Doubling Moon Walkers At Modern MKM Series London!
Over the years I’ve been playing Magic: the Gathering I’ve always seen [c]Doubling Season[/c] as a Commander staple, but never once thought of it as a card for Modern… until now!
I recently came back from an excellent weekend of Eternal Magic at the Millennium Hotel, Gloucester Road, for the MKM series London. The tournament was organised by JK Entertainment and many different formats were played throughout the weekend. I’m an Eternal player through-and-through and so I planned to join the Modern on Saturday and the Legacy on Sunday.
When I was debating on what to play for the Modern event I looked at some of the options, my main choices were between Affinity or Eldrazi. Although I love both of these decks, I felt that neither of them brought any surprise to the table and I love surprising people at events like these. While working through my choices and watching various Modern videos on YouTube, I eventually came across a deck much unlike any other which I liked the look of so much that it became my choice of deck for this event, that deck was Doubling Moon Walkers.
Doubling Moon Walkers simply put is a deck wholly based around ramping out various planeswalker card’s for large amounts of value. The deck can win by either cheating an [c]Emrakul, The Aeons Torn[/c] into play as early as turn 4, or producing massive amounts of large tokens and attacking for large amounts of damage. The name comes from two of the key cards used in the deck, the main one of these being [c]Doubling Season[/c].
In this deck there are many planeswalker effects that either generate creature tokens or make +1/+1 counters for your creatures. The use of this with [c]Doubling Season[/c] is excellent in order to get multiple effects from these abilities; however this is not the only reason why Doubling Season is in the deck. Whenever a planeswalker enters the battlefield, it has loyalty counters placed on it, therefore in conjunction with [c]Doubling Season[/c]’s ability, the effect will place twice the amount of loyalty counters upon the planeswalker. This allows most of the planeswalkers to use their most powerful abilities the turn they come onto the battlefield.
The other key card is [c]Blood Moon[/c] which you’ve probably heard of if you’ve playey Modern. This card is generally used as a way of punishing player with a greedy mana base, those who play with too many non-basics lands in their deck (by turning them into [c]Mountain[/c]s). As a result, this can often leave these players being unable to cast their spells and being potentially locked out of the game. It can also be used to slow down decks that are trying to make unfair amounts of mana from lands early in the game, such as the Tron lands.
Doubling Moon Walkers Main Deck
[d]4 Birds Of Paradise
4 Noble Hierarch
4 Sylvan Caryatid
1 Emrakul, The Aeons Torn
4 Oath Of Nissa
2 Blood Moon
3 Doubling Season
4 Nahiri, The Harbinger
3 Nissa, Voice Of Zendikar
1 Gideon, Ally Of Zendikar
1 Gideon Jura
1 Ral Zarek
1 Garruk Wildspeaker
1 Elspeth, Sun’s Champion
1 Chandra, Flamecaller
2 Jace, Architect Of Thought
1 Tamiyo, Field Researcher
1 Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker
1 Breeding Pool
2 Stomping Ground
2 Temple Garden
2 Gavony Township
2 Nykthos, Shrine To Nyx
1 Westvale Abbey
3 Windswept Heath
3 Wooded Foothills
1 Misty Rainforest[/d]
[d]3 Stony Silence
2 Rest In Peace
2 Kitchen Finks
1 Engineered Explosives
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Ancient Grudge
2 Path To Exile[/d]
Round 1: Ad Nauseum (1-2)
The match up seemed pretty bad, game 1 it felt like I was relying a lot on my opponent having no basic lands in play so I could catch them with a sneaky [c]Blood Moon[/c]. Unfortunately they often have a turn one [c]Lotus Bloom[/c] or make a [c]Prophetic Prism[/c] to get around it. Tactics came down to me making an early [c]Emrakul, The Aeons Torn[/c] to set my opponent back long enough to finish the game.
