The Doomsday Alignment Chart - Different Styles of Deckbuilding

Preface: This article was in fact written before the banning of Arcum's Astrolabe and thus contains out of date information. We still went to publish because people were interested in it so apologies! I did add some edits in italics to try and give some more relevancy.

Stay Safe x x x
Doishy

Introduction

I have written before on the subject of deck construction in terms of colour options and deckbuilding tools however I have not covered deck building styles properly. We have now had a year from initial deck conception through to refinement and now, after what we thought was a mostly complete process with a solid foundation for minor tweaking being crafted, we are now onto another stage of the Legacy deck lifecycle. As the old adage goes: "The first rule of archetypes, make sub-archetypes". This isn't a completely new thing however over the last month it has been much more prominent in seeing a shift towards more extreme ends of certain stylistic perspectives.

One key reason for this is likely the metagame adaption. In March 2020 there was still a lot of misconceptions about the deck, people not used to seeing it in leagues and a small number of dedicated pilots really running with it. Spring forwards to 2021 and it is very much a known entity now with many decks running dedicated sideboard slots specifically for it! Another reason is the eternal frustration of the Doomsday pilot; the Delver matchup. A lot of people have put a lot of effort into trying to offset the inherent weakness against the Delver strategies whilst trying to retain the strengths that give advantage over a lot of the field.

It's likely due to these reasons mixed with a bit of a love for brewing and the desire to tailor a strategy to a pilot#'s own style that has seen this change come about. Today I want to dicuss the different theories and means of building Meandeck Doomsday and how they might impact your performance or style.

Alignment Axis 1 - Speed

The major change in how people are approaching the deck comes through the perceived speed of the deck. This speed change doesn't impact the core ability to ritual out Doomsday on turn one but it does change the target turn that is being aimed for and how well the deck fairs in different stages of the game.

Speed Purist - The Fast and the Furious (Turbo Doomsday)

Well known combo afficienado Jax has worked on trying to develop faster builds of Doomsday since around March/April 2020. He was one of the ones who truly pushed the wider usage of Daze forwards and has tried a number of iterations of the deck. Between Jax and skilled player kl0gw (who seems to be a 5-0 machine) they developed what is being colloquially called "Turbo Doomsday". Whilst the previous baseline ran on average 2-3 Lotus Petals and maybe 1-2 bad tutors such as Personal Tutor or Lim-Dul's Vault to increase support on finding Doomsday, it mostly relied on a heavy cantrip shell and had a decent balance on being able to combo fast but not get stuck in the late game.

Turbo Doomsday aims to be finding and casting Doomsday as soon as it can. This means it maxes out on Lotus Petals to enable achieving as quickly as possible and replaces the use of Preordain with a full playset of Personal Tutor. It also runs 4-5 free cycle effects in a 1:3 / 1:4 split of Edge of Autumn to Street Wraith. This helps cycle through the deck quicker and access the card found with Personal Tutor faster. It also allows a slight reduction in the land count for the deck running around 16 lands over the "normal" 17.

The advantage of this is you are able to go under a lot of decks like Delver before their disruption becomes available and with the hard bit of resolving Doomsday being completed quicker, the pressure on them to find a way to answer Cavern + Oracle is all the heavier. Conversely though you lose some of the long game resiliency and can be a lot more reliant on your mulligan decisions as your opening hand often offers a lot less flexibility with a smaller selection cantrip suite.

The deck favours minimising splash colours where possible however having a single off colour splash is pretty much free in terms of deck building. Currently straight or seem to be the most popular configurations at the time of writing.

