Frequently Asked Questions

Table of Contents

  1. Preamble
  2. What are the different Doomsday decks and what is the difference between them?
  3. What is the best Doomsday archetype? Of that archetype what are the best colours to run?
  4. What list should I start on? What is the best list to play?
  5. Is there a list of common/all Doomsday piles? What is the most common pile I should learn?
  6. What is the best matchup for the deck?
  7. What is the worst matchup for the deck?
  8. What's a good meta to play Doomsday in?
  9. I think X card might be good, should I run it?
  10. Is the deck hard to learn? Is it the most difficult deck in Legacy?
  11. How do I resolve Doomsday in paper?
  12. How long should I be taking to resolve Doomsday in paper?
  13. I run X deck, how do I beat Doomsday?
  14. What is the best way to learn Doomsday?
  15. What order should I make purchases to build Doomsday?
  16. I am limited on my budget, can I still build the deck?
  17. I am seeing lists with two Thassa's Oracles in, what does the 2nd do?

Preamble

Compiled here is a list of frequently asked questions observed from the Discord or other sources (Twitter, Reddit, video comment threads etc). If you believe a key question is missing then please feel free to suggest it. A lot of the questions were either fully or partially answered in this article here: DDFAQs

What are the different Doomsday decks and what is the difference between them?

There are considered, at the time of writing, to be 4 primary distinct variants of Doomsday available for play. These comprise of DDFT, DDEFT, Meandeck Doomsday and Entombsday.

"Tendrils of Agony" from Scourge - Art by Pete Venters

DDFT (Doomsday Fetchland Tendrils) is the closest to historical lists. Although it adopts the current usage of Thassa's Oracle these decks tend to also have access to secondary Storm plans using cards like Burning Wish, Echo of Eons and Tendrils of Agony. They also prefer proactive protection such as Duress over being able to run reactive counter magic.

"Experimental Frenzy" from Guilds of Ravnica - Art by Simon Dominic

DDEFT (Doomsday Experimental Frenzy Tendrils) is now an outdated style. This was the main variant available post Gitaxian Probe ban and pre-printing of Thassa's Oracle. These lists use Experimental Frenzy as a card advantage engine and win condition in tandem with Doomsday.

"Force of Will" from Alliances - Art by Terese Nielsen

Meandeck Doomsday is the primary deck variant that is having previously unprecedented success since the printing of Thassa's Oracle. Meandeck Doomsday uses counter magic like Force of Will and Daze to play a controlling game before ending the game with Doomsday. The moniker Meandeck is explained in this article here.

"Griselbrand" from Open the Helvault - Art by Igor Kieryluk

Entombsday is more of a Tin Fins variant with a main deck plan focussing on reanimating Griselbrand using either Shallow Grave or Goryo's Vengeance to then have it attack alongside Emrakul, the Eons Torn or, looping the deck to cast an infinite number of Collective Brutality's or a lethal Tendrils of Agony. The key point ot focus on is it runs a dedicated transformational sideboard into effectively a variant of Meandeck Doomsday.

What is the best Doomsday archetype? Of that archetype what are the best colours to run?

Meandeck Doomsday has the most proven results of the archetypes listed above with a 2020 performance that outnumbers TCDeck numbers of the previous 10 years preceeding it for all archetypes (excluding 5-0 publications). It also had a high number of top 32 finishes in the Eternal Weekend events for 2020.

Within Meandeck Doomsday there is no definitive best colour configuration to run. Success has been had with straight , , , and even across the year with most decks having an almost entirely main deck configuration. The tools that are effective and provided by each colour depend on the meta at the time and the pilot's preferences in deck building.

"Veil of Summer" from Core Set 2020 - Art by Lake Hurwitz
"Pyroblast" from Ice Age - Art by Kaja Foglio
"Teferi, Time Raveler" from War of the Spark - Art by Chris Rallis

What list should I start on? What is the best list to play?

If you want a proven and effective list then look at either top placing finishers for high player events on TCDecks or head to the Doomsday discord server and check out the #decklists-archive channel. Successful lists and placements are posted there regularly to ensure new technology / strategy is communicated out. There is no defined best list so just go with the list/lists that seem to be most prevalent as those are likely to be considered best at the time.

Is there a list of common/all Doomsday piles? What is the most common pile I should learn?

Historically there was a spreadsheet that had an ever-growing list of pre-prescribed piles based on certain criteria but this was for the old DDFT decks pre-Sensei's Divining Top ban. A current one is not maintained for a couple of reasons the biggest being that trying to rote learn piles is actually not effective training/practice. It is better to learn the general rule sets or toolboxes you have at your disposal and then try to build on the fly using your knowledge, experience and general critical thinking than it is to try and remember "If I have +++SW in hand then I can win through Thalia, Guardian of Thraben in play".

This Wiki aims to try and provide the general concepts and basic level knowledge needed to pilot the deck. Select your variant of choice and work through the chapters under that variant which should provide the simplest pile examples to give an idea of how to play. The majority of piles become variants of those discussed but you will, over time, learn to build more situational ones as you gain experience.

