The Doomsday Device: The Coolest Win Condition In Magic

There were good arguments for unrestricting Doomsday. Doomsday combo would seem to be no faster than Worldgorger Dragon, which everyone agrees is “fair combo.” I figured, however, that with the Type One card pool, it only takes one truly inspired set of five cards to break the living hell out of it… And so we looked through the Dojo archives to find inspiration. Barely a week had passed when JP showed probably the most elegant win condition ever conceived: Doomsday for Ancestral Recall, Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, Mind’s Desire, and Beacon of Destruction.

I was full of fear and loathing when the DCI announced the unrestriction of Doomsday. Doomsday, Regrowth, and Channel were three cards that JP Meyer wanted unrestricted. Each of these cards scared me. Channel has proven to be a powerhouse in Belcher, and Regrowth would be broken in a deck designed to recur Ancestral Recall.

Doomsday was the iffiest. I am gung-ho for unrestricting cards that don’t deserve to be on the restricted list; in March of last year, I wrote Wizards R&D member Aaron Forsythe a letter arguing for the unrestriction of Fork, Berserk, and Recall. All three are now unrestricted and caused no problems, despite the scare with Berserk.

Doomsday is a card of a different stripe. There were good arguments for unrestricting Doomsday. Prima Facie (a legal term for “on the face of it”) Doomsday combo would seem to be no faster than Worldgorger Dragon, which everyone agrees is “fair combo.” I figured, however, that with the Type One card pool, it only takes one truly inspired set of five cards to break the living hell out of it.

When it was unrestricted I asked my teammates to brainstorm what might be the best cards to get. We looked at the Dojo archives to find inspiration. Barely a week had passed when JP showed probably the most elegant win condition ever conceived:

||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 four or more. Then the first Desire copy resolves, finding 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 twenty damage.

We knew we had struck gold. It was pretty clear that Mind’s Desire plus Beacon of Destruction was one of those combos that was never intended to exist together. We agreed to keep this top secret and began figuring out how to build the deck around it. JP Meyer detailed this in his article on the deck.

Something happened that completely stopped our development of the deck. Doug Linn was testing the deck at his local card store when one of the guys at the store, Jon Patch, told Kleppinger, who told Ben Kowal of Team Short Bus about the deck. We were very upset about our security leak and realized that we could no longer play the deck because the Short Bus would know about it and it would lose its surprise effect. Fortunately, we had another deck in development – and with the printing of Forbidden Orchard, we had something else to work on for The StarCityGames Power Nine II. For that reason we played Oath of Druids at SCG II with the intention on playing it at SCG P9 III, hoping that people had forgotten about it or that not enough Short Bus members would be there to spoil our surprise.

Unfortunately, David Allen posted the deck on the Mana Drain.com and we were sunk. I didn’t want to play against Doomsday either, so we had JP quickly write up the article that we had partly completed and get it out there so that no one else would think about playing it.

So where did that leave us?

We were in a unique situation. We knew what the metagame for GenCon and SCG II would look like… But we had never played type One in Chicago before and didn’t really know what people would bring. We looked at some of the small T1 tournament results from the area and found lots of Mishra’s Workshop decks.

That was upsetting. We had a revised Workshop Slavery list and Stax deck that used Seal of Cleansings and Aura Fracture because we figured, correctly, that Oath would be the most prevalent deck at SCG III. Stax, therefore, was out of the question because it was strongest in a field with few to no Workshops. Having to get lucky against Workshop Aggro was not appealing, and it still wasn’t good enough against our Oath deck. Our Workshop Slavery list was right on the money… But too inconsistent. So that was out.

We had few options left. In our testing of Meandeck Oath, there was one thing we were really scared of: Platinum Angel. We were pleased that most Workshop players and Mindslaver decks did not have Platinum Angel. In our testing of Control and Gothenburg Slaver lists, only decks that were completely modeled after Rich Shay list had Platinum Angel. With Platinum Angel, the Control Slaver lists with Accumulated Knowledges had a favorable matchup against our Oath deck in our testing. Without Platinum Angel, Oath had the favorable matchup. We really felt like the deck was too broken to pass up, and so we decided we would play Gothenburg Slaver for SCG III.

And yet you might ask: what is Gothenburg Slaver?

