A few months ago I debuted one of my favorite decks I've ever played for this series: Doubling Season Planeswalkers. The deck was really popular, and as I said at the time, "the most fun I've ever had in Modern." That was pre-Eldritch Moon, and with the arrival of Tamiyo, Field Researcher, there were a lot of requests for me to revisit the deck. I was hesitant for awhile because I didn't want to do a repeat so soon after the original, but the time has finally come, in part because this update is much more than just adding Tamiyo, Field Researcher to the original list. What we have is a real update that makes Doubling Season Planeswalkers better than it was before, and even more fun.
As if casting Doubling Season and then casting a Planeswalker and using the ultimate immediately thanks to Doubling Season needed to be any more fun.
Before we go any further, huge credit must be given to Todd Stevens for debuting the original list with an impressive Magic Online performance. His breakout 5-0 finish in a competitive Modern league laid the groundwork for the deck, and it's only gotten better since.
The most obvious update is Tamiyo, Field Researcher. Obviously playing a third turn Doubling Season and then any Planeswalker leads to a turn-four win, but before Tamiyo, Field Researcher there were only so many 'walkers who filled that role. She slots right in as one that may not always win you the game on the spot, but does so often enough that she's a welcome addition.
Having some experience with mana ramping in Modern, I've learned that if a deck wants to ramp, it needs to be fully committed to it. With that in mind, cutting the slower ramp like Sylvan Caryatid makes sense provided there's a good replacement.
It turns out there's not just a good replacement, there's cards that should have been in from the start. Namely, I'm speaking of Arbor Elf and Utopia Sprawl, which is a nutty combo. Not only does Utopia Sprawl perform the role of ramping while surviving Pyroclasm, it also "combos" with Arbor Elf for some dream starts. They look like this:
Yes, I've played Nahiri, the Harbinger on turn two. And yes, it's just as glorious as it sounds.
Given the nature of the new, focused engine, I decided that I wanted to be all-in; if the deck does one thing well, it should do it really, really well. With Tamiyo, Field Researcher, I can afford to cut some of the extra Planeswalkers that don't cost four mana, and the Blood Moons can move to the sideboard.
When playing decks trying hard to do a particular thing in game one, I prefer to make sure the deck can do that one thing reliably rather than dilute the deck with a few cards that aren't consistent enough to win games for you but show up just enough to mess up your actual gameplan.
What's left with is a deck hyper-focused on casting Doubling Season and then Planeswalkers to win. In fact, Doubling Season isn't always necessary; a lot of decks in Modern have a hard time dealing with Planeswalkers on turn three, four, and five, or even earlier depending on the draw. The accumulated value of the superfriends is often enough to take over games without ever "comboing off."
Yet again, I had some absurd games with this deck. Doing crazy-but-fun things feels more like the rule with this deck than the exception. I can't imagine another game of Magic, ever, where I ultimate a Planeswalker eight times in a single turn.
I had a great time revisiting this deck, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Thanks for reading,