Just to be very clear on the purpose of this section: This does not consider the use of Mental Note or Unearth or any other dead cards that are vulnerable to graveyard hate. We use Laboratory Maniac together with the cards that we are already playing.

Laboratory Maniac serves as an alternative way to win within Doomsday storm combo. It is a win condition that doesn't target the opponent (Therefore playing around Leyline of Sanctity), doesn't involve casting noncreature spells with converted mana cost 4 or greater (Gaddock Teeg), and doesn't care about your opponent's life total. Because Laboratory Maniac is a creature, and needs to be in play when you draw from an empty library, he is vulnerable to removal spells like Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt, Pyroblast, and Abrupt Decay which are all Legacy staples. The reason we play Laboratory Maniac is he serves as an additional strategy in Doomsday storm combo, if you know your opponent is holding up Abrupt Decay, just build a Tendrils pile that wins through that. Pyroblast is problematic for any Ideas Unbound pile, Laboratory Maniac doesn't change that. Swords to Plowshares and Lightning Bolt may be played through if you have additional instant-speed draw, for example a second Conjurer's Bauble in play or a Chromatic Sphere to win at mana-ability speed.

Playing a 1-off Laboratory Maniac comes with a number of perks:

  • Win through any number of Leyline of Sanctity and/or Gaddock Teeg at very little extra cost.
  • Win through heavy discard with a number of extremely cheap pass the turn piles.
  • Win even if Burning Wish is extracted or named by Meddling Mage.
  • Win when you lack the resources to build sufficient storm for a Tendrils kill.
  • Sacrifices to Cabal Therapy Flashback in a pinch.

And a couple of downsides:

  • Vulnerable to removal
  • Pretty dead card when you draw it pre-Doomsday*.

*Sometimes...

Winning with Laboratory Maniac Using IU

Now let's look into what winning with Laboratory Maniac looks like in Doomsday. Assuming you have 1 Laboratory Maniac somewhere in your maindeck, the standard piles are:

GP in hand:
-> IU, CB, LED, GP, LM BBB+1UU (6) 4 life

CB in play + GP in hand:
-> LED, IU, GP, DR, LM BBB+B (4)   4 life

2x GP in hand:
-> LED, IU, CB, DR, LM BBB+B (4)   4 life

Most of these piles speak for themselves. Somehow draw and cast Ideas Unbound draw CB, LED, GP, cast CB, use GP+LED to draw and cast Laboratory Maniac, tap CB to draw a card and win the game. Or when you suspect removal and you have sufficient life left to live another turn, you might pass the turn waiting for your next upkeep as the last moment for your opponent to cast any removal, to which you can respond with CB, or win in your draw step. In the 2x GP pile float U after casting IU, use black to cast Dark Ritual, cast CB using black mana, cast LM. Obviously, add U to the mana cost and subtract 2 life for each GP you don't have enough life for or when you have another cantrip instead. Many other variations are possible but I'm not going to list all, for that see the overview in the pile document.

Like with regular Ideas Unbound piles there is a whole range of very cheap piles that use Brainstorm, Gitaxian Probe, Ideas Unbound, and/or Laboratory Maniac in hand. Learning all these piles takes some practice but may allow for fast wins, although not cheaper than a normal Tendrils-based wins.

Winning with Laboratory Maniac Using TW/AoI

The use of TW/AoI allows for some subtle changes in the way you build LM piles:

GP in hand:
-> GP, [TW/AoI], LED, GP, LM BBB+[1UU/2R] (6) 6 life

CB in play:
-> [TW/AoI], LED, GP, GP, LM BBB+[1UU/2R] (6) 6 life

CB in play + GP in hand:
-> LED, [TW/AoI], GP, LED, LM BBB (3)         4 life

2x GP in hand:
-> LED, [TW/AoI], GP, LED, LM BBB (3)         6 life

The key difference with these is that you can use the fact TW/AoI exile LM to then be able to cast him using mana from an LED rather than having to rely on drawing into him. This is great especially when using Brainstorm to take him from your hand back into the stack.

Chromatic Sphere

Chromatic Sphere can be used to enable Laboratory Maniac piles even when your opponent is holding creature removal. The key idea is to draw your entire library and get Chromatic Sphere and Laboratory Maniac in play, then with 1 mana floating you activate Chromatic Sphere to win the game at mana-ability speed, without your opponent being able to respond. Abrupt Decay may still be used on the Chromatic Sphere with Laboratory Maniac on the stack, but after that it's too late. The same is true for Pyroblast that may still be used on the cantrip that draws into the pile or the Ideas Unbound. But the good news is Chromatic Sphere piles do play through Swords to Plowshares and/or Lightning Bolt. Playing a singleton Chromatic Sphere is not a huge price to pay, because it can generally also be used to draw into your Doomsday pile or just cantrip while fixing mana colors.

Most of the time, Chromatic Sphere may be used as a direct replacement for Conjurer's Bauble within the Doomsday pile. You just have to make sure you increase the cost of the pile by 1.

Summary

I hope this gives a good overview for the use of Laboratory maniac.
Obviously, I have only touched upon the subject and the total number of piles that may be created is much larger. So things to remember are:

  1. LM is an alternate wincon which carries the risk of facing removal
  2. You need enough mana to cast LM safely as well as a draw effect for when he is in play
  3. You can use a 'free' double cantrip pile using AoI/TW
  4. CS can be used to create a pile that cannot be responded to by removal