In July, the Swedes played a very interesting Slaver variant that we immediately fell in love with. We were mystified that no one else discovered it. The Slaver lists that Oberg and his friend played were untuned as far as we were concerned, and so we went about tuning it and it only took a few weeks to finish the deck.

Gothenburg Slaver is disgusting because it has two draw engines, not just one. The rough outline of the deck is:

Turn 1:


Turn 2:

Mox, Land, Intuition for Accumulated Knowledges

Turn 3:

Accumulated Knowledge for three and Accumulated Knowledge for four.

Turn 4:

Intuition for Mindslaver, Mindslaver, Pentavus or Intuition for Mana Crypt, Black Lotus, and Time Walk for your next turn:

Turn 5:

Yawgmoth’s Will.

Intuition was clearly ridiculous in a deck like this as it has so many purposes. Here was the deck we were testing internally during the summer:

“Goth” Slaver

4 Intuition

4 Accumulated Knowledge

4 Brainstorm

4 Thirst for Knowledge

3 Goblin Welder

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Mind Twist

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Pentavus

2 Mindslaver

4 Mana Drain

4 Force of Will

4 Volcanic Island

2 Underground Sea

5 Fetchlands

4 Island

1 Library of Alexandria

5 Moxen

1 Black Lotus

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt

1 Mana Vault

We didn’t use Tinker because we felt that Intuitions were stronger and there was no room for Fact of Fiction. We didn’t play with four Welders because this was a Yawgmoth’s Will deck.

You might ask: If this was so good, why didn’t we play this during the summer? We decided to shelve the deck until the right moment for several reasons.

First, despite the insanely cool draw engine, we didn’t feel that this deck was actually better than the Psychatog deck. We felt that the deck was very close to Tog, but for some reason, Deep Analysis was better than Thirst for Knowledge because the Slaver deck’s hand would get clogged with expensive uncastable artifacts. So although it was a close call, we played Tog at the Central Coast Championships and the SCG P9 I. That was clearly the wrong decision, as the only player on our team to not play Tog was Doug Linn – who took “Goth” Slaver and cut the Slavers for Darksteel Titans. And he made the Top 8 with it.

Well, we thought it was time to break this out again, except this time with Platinum Angel for the reasons I’ve already been through. We put in Tinker because of Platinum Angel against Oath, although we didn’t expect it to be very good against Combo or many other decks relative to Intuition #4.

The final question was whether to adopt our teammate Matthieu Durand suggested changes of using Crucible of Worlds and Darksteel Citadel to get an infinite Slaver lock instead of Pentavus. He argued that if you play with Strip Mine and use Intuition, you will win more random games with the Crucible build than with a Pentavus in those slots.

Therefore, we all agreed to play this deck at SCG III:

Goth Slaver

4 Accumulated Knowledge

3 Intuition

4 Thirst for Knowledge

4 Brainstorm

3 Goblin Welder

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Time Walk

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Fact or Fiction

1 Tinker

1 Platinum Angel

2 Mindslaver

1 Crucible of Worlds

4 Mana Drain

4 Force of Will

4 Volcanic Island

1 Underground Sea

5 Fetchland

5 Island

1 Strip Mine

1 Darksteel Citadel (which we chose over Seat of the Synod after some debate)

5 Moxen

1 Black Lotus

1 Sol Ring

1 Mana Crypt


3 Engineered Explosives

3 Rack and Ruin

3 Old Man of the Sea

2 Lava Dart

2 Sphere of Resistance

2 Aether Spellbomb

I’ll explain the choices: Spellbomb is for Dragon and Oath, and can be discarded to Thirst for Knowledge. Engineered Explosives is to deal with Ground Seal.

As of last Thursday, I was definitely going to play Goth Slaver. On the drive up, Doug and I did some testing – and despite my testing the previous week, I had a bad feeling about it. I think the deck is really broken, but I felt that it might have been too difficult to navigate to the top 8 with this deck, since it has really too few surprises. I sleeved up Suicide Virus and played some games against Fish in the back of the Bushman Van with Doug – and lo and behold, Mike Long’s Suicide Virus was running over everything but died to Trinisphere.