Here is an example list from a recent MTGO League trophy by kl0gW:

  • 4Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 2Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Personal Tutor
  • 4Ponder
  • 2Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 4Lotus Petal
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 2Misty Rainforest
  • 1Marsh Flats
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 2Scalding Tarn
  • 1Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 4Underground Sea
  • 1Extract
  • 1Massacre
  • 2Consign // Oblivion
  • 2Force of Negation
  • 4Defense Grid
  • 4Leyline of the Void

Speed Neutral - Old Reliable (Base Meandeck)

This is basically the style of lists that were played for most of 2020 (Lurrus meta aside). They are the ones written most about using the full 12 cantrip suite, 4 Daze, 2-3 free cyclers and 2-3 Petal. They have also previously incorporated a minor creature splash within them either using 0-4 Baleful Strix or some sort of "Man plan" in the sideboard. The sideboard plan has ranged from Uro, Mentor or Dreadhorde Arcanist (Now Banned) (A Wizard like Oracle) with many things like Hullbreacher (A Merfolk like Oracle), Opposition Agent and Divining Witch being tried.

These lists can play the fast game of turn 1 Dark Ritual into Doomsday with Daze backup but are a tad less linear / all in compared to Turbo Doomsday. Base Meandeck mostly relies on cantrips and maybe a couple of tutors to find the needed components desiring a balanced gameplan. It can be less consistent at finding exactly Doomsday but more consistent and acquiring the tools it needs a little less reliant on mulligan decisions. It also plays a better long game than the Turbo list might.

Colour wise the deck tends to be 3 colours with or being the most popular although you can find variants available in , or .

Here is an example list from a recent 13th place PTQ finish by RonColpoCinese:

  • 4Baleful Strix
  • 2Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 1Cabal Therapy
  • 4Doomsday
  • 2Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 4Preordain
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 3Daze
  • 1Flusterstorm
  • 4Force of Will
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 3Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 1Tropical Island
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 1Verdant Catacombs
  • 3Abrupt Decay
  • 2Carpet of Flowers
  • 3Defense Grid
  • 1Flusterstorm
  • 4Leyline of the Void
  • 2Veil of Summer

Speed Radical - Basically Snowko (Doomsday Control)

On the opposite end of the spectrum from Turbo we have the new development of the lists popularised by Hulahula from back in early 2020. These lists tended to run Arcum's Astrolabe and a larger land count to ensure a robust and consistent manabase and combine it with larger threats or protection spells. The early lists were Esper to utilise Teferi, Time Raveler however new lists such as those by Maxtortion are skewing more towards a Grixis base. Like the Hulahula lists the focus on card advantage is provided by multiple copies of Predict however, unlike the Esper lists, the deck has started to utilise the card Dreadhorde Arcanist in order to double down on obtaining maximum value from its cards.

In parallel to this Predict focussed style there is another school of thought that Nevilshute has been championing based around Oko, Thief of Crowns and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. This deck has the ability to play either the traditional Doomsday plan or as a snow based control deck which happens to run an "Oops I win" button in it. Both the above lists make use of Astrolabe and Baleful Strix to slow the game down. Daze and Preordain are replaced with the creature packages and more mana based control like Veil of Summer or Pyroblast effects. The number of Lotus Petals are also reduced to only 1-2 in the lists. Becausse of these changes to both sets of lists, the decks can play a very strong longer game but are not able to capitalise as well on finding or pushing through and early Doomsday thanks to the lack of Daze, the higher reliance on fetching up basic lands and the reduced Petal count.

These decks made full use of Astrolabe either being , or . Currently nothing from the section of the colour pie has made enough impact to be desired but who's to say we won't see a full five colours variant attempted soon? It is possible to run a grindier control variant without Astrolabe using a higher basics count and moving away from cards like Daze but it will slightly less resiliency or ability to splash as many colours.

Here are two (pre-ban) example lists from a recent 15th place challenge finish by Marcus Ewaldh and another from a recent mtgo league trophy by Nevilshute:

  • 4Baleful Strix
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 2Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 3Preordain
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Force of Will
  • 3Predict
  • 1Spell Pierce
  • 2Arcum's Astrolabe
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 3Lotus Petal
  • 1Badlands
  • 1Bloodstained Mire
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 3Scalding Tarn
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 1Volcanic Island
  • 1Abrade
  • 2Dreadhorde Arcanist
  • 2Force of Negation
  • 2Red Elemental Blast
  • 1Tormod's Crypt
  • 1Brazen Borrower
  • 3Fatal Push
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 1Snow-Covered Mountain
  • 3Baleful Strix
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 3Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
  • 4Doomsday
  • 3Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 4Preordain
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 4Arcum's Astrolabe
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 1Snow-Covered Forest
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 1Tropical Island
  • 2Underground Sea
  • 3Abrupt Decay
  • 1Carpet of Flowers
  • 2Fatal Push
  • 1Force of Negation
  • 2Plague Engineer
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 1Red Elemental Blast
  • 1Stifle
  • 1Tormod's Crypt
  • 1Volcanic Island

Alignment Axis 2 - Greed

One thing that has been talked about already but stays relevant to discussions is that of not only what colours to run in a list but how many. Depending on the meta you might want certain tools accessible to you but are concerned that the splash colour they are housed in isn't strong enough by itself. All lists are base but can be defined normally by what other colours are run or omitted.

Greed Martyr - 2 Colours

When discussing lists with no splash colours there are normally two primary reasons for this to be the case.

  1. Manabase Budget
  2. Manabase Resiliency

In terms of the first one it is well known that dual lands are expensive. The minimum expected number of duals to effectively run Doomsday is probably 2 Underground Seas. With this you can supplement with a basic manabase and, for 2 colours, it should run pretty well. Cavern is likely more important than Sea #3 to enable more winning lines.

For the second point, having a simple 2 colours manabase means you are very resilient to Wasteland and not getting cut on colours. At its heart Doomsday is a mono deck that happens to win with a cost spell but being able to maximise on the ability to go turn 1 Dark Ritual into Doomsday with Daze backup (where applicable) is pretty key.

If budget allows then running the full 4 Seas alongside 3 basics (2 Island / 1 Swamp) is plenty of safe mana to work with. Your fetches should be 4 Polluted Delta, 3-4 based fetches and 0-1 based fetch. Prismatic Vista is not a suitable card to run as you really need to prioritse being able to find the Underground Seas.

Sticking to 2 colours has upsides but also a lot of limitations. Normally pre-sideboarding this has no effect as the majority of the 2020 Base Meandeck lists were entirely main with the occasional 1-3 splash cards. It's post board where the problems with the limited colour pool are most notable. Removal options become narrow and limited with {u} only offering temporary solutions to permanents through bounce effects and not being able to deal with enchantments or artifacts well. A lot of onus is placed on your countermagic to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Force of Negation has helped this limit a lot and options like Consign // Oblivion can be found via Personal Tutor but a lot of the very useful toolbox cards like Pyroblast, Veil of Summer and Abrupt Decay can cause a stretch on your resources. Even despite this you still have access to Defense Grid, Hope of Ghirapur, Massacre, Flusterstorm and all manner of strong Legacy playables.

Here is an example list from a semi-recent 4-1 mtgo league result from BluStalker:

  • 3Baleful Strix
  • 2Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 2Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 2Fatal Push
  • 4Force of Will
  • 3Arcum's Astrolabe
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bloodstained Mire
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 4Scalding Tarn
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 2Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 2Flusterstorm
  • 1Echoing Truth
  • 2Mystical Dispute
  • 1Devastation Tide
  • 1Extirpate
  • 1Fatal Push
  • 2Shrivel
  • 1Massacre
  • 3Defense Grid
  • 1Tormod's Crypt

Greed Neutral - 3 Colours

I personally would consider the 3 colours lists to be the normal choice for most players. The splash colour is often practically free due to, as stated above, the lists tend to be almost entirely main only anyways. If concerned on budget then after, your 2 Seas, you should look to pick up the x splash dual like Tropical Island or Volcanic Island. This can be run main or brought in from the sideboard if desired.

For non-budget builds you should consider having 1 x and 1 x dual of your splash main. Some lists may prefer to run 1 main and 1 side in which case the x should be the one relegated to the board. When running the splash you still only really need a maximum of 3 basics in the same configuration (2 Island / 1 Swamp) or you can get away with only 1 of each. Again your fetches should be 4 Polluted Delta, 3-4 based fetches and 0-1 based fetch with normally 3 Underground Seas being played.

