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By: Tarmotog, Naoto Watabe
Feb 18 2008 11:21pm
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When Weatherlight came into the card mix, there was a card that captured my attention. The card? Doomsday.

In real life, when I get the chance to, I gather cards that are restricted in Vintage in hopes of using them in the future when I have the resources to play in the format. Doomsday happened to be one of the cards I managed to get a copy of a long time ago. While Doomsday has been unrestricted for being "not so powerful anymore", the fact that it was restricted in the first place led me to believe that it's a card with great potential. (No offense Juggernaut. I have no idea why they banned or restricted you. Maybe you couldn't be Terrored or something.)

The card:

Let us observe the card. 

Oracle text: Search your library and graveyard for five cards and remove the rest from the game. Put the chosen cards on top of your library in any order. You lose half your life, rounded up.

First, it costs BBB. That means that you either have to play many lands that produce black mana, play Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth, or play Dark Ritual or Loti(Lotus Bloom or Lion's Eye Diamond) in order to support it.

Second, it's a sorcery. So you have to play it in your main phase unless you Quicken it.

Third, it allows you to stack a deck of five cards using both your library and your graveyard. This is important because you will lose threshold immediately after casting this card so Cabal Ritual is not going to give you BBBBB.

Last but not the least, you lose half your life rounded up.

For this card to work, you either have to win the turn you cast it or at least be able to survive the next turn which may not be easy considering that you have lost half your life. Other things to take note are like how big a Counterspell is post Doomsday and that you are in range of being decked out if your opponent has Brain Freeze in hand.

How do Doomsday decks win in Vintage?

There is a neat kill that derives from having Mind's Desire and Beacon of Destruction.
Basically, assuming they have nothing much in hand but have four mana of which one is blue, they would set up 5 cards like:

Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Yawgmoth's Will
Mind's Desire

They untap, cast Ancestral Recall, draw the next three cards, cast Black Lotus, cast Yawgmoth's Will, recast Black Lotus, cast Mind's Desire; that puts four additional copies on the stack, use the first copy to play Research to put Beacon of Destruction into the empty deck, and let the other four Mind's Desire cast the lone Beacon of Destruction before letting the next resolve so that the beacon gets shuffled back into the library for reuse. This deals twenty damage by itself!

An alternate method of winning involves a Tendrils of Agony.  If the opponent has lesser life and if the player going off has more relevant cards in hand to up storm count.  This of course is a harder way to win. 

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. The biggest problem with the Doomsday deck is apparently the difficulty of actually playing the card to win. Vintage players have many different Doomsday piles for many different situations.

How can we win using Doomsday in Singleton?

Of the 5 cards in the example which make going off so easy, none of the enablers are actually available to us. The closest substitutes have suspend or have some awkward drawbacks.

A combo that enjoys "deck stacking" would be the Draco + Erratic Explosion combo. Insidious Dreams might do a better job at times but let's not forgo this possibility. If we cast Doomsday and Erratic Explosion on the same turn (with a way to draw a card like Sensei's Divining Top), we essentially only require BBBR2 to do the 16 damage combo. It's not that difficult if you think about it. If we can help it, we might still be able to stack the other 3 cards to finish the opponent off if the 16 damage was not enough.

If I want to do the Mind's Desire + Beacon of Destruction combo, we could stack:

Careful Study
Dark Ritual
Mind's Desire
Sins of the Past

Assuming you have two useless cards in hand and that you have UUUB1 in play on the turn after you cast Doomsday.

Anyway, I have to explain how to win with my proposed stack right? Given the conditions hold, you draw Careful Study, cast it and get the next two cards and discard let's say two lands. After that, you cast Dark Ritual and cast Mind's Desire after that. So you have three copies of the spell on stack. You reveal both of the next two cards without casting them and cast Research/Development after the second copy resolves. You put Beacon of Destruction into the library and reveal it with the last of the Mind's Desire copy. Cast it and it goes back into the deck. Cast Sins of the Past on Mind's Desire and remember to cast the beacon upon every resolution or you will lose a chance to do so.

Alternatively, because of the way the oracle text is templated, you don't have to cast it to find five cards, similar to how you can use Gifts Ungiven to search for 2 cards to be put into the graveyard.

In the next scenario, you need a minimum of Dark Ritual in your hand and UUB1 in play after the Doomsday turn.

You stack:

Mind's Desire
Sins of the Past

Also, if you can have seven mana and no cards in hand you can get, for the same effect: (gets better with mana acceleration)

Chromatic Star
Mind's Desire
Sins of the Past

You draw into Mind's Desire, cast Dark Ritual and cast the Mind's Desire, with total storm count two, reveal the two cards in your library, cast Research to get Beacon of Destruction into your deck, cast Sins of the Past and "flashback" Mind's Desire for a total of twenty five damage, allowing a rare turn four kill after a turn three Doomsday? (not going to happen all the time)

This is by far the most troublesome card to make a deck around because it allows you to make many different possible stacks and it just "evolves" after every game when you think of a different effective pile. It would be best to take note of the piles you have used to that you can reuse them if similar situations allow.

Why do we want to use Doomsday?

For starters, it allows you to make a storm deck that doesn't lose to rampant discard (which sounds theoretically awkward since you should need cards to add storm count). This is possible also because you get to stack your five cards using both cards in your graveyard and library (which means that even if the important cards are in the graveyard, you get to reuse them post Doomsday ).