Late that night I decided I’d just have fun and run Doomsday that we had tested and tuned over a month ago. I’d told Doug, Joe and Kevin that I’d let them pwn this tournament while I scrubbed. We hadn’t touched the Doomsday deck in over a month – but it was heavily tuned when we last touched it, so I was happy.

The only problem is that Doomsday is extremely difficult to play. I’ll give you the deck, and then I’ll explain why:

4 Doomsday

3 Island

1 Swamp

4 Polluted Delta

2 Flooded Strand

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

1 Necropotence

1 Yawgmoth’s Will

1 Timetwister

1 Lim-Dul’s Vault

1 Gush

1 Ancestral Recall

1 Time Walk

1 Mind’s Desire

1 Mystical Tutor

4 Force of Will

1 Hurkyl’s Recall

4 Brainstorm

4 Duress

4 Unmask

1 Vampiric Tutor

1 Demonic Tutor

1 Tendrils of Agony

1 Beacon of Destruction


3 Old Man of the Sea

3 Back to Basics

3 Energy Flux

3 Defense Grid

2 Null Rod

1 Chain of Vapor

First of all, this deck is a great deck for the format because it is easily playable with five proxies. If you got into Type One because you can play Fish with five proxies, this is the deck for you. People shouldn’t be forced to play with Null Rod; if you want to enjoy Type One, you need to play with broken cards. This deck is my team’s gift to the powerless.

Let me explain the difficulties and nuances with the deck a bit beyond what JP has already said in his article.

The biggest difficulty with this deck is that the game compresses into one big play. If you are on turn 1 and go, land, Brainstorm, and your hand has both Dark Ritual and Doomsday, then you have to figure out right now what you are going to Doomsday for next turn, because it will affect which cards you are going to put back with Brainstorm. This is the most stressful part of the deck. This is complicated by the fact that you only get the standard combo about 40% of the time. You shouldn’t view Doomsday as having a single combo because of this fact: You will want to get different cards for different situations.

For example, if you have Gush in hand, you’ll want to stack the deck this way:



Lion’s-Eye Diamond

Yawgmoth’s Will


That way you win immediately instead of having to pass a turn. One of the best things I discovered in testing is that if you try hard enough, you can find a win for the most difficult situations. Another unusual win is putting both Beacon and Tendrils in the Doomsday pile.

Once you get comfortable with the Doomsdays, then you will be ready to play the deck – since the game plan is otherwise quite straightforward.

So with the deck ready to go, we decided before the tournament to play some practice games to take the shakes out and get us in the mindset. We got some food and played a few test games. I was having trouble figuring out the best set of five cards to get with Doomsday, when Kevin only took moments to find some awesome combo. I was having second thoughts – but it was too late now.

We arrived at the tournament site and it was overflowing with people. A hundred and forty-two players had signed up for the Type One tournament and we were off to the races:

Round One: Ben Perry, with Dragon Combo

I won the die roll and we shuffle and I drew: Underground Sea, Fetchland, Mox Sapphire, Black Lotus, Duress, Vampiric Tutor, And Doomsday.

I broke Fetchland for Swamp and played Duress, seeing Xantid Swarm, Squee, Goblin Nabob, Underground Sea, Polluted Delta, Worldgorger Dragon, Worldgorger Dragon, And Lim-Dul’s Vault.

If I am playing Control, his game plan is pretty solid: Turn 1 Xantid Swarm and turn 2 Vault. I took the Vault and broke Lotus for Doomsday.

On his turn, he broke his Fetchland for Bayou and played Xantid Swarm. On my second turn, I drew Ancestral and comboed him out.

Game Two:

Ben played turn 1 Duress, taking my Vampiric Tutor – the only business spell in my deck! I Duressed him and saw Dragons and Bazaar of Baghdad, so I took the Animate spell. He played Bazaar, Mox, and comboed me out.

I watched him do it because I wanted to see his deck. I noticed he was using Chalice of the Void.

Game Three was pretty fast as well. I played Underground Sea and Brainstorm, putting back Beacon since I needed to get the Beacon back into my library. I knew that if he had Duress, he’d be able to take my only business spell, the Vampiric Tutor. The rest of my hand was disruption and mana acceleration. He played a Sea and played Duress, taking my Vampiric Tutor. I drew my top card and fetched out another Underground Sea.

