by Aaron Gazzaniga

If you read my last article, you may have guessed that I enjoy causing misery for all my opponents, much like inflicting a Pox onto them. That is precisely what this brew is all about. A long time ago while following the Pox forum listed below, the idea to add blue and green to the traditionally mono-black deck was discussed but never really went anywhere. The idea stuck with me over the last couple of years until finally I took a few of the suggestions that were made and came up with the following list:

Shardless Pox

Lands (23)
Lumbering Falls
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Underground Sea
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Verdant Catacombs

Creatures (5)
Shardless Agent

Spells (31)
Abrupt Decay
Ancestral Vision
Hymn to Tourach
Innocent Blood
Inquisition of Kozilek
Life from the Loam
Liliana of the Veil
Mox Diamond
Sylvan Library
Sideboard (15)
Blue Elemental Blast
Crop Rotation
Engineered Explosives
Krosan Grip
Maze of Ith
Sphere of Resistance
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Toxic Deluge

Nothing ever came of the old discussions, and I am not too sure why not either since blue adds card selection and consistency (Brainstorm, Ancestral Vision) whereas Green allows for better targeted removal (Abrupt Decay) as well as card advantage (Life from the Loam). I believe there was some light testing. The mana base becomes much more susceptible to Wasteland/Loam lock and Blood Moon, and it was shelved by most. Mono-black Pox tends to run between 10 and 14 Swamps and can fight through hate, while this list has only four basic lands. Fetching only basics for the first few turns can certainly make the early game awkward. Wanting to possibly cast a turn one Brainstorm or suspend an Ancestral Vision for U, then Abrupt Decay for BG, then a Liliana of the Veil for 1BB while possibly fighting through Wasteland or Rishadan Port can definitely be a task. I have added the Mox Diamonds for this reason as well as the added explosive potential brings to the deck. Turn one Hymn to Tourach on the play can really cripple opponents. Hitting an opponent’s land and possibly a turn-one play can cause a massive tempo loss which they may never recover from, especially through the further disruption you drop on them.

Starting with the mana base and creatures I am sure there may be some things that seem off to many of you. For instance, I have a single Lumbering Falls over a Creeping Tar Pit. My reason for this is that as a Pox deck we tend to clear the way of creatures and recurring threats work well for us. The fact that it has hexproof means that Swords to Plowshares, Lightning Bolt, Maze of Ith and the corner case Wasteland when you have mana up can’t remove it from the battlefield. I wanted to make sure the threats I had were resilient to removal and could provide a solid clock. Shardless Agent is more about the card advantage while Tombstalker gives us the solid clock that has evasion. Lumbering Falls having hexproof is key to what I wanted and, since the animated version also has three power, much like Creeping Tar Pit it can present a similar clock while not being removed easily.

For card advantage and selection we have Sylvan Library, Brainstorm, Ancestral VisionLife from the Loam and Shardless Agent. This suite of selection and advantage allow us to have the ability to recover from our early game, reload our hand, and continue the onslaught of mana denial and disruption. Rather than play Sensei’s Divining Top I chose Sylvan Library as a source of selection and advantage that does not require any more mana once it hits the board. We make our one-time commitment to it and it allows us to dig deep and draw extra cards when we can spend some life if necessary. Brainstorm is obviously in the top-three most popular cards currently played in Legacy for a reason. It seemed ideal to me to have Life from the Loam retrieve three lands from our yard and then use a Brainstorm to potentially turn those into three fresh non-land cards. Obviously Shardless Agent and Ancestral Vision together can make for some pretty strong plays if you are familiar with the deck Shardless Sultai. In this deck we can potentially cascade into a Smallpox and we keep our Agent while our opponent loses multiple cards and resources. Shardless Agent stays on the stack while the cascade spell resolves.

As for the rest of the deck we have many of the traditional Pox pieces that you would find in any search though deck databases for Legacy Pox decks. Innocent Blood, Hymn to Tourach, Liliana of the Veil, Smallpox, Sinkhole, etc. Innocent Blood and Smallpox generally favor the deck and provide some card advantage at low mana costs since we usually have very few/recurrable creatures. Liliana of Veil needs no introduction or explanation. She dominates both Legacy and Modern and she is the only Planeswalker to rival Jace, The Mind Sculptor in price and power level as far as the card game goes.

Sinkhole naturally fits into the Pox archetype since the name of the game is mana denial and managing your opponent’s resources. Keeping your opponent restricted on mana sources with cards like Sinkhole and Wasteland is key. In the case of this deck we have recurrable Wasteland thanks to Life from the Loam so we can be liberal in targeting basic lands with Sinkhole.

Overall I have enjoyed playing this deck and intend to continue experimenting with card choices and numbers. A few reflections so far are that Tombstalker is a great addition to the deck and should probably be increased to 3 copies. Inquisition of Kozilek is great for normal Pox lists but probably could become additional copies of Sylvan Library, Tombstalker, and Life from the Loam. Shardless BUG is definitely a key match-up to learn and focus on as I have found the symmetrical card advantage of each deck to favor the deck with Tarmogoyf. I am looking forward to continue playing this deck and will consider writing a follow up piece based on viewer interest and the deck’s performance.

If you are interested in learning more about this deck click here to read a brief LGS tournament report for it’s first time out.


Aaron Gazzaniga manages a restaurant and in his off time has been an avid magic player/brewer since 2003. Having begun in Odyssey Standard Block and always favoring control and prison style decks, we come to this moment in time where Aaron finally gets to talk about and share his ideas.

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