Vintage Stax deck

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Stax refers to a number of Vintage archetypes. Common elements include Mishra's Workshop and numerous artifact sources of mana. Stax is often referred to as a "prison deck" because of artifacts like Smokestack, Tangle Wire, Sphere of Resistance and Lodestone Golem which restrict the opponent's ability to play spells and keep permanents in play. These permanents, usually considered symmetrical, become asymmetrical in Stax as it plays a considerably higher number of permanents than many other decks in the format, thereby allowing it to maintain a solid mana base while destroying the opponent's. The recent printings of Lodestone Golem and Steel Hellkite have been partially responsible for a recent upswing in the decks popularity as these cards have a uniquely powerful combination of both disruptive and aggressive elements. Other common "finishers" for the deck include Karn, Silver Golem.

Card Choices and Explanations[edit | edit source]

Commonly Played Cards (Modern)[edit | edit source]

Mishra's Workshop: Always a 4-of in decklists. This card generates tremendous amounts of mana.

Wasteland, Strip Mine, Crucible of Worlds: While powerful tempo disruption cards on their own Wasteland and Strip Mine when used in conjunction with Crucible of Worlds can effectively lock opponents out of the game

Chalice of the Void: When the Stax player plays first often played at X=0 as a tempo play to prevent opposing moxen. Sometimes played at strategically at X=1 even X=2 or X=3 to stop crucial spells such as Oath of Druids or Rebuild.

Sphere of Resistance, Thorn of Amethyst, Trinisphere: Often referred to as "Sphere effects". While these cards tend to slow down your opponent's board development significantly and require them to pay more for countermagic, access to large amounts of mana allows the Stax player to easily play around these effects. Extremely disruptive for storm combo decks. Most decklists play 7-9 of these cards, the exact number varies depending on the personal preference and the metagame.

Tangle Wire: Powerful tempo play early or midgame. Can temporarily lock out opponents for several turns. Creates extremely one-sided effect in combination with Smokestack as the stax play decides the order of both triggers during both their own and their opponents upkeep.

Lodestone Golem: This card has replaced Juggernaut in MUD/Stax decklist. As it functions as both a "finisher" and additional "sphere effects", this card is extremely powerful as it helps lock opponent out of game while providing a win condition. Before it was restricted in early 2016, four copies of this card were usually included in the deck. Since Lodestone Golem was restricted in Vintage, one copy is still usually included, but players have been experimenting with combinations of other synergies such as those with Karn, Silver Golem and Walking Ballista.

Steel Hellkite: Another "finisher" in this deck with powerful combination of evasion, disruption and "firebreathing" ability. Can be used instead of or alongside Karn, Silver Golem to destroy opponents moxen. Usually only in decks with metalworker as it is relatively mana intensive.

Precursor Golem: Highest total power to casting cost ratio (9:5) of any creature available to stax. Effective answer to many elements of fish decks such as Dark Confidant, Trygon Predator.

Sculpting Steel: Used to duplicate lock pieces or win conditions, in order to win the game before the opponent can recover. Also quite useful in the mirror match or against "robots" such as Darksteel Colossus or Sphinx of the Steel Wind

Commonly Played Cards (Historical)[edit | edit source]

Uba Mask: A once common variant of the deck popularized by Robert Vroman, Uba Stax adds Uba Mask as an additional method of limiting the opponent's play options. Uba Mask increases the effectiveness of otherwise problematic draw engines like Bazaar of Baghdad while forcing control decks to use the cards they "draw" during the same turn, thereby greatly reducing the effectiveness of countermagic. The use of uba mask has fallen out of favor in the modern vintage environment.

Juggernaut: The printing of Lodestone Golem (more disruptive) and Precursor Golem (more aggressive) has made this card largely obsolete.

See also[edit | edit source]

Sample Stax/MUD decklist[edit | edit source]