Rehearsing the Doomsday Scenario: Learning How to Build Optimal Doomsday Piles

Since its introduction at the last StarCityGames Chicago Power 9, Doomsday has remained one of the more interesting combo decks in Vintage. With another Chicago Power 9 only a week away, Stephen Menendian revisits the decklist with an updated version and a veritable godbook on how to combo out of practically any situation. This is an article Vintage players simply cannot afford to miss.

Doomsday might be simultaneously the most misunderstood and most terribly misplayed deck in the format. Much of the problem comes from the inability on the part of players to craft good Doomsday stacks coupled with a misunderstanding of the importance of doing so. This article is designed to address that problem.

I’ve been getting a lot of email recently about how to construct various Doomsday stacks now that Starcitygames Chicago is quickly approaching. Due to school conflicts, I cannot attend and so I will provide the most up-to-date technology to Doomsday and provide some more of the unusual hands that you will want to construct when you play Doomsday. In addition, I will try to help you get into the “mode” of thinking necessary to play this deck.

Psychatog Aside

Before I get you into Doomsday mode, I had a few follow-up thoughts on my pair of articles on Psychatog from last month. First of all, some one brought up the idea of Lava Dart over Firestorm in the board. I heartily endorse that exchange. The reasoning is simple. Although I think that Firestorm is a superior card for wiping out threats efficiently, Lava Dart is better because it can be played at two different points in the game with functional equivalence.

Second, Rich Shay has been using Boseiju in Control Slaver and I think it may well be the best choice for that 60th card slot that I debated so much in the first article. I chose Engineered Explosives for the slot, but I think Boseiju will prove to be the stronger card.

Third, the value of Duress is growing in this metagame I think it would not be unwise to cut the third Psychatog for a third Duress. If you try the Duress and don’t like it, then run the fourth Cunning Wish instead. But in the current metagame either card is strong.

Finally, and I don’t know how this slipped my mind, Skeletal Scrying is another card you should test for that 60th card slot. Scrying is surprisingly strong in the deck as it is so flexible and has amazing synergy with Cunning Wish which is more important in the early and midgame than the actual Tog.

End Aside

Doomsday is a strong choice right now. The restriction of Trinisphere removes the primary threat to the combo from this deck. Almost every single hate card that exists has been designed around. That is, my team designed the deck to be able to win under the most dire of circumstances. In this article I’m going to show you how to make a Doomsday stack with Null Rod, Chalice of the Void and other hosers in play. However, it is not possible to win under Trinisphere. That problem no longer exists. For those of you who have no clue what the Doomsday deck is about, read this article.

Before we get into the heart of the matter: learning to play this deck better, let me throw up my updated list:

Meandeck Doomsday For Post-3Sphere Environment

3 Island

1 Swamp

2 Flooded Strand

4 Polluted Delta

4 Underground SEa

1 Mox Sapphire

1 Mox Jet

1 Black Lotus

1 Lotus Petal

1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

4 Dark Ritual

2 Cabal Ritual

1 Chromatic Sphere

4 Doomsday

1 Necropotence

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Timetwister

2 Rebuild

1 Gush

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Mind’s Desire

1 Mystical Tutor

4 Force of Will

4 Brainstorm

4 Duress

4 Unmask

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Tendrils of Agony

1 Beacon of Destruction

I will explain the card choices and my testing later.

The first thing I want to say at the outset is that Doomsday is not a deck for people who can’t play without total control of the game. This is a deck built upon calculated, but borderline suicidal, risks. There is something inherent in the deck that wants it to win as much as there is something, which I cannot identify, which wants Meandeck Tendrils to lose. So trust.

How? The most important thing I can impart to you is that your testing methodology should be one rooted in and built upon matches. If you play long streaks of games, you will not be getting a sense of how this deck actually plays in a match. In order to play Doomsday, you need two skills. First, you need a very good risk barometer. This comes from some solid playtesting. Second, you need to be able to problem solve creatively in a short period of time. This skill will begin by printing out this article, stapling it together and reading it over dinner, in the morning, before bed or wherever. Read through it and problem solve along with me.

