How EDT Told Me To Play Domain

Indirectly, of course; I’ve never actually talked to EDT in person. Well I’ve chatted with him on IRC, but that was mostly about bouncing and Deeding Agendas. I tried to convince him of the virtues of , but he, in his own words,”Refused to play with bad cards.” He suggested, “That card that depends on…

Indirectly, of course; I’ve never actually talked to EDT in person. Well I’ve chatted with him on IRC, but that was mostly about bouncing and Deeding Agendas. I tried to convince him of the virtues of Rushing River, but he, in his own words,”Refused to play with bad cards.”

He suggested,

“That card that depends on color to bounce”

I reminded him that Barrin’s Unmaking is in fact far worse than Rushing River. Now you’re thinking,

“At what point did he tell you to play Domain?”

Well, that was sometime later, and it didn’t actually involve EDT saying,

“Hey Ray, you should play Domain at your next PTQ.”

Nor typing,

blisterguy; you should play Domain at ur next PTQ.

And certainly not via telegram,

Hi there Blisterguy (stop)

It’s EDT here (stop)

You should play Domain at your (stop)

Next PTQ (stop)

Sorry about the bad punc (stop)

Tuation stop (stop)

A carrier pigeon didn’t enter into it.

“Then how? How?!?”

I hear you cry.

(This is not entirely true. I’m not actually sitting outside your window.)

(That rustling in the bushes was, um… a squirrel, yeah a squirrel.)

(Here’s a picture of EDT for you.)


(He’s the one to the right of Gary Wise.)

Some three or four weeks ago, EDT won a Pro Tour Qualifier.

(Yay him.)

And he won it with the following deck.

4 Ravenous Rats

4 Blazing Specter

3 Flametongue Kavu

4 Fire/Ice

3 Terminate

3 Recoil

4 Undermine

4 Fact or Fiction

3 Void

3 Yawgmoth’s Agenda

4 Shivan Reef

4 Urborg Volcano

4 Salt Marsh

5 Swamp

5 Island

3 Mountain

I can hear you all thinking,

“My, that looks something like something from Pro Tour Tokyo.”

(No really, I can actually hear you thinking. I’m an Internet Psychic. For either your horoscope or a palm reading (please include a scan of both hands and your credit card), send me an email at [email protected])

In fact, it’s very similar to the deck Pat Chapin designed and gave to EDT to play in Japan. If this deck is so good,

(and it must be if someone qualified with it)

Why has nobody been playing with it recently? Well, it goes something like this. When Apocalypse came out, many people were a little surprised by a card called Gerrard’s Verdict. They read the card text.

(Target player discards two cards from his or her hand. You gain 3 life for each land card discarded this way.)

They read the casting cost.

(WB. One White and one Black mana. Only.)

They read the card text again.

Then they read the casting cost again.

After a quick double-, and probably triple-, check of both the card text and the casting cost, they re-read the card text, and then re-read the casting cost. And then said something along the lines of,

“This card is totally nutty in a way that concrete will never be.”

Some people would go on to build Black/White decks fuelled by Gerrard’s Verdict, and learned their lessons very quickly in this manner.

“Plains, go.”

“Shivan Oasis, go.”

“Swamp, Gerrard’s Verdict you.”

“Hmmm, okay…”


(Thinks for a bit.)

(The thinking probably takes up this much space.)

(And I’d say this bit, too.)

“What’s the hold-up?” the Verdicter would ask.

“Just trying to decide what card to discard,” the Verdictee would reply.

“It’s like two cards, man,” the Verdictinator would then say, a smile spreading across his face.

“Sorry, I should have said; what other card to discard,” the victim would say.

And by victim, I mean the person who just flashed El Super Verdicto a Dodecapod.

Both players enter into a trade. Your/My smile for Your/My frown.

Unfortunately, in mathspeak,

Smile > Frown.

And he/she who has the Dodecapod, has the smile.

And with that, most people decided that playing discard was no longer a clever move. Of course, if people aren’t playing discard, then Dodecapod is awfully redundant as a sideboard option.

(You might be able to see where this is going…)

In comes EDT, playing Chapin dot dec.

During the early rounds of the tournament, players who did have Dodecapods in their sideboards beat those who did not.