The above changes when Arcum's Astrolabe comes into consideration. Of course the first change is turning our basics into Snow-Covered ones (because we are fine scholars who play the art we want, not the small % points of deck misidentification). We also probably want to ensure we have an additional basic or two either considering an extra Snow-Covered Swamp main or having the Snow-Covered basic of the appropriate splash colour. You would normally use the basics to replace an Underground Sea. You would also be more inclined to include the x fetch over the 4th x one to find that basic (but make sure to not get tempted by Prismatic Vista!).

Now that Astrolabe is gone it's going to be a bit harder to run a budget style list for 3 colours but it is still doable. You will likely want at least 2 Underground Seas and to run probably 2 Island and 2 Swamp along with maybe 1 splash basic. You will also most likely need to run at least one x splash dual if possible.

Sideboard wise having a splash colour really improves your toolbox options with additional cards not yet mentioned like Xantid Swarm, Carpet of Flowers, Abrade and the currently powerful creature suite of Dreadhorde Arcanist or Uro.

Here is an example list from a recent 23rd PTQ placement by Helvetti:

  • 2Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 3Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 4Preordain
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 1Misdirection
  • 2Predict
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 3Lotus Petal
  • 1Badlands
  • 2Bloodstained Mire
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 2Scalding Tarn
  • 1Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 1Volcanic Island
  • 2Abdrade
  • 1Fatal Push
  • 1Red Elemental Blast
  • 2Spell Pierce
  • 3Defense Grid
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 2Shrivel
  • 2Surgical Extraction

Greedy Motherfucker - 4 Colours

For when you truly want to have your cake and eat it. This option really tries to take advantage of the best tools that Legacy has to offer at the time. There are a few ways you can go about running this configuration.

  1. Astrolabe
  2. Boarding the splash
  3. Just run it all main

The first option is very similar to the configuration of the Astrolabe 3 colours deck. You would normally only run Snow-Covered basics of 3 of your colours as between your splashes one is normally the "secondary" splash and the other the "tertiary" splash. Often it's as the secondary and as the tertiary. has better options in a wider set of matchups and better tools in matchups where your manabase is under pressure whilst is often, at least in a 4 colours build, reserved mostly for combating fair, non-Delver decks. (Decay normally being a better option than Abrade). If you were running 4 colours no then would probably be the secondary splash and still the tertiary. The tertiary splash would normally be provided by a single x dual either main or in the side.

The second option is having the x splash dual in the side which only gets brought in as part of the side package. It might replace the secondary splash dual if the matchup allows or a basic/Underground Sea. Sometimes it might even just provide +1 land to your count if you feel the game could go long or your mana might be under threat. This can be good for hiding the additional splash colour if you successfully resolve Doomsday in game 1. If the opponent looks through your deck and doesn't see any {r}x dual for example, they may not be prepared for Red-Elemental Blasts in game 2.

The final option is the simplest which is to just shove it all in the main deck. You would unlikely want both x and x duals of both colours so again, one is normally a secondary splash and the other a tertiary. I currently run 4 colour no and have the following land configuration:

3 Underground Seas, 4 Polluted Delta, 4 Misty Rainforest (as is my secondary splash), 1 Bayou, 1 Tropical Island, 1 Volcanic Island, 1 Island and 1 Swamp (and a Cavern of Souls of Course but that's more of a spell). As you can see I have elected to take my splash by reducing my basic count but you can also consider dropping to 2 Seas and staying on 3 basics.

The advantages of 4 colours are of course to maximum the options in your toolbox. Some decks you can stay just one 3 colours shard/wedge, others you can bring in the whole lot. The limitations are sometimes your reliance on finding the right mana, which can hinder obtaining , or increasing a reliance on your Lotus Petals to help fix your colours if not on Astrolabe. I would recommend sticking with at least 3 Petal if considering 4 colours.

