Friday, July 01, 2005

.:Meandeck Doomsday, A Deck Primer: Part III of III:.

After a long time, finally, Mondu gets his chance to have his flamethrower ready! :P

In part 1, we talked about the deck itself, and the card choices. In part 2, we talked about how to play the deck and various Doomsday stacks for various situations you'd find yourself in.

In this third part, we'll talk about sideboarding and matchups.


A. Sideboarding

I won't give you a specific sideboard. However, let me give fifteen cards you'd want to consider for sideboard options, in no particular order. Feel free to mix and match which ones you like. Feel free to suggest other cards you think would be useful for the sideboard as well.

1. Cranial Extraction/Extract: Perfect against fellow combo decks, as well as decks that roll over to losing a set of key cards. I'd prefer Extract though, if only for its cheaper mana and money cost.

2. Cabal Interrogator/Defense Grid: Cards you'd use against control. If your opponent has too many counters to deal with, either of these can help you immensely, though I personally prefer the Grids due to the lack of summoning sickness and the colorless mana cost. The Interrogator can be useful if your opponent sides out all forms of creature kill, though. It can really hurt your opponent's hands constantly, but taxes your mana somewhat.

3. Damping Matrix/Pithing Needle: Shuts down Welders and Mindslavers for a mere 3 colorless mana. Shuts down a good chunk of Madness' outlets for discard, i.e. Wild Mongrel and Aquamoeba. Shuts down some nifty abilities from Fish creatures. This is a good card in place of the more expensive Old Man Of The Sea, which I would've recommended if only we had those in this country. :P

4. Back To Basics: Do a land count and see that only your Underground Sea could get locked down. I've used this card very well against Workshop decks and other non-basic heavy decks. Couple this with Energy Flux against Workshop decks, and they'd have fits dealing with you.

5. Energy Flux: You have a severe mismatch against Workshop decks because of their ability to work with a faster clock and superior disruption than other aggro decks (In the case of Workshop Aggro.) or lock you down indefinitely until they kill you (In the case of Workshop Prison.). Sure, they might insist on keeping one or two key artifacts against you by paying for it every upkeep, but it's far better dealing with only one or two artifacts than a whole bunch of them. Combined with Back To Basics, their situation just gets worse.

6. Chain Of Vapor: While you actually have an advantage against certain Oath builds (They usually don't run Stifle, so forcing them into a counter war would prove advantageous.), there are just broken opens of Lotus Petal, Orchard, Oath. Chain Of Vapor helps against the first creature. It can also bounce back your own Necro when you want to get a draw step again. It can also bounce back random threats that might suddenly become fatal after a Doomsday such as a Goblin Sharpshooter. It also bounces a Worldgorger Dragon in mid-combo. Also the best option against hosers like Arcane Laboratory, Rule Of Law, or Pyrostatic Pillar.

7. Tormod's Crypt: It's a bit redundant against artifact decks that run Welder, but is a welcome answer to Dragon decks, which is about as fast as you are because of your lack of a Black Lotus

8. Null Rod: Sure, it'd hurt your Artifact mana and your Chromatic Sphere (So duh, side out some of those affected cards, right?), but it'd hurt your opponent more than it'd hurt you if they're fully powered. It buys you time against Workshop decks and other combo decks like Belcher and Meandeath, and costs one mana less than Damping Matrix. Use this if there are just too many Moxen running around and not enough creature abilities to prevent.

9. Cursed Totem: In a random aggro environment, you'd find this card to be a house. This card could single-handedly shut down the Elven Nation deck I described in Part II, and for one less mana than the Damping Matrix, plus the ability to shut off mana abilities. This is a judgment call between Matrix and Totem, really. But I'd lean more towards the Matrix because of the ever-present CS.

10. Claws Of Gix: I saw this random sideboard card in some of the decklists I studied, and I see its use for being able to draw again after a massive Necro, as well as to ensure you never have Spirit tokens against Oath. If there's a high presence of Oath in the meta, this is a great sideboard idea.