I Duressed him back and saw Tropical Island, Mox Emerald, Compulsion, Intuition, Worldgorger Dragon, and Squee, Goblin Nabob.

This was a tough one, but it becomes obvious after some thought. If I take the Compulsion, he loses an outlet for his Dragon… But he can still play Intuition for Bazaar of Baghdad and presumably combo out the following turn. I then realized that if I take the Mox, he is dramatically slower. The best he can do next turn is play Compulsion, use it the following turn, and he will still be another turn away from winning.

I Brainstormed into Doomsday. On his second turn he played Compulsion, as I predicted. I untapped and played Doomsday.

He took his third turn and cycled the Dragon into nothing of use. I untapped and won.

Round Two: Dan Carp, with GroMask

He won the roll and elected to play. He mulliganed to six, and his opening play was Black Lotus, Mox, Mox. He then passed.

I Duressed and saw Duress, Mana Crypt, and Illusionary Mask. Whoa boy! My hand was Duress, Timetwister, Lotus Petal, Cabal Ritual, and Lands. I sure as hell don’t want to Timetwister, though, because he’ll get a new lease on life. As it stands, I just have to win before he can get two swings in with a Phyrexian Dreadnought. We played “draw, go” for a few turns when I topdecked a Doomsday. He played Mask and Dreadnought, but it was too late – I comboed him out.

Game Two:

My first hand was something like this: Force of Will, Force of Will, Duress, Dark Ritual, Unmask, Land, Land. Plenty of good stuff but no business. I think for a moment and mulligan to a fresh six of Lotus Petal, Necropotence, Time Walk, Duress, Timetwister and Yawgmoth’s Will.

I kept with reluctance and he played land, Duress taking my Lotus Petal. Fortunately, I topdecked an Unmask to take his best card. Unfortunately, he topdecked back, snagging a Necropotence and playing it, drawing six cards. Then he Duressed me. I drew Duress and Duressed him. He drew some more cards. We traded disruption back and forth, and when he was at three he Dark Ritualled into Yawgmoth’s Will, which I Force of Willed. He Necroed to one and was completely stalled. He had dropped Tormod’s Crypt and Crypted away the Duressed Yawgmoth’s Will and Mind’s Desire.

I had expected to lose this game and then clean him up game three. Fortunately for me, his Necro was clearly awful. He sideboarded in fourteen cards, almost all disruption, and brought in Quirion Dryads for Masks and Dreadnoughts.

He kept saying “Draw, Go” and I was doing the same – and then he said: “I’ll be frank – can you win?” I explained that I would play the Tendrils only when I had plenty of storm and mana so that he couldn’t Daze me. He scooped.

Round Three: Dan Pruitt, with U/R Fish

His decklist was identical to Marc Perez’s list from StarCityGames I.

We shuffled up and presented, and then I called the judge. Dan had heavily reflective sleeves. The judge finally arrived and told him to desleeve or buy new sleeves. Dan elected to buy new sleeves. The judge gave us an eight-minute extension and I helped Dan sleeve at his request.

Unfortunately, he has bought two different colors of sleeves. I called the judge over again. He had already taken ten minutes sleeving and how he was on his own time, since he had won the die roll. I requested that he not be disqualified. The judge gave him a game loss. We were instructed to go to game 2 without sideboarding.

His opening play was pretty weak. He played a fetchland and passed the turn. I played a Delta, which I broke for a Swamp and Duressed him. I took Force of Will and passed the turn back. He played Cloud of Faeries and then Spiketail Hatchling, which I Forced. I untapped and played a Strand for Island, then played Ritual, Ritual, Demonic Tutor, and contemplated whether to play Doomsday or Necropotence. I went for Necropotence – because that way, if he topdecked Null Rod or Force of Will, I would most likely be able to Force back… I was right. He topdecked Null Rod, which I Forced. I untapped, and just tutored for Yawgmoth’s Will, then replayed the Tutor to find Tendrils, which killed Dan.

Round Four: Josh Franklin, with Tog

I won the die roll. We shuffle and shuffle and my opponent mulligans to six. My hand is something like Land, Mox Jet, Ancestral Recall, Duress, Dark Ritual, Cabal Ritual, and Timetwister.

