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Goldfish Gladiators: Momir Madness

Welcome to Goldfish Gladiators, a new series with a twist: rather than taking place on Magic Online, Goldfish Gladiator is focused on Magic Arena. Next week we'll have Guilds of Ravnica on Magic Arena, which means tons of sweet Standard decks are on their way, but for now we're in the weird dead time as we wait for new Standard. Thankfully, Magic Arena added a new event to help us fill the time: Momir Madness! If you hang out at the stream you know we play Momir fairly regularly on Magic Online, but things are a bit different on Magic Arena since the card pool is a lot smaller. How does Momir work on Magic Arena? What's the best strategy? Let's get to the video and find out!

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Goldfish Gladiators: Momir Madness

Momir Basics

While some of you might be familiar with Momir, here's a quick refresher on the basics if you are picking up the format for the first time.

  • Your deck is 100% basic lands, with 12 each of Swamp, Mountain, Forest, Island and Plains
  • You also get a Momir avatar which gives you the ability to pay X mana, discard a card and get a random token that's a copy of a creature with converted mana cost of X. Basically, if you pay five mana and discard a card, you'll get a five-drop creature chosen at random from all the five-drops on Magic Arena
  • Momir is about playing the battlefield. Since there are no spells in the deck there's a lot of combat math involved (also a lot of luck). The best things you can "hit" are mana creatures, removal creatures and big, game-ending fliers.
  • Since you can't control the creatures you get, your main goal in making creatures is to play the odds as well as possible, trying to dodge bad creatures (like Demonlord Belzenlok and maximize your changes of getting game ending threats (like Zacama, Primal Calamity

Momir on Arena

Compared to traditional Momir (played on Magic Online) there are some weird strategy quirks in Momir Madness on Magic Arena. If you're used to ramping into eight-drop and playing mostly Swamps and Mountains you'll need to change up your gameplay for Momir on Magic Arena.

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  • Right now, until Guilds of Ravnica releases, Momir on Magic Arena revolves completely around Zacama, Primal Calamity, which is the only nine-drop creature on Arena. The main plan is to win the die roll so you can play first, skip enough drops that you can get to nine mana (which is three on the play or two on the draw) and make the first Zacama, primal Calamity. If you get the first Zacama it's very hard to lose since when your opponent makes Zacama you simply use your mana to kill their copy. You do this again and again as you keep making land drops, and before long you're able to kill your opponent's Zacama and also have enough mana left over to start making more creatures or activate Zacama an additional time to start eating through the rest of your opponent's creatures. Getting the first Zacama on a relatively stable board is essentially a hard lock and there's isn't much an opponent can do to get out from under it without getting incredibly lucky. 
  • Since Zacama is so important, you primarily want to play basic lands that are the colors of Zacama's activated abilities. Most importantly you need to have three Mountains on the battlefield by turn nine so you can activate Zacama, Primal Calamity's three damage ability three times to kill your opponent's Zacama. Forests and Plains are good secondary lands to play, with Islands and Swamps being the worst basics.
  • My normal strategy on the play is to skip making a one-drop, make a two-drop in hopes of hitting a mana creature like Servant of the Conduit or Naga Vitalist, and then skip three and four-drops to have enough cards to make nine-drops. 

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  • The other card of not in Magic Arena Momir is Demondlord Belzenlok. If you happen to get Demonlord Belzenlok you lose the game by exiling your entire library to its enters the battlefield trigger. If I'm on the play and feel like the board is reasonably stable I generally make a five-drop even if I have six mana available. The odds of hitting Demonlord Belzenlok are a bit under 2%, but you are so heavily favored if you are on the play and get the first Zacama, Primal Calamity that it's not even worth the slight risk.
  • On the draw things are difficult since you start at a huge disadvantage. If the game goes long enough for your opponent to make a nine-drop they will Zacama lock you and you will lose. As a result, the best plan is to start making creatures on turn two and hope that you can get lucky, either by hitting a mana creature (which lets you break serve and get the first Zacama) or by hitting a string of big fliers that can kill the opponent before they get to nine mana. While neither of these plans are good, they are the best option in the current Momir format where Zacama is the only nine-drop.
  • One last note: all of this will change with the release of Guilds of Ravnica. We're getting two new (and not great) nine-drops, which means the plan of rushing to Zacama will at least have some amount of risk. This will mean that the player on the draw actually has a chance of winning the game and should make the format at least a bit more even.


Anyway, that's all for today. Momir Madness is fun, but right now the format is in a weird place due to the dominance of Zacama, which gives the player who wins the die roll a massive advantage. Thankfully, this should mostly solve itself as more sets release, and even in the current state Momir Madness is still a fine way to kill some time as you wait for Guilds of Ravnica and Standard rotation next week. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at

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