(Due to lack of wasted space equaling more sideboard hate versus opponent.)

(Unless that opponent is EDT, who is conveniently climbing the Swiss ladder, beating said people without Dodecapods.)

This is because EDT didn’t see the metagame like the rest of us did. While we sat there playing our aggro, aggro/control, control metagame, EDT just asked,

“Pod or no?”

The answer was no…

…And a savage beating ensued.

What EDT shows us with his qualification is that people will both play, and prepare for, what is hot. Discard was not hot, so it breezed through the field with a slaphappy grin on its face.

Hmmm, what else is not hot?

Right now, Domain is downright chilly. And it’s chilly because you assume that every tournament-goer is going to kick you kerb-wards with their Domain hate.

You mean the Domain hate that they hardly have room for in their sideboards, especially now that Dodecapod has reaffirmed itself as the necessary anti-discard sideboard tool?

Yeah, that sideboard hate.

Go look for it in people’s trade binders, you’ll find it.

Now is the time to bust out a Domain. Get that wonderful feeling that can only be achieved by having a basic land of each type in front of you, and having your opponent suffering at the hands of cards once reserved for the kids only.

(Just think. A year ago, none of us would have suspected that you could do well at a premier event with a deck that contained one of each basic land.)

(Hold up there, fella; I didn’t tell you to touch those Cromats in your binder. Don’t do it to yourself, leave them for the kiddly winks.)

Now we’re stuck with another problem: Last time Domain did well, everyone thought Desert Twister cost six mana, opposing color painlands came into play tapped, and Hymn to Tourach was not even legal in Extended.

Since Apocalypse’s release, very little has been seen or heard of our hero, the Domain deck. If I’m not mistaken, and I seldom am, you can now even find Domain’s picture on the side of milk cartons.

Now what kind of article would this be if I didn’t include a couple of post Apocalypse Domain decklists for you?

(Queue Ferrett’s input of”not a very good one.”)

(Not a very – hey! The Ferrett)

But if I was to just plain list them here, then what kind of article would this be?


(Um… Not a very good one at all? – The Ferrett.)

(Well done lad, well done.)

(You know what, Ferrett ol’ boy? If you keep trying, one day you too could be a successful writer…)

No, I’m even going to talk a little about them.

…And when I’m done looking like someone who sits in front of a computer talking to themselves,

(Because I’m sooo not that person.)


I’ll even type some helpful and maybe some unhelpful advice.

(Unhelpful if your name begins with ‘B’ and ends in ‘rianKibler’ or maybe even ‘Ste’ and ‘veOMS’.)

(Because they played Domain recently at Grand Prix Denver.)

(But I’m getting ahead of myself slightly there…)

Right after Apocalypse became known, people added Vindicate to basic Domain designs such as the ones made popular by Ben Rubin and Zvi Mowshowitz at the Barcelona Masters Series.

(If you want a list, go look it up.)

(They’re outdated anyway.)

(Sure, they could be good starting points, but I firmly believe you should just play one of the designs listed below straight out of the box.)

(It’ll do my ego no end of good.)

This was a simple and not at all surprising addition to the deck. It was flexible permanent removal that also gave Domain an answer to its newest enemy, Mask of Intolerance. But it didn’t help enough in testing, and Domain soon slipped to the bottom of the playtesting pile.

(It probably even had its sleeves removed for other candidates like U/G”Air Bears” or Theron Martin’s Whack combo deck”I can only beat goldfish dot dec”.)

For a deck which could play all five colors, Domain really hadn’t abused Apocalypse to it’s full potential.

(“Hey, Apocalypse. You STINK-ah!)

(That’s it Domain, let it out.)

(“Your mother was a hamster, and your father…”)

(Oh dear.)

(“…Smelt of elderberries.”)

(That’s it, Domain – no more Monty Python for you!)

That hurl-age of abuse leads us nicely to our first post-Apocalypse Domain deck list. Some of you may have seen this in recent Grand Prix coverage, but many of you will have missed it because so far, it’s holidaying on a top8less beach.

Designed by Brian Kibler, Dark Domain uses many Apocalypse nasties and looks quite different from early Domain decks.

