A Historically Great Cause

First and foremost, I’d like to thank Chris Kvartek & Raychael Goldstein for setting up the Maryellen Goldstein Cancer Treatment Tournament as well as extend heartfelt well wishes; hoping for the best for you & your families.

It’s still not too late to donate to the cause; you can do so at the following link:


It’s been over a year since I've had time to play in a competitive tournament, but I found myself with a weekend off and couldn’t help but support such a good cause. The format, as the title suggests, was Historic. I’ve been a huge proponent of Doom Foretold in nearly every format, going so far as to try and make the card work in Modern (Spoiler: it hasn’t worked yet), so I was set on playing some variation of Doom Foretold for the tournament. After a quick rise from Platinum 4 to Diamond 2 over a few evenings, I was set on Esper Doom.

The Deck:


1 Yorion, Sky Nomad

Deck List


I felt most comfortable piloting Esper Doom because I’ve played it to Mythic multiple times since Eldraine released. It has a great matchup against Gruul Aggro and can hold its own against Sultai as long as you’re efficiently answering threats. Goblins is generally fine, but nothing is safe from the Lord of RNG; Muxus. The issue going into the event was lack of testing against various sacrifice strategies. They’re difficult to interact with and running an 80 card deck means reliably seeing Leyline of the Void in your opening hand is difficult, so I stuck with 3 copies of Grafdigger’s Cage out of the side. That being said, I expected to see mostly Sultai, Gruul aggro & Goblins and I was (Sadly) very wrong, playing against only a single Goblins deck in the final round.


Event Breakdown & Match Summary:

Round 1: 1 – 2 Loss vs Sultai Tempo

Hats off to my opponent, who had me believing I was against a true Sultai midrange list through game 1. I cast a Dovin’s Veto to protect my hand from their Thoughtseize, only to have them cast a 2nd Thoughtseize, take my Narset, and cast Nightpack Ambusher with Sublime Epiphany backup on my end step. Game two I was able to stick a turn 3 Narset, Parter of Veils and protect her for the rest of the game thanks to Shark Typhoon tokens. Game 3 was the closest game of the day, with both of us trading back & forth. Opponent had a resolved Nightpack Ambusher and was empty handed, so I tapped out to cast Yorion, Sky Nomad to flicker Trial of Ambition and take over the game. But, they had other plans, activating Castle Locthwain and finding Torrential Gearhulk to cast Sublime Epiphany and swiftly blow me out of the water.

Shark Typhoon Round 2: 2 – 0 Win vs Mono Blue Tempo

We were the 2nd feature match of the event and it had me feeling nervous. I don’t say I hate many things, but my hatred for Mono Blue Tempo as a deck runs incredibly deep. I don’t miss playing against it in Standard, and I certainly don’t want to play against it in other formats too. Shark Typhoon was the MVP in games 1 & 2, trading with the Curious Obsession/Curiosity targets or simply being bigger than their threats. Eventually you get enough lands to have a very large Shark that ends games pretty swiftly.

Round 3: 2 – 1 Win vs Selesnya Company

This was an interesting one, I don’t think I had any right winning game 1, but I believed in the heart of the cards and drew my only copy of Ugin the Spirit Dragon and exiled their board with Yorion backup on the way. Games two & three really came down to if I could find enough copies of Fatal Push, Trial of Ambition & Wrath of God and thankfully in game 3 I found a perfection combination of all three and road that to victory.

Round 4: 0 – 2 Loss vs Rakdos Sacrifice

My analysis for this match is that Dreadhorde Butcher is a powerful card (I'm incredibly insightful, aren't I?). No amount of Oath of Kaya or Trial of Ambition will save you from the wrath of the Butcher. Lost swiftly in both games.

Round 5: 1 – 2 Loss vs Goblins

A game 1 mulligan to a risky 5 felt horrible, but I didn’t think I could handle the tempo of Goblins on 4, so I kept the 5 and lost to some hasty Goblins. Game 2 was a smooth victory thanks to Grafdigger’s Cage and removal. Game 3, my opponent & I both laughed about it afterward, but I couldn’t help but marvel at their Herald’s Horn finding a Goblin 6 turns in a row; hard to beat that level of card advantage!

Overall: 2 – 3 Match Record, 6 – 7 Game Record


Final Thoughts:

I feel like the deck performed well against the matchups I wanted it to, but suffered against Sacrifice. There were a few games where I think I should have taken a mulligan or didn’t play optimally, but as a player still mastering the craft & trying to take my game to a more competitive level, that’s bound to happen.

There are a few changes I want to test out, like Skyclave Apparition. It’s probably a mistake to register Esper Doom without at least 3-4 copies in the main, but I felt like Narset, Parter of Veils is better at shutting down the ridiculous draw engine Sultai has access to. Treacherous Blessing is the card I was considering in place of Narset as well, but with how many punishing, aggressive decks there are in the Historic meta, I don’t know if a draw 3 is worth the life you’ll lose. Unless you can guarantee a Doom Foretold the following turn, I think I’d always rather have the option of seeing the top 4 that Narset, Parter of Veils offers.

All things considered, it was a great time playing in a competitive atmosphere for the first time in a while. Thanks to those who made it this far and if you can, please donate the Maryellen Cancer Fund!


Owen Huisman is a new face in the world of competitive Magic. Devoted to all things Phyrexian & Stax related, he lives by the words “There is a finite amount of fun to be had while playing Magic, and I’ll have all of it.”  Follow him @Ch0senLegacy on Twitter.  He also happens to be part cyborg.

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