What is the best matchup for the deck?

In the current Legacy meta the best matchups to face are probably Miracles variants, non-blue decks and TES. These decks often do not provide much pressure and, if Doomsday resolves, have no real answer to Thassa's Oracle. We also have a lot of interaction which means they tend to not have enough disruption to be able to stop us.

Death and Taxes, Maverick and Post are good examples of the easier matchups with limited interaction. Still, they can display threats in the form of hatebears for the former or larger, game-ending threats for the latter. But often they are too slow or get answered easily by Daze. For the green matchups, Endurance requires preparation and proper sequencing but is far from being as back-breaking as it is often thought. More details about this in the interaction page.

TES cannot beat the sheer amount of disruption the deck brings to the table nor interact with the fast combo kill besides Silence effects as the Doomsday pilot unravel their pile. That weakness can be mitigated but often mean that while the TES pilot tries to disrupt our combo turn, they aren't progressing their plan as much.

These are likely the most favourable matchups (part based on gut feel and part based on community obtained results found here).

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
"Wasteland" from Tempest - Art by Una Fricker
"Silence" from Magic 2010 - Art by Wayne Reynolds

What is the worst matchup for the deck?

Delver. Delver. Definitely Delver. Also Death Shadow decks.

Basically any aggressive tempo shell running cheap threats and mana efficient disruption. UR Delver is the most played deck in Legacy and the deck has a hard time with that matchup (between 30% and 35% depending on meta shifts and deck popularity) however Grixis Delver is likely the worst to face as the addition of Thoughtseize as another angle of disruption makes them very hard to face.

"Dragon's Rage Channeler" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Martina Fackova
"Delver of Secrets" from Innistrad - Art by Nils Hamm
"Thoughtseize" from Lorwyn - Art by Aleksi Briclot

What's a good meta to play Doomsday in?

Any meta where either Delver isn't prevalent or where decks that prey on Delver are. Meandeck Doomsday boasts a good win rate against most of the format including very positive rates against decks that are favoured against Delver type strategies. Any format with a large non-blue metashare or very controlling blue meta share are good fields for Doomsday.

I think X card might be good, should I run it?

It might be! A lot of people have been working on the deck for a long time and have very likely tried the card out if considered potentially playable. Feel free to ask on the Discord but please don't get too defensive if informed that the card was tried and didn't hit the mark. If you are new to the deck I would advise getting a few reps under your belt playing it first before delving into the spicier areas of the card pool. This doesn't mean you shouldn't consider new things but do check first as likely it has been tried and rejected before.

"Drown in the Loch" from Throne of Eldraine - Art by John Stanko
"Baleful Strix" from Planechase 2012 - Art by Nils Hamm
"Careful Study" from Odyssey - Art by Scott M. Fischer

Is the deck hard to learn? Is it the most difficult deck in Legacy?

The deck is not hard to learn, especially if you have already got familiarity with the core principles of Legacy. General cantripping principles and the use of fetchlands are all key skills to learn, no different than many other decks in the format. The only awkwardness comes from the kill condition itself but even then it is easy enough to pick up. The deck is far from the most difficult deck in legacy despite its historic reputation for being as such however it does feature a high number of decision trees that can be intimidating and, given the finality of the title card, is pretty unforgiving when it goes wrong. At the end of the day if you are not enjoying it or it doesn't fit your playstyle then that's fine! There is no pressure to play this deck to be perceived as the smartest type of Legacy player. Everyone has different ways of thinking and one person's nightmare deck to pilot (mine would be Maverick) is another person's bread and butter.

How do I resolve Doomsday in paper?

A large part of the confusion for the physical resolution of Doomsday stems from the wording on the original Weatherlight printing of Doomsday. See the card below along with the original rules text printed:

"Doomsday" from Weatherlight - Art by Adrian Smith

Pay half your life, rounded up:
Put your graveyard on top of your library, then remove all but five cards of your library from the game.
Put the rest on top of your library in any order.

With this older templating there are a number of pitfalls that can snag the unwary who have not read up on the updated Oracle text. First of all the "Pay half your life, rounded up" is not a cost as is implied by the colon : but actually part of the resolution. You will not lose your life for putting Doomsday on the stack! Despite what the colon present may imply, the resolution of the card is not an activated ability. I have had an opponent before who read my card and asked a nearby judge "Can I name this card with Pithing Needle" to which the judge quite correctly replied: "Yes". My opponent then proceeded to play said Pithing Needle on the card and was quite put out that it did not work the way they had hoped it would.

Before the next point let's take a look at the updated Oracle wording on the A25 Doomsday:

"Doomsday" from Masters 25 - Art by Noah Bradley

Search your library and graveyard for five cards and exile the rest.
Put the chosen cards on top of your library in any order.
You lose half your life, rounded up.