Against aggressive decks, you can change to get the sixteen damage combo to win if your opponent deals at least four to himself.

Against control decks, you don't really want to try to win via Doomsday but by the sheer counter-resilient nature of storm decks.

Why Combo?

Doomsday fits in a combo deck instead of aggro decks or control decks because you pretty much expose yourself to every possible kill available in Magic when you cast it.

Your opponent can deck you or can deal damage to you to win. If you are not going to win very soon, chances are, you won't survive the turn after the next even if you survive the very next turn. Also, Doomsday allows you to stack your deck so that you can pull off any combo you want to pull off as long as you can imagine it work.

Why Storm?

By playing storm, you get to maximise the win conditions of playing Doomsday while not really requiring the actual card to win. To date, the storm decks I have made could only win with turn five consistency. If I could change that to turn four, storm could be a real contender in the Premier Events. However, despite using different combo enablers like the "sunny-side up" base (using the trinkets that "cycle" and lands that sacrifice before playing a Second Sunrise as a super draw + ritual card)or "cad bloom" base (the Squandered Resources + Natural Balance to get tons of mana), I couldn't make the deck realistically and consistently a turn faster. Doomsday is a card that seems to be a natural combo enabler which benefits from playing Cabal Ritual and Dark Ritual.

How would the deck play?

I believe that the games should go along the lines of storming up Empty the Warrens to hold the line against aggresive decks or forcing them to go defensive if you manage to storm up a large count.  can go off first (or just do the explosion combo to win if they take enough pain which is not unusual), store up storm and pin point discard against slow counter based decks and go for the Doomsday plan against decks that are mid ranged and do not have the capability to wreck your game within the next turn.

The more obvious drawbacks to the deck would be the fact that you could end up drawing some junk cards that can't be played because they are not supposed to be played from hand, especially if you attempt to have the draco combo. However, Brainstorm and Vampiric Tutor or even Lim-Dul's Vault might be able to fix it.

I am currently thinking about how to build to deck from scratch because of the vast changes to the plans. For those who want to see at least a usable deck, here is one.

A sample deck:

Doomsday Combo
A Singleton deck as suggested by Tarmotog
Mogg War Marshal
Skirk Prospector
Trinket Mage

Other Spells
Mind's Desire
Burning Wish
Infernal Tutor
Sins of the Past
Rites of Flame
Channel of the Suns
Empty the Warrens
Tendrils of Agony
Careful Study
Serum Vision
Erratic Explosion
Cabal Therapy
Dark Ritual
Cabal Ritual
Pact of Negation
Lim-Dul's Vault
Mystical Tutor
Vampiric Tutor
Seething Song
Perilious Research
Gifts Ungiven
Force of Will
Sensei's Divining Top
Chromatic Star
Chromatic Sphere
Lion's Eye Diamond
Lotus Bloom
Claw of Gix
Darkwater Egg
Pentad Prism
Coalition Relic
Chrome Mox
Hatching Plans
Ancient Spring
Geothermal Crevice
Irrigation Ditch
Sulfur Vent
Tinder Farm
Crystal Vein
Watery Graves
Steam Vents
Blood Crypt
Graven Cairns
Polluted Delta
Bloodstained Mire
Flooded Strand
Gemstone Mine
Darkwater Catacombs

Hull Breach
Ignite Memories
Beacon of Destruction
11 more cards



Why talk about Doomsday?

I wrote this to introduce Doomsday to the singleton community as it seems to have the potential to be playable at the very least. I hope people agree along the same train of thought after reading. I also hope for people to pinpoint the problems I haven't covered so that I can work on a list more effectively. Happy storming.


by HydraLord at Tue, 02/19/2008 - 16:56
HydraLord's picture

In that case, I suggest Basic Swamp as a fifth card.

Really liked the article, since I'm a fan of Doomsday in Vintage. Nice work.

by Anonymous (Unregistered) (not verified) at Tue, 02/19/2008 - 09:59
Anonymous (Unregistered)'s picture

You actually have to search out 5 cards.  You only can fail to search if there's a criterion you need to fulfill (like "cards with different names" or "basic land" etc)

by ynohtna123456 at Tue, 02/19/2008 - 02:14
ynohtna123456's picture

Here's another doomsday package for you:

Mental Note
Worldgorger Dragon
Creature that wins with infinite mana
Animate Dead

by Tarmotog at Tue, 02/19/2008 - 02:37
Tarmotog's picture

lol.. Nice pile u spotted there. Hmm... I like it alot since you just win out. I might as well put aside the research kill for this and the draco combo. However, there are some benefits from the previous 2 being:
research => 1 slot for it in addition to the storm based deck
draco=> 2 slots, both of which can be somewhat manipulated with certain cards to "combo" off if the situation allows.
I suppose I should sit down and brainstorm abit on how to go about approaching this because the cards are slightly counterintuitive in the deck. I'm still thinking about whether or not the draco should be there. I like storm decks so I'll try to work on it.

On the flip side, doomsday in dragon seems like its going to be real good. Probably a card a dragon player should want at least in the SB in anticipation to discard. Looks like doomsday has found a home somewhere. =)