In: 2 x [c]Worship[/c], 3 x [c]Stony Silence[/c]
Out: 1 x [c]Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker[/c], 1 x [c]Gideon Jura[/c], 1 x [c]Chandra, Flamecaller[/c], 1 x [c]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/c], 1 x [c]Doubling Season[/c]
Games 2 and 3 felt a bit better, but still pretty bad. [c]Stony Silence[/c] into [c]Blood Moon[/c] seemed like the easiest way to completely lock my opponent out of the game, however my opponent was prepared and had sideboarded in discard spells in order to remove those threats before they came down. I felt [c]Worship[/c] could also be useful as your opponent could not kill you without removing the Worship or all of your creatures first ([c]Sylvan Caryatid[/c] being a rather hard one to remove). Unfortunately my opponent was still able to combo off game 3 and I walked away defeated.
Round 2: Ad Nauseum (1-1-1)
Much like round one, however my opponent seemed less experienced with their deck. Game one I managed to turn all my opponents lands into [c]Mountain[/c]s and my opponent could not find a White mana source before I took many extra turns with [c]Ral Zarek[/c]!
Game 2 my opponent had the [c]Duress[/c] for the [c]Stony Silence[/c] after I mulliganed and was able to combo off on turn four in the face of a [c]Nissa, Voice of Zendikar[/c] and some furious plant tokens!
Game 3 I had two [c]Stony Silence[/c]s on the board preventing my opponent from using their artifacts, however they were drawing into many lands. I managed to ultimate my [c]Tamiyo, Field Researcher[/c] however could not find an [c]Emrakul, The Aeons Torn[/c] to cast. When time was called and I started attacking with many tokens, but my opponent had the [c]Angel’s Grace[/c] ready to draw the game.
Round 3: Abzan (0-2)
I felt that this was the match up that I wanted for this deck; something that is trying to play a bunch of good fair cards. My strategy consisted of making an early [c]Nissa, Voice Of Zendikar[/c] to endlessly chump block my opponents [c]Tarmogoyf[/c]s and other creature’s while resolving planeswalkers and various enchantments to get ahead in the game. Sadly my opponent had the right answers for most of the planeswalkers and I was drawing a lot of land. I managed to make a [c]Doubling Season[/c] and ultimate [c]Nahiri, The Harbinger[/c] the turn she came into play, however my opponent was on 17 life and had more than 6 permanents to sacrifice, leaving in play one angry [c]Siege Rhino[/c] that managed to cross the finish line.
In: 2 x [c]Rest In Peace[/c]
Out: 1 x [c]Gideon Jura[/c], 1 x [c]Chandra, Flamecaller[/c]
Game 2 didn’t feel much different to the first game, I kept 5 cards with a [c]Noble Hierarch[/c] and a [c]Nissa, Voice Of Zendikar[/c], however my opponent swiftly answered the Nissa with an [c]Abrupt Decay[/c] before laying down some big threats in the form of [c]Tarmogoyf[/c] and eventually [c]Siege Rhino[/c]. I proceeded to draw land every turn. I wished my opponent luck for the next game; however things weren’t looking good for me.
Round 4: U/ W Tron (2-0)
Oddly, I felt that this match could go well in me favour. Against a full blue control deck I would think that this deck would do badly, due to the high costing of the cards that I am trying to resolve, against cheap counterspells such as [c]Remand[/c] and [c]Mana Leak[/c]. That said, I tend to find that the Tron variants usually run less counterspells and eventually run out of counter magic. My deck also has main deck answers to [c]Wurmcoil Engine[/c], which felt good. The only thing I felt I really did not want to see resolve was an [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c], as not only does it negate the token making abilities of my planeswalkers, but it means every future threat too, and Elesh Norn herself is a beating.
Much as described above, game one consisted of my first planeswalker spells being [c]Mana leak[/c]ed and [c]Negate[/c]d, however eventually I was able to resolve a [c]Gideon, Ally Of Zendikar[/c] and a [c]Doubling Season[/c]. My opponent began to sweep the board each turn to remove the Knight tokens pouring in, however it did not matter once I resolved a [c]Ral Zarek[/c] and immediately used his ultimate to take 4 extra turns! With some knight tokens being pumped by a [c]Gavony Township[/c], I was able to steal this one.
