Fish and Tendrils. Food for Thought in a World Full of Monkeys

Moin! Welcome to my first article here on the Doomsday Wiki. Modern Horizons 2 dropped 6 weeks ago and in this article I want to talk about how the set impacted the format.

As combo players we don’t get new cards very often, so I’ll focus more on the new cards other decks got, how the matchups changed and how we adapted.

The Impact of Modern Horizons 2

Modern Horizons 1 released after the already powerful set War of the sparks and nuked every eternal format.

Powerhouses like Urza, Lord High Artificer or Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis changed the legacy landscape forever. But also some less obviously powerful cards made their impact and, in Arcum's Astrolabe’s case, even had to be banned.

Now, about 2 years later, Modern Horizons 2 hit the stores. Has MH2 had the same impact as its predecessor and what changed for us? Let’s explore that together deck by deck.

Delver Variants

Additions:

"Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Simon Dominic
"Dragon's Rage Channeler" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Martina Fackova
"Murktide Regent" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Lucas Graciano

was already the main Delver variant after Strixhaven, and these 3 new threats cemented that even further.

While Murktide Regent is just a big beater for , Dragon Rage Channeler and Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer are far more important in the Delver vs Doomsday matchup. Dragon Rage Channeler is a card selection engine on a stick but needs set up to get Delirium online. This can take quite some time because most Delver lists play no artifacts or enchantments. We can use this to our advantage when we give them no targets to use their spells on, especially when they kept a hand with many counters. To be honest I am very happy they cut Sprite Dragon, but I’m afraid they’ll return to it in lists without Dragon Rage Channeler.

Ragavan has the most impact in our matches against Delver post MH2.
It has ability to mess with the top of our deck, so be careful with your tutors and cantrips, and to invalidate Daze with treasure tokens changed the matchup quite a bit. Its very important to remember the Dash ability and to play around it post Doomsday. A tried and tested strategy is, to put cyclers into the pile to feed the monkey, aka use cyclers as filler or as tools to manipulate what gets exiled. I often build something like: cycler, important card, cycler, cycler, important card. With a pile like this Ragavan only eats cards we would cycle anyway. And if they try to be cheeky and don’t attack for a turn, we just use the cycler we drew to feed them dead cards.

Ragavan made Defense Grid a lot worse, because we can no longer slam it with Daze protection, and we have to pray they don't exile our discard spells. That forces us to go for faster Doomsdays and more same turn wins, because longer games got worse and a dashed in Ragavan can be a problem post Doomsday.

After very successful initial events post MH2, the meta share of Delver dropped hard, because many decks adapted with Endurance and Bant Miracles became the number 1 Delver hunter. But in the weeks before the Showcase Challenge in July the Delver pilots adapted, and Delver is back as the undisputed best deck in the format.

A nice change is the number of Force of Negations in Delver lists. Pre MH2 many Delver lists played 2-3 Force of Negations, because they were able to support them with pitch cards through Ethereal Forager and Dreadhorde Arcanist (before it got banned) however they find it harder to recoup the card advantage now even despite Ragavan.

Overall Delver is still our worst enemy and got some really annoying tools that changed the matchup a lot.

Control Decks

Additions:

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
"Prismatic Ending" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by John Stanko

There is only one real control deck left, Bant Miracles.
The control decks were never a real problem for us. We always had very good matchups against them, because they had no effective tools to beat us, outside of Meddling Mage and some special targeted hate like Archmage's Charm or Torpor Orb but Modern Horizons 2 changed that.

With Endurance Bant Miracles got a new tool to beat us post Doomsday. A flashed in Endurance plays around Daze and prevents our safest kills. We no longer can just jam an uncounterable Oracle with an empty library.

Prismatic Ending is irrelevant in most matches, but it kills Defense Grid or Carpet of Flowers without siding in artifact or enchantment hate.

The match up against Bant Control got a good chunk worse, compared to pre MH2, since they play Endurance in their main deck anyway.

Elves

Additions:

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
"Grist, the Hunger Tide" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Yongjae Choi

In the past Elves was a very favorable match up for us, we were able to just slam and win in the next or same turn, but sadly they now have an answer post Doomsday and can easily protect it with Allosaurus Shepherd. I still think it is a good match up for us, but we have to play more carefully now.

They also got a 3 mana Planeswalker they can fetch with Green Sun's Zenith, Grist, the Hunger Tide.

It won’t come up very often, but the -5 ability has the potential to kill us post Doomsday, if we go for a pas the turn pile.

Knight of the Reliquary Decks

Additions:

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
"Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Sarah Finnigan

Yavimaya, Cradle of Growth gave a huge boost to this kind of deck, especially GW Depths. GW Depths got a lot faster and is probably the premiere Depths deck right now. Endurance is also an issue in this match up, but at least they cannot protect it.

Death and Taxes

Addition:

"Kaldra Compleat" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Vincent Proce

Death and Taxes had always an awful match up against us and it stays this way, but be careful with slow piles as Kaldra Compleat gives haste.

Cloudpost

Addition:

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova

Cloudpost is still a free win win for us, but as always with green decks since MH2, play around Endurance.

Show and Tell Variants

Addition:

"Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Simon Dominic

Sneak and Show plays some number of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer in the sideboard, so be careful in Game 2 and 3, but it is not as scary as in Delver.

and Omnitell stayed the same and are still favorable match ups for us. Sneak and Show was the strongest variant pre MH2 and stays the strongest post MH2, but still a pretty even match up.

Lands

Additions:

"Endurance" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Anastasia Ovchinnikova
"Urza's Saga" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Titus Lunter

Lands was a very good match up for us, but it could get very tricky. We had build piles to play around all sorts of mana taxing hate like Sphere of Resistance or Choke, but also around Pyroblast.

Since MH2 they added Endurance and Urza's Saga. Endurance is annoying like in every other deck, but Urza’s Saga is special. It can produce a pretty decent clock and tutor for 0/1 mana hate pieces (for example Pithing Needle).

It is still a good match up but it got a bit worse, like most.

Jeskai Standstill

Additions:

"Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Simon Dominic
"Urza's Saga" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Titus Lunter

This new iteration of Standstill decks took the metagame by storm, it is just behind Delver as the number 1 contender for best deck of the format. Luckily for us, it doesn’t pressure our life total as hard as Delver does, but can still be very annoying.

Cards like Standstill, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer or Stifle have the potential to make games very awkward to maneuver.

My preferred strategy against this deck is to go for a fast kill if they pressure us, but slower games are possible. Especially when they try to hide behind Standstill without a real threat, their only aggressive one drop is Ragavan. But be careful, they play Stifle!

Madness

Addition:

"Blazing Rootwalla" from Modern Horizons 2 - Art by Jokubas Uogintas

Madness is a new a deck, similar to HogaakVine in Vintage. It has some really explosive first turns and most graveyard hate is only relevant in longer games, games we want to avoid anyway.

One of the most uninteractive matchups out there. Just mulligan for a fast win, and slam.

But we also lost some long loved enemies.
ANT has fallen of the map completely. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer was a huge blow for such a discard heavy deck. But also Endurance has been found guilty of accessory to murder in this particular case. A Past in Flames or Cabal Ritual with an empty graveyard is just not as good. Black control decks met a similar fate. They were already pretty dead before Prismatic Ending entered the format, but now there are no real reasons left to play anything else than a Bant based control shell.

With Prismatic Ending white has all the good removal and green is also an absolute must. Endurance and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath are just too important to keep up with Delver.

How we Adapted

As we can see, there were some major changes in some decks. Many decks got faster or got some answers to fight us post Doomsday.

To stay on par most lists are now on the full Turbo plan and are UB for a clean and consistent mana base. Some lists dip into Grixis for Pyroblast, but BUG and Esper are rarely seen.

The typical Turbo List contains:

Mainboard

Sideboard

The most important changes post MH2 are the packages to beat Endurance and the absence of Defense Grid.

Many Players moved away from Defense Grid and added 1-2 Pact of Negation to their lists.

Defense Grid got a lot worse in the now faster Delver Matchups and Pact of Negation supports the new gameplan better (and also helps with Endurance).

It doesn’t need extra resources like mana or pitch cards and really helps winning in one turn.

The most important techs emerged to beat Endurance.
Some lists play two Thassa's Oracle or Echo of Eons, but the most common techs are Shelldock Isle + Emrakul, the Aeon's Torn and Pact of Negation.

The Emrakul plan can even be combined with Thassa's Oracle for very resilient piles, but be careful you can’t activate Shelldock Isle when your opponent has a Teferi, Time Raveler and Back to Basics is also very nasty.

Pact of Negation is not only a good card against Delver, but also really helps beating Endurance.

Last but not least there also some cute Lists with very special takes on Doomsday. WonderPreaux got some good results with a Stifle + Wasteland tech and players like Enrichetta developed a slower version of UB Doomsday to beat Delver from a more controlling angle.

There are even some lists out there with Watery Grave as their 5th Underground Sea.

Conclusion

Overall we lost some percentage points against many decks we had really good matchups against.

In most we still are very favored, but they are no longer free wins.
In my opinion Doomsday is still the best Combo deck out there, but not as dominant against every non-Delver Deck as it was pre MH2.

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.

See ya the next time,
OtterLady!

"Lutri, the Spellchaser" from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths - Art by Lie Setiawan