11. Memory Jar: It's a card I would've maindecked, but only against a non-powered deck. You wouldn't want to EVER have this in your opening hand against a powered or even semi-powered deck. That being said, this is purely a fun win-more card. I do not see a single matchup where you'd actually need this card, ever since I used Frantic Search in its place. Consider this nothing more than a fun slot.

12. Chromatic Sphere: If your opponent is a creature deck, you'd rather accelerate your drawing than picking them off with a semi-useless Duress. This is a very situational sideboard card, but worth considering if you run into players who port their Type 2/Extended decks and bring them into a Vintage tourney.

13. Misdirection: Just to replace/enhance your FOW's against annoying decks that target you all the time (Read: Sui Black.). You have no idea how painful Sui Black can be against Doomsday...

14. Chill: Considering how prevalent Sligh can be in the meta half the time, this is a convenient choice to slow them down with. FCG is collateral damage as well, and your slightly slower Doomsday version sure can put the speed disparity to good use, although a Lackey on his side usually means Chill can be moot a lot of the time.

15. Stifle: Now, THIS is situational. I have run into Iso-Chant extended decks when I started playing Doomsday and I didn't have power yet. You have no idea how annoying it is when they have an imprinted Orim's Chant on the Magic Stick. Stifle can stop the imprinting itself or the activation for one turn, and doubles as a counter to the ever-present fetchlands. If a lot of people port Extended decks to the Vintage environment, such as Life, Cephalid Breakfast, Black Clerics, and Iso-Chant, then this is actually a good card. Be warned again: a meta like this has yet to happen.

B. Matchup Analysis

I will be using a grading system to evaluate the difficulties of matchups, assuming similar playskill between both players. A matchups would be the easiest of games for you, that you're almost guaranteed to win every time. B matchups give the advantage to you, in varying degrees. C matchups would be fairly even. D matchups put you at a disadvantage, in varying degrees. F matchups would be the most difficult of games for you, that you're almost guaranteed to lose every time.

<>B.1. Versus Regular Aggro

Regular aggro is rarely a problem, and are an A-A+ matchup for you most of the time. You only have to watch out for how they can disrupt you or your combo. Each of the two specified aggro decks have one form of disruption against your deck that you definitely have to watch out for, and you have to be conscious of their sideboard options against you as well. For any other aggro deck, just keep track of your life, and then disrupt them and combo out one turn before they can kill you. However, if the deck runs discard, then you are automatically at a huge disadvantage. Be very wary of discarder decks. No wonder how janky they may seem to you, they have a huge advantage over you simply because combo decks have huge problems when they can't play any spells, as they have too few permanents to bring down.

1. Sligh:

Pre-board: A-
Post-board: B/B+

There really isn't much you need to worry about against this deck, but just be aware of your life total due to the heavy concentration of direct damage spells that might suddenly kill you after you play Doomsday. They have little to no form of disruption against you in game one barring Strip Mine, Wasteland, and potentially Ankh of Mishra.

In Game 2, board in Chain Of Vapor against the Pyrostatic Pillar they are most likely going to board in against you., and consider a Defense Grid for comboing out without giving them a chance to cheese yo after Doomsday. If you put in Chill, use that against them as well. As they usually have more to board against you than you against them, they have a better fighting chance in Game 2, but it's still a race between their bringing down their kill conditions or hosers against your combo.

2. White Weenie:

Pre-board: A+ (Old versions.); C- (New versions.)
Post-board: A (Old versions.); C (New versions.)

Older versions of White Weenie are way too slow to kill you without your comboing out before they can, but you have to make sure they don't pull surprises on you. For instance, some decks run a maindecked True Believer, which will prevent you from targeting the player as long as it's alive. Another little trick they might pull is use Swords To Plowshares on one of their own creatures to survive your kill, so you still need to disrupt them when comboing out, just to be sure.

Newer versions splash blue for Meddling Mage and run True Believer, no questions asked. You don't have to worry much about Samurai Of The Pale Curtain, but the former two cards definitely wreck you once both of them resolve. Considering they can get these guys into play by Turn 3, then you have to make sure you combo out before they do, or you pluck off the cards via Unmask.