In: 2 x [c]Stony Silence[/c], 2 x [c]Path To Exile[/c]
Out: 1 x [c]Chandra, Flamecaller[/c], 1 x [c]Gideon Jura[/c], 1 x [c]Elspeth Sun’s Champion[/c], 1 x [c]Jace, Architect of Thought[/c].
Game 2 much like the first game, consisted of baiting out my opponents few counterspells until I was able to resolve some planeswalkers. Fortunately one of those planeswalkers happened to be [c]Nahiri, The Harbinger[/c]. Whilst my opponent was busy trying to sweep the plant tokens from Nissa and other creatures, Nahiri casually ticked up until able to summon the 15/15 flying spaghetti monster which set my opponent back enough for [c]Garruk Wildspeaker[/c] to get there with a couple of lovely Beast tokens, huzzah!
Round 5: Burn (2-1)
Before sideboards I felt this match was heavily favoured in the Burn player’s direction. Much like most aggressive strategies, the Burn player can just win the game before you are able to do anything. Also there isn’t anything in the main deck that interacts with the burn players strategy besides maybe [c]Nissa, Voice of Zendikar[/c], however I would not bet on using her ultimate before the game ends. As predicted the first game went to my opponent.
In: 2 x [c]Kitchen Finks[/c], 2 x [c]Worship[/c], 1 x [c]Spellskite[/c]
Out: 1 x [c]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/c], 1 x [c]Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker[/c], 1 x [c]Gideon Jura[/c], 1 x [c]Chandra, Flamecaller[/c], 1 x [c]Jace, Architect Of Thought[/c]
Games 2 & 3 I felt a bit more confident with [c]Worship[/c] + [c]Sylvan Caryatid[/c], also in Game 1 my opponent didn’t see my [c]Blood Moon[/c]s or [c]Doubling Season[/c]s, so if my opponent was unfamiliar with the deck, they may not see reason to bring in enchantment removal. [c]Spellskite[/c] was brought in as extra protection from burn spells and [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] is not only an excellent blocker but the life gain can often buy you a turn.
With a mix of [c]Worship[/c], [c]Kitchen Finks[/c] and many plant tokens I managed to bring this game to a close at 2-1.
Round 6: U/W Control (2-1)
I felt this match up was more in the control player’s favour, the reason being that I was trying to resolve many large costing spells and against a deck armed to the teeth with counterspells. Where every [c]Remand[/c] could feel like a [c]Time Walk[/c], I could see myself eventually running out of spells to play and watching my opponent get ahead.
Game 1 I managed to resolve a couple of walkers and start producing tokens, however these were met with opposing Soldier tokens and the walker’s were regularly bounced and countered with [c]Cryptic Command[/c] before they could produce much value. The game ended when my opponent cast a crippling [c]Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite[/c] and proceeded to beat me with a 4/3 [c]Snapcaster Mage[/c] and a flock of Soldier Token’s.
In: 2 x [c]Path To Exile[/c]
Out: 2 x [c]Blood Moon[/c]
The [c]Blood Moon[/c]’s felt pretty redundant against a deck that played so many basic lands, and after seeing the Elesh Norn in game 1 I wanted cheap answers to avoid being blown out again. Game 2 went much better, my opponent let my [c]Nissa, Voice Of Zendikar[/c] resolve and after casting [c]Remand[/c] on a Nahiri then tapping out during their turn to draw some cards, I managed to resolve a [c]Doubling Season[/c]. From then on, I abused the token making/counter producing abilities from Nissa as well as [c]Gavony Township[/c] to eventually take some impressive 6/7 plant tokens, [c]Birds of Paradise[/c] and [c]Noble Hierarch[/c]s to win the game.