The single biggest mistake I hear from people playing Doomsday is the claim that Tendrils of Agony is bad in the deck. If you are not using Tendrils to win 50% of your games, either you are not playing the deck correctly or your field is not very strong.

T1 is no longer the joke it once was. Most games worth playing involve each player trying to smash the opponent to bits and each player trying to get their final components online before their opponent does. You will be disrupted. The difference between this deck and Meandeck Tendrils is that you will be disrupting the hell out of your opponents as well. You have Force of Will, Unmask and Duress – 12 solid disruption spells that protect your combo and your bombs. Once you recognize that you will be disrupted, you need to also realize that you will need to construct Doomsday stacks under less than optimal circumstances.

Moreover, and this is equally important, the actual stack you choose will change depending upon what you have in your hand. You will likely have one component of your Doomsday stack in hand and as a result, you need to not just build your stack around what is in your hand but constantly evaluate whether you can do better – whether there is an optimal stack.

Take the so-called-standard Stack:

||Library Top||

1) Ancestral Recall

2) Black Lotus

3) Dark Ritual

4) Mind’s Desire

5) Beacon of Destruction

||Library Bottom||

How does this win? You Ancestral into Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, and Mind’s Desire. You play the Ritual and the Lotus and cast Mind’s Desire with storm count 4 or more. Then the first desire copy resolves and finds Beacon. You cast it at instant speed and it shuffles back in before the second Desire copy resolves. This happens a total of four times for 20 damage.

The reason that people don’t like Tendrils of Agony is the same reason that people aren’t performing well with this deck – they haven’t gotten into the mode of thinking required to build unique Doomsday Stacks: the most crucial skill with this deck.

Here is an example from a tournament report one of my readers sent me from a round at Starcitygames Syracuse. The player shall remain anonymous to protect his dignity.

Game 1:

I embarrassed myself this game, but I’ll document it here anyway.

For the first time, I won the die roll.  I laid a Polluted Delta,

popped it for an Underground Sea, and Duressed him, seeing:

Cabal Coffers,
Rootbreaker Wurm, Verdant Force, Tainted Wood,

Corpse Dance, and Instill Energy.  I took the Instill Energy.

After a couple of turns, he cast Nourish, gaining 6 life.  This

really messed me up, since my combo is designed to deal exactly

20 damage, but I gave it a shot anyway.  Eventually, I thought I

had enough mana, and went for it.  I had Ancestral in my hand, so

I cast Dark Ritual, then Doomsday.  I built the following stack:

  Black Lotus

  Dark Ritual

  Chromatic Sphere (I needed a cantrip, since Ancestral was in hand)

  Mind’s Desire

  Beacon of Destruction

I cast Ancestral, drawing Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, Chromatic Sphere.

I dropped the Black Lotus, then cast the Dark Ritual for BBB.  I used

one B to cast Chromatic Sphere, then cracked the Lotus for UUU.  With

BBUUU, I needed to run one of the mana through the Sphere so I could

sacrifice it and draw the Mind’s Desire, but when I did that, I still

only had BBUUU in my pool, leaving me one mana short to cast Mind’s

Desire.  I fizzled, and died like a scrub.  🙁  I should have planned

it out better, but I didn’t want to be accused of delaying the game.

Next time, I’ll take my time and make sure of the kill.

He had to learn the hard way. But you won’t. The real problem he was having is that he was stuck in tunnel vision. He couldn’t imagine his way out of the standard Beacon kill. All he could think of was a small variation of the Ancestral, Ritual, Lotus, Desire for Beacon combo.

Learning to Build non-ideal Doomsday Stacks

Since the primary skill with the deck is learning to play the deck under pressure and under non-ideal circumstances, this article is dedicated toward advancing your game with Doomsday by getting you to think like a Doomsday player should think. Toward that end I’ve constructed seventeen unique Doomsday stacks for this article that should be used to solve different problems. Let’s begin with simple problems. What happens if you have one of the “standard” combo components already in hand?

