Ledger Shredder has become a breakout card from SNC for Constructed Magic, and Michael takes a look at where it fits in Modern and Pioneer!
Ledger Shredder caught many people by surprise as it burst onto the scene in multiple formats after flying relatively under the radar during preview season. Players have been trying Ledger Shredder in every major constructed format, I’ve even seen it show up in Vintage! However, Modern and Pioneer are where Ledger Shredder seems to be finding the most success. This is largely due to Modern and Pioneer having the right balance of power level and cheap spells. Ledger Shredder is certainly above the bar for Standard power level, but smaller card pools often make it tough to have the density of spells that are both desirable and cheap. Ledger Shredder may be on the line when it comes to being good enough for Legacy, but I think it is likely to come up a bit short there. Should Ledger Shredder make its way into Legacy, Delver decks have the spell suite to support it. I’ve got a few decks over in Modern and Pioneer that I think Ledger Shredder could find a home in, so let’s take a look!
Let’s kick things off with Modern, and one of the more clear-cut homes for Ledger Shredder, Izzet Murktide. Ledger Shredder works well in a Murktide shell because those decks are already looking to play multiple spells per turn basically from turn two onward, perfect for Ledger Shredder! Once Murktide can set up a Shredder, they can start churning through their deck with the intention of either finding or feeding a Murktide Regent. Izzet Murktide historically has suffered by its inability to effectively block early in the game; a problem that players have turned to Tarmogoyf to try and solve. Ledger Shredder plays excellent defense, growing to a 2/4 with ease, which blocks most of the aggressive creatures in Modern, and with getting out of Lightning Bolt range! Due to the nature of supporting Murktide Regent, Izzet Murktide can suffer from some airy draws from time to time, but the additional card selection provided by Ledger Shredder can ditch unneeded cantrips, as well as attempt to mitigate flooding. The card selection provided by Ledger Shredder is possibly the best part about the card, and possibly the most underrated part of the card, at least initially.
The other likely landing spot for Ledger Shredder is in Death’s Shadow. Shadow decks are interested in Ledger Shredder for many of the same reasons that Murktide decks are, but I believe Shadow can trigger connive more easily than Murktide can. Where Murktide has a higher density of counterspells, which can make playing multiple spells in one turn more difficult, Shadow has a more proactive spell suite with discard and removal spells instead. Shredder assisting Dragon’s Rage Channeler in filling the graveyard is good for delirium, but also plays quite well with Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Often it can be tricky to weave in Kroxa in the middle of the game to get it into the graveyard to set up a turn to escape it, but Shredder eases that burden a bit by providing another way to put Kroxa in the graveyard from your hand. I had tested this list with four copies of Ledger Shredder for a bit, and while I do think four copies is reasonable (I found myself wanting between three and four copies), but I also wanted to get some number of Dress Down back into the starting 60. Unlike Murktide, Shadow has a more varied disruption suite, so the card selection from Ledger Shredder helps Shadow decks make sure they always have the appropriate answer. Shadow decks, much like Murktide, also appreciate the early defensive all-star that is Ledger Shredder against the aggro decks.
While I think there may be additional homes for Ledger Shredder in Modern, such as an Esper Reanimator enabler, those prospects are a little less clear.
Ledger Shredder seems tailor made for Izzet Phoenix in Pioneer. An evasive threat that scales well into the middle portion of the game and blocks well early, Ledger Shredder slots into Phoenix perfectly because it wants you to cast two spells in the same turn to get a connive trigger, and Arclight Phoenix already wants you to cast three. Ledger Shredder takes some deckbuilding pressure away from cards like Chart a Course and Izzet Charm, because you can easily loot away Phoenixes thanks to Shredder’s connive trigger. Thing in the Ice is still a valuable tool for Phoenix decks to have access to for matchups like Winota and Mono Green Devotion, but it doesn’t play well with Ledger Shredder, so for now it’s been moved to the sideboard. I would expect that Ledger Shredder will be a staple of Pioneer Phoenix decks for a while to come.
Lastly, we have an Izzet Prowess list, which AndyAWKWARD piloted to a top 8 finish in last weekend’s Pioneer challenge. Aside from Arclight Phoenix, prowess creatures are the other clear payoff for casting multiple spells in the same turn. Ledger Shredder may look strange surrounded by Monastery Swiftspear, Soul-Scar Mage, and Sprite Dragon given that all these creatures get bigger with every non-creature spell, and Ledger Shredder only gets one counter per turn. High damage output isn’t Ledger Shredder’s job in this deck. Shredder is here to make sure this deck doesn’t flood out, and that the spells and prowess triggers keep coming. Putting extra cards in the graveyard with four copies of Treasure Cruise is certainly an important benefit. The fact that Shredder will very often attack for more than one on your off turns is valuable to keep the pressure on the opponent, because the moment this deck takes its foot off the gas, the opponent can start to stabilize. I love the addition of Ledger Shredder to this style of deck, and it makes sense to me that it has a home until it gets supplanted by another powerful prowess threat.
As a Ledger Shredder fan, I am excited that it continues to pop up in a variety of decks in a variety of formats, and I know that I’ll be keeping an eye out for any more interesting developments! That is all I have for this week, but as always you can find me on Twitter at @RappaciousOne for questions, comments, or feedback. I’d love to see everyone’s favorite home for Ledger Shredder in the comments! Until next week, keep on Shredding!
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.