Hi everyone, it's safe to say, (especially looking at the article history from me), it's been a while. So it seems after the dust settled from Breach (RiP), people started realising there were other things a certain group of shadowy (if somewhat eccentric) figures were doing in the dark corners of the Internet. The only true signs of this cabal even existing was the occasional voyage of their emmissary (monkeyscantcry) preaching to the weekly 5-0 deck dump (five of course being a very sacred number).
Since Breach went however the deck has suddenly got a lot of attention which is both great and terrible at the same time. Great people are enjoying the archetype and it seems to be putting up enough results to show itself to be greater than tier 10 however terrible in that a lot of people are picking up the deck with no idea on what to do with it. In an effort to help spread the memes of Doomsday stacks comprised of 4 x Temporal Mastery and 1 x Thassa's Oracle and to prevent pay-walled content telling you how to play the deck I thought I would write this little introduction to everything and dust the cobwebs off myself too.
So first things first:
Meandeck Doomsday (either in BUG, Esper or BUgw form) is essentially a combo control deck. The namesake stems from Team Meandeck, the team name of the old Ohio based, predominantly Vintage crew of Stephen Menendian, Kevin Cron, Paul Mastriano, Jacob Orlove, Doug Linn, and Lou Christopher. Now traditionally Doomsday was a Legacy Storm deck winning with the iconic card Tendrils of Agony (hence the moniker of Doomsday Fetchland Tendrils or DDFT for short) however Menendian brewed up a list he had dubbed "Meandeck Doomsday" which was a more controlling shell focussing on winning via the card Laboratory Maniac.
This deck didn't feature any of the titular Storm cards such as Lion's Eye Diamond but did instead pack a whole heap of counter magic featuring Force of Will, Spell Pierce and Pact of Negation to name a few (even a Misdirection!).
You can find a video of the deck in action here
Now it was generally agreed by most of the Doomsday community at the time (2012) that the deck wasn't very good. Although it had cards such as Sensei's Divining Top and Gitaxian Probe (also RiP), it was often too slow and featured no raw card advantage engine to help circumnavigate the pitch counters it ran. In addition the normal kill required use of a creature that died to every removal card in the format as well as needing to use the graveyard which opens you up to a lot more disruption both pre and post sideboarding. As such the deck became something that newer players always asked about but never had any results. Through the discussions the term Meandeck Doomsday became synonymous with Doomsday featuring Force of Wills.
Fast forwarding eight years and suddenly everyone and their mother are trying the deck out. So what changed?
Why is a deck that has long been considered a joke suddenly become something that has put out more Doomsday results the past two months than have been featured for the two years prior?
The very short answer is of course everyone's favourite fishy friend; Thassa's Oracle.
Oracle has two key advantages that make it superior to Laboratory Maniac. The first is the mana cost. It may not seem like much going from to however when considering the resource constraints you normally face with the deck such as Daze, Wasteland or Thalia, Guardian of Thraben having a spare can mean a lot.
The second key advantage is being able to win the game without having to draw a card in the process. Laboratory Maniac has a window of opportunity whereby your opponent gets a chance to kill it. If this suceeds you more often than not just kill yourself with your otherwise game winning draw. Oracle however lets you win the game whether the card is in play or not. The Oracle text on Oracle states
If X is greater than or equal to the number of cards in your library, you win the game.
This means that even in the face of a Lightning Bolt you can still win if the trigger resolves assuming you have 0 cards left in your library.
So what does this actually mean?
First of all it means that you don't always have to rely on LED to generate enough mana for your Doomsday pile. Take this example from our Basics Chapter
If you play this turn with Force of Will and a blue card up, you can hold both to protect the win thanks to never having to need to discard your hand. Sounds pretty good right, however I bet you are thinking: But who would play a card like Ideas Unbound. seems pretty bad? This thought process brings us to the next key part of the puzzle. Thanks to Oracle, we can play other draw spells to dig deep into our pile including ones that only need to grant us an additional two cards.
Predict is a great example. This card has been played in Miracle decks to success and offers a decent card advantage engine, especially given the high cantrip density the deck runs, even outside of the combo. It can then be used as a combo piece either simply as a draw two that digs three cards deep or can be used to synergise with Unearth allowing the playing of Oracle for the cost of a single .
As you can see these piles are quite lean in terms of mana and card resources post Doomsday resolution. This, coupled with the fact you now have the counter magic along with old faithfuls such as Thoughtseize and new faces such as Veil of Summer means you suddenly have a quite convincing control list that can win out of nowhere. The number of bad cards, whilst not being zero, has now dropped to maybe two-three per list and the range of splash colours on offer means the list is quite configurable to taste.
One of the most common questions people have is based around "what are the most basic piles?" or "where can I find a list of piles to learn." You shouldn't really try and rote learn piles but instead learn to work out what resources you have available to them alongside some simple rules in terms of basic pile building.
In the interest of helping newer folks however I will walk through some simple examples.
Stack the following:
The entire line costs + and requires a cantrip in hand.
This is a very basic single cantrip pile.
Stack the following:
The entire line costs + and requires two cantrips in hand.
This is a very basic double cantrip pile.
Stack the following:
The entire line costs + and requires Brainstorm and one additional
card in hand.
This is a very basic Brainstorm pile.
Feel free to have a go at goldfishing similar lines!
Currently there seem to be two main styles of play; Esper and BUG .
BUG was the first iteration and the main offer is main deck Veil of Summer along with sideboard options like Abrupt Decay for problem permanents or cards like Xantid Swarm and Carpet of Flowers. Normally the BUG lists run the meme-turned-viable plan B card of Divining Witch as a way to never actually need to cast Doomsday in the first place.
Esper changes your options slightly. Instead of Veil you have Teferi, Time Raveler to play both the anti-hate and anti-counter role. It also lets you take a leaf from the recently banned Breach decks and run a plan B of beating faces with Monastery Mentor which has always been a hobby of mine.
There is still no clearly defined list that is objectively better however as the deck garners interest, more and more minds will likely get it to a place where it will be at least a little more optimised than before. If you want some starting points for either list, see Hulahula's and Gre3n1T's approaches, Esper and Sultai respectively.
If this seems to be your jam then look no further. The Doomsday Wiki is designed to be the primary resource on any variants of the deck. The lack of contemperaneous content is due to a lot of format and deck changes in a small amount of time and not a lot of willing authors to write things! As this is a community run project we are always welcoming of new submissions whether it is articles, puzzles or chapter pages.
If you would like to submit any content to the Wiki then please contact AngryBacon in the Doomsday Discord.
Until next time.
May you have a pleasant apocalypse!