Post-board, they will probably bring in Rule Of Law, which you rarely expect in play until turn 2 at the earliest, so I suggest boarding in Chain Of Vapor and keeping up the disruption. The old version is a fairly easy matchup. Don't sweat it much. The new version pre-board has the slightests of advantages against you, but is nearly dead even post-board.

B.3. Versus Control and Aggro-Control

Your main concern is what elements of control these decks play. Do they run Stifle? How many counters do they run? How many of these counters are free? Each decktype mentioned here is usually at a slight disadvantage against you because of Storm, but the lack of Power means the advantage is not as strong as it conventionally is. Your disruption is certainly very important here. Maximize your Duress, Unmask, and Force Of Will.

1. 4CC/3CC:

Pre-board: B-/C- (Depends on the Wish board.)
Post-board: B

4CC/3CC is a Game 1 nightmare because you never know what tricks they have up their sleeve. Wish boards can contain anything from Stifle to in some rare cases, Orim's Chant, and those cards will wreck your gameplan easily. Your only advantage is that these decks usually only carry eight hard counters, so it's easy to work around them when trying to combo out.

Alternatively, their advantage is a full set of Strip effects, and Exalted Angel, that makes your life more difficult when it comes to comboing out.

In Game 2, your advantage is pronounced because you can remove your own permission in favor of Defense Grid, bring in Back To Basics (Depending on the situation.), and maybe Null Rod. You have lots of board options against them, and they have little against you. It'd be safer for them to just keep them in the board for Wishing purposes.

2. Control Slavery:

Pre-board: C/D+ (Depends on if they run Duress.)
Post-board: B-

Whenever a deck only has eight or less counters to work against, you automatically have the edge disruption-wise. However, what makes Control Slavery difficult to deal with is the fact that being hit by a Mindslaver can easily win them the game. They have a lot of tools in their maindeck to keep you from pulling away, particularly when they also run Duress, which really hampers you from comboing out even further. It's usually an even matchup, but the moment they have Duress, the scales tip in their favor quite a bit.

In Game 2, your best bet is to bring in Damping Matrix or Pithing Needle, and Defense Grid. That way, you'd be more worried about the goldfish than anything else. Watch out for a Tormod's Crypt that they'd probably board in against you. Always be on the lookout for a Beacon-based win before a Yawgmoth's Will-based win when going against this deck.

3. Fish:

Pre-board: A (UR); C (UW); B- (WTF); D+ (Vial versions.)
Post-board: A- (UR); C+ (UW); B- (WTF); C- (Vial versions.)

What can UR Fish do against you that Landstill can't do better? Virtually nothing. Considering how you already have a slight advantage against Landstill pre-board, Fish is more disadvantaged against you, because they're too slow with their kill conditions and only run four hard counters, barring Stifle. When disrupting, Stifle then Force Of Will are your main targets.

UW Fish is a different animal altogether, with both the annoying but occasionally effective trick of using Swords To Plowshares on their own creatures, Meddling Mage, and the potential of running maindeck Orim's Chant. It's a fairly even matchup.

WTF isn't too big a problem, really, but has better kill conditions than UR fish. That being said, treat it similarly. This is assuming they don't run Chalice Of The Void. If they do, then treat it like you would the Vial version. Null Rod does NOT hurt you as much as you think it does.

The Vial versions of Fish are a pain to deal with if they keep in tricks like Rootwater Thief or run Jitte. It gets worse with Chalice of the Void around. You're definitely at a disadvantage, and should consider disrupting your opponent asap. Vial Fish is one of the worst matchups you'll ever run into, possibly third in line to Suicide Black and Workshop decks.

In Game 2, consider bringing in Back To Basics and Defense Grid. UR will probably bring in some annoying little tricks against you, such as more Misdirection and Stifle. Treat WTF with Null Rods similarly, unless they splash white. If they do, treat it like UW Fish.

