So You Want to Play Vintage Doomsday This ManaTraders Series

The ManaTraders series for July is Vintage.
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Never played Vintage? Justin Gennari has tons of Vintage videos worth watching. Want to play a powerful deck? Doomsday is powerful. Coming from Legacy Doomsday? There's a few similarities. Always Be Casting Doomsday (ABCD). Or do you like me and want to play the same deck I do? Aw, that's touching. So let's talk about the deck.

Why Should I Play Doomsday?

Doomsday is one of the best decks in Vintage. It's fundamentals are so simple. Cast a spell for BBB, then draw and cast a card that has the text "you win the game" on it. Despite its namesake being a Black card, most of the deck is Blue cards, and Vintage is mad about Blue.

Why Shouldn't I Play Doomsday?

Despite the core of Doomsday being very simple, a lot can go wrong. It's a thrill to resolve a turn one Doomsday, but what if you don't know what your opponent is on? Did they not Force your Doomsday because they are on Shops or Hogaak? Or did they not have one in their opening hand? These questions and more demand answers as you build your pile.
Playing Doomsday is easy. Playing Doomsday well requires experience with the format. This shouldn't stop you! You'll lose to things you didn't expect. Sometimes you can play around them. Sometimes you can't. You can make the "right" decisions and lose. It sucks. It feels bad.
Let me try to help that happen less.

Where do I start?

Rent a list. Right now I recommend discoverN's latest list. Play leagues. Yes, leagues. The practice rooms may be free, but you get what you pay for. You could make a one-player room and give the deck a spin until you feel comfortable with the basics. If you can proxy the deck in paper, even goldfishing the deck can help build some good habits for when you play.

Matchup Advice

Vintage has four pillars: Tinker, Bazaar of Baghdad, Mishra's Workshop, and Dark Ritual. Of course, you'll still run into other kinds of decks. Aggro. Control. Weird Combos. Even Burn shows up. Sometimes. Don't expect it, but don't expect to do well against it when you're spending half your life to try to win.

General Sideboarding Advice

Leyline of the Void and The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale come in versus Bazaar decks. Steel Sabotage and Energy Flux for Shops. Duress is good against Combo and Blue decks. The extra land is for Wasteland decks (Shops, BUG, Hatebears). Fatal Pushes are for creatures like Collector Ouphe and Lavinia, Azorius Renegade. Mindbreak Trap is for spell-based combo decks. It can also snag Shops spells from time to time, but usually gets worse after turn one.
What to take out? Cutting Mystical Tutor is fine. Leave in Vampiric Tutor to find Tabernacle when you side it in, but generally it can go. If your opponent is pressuring your life, (Shops, Bazaar, BUG, Hatebears) cut Necropotence. Trimming Street Wraith is an option. Flusterstorm is worthless against Shops and Hogaak. Daze loses value fast against most decks that play the full set of Moxen.

Bazaar Decks

At the time of writing, Hogaak is the most popular Bazaar deck. You will still run into Dredge and Squee decks from time to time.
In comes all copies of Leyline of the Void, The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale, an extra land, and any creatures. Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Murktide Regent and Sedgemoor Witch are all good choices. Cut Necropotence, Flusterstorms, Mystical Tutor, and Force of Negation.


Hogaak relies more on Deathrite Shaman and Stitcher's Supplier and thus plays less counters. This makes it easier to win, but a very quick hand from them can be devastating. Watch out for Archive Trap. Leyline of the Void is useful here, but not perfect. They have eight Madness creatures, Hollow One, and can cast Hogaak from their hand. Spending Mental Misstep on a Stitcher's Supplier is often the right play. Watch out for Collector Ouphe after sideboarding.


Sometimes Dredge gets you game one. Hard. That's fine. Side and move on. You need to go as quick as possible, but sometimes casting Vampiric Tutor to get Tabernacle is for the best. Cabal Therapy hurts, so try to keep up a Flusterstorm if you can. Some argue there's no point in sideboarding at all. The Doomsday player should try to combo as fast as possible. I don't agree, but it's not the worst logic.

Squee (HollowVine)

While it might not be fair to this deck, think of it as a mix of Dredge and Hogaak. They have counterspells but are also looking to get out Vengevines with Hollow Ones and Rootwallas. Pay attention if they discarded the Master of Death they returned to their hand. They might be bluffing a Force of Will, but it's best to play it safe.

