We’ve done it. Competitive Doubling Season in Modern. Today, in 2015. This is not a dream, this is not a prank. The time has finally come!
I am one who looks for the sweet plays and hopes that those plays win. This style of play makes for a lot of sweet plays and sometimes wins. But occasionally we had that mythic rare area of the venn diagram where sweet and winning overlap. Today is that day.
It all started with the new Ugin preview.
So Ugin is pretty insane, but what’s more insane than an Ugin? Ugin plus Painter’s Servant? Sure if you’re looking to destroy, but I’m looking to build a wonder.
So how about Ugin plus Doubling Season? Play Ugin, ultimate, draw 7 cards, put in another Ugin, draw another 7, repeat. Not sure how this wins but usually when you create something that great, you figure out a way to win.
Maybe you think this is overkill or win-more, but a dream is a dream and it’s worth working toward.
So I started thinking about what else Doubling Season combos with, and apparently it goes Ugin with Jace, Architect of Thought.
This has been a thing that some people have been aware of but I was not one of them. If we have a Doubling Season in play, Jace comes in with 8 counters.
Pop Jace, search each player’s deck. Grab their best card and another Jace from ours. Repeat for as many Jaces as we have.
The end sequence is 2-4 of their best cards and a Time Warp on our side. This is a pretty epic KO against not just one player, but could probably take on 10,000 opponents by pulling the craziest combos from all of their decks.
This is a lot more realistic than the Ugin thing as a sweet AND competitive play, as we’re comboing a 4-drop and a 5-drop.
The best part is Jace is GREAT in this format right now. Many of you struggled to grind through Jace shields in Standard and in Modern it’s just as obnoxious. Young Pyromancers can’t touch this. It takes an alpha strike or more to take this planeswalker down and that’s the time we need.
Doubling Season is also a card that can be pretty great outside of Jace. Yes it is a 5-drop that is unlikely to affect the board right then but if the game continues this enchantment can do some crazy things. Use your imagination and you will see.
Doubling Season Main Deck Breakdown
In the past we’ve seen some black versions that splash for Liliana, and at first that was my inclination until I realized the life payments from the mana base were too great.
As enticing as some other splash options are, this deck is going to be a lot stronger as a dedicated blue/green deck—and that all starts with the mana.
Really the core of the deck. Khalni Garden is innocuous but the Plant chump blockers offer so much utility in this deck. Jump in front of a big creature to protect our life or planeswalker to buy lots of time. This card also combos insanely with some of our other pieces.
Simic Growth Chamber lets us recycle Khalni Garden for a stream of chumpers throughout the game and we have multiple ways to abuse the bounce land for mana ramp.
While a 3-color version of this deck is bleeding itself out through the game, the straight 2-color version gets lots of help from these land sources. Four of each—they’re worth it.
They are both essential curve pieces to give us game against the field as we move into our third turn.
Garruk and extra turn effects give us our plan B and C.
First we have Garruk which, with Doubling Season, makes lots of Beasts, and ultimates fast. We can even overrun those Khalni Plants for the finishing blow.
Savor the Moment in particular is a nice one at 3 mana as a kind of extra Explore that also ticks up our planeswalkers.
Time Warp is a must as it is usually the best finish with Jace. Take their best combination of cards and an extra turn, and that is usually enough to win on the spot.
Finally we get to the big one and that is Fog. This card is absurd in this deck and well positioned in the metagame.
Right now most decks attack through the red zone. Think of decks that don’t kill by attacking—they’re there, but they make up a small part of the metagame.
Against the majority, Fog is an absurd one-mana Time Walk—easy to play off Garruk untap and buy an extra turn out of nowhere.
Four in the main is an amazing call right now, and steals wins in a soul crushing fashion.
Dig Through Time can be clunky in our deck as we have many 4- and 5-mana permanents, so to mitigate the risk of the card sticking in our hand I’m only playing 2 in the main. It’s still the best late-game topdeck but we need to live through the early game to get there.
Tamiyo has a sturdy body with a nice board-controlling effect. With Doubling Season, we have an instant ultimate and we can loop Fogs or extra turns and that is that. She’s a nice tool to have.
On the other hand, Kiora is probably the weakest card in the main right now. She’s vulnerable to Lightning Bolt and does not immediately ultimate with Doubling Season. As our 9th and 10th 4-drops, she is cuttable.
While Ral Zarek would be much more exciting we are getting a lot from our straight UG base and Kiora is the best option available for now until we think of something better.
That brings us to this 60 for the main deck:
The playstyle is light ramp, light permission. Protect planeswalkers, chain extra turns, combo kill from their deck.
