This past weekend Toronto-local Andrew Gordon took down the Face to Face Ultimate Showdown on the back of the current boogeyman of the Modern format—Grixis Death’s Shadow. This coming weekend, Gordon will be taking his talents to Las Vegas to once again battle with the powerful midrange archetype.

Here’s his list from the weekend:

Gordon said that he was happy with how he played after a few blunders in the first couple rounds of Modern on Sunday. “I just had to get used to having to take damage as an advantage,” he said. “It’s like Legacy in that you can leave your fetches laying around and wait to make decisions until the last minute.” He was learning on-the-fly all day, as someone who usually frequents non-blue strategies in Modern it took him some time to adjust to the utility of Snapcaster Mage and Serum Visions.

One thing he mentioned while reflecting—specifically on the Top 8—was the ability to use your life total as resource in the deck and how uniquely powerful that is with Death’s Shadow. It allowed him to save resources for bigger threats while getting pecked down by smaller enemies. He learned this lesson in his quarterfinals match as he regrets using an early Fatal Push on a Glint-Nest Crane he felt he could have left around.

“You have to learn to understand that you can allow your opponent to do the work for you,” he said.

Gordon and I sat down and discussed the adjustments he’d like to make for this coming weekend, particularly with the success of the Eldrazi Tron archetype and last weekend’s StarCity Games Open. We both agree that Liliana of the Veil feels like a powerful way to deal with the delve threats in the mirror while just being a must-answer threat across the board. He also mentioned that he’d be interested in shaving some copies of Serum Visions from the deck so he could spend his early turns interacting with the board more and less time refilling his hand. He was very happy with the three copies of Ceremonious Rejection he played last weekend and will be running those back to counteract Tron and Affinity.

Gordon’s largest concern is graveyard hate. He told me that the Grixis deck just can’t deal with Rest in Peace and Leyline of the Void and there’s not much you can do to fix that. The Grixis colours don’t really allow for the ability to remove enchantments and the deck relies heavily on its graveyard to power-out delve threats and get value with Snapcaster Mage.

“It might mean you have to leave in some Stubborn Denials even when you don’t want to, to deal with things like Rest in Peace,” Gordon said.  

Above all else he said that no matter what changes he decides to make to the deck, the emphasis will still be on keeping the curve low and maximizing the efficiency of the deck. This is where he believes the strength of these Death’s Shadow decks lies.

Look out for Toronto-native and Showdown Champion Andrew Gordon battling in the GP Las Vegas standings this weekend. He’ll be mulling over the complex decisions in the Grixis Death’s Shadow mirror.