Mirrodin Besieged: Doom Inevitable Review (Part 2 of 2)
Okay, we’ll start with the obvious. If you can’t get this out of your head when you think of the deck’s title, you’re not alone, because when we sat down to put the deck though its paces we couldn’t either. That aside, Jimi selected the new Mirran Boros construct Battle Cries to put up against Doom Inevitable, and we quickly got down to business. The question we were looking to answer was to see how effective Doom is in surviving the early game and buying itself time to establish board presence. This was the big weakness of it’s spiritual predecessor, Scars of Mirrodin’s Deadspread. Still, Doom seemed to have a lot going for it in our deck analysis. But how would it stand up in an actual game?
We gave it three passes, and here are our notes.
On the play, Jimi leads off with a turn 2 Leonin Skyhunter, a solid evasive body in White that’s been making the rounds as the “airbear” or “skybear.” My play’s a bit more pedestrian- a Myr Sire. Back to Jimi, she swings in with the Skyhunter for 2, then adds a Myrsmith before passing. Knowing Jimi won’t take the trade, I press in with the Sire for 1, then play a Phyrexian Rager, costing me 1 life but netting me a card.
Now turn 4, Jimi snaps up a 1/1 Myr token off the Myrsmith after summoning a Memnite. A Silvercoat Lion is added to her array of bodies after she sends the Skyhunter in for 2 more. It’s now 19-15 in her favour. I finally find an answer to solve the airbear with a Contagion Clasp, putting a -1/-1 counter on it. I send in the Rager, and he connects for 2.
Jimi charges in hard for turn 5, sending in the Skyhunter, the Lion, the Memnite, and the 1/1 Myr token. I kill the Memnite with the Myr Sire (putting a 1/1 token into play myself), but still take 4 from Jimi’s riff-raff. I’m now down to 11, but help is on the way. Having hit my land drop every turn, I’m primed to play the Psychosis Crawler. I opt to keep my creatures at home for defense and pass.
Jimi keeps the pressure up sending in the Skyhunter and Lion next turn, and I accept the trade of the Rager for the Lion. Taking one from the -1/-1 counter’ed Skyhunter, I’m down to 10. Next comes a big swing for my Phyrexians. I draw a card during my draw step (pinging Jimi for one per the Psychosis Crawler’s special ability), swing with it for five (as I have five cards in hand), then play a Pierce Strider. When the dust clears, Jimi’s down to 8 life from 17, and the Crawler has firmly established himself as more threat than nuisance.
Jimi’s forced to keep what little offense she still has home on defense, and attempts to aid them with a Viridian Claw. I counter it with my Steel Sabotage and she passes. She loses another life when I draw my card for the turn, then I charge for the red zone and swing for lethal with my Crawler and Strider. The 1/1 Myr token she’s had laying about steps in the path of the Crawler, but the Strider gets in for 3. She’s down to 4 life.
She solves the Crawler with a turn 8 Arrest, then swings with the Skyhunter. I respond with a Steady Progress, proliferating to kill her flying and drawing a card (which damages Jimi again through the Crawler). All that remains is her Myrsmith, and when I topdeck a Fume Spitter to kill it the Strider goes in for lethal.
Jimi’s off to a solid start with a turn 1 Origin Spellbomb, while I also luck in to an early Fume Spitter. Jimi pops the ‘Bomb on turn 2, drawing a card to replace it and getting a 1/1 Myr token to hold off the Spitter from getting in some early free damage. My turn 2 is a blank aside from laying a Swamp, then it’s back to Jimi.
Now turn 3, she plays a Whispersilk Cloak. Meanwhile, I still have nothing playable as I’m for the moment locked out of Blue. That’s solved on turn 4 (after her turn’s a blank) when I draw into one, and use it to deploy an Oculus. So far we’re just building up, as Jimi’s turn 5 Signal Pest clearly illustrates. I launch the first attack when I send in the Oculus, and Jimi gets the trade over with using her 1/1 Myr token. Imagining a shrouded, unblockable Pest is not a pleasant thing, so I deploy a Contagion Clasp to snipe it out, then follow up with a second Oculus. She plays a Master’s Call at the end of my turn, and the turn ends.
Jimi sends the tokens in on turn 6, and I left them pass to draw first blood of the game. She then follows up with a Kuldotha Ringleader, and passes turn. I use my turn to Vivisection out an Oculus and restock my hand with four new cards. One of them is a Swamp, which I go ahead and play. Next turn, Jimi comes in with everything, and the Myr tokens get the +1/+0 buff from the Ringleader for battle cry. I block the Ringleader with my Fume Spitter, which I then sac to place a -1/-1 counter on the big guy. Taking 4 from the two Myr tokens, I’m now down to 14 life. Jimi is untouched. She follows up the attack with a Victory’s Herald. I follow up the Victory’s Herald with a Doom Blade. Over to me, I lay down the Psychosis Crawler and pass.
Jimi’s quick with the Arrest this time, and plays it on the Crawler immediately. She then equips the Ringleader with the Cloak, and sends in her squad. Taking it all on the chin, I’m cut in half to 7. Getting desperate, I trigger the Clasp’s proliferate next turn, adding another -1/-1 to the Ringleader, then follow up with a third Oculus. Sadly, the loss of life Jimi took after I draw my card for the turn is the first damage I’ve dealt her.
Had I more bodies and more time, I might have been able to whittle down that Ringleader with the Contagion Clasp, but I’m short on both. I manage an Armored Cancrix, but Jimi’s Peace Strider gives her another attacking option. I finally accept that my doom is, well, inevitable… and scoop.
