Many people have written about Momir strategy before, but since the creation of a 2 man Momir queue, I thought that it might be time for a refresher course, or an introduction to anyone who has never played Momir before.
I read a quote in an article a long time ago, saying that Momir was 40% luck, 40% skill and 20% strategy, and that statement is just as true now as ever. There are many different strategies that will help pay off by increasing your expected value in Momir events. Remember, all of these strategy suggestions will not pay off every time, but are meant to increase your win percentage in the long run.
There are a few great reasons to play Momir. It’s a great change from traditional Magic, you just can’t get too angry if your opponent is running well, and hits bomb after bomb. On the other hand, it’s always fun to blow your opponent out with a run of good creatures, or a smart trade. It also teaches you to be better at Magic. Momir is all about knowing everything that could happen, and taking advantage of the percentages. Also, the 2man Momir queue currently pays off in M10 packs, which are worth 4 tix each, so you aren’t negative EV just from joining the event. Also, everybody loves a Baneslayer Angel, and now you don’t have to pay 40 tickets to play with one.
Before I get into my suggested strategy for Momir event, I’m going to explain the format for anyone who is not familiar with it. Your deck is required to have 60 basic lands, and 1 Momir Vig, Simic Visionary avatar. No snow lands, no dual lands, only 60 basics allowed. Many players just use 12 of each basic, but I will discuss this later. Each turn, you are allowed to make one creature at random, discarding a card and paying X (converted mana cost of the creature you create) to do so. There are no counterspells or combat tricks, so you only need to make your play decisions based on the creatures on board, and your knowledge of the available creatures on MTGO.
The 12x5 deck is the most conservative deck, and is always an acceptable choice for any Momir player, however, I think you often sacrifice the opportunity to take advantage of some of the unbeatable creatures that require a mana investment.
The key land in Momir is the Mountain, for a couple reasons. The biggest of which is Vampiric Dragon. If you make a Vampiric Dragon, you need to be able to activate it’s ability multiple times during a turn to take best advantage of it. This is the difference between Vampiric Dragon being extremely difficult to beat, or the same as any other 5/5 flier for 8. Another important creature that requires red mana includes the bomby Scourge of Kher Ridges.
Also, another 8 drop that is extremely good is Sundering Titan, almost to the point of being unbeatable. You want to play around Sundering Titan as much as possible, and therefore want to put as few types of basics into play as possible, unless you hit a creature with a playable ability. This also helps you avoid activating landwalking creatures played by your opponent.
The general value of lands goes as follows
3. Forests and islands (approximately equal in value)
I would recommend playing as many Mountains early in the game as possible, other lands if you hit creatures needing the mana, and Swamps if you run out of Mountains.
My current recommended decklist
You may think that there is little strategy in Momir, but the decisions start from Turn 0. No, it’s not about taking a mulligan, but do make sure that you’re not too much on autopilot that you accidentally choose to mulligan. It’s what to do if you win the dice roll. Having played a significant amount of Momir, there still doesn’t seem to be a consensus about whether the play or the draw is advantageous. The advantage for each is obvious: on the play, you get to make the first creature of each converted mana cost. On the draw, you get an extra card, so you get to make an extra creature or land-drop. As I discuss later, the 8-drop is the most important mana cost, which means that on the play, you get to make the first 8-drop, and on the draw, you only have to skip one creature instead of two to be able to make 8 drops.
I almost always choose to play first, because I think the high mana cost creatures overwhelm the lower cost creatures too much to make the extra creature worth the loss of tempo.
While playing, there are a few options, but I think the best ones are all based around making 8 drops. This is because there are so many game-breaking 8 drops, and a higher percentage that you’ll hit one than any other mana cost.
The obvious ones are:
Hoverguard Sweepers (Double Angel of Despair)
Vampiric Dragon (with enough red, you can destroy many opposing creatures, and make the dragon big enough to either block any others, or create an extremely quick clock)
Kederekt Leviathan (Wraths both players, leaving you with a 5/5)
Avatar of Woe (If your opponent doesn’t kill her soon, she’ll give you enough advantage to win the game easily)
Lorthos the Tidemaker (Allows you to alpha strike twice, tapping their entire team for two turns)
Petradon (Stops your opponent from making 8-drops)
Scourge of Kher Ridges (Can repeatedly Wrath every creature except itself)
Sundering Titan (Stops your opponent from making 8-drops)
And many creatures that give you an extremely fast clock:
Hellkite Overlord, Akroma Angel of Wrath, Sphinx of the Steel Wind, Tidal Kraken,
With this many gamebreaking creatures, and only 1 creature that damages your board without Wrathing your opponent at the same time Denizen of the Deep, the 8-drop is the key to Momir Basic
I’ll discuss playing on the draw first, because that has the simplest choices.
On the draw, if you want to end up making 8-drops, you have to skip making a creature on one turn.
The most common strategy is to skip the 1 drop, and then make 2-8 drops, and then continue to make 8 drops unless something else changes. This is the strategy that I play when on the draw.
Other than this, you can skip another drop on your way to 8, and the most common skips are 2, 4 and 5
2 –You could make a one drop instead of a two drop, there are arguably more good one drops than 2 drops (there are many chances to hit Llanowar Elves and Birds of Paradise). However, there are also a lot of good mana producers at 2 mana as well.
4/5 – there are a lot of 4 and 5 drops that are unimpressive, and you will often hit an early creature that you can spend a turn using mana on. Also, there are creatures that could end the game, or at least severely harm you (Leveler being the most obvious) On the other hand, there are also a lot of 4/5 drops that are difficult to beat, including the no-longer-costing-40-tix-Baneslayer.
There is one other option, which is to play aggressively, and make 1-7 drops, but I don’t think the advantage given by making a 1-drop is worth it, since the 3 or 4 drops often quickly outclass the early drops.
On the play, there are a few options, but you’ll have to skip two creatures in order to make 8-drops.
The most obvious strategy, and the one I will almost always play is to just skip 1 and 2 drops, and play 3-8. This is consistent, and the jump in power in 3-6 drops will make up for early drops made by opponents.
Play 1 or 2, and skip another later (usually 4/5) – I will play this if my opponent on the draw makes a 1 drop that is very aggressive (Steppe Lynx or Wild Nacatl)
The all-in aggressive strategy, aka 1-6 and pray. You can also play an extremely aggressive strategy, attacking a lot early, and trading creatures for damage often. You are hoping to ride the tempo you have on the play, and keep your opponent off balance long enough to kill them. I do not play this strategy, but some opponents do. I think that this strategy is not advantageous over one that ends with 8drops on 8, due to the big increase in power level as you reach mana cost 3-6+.
One final play suggestion, if you are going to win this turn, don’t make a creature. Don’t risk the Denizen of the Deep, even if you want to look cooler, and crush your opponent even harder.
In conclusion, my main suggestions for Momir:
1. Mountains good. Learn to love the mountain, and you’ll be much happier when you hit the Vampiric Dragon.
2. 8 drops good. Hit those removal spells, and ride them to victory.
3. Kederekt Leviathan solves any problem, and leaves a 5/5 to boot
Thanks to all for reading this article, and I hope you enjoy the Momir Basic format as much as I do.