Dark Domain

3 Lay of the Land

4 Chromatic Sphere

4 Harrow

4 Collective Restraint

4 Pernicious Deed

4 Evasive Action

3 Allied Strategies

3 Fact or Fiction

2 Global Ruin

1 Legacy Weapon

1 Restock

1 Void

1 Planar Despair

1 Overgrown Estate

2 Spiritmonger

8 Forest

4 Island

4 Swamp

1 Mountain

1 Plains

2 Llanowar Wastes

2 Yavimaya Coast

It has the usual suspects, obviously. Harrow for the”Domain” effect and Collective Restraint for the”people can’t attack you” effect. Chromatic Sphere is gaining respect in many circles as the”Opt for those without Islands,” and Lay of the Land fits in somewhere between the Sphere and Harrow. Most importantly, this deck has seven turn 1 plays, which is almost unheard of in Invasion Block Constructed. A few well-known players played Dark Domain at GP: Santiago a few days ago but finished badly, complaining that the deck was just plain bad.

They up the numbers of Void, Overgrown Estate and Legacy Weapon to two and dropped a Spiritmonger. They also went up to 4 Lay of the Land and dropped to two Chromatic Sphere. The cantrip ability of the Sphere is quite important, and these players appeared to drop the consistency in favor of power. With their respective non-finishes, Randy Buehler proclaimed”the death of an archetype” in an attempt to get us all to buy his book”How to Never Lose Another Sanctioned Match: Don’t Play One, By Randy B.”

(He would also like us to call him Randy”Ferris” Buehler because it sounds similar to Ferrett, and everyone knows how cool the Ferrett is…)

(Really The Ferrett, arching an eyebrow at the fact that his lazy butt hasn’t written an article in a month and a half)

The deck is not dead. At least not if you leave it as it was played by Kibler and Steve OMS at GP: Denver, they finished 28th and 16th respectively.

Dark Domain even has maindecked answers to Mask of Intolerance in the form of Pernicious Deed, which is also good at drowning bears. Coincidence? I think not. The other non-standard additions are Void and Overgrown Estate – the former being good versus bears and peoples’ hands, and the later being good versus Urza’s Rage and anyone trying to win with damage, which happens to be everyone, funnily enough.

Oh yeah. Planar Despair is lacking in frequent flyer miles, too, but you should see it in action.

Another interesting note comes with the sideboard, which I haven’t listed because you should tailor your sideboard to local conditions yadda yadda. Kibler has used some Penumbra Bobcats to help fight fast bear decks, and Destructive Flow to hammer, well, everyone.

The other deck I’d like to show you is one which even less of you will have seen. Recluse designer David Sutcliffe posted this on the message boards at Beyond Dominia quite some time ago, but claimed it didn’t work. That’s quite odd, because our team managed to win a tournament with it and place the other member playing it in the top 4.

Gizmo Domain (A.k.a.”Gomain”)

3 Chromatic Sphere

4 Harrow

3 Worldly Council

4 Allied Strategies

4 Collective Restraint

2 Global Ruin

4 Evasive Action

2 Dromar’s Charm

2 Spite Malice

2 Legacy Weapon

2 Ordered Migration

4 Sunscape Familiar

1 Questing Phelddagrif

2 Yavimaya Coast

8 Island

4 Forest

5 Plains

2 Mountain

2 Swamp

The secret behind this deck is the mana acceleration provided by Sunscape”I block bears” Familiar. Evasive Action is amazing for one mana, Harrow for two, Hippo for three, Restraint for three – you get the idea…

Obviously, this list is closer to the original Domain Designs, but it’s better because it uses more”actual cards” and less dedicated mana fixers, so it can rely less on forests.

This list has less bear-stopping power, but has the advantage of only being posted here and some random back page of a Type 1 site.

Both of these decklists need to played to be believed; they are really very solid and capable of taking you towards a top 8 near you.

But the lesson here is not,

“Play Domain.”


“Listen to the metagame, it’s speaking to you but very quietly.”

(Lean closer and strain your eyes and ears.)

(If EDT can do it, why can’t you?)

Look after each other until next time.

(And then be really mean to each other for two minutes.)

(And then behave again.)