Mind’s Desire in Hand

Suppose you are holding Mind’s Desire. What do you do Doomsday for? What pile do you make? Your pile is now one card short of what you wanted. Of course you could delay you win one turn, but that is bad if it can be avoided. Why give your opponent one more chance to draw into more cards that will draw more cards that will kill you by stopping your combo?

In this case, it’s a relatively simple matter. Just add one more card that will up the storm count.

1) Ancestral Recall

2) Black Lotus

3) Dark Ritual

4) Dark Ritual (can be practically any card)

5) Beacon of Destruction

Ancestral Recall in Hand

What happens if you are holding Ancestral Recall instead when you resolve Doomsday? Now your Doomsday stack becomes a little more complex. You have an opportunity to flex your creative muscles beginning with a comparatively simple problem (wait until you see what else you may have to figure out): how do you win when you will only see the top three cards with Ancestral Recall – leaving two cards unrevealed?

Think about it for a minute.

Visualize and consider the situation:

Hand: Ancestral Recall

|| Top of Library||






||Library Bottom||

Solving these problems are really complex mental mindbenders. It is difficult not just because you have so many options, but because you have so many end points.

There is one more obvious solution (one that took me at least 20 minutes to come across):

1) Black Lotus

2) Dark Ritual

3) Mind’s Desire

4) Beacon of Destruction

5) Tendrils of Agony

The very first time I stumbled onto this I felt like a genius because it combines the two win conditions in a non-intuitive way. It’s not intuitive because generally problem solving with this deck begins by assuming either the Beacon kill or the Tendrils kill. Once you have decided on a kill, then you work backwards and try to construct a pile using that kill. Using both win conditions is anomalous. The difficulty of figuring this out now pales in comparison to the problems that my team and I have solved. Playing Doomsday really can feel more like a mental mindbender than Magic. This solution is elegant because you can reveal the Tendrils and play the Beacon plenty of times and end up with lots and lots of damage. You can do up to 31 damage with this play.

This is probably the simplest solution, but it by no means the only solution.

Look ma, a puzzle!

The General Approach

This is a good point for me to discuss general approach. Since winning with Doomsday requires that you optimize even under the most difficult of situations, the approach I use is this:

Separate out all the potential combo parts that are used in the deck:

Beacon of Destruction,

Tendrils of Agony,

Brainstorm *2,

Ancestral Recall,



Chromatic Sphere,

Yawgmoth’s Will,

Mind’s Desire,

Black Lotus,

Dark Ritual *2,

Lion’s Eye Diamond,

Lotus Petal,


Separate these cards out in testing and try to imagine how these puzzle pieces can fit together into the optimal Doomsday stack. In fact, if you are reading through this article with the deck in front of you, pull out those cards. That’s 14 unique cards for a total of 542160 permutations. Like I said, the best starting place is to narrow your options by imagining one kill: either Beacon or Tendrils and then once you think you have finished analyzing all the possibilities with one of the kills, move on to the other and compare them before deciding which you choose.

Returning to the example at hand, with your cards in front of you, what are some other solutions? We have already done the Beacon kill, let’s narrow the analysis by assuming that we are looking for a Tendrils kill.

My favorite card in the whole deck is Gush. This a deck that breaks Gush perhaps more than any other deck in the format currently does (given the sad state of GroAtog). When looking for Doomsday solutions, one of the first cards I turn to is Gush.

The only other stack I put in primer article was the “Gush” stack. It’s the stack that you construct when you have Gush in hand:

1) Ancestral

2) Black Lotus/LED

3) Lion’s Eye Diamond/ Black Lotus

4) Yawgmoth’s Will

5) and Tendrils of Agony

You Gush into Ancestral and Black Lotus (can be Lion’s Eye Diamond). Then you Ancestral into the remaining three cards and play them all and Yawgmoth’s Will and then play them all again and win.

It looks like this:

1) Gush (Storm count 1) drawing Ancestral and LED. If you are not tapped out, tap your lands first. If you have not played a land, play one and tap it.

