How to Classify Doomsday?



  • It is always a challenge to categorize decks in Vintage - the format is quite broad and many strategies overlap. @diophan and I have lumped decks into the rather broad categories of Gush, Shops, Dredge, Combo, Oath, Big Blue, and Other (typically Null Rod decks but occasionally that guy who accidentally submits his Modern Burn deck and even wins a couple of matches). One particular overlap is Doomsday as both a Gush deck and a Combo deck. I've got no idea how to set up a poll on here (or if it's even possible), but I would like your opinions:

    Do you consider Doomsday a Gush deck or a Combo deck and why? Bonus points if you are TKC55 on MTGO. Negative bonus points if you are Jerry Yang who played Doomsday Oath to a top 8 finish at the recent TSO (grrrr....).



  • It's just a Gush deck. Doomsday is functionally identical to Mentor except that it's easier to disrupt, but wins that turn.



  • Its a Gush deck.

    Please define "combo" deck. I feel like almost all Vintage decks wield combos.



  • @vaughnbros Combo has typically been TPS or Belcher on Magic Online, though it could be extended to Burning Oath and Two-Card Monte (which have paper finishes but no online finishes).



  • @ChubbyRain So turn 2 kill decks? I don't think doomsday qualifies as its usually turn 3+ unless they have insane hands.



  • @ChubbyRain
    I don't think you should lump Gush aggro strategies and Gush combo strategies together, the only thing the decks have in common is the Gush + cantrip package. Much the same reason why you wouldn't count Burning Oath as an Oath of Druids deck or belcher as a Tezzeret deck.

    Doomsday is a very aggressive deck that is very much all in on comboing and designed to win the game in the first 3 turns (which is only marginally slower than dredge).
    Sure it has a lot more control elements than other combo decks but that's because of how inherently All-in the deck is and is able to devote more slots to disruption due to the fact that is has a much better mana efficiency than other combo decks. It doesn't have a lot of cards for the mid/late game or any kind of incremental advantages which should be pretty indicative of what the deck is trying to accomplish.



  • Sometimes more data is better data despite the extra work involved. I've always felt the "pillars" concept to be horribly outdated and limited in sight. To me, the single most important differentiator is the methodology by which archetypes kill. It's important to differentiate between Mentor, Delver, and Doomsday because you would fundamentally address each deck differently as an opponent.



  • @socialite I disagree. The win con is usually the least important card in a deck. To give an extreme example, it would be like saying we should call dredge a Zombie deck, and not a graveyard based deck.



  • There isn't really a good answer to this because in my mind there is no "Doomsday deck". I've played with the card a lot and think it affords a huge variety of strategies. There's a more "all in" version as Macdeath describes, or a more controlling build, as Soly is fond of, or even a more midrange type build. I've tried them all and they all have pluses and minuses. I think the most common version that TKC55 et al pilot descend from the Pitch Long/Gush Tendrils school of combo decks -- combo decks with heavy control elements that can keep up in the early game but hope to end things as quickly as possible.



  • @boggyb said:

    There isn't really a good answer to this because in my mind there is no "Doomsday deck". I've played with the card a lot and think it affords a huge variety of strategies.

    Agreed, but would you play Doomsday following a Gush restriction?



  • @AmbivalentDuck Doomsday certainly saw play prior to Gush being unrestricted, didn't it? I realize it probably wasn't as good, but I cannot imagine there isn't something you could do with the card!

    When I was looking for ideas when constructing Doomsday for myself last year I looked through a bunch of posts on the old forums and saw quite a few aggressive variants out there with many Rituals and Street Wraith (from before Gush's unrestriction). I imagine Probe is a clear improvement there.



  • @Hrishi The biggest difference between Doomsday and Mentor is that you really want to play a draw spell almost immediately. Unrestricted Gush gives you good odds of being able to do that for no additional mana and gets you in for two cards: both more mana AND more draw. If you have to use Preordain...well the top card is probably Gush. Additionally, having to sandbag Preordains makes everything harder to find and set up.



  • @AmbivalentDuck I understand that Gush makes Doomsday a lot better. Hell, it makes Mentor a lot better too. I'm not claiming that a non-Gush list would compare to one with Gush in it, I'm saying that Doomsday has certainly seen play without Gush and could certainly see play again, in response to you asking if you would play Doomsday following a Gush restriction.



