Home > Musings > Musings: Renegade Doppelganger

Musings: Renegade Doppelganger

I mentioned this a bit on Episode 20 (coming later this week), but I thought I’d throw the idea out there in written form and expound on it a bit.

That said, I’ll just jump right in. I think Renegade Doppelganger has some interesting potential, given the right strategy.

Think of it this way: Renegade Doppelganger effectively gives all of your creatures haste and vigilance on the turn they enter the battlefield (ex. You cast Leatherback Baloth, Doppelganger copies it & attacks as a Baloth and leaves you with a Baloth back to block). On top of that—and I think this is where the gold is—it has the added bonus of giving you an additional attacker if you play a creature that already has haste. The first line of thought, of course, assumes Doppelganger has been under your control since the beginning of the turn; but the second requires only that the Doppelganger be on the board when the other creature comes into play.

For example, think about Doppelganger’s interaction with Vengevine. With a Doppelganger in play, a resolved Vengevine means you’re swinging with 8 damage worth of power. An opponent facing this onslaught has a tough choice if he has removal or blockers available. Removing or trading with the Doppelganger leaves the “real” threat—Vengevine—on the board; but taking out the Vengevine leaves a seemingly innocuous little fella who can turn ferocious really fast, especially if that Vengevine is in the graveyard (and not exiled).

Or how about casting a Bloodbraid Elf onto an empty board? Cascade triggers, you flip Renegade Doppelganger, into the red zone for 6. And if a Vengevine was in the graveyard when this happened? That’s 10, threatening another 7 at minimum next turn.


Recently, Kelly Reid wrote an article about agility in deckbuilding. In it, he mentions how haste is one way to give your deck agility, making your plays “innately faster” than your opponent’s, forcing them to react quicker. Renegade Doppelganger doesn’t officially grant haste, but it’s pretty close (as I said above, you could say it grants haste AND a turn’s worth of vigilance). The option to effectively make any creature “hasty” is even more powerful than most give it credit for. From a control player’s standpoint, I often plan my turns knowing that even if I don’t have one in hand, I’ll still get a turn to find an answer to any creature that hits the board on my opponent’s turn. An active Renegade Doppelganger takes that away. A resolved Baneslayer Angel—already just about the scariest creature to see across the table—suddenly becomes Akroma, Angel of Wrath‘s fraternal twin.

I understand that I’m creating some “perfect storm” scenarios, but I just want to get the juices flowing regarding this little guy’s potential. It reminds me a lot of a mini-Rafiq of the Many, who doesn’t have haste himself, but when he hits the board, a seemingly harmless creature can suddenly be deadly (I recall a game against BHJ where I was at 6 life facing down a lone Lotus Cobra; BHJ drops Rafiq and suddenly I’m dead to that Cobra).

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  1. April 28, 2010 at 8:58 am


    I’m glad you mentioned Rafiq of the Many regarding this card. The thing that popped into my mind was putting this in the Mythic Conscription deck, having this copy a Sovereigns of Lost Alara. By doing so, you’re able to fetch two copies of Eldrazi Conscription, getting 20 power + trample + annihilator 4. The exalted boost from Sovereigns is just a slap in the face.

    Only thing I worry about is putting such investment on a creature in fear of removal. Otherwise it looks beastly.

  2. Tim
    April 28, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    I thought about Renegade Doppleganger being interesting with Vengevine, but never looked at it from a point of view that he granted your other creatures haste as well. Definitely interesting.

  3. April 29, 2010 at 5:33 am

    I like the potential of Phyrexian Dreadnaught with Renegade Doppelganger – get a 12/12 trample haste for a turn! Probably not good enough for legacy but I’m excited by the possibilities.

  4. A.G.
    May 1, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    I actually had a copy of the renegade in my deck at the pre-release and used exactly for you what you described, i.e. giving my Ulamog’s crusher “haste” the turn it came out and ending the game one turn sooner.

  5. Mike
    May 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    I’m pretty sure I’m not wrong about this. Your Bloodbraid combo does not work. The elf resolves onto an empty board and cascades into the Doppleganger. However, the Dop can only copy a creature cast after it, so it comes into play as a 0/1 and stays that way until you cast another creature spell.

    Not a big deal, but it proves you have to set up your casting order properly to get the Dop away from 0/1 quickly.

    • May 4, 2010 at 12:56 am

      It works, I promise 🙂 . Cascade triggers, putting the Doppelganger into play before the Elf. Whenever you play a cascade spell, that spell is the last spell to resolve, assuming it wasn’t countered.

  6. Kevin
    June 23, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    Sticking this guy in Mythic is interesting… copying a Knight of the Reliquary is pretty sweet, and with Sovereigns you force them to wait for declare attacks and then kill your attacker with spot removal — or else you can search with your first trigger and then Conscription with the second. It’s also decent with Lotus Cobra or mana dorks (tapland -> basic+Doppel -> Noble Hierarch, basic, Knight of the Reliquary -> basic, tap Knight+Hierarch for mana, Sovereigns)

    So who wants to try Vengeganger Mythic? haha

  1. October 9, 2010 at 4:45 am

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