The third game was not much different from the second, my opponent had some counter magic for some of the planeswalkers but they seemed to be digging with [c]Serum Visions[/c] a lot. I started preparing for potential boardwipes and using [c]Gavony Township[/c] to make the plant tokens larger while developing my mana. Eventually I drew the [c]Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker[/c] and had the mana to cast it. My opponent did have the mana resources to cast [c]Cryptic Command[/c], but I felt I had to try. I started naming the colours I was tapping for, when I said double black my opponent immediately knew what I was casting and started laughing along with many onlookers as I casually cast a [c]Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker[/c] and it resolved! I immediately ticked up Nicol Bolas to destroy one of my opponents blue mana sources. They took their turn and played a [c]Celestial Colonade[/c] then extended their hand and conceded to me as they didn’t want their friends to see what they were losing to, we laughed and shook hands.
Round 7: Grixis Delver (0-2)
This was another one of the decks that I was worried about facing, the tempo strategy that the Delver decks presented seemed an ideal way to beat down a deck that was trying to resolved a bunch of mid to high casting cost planeswalkers and game one showed just that. With a turn one [c]Delver of Secrets[/c], some [c]Remand[/c]s, a [c]Spell Pierce[/c] backed up by some [c]Lightning Bolt[/c]s, the Delver player quickly managed to take game one for the win.
In: 2 x [c]Path To Exile[/c], 2 x [c]Worship[/c]
Out: 2 x [c]Blood Moon[/c], 1 x [c]Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker[/c], 1 x [c]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/c]
I felt that in the sideboarded games, my opponent would probably not expect the [c]Worship[/c]s and if they knew about the [c]Doubling Season[/c], they would be more intent on countering it as opposed to destroying it. This felt like it could be a good way to win the game. My opponent had a slow start with a [c]Young Pyromancer[/c], however they had many burn spells which removed my mana dorks after I’d mulliganned to 5. Even though I found and resolved the [c]Worship[/c], I could not find a [c]Sylvan Caryatid[/c] and get a creature to stick.
In the future I would mulligan to some way of removing the main threat in the short game to give me time to build up my resources, however I would still be aiming for a quick kill with the [c]Doubling Season[/c] + planeswalker into Emrakul, which is my preferred way of winning. Nicol Bolas and Elspeth were easy cuts. Elspeth’s casting cost was too high and did not do enough when she’d be most needed. Nicol Bolas would go because the likelihood of getting to cast it was very small. [c]Blood Moon[/c] I could see potentially being useful on the play if only for a turn 2 Blood Moon, however it does also affect my own lands too, and [c]Gavony Township[/c] and even [c]Westvale Abbey[/c] could be useful cards in this match up.
This deck was an absolute joy to play, the silly interaction between [c]Doubling Season[/c] and planeswalkers can lead to some extraordinary plays that people may not have seen in Modern before. This can give the benefit of surprising your opponents, making their sideboarding more difficult as they won’t have prepared for such a deck. Also, you will have a lot of fun.
As for whether the deck is competitive? It’s hard to say. The deck definitely can produce some powerful plays such as a turn two [c]Blood Moon[/c], or the nut draw of a turn 3 [c]Doubling Season[/c] into a turn four Nahiri/Jace/Tamiyo into Emrakul. Which goes to show that it can be competitive in the right meta.
At the moment, Modern is quite aggressive as a format, there are lots of aggro decks running around at the moment that just want to close the game in a few turns. As such I would say that it would not be a good meta for this deck to be played in. Then again, there is probably a way for this deck to adapt? I think that this is an excellent deck to brew around with, to see what planeswalkers could be good for different ranges of archetypes, maybe even add in some spot removal for the more aggressive meta’s. I also replaced the [c]Engineered Explosives[/c] in the sideboard for a [c]Sudden Shock[/c] as sweeping my own mana dorks didn’t feel that great.
To conclude I had a fantastic weekend and although I may not have made the top 8, I hope that I made this deck stand out; and the people who did see my games will remember them!
I plan to go to the Manaleak.com Eternal weekend on the 25th – 27th November for the Legacy and my first ever Vintage tournament which I am extremely excited about! If you are a fellow Eternal Magic lover like myself then I would recommend having a look as it looks like it is going to be a blast! Please visit this link for more information: http://www.facebook.com/events/889589631174904/
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article, if you have any comments on sideboard options, the deck in general and/or how you think it might be improved I would love to hear them in the comments below.
Thanks for reading,