the prize packs have changed:

Standard Showdown: Amonkhet booster packs each contain four cards*:

  • 2 rares or mythic rares from a currently legal Standard set
  • 1 Amonkhet full-art land
  • 1 premium card of any rarity from a currently legal Standard set, including Amonkhet full-art lands

*Standard Showdown: Amonkhet packs do not include Masterpiece Series cards.

The number of packs each store receives will be based on its store level and the number of events scheduled:

  • Core level: 3 packs per weekly event
  • Advanced level: 6 packs per weekly event
  • Advanced Plus level: 9 packs per weekly event

After All of That, Read, Watch, or Listen to These

  1. Deck Evolutions: Death's Shadow (Modern) | MTG Goldfish | SaffronOlive

Well this is timely. Death's Shadow as a pretty nice weekend, and, lo and behold, on Monday, SaffronOlive has an article about the evolution of Death's Shadow from its humble origins to its current, world-beating status. Does he ever sleep?

  1. 10 Tips for Aether Revolt Draft | ChannelFireball | Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

If you're like me, you're terrible at Aether Revolt Draft. If you're not like me, you're probably still not as good as Hall of Fame Pro Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa. He has ten tips to help you suck less. Or at least, hopefully, suck less than I do at the format.

Community Spotlight

@Nikachumtg is Jonathon Zaczek, who just made the finals of a Grand Prix with Merfolk, and is apparently so dedicated he has an entire YouTube channel for the deck. Looks like all that practice paid off.

  1. The Pantheon Sets Up Shop

The Pantheon—the players from Team D3 Go! and Team Puzzle Quest, including such greats as Jon Finkel, William Jensen, and Reid Duke—have set up shop with their own website now in addition to their streaming calendar. posted its first three articles over the weekend

What People Are Talking About

A cosplayer made a splash at Grand Prix Vancouver with a fantastic Saheeli cosplay. You can see a larger image here and read more about it and the cosplayer, who goes by Bayonet, on Reddit.

Deck of the Day

  1. Modern Death's Shadow Jund

It's been a while since we've had what appeared to be a clear break in a format, especially a format like Modern, which is incredibly wide open. Between Grand Prix Vancouver and Grand Prix Brisbane, sixteen different players with twelve different archetypes made a Modern Top 8 this weekend—and three of those players were playing the same archetype, all very similar decklists. Throw in Matt Nass's team win at the Open, and Death's Shadow had quite the weekend.

This version did so in the hands of Josh Utter-Leyton, who was looking to requalify for the Pro Tour after falling off the train for the first time in something like 87 years. He slightly overshot the mark.

The deck is something of an amalgam of the ever-faithful Jund midrange deck and the old Death's Shadow Aggro deck that lost Gitaxian Probe but apparently gained a leg-up on the format anyway by adding Traverse the Ulvenwald, which appears to be the key to the deck's dominance. Death's Shadow has never had issue filling its graveyard, so Traverse the Ulvenwald effectively gave it even more Death's Shadows—which is all the deck really wants when given the choice.

Clearly the deck has legs, as Gerry Thompson and Sam Black also made the Top 8 with it, turning this into a pretty dominant performance for a deck that was knocked down a peg when it lost Gitaxian Probe. But what it lost in knowledge, it clearly gained in power.

Josh Utter-Leyton's Death's Shadow Jund

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