Geist of Saint Doran

Posted in Feature on October 22, 2013

By Luis Scott-Vargas

Luis Scott-Vargas plays, writes, and makes videos about Magic. He has played on the Pro Tour for almost a decade, and between that and producing content for ChannelFireball, often has his hands full (of cards).

I can't recall ever seeing Doran, the Siege Tower and Geist of Saint Traft join forces, although it makes some amount of sense. Disregarding the casting costs, because that's what this deck does, the two cards do work toward the same plan. They both hit harder than a three-cost spell has any right to, and they both are very resistant to removal. Geist is worse against opposing creatures, and Doran is worse against opposing spells, with a slight advantage going to Geist because of the evasion.

Doran, the Siege Tower

Besides playing these sweet three-drops, this deck has a pretty simple philosophy: play the best aggressive cards at every cost from one through three, regardless of color. As it turns out, the best cards are pretty good right now, and getting to play such hits as Deathrite Shaman, Tarmogoyf, Snapcaster Mage, and Scavenging Ooze alongside spells like Lightning Bolt, Lightning Helix, Tribal Flames and Path to Exile is a recipe for success. It might be a painful recipe, what with the twenty-one lands that deal damage to you, but if you can establish yourself as the aggressor, that doesn't matter.

Dropping a turn-two Geist or Doran will often be enough, and even if the deck doesn't deliver on that, efficient removal plus undercosted creatures goes a long way. I like that Scavenging Ooze and Tarmogoyf are both much bigger than most threats the opponent can muster, and are both extremely well-supported by the full twelve burns spells plus Snapcaster Mages. The burn spells also provide a strong backup plan. If your huge creatures don't get them, your burn often will. I've played a lot of games with and against Tribal Zoo decks, and ever since Snapcaster Mage was released, it can drop the opponent's life total in 5-point chunks without any sort of problem. Even stabilizing at 15 is sometimes not enough, as a pair of Tribal Flames and a Snapcaster later, the game is just over.

This deck rightfully is more Doran/Geist than Zoo, because it plays no one-drops besides the mana-producing ones, but the lines are pretty blurred these days. You can play with this deck as if it were Zoo, since the strategy is similar, but I like that it's not nearly as vulnerable to cheap removal. Its main threats are enormous and don't care at all about cards like Lightning Bolt or sometimes even Path to Exile. Just cast a three-drop, attack, and watch the opponent scramble for answers.

BushyMark's Five-Color Doran

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