I play Ancestral and it resolves. I played Jet and Duressed him, seeing this hand: Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, Sol Ring, Island, Yawgmoth’s Will, And Cunning Wish.

I thought for a moment. I knew he was playing Tog, so it was likely he had Fact maindeck and only Vamp or Lim-Dul’s Vault in the sideboard. I decided to take Cunning Wish as he might be able to get Red Elemental Blast (which could be annoying for my Twister) or Fact or Fiction, which he could play. I’d rather him Will all that stuff back to waste his Will.

He does just that. He plays the Cunning Wish to find … Coffin Purge!

He wanted to remove my Ancestral from the game. My reluctance to play this deck because people would know how it played actually backfired on these people, since they assumed that I could only win with the standard combo. I laughed inside as he Purged the Ancestral.

At this point, there is no way in hell I was going to play the Twister – refilling my opponent’s hand was simply way to risky. So I decided I’d wait to try and draw a Doomsday. We played “land, go” for about five turns; at this point, I had all four Seas and one basic in play. I had used three fetchlands and I had two basics still in hand. Therefore, I knew that I had almost all good stuff left in my deck.

The moment came. He had no cards in hand but he draws Fact or Fiction. He moved to his second main phase, and played it. I hard-cast Force of Will and he played Mana Drain.

The Fact revealed Accumulated Knowledge, Accumulated Knowledge, Mox Emerald, Brainstorm, and Duress. After all that, he had only two Underground Seas untapped and he had already played his land for the turn.

I thought deeply. If I gave him AK and Brainstorm, it’s pretty obvious that he’ll probably take the hand that has the Mox because he could then play AK #2 and Duress, or AK #2 and Brainstorm. Either one is likely to be able to stop my Twister. I just want him to tap down so my Twister will win me the game. Therefore, I put Mox Emerald and Duress into one pile and the two AKs and Brainstorm into the other, making it impossible for him to take the Duress pile. He takes the AK pile.

I untapped and squealed as I drew Necropotence. I decide that this was definitely the card to take. I played Dark Ritual, Necropotence, and he tapped one of his two untapped Underground Sea to play Brainstorm. He put back two cards and Force of Willed my Necropotence, pitching AK. My choice was now obvious: I played Cabal Ritual, generating BBBBB and cast Timetwister. I drew a handful of amazingness and won immediately.

Game Two:

I drew the utter nuts. He played a land and passes the turn, whereas I dropped Sea and Duressed him, seeing Intuition, Force of Will, Psychatog, Cunning Wish, Fetchland, and another land.

I took Force of Will. He played a Fetchland and passed the turn.

I untap and played a land, then Brainstormed. I played Black Lotus, Dark Ritual, Defense Grid with BBB floating; he broke his fetchland and found a Volcanic Island. Defense Grid resolves. He is locked down. I played Doomsday, setting up: Ancestral Recall, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Yawgmoth’s Will, Black Lotus, Tendrils of Agony. I Gushed into Ancestral and Lion’s Eye Diamond. I use the floating Blue to play Ancestral and response by sacrificing the Lion’s Eye Diamond, floating BBB. I draw Yawgmoth’s Will, Tendrils, and Black Lotus. I sacced the Lotus for BBB, with BBBBBB floating. I played Yawgmoth’s Will and replayed the Lotus and the LED and Tendrils for the win – twenty-six damage.

At this point, I ran out of paper on my pad and my notes get sketchy.

Round Five: Jeremy, with 5/3

Jeremy reminds me of my roommate. He looked very similar and I immediately assumed that he thought like my old roommate – and as it turned out, he did!

He won the die roll, plays Gemstone Mine, and passes. I played a fetchland to find a Swamp and Duressed him, seeing: Thirst for Knowledge, Thirst for Knowledge, Thirst for Knowledge, Sundering Titan, Mishra’s Workshop, and Strip Mine. I had no choice but to take a Thirst.

I was a little frustrated because he topdecked a Mox and played the Strip Mine in order to cast Thirst.

I untapped and decide to go for it. There was a risk that one of his Thirsts will find Trinisphere after I Doomsdayed, but that risk is small. I Doomsday and he untapped, and topdecks… Tinker! How lucky! He Tinkers into Memory Jar and kills me since I only have five cards in my hand.