Bot hus us start right out of the gate in our final match. On the play, I lead with a Fume Spitter while Jimi opens up the table with a pair of Memnites and an Origin Spellbomb. Next turn I lad a Myr Sire while she plays a Myrsmith (“topdecked,” she grumbles, after having disgorged her hand of early artifacts). An Oculus joins my side for turn 3, while Jimi plays an Iron Myr and nets a free Myr token. I realise I’ve been slow on the play, and remedy that by popping the Fume Spitter to kill the Myrsmith before it does any more damage.
Now turn 4, I offer up my Myr Sire to Vivisection to refill my hand. Jimi plays a second Origin Spellbomb, then pops both to draw two cards and net a couple more tokens. I then follow up with another Fume Spitter and a Skinwing, while Jimi reinforces with an Ardent Recruit, an easy 3/3 with metalcraft triggers in abundance.
First blood is drawn on turn 6 when I send in the Skinwing- Jimi has no answer to an aerial threat. She returns fire with the Ardent Recruit, then follows it up with the Kuldotha Ringleader. With so many token critters up, that spells serious trouble.
With few solid options in hand, I’m forced to resort to shenanigans. I sac the Spitter to put a -1/-1 counter on the Ardent Recruit, then solve the Ringleader with a Spread the Sickness. This proliferates the counter on the Recruit, who is now clinging to life as a 1/1. The Skinwing cuts in again, leaving Jimi at 16. Over to her, Jimi swings with the team. Two Memnites, the reduced Recruit, and a trio of Myr tokens storm into the red zone. I trade out my Oculus to finish off the Recruit and use my 1/1 Myr token (from the Myr Sire) to kill a Memnite. The remaining damage puts me down to 14. Jimi then plays an Accorder Paladin, and passes turn.
Looking at the board, I have two options available to me. I can either cast a Skinrender to kill off the Paladin and give me a solid blocking presence to stabilise, or I can save the Skinrender to kill something potentially worse and orchestrate the demise of the Paladin by using Disentomb to pull back a Fume Spitter. After going into the tank, I decide to get out a defender before things go from bad to worse, and down comes the Skinrender. Seeing Jimi left with only one card in hand, I figure now is as good a time as any to blow a Horrifying Revelation. Alas, Jimi’s card is a Master’s Call and she has the mana up for it, so she casts it rather than lose it and gets two more 1/1 Myr tokens. Over to her, she then plops down a Razorfield Rhino, and things are looking bleak for me.
To make matters worse, my turn 9 is a blank. Jimi charges in with the team, and I chump the Rhino with the Skinrender, dropping down to 6 life. I draw nothing to solve my board state, and am forced to concede.
Thoughts & Analysis
As one of the two decks in Mirrodin Besieged where the noncreature spells outnumber your beaters, Doom Inevitable is a very intriguing thing. Although the edge is slight (just over 51%), there is a certain risk taken when you diverge from the ordinary pattern. Mirromancy has a very solid safety net in that it packs a ton of burn. If things so South, you can always fall back on blowing things up and biding time. Unfortunately, Doom Inevitable has little such luxury.
For one thing, it’s a lot less easy to deal with a threat here. Sure there’s some removal (a Doom Blade and a Spread the Sickness offer permanent answers, while a Mind Control is a little more fragile but with tremendous upside), and some creatures come with a dose packed in (Fume Spitter, Skinrender, et al), but by and large it’s a convoluted thing. The answer to any number of problems is going to be “get a -1/-1 counter on it and then proliferate it to death.”
This was Deadspread’s great weakness- it had to rely on occasionally convoluted shananigans to deal with often immediate threats. This sometimes worked, but frequently didn’t. And given that the living weapon equipment really should be considered as beaters, this starts to skew the ratio of creatures/noncreatures more in favour of your traditional deck.
There are some solid synergies here with a number of cards, and that speaks well for the deck design as a whole. Need those initial counters to start a proliferation kill? You’ve got Fume Spitters, a Skinrender, and the Vedalken Anatomist as well as the Trigon of Corruption and Contagion Clasps. Need extra cards to pump up your hand size for the Psychosis Crawler and deal some extra damage? You’ve got Vivisection, and all the better if you sacrifice an Oculus or Myr Sire in the bargain. Most every card seems to have a role in the overall vision of the deck, excepting obvious filler like the Barony Vampire and Armored Cancrix.
But having reviewed two decks now that rely on proliferate to do the bulk of their killing, we’re rather uncertain that the mechanic is enough to reliably get there on its own. The addition of living weapons here was a wise amalgamation of two different mechanics, but it isn’t enough to help the deck overall. What the deck really longs for is targeted removal that’s one shot, one kill… not the slow corrosion of a beater through often-expensive proliferation. More than once I found myself caught between weakening an obvious threat through proliferating another counter onto it, and having other things I’d rather play but which didn’t solve the immediate threat. Proliferation of -1/-1 counters is fun, but it’s simply no substitute for a Doom Blade.
Overall, Doom Inevitable didn’t engender quite the feeling of hopelessness in its pilot that Deadpsread could be capable of. It’s a fun deck with some delightful interactions. Just be sure you enjoy swingy decks that can ruin your opponent one game, then leave you somewhat hapless the game next.
Hits: Solid support of incremental advantage theme; good synergies between many cards; blending of two lesser Phyrexian mechanics is a win here
Misses: Psychosis Crawler is fun, but probably one mana too expensive for what you’ll often be getting; lack of consistent targeted removal makes it hard to deal with threats
OVERALL SCORE: 4.20/5.00