As you can see the wording changes significantly. If you were to perform the actions specified by the original wording and shuffled your graveyard and library together you can be called out for a GRV at competitive REL so watch out. Cards like Shadow of Doubt will work in preventing you from searching your library for cards but will still allow you to search your graveyard. One especially key thing to note is your opponent is allowed to see what cards you select (if any) from the graveyard as it is an open information zone. You are not required to explicitly state what you are taking however you should always allow them time to ask to see what cards are chosen and are not allowed to hide that information from them.

How long should I be taking to resolve Doomsday in paper?

If you are at a proper CompREL tournament you should be expected to completely resolve Doomsday in about 60 seconds (1 minute). This takes into account the normal decision time required to resolve any tutor and allows for around 2 complete flick throughs of your deck. Any longer and you can expect an opponent to either ask you to hurry up or to call a judge for slow play. You can help buy time by pre-building your Doomsday pile in your head during the turns prior by using the time allowed for decisions like fetching lands or resolving Ponder to think about what you are likely to build.

When learning the deck, playing with friends or at a local FNM it is likely to will be given more leeway to resolve it which is great for practice or if you are unfamiliar with the deck. Often people are very friendly and take some amount of enjoyment from watching the deck be played but I would still advise you aim to resolve it in no longer than 2 minutes with the aim to reduce this as you get familiar with the deck. In this aspect MTGO can promote bad habits as, thanks to the chess clock, you can often spend a lot of time building and selecting pile cards as you play and come to rely on this mechanic.

I run X deck, how do I beat Doomsday?

Haha, nice try! But you won't catch us out that easily! In all seriousness if you pop into the Discord there are plenty of people who would be happy to discuss the matchup from the other side of things. We're a friendly bunch and always open to bouncing ideas around.

What is the best way to learn Doomsday?

Read the Wiki, watch some content as found on our resources page and most important PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE! If you have a spare five minutes try and goldfish the deck. Get used to the physical manipulations of the cards. Start presenting yourself with scenarios to beat and try to become as familiar with your decklist as you can. Doomsday rewards an exact knowledge of your 75 as well as format knowledge highly so increasing exposure to both is very important. Finally, if you get stuck, feel free to ask for help! The sense of community is very strong and you should be able to find someone to answer any queries across most time zones so please feel free to come and say hello in the Doomsday Discord.

What order should I make purchases to build Doomsday?

As with any Legacy deck the focus should always be on the reserved list staples. dual lands are the first port of call with Underground Seas being the key part. You should look to pick up at least 2 Underground Seas if not 3 if you can. Once you have Seas then the Lion's Eye Diamond(s) is the next priority. For Meandeck you just need one but for the more all-in combo builds you will want

  1. After that I think you should look to pick up the splash dual lands (if applicable) prioritising the based ones over any based ones. Once you have your reserved list staples then the rest of the deck can be reasonably easy to source with Force of Wills likely being the next biggest purchase.

I am limited on my budget, can I still build the deck?

This obviously depends on how constricted you are in terms of budget but yes you can! The easiest way is of course to run a heavy basics list. Unfortunately due to the life loss from Doomsday Shock Lands like Watery Grave are not viable. Following this you will only need 1-2 Underground Seas and can rely on basics and Petals to fix for any splash colours. This can slow the deck down and make cards like Daze much worse for early turns but is perfectly viable. You can also omit the Lion's Eye Diamond in Meandeck but it will prevent you from getting access to a lot of the most mana efficient or quick kills it enables. You probably need the Force of Wills but you can also not run them if need be and instead rely more on soft counters and discard effects or Veil of Summer. The only card I would really advocate not skimping on is Cavern of Souls. This card single-handedly can enable a lot of wins in matchups and thus is too good a tool to lose.

  • 3Baleful Strix
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 1Cabal Therapy
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Doomsday
  • 4Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 2Flusterstorm
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 4Lotus Petal
  • 4Ponder
  • 1Predict
  • 4Preordain
  • 1Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 2Thoughtseize
  • 1Unearth
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Darkslick Shores
  • 2Island
  • 3Polluted Delta
  • 4Prismatic Vista
  • 2Swamp
  • 1Watery Grave

Access to Force of Will
-2 Flusterstorm -2 Thoughtseize
+4 Force of Will

Access to Underground Sea
-1 Watery Grave
+1 Underground Sea

At 2 Underground Sea, Daze is unlocked as a reliable option.

I am seeing lists with two Thassa's Oracles in, what does the 2nd do?

The second Oracle (main or side) can have a number of uses. It helps increase resilience against effects like Extract when they are aggressively used, help give a second attempt vs. cards like Stifle on the Oracle's trigger. They can enable additional devotion count, allow blocking in a pinch with some filtering, provide extra tricks vs. mill effects like Ipnu Rivulet and act as a pseudo +2 to your card count for Force of Will effects. Especially useful if you need to bring in Force of Negations and maximise the ability to use them.

If you have any questions beyond what is listed here feel free to ask in the Discord or email ddftwiki@gmail.com