Game Two:

My notes are sketchy here, but I remember this was a very long and strenuous game. I won by using Doomsday into Timetwister with Doomsday in the graveyard, two Force of Wills in hand, and five cards in my library for a total of eight cards. I Timetwistered into some good stuff and played Gush, and Force of Will it just to get off a lethal Tendrils.

Game Three:

After we shuffled and resolved mulligans, there were only about ten minutes left in this match. I Duressed his Trinisphere and have to figure out how to Doomsday around his Strip Mine with the cards I have. Time is called. I tell the crowd that I am going to win on turn 5 (that way he’ll think that, too); fact is, I found a better Doomsday kill and killed him on turn 3.

I set the top five as Lion’s Eye Diamond, Black Lotus, Yawgmoth’s Will, Mind’s Desire, Beacon of Destruction. I Brainstormed the first three into my hand put two cards back. I play the Yawgmoth’s Will after LED and Lotus, leaving UUU floating. Then I replayed Brainstorm and cast Desire. The Beacon isn’t removed because Beacon has a replacement effect within a Yawgmoth’s Will turn. Because I am the active player, I choose which replacement effect wins. I confirmed this with the judge before going for it and winning.


Round Six: Brian Fischer, with 7/10 Split

As a result of my lack of notes, all I remember is this:

Game One:

I quickly comboed him out with Force of Will and Unmask to protect myself.

Game Two:

He had turn 1 Mox, Land, Chalice of the Void for one. I can’t find an answer, since I didn’t sideboard in Energy Flux.

Game Three:

My opening hand is something like this: Unmask, Dark Ritual, Fetchland,

Fetchland, Land, Ancestral Recall, and Beacon of Destruction. I Unmasked him, taking his best card. I break a fetchland for an Underground Sea and play Ancestral Recall. I drew Tendrils and two lands – the worst possible Ancestral.

He did nothing of consequence for several turns, and neither did I. Eventually, he Tinkered up Sundering Titan when I had nothing and it murders my two lands. Time was called. He swings for seven twice and on my final turn (turn 4) I played Tendrils for ten just to survive the next turn. He untapped, swung me down to five, and played Triskelion. He was two points away from winning. We draw.

I realized that I needed Energy Flux against his deck.


Round Seven: Roland Chang, with Stax

Roland is a friend of my team and a great guy. Because of his association with my team, he scoops because he is guaranteed top 8 and thereby guarantees me a spot. I did the exact same thing for my teammate Kevin Cron at GenCon, scooping to him at 6-0 so that he’d be guaranteed a spot. Being first in the Swiss has its perks!

Round Eight:

We drew into the top 8.

I am first seed and the only player with twenty points after round 8.

Quarter Finals: Clarence Li, with a very innovative build of U/W Fish, known as “Phish”

During round three, Clarence was sitting next to me. I shouldn’t say “sitting,” since there was no chair at his table and he was kneeling by it, trying to play his Fish deck. I offered him a chair, as there was a spare one nearby; he refused. I shrugged.

Clarence was clearly ecstatic to make the top 8. His joy was overwhelming his demeanor as giddy with happiness, he shuffled up for our match.

Again, I didn’t take notes, but I remember this pretty clearly.

I won the die roll. Again, my opponent mulliganed.

I laughed, giddy myself since my opening hand was Black Lotus, Mox Sapphire, Polluted Delta, Island, Swamp, Vampiric Tutor, Necropotence. I played a land, then Lotus, then Necropotence. It resolved, so I didn’t even need to Vamp… But I didn’t anyway. I should have Vamped for Yawgmoth’s Will, but I was stupid and didn’t.

I almost got Ancestral, but then I’d be trading two life for three cards – kind of a waste. Clarence took his turn, draw a card and Strip Mined my land. Then I won the next turn.

Game Two:

I sideboarded in three Old Men of the Sea and two Back to Basics for Lotus Petal, Chromatic Sphere, Lim-Dul’s Vault, and an Unmask.

He says, “Oh man, I almost forgot you play with Xantid Swarm – I may need these Swords to Plowshares.” I replied, “Dude, I play straight blue and black – no green in my deck.”

He asked, “Are you tricking me?”

“Dude, I don’t use Xantid Swarm.” Thank God he sided out those Plows because my Silver bullet is Old Man of the Sea.

