Last time, I introduced the tools I love to use to try to achieve my victory condition – a draw – and the nuts and bolts of how they work.
Let’s pick up from there.
Building the Doomsday Device – Part 2: Dropping the Bomb
So far we’ve talked about what our weapons of choice are, how they work, and what tools we can use to trigger them to achieve our desired game state – the draw. All of these concepts are great, but they’re also all pointless theoretical dribble until we can actually get Divine Intervention or Celestial Convergence into play.
That means finding a draw piece and getting it from our hand onto the field.
How do we find our doomsday device? We have a 99-card deck with two targets. This means that odds are we’re going to have to either do some serious tutoring or use some serious draw power to dig one of them up. Being in white, we have three well-known white enchantment tutors on tap – Enlightened Tutor, Idyllic Tutor, and Academy Rector. There’s also the new kid on the block in Plea for Guidance – more expensive, but it can potentially grab both targets at one.
Given we’re also likely to be using black and/or blue as well, we also have access to both the other best tutor colour, and the best colour for card draw. I’m not going to go into a long discourse today on the best tutors and draw power spells (that is a topic for another time….); needless to say, we have the tools we need to make this work at our disposal.
Getting those two cards and the supporting cards to trigger our doomsday device is your goal, and as such you need to dedicate a sufficient amount of resources to this search. I personally like to hide these components in a group hug shell; while I do have a selection of tutors, I personally prefer a static package of Howling Mine effects.
The second problem is getting said doomsday device into play. This is especially an issue for Divine Intervention; while Celestial Convergence is much more of a pain in the butt to pop correctly, it’s also easier to cast (being cheaper and all.) Divine Intervention has a comparatively-prohibitive casting cost of 6WW. It’s expensive and vulnerable to anti-white mana-hate, notably by Strip Mineing your white sources or generally keeping you off eight mana by killing rocks or lands.
Of course, eventually we will be able to hard cast it through the hate, but when I actually hardcast the bastard thing, it’s in those long drawn out games. What about dropping it in the early or mid game? What are some to cheat the bloody thing into play early when no one is expecting it….. Because nobody expects the bloody Spanish Inquisition, right? Well, let’s make a list:
- Show and Tell: Probably the most well known cheat card in existence. For 2U we can potentially be bombing a Divine Intervention in on turn one with an Island and a Mana Crypt, without needing to have any other colors online. I know this kind of goes generally against the social contract rule of “killing off the game before turn five”; this almost never happens, and on the two times I tried it, one resulted in a good laugh all round and the other in a 3 hour game. Not much worry here.
- Omniscience: I am sure we also all know this card. It is probably referred to in most groups as “Oh…here comes [/card]Enter the Infinite[/card] into the win,” or as I prefer to call that interaction – “easy mode”. While Omniscience does cost 7UUU to cast, the benefit to our goal is that you can play it without telegraphing Intervention by needing to have WW open. And it bviously it makes it really easy to follow up with the combination detonator cards.
- (Note: I do not recommend playing either of these two cards in this kind of deck unless you are in Asehole Central. It makes the whole thing too easy and I personally find it unrewarding.)
- Eureka: Here is another old gem of a cheat card. This was the original inspiration for Hypergenesis. You can windmill slam this baby down as early as you have 2GG up. Or if you like topdeck manipulation with cascade spells, (Mystical Tutor) or playing with suspend counters (Clockspinning), you could actually go for the Hypergenesis alternative as well. Both are problematic, however, because they require green. The nice thing is that they often do resolve, as people like to put cardboard into play free (Suckers!) The amazing thing about these two cards is that they can put both your doomsday device in to play as well as some of the activator tech – like Vampire Hexmage.
- Gate to the AEther: This little gem does several things for us. It is colourless, so again it disguises your true plans – no WW telegraph! Secondly, like Eureka and Show & Tell, this drops things directly into play, thus avoiding counterspells altogether. Third, it synergizes with top-of-deck tutors (Vampiric Tutor, Enlightened Tutor, Imperial Seal and Lilliana Vess to name a few) and effects like Brainstorm and Sensei’s Divining Top, just like Hypergenesis. Gate also functions as an additional virtual card in hand, since it plays up to one card per turn straight off the top of your deck.
- Academy Rector and her good friend Lost Auramancers are a great pair of Tinkers for enchantments. They tutor an enchantment into play under certain death conditions. Academy Rector is easier to use – simply kill it and send it to exile – while Auramancers is more complex. It benefits, however, from the counter removal theme in our trigger package.
- Before moving on, a bit of tech on the best ways to kill Rector, but with synergy that finds the trigger condition. I often get asked why I run Diabolic Intent and Altar of Bone . Both tutors require the sacrifice of a creature as an additional cost. Both are two drop tutors and thus easy to cast. Even as they allow me to kill the Rector and thus pop Divine Intervention into play, they also allow me to fish up an appropriate way to rip the counters off Intervention. Of course, it’s usually not that tough to kill Academy Rector anyway: chump blocking, a wrath, a sac outlet like High Market, or even taking advantage of the “down side” of being cheated into play with Flash or Sneak Attack are all good options.
- Wargate: Wargate is like the big grandpappy of Tinker spells. It is expensive as heck at xGUW: Finding Intervention would mean sinking a total of 11 mana into it – and it’s sorcery speed. But we play it because it not only tutors for the required tool, it also slaps it directly into play.
Closing Thoughts – The Assembly Line:
So far we’ve talked about the three core elements in building a doomsday device deck. Last time, we touched on the choice of weapon, how we launch the weapon, and how we detonate the weapon. We have also touched on some elements of colour choice, beyond the true minimum, white.
We haven’t reviewed the usual deckbuilding elements: choosing colors, mana base, and defences while assembling your doomsday device. I have no interest in saying to my dear readers, “You must do this!” – especially in regards to those elements. I would be ecstatic if just one or two of you chose to take on some of the ideas we’ve explored today and tried to make your own list.
For those of you who want to give my list a go, you can find it here.
Either way I would be delighted to hear any feedback or thoughts you have on this topic. If you do build your own list and you’d like to share it, I’d love to see what you all come up with. If you give mine a go, I would love to hear how you feel about it.
Until next time folks!