Here are three example lists from recent mtgo league trophies by Sawatarix, BCS8995 and Doishy respectively:

  • 2Baleful Strix
  • 1Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 3Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 4Preordain
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 4Arcum's Astrolabe
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 1Tropical Island
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 4Abrupt Decay
  • 2Baleful Strix
  • 1Pyroblast
  • 2Plague Engineer
  • 2Red Elemental Blast
  • 3Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
  • 1Volcanic Island
  • 2Oko, Thief of Crowns
  • 3Baleful Strix
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 3Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
  • 4Doomsday
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Force of Will
  • 3Veil of Summer
  • 4Arcum's Astrolabe
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 1Snow-Covered Forest
  • 2Snow-Covered Island
  • 1Snow-Covered Swamp
  • 2Underground Sea
  • 1Volcanic Island
  • 3Abrupt Decay
  • 1Collector Ouphe
  • 2Force of Negation
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 2Carpet of Flowers
  • 2Fatal Push
  • 2Plague Engineer
  • 1Red Elemental Blast
  • 2Street Wraith
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 4Doomsday
  • 3Duress
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 4Preordain
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 1Lim-Dul's Vault
  • 1Spell Pierce
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 3Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 1Island
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 1Swamp
  • 1Tropical Island
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 1Volcanic Island
  • 1Personal Tutor
  • 1Massacre
  • 2Abrupt Decay
  • 1Flusterstorm
  • 1Force of Negation
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 1Red Elemental Blast
  • 1Surgical Extraction
  • 2Veil of Summer
  • 1Tormod's Crypt
  • 2Carpet of Flowers

Post-ban both Martin nevilshute Nielsen and Kai Sawatarix Sawatari have been on a good run with a 4 colours (no {w}) list featuring Daze, Uro, Strix, 2 Petals and sideboarding Red Blast effects. Having had the opportunity to watch it first hand vs. a lot of decks with mana punishment, it looked very solid. If nothing else I think it proved you can play the greedy control style list without heavy reliance on Astrolabe now that it's gone and with only 2 basics, 1 Island and 1 Swamp. The list can be found below.

  • 4Baleful Strix
  • 1Thassa's Oracle
  • 3Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
  • 4Doomsday
  • 2Duress
  • 1Edge of Autumn
  • 1Ideas Unbound
  • 4Ponder
  • 2Preordain
  • 1Thoughtseize
  • 4Brainstorm
  • 4Dark Ritual
  • 4Daze
  • 4Force of Will
  • 1Spell Pierce
  • 1Lion's Eye Diamond
  • 2Lotus Petal
  • 1Bayou
  • 1Cavern of Souls
  • 1Island
  • 4Misty Rainforest
  • 4Polluted Delta
  • 1Swamp
  • 2Tropical Island
  • 3Underground Sea
  • 3Abrupt Decay
  • 1Brazen Borrower
  • 2Carpet of Flowers
  • 1Force of Negation
  • 2Plague Engineer
  • 2Pyroblast
  • 1Red Elemental Blast
  • 1Spell Pierce
  • 1Taiga
  • 1Volcanic Island

Building the Chart

Now that we have our 2 axis we can build our little Doomsday deck building alignment chart!

Alignment chartAlignment chart

Obviously this is a gross oversimplification but it's a fun little way to quickly work out what sort of Doomsdayer you are. I personally sit as an "Old Reliable Greedy Motherfucker". Where do you sit on the chart?

With the divergence in lists it can be intimidating for players new to the archetype to work out what sort of list to try, what splash colours are most suited to them, how many colours to run, whether to run a more dual centric list or heavy basic land style list, where to have creatures or be all in on the combo and to work out the speed vs grind tradeoff. Hopefully reading through this it will help you get an idea / understanding of what options are out there and what you wish to play.

As always if you want even more content please check out our resources page which includes a list of community streamers or maybe if you are up for a challenge maybe check out the puzzles page.

If you would like to submit any content to the Wiki then please contact AngryBacon in the Doomsday Discord or contact Doishy on the Discord if you wish to discuss anything mentioned in the article further.

Until next time.

May your alignment stay true to Doomsday!