UW, on the other hand, can bring in Abeyance and Orim's Chant which both ruin your day, in addition to Stifle. At least, resolving a Defense Grid against Fish would deny your opponent the chance to utilize these neat little tools.

The same sideboard plan goes for Vial Fish, but consider using Damping Matrix or Pithing Needle to prevent the Vials, and consider running more bounce to deal with the Chalice.

4. Landstill:

Pre-board: B
Post-board: B-/C-. (Depends on what they board in.)

Whether the deck is UW or UR, the matchups are fairly similar, although the UW build is inherently weaker against you due to the number of dead cards the W part of the deck has against you. Despite that, both builds will carry two or more maindecked Stifle, which can be quite a headache, and quite a few bits of permission as well. Combining all of those would simply mean you are at a disadvantage against them save for one thing: they can't kill you as fast as other decks. Because of this, you have the advantage against them, as you can continually disrupt them, and not fear Standstill as much as you usually would when Duress is still on the stack, anyways. Duress targets in order of priority are usually Standstill, Stifle, then permission. Of course, removing direct damage is important if you are about to cast Doomsday with a low life total.

Post-board, they have a lot of options to use against you, but the fact that they will have Annul might prove to be a slight problem, as your hosers are countered by their Annul. The one trick I discovered while fighting Landstill is that the Plan C kill is your most reliable road to victory against this deck. Therefore, concern yourself less with getting Doomsday off than getting ten or so spells off without a Stifle to worry about. If they board in a full set of Stifle, then you will definitely be at a disadvantage.

5. Madness:

Pre-board: B+
Post-board: A

There's little to say about this matchup. The advantage is yours, but just watch out for permission and try comboing out quickly enough, which shouldn't really be a problem for your deck so long as you can Brainstorm a couple of times. If they run strip effects (Not entirely sure if they do.), then you might have a slight problem, so don't fetch your non-basics until you really need them.

Post-board, just bring in the Matrices or the Cursed Totems, and maybe the Defense Grids. That'd teach them. =P Just don't underestimate the deck, though, or you might regret it.

6. Sui Black:

Pre-board: D/D-
Post-board: C-/D+

You're at an obvious disadvantage due to Chalice, Duress, Hymn, and Strip Effects. The moment they wreck your hand, you're in topdeck mode, which would prove problematic for you since you don't have much mana to work with and even with a full set of Power, only two Moxen. That being said, disrupt their disruption and hope for the best. Your best option is to combo out as soon as you can. Throw away caution into the wind if needed be.

Post-board, you have little to bring in against them except for some bounce and then Pithing Needle, which is only limited in use against them . Consider a Misdirection or two (Even maindecked. Remove Mox Diamond.) if Sui Black is prevalent in your area. This deck is one of your worst matchups ever, and unlike Workshop decks, can be quite popular in random metas. Yes, you can win (Barely.), but their disruption will frustrate you incredibly. Alternatively, consider bringing a different deck if Sui Black is popular in your area. Save yourself the frustration.

B.3. Versus Combo

Pure combo decks are usually a race that you are better equipped to win. Otherwise, if you're against faster combo, then it's all about the die roll. Be very careful with these decks. You never know who wins until the last moment, and matches can get fairly quick. Mulling aggressively for disruption or Force Of Will is a pretty good idea, especially against the first deck. I won't discuss Sensei, Sensei because I have yet to see it in action. Despite that, the advantage is yours if they never get mana to pump out UU, ergo win on your second turn. No easy task.

1. Belcher:

Pre-board: B-/D (Depends on who goes first.)
Post-board: A-/D (Depends on who goes first.)

Belcher is all about broken openings and fast mana. They have very little ways to deal with your combo other than Duress, which they would often use to aid their comboing out instead of hindering yours, anyways. In the first game, you just have to make sure you either go first and have disruption, or go second and have permission. Mull aggressively for this. If you survive turn one and two, then unless you do something stupid like forget to cast Doomsday when you can (Ahem, ahem.), then you're going to win.