  • @Hrishi Doomsday doesn't see much by way of competitive play without a strong, unrestricted draw spell in the meta. I don't think that a Gush restriction paired with a Brainstorm unrestriction would leave much/any Doomsday in the meta.



  • @vaughnbros said:

    @socialite I disagree. The win con is usually the least important card in a deck. To give an extreme example, it would be like saying we should call dredge a Zombie deck, and not a graveyard based deck.

    I accept that I may not be articulating myself well but it seems as though you're taking what I said far too literally.



  • @AmbivalentDuck ha no way. But then again Gush is a very powerful and flexible that card that also enables different strategies. I think both are in the top 10 best unrestricted cards in Vintage, btw.



  • We are kinda talking as if the categories are mutually exclusive. But... they aren't. Because something is control, doesn't mean it's not combo (Tezz). Because it's creatures, doesn't mean it's not combo (Dredge). Aggro, doesn't mean its not control (Shops). Much better to describe the position on the Venn diagram that the deck occupies. I play OathStill Control/Combo (as opposed to Fenton Oath which is much more of a Combo/Control build in my opinion). My wife plays Gush/Mentor, which is a Midrange Aggro/Control deck.

    I'd say that most Doomsday decks are Combo/Control (I'm putting the combo part first here on purpose, as one distinguishes between West/southwest and South/Southwest. It's a little more focused on the Control than Combo, most times. But that isn't to say that there isn't a deck Doomsday deck that's Control/Combo. Anyway... that's my suggestion for nomenclature. The takeaway is that semantics is hardly a science. Lets just describe what is, rather than trying to conform what is to limited categories.



  • Thank you topical. I don't understand where people get the idea that every deck must and does have a specific black & white categorization. I also ascribe to the belief that there are 3 categories in t1 (or magic in general): control, combo, agro. Different cards or mechanics can be the specialty card that you build that goal towards and that is where people talk about shops, dredge, mentor etc. But these broad card based definitions are clunky and inaccurate. Classify a deck as shops and tell me what are you playing against - control or agro? Classify a deck as gush and are you playing against control, agro or combo?

    If I were to classify doomsday it would be combo/control. Its main win condition is to combo out on your opponent. It uses cards like defense grid and cabal therapy to establish a bit of control to make sure its combo goes off.

    The idea that certain cards in a deck can be the focal point is valid because it helps sideboard and game play decisions. I get that. But it doesn't mean a deck has a specific categorization and no others.



  • @Khahan Well the impetus of the thread is that we are trying to put decks from the P9 challenge in black and white categories. If we make 15 different buckets with just a couple decks in each the analysis verges on meaningless.



  • @diophan said:

    @Khahan Well the impetus of the thread is that we are trying to put decks from the P9 challenge in black and white categories. If we make 15 different buckets with just a couple decks in each the analysis verges on meaningless.

    My point and I think Topical's is that you cannot do that (at least not in the way you are attempting). To me it seems abundantly obvious that strict black & white categories don't work because decks don't fit. Any data you get from strict black & white classification is meaningless because the base data you are using is mis-categorized. So the conclusions you draw are faulty.

    To say its a 'gush or a combo' deck - its both. Its a combo deck that uses gush as a draw engine. Why would you pigeonhole it into 1 and ignore the other in the classification? Especially when one of those is really a sub-classification of the other. Gush would be a sub-classification of combo, just like it can be a sub-classification of control. Which is why I don't like using card names to classify decks into these kinds of categories.

    You guys are using shops as a category - is it prison shops or agro shops? I'm going to sideboard a bit differently vs both. Vs an aggressive deck with ravagers I'd prefer pithing needle to Dack. Vs a control version I'd prefer dack to pithing needle. By giving us broad 'shops' I have no idea what the meta is so I can't make an informed decision on historical data.

    I applaud the effort and don't want to discourage it. But I think it be directed into a much more useful format.



  • @Khahan What's wrong with using the taxonomy from the old MD? I think it was... Ritual Based Combo/ Bazaar based bizarreness/ Blue based control/ Null Rod based Aggro/ Shops based decks/ Other... Just identify them by what type of cards they use, and have a hierarchy of categorization... ie. If it uses Rituals in the Main it goes there... even if it uses Gush. Failing that, if it uses Shops it goes there, failing that, if it uses Nulls it goes there... and so on.

    Doomsday goes in Ritual based combo... does it not? In the same bin as TPS and the like?


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