He played first, laying a Tundra and passing the turn. I laid Delta, which I broke for an Island. I played Brainstorm and then Lion’s Eye Diamond. Clarence untapped and played Mishra’s Factory, Cloud of Faeries, and Null Rod.

I Unmasked him, seeing Spiketail Hatchling, Standstill, Curiosity, and an Island. I realize that he’d be able to play Standstill the next turn, so I Forced it. I played Vampiric Tutor on his endstep for Old Man of the Sea when my hand had Dark Ritual, Doomsday. I drew the Old Man, broke the last fetchland for another Island, and played the Old Man.

Clarence then played Spiketail Hatchling. I untapped and drew Duress. I played another fetchland for my fourth basic land. I Duressed him, seeing nothing of note. He went back and did nothing. I untapped and drew another Old Man. I played it, but he just topdecked Force of Will. Luckily, my next card was Demonic Tutor. I Tutored for a second Old Man, playing it the next turn, and Clarence scooped.

Top Four, Semi-Finals: Brian Fischer, with 7/10 Split

And here we are again. I won the die roll.

My opening hand was very strong – except that it only had one land. I played the Underground Sea and then Brainstorm. He played Mox, Mox, Island, Tinker – of course I had to Force of Will that! I untapped and play Dark Ritual, Duressing him. I saw Mishra’s Workshop, Triskelion, Mystical Tutor, and Thirst for Knowledge.

I took the Thirst for Knowledge because it seemed to be the same speed as Mystical. If I took the Mystical, he could topdeck a land and play Thirst, and potentially draw a Trinisphere or Chalice of the Void. If I take the Thirst, he can Mystical – losing his next draw step and then Ancestral the following turn for the same effect as the Thirst. I decide to take the Mystical, although it might have been the wrong call.

Whatever the case may be, I had strong control over this game. Only a terrible blunder would cause me to lose this game. 7/10 Split was based off of Workshop Slavery, a deck that my team developed last year and played in the early Spring. The deck is strong, but slow to get going. Mishra’s Workshop doesn’t have synergy with many of the deck’s parts, and therefore it requires certain draws to have stability.

However, I promptly proceeded to make the wrong play: Cabal Ritual off of the BB floating from the Dark Ritual, and then Doomsday.

Immediately, I realized my mistake. I decided to play Doomsday because I had the Rituals in my graveyard. I briefly forgot that Doomsday requires me to shuffle my graveyard into my library. With the lone Underground Sea, there is no set of cards that wins me the game. I tried to find something, but fail. Brian Tutored for Ancestral Recall and killed me with Ancestral.

I embarrassed myself that game in front of the crowd – but it had to happen some time. It wasn’t the fatigue that had gotten to me; I can play Type One magic for days on end. What had happened was that I just hadn’t played this deck enough recently – or enough, period. Aside from today, I hadn’t played Doomsday in a month.

I told Brian that I can still win this match, to which Brian said that he had to remain positive. I was absolutely determined to stay in the match and not let my mistake knock me out.

Game Two:

I decided to take no risks and boarded in Energy Fluxes. I boarded in three and my opening hand involves me going, Underground Sea, Brainstorm.

Before resolving Brainstorm, my hand included Energy Flux, Energy Flux, Energy Flux, Hurkyl’s Recall, Force of Will, Dark Ritual, Doomsday, and Black Lotus.

I put back Hurkyl’s and Flux and passed the turn. I can be so stupid.

Brian played Mishra’s Workshop and Trinisphere. I play Force of Will and he plays Force of Will as well. I curse myself for not playing the Black Lotus, as I would just drop Energy Flux with ease and he would lose his Trinisphere. Instead, I am unable to draw lands and Brian soon plays Titan, killing both of my lands and then Trikes to kill me.

I lose games that I should have won – and I drew three lands that whole match.

Once again, I was reminded how broken the Doomsday combo is and how difficult it is to hate out. People tried lots of various cards, but the deck is so versatile that numerous sets of five cards will win you the match.

That’s all I got, people. I met a lot of cool people at SCG III – and it was nice to meet everyone who introduced themselves. I had a blast and I hope you guys all had as much fun as I did.

Until next time, take care,

Stephen Menendian

You can reach me at steve dot menendian at gmail dot com