2) Play Lion’s Eye Diamond and Ancestral Recall breaking LED in response for BBB (storm count 3) drawing Black Lotus, Yawgmoth’s Will and Tendrils of Agony

3) Play Black Lotus and sacrifice it for UUU. (Storm count 4)

4) If you have enough mana because you had lands untapped, play Tendrils first, otherwise you need to have played one other spell and then Yawgmoth’s Will. If you can’t play Tendrils at this point, you will need one more storm in order to get 20 damage. Playing a Mox would do it. But basically, we are assuming that you have one free mana to play Tendrils. The Tendrils is for 10 damage. Then you play Yawgmoth’s Will. Storm count six.

5) replay LED and Lotus and sacrifice them: UUUBBBBBB floating.

6) Ancestral your opponent if you need storm

7) play Tendrils for a total of 30 or so damage this turn.

Returning to the issue under discussion, if you have Ancestral Recall in hand, then setting up a Gush pile that is a variant of the above hand is perfectly legitimate. It might look like this:

1) Black Lotus

2) Lion’s Eye Diamond

3) Gush

4) Yawgmoth’s Will

5) Tendrils of Agony

It’s the same basic principle. You can make it work easily with one additional storm. If you have no other storm, then you can’t use the Gush to replay a land. Here’s how it might work:

1) play Ancestral Recall drawing Lotus, LED, and Gush

2) Play LED, Lotus, and Gush and respond by sacrificing the Lion’s Eye Diamond NOW. If you don’t, this thing won’t work. BBB floating. Storm Count is four.

3) Sacrifice Lotus and play Yawg Will. Storm Count 5.

4) replay Lotus and Led and sacrifice them for a total of BBB BBB UUU floating. Storm Count 7.

5) Ancestral your opponent. BBBBBBUU floating. Storm count 8.

6) replay Doomsday. Storm count 9.

7) Tendrils for 20.

There are several other stacks you could compose. See if you can think of them.

Beacon in Hand

At one time I would have just written off most games where you draw Beacon. My view on the matter has changed considerably. Let us go through a few examples:

When you are holding Beacon and nothing else of significance, you must go for the tendrils kill.

If you are holding two cards, what can you do?

Visualize it:

Your Hand:

Beacon of Destruction, Unknown card

||Library Top||






|| Library Bottom||

It took me about 15 minutes, but I came up with a hand that wins next turn if you have another card in your hand with Beacon:


1) Brainstorm,

2) LED/ Dark Ritual (depending on how much free mana you will have)

3) Black Lotus

4) Yawg Will

5) Mind’s Desire

How it works:

1) Draw Brainstorm and play it drawing LED, Lotus, and Yawg Will and put back the Beacon and the other card

2) play Led, Lotus and Yawg Will. Play Will and respond by sacrificing LED.

3) replay Lotus and LED and break them. BBBRRRUUU floating

4) replay Brainstorm drawing the Desire

5) play Desire and reveal Beacon a lot of times – don’t worry, Yawg Will won’t remove it from game. Yawg Will and Beacon are replacement effects.

But what if you are holding just Beacon? I could find no solution for the turn after you played Doomsday, but after thinking long and hard, I did come up with a solution for two turns after you played Doomsday:

Your pile using Desire must be this:

1) Tendrils

2) Brainstorm

3) Ritual

4) Lotus

5) Desire

Step One: draw the Tendrils card

Step Two: Draw the brainstorm

Step Three: play brainstorm and put back Tendrils and Beacon on bottom

Step Four: play Ritual, Lotus, Desire and reveal Beacon and Tendrils

If you reveal Tendrils first, you Beacon three times for a very lethal storm count.

Unfortunately, this takes two turns. But it is the only one I can think of with only Beacon in hand.

If you have a card you can sacrifice from play like Chromatic Sphere or Lotus Petal or even Black Lotus or LED, your pile can change dramatically because you can use Timetwister to win. The key is getting seven cards into your graveyard and hand. But the 5 in the DDay pile, the DDay itself, and the Beacon is not enough because one of the cards in the DDay pile is Twister so you will die after casting Timetwister because you will only have six cards in your library.

