Doomsday

So, the world didn’t quite end. Hang on out there. We are getting through this.

I hope any regular readers will excuse me talking about Premodern for once. I originally meant to write about more things than just Old School here, so this doesn’t mark any kind of departure from the plan.

Doomsday, Weatherlight (WL) Price History

I spent some time trying to make a good Doomsday list in Premodern. As a starting point, there’s this classic list by Anthony Harrison, and especially the one time he played Burning Wish. But also this crazy five-color list by utterlymilked on the Premodern Discord which I got from Robin Lundh who’s a lot more active in the Discord than I am.

I cut the Rectors and played a version in the small double elimination event following the Fall Brawl, to a 1-2 finish or something similar. Mostly, I hated drawing Future Sight. Ramping into it is inconsistent, fragile and slow. I much prefer having a cantrip in play, casting Doomsday with 5 mana left over, drawing into the Future Sight and winning that way.

Maybe I should explain the general plan for those of you unfamiliar with the deck. With a cantrip to draw into the top card, preferably a Chromatic Sphere in play, you build the pile of Future Sight, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Burning Wish, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Doomsday. So you need access to 2UUU plus the cost of the cantrip after casting Doomsday. You BW for Drain Life and loop the first Doomsday with the second, draining for 1 each loop. Or, if you run Ebony Charm, you just use that instead of Burning Wish.

Somewhere around here, it dawned on me that having a second Sphere in play saves 3 mana on the combo turn. With 2 spheres in play, you just need Doomsday, the mana to cast it and two more mana, that is 2BBB to win, building this: LED, FS, LED, DD, BW. Draw the LED with the first sphere, sac it so you have 2UUU, draw the FS, cast it, play LED, play DD, making LED, LED, BW, DD, x, cast BW for Drain Life, next loop start casting Drain Life each loop. It requires 8 life to start with, but saves mana. So why not play more of the Sphere effect? Eggs it is! (At this point I had forgotten Anthony Harrison was already on a few of those.)

This is my current list, a slight improvement on what I’ve played in the November and December monthlies:

3 Doomsday
1 Future Sight
4 Burning Wish
4 Chromatic Sphere
4 Darkwater Egg
3 Sleight of Hand
2 Lim-Dûl’s Vault
4 Duress
3 Abeyance
1 Soldevi Digger
1 Ebony Charm
4 Dark Ritual
4 Lotus Petal
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
4 City of Brass
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Peat Bog
1 Ancient Spring
2 Crystal Vein
3 Underground River
1 Caves of Koilos

Sideboard:

1 Hurkyl’s Recall
2 Xantid Swarm
1 Rushing River
3 Hydroblast
2 Chain of Vapor

1 Drain Life
1 Primitive Justice
1 Doomsday
1 Pyroclasm
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Overmaster

It’s quite the consistent turn 3 kill against no disruption, and that’s a good place to be in. Especially if you can afford to pass the turn, just requiring a cantrip and 2 mana (besides the cantrip mana) next turn. However, there are a few issues with the deck as well.

I went 4-2 in November and 2-4 in December (but would have been 3-3 had I not placed the cards in the wrong order in my final pile; I didn’t miss any kind of smart pile, I just physically screwed up the building of it). Mostly, Sligh is a horrible matchup. You go down to 1 life when going off (unless going for the Soldevi Digger pile), meaning you have to put in an Abeyance in the pile if the opponent has access to an instant burn spell in hand or a Mogg Fanatic or Grim Lavamancer in play, and frequently, you don’t have the time to build up that kind of mana. If the deck has an almost unwinnable Sligh matchup, then it would have to beat everything else to be really good. And, while it is fine against discard spells in general due to the large threat density (just build up mana and draw into your 3 doomsday, 4 BW, 2 LDV), it doesn’t seem so good against counterspells as I had imagined. It is also quite weak to Wasteland in general.

For those of you who want to dig deeper into the different combo piles, I can share this document I mostly wrote for myself and a few friends to draw up different lines. It’s unlikely to be developed further at this point.

It’s a fine deck, and certainly a cool one. I do believe the 1-FS, 8-Egg/Sphere version is much superior to the 4-FS version. Some starts are very broken, and it’s not that hard to get a turn 2 kill. You abuse LED very well. But it’s not a tier 1 deck and won’t get there. It’s also hard to play, and that’s not a badge of being a smart player, it’s always a drawback since you don’t get any free wins and can’t spend brainpower on executing each game flawlessly when you have to keep a million possible lines in mind. I will move on, but it’s been fun, and I believe I do have improved upon the archetype a bit. Really, that’s the goal here. Every try can’t be a home run.

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