Legacy is a very competitive format that has occasionally had a best deck, but, more often than not, it functions as a jungle. A player can play whatever they want and, so long as the deck functions and works fast enough, play competitive Magic. This has led me to numerous foolish decks, most of which were combo related.
My two favorite mistakes were Solidarity and Doomsday. Solidarity is one of the silliest decks I actually built. Solidarity is a version of High Tide that utilizes the card Reset instead of sorcery-speed enablers that allow traditional High Tide to go off. Solidarity has a lot of funny pieces and has some real advantages in game to traditional High Tide; however, Solidarity does not get to run Time Spiral or Candelabra of Tawnos, which make High Tide much more consistent. Reset is a cheaper engine, but the extra 4 mana for seven new cards is a pretty great deal most of the time. The deck isn’t very exciting these days compared to most Legacy decks, but this is my list if I were to sleeve it up today:
Solidarity by Sam Chapin
3 Snapcaster Mage
Non-Creature Spells (39)
1 Blue Sun’s Zenith
1 Brain Freeze
1 Cryptic Command
3 Cunning Wish
4 Force of Will
4 High Tide
This deck is different in that it is not good. It has the weaknesses compared to High Tide that I listed before, and High Tide is a bad deck to be playing right now. The format is not slow enough to see High Tide prosper all that much. If Sultai in its current state continues to rise in popularity, then Feline Longmore may be able to make a long run at a Legacy tournament, but, until then, Solidarity and High Tide are too hard to play in an unfavorable Meta.
Now that I’ve trashed playing slow combo decks that I was a fool for believing in, it’s time to discuss a slow combo deck that I may have been less of a fool for trying to build: Doomsday. Many in my life have heard me wax poetic about this card because it should be the most powerful combo enabler in magic. I firmly believe that because five consecutive copies of Imperial Seal that can get cards from your graveyard for three black mana is insane, especially when it can turn on the man himself. I tried to make this deck work for a long time, but I always struggled to make the deck work.
Here is where I fell into a classic deck building error that I only very recently realized. I was trying to think too new and new flashy. Last week I said that Goblin Dark-Dwellers was the card that would finally make this deck incredible, that was more of the same mistake. I constantly wanted the new way, my way to be the one that’d break the game open and make this deck great. I was able to snap out of that recently, so here I am to present you with an improved version of Doomsday.
Doomsday by Sam Chapin
1 Laboratory Maniac
Non-Creature Spells (42)
3 Cabal Therapy
4 Dark Ritual
4 Gitaxian Probe
1 Rain of Filth
4 Burning Wish
1 Three Wishes
4 Lion’s Eye Diamond
3 Lotus Petal
1 Cabal Therapy
1 Shattering Spree
1 Void Snare
1 Infernal Contract
1 Time Spiral
1 Tendrils of Agony
1 Dark Petition
1 Shelldock Isle
1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Cloud of Faeries
The theme for today seems to be Wish boards. Doomsday seems like a simple enough combo: you cast Dark Ritual, you cast Doomday, you make a pile, you win. The reason why “Doomsday’s the hardest deck in Legacy” was something touted for a very long while was because step 3 of that combo is looked at as the hardest thing in the world. In truth, for a 60 card deck there are over 5 million possible Doomsday piles that could be made (if everything was a 1-of). The key to success is that not everything is a 1-of and that we only need to know about 10 piles to actually be successful.
So what piles do we need to know for success. From here on out whenever I list a pile, I will be listing it from the top down, so it will be: top card, second card, middle card, fourth card, bottom card. There are the obvious piles that we need to know how to make: thehow to win this turn piles. Presuming we have a hand including Doomsday, Lion’s Eye Diamond, Dark Ritual, and Gitaxian Probe, we can make the pile: Three Wishes, LED, LED, Gitaxian Probe, Burning Wish. That Pile wins as long as there’s a mana source for the Dark Ritual, but usually we don’t get a 4 card combo without getting disrupted in Legacy, so we need other piles to accommodate.
Just in case that was a little fast for you, let me run through that pile for you, so you can start to get the feel for how to actually make these piles. As with most Storm decks, the key is counting to 10, so Tendrils of Agony can kill. The situation could work as follows: play a black source, cast LED (storm 1), cast Dark Ritual (storm 2), cast Doomsday (storm 3) make the pile, cast Gitaxian Probe (storm 4) holding priority to crack LED for 3 blue mana and drawing a card, cast Three Wishes (storm 5), flip Gitaxian Probe and 2 LEDs, cast LED (storm 6) crack for 3 red mana, cast LED (storm 7) and crack for 3 black mana, cast Probe (storm 8) drawing Burning Wish, cast Wish (storm 9) getting Tendrils of Agony, Win!
That’s how the deck functions ideally. We want to be able to draw and go through our pile in 1 turn. In Legacy that’s super easy, but getting to 10 storm while doing so can be very tricky. For instance, if we didn’t have the Dark Ritual, then we wouldn’t have gotten to enough Storm to win. That’s why we run Lab Man and also several cards in the Wish board to make the deck purr.
Before I get too far ahead of myself with piles, I should also explain most of the Wish board card slots, and some of the riskier choices that this deck makes. Starting out: yes we run Silence and yes its really freaking good. When CounterTop reigned, Silence wasn’t worth a bucket of spit, but now that the dark days are over, we can cast Silence to actually have protection on our turn. The white splash does make us more vulnerable to Wasteland, but that would happen regardless because this deck is fairly land dependent. Rain of Filth is run very purposefully over Cabal Ritual or any other mana producer because this deck expects to have 3 or so lands when it goes off, so Rain of Filth is a good way to hold mana for later.
The white splash also opens us up to an insane Wish board target in Vindicate. Vindicate is good (and this is really complicated) because it can remove any permanent on the battlefield even artifacts, enchantments and planeswalkers. That’s game changing for letting us dodge everything from Chalice of the Void to Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to Liliana of the Veil to any other random hate card that might appear. I’m overly cautious, so I have made the sideboard to be able to handle anything except a Blood Moon. This deck can still handily win through a Blood Moon, but to be extra sure there is a Plains in the board.
The Emrakul, the Aeons Torn, Shelldock Isle, Cloud of Faeries combo in the board is one that I like a lot, but there are many other options that you may prefer depending on your local meta. For a generic meta such as a Grand Prix I would recommend playing the Emrakul sideboard because it covers more bad matchups. If you don’t expect to see much creature removal at all in games 2 or 3, then you could cut the Emrakul, Isle, and Faeries for 3 Monastery Mentor. The card is incredibly dynamic, and in a deck that runs as many spells as this, it can cause trouble for any deck that can’t immediately answer it. The third and most conservative sideboard plan would be a Tropical Island and 3 Xantid Swarm, which would require taking out the Plains from the board as well. I personally find the Monastery Mentor option to be the worst by far, but it also can be very explosive in the right field.
Most of the pile understanding that you need for Doomsday comes from situations and knowing when you can go off and how hard it would be to go off. Much of the deck and the Burning Wish casts as well is about making one turn that the combo can just work its magic. Basically, you have to do all of the work, so you can show off that you memorized 5 Doomsday piles before the tournament.
Burning Wish is you best friend in this deck because it can always find you the answers you need. Many of the options in the board seem super obvious, but I will explain some of the less obvious ones as well (because those are the ones that are needed for actually winning). Infernal Contract is a bizarre card that sees virtually no play anymore, but still draws us our deck after a Doomsday. We occasionally need to Burning Wish for a draw spell for this role, and we have 2 options in Infernal Contract and Ideas Unbound. Ideas Unbound draws 3 cards and costs 2 blue mana. I favor Infernal Contract for these scenarios because Rain of Filth can help us cast Infernal Contract. Additionally, it will happen that we need to cast Infernal Contract outside of the Doomsday pile, in which case the extra card is worth the extra life.
Time Spiral is another card that allows us to keep the blood flowing so to speak. If our hand is a Burning Wish and no spells, then the Time Spiral might be exactly what we need if we can cast it. Time Spiral is very expensive, but the seven new cards and untapped lands almost make up for it because we are usually casting it on a ton of lands. Finally, the Regrowth and Dark Petition. These cards are both there to help up the Storm count ever so much. Regrowth is an option in Doomsday piles that have little need for mana, but do need Storm count. LED, crack for 3 green, Regrowth getting LED, replay LED nets two storm that can turn a win to a loss. Dark Petition has much more corner cases, but most of them have to do with having already cast Rain of Filth. Also it can help up the Storm count before casting Doomsday. It is also simply a Tutor effect, so sometimes it is needed to get the Rain of Filth (this can be very helpful for Blood Moon match ups).
Another basic pile:
If there are 2 LEDs on the field:
(+ any card)
(First Wish gets Dark Petition second gets Tendrils, good for 7 storm.)
There are many sillier piles to be made as well, but hopefully you can craft some for yourself as well!
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