Or, you could set up this pile if you want to go for the Tendrils kill:

1) Ancestral,

2) LED,

3) Lotus

4) Yawg Will,

5) Tendrils

Step One: Draw Ancestral

Step Two: Draw LED on the following turn

Step Three: play LED

Step Four: Play Ancestral response break LED for BBB

Discard Beacon

Step Five: Play Lotus and break it for BBB. BBBBBB floating

Step Six: tap your other land. BBBBBBB floating

Step Seven: play tendrils for 8 damage

Step Eight: play Yawg Will

Step Nine: replay LED and Lotus and break them for BBBBBB – now you have six mana floating and play Tendrils again for 16 more damage for a total of 24 life this turn.

There is enough total mana to play Beacon, but not without discarding Tendrils and removing it from game under Yawg Will.

The other way to set it up using Beacon is this:

1) Tendrils

2) Ancestral

3) LED

4) Black Lotus

5) Yawg Will

Step One: draw Tendrils

Step Two: draw Ancestral the following turn

Step Three: play Ancestral (storm count one)

Drawing LED, Lotus, and Yawg Will

Step Four: play LED and Lotus (storm count two and three)

Step Five: play Yawg Will, in response break LED discarding Tendrils and Beacon – BBB floating

Step Six: replay LED and Lotus and break them for BBBRRR for a total of BBBBBBRRR (storm count is six)

Step Seven: play Beacon from graveyard for a total of 5 damage sending them to 15 (storm count seven)

Step eight: play Tendrils for 16 damage for a total of 21 damage this turn. You should also have the one mana from your land you can use to play Ancestral before hand to up your count even more.

See if you can come up with a better kill with only Beacon in hand and five cards in your library, since you played DDay last turn.

What do you do if you only have one mana and Force of Will back up after DDay? Say your hand is: Rebuild and FoW and your opponent’s hand is nothing and you Dday’d last turn and you only have one Sea. What do you do?

You can wait one turn and then win but can you win now?

If you have Tendrils in hand:

1) Ancestral Recall

2) Black Lotus

3) LED

4) Chromatic Sphere

5) Yawgmoth’s Will

One common question is: how can I win now without passing the turn?

The Brainstorm Doomsday Stack

This is the stack you construct when you have Brainstorm in hand. These stacks are very important to any serious Doomsday player. Brainstorm is the most common card you will have that will enable you to win before passing the turn after playing Doomsday.

There are two variables that require us to change our potential hands: 1) number of cards in hand in addition to Brainstorm and 2) the total mana available

Zero Cards, Three Mana (that is, zero cards in hand in addition to Brainstorm, and three mana available – the “standard” Brainstorm solution):

Ancestral Recall

Black Lotus

Dark Ritual

Mind’s Desire


It’s the same as the “standard” plan except it costs one more mana. That play costs a total of three mana. Often you won’t have the luxury of having three mana.

What if you have only two mana up or less?

One Card, Two Mana (that means two total mana available and one additional card in hand before playing Brainstorm):

Ancestral Recall

Black Lotus




Brainstorm into Ancestral Recall, Black Lotus, and LED. Put back Lotus and Misc. card that you were holding.



Misc Card



Play LED and Ancestral response break LED. BBB floating. Lotus, Misc. and Desire. Play the Lotus and Desire for five revealing Beacon 5 times.

Two Cards, One Mana (that means two cards in addition to Brainstorm and only the mana to play Brainstorm is needed):

Lion’s Eye Diamond

Black Lotus

Yawgmoth’s Will

Mind’s Desire

Beacon of Destruction

You Brainstorm drawing LED, Lotus and Will and put back two cards. There are now four cards in your library. Play LED, Lotus, and Will and replay LED and Lotus and sacrifice them. You have BBBBBBUUU floating if you’ve done it right. Your storm count is six. Now replay the Brainstorm seeing the two cards you put back but now you see the Mind’s Desire. Desire with storm count eight so you will see the two other cards you put back and Beacon five times for the win. This pile is counterintuitive because not many piles actually involve Will and Beacon.

