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A stax list that wins instead of not losses


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aqualad33
Level 1 Judge


Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Mon May 07, 2012 11:32 pm    Post subject: A stax list that wins instead of not losses Reply with quote

so I have been working on a stax list that I have modified from one of the more infamous stax players on here (though it was a while ago so i don't quite remember the guys name). Anyways, in my experience i have often found that the problem with playing Stax is that in most builds you do great at setting up a prison but you have no real way of winning and the game drags and your opponent eventually finds a way through. With that in mind I used a model that focuses less on attempting to get a hard lock and more on simply changing the game in such a way that my deck has an absurd advantage. In testing against decks such as affinity, delver variants, rdw, lots of maverick, stone blade, smallpox, goblins, and other fringe archetypes I have found this version to be incredibly powerful. The deck is very explosive and can cripple an opponents game plan very quickly while developing wicked fast batterskull and eslpeth drops. So without further adu, here is the list.
// Deck file for Magic Workstation (http://www.magicworkstation.com)

// Lands
3 [TSP] Flagstones of Trokair
4 [TE] Wasteland
2 [DK] Maze of Ith
4 [TE] Ancient Tomb
3 [EX] City of Traitors
1 [FUT] Horizon Canopy
1 [LG] The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
2 [DS] Blinkmoth Nexus
1 [LG] Karakas
7 [ISD] Plains (2)

// Creatures
4 [WWK] Stoneforge Mystic

// Spells
3 [NPH] Batterskull
3 [CHK] Ghostly Prison
4 [MR] Chalice of the Void
3 [FD] Crucible of Worlds
4 [SH] Mox Diamond
2 [ARC] Oblivion Ring
2 [PT] Armageddon
2 [TE] Humility
1 [BOK] Umezawa's Jitte
2 [P3] Ravages of War
2 [DDF] Elspeth, Knight-Errant

// Sideboard
SB: 1 [CHK] Ghostly Prison
SB: 1 [ARC] Oblivion Ring
SB: 1 [PT] Armageddon
SB: 1 [TE] Humility
SB: 2 [TSB] Tormod's Crypt
SB: 3 [9E] Wrath of God
SB: 1 [SOK] Manriki-Gusari
SB: 1 [ISD] Witchbane Orb
SB: 1 [10E] Rule of Law
SB: 1 [DKA] Grafdigger's Cage
SB: 1 [MBS] Sword of Feast and Famine
SB: 1 [ALA] Ethersworn Canonist

lands:

3 flagstone: pros, wateland proof on color mana, gets you even further ahead after an armagedon, can be used with another copy and crucible to generate CA. Cons, none

4 wastelands: critical to the game plan, does enormous damage to delver decks especially when a chalice is down.

2 maze of ith: no mana but it stems a lot of bleeding from delver decks, and makes attacking near impossible when you have a prison out

4 tomb/3 city: the sol lands are incredibly important to excellerate you they also enable a great deal of powerful turn one plays, in particular the turn 1 chalice of the void on 1 which is virtually 6 crainial extractions against delverdecks (well if extraction replaced the cards you removed with blanks)

tabernacle: ties up your opponents mana and makes it hard for them to get through prisons, think about it, if a delver player has 3 lands on the board they can no longer attack and cast spells. Also if you drop this after an armagedon it works as a wrath of god as well.

horizon canopy: provides on color mana, and card advantage with a crucible

karakas: on color mana, and it protects me from a number of legendary threats of the non progenitus nature

blinkmoth nexus: man land that can trade with a delver and carry a jitti, good enough for me.

Creature:

4 stoneforge, he is the only true creature in the deck, the rest are either lands or token producers. I will get to the reason why later. Anyways Stoneforge is an awesome win condition in this deck because this deck is one of the few that can drop him on turn 1 and then get batterskull on turn 2. I dont think I have lost a game yet with that sequence. You are just so massively ahead with a batterskull on the field turn 2 it's rediculous. also being able to grab jitti can put you way ahead against decks like elves and jitti also works outstandingly well with my favorite card in the deck (i'll get to it in due time)

3 Batterskull not really a creature, but in all practical sense he is. He is supper fast and powerful with the mystic, but seriously in this deck he is even fast without the mystic. There are a huge number of times where you just have 2 sol lands and a mox diamond to power him out early and he just takes over the game before it starts.

spells and stuff:

2 oblivion rings: catch all card and jace answer, never been unhappy to draw one unless i was already winning

3 ghostly prisons: this card is so good at keeping me alive long enough to get back in the drivers seat and take over a game. I remember hiding behind 2 of these and a maze of ith across 16 goblins until i got batterskull going and let him take over the game.

4 chalice of the void: Decks these days are getting faster and faster, and in order to attain that consistency and speed they play sooooooo many 1 drops and chalice completely punishes them for it. I think i've already made the comparison between this and 6 cranial extractions + putting dead cards in their deck This card is simply stellar. Against delver they HAVE TO force it or scoop, if it resolves there are only like 8 cards in their deck that they will be able to cast. I love having a card that wreck the best deck in the format.

3 crucible of worlds: generates a ton of CA via all the cool lands and gives you a way to auto recover from armagedon. Also brings back blinky.

4 mox diamond: helps enable many degenerate turn 1 plays including the stoneforge beatdown plan and the turn 1 chalice. Sometimes even a turn one crucible with a wasteland to lock your opponent out of lands

2armagedon/2ravages of war: splitting them makes them harder to therapy and use surgical extraction on. But there main use is to make it so that if you are in a winning position you stay in a winning position. Its other use though is in conjunction with either tabernacle or prison, giving you time to take over a game instead of loss

2 elspeth: works very well with my favorite card, boosts batterskull, generates tokens, and after she ultimates my armagedons become 1 sided, love her.

1 jitti: is unbelievable with my favorite card, tutorable with mystic, and generates and incredible board advantage.

2 my favorite card HUMILITY: how I found this beautyful card was that i had originally intended to do the humility plus moat lockout but I found out that between it giving batterskull a boost, turning jitti into a machine gun, and letting elspeth take over a game I never needed moat at all. In fact seriously sit down and think about just how good this card is. Maverick simply losses to this card period! all of their cards are creatures, creatures that all become overpriced 1/1's it puts an enourmous kink in all creature based attack plans While the only harm it does to me is turn off my stoneforge mystic (did you see that tear). I love this card so much, it just wrecks the format right now.


now then with all that said, you have a very good mu against nearly all the decks in legacy because
1. you are really, really fast
2. you are able to take advantage of some of the most hateful hate in all of magic and abuse it fully
3. your not just an oppressive attrition deck, you actually can win in a reasonable amount of time via batterskull, elspeth, jitti.
4. even when you are horrendously lossing, you have cards that can swing the game back in your favor in an instant.


after all of these great things though there is one flaw that I have not been able to work out. You simply have no way to stop hive mind combo. This is because the deck has no countermagic for show and tell and no discard to strip a show and tell or an intuition. The best that you can possibly hope for is a turn 1 stoneforge followed by a sol land to cast a chalice at 1 shutting off their ponders and brainstorms and hope that batterskull goes all the way.

On the brightside however it is my understanding that hive mind has a terrible MU vs. delver and stoneblade and thus there arent very many of them around anymore.

anyways I hope you enjoyed my take on armagedon stax. Let me know what you guys think
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blitzer2k7



Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 12:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

for your hive mind mu why not play 3x angels grace?
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Taodd
Level 1 Judge


Joined: 24 Feb 2006
Posts: 31

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 12:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For hivemind just put in a chalice on 0. All pacts will be countered. Beyond that you need to make sure you keep in all your creature hate that stops progenitus and emrakul (o-ring, humilty, bring in the wraths) for their alt win plan.
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[-a-L-e-]



Joined: 25 Dec 2009
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Taodd wrote:
For hivemind just put in a chalice on 0. All pacts will be countered.


All except the ones you are forced to copy with hive mind in play Very Happy. You'll lose anyway, chalice on 0 doesn't do anything against hive mind.
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Selkie



Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 86

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 4:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ale, chalice stops ALL spells, including your own.
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Spyx



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 1188

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All spells that are actually cast yes. Hive Mind just puts a copy on the stack which chalice does not trigger on.
I think one of your best bets I having mox diamond + some sol lands so you can pay for pact of the titan early.
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BaronT



Joined: 13 Dec 2011
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chalice at 0 only helps the Hive Mind player, ask Steveman Smile. It doesn't counter copies i.e. the ones given to you simply lose the game if you cant pay and if you can, they never have to worry about paying for their own pacts.
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sc4rs



Joined: 23 Mar 2006
Posts: 859

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gatherer - Chalice of the Void wrote:
Whenever a player casts a spell with converted mana cost equal to the number of charge counters on Chalice of the Void, counter that spell.


Gatherer - Hive Mind wrote:
Whenever a player casts an instant or sorcery spell, each other player copies that spell. Each of those players may choose new targets for his or her copy.


Chalice for 0 does absolutely nothing but keep the Hive Mind player from getting a 4/4 Giant. Rolling Eyes

Also, would Moat over Wrath make any sense on SB, or is there a specific matchup Wrath is good against that I'm not thinking of?
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blitzer2k7



Joined: 12 Jul 2007
Posts: 412

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still think the angels grace play is much stronger. for one mana youre making it so you dont lose the game when you have to go pay for the pacts and cant be countered thanks to split second.
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Steveman



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 154

PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 11:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your maindeck ain't too shabby, there's just a few minor changes that I would do
- 2 Elspeth
+1 Ghostly Prison
+1 Crucible of Worlds

If you're playing Elspeth in Stax you MUST have Moat, because Ghostly Prison does NOT protect Planeswalkers; there's a reason why you never see Elspeth in any decent non-Dutch build.

The heart and soul of Armageddon Stax lies in Ghostly Prison / Crucible of Worlds, there's no reason why you shouldn't be playing 4 of both since you're running x2 Armageddon / x2 Ravages of War.

Your sideboard is a complete mess, Stax can't rely on a singleton board without any Brainstorm / tutor effects. The singleton Equipment cards are fine since you're running Stoneforge Mystic but everything else should be a 3 or 4 of's. Stax's greatest weakness is its lack of card filter / tutor effects meaning that your sideboard cards have to be as versatile as possible. Here is what I would recommend

x4 Leyline of Sanctity (good against Burn / Combo / Discard)
x4 Swords to Plowshares (good against Maverick / Tribal / etc)
*x4 Null Rod (good against combo / Affinity / Lands)
*x3 Faerie Macabre (good against Reanimator / Dredge / etc)

*the numbers for Faerie Macabre / Null Rod are interchangeable

Graftdigger's Cage is pretty awful in Stax, it's converted mana cost conflicts with Chalice of the Void (which you need against graveyard based decks) and can be countered. The uncounterability of Faerie Macabre's effect makes it the ideal graveyard hate against Reanimator (one of Stax's worst matchups).

Quote:
Steveman takes his cues from Skeggi though.

Skeggi lost all credibility when he started endorsing Crystal Ball in Dutch Stax
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Spyx



Joined: 31 Oct 2004
Posts: 1188

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moat is currently not a very strong card. Most of the tier 1 decks have maindeck ways to get around it (delver of secrets, zenith/pridemage, lingering souls). Basically you need moat + something else good to lock them out, which is a bit too much work for a 4 cmc card I think.
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Ashmatan



Joined: 21 Dec 2006
Posts: 116

PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heeey...i used crystal ball in stax for a tourny b4. thought it was cool when you geddon and get ur crucible taken out, it was another way to filter ur deck for land
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aqualad33
Level 1 Judge


Joined: 18 Jan 2010
Posts: 272

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sorry that it has taken me so long to join in the discussion, I've been in disneyland with my girlfriend and there was no wifi at the hotel. So I've been following the conversation on my droid without being able to write back.

Anyways now that I am here,

1. what does wrath have over moat + humillity? 1. It is one card instead of 2 making it easier to play 2. it costs a total of 4 mana instead of 8 making it faster to play. 3. moat by itself is only slightly better then a ghostly prison yet much more expensive. 4. moat without a humility will not remove problematic creatures and against maverick it just eats a pridemage. 5. moat with humility is barely better then moat with ghostly prison, and only a little better then humility on its own.

Wrath on the other hand will consistently get rid of problematic creatures when you do not have a humility in play at a reasonable price thus giving me 6 ways to handle horrible opposing monsters.

2. elspeth, didnt notice this at first, I'm gonna have to replace her then with something else, thank you very much for pointing this out. probably something that will generate tokens and is also hard to deal with.

the reason I do not play 4 of crucible is because multiple copies are redundant and you do not need one to win (probably wouldn't play the deck if it needed one card that badly). ghostly prison though I may up to 4 md copies, I have 1 in board right now but that may change later depending on how often I'm facing creature decks.

yeah, the sideboard is kinda messy, the reason I went with the singletons is that they overlap a lot in many matchups, so I have a lot of hate but it's not all the same so it's hard to use any kind of countermeasures against them.

As for angels grace, this card is way to narrow and does not play well with challice of the void (split second does not stop triggered abillities).

faerie macabre is a much better option i like it!

null rod seems a little lackluster to me. against storm decks cannonist and rule of law is better, against affinity it's awesome, but there isnt a lot of affinity anymore and I'm not sure how it's good against lands.

smokestacks is way to slow right now and doe not do enough at 4 mana. If it resolves it still takes a setup turn to get online in which time your opponent would probably win the game.

3 sphere was in the original version but it just is not as powerful anymore. 3 sphere is only really effective when you have it on turn 1, which is not consistent enough. Even so, if you are not playing first then your opponent will have a chance to do a Lot of things turn 1 most popular of which would be ride a delver to victory. Also 3 sphere becomes less and less effective as the game goes on. 3 sphere is supposed to be strong after you drop an armagedon preventing your opponent from playing spells however with how land light everyone's decks are armagedon does not need much help stopping your opponent from playing spells, and chalice at 1 does pretty much the same thing these days.

just so you know, so far the only combo I lose too is hive mind and apparently painter stone is difficult as well

engrish please link me to that stax list, it probably has some good insight for me.
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Steveman



Joined: 13 Apr 2007
Posts: 154

PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
what does wrath have over moat + humillity? 1. It is one card instead of 2 making it easier to play 2. it costs a total of 4 mana instead of 8 making it faster to play. 3. moat by itself is only slightly better then a ghostly prison yet much more expensive. 4. moat without a humility will not remove problematic creatures and against maverick it just eats a pridemage. 5. moat with humility is barely better then moat with ghostly prison, and only a little better then humility on its own.


I wouldn't play Wrath or Moat in your current list. The problem with Wrath is that if you hold onto it in your hand, Maverick is just going to ruin you with Gaddock Teeg (which is half the reason why you need STP in your board). Honestly, Wrath in Stax hasn't been too good in the past few years (used to be awesome though)

Quote:
the reason I do not play 4 of crucible is because multiple copies are redundant and you do not need one to win (probably wouldn't play the deck if it needed one card that badly). ghostly prison though I may up to 4 md copies, I have 1 in board right now but that may change later depending on how often I'm facing creature decks.


You're going to find yourself in more situations where you need a missing Crucible then having a flood of them. What people don't realize is that Crucible of Worlds is the glue that holds Stax together because the deck is very prone to falling over itself. Seriously, just take a look at how many cards benefit from Crucible.

- Mox Diamond
- Wasteland
- Armageddon / Ravages of War
- Ghostly Prison
- Mishra's Factory
- City of Traitors

3 Crucible is DOABLE, I just don't think it's ideal.

Quote:
null rod seems a little lackluster to me. against storm decks cannonist and rule of law is better, against affinity it's awesome, but there isnt a lot of affinity anymore and I'm not sure how it's good against lands.


Null Rod is faster and more versatile than both Ethersworn Cannonist / Rule of Law. The reason why it's good against lands is because it shuts off their Mox and Engineered Explosives / Mindslaver lock. Null Rod is also pretty nifty against Maverick if you can get it down before they play a Sword.

Quote:
just so you know, so far the only combo I lose too is hive mind and apparently painter stone is difficult as well


Null Rod solves your Painter problem.


Quote:
Heeey...i used crystal ball in stax for a tourny b4. thought it was cool when you geddon and get ur crucible taken out, it was another way to filter ur deck for land


Here's why Crystal Ball isn't a good card in Stax
- It doesn't produce mana
- It's not a lock piece
- It's not a win condition

Stax is very dependent on its opening draw and you NEVER want to see it in your opening hand because if you're playing it early, that means you're not playing a lock piece or advancing your mana base. This is why Horizon Canopy is so damn good because it produces White mana and is REALLY good with Crucible in the late game.
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