Max Shows Off Esper Doomsday

November 15, 2020

9 minute read

Max Gilmore

Hi everyone! We've missed you very much, but we're back! Min and I (Max) have had a hectic 2020. Personally, I had a second kid in April and changed jobs in July. Both of those things, compounded with COVID, made it hard to find the time to produce content. Fortunately, things are opening up a bit now, and I'm excited to be making eternal MTG content for you again.

On top of that, we're now sponsored by Cardhoarder! As a big fan of their loan program, card selection, and customer service, I'm proud to represent the Cardhoarder brand. I've used their loan service to supplement my personal collection for a long time, and with this sponsorship, will be able to branch out to create content with decks I'd otherwise not be able to access.

All of that said, today I'm bringing you a mini-primer and a league with my pet deck, Esper !

Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I just want to lay out what a deck in the year 2020 aims to do:

  1. Resolve .

  2. Put , draw spells, and mana sources into the 5 card pile.

  3. Draw through your 5-card library and resolve a trigger.

For those familiar with the deck banned from Pioneer, it's like that, except is your setup spell.

While all Doomsday lists are base UB, the vast majority of successful lists splash Red for cards like and , Green for cards like , , and , or both Red and Green for access to a mix of these cards. I'm eschewing all of that and leaning into White. Why?

In short, it's for . Not only does a resolved Teferi invalidate all countermagic, but he bounces threats, opposing disruptive permanents like , or our own s or en. The en, in return, do a great job at protecting Teferi from pesky creatures who would wish to do him harm.

Another reason that is so important is that he helps shore up the biggest vulnerability of the card , which is that you lose half of your life total (rounded up).

Even from a life total as high as 15, 's effect takes you to 7. A + could finish you off from there, as do a plethora of other combinations of cards that Legacy decks present. Therefore, casting and building a pile becomes a balancing act of speed and resilience. If you can cast the , draw into your pile, and resolve with an empty (or nearly empty) library, all in the same turn, you can eschew your opponent's combat step altogether.

However, a same-turn win comes at a price. Your pile will likely have to prioritize speed and requisite mana, exposing yourself to soft countermagic like or at critical points, or leaving your trigger vulnerable to a .

A classic "Win This Turn" pile happens when you resolve a with one leftover Blue mana and a in hand, with at least one extra card for fodder.

You build this pile:


You use your Blue mana to cast , drawing the , , and . Put on top of your library with your extra fodder card below it. Play , cycle , hold priority, crack for UUU, and draw the . Cast with U floating. Draw your fodder card, , and . Play , crack it for U, and play with an empty library. Easy peasy, but also easy to disrupt at any point in the combo.

A more resilient "Pass the Turn" pile could look like:

or or or, if you have enough mana,

You untap and cast . If that resolves, you'll be able to cast an uncounterable with an empty library. If you have ample mana, you could even squeeze a protection spell or two into this pile. If the gets countered, you have the option to cycle into the on the turn after.

As an aside, keep in mind these are just two sample piles. There are a plethora of other ways to build a Doomsday pile, utilizing fetch-lands to thin your 5-card deck / insulate from , or use two cantrips in hand to draw your top card as and then crack it with the second cantrip on the stack, giving you the mana to cast the you put next.

's +1 ability transcends the give-and-take of passing the turn or not by allowing you to cast a on your opponent's turn, after their combat step. No life total concerns. No disruptive concerns. Just a clean, easy win. Frequently, your opponent will be attacking to kill the Teferi, but in this case, you can cast the on their Attack step. Just anticipate that your opponent will again have access to their instant-speed interaction once Teferi hits the graveyard. Teferi really does everything this deck wants, and when I play other color configurations of , I miss the card dearly.

Another powerful card that White offers is . I have a trio of them in my sideboard, and it gives the deck an orthogonal gameplan of sticking a Mentor and just casting spells. Of note, I frequently name "Human" with in post-sideboard games where is in the deck.

Keep in mind that even within Esper colors, there are a bunch of ways to build the deck. Cards like , , , , , and the exact number of can all be adjusted to taste, or tuned further for optimization. The list I'm playing in the league below (4 , 0 ) is really leaning into the desire to slow things down a bit, hit land drops, and generate card advantage. Even so, builds like this can throw a Turn 1 into like the best of them.

This league below had some really sweet games and interesting / challenging Doomsday piles. Enjoy!


Deck tech @ 0:00Match 1 @ 6:08Match 2 @ 24:02Match 3 @ 53:53Match 4 @ 1:05:27Match 5 @ 1:28:30