Esper Death's Shadow with Unearth

unearth modern horizons art

Unearth is perhaps an innocuous seeming addition to Modern, but Magic Online player JESSY_SAMEK managed to find a very cool way to use it on his way to the top 8 of the first Modern Challenge with Modern Horizons in the format.

Esper Death's Shadow with Unearth and Ranger-Captain of Eos

2 Teferi, Time Raveler
4 Death's Shadow
2 Gurmag Angler
2 Jace, Vryn's Prodigy/Jace, Telepath Unbound
3 Snapcaster Mage
2 Street Wraith
2 Inquisition of Kozilek
1 Lingering Souls
4 Thoughtseize
2 Unearth
1 Dismember
3 Fatal Push
3 Path to Exile
3 Stubborn Denial
4 Thought Scour
1 Silent Clearing
3 Ranger-Captain of Eos
3 Flooded Strand
2 Godless Shrine
1 Hallowed Fountain
1 Island (335)
3 Marsh Flats
1 Plains (331)
4 Polluted Delta
1 Swamp (339)
2 Watery Grave
1 Fatal Push
1 Lingering Souls
1 Path to Exile
1 Stubborn Denial
1 Ceremonious Rejection
2 Disdainful Stroke
1 Kaya's Guile
3 Leyline of the Void
2 Rest in Peace
2 Stony Silence


Death's Shadow and Unearth were first combined in the Legacy format in the hands of Josh Utter-Leyton and team at Pro Tour Minneapolis in 2018. This version of the deck only used it to reanimate Death's Shadow and potentially Delver of Secrets, but this was still determined to be powerful enough for the Legacy format. In Modern, we have some time to get a little trickier with Unearth.

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy // Jace, Telepath UnboundSnapcaster Mage

Jace, Vryn's Prodigy and Snapcaster Mage are perfect targets for the front half of Unearth. Each of these cards feeds into each other, letting you get back whichever combination of cards you need later in the game. Even if your Unearth chain will ultimately end in a Death's Shadow, you will likely be able to pick up an extra body on the way.

Ranger-Captain of Eos

Ranger-Captain of Eos is the other spicy addition from Modern Horizons to this deck. In a deck named after its single 1-mana creature, it's obvious why the Ranger-Captain is a worthwhile inclusion. It's just gravy that is has the ability to disrupt combo and/or sorcery-speed opponents, and that its disruption can be repeated with Unearth. Did we mention yet how cool Unearth is in this deck?

Path to ExileTeferi, Time RavelerRest in PeaceStony SilenceKaya's Guile

Dimir-based Death's Shadow decks in Modern have historically used red as their third color, but white may just be better now even without considering the desire to include the Ranger-Captain. Teferi, Time Raveler has more than proved its power level, but the static ability can prove even more useful in a deck that often plays at thin margins with a low life total. Teferi can let you clear a blocker and pay as much life as needed to swing for lethal. White in Modern is also typically known for having access to the strongest sideboard cards, particularly Stony Silence and Rest in Peace as well as the new Kaya's Guile. For any Modern players looking to play Death's Shadow, we strongly recommend trying Esper. We'll be sure to post a video with the deck in the near future!

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Michael Schuller