In Game 2, board in Null Rod and/or Damping Matrix or Pithing Needle. That should swing the matchup heavily in your favor, but still be aware of the aggressive mulling needed to prevent your opponent from doing crazy stuff against you. This matchup is almost in the bag once one of your hosers hit the table. You normally run at least three of those in your deck post-board. Be warned again that Belcher is all about taking you by surprise, so you never know when they'd kill you on the first turn with Duress backing them up. It's a race that they have a headstart on. Force Of Will and Duress/Unmask is your best hope to rein them in.

2. Dragon:

Pre-board: B (Regular Dragon.); D+ (Golden Dragon.)
Post-board: C+ (Regular Dragon.); D (Golden Dragon.)

Dragon is arguably more resilient than you are to disruption due to their redundant combo parts, but is generally slower because the redundant parts can mean quite a few dead cards. Their combo, barring the version that runs on Bazaar, is a full turn slower than you, but despite that, they make up for it in running almost as much disruption and permission as you do, and a lot of search effects that help them find what they need quite quickly. It's more or less half and half when it comes to the race to combo, but the advantage of Golden Dragon is that you can't disrupt their card-searching engine, the Bazaar. Golden Dragon is a horrible matchup, especially post-board. If you were powered, the story would be entirely different, though.

Post-board, if you had board cards like Stifle or Tormod's Crypt, then the advantage swings to you due to the ability to hate them out by killing their combo. However, if you don't, the matchup is now almost in their favor because all you can board in is a Chain Of Vapor while they can board in anything from Chalice Of The Void to Stifle. Golden Dragon will have a field day on you if this is the situation. Disrupting them is nowhere near as effective as racing them to combo, so be aggressive in comboing out, and just watch out for Force Of Will.

3. Meandeath:

Pre-board: B/C- (Depends on who goes first.)
Post-board: B+/C- (Depends on who goes first.)

Meandeath is faster than you, slower than Belcher, but is a lot more consistent than Belcher while being less consistent than you. Again, it's all about who goes first, and make sure you have disruption against Meandeath. Target what resource they have little of: do they have little mana? Hit that. Do they have little draw? Hit that. Don't bother with the Wishes unless they have nothing better in their hand. If Meandeath goes first, watch out. A simple Mind's Desire for three or four can already seal the win for them, if only for the advantage a play like that generates, even if they don't win the game. Also, a first-turn Draw 7 will force you into a new hand you can't mull out of.

Post-board, consider playing Null Rod. There's little else you can play against them, but Null Rod should suffice as long as you prevent their bounce. Again, the advantage is theirs if they go first. They have far better first-turn kill odds than you do, after all. It'll be a race to combo, and your only advantage is Force Of Will. Meandeath is plain faster, period.

4. Meandeck Doomsday:

Pre-board: C
Post-board: B-/D+ (Depends on your respective boards.)

This is a no-brainer. A mirror match between players presumed to have similar playskill levels should be dead even. Doomsday is not touted for first-turn kills, so the die roll is not that important. The Doomsday decklist is so tight that you can't take away anything further from what I already did, so adding to the cards I lack (Lotus, two Moxen, Time Walk.) automatically swings the advantage to the powered player, but that's a given.

Post-board, if you ran Tormod's Crypt, Stifle, or Extract, the advantage is yours. Consider going for Defense Grid and removing your permission. That might help. The better board wins, hands down.

5. TPS:

Pre-board: A-
Post-board: A+/A- (Depends on your board.)

TPS is the easiest Storm deck to deal with. This is because while they run permission, they aren't fast enough to win based on the die roll. You actually have better odds at a turn two or three win than they do, and the key to beating this deck is disrupting them quickly. Exploit your advantage to the best. Otherwise, you'd pay for it dearly if you hit turn five. As the game gets longer, the TPS matchup swings in their favor.

Post-board, Null Rod, Stifle, and Tormod's Crypt should help you along. Extract can be great as well if they only run one Tendrils. If you have these board cards, this is a near auto-win for you. On the other hand, there's not much they can board in against you.