Shops Decks

These are what Steel Sabotage is for. Energy Flux can work as well, but sometimes is too costly. Mindbreak Trap might get them on turn one, but any later than that and you're better off pitching it to a Force.

Aggro Shops

A clock and disruption is what makes Aggro Shops dangerous. Only worry about countering their Sphere effects unless it will lose you the game. While their clock is very fast, Doomsday is faster. After sideboarding, watch out for quick keeps, especially on the play. This often indicates they have an Archive Trap.

Golos Shops

While Aggro Shops attacks your life, Golos attacks your mana base. Besides Wasteland, Ghost Quarter can do a real number. If they recur them with Crucible of Worlds, we'll be out of mana fast. Outside of Urza's Saga, their clock is slower than Aggro, but that doesn't give us much time. Resolve Doomsday and consider Spheres or land destruction if you pass the turn.

Combo Shops

Combo Shops can be tricky because sometimes they have a Helm of Obedience to mess with your pile. Or they slow you down long enough to get a fast kill. Despite these issues, play like any other Shops matchup. Stop their disruption and resolve Doomsday.

Tinker Decks

With the release of Urza's Saga, Tinker decks got a bit more of a clock and can put on the hurt in short notice. Watch out for their Flusterstorms. You cannot let Time Vault resolve if an Urza's Saga is out.


These come in Esper, Jeskai and Blue-Black variants. They'll kill you with Monastery Mentor or Saga Constructs and take infinite Time Vault turns. While Doomsday has more counterspells, they have more artifact mana for explosive starts. Without an early Doomsday, these matches come down to who resolves Ancestral Recall. first and gets the resources they need. Watch out for Lavina, Azorius Renegade and Hullbreacher.

Paradoxical Outcome

While some lists lack Urza's Saga, they will still be attempting to out-draw you. Monastery Mentor tokens with Time Walk or Time Vault is the most likely. But Tendrils of Agony kills still happen. Use Daze early as their artifact mana makes it very usless early on. They often will have the mana to pay for Flusterstorm. Don't be afraid to use it to try to slow them down so you can gain advantage.

Aggro Decks

White Hatebears

Save your counters for Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Archon of Emeria. They won't have much intereaction post side except Torpor Orb, Mindbreak Trap or Archive Trap. You most likely won't need Mental Misstep. Sometimes bringing in a Steel Sabotage or two can help. If you see Lurrus, thank them, because this means no Archon and the matchup is a lot easier.

Bant Hatebears

Like White Hatebears, but with Blue for counterspells and draw and Green for Collector Ouphe. You'll want to keep in Mental Misstep for their own Misstep, Ancestral Recall and so on.

UR Murktide

Think of this like Aggro Shops with all the benefits of Force of Will. Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is also a pain as he makes Flusterstorm worse on top of disrupting piles. If you have to pass the turn, put a Street Wraith on top of your pile. This ends up being the same as if they hit you with Ragavan or not.

Deathrite Shaman Decks

These come in BUG, RUG, 4C Walkers, and Lurrus DRS variants. The strategies remain the same for the most part. They will try to Wasteland you while clocking you with DRS activations and Green creatures. Try not to fetch until the last moment, and be very careful about the piles you build. They have many different kinds of disruption that can ruin your day. Endurance also shows up in the main and side, so consider putting both Oracles in your piles.
After siding, it's not uncommon for them to use Surgical Extraxction on Underground Sea. Be careful. This is the reason some of us play Watery Grave.

Combo Decks


This is one of the hardest decks for Doomsday as their main kill, Brain Freeze, gets a boost from our main game plan. Duress, Mindbreak Trap, and even Leyline of the Void can help. Be careful about passing the turn against them as Land, Mox, Brain Freeze can be enough to end things.


Dark Petition Storm can be easy since they tend to focus on Duress and Defense Grid. If they pass with a Defense Grid up and you can win in one turn, great! If you have to pass back things can go south fast. Watch out for the occasional Brain Freeze out of their side.

Oath of Druids

Doomsday doesn't play out creatures, so we only have to worry about them resolving Oath of Druids. Oko can get out of hand, but worry more about protecting your own combo.

The Doomsday Mirror

The first one to move often loses. Unless they don't. The mirror comes down to figuring out if you are the control deck or the combo deck. Opposition Agent can be devastating. But sometimes you'll be swinging at each other with the swamp-walking Street Wraiths. Remember: Doomsday is a Vintage deck that wins with creatures.



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Remember: Always Be Casting Doomsday.
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