So far I’ve shown you the following solutions:

Zero Cards, Three Mana

One Card, Two Mana

Two Cards, One Mana

But is there a solution in between? Is there a solution with one card and one mana? The answer is yes, but it is much riskier than the One card, Two Mana solution that I already found.

The only One card, One Mana solution I could find was the Twister Plan.

The Twister Plan involves a library that looks like this:


Black Lotus

Lion’s Eye Diamond

Yawgmoth Will

Tendrils of Agony

Here is how it will go down:

Play Brainstorm drawing Twister, Lotus, and LED. Put back your Misc. card and LED. Play Lotus and then Twister. Your library will be: Doomsday, Brainstorm, Lotus, LED, Yawg Will, Tendrils, and Misc card. Your Storm count is 3. Play Lotus and LED and then Yawg Will respond by breaking the LED. Replay the LED and Lotus and sacrifice them. Your storm is eight and your mana is BBBBBBUUU. Replay the Doomsday and then Tendrils for a storm count of 10. Amazingly enough, it works.

I’ll talk more about the twister plan later in the article. Suffice to say it requires a lot of careful thought. It is easy to mess up. Also, it requires that you probably need 2 cards in hand unless you have a Petal or some other sacrificable card in play. If you have say a card like Lotus Petal in play, then you can Twister with just one card in hand and make full use of the LED and Lotus mana at the same time. More on that later.

Yeah, no idea what this image is...

The Chalice Doomsday

One of the best parts about Doomsday is its resilience to hate. If you think long and hard enough you can come up with a solution to almost anything. I realize I’m probably going above and beyond the call of duty in doing that in this article, but it is best to be as comprehensive as possible.

What happens if there is a Chalice in play for zero? Ideally, your plan is to simply use one of your two Rebuilds. But it isn’t a lost cause. There are several scenarios in which you can just go for it.

If you are holding Ancestral Recall, make the following stack:

1) Ritual,

2) Ritual,

3) Chromatic Sphere,

4) Yawg Will,

5) Tendrils of Agony

You play Ancestral and then: Ritual, Ritual, Sphere, breaking it to draw the Will. Play the will and replay the Rituals and the Sphere. Use the Sphere to draw the Tendrils and win.

One good answer to Chalice 0 is simply to get some lands into play. Once you have four lands or so you can play Desire off of Rituals and have enough land to tap for the blue.

Null Rod Doomsday

The answer to Null Rod is the same. It isn’t that difficult to get four lands into play. Particular with a deck with so many basics and so much disruption.

Four lands enable you to make the following stack:

Ancestral Recall

Dark Ritual

Dark Ritual

Mind’s Desire

Beacon of Destruction

You need one mana for Ancestral, one Black for Ritual chain and two Blue for Desire for a total of four lands. Usually this deck has no trouble finding three lands. The trick will be to get the fourth into play – which may be a race, but it will be a good game regardless.

Chalice of the Void @ 1

Chalice of the Void at one is the biggest threat to this deck now that Trinisphere is restricted. Sphere of Resistance isn’t even as dangerous because Chalice one makes it nearly impossible to use your cantrips to find Rebuild.

There is no single best way to beat Chalice at one. There are about five different approaches that, like everything in this deck, depend upon the game state and your board/hand.

The obviously optimal way to answer it is Rebuild. Barring that, let’s examine some other ways to beat it:

Cabal Ritual will be important at getting you to win. If you can get the game to go long enough, Cabal Rituals + Yawgmoth’s Will can lead to an easy win with Tutors and Tendrils despite Chalice 1 in play. However, if you can’t get that far into the game one solution is Timetwister plan. Now is a good time to go into the Timetwister plan since it is a solid solution to Chalice at 1.

The Chalice Twister Plan

The Twister plan is the hardest to properly execute. This plan comes into play when you need to win with Tendrils but you don’t have enough storm to do it.