Really, really fun deck, that also happens to be pretty good at winning. But we’re not finished yet—there are still a few surprises left in the sideboard.
Doubling Season Sideboard Breakdown
At this point we’re heading to game 2 and you really haven’t seen this deck before. You’ve seen the planeswalker kills and you’ve seen no creatures. So how do you sideboard?
Do you board in enchantment hate? Counterspells? Land hate? What do you board out? Your creature removal?
Which leads us to a fantastic sideboard juke option.
Go look at that main deck again. We have ZERO creatures, giving us a great game 1 against removal and with our token generators we can swing into Polymorph Emrakul easy.
This is a nice option to have for an alternate win condition that can come down quite a bit faster than a 5-drop plus a 4-drop.
I’ve found Spell Pierce and Negate to be the other best sideboard cards available. With maindeck Fogs, chumpers, and Jace shields, we’re competitive with any kind of attacking strategy but it would be nice to specifically hate on spells.
We can do that by swapping out Fogs for these counterspells when necessary. Like Fog, they combo nicely with Garruk by allowing us to develop our board while keeping our shields up. Really important cards to have in the board.
Here’s the full sideboard:
Annul and Nature’s Claim are for, you guessed it, artifacts and enchantments. While versatile in what threats they can remove they also can shut down Blood Moon which can steal a game against us if we are unprepared.
Awakening Zone is probably the weakest card in the board but it gives us a realistic chance of actually casting Emrakul. Theoretically it’s a good one against slower blue decks as an early resolved Awakening Zone will give us insane mana as the game progresses.
Avenger of Zendikar is an exciting one that I think will give this deck extra game against those green/black decks. Those matchups end up in a slow grind of planeswalkers versus creatures and I can’t think of a better late-game topdeck to reverse the board than Avenger of Zendikar.
Finally we have the third Dig Through Time. In any highly interactive matchup, this card’s stock rises a lot and we can expect that in sideboard games.
This is a pretty complete sideboard in my mind as it gives us game against anything. If there’s something awesome I’m missing I would love to hear it though as there’s room for more spice as always.
Doubling Season in the Metagame
If you like the deck but are wondering “how does it match up against x” think about this deck as a proactive deck. This deck has game against anything. It’s full of light disruption and planeswalkers. It can grind the slow games and it can win fast with combo kills. The deck can be slow to develop but the style of deck is inherently competitive against anything.
Let’s talk about how this matches up against some specific popular cards and why I think this deck is great in the meta.
Lightning Bolt is weak against us. It still has uses as it can kill tokens, attack planeswalkers or our life total, but in general burn is pretty weak against us.
Young Pyromancer is a frightening one that is really shut down by Jace shield. That’s one of the things I really like about this deck right now—how well Jace matches up against Young Pyro. It’s a really sturdy wall of defense.
Obviously we can struggle against on-curve Delver draws with permission but the most popular lists right now are Monastery Swiftspear-based. They go light on counters and heavy on burn. This is great for our strategy as it makes it hard for them to stop our planeswalkers or KO our Fogs.
While we would presumably struggle against certain kinds of Delver decks the most popular lists right now are definitely defeatable.
There can be some scary black/green lines but for the most part we’re pretty well positioned against this kind of interaction as well.
Inquisition of Kozilek bricks on our best cards. Abrupt Decay can only kill a token. Liliana of the Veil struggles through Plant tokens. Scavenging Ooze can’t grow much and Tarmogoyf is easily chumped.
Their best opener is Dark Confidant but the life payment is real. They may not have time to take advantage of those extra cards before a Garruk ultimate pressures their life total out of nowhere.
Obviously BG decks can beat anything if things go right, but I think we fundamentally match up pretty well against them which is another strong point of the deck.
That’s all the matchups I’m going to talk about today but remember, this deck is a highly interactive value deck with a combo finish. It has game against anything and we have a sideboard to make adjustments.
Doubling Season 75:
This is one of those decks that I can recommend for fun AND winning. This could be a great tournament deck and it would make a fantastic multiplayer deck as well. If you’re interested and have any specific questions you know how to reach me and I’ll be happy to help guide.
Next Week: Matchups?
It’s hard for me to predict what I’m going to be doing at this time next week as my MTG attention span is dangerously short, but if there is demand I would like to come back with a complete matchup guide. It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a Modern deck and I want potential pilots to have the best information and tools to work with.
As always catch the video going up Thursday night as we match up against Delver and Jund so you can see it in action yourself, then.
Until then, happy dueling!