B.4. Versus Aggro-Combo

Aggro-combo decks are usually easier for you to deal with due to having very lucrative Duress targets and their general lack of permission, but unlike you, they have a fallback plan if they can't combo out. Consider this a race where you have a headstart that you run the risk of losing.

1. Elfclamp:

Pre-board: B+
Post-board: A

The advantage is yours all the way, except for one problem card: Wellwisher. Lifegain can ruin your combo math, but other than that, this game is a near cakewalk for you as you have three to five turns to work with before they start becoming a threat to deal with.

Game 2 should swing the game even further to you with Cursed Totem. Really now, there's little to say about this deck, as you have better odds against this deck from the get-go. Try preventing them from resolving Concordant Crossroads, by the way. It slows down their combo dramatically.

2. FCG:

Pre-board: B/B+
Post-board: B/B+

This matchup is always in your advantage, but is slightly less due to your lack of power. Despite that, FCG will always be at a setback against you as they have very little ways to disrupt your combo. It all boils down to avoiding horrible opening hands for you, and for watching your life total carefully in case you itend to go Doomsday, done.

You have little to board in against them, and so do they. The second game is almost going to be identical to the first game, so your odds stay the same.

B.5. Versus Combo-Control

Control-combo decks can be a pain when they're trying to protect their combo while disrupting yours. Your only advantage is speed. Their advantages are their wall of counters and their fairly quick win condition. Watch out for these decks, and even if you never run into the second one in the list, it's definitely worth being aware of.

1. Meandeck Oath:

Pre-board: B
Post-board: B+

You have an advantage against Oath because it takes them no less than three turns to kill you. You have three turns to work with, so use it to your advantage to disrupt them while the going is good. They are going to be relatively easy to deal with when they're too busy looking for win conditions. Consider Plan C wins when going against them. Playing Doomsday against a wall of counters is too risky for my tastes, unless you've disrupted them enough. This will be an easy matchup unless they get those patented first-turn Oath plays with Force Of Will backup. Otherwise, you can rest assured that the clock is in your favor, which means you have to play conservatively, unless you really trust your gut that they're not holding permission.

Post-board, Chain Of Vapor and Defense Grid are your best friends. Use them well, and play the way you did the first game, but be on the lookout for these hosers. Your deck will definitely have a major advantage against Oath once the Grid resolves. Otherwise, the matchup is exactly the same. If you know the meta will have lots of Oath, consider having a Claws Of Geeks... err... Gix in the board to deal with tokens. The reason Oath is a bit tougher than most control matchups is that they have an alarmingly high number of counters. Chalice Oath is a meta deck, and as such, is not a factor to consider.

2. Shortbus Severance Belcher:

Pre-board: B+
Post-board: A+/A (Almost an A+, but not quite.)

SSB is powerful, but you're not the type who'd walk with arms wide open into a Mana Drain. They have a very slow combo and while they have permission, you can easily deal with that. Even if they run Duress, it's not a big problem because they can't immediately do something crazy afterwards most of the time. The only worry is when you are safe to combo out, but the clock is definitely on your side on this one. They can't just expect to do much against you, and you can expect to disrupt them heavily throughout the game. Consider going for Plan C against this deck, by the way. Anytime someone wants to go on a counter war with you, a Mind's Desire at the end of it should make them smack their head for feeding you so much ammo.

Post-board, you become a near auto-win with so many things to board against them: Matrix, Null Rod, Defense Grid, and the like. Resolving one of at least five new pieces of hate from the board for you means you will definitely cause trouble for their deck. There's little to worry about post-board, but like any matchup, never underestimate the opponent. Some broken hands happen for SSB, and walking into one of those post-board with no FOW means you can't stop them.

B.6. Versus Workshop Aggro

Pre-board: D+
Post-board: C+

What a headache. They have lots of hate against you, some of them maindecked, and chances are, they have Sundering Titan, which is a house against your deck if you have a few lands on the table already. At least, some of their cards, such as maybe Triskelion, Seal Of Cleansing, and Duplicant are usually not-so-great cards against you. Crucible locks are not as horrible as you think they are when you realize you can combo out within three or four turns, but still must not be underestimated. That being said, you definitely have to work for your wins against these decks.

While I won't get into specific Workshop Aggro decks one by one, you just have to consider the nuances among them. For instance, Masknaught is deadly, but you can work against it by using Force Of Will. In contrast, 7/10 Split is, on the surface, safer to fight than Cerebral Assassin due to the fact that C.A. can bring the Titan into play the fastest. However, since 7/10 maindecks Chalice of the Void, you will have problems. 5/3 is less of a concern, but try to not let any Chalices or Spheres get through. I think it and 7/10 are the worst Workshop Aggro matchups for this deck, but there's one version of Workshop that just ups the wazoo when it comes to being a headache of a matchup.

Game 2 is all about your sideboard. You can actually gain an advantage if you board in all your Fluxes and B2B's, and maybe the Needles. I saw how the matchup changed dramatically when I had my board cards, and unlike Stax, they only have REB to deal with it. Smokestack is not an issue normally, but it becomes one when you have to keep a hoser in play. That being said, Workshop Aggro doesn’t emphasize Smokestack, so you have some marginal breathing room, give maybe one or two turns, which is usually enough time for you to work with.

B.6. Versus Workshop Prison, aka $T4X

Pre-board: D-/F (Depends on what hosers they run maindeck.)
Post-board: C-/D+ (I'm being too generous with a C-, but I don't think it's a D+. Call it in between.)

Wow. A whole section to only one deck? I guess since this deck is pretty much your worst matchup ever, then it's worth discussing in this much detail. $T4KS, without a doubt, is your toughest top-tier matchup in a tournament setting. There is nothing that you have that they don't have an answer to. Force Of Will? Goblin Welder. Duress? Chalice Of The Void. Rebuild? Sphere Of Resistance. Doomsday? Jester's Cap, Memory Jar. Slow play? Smokestack. Back To Basics, Energy Flux? Red Elemental Blast.

The only reason the deck is not completely unbeatable is that their lock pieces, Smokestack and Tangle Wire and possibly Uba Mask, are not going to hurt you much in Game 1 because your board is usually clear anyways. This means you don't have to play anything unless you see a plan formulating, and when you do, only their hosers can stop it. Hopefully, you have Duress and Unmask to deal with that, but you both have fairly even odds of coming up with disruption and hosers, respectively.

When playing against Workshop Prison, your best bet is to either go for a turn three kill with Unmask or FOW backup, or keep the game slow by disrupting them all the way. The main problem with fighting $T4KS is that it's so hard to do either when they are also disrupting you with their own hosers. Ergo, he who has more disruption will win. Newsflash: he will statistically have more disruption than you will. I think your life was actually easier when it was Trinisphere and not Sphere Of Resistance, as Rebuild wasn't affected by the former. Rebuild is in the maindeck for the very reason that it's your only out against a Workshop deck that resolves any of the artifacts that hose you: Trinisphere, Sphere Of Resistance, and Chalice Of The Void. The idea though is that you must win the turn after you Rebuild, or else he'll just plop down all those artifacts again.

Game 2, you will have to depend on your board to see you through. The same boarding plan as you saw in Workshop Aggro would work, but my main point of contention is that unlike Workshop Aggro, suddenly, $T4KS' main lock piece, Smokestack, becomes a factor in the game for as long as you can't keep your hosers on the table. If you can, then the win is yours. But that's a tall order, as they will also probably board in some REB's to deal with B2B or Flux. That being said, if you were fully powered, then this matchup shouldn't be as hard as I say it is right now. But then, if you're not, then it will definitely be their game most of the time.

Without a doubt, this is your worst matchup, period. If you ever go into a meta with lots of these decks, forget it. Stompy would have better odds than Meandeck Doomsday.

C. Problem Cards To Skirt Around

I'll be generous here and give you the top ten cards you would want to watch out for. These are the cards that you have to work around when playing Meandeck Doomsday. These are in order of difficulty of dealing with. As I’m not the first to write about Doomsday, I don’t suppose I’m telling you anything you don’t already know, so no new tech against my own deck for you. =P

1. Chalice Of The Void: Setting it for 1 or 0 will definitely set you back. You have a lot of spells that cost only 1 or 0, and these are the spells that jumpstart your play into the combo.

2. Sphere Of Resistance: Unlike Trinisphere, Rebuild is affected by this, which actually makes it more annoying than Trinisphere, in my opinion. Trinisphere is still a card you don’t like to see on the table, though.

3. Stifle: I actually worry more about this card than Force Of Will. Using FOW on a Mind's Desire will not hurt it. Using a Stifle would. Hence, any deck that runs Stifle should be disrupted before you do anything Storm-wise. I'm lumping the rest of permission as the number three concern for Doomsday, but Stifle is chief amongs those concerns.

4. Wasteland: Every time you run into decks playing these, you have to use fetchlands conservatively. Fetch basics whenever you can, and try to keep Gush to respond to a Waste or a Strip. You need all the mana you can get, as you intend to win within three to five turns. Ruining your mana base means you will delay your win beyond that.

5. Jester's Cap: Get hit by this card, and if you're not holding your kill conditions or if they're not in the graveyard, then it's game over. Unlike Extract or Cranial Extraction, the Cap can remove all of your kill conditions in one go.

6. Arcane Laboratory: Usually comes off the board, and costs 3. You also board in bounce when this is expected. Ergo, it's a problem to work around, but it's not as big a problem as it seems. Duress and Unmask hit this card with ease. The trick is being aware which decks can afford to board this in against you, and preparing yourself to deal with them.

7. Meddling Mage: Two of these means you have to bounce one of them before comboing out. They're not artifacts, so your bounce is in the board. Uh-oh. If it's any consolation, you don't expect them to have two in play by turn two. If you had only one kill condition, you'd have problems, neh?

8. Tormod's Cryt: It's not a big problem because you have Plan B and a Timetwister-fueled Plan C to work around Tormod's. Just be aware of the possibility of the Crypt post-board when you see a Plan A hand dependent on Yawgmot's Will. At this juncture, I just noticed how many cards you have to worry about are dealt with by Pithing Needle. You got to love that card.

9. Pyrostatic Pillar: If you cast ten spells and get hit for each low-CC spell in it by the Pillar, you just know you're going to die. It can be dealt with by casting a non-lethal Tendrils before using Yawgmoth's Will, and of course, bounce. Be glad it's usually from the board. Ankh of Mishra is maindecked, but at least you only play one land a turn, so at most, it will deal five damage to you because you used a fetchland, and then you combo out afterwards.

10. Memory Jar: Anytime you go for Plan B, always consider the remote odds of being forced to draw cards. Memory Jar comes to mind because it happened to me once. Ancestral Recall, Wheel Of Fortune, and other similar cards are a minor concern once Doomsday's on the prowl.

D. Conclusion

I hope you liked this three-part primer. It sure took me a long time to work on all of this, but this is my labor of love for the MTG Vintage community. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know about them.

At the end of the day, not everyone can play combo or likes to play combo. Despite that, a good grasp of the thought process going into a deck like Meandeck Doomsday would certainly do one's gameplay and strategy favors. The critical thinking and decision-making involved in Doomsday is sufficient enough of a step beyond the most brainless of aggro decks, is interactive enough to mimic control due to Force, Duress, and Unmask, but is intermediate enough to be a gateway into more complex combo decks like Meandeck Tendrils and Meandeath. Knowing how a combo player's mind works is also a valuable tool for and against the combo player.

I hope that this primer has given people a deeper appreciation for this deck, which I personally laud as one of the best decks I've ever seen, not because it's unbeatable (Far from it.), but because the deck construction is just so elegant. Meandeck Doomsday is generally a meta deck, which means you can't expect to walk into a Workshop-heavy environment and win with ease, or at all in some cases. This deck is a house against the aggro-heavy environment of the Philippine meta, and as such, is worth a try when such a meta presents itself.

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