Black Lotus

Lion’s Eye Diamond

Yawgmoth’s Will

Tendrils of Agony

This is just one sample of a potential Twister hand. The trick will be to get three more storm while you Twister, LED, Lotus, Will, Led, Lotus, Tendrils. This Twister cannot be done unless you have at least two other cards in hand when you play the Twister because you will want to be sure that you draw exactly seven cards. It’s easy to mess this up because Doomsday will be in your graveyard (which you can use to up your storm) and because Timetwister itself goes to the graveyard. If you are short of cards you will die upon Twister resolution from not having enough cards in library.

The situations changes dramatically depending upon how many lands you have in play, whether you have something like Gush and other similar factors.

Interestingly, if your hand is rather full, you may well be able to set up the hardest Doomsday pile. You need to Twister with exactly four additional cards in hand. Then you will have a ten-card library which you can use to draw 7, Brainstorm Beacon back if you have it and then play the Desire kill with Beacon. The actual stack is not dissimilar to the stacks we have already examined.

The Timetwister stacks are further complicated by cards like Lotus Petal, Black Lotus, Chromatic Sphere or any card at all that ends up in the graveyard after you have resolved Doomsday.

Arcane Laboratory and Trinisphere

This is why we play with Force of Will. You can’t beat either card game one.

The Necro Plan is the Best Solution to Any Threat

It should have been said at the outset but it will make more sense now. Necropotence is the card you want to see every game. The strongest way to win is basically the Necro TPS plan. If you can, try to play Necro. Then Necro aggressively as if you will win next turn. You can’t do this if you played turn one Necro because you probably won’t have enough acceleration, but more than two turns should never elapse before you win with Necro. Also, unless your grip is chock full of goodies, don’t Necro for less than nine.

Your game plan with Necro is simple, but it is not the Beacon kill. Your game plan is to tutor up Yawgmoth’s Will, replay Rituals and accelerants and then tutor up Tendrils and resolve it. Necro is so strong because it enables you to beat almost any threat. Chalice for 0? Who cares. I’ll find Rebuild or just Ritual you would.

You can even play Doomsday after Necroing and use a Brainstorm or whatnot to finish them now.

Now I’ve given you thirteen unique Doomsday hands to hopefully provide you with an idea of how truly flexible the deck can be. The biggest problem with this deck is identifying the optimal Doomsday hand at an odd time and having to do it in a reasonable amount of time. You may not be able to even resolve a Brainstorm until you have completely figured out your Doomsday stack.

Explaining the Decklist

Immediately upon restriction I put together a list with Xantid Swarm. The deck was not better. I consider Xantid Swarm to be an enormously powerful card in the format, but the problem is that too many disruption spells that Doomsday is concerned about aren’t even countermagic. Cards listed in this article are a serious concern. Xantid Swarm only goes so far. The addition of green didn’t tax the mana base as much as you might think. Unmask is just a stronger card, strangely enough. The disruption you do to the opponent is something that I realize Doomsday really thrives off of because it slows the games down so much. Xantid Swarm doesn’t directly attack anything in the way that Unmask does by taking an offensive weapon away from them.

I also tested Defense Grid, which I consider to be strong. However, since this deck only has two Moxen, Defense Grid is best in the board, where it should stay.

I have provided seventeen unique Doomsday stacks and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. If you run into someone who tries to tell you that Tendrils of Agony doesn’t belong in the deck, you should set the straight.

Hopefully this deck has emphasized the incredible variability in Doomsday stacks. Your stack should be specifically designed for your current state. Memorizing the various Doomsday stacks I’ve come up with here (all seventeen unique stacks) isn’t nearly as important as picking up the skill – the mode of thinking and approach – to doomsday stack building. Once you get really good at building Doomsday stacks, then playing this deck will become very simple. The deck will then be nothing more than playing lands, Duresses, and Brainstorms. Even if Doomsday isn’t your deck of choice, it can be a real skill workout learning how to build optimal Doomsday hands.

If you have any questions, ask in the thread to this article and I’ll do my best to respond. Finally, I’ll award a prize to someone who builds a better Doomsday stack to the problems I’ve set out than I did.

Until next week,

Stephen Menendian

Steve dot Menendian at gmail dot com