This week for our Legacy brew we have Mono White World Stax in which we get to run more creatures to give an aggressive feel. To be aggressive while keeping the prison elements of Stax, we are running both old and new Thalia, and our Smokestack five through seven in World Queller.

The interesting thing about World Queller is that we can control what our opponent has to sacrifice, unlike Smokestack. This benefits us against decks like Delver where they play the old “Save the Queen” approach by resolving a single threat and then going from there. Smokestack allows them to keep the creature and sacrifice  lands, whereas World Queller could potentially remove the one threat. On that note, why don’t we take a deep breath and dive deep into World Stax.

World Stax

Lands (24)
Ancient Tomb
City of Traitors
Flagstones of Trokair
10 Plains

Creatures (10)
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
Thalia, Heretic Cathar
World Queller

Spells (26)
Chalice of the Void
Crucible of Worlds
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Ghostly Prison
Mox Diamond
Sideboard (15)
Leyline of Sanctity
Oblivion Ring
Suppression Field
Timely Reinforcements

Many Mono White Stax variants run few Creatures and are oftentimes rocking some number of Armageddon and Humility. As much as I love Humility and Armageddon against decks like Sneak and Show, Miracles, Shardless Bug or Eldrazi, I wanted something with a bit more of an aggressive feel so I had to leave those favorites out of this list.


Thalia, Guardian of Thraben kicks off the creature suite. Her non-creature-spell tax is very well known in the Legacy community thanks to Death and Taxes. She is great against combo decks reliant on spells because of this tax that she represents. In combat having first strike can also be relevant.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar has already made her splash into the Legacy pool with three copies in a recent Death and Taxes top eight deck list. Something about starting off turn one Heretic on the play seems cathartic to me. Let’s see that Delver tempo deck get ahead in a game with their turn three tapped Delver of Secrets/Deathrite Shaman, etc. That is the value those decks are looking for anyway right?

World Queller is our big avatar here. Counting as Smokestack five through seven and giving us a more “targeted” version and all the while we have a 4/4 for defense and offense. World Queller‘s ability chooses what to sacrifice on resolution, so alongside an Elspeth we don’t have to worry about choosing creature and in response maybe our opponent casts Lightning Bolt on a Soldier token leaving us to sacrifice the World Queller. Likely a rare scenario to occur, but still something to consider when thinking about lines of play.

For a period of time I considered Magus of the Tabernacle as a way to work alongside Ghostly Prison to double tax creatures. It also has great blocking stats. I chose not to include Magus because new Thalia is better.


Naturally as a Stax deck we have some permanents that look opponents out of the game. Chalice of the Void is nothing new in Legacy. Chalice set at one is great for shutting out most decks from resolving up to 60% of their spells and many of their threats as well.

Ghostly Prison all but locks many decks out of their combat step. The two mana tax for each creature to attack is often too much for any deck to attack with more than one creature a turn. If we have Smokestack, World Queller or Crucible of Worlds with a Wasteland on board then it is unlikely any opponent can ever attack you. I will note that if we have an Elspeth on board, Ghostly Prison does not tax creatures attacking planeswalkers. Keep that in mind.

Smokestack is the namesake card. Our deck is mostly permanents, so we can throw fodder to the stack longer than most opponents. The great thing about Smokestack is that we get to control the triggers so that they sacrifice before we ever have to, including the fact that they will always be the first to sacrifice two, three, etc. each turn that we choose to tick up.

Trinisphere is the last of our prison elements. Most decks would like to pay one or two mana for their spells. Trinisphere makes everyone pay at least three mana for each spell they cast, though delve and convoke can be used to pay all three mana. Since most of our spells cost three or more  this is really irrelevant for us. Having access to a Trinisphere on turn one can sometimes result in a concession from an opponent keeping a hand with one land and a few cantrips to hopefully dig to more.


The only true removal spell is Oblivion Ring out of the sideboard. While we do have Smokestack and World Queller in the main deck, they do not guarantee you to hit the card that you need to remove. Oblivion Ring comes in for these scenarios, while also being able to hit a Gaddock Teeg which can shut down some of our game plan. Oblivion Ring can be fun to bring to Show and Tell to immediately punish them for being greedy trying to get an Emrakul, the Aeