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By: beakerdan, beakerdan
Feb 11 2010 3:28am
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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. 

Basic strategy

  1. Deckbuilding 

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

1.       Mountains

2.      Swamps

3.      Forests and islands (approximately equal in value)

4.      Plains 

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

15 Mountains

13 Swamps

11 Forest

11 Island

10 Plains 

  1. Gameplay 

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.


Great article, thanks! I by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 04:38
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Great article, thanks! I never really understood the Momir format but I do now :)

However I do have one question... Why exactly do you need to skip creating a creature if you want to hit 8-drops? Is it because you need to have a card in hand to discard on turn 8, when you have 8 mana?

Precisely. Momir is partly by Paul Leicht at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 05:51
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Precisely. Momir is partly about randomness and partly about resource management.

I often go for a zero drop on by JM (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 06:48
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I often go for a zero drop on my first turn in the hopes of hitting a Dryad Arbor. You might get an Ornithopter or a Phyrexian Walker which are OK blockers, or you might waste your turn on a Phyrexian Marauder. The Arbor gambit isn't as reliable as it once was since a lot of new cards like the Kobolds and Shield Sphere have appeared recently.

A question by Ikoma_Aze (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 07:25
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Thanks for the article. I've been playing a lot of Momir, and losing way more than 50%, and I think your analysis of 8 drops explains why. I've been skipping 1 and 2 drops on the draw, to try and get to the 9 drops. While there are some great 9 drops I tend I fall far enough behind in the damage race that only Blazing Archon can help me, whereas, while 8 drop may hit a dud, there's enough great 8 drops to make it worth playing more than one.

One question for anyone techy out there... Gatherer shows 2 versions of Kuro, Pitlord (CoK and Divine Vs Demonic). Does this mean that if I go for a 9 drop, I'm twice as likely to hit Kuro than to hit Inkwell Leviathan, for example?

Finally does anyone know of a spreadsheet (or way to export data to a spreadsheet) to get all MTGO creatures by CMC with text and stats? I tried exporting through MTGO deck screen, but could only get their names.


I have an excel spreadsheet. by kalandine at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 08:22
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I have an excel spreadsheet. I will try to get it online soon.

Coooool! by Sander at Wed, 11/24/2010 - 15:30
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That would be amazing!! I'm looking forward for it. I've tried to find it in the Internet but found only zip folds at shared files SE . They wery so large that I doubted it was what I needed.

Copies by Katastrophe at Fri, 02/12/2010 - 03:20
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Yes, you are twice as likely to get a Kuro Pitlord as you are a copy of Inky. Gold bordered cards count, too. Offline cards and Urza's Saga do not count.

If you point at a creature token, you can see the expansion symbol in the hover text. That's how you can tell which version of Kuro you got.

Why do you value islands by StealthBadger at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 07:41
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Why do you value islands higher than plains? I tend to find that there are more white activated abilities than blue ones, and (perhaps more importantly), there are infinitely more islandwalkers than plainswalkers!

I tend to keep my islands in hand unless I get a creature with a blue activated ability.

blue is bad, white is by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 10:37
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blue is bad, white is somewhat better, benthic behemoth anyone?

anyway, good article, although i believe erman might have even given us the ultimate in momir guide, you can search it out, really details each mana cost.

personally, i drop a 1cc, 2cc, maybe a 3 or 4 depending on the 1 and 2, skip 5 due to leveler, 6 is dragon money, 7 is too risky with phage always skip if i can, and of course 8 is great. 9 isnt bad, but 8 is where its at

I've played many more Momir by beakerdan at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:06
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I've played many more Momir matches lately, and I'm probably going to write a followup article to this, but here's my opinions on landdrops.
You want to have Islands in your deck, but you want them in your hand until turn 4. Temporal Adept, Nightscape Master and Sunscape Master are the most obvious creatures where you need blue mana to activate their Visara abilities, and you need multiple Islands to activate them. Plains rarely help you, but also rarely hurt you, and I am never unhappy about having a Plains in play. But, the white mana rarely gets used, unless you hit a tapper in the early turns. Obviously, these generic rules are just guidelines, but that is my thought process.

swamps is the toughest land by ShardFenix at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 12:29
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swamps is the toughest land in my opinion. If you get a black pump creature you want the mana definitely, but then again swampwalk is i think the most common landwalk...

Another play secret is to by rickwins1971 (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 13:01
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Another play secret is to activate the Avatar before tapping the lands. I have seen many people tap out, active and leave mana in the pool. It is also quicker since clock can come into play in stalled board positions.

I wish there was support for by AverageDrafter at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 15:51
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I wish there was support for MOJOS (like rotating it with Momir from time to time). I find that it retains the fun and suspensful randomness of Momir but add a substantial amount of strategy and skill to the mix.

upkeep by GainsBanding (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 16:01
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My problem with not having one of each basic land out is that it seems I always end up getting a big legend with an upkeep cost that I can't pay. What are people's thoughts on upkeeps for fatties in Momir? Pay them or just kill off the creature and try again?

Also, right click and "always yield to" the Avatar saves a ton of time.

Scartore's picture

If I can have 9 mana available I feel a lot more comfortable. Than at least I have the option of landing a Blazing Archon. Also, If you are in a seriously bad board position, playing for 7 mana is viable becuase therin hides the Platinum Angel.

The recent addition of some new 0 cost junk has really cut into the value of trying for a dryad arbor.

I have a little different by Anonymous (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 19:38
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I have a little different strategy. I go for the draw, then I wait until my opponent has a creature that needs a blocker before I cast my first creature. Generally, bigger is better and this way I always top out with creatures that are one bigger than my opponent. Games are usually decided with creatures that have special abilities or are unblockable (and how you use those creatures). I view most other creatures as blockers. If you have a 1/1 and a 3/3, against an opponent's two 2/2 creatures, they are most useful as blockers, not attackers.

Currently I play the deck suggested by Lord Erman:

10 Plains
11 Islands
14 Swamps
15 Mountains
10 Forests

Islands are always the last land I drop. When your opponent drops a Sea Monster all they have is a wall if you don't have any Islands in play.

platinum angel by GainsBanding (not verified) at Thu, 02/11/2010 - 23:47
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The problem with shooting for a Platinum Angel is that there are a lot more creatures at 7 than at 8. Your odds are better at 8 of finding a board sweeper or something else that will help you.

NLM by Katastrophe at Fri, 02/12/2010 - 03:27
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I also recommend Next Level Mormir. It's Mormir + Johira + Stonehewer. Like the previous poster said, adding Johira adds much more strategy. Having more than one play per turn is very fun. (Move equipment? Make a guy? Cast 2 sorceries? So good!)

Islands = BAD THINGS by Cheetoe (not verified) at Fri, 02/12/2010 - 04:40
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My preference for land make up is as follows.

15 Mountains - Most popular relevent activation cost
15 Swamps - Second most popular relevent activation cost, though there are lots of these land walkers
10 Plains - Best Null land least number of creatures having landwalk of this type
10 Forests - Most popular landwalk not many with G need for actiavtions
10 Islands - Not many critters with this Landwalk, HOWEVER! the ones that do are KILLERS +4 power

Now I do tend to like to go more of the aggressive approuch on creatures. My thoughts on that is its better to make the other person look for answers then to be looking for answers yourself.

7 drop by Morkje (not verified) at Fri, 02/12/2010 - 09:43
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I always find making a 7 drop is scary.

If I am in a good board position I'll often make 6, which hase some great dragons anyway, instead of 7.

Also 8 has another "bad" buy for you.
The white 8/4 legionaire that says your other guys can't attack.
It's not an auto loss, but can be troublesome if your opponent has regen or something so he doesnt need to kill it.

And a Question:
Can anyone explain why Rathi Assassin sometimes comes up as a 4 drop.
I cant find it online anywhere, so not sure why he is in the system.
I tried asking a moderator but they didnt know either.

Rathi Assassin is in Nemesis by Soulwind (not verified) at Fri, 02/12/2010 - 12:50
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Rathi Assassin is in Nemesis and the "promo set for Gatherer" (whatever that is)

I've never seen the card, but it sounds like it's been coded as a promo card somewhere and Momir is picking it up.


I play a LOT of Momir (Momir and the occassional draft or sealed is all I really play anymore).

Personally, I always try to start on the draw. I feel that the slight tempo loss in the early game is more than made up for by the extra card and the (occassional) opportunity to blow out your opponent after he hits his 8 drop with your own 8 drop sweepers.

I always make a 2-drop, the mana production creatures + guildmage make it worth the drop for me.

I may or may not make a 3 drop, depending on what creatures my opponent has pulled at the 1,2,3 drop points.

Then a drop from that point on. Getting to either 8 or 9 (depending on the 3 drop decision).

My base deck is 18 Mtn (for all the burn/pump creatures), 13 Swamp, 9 Forest, 10 Plains, 10 Island

I always try to get at least 4 mountains into play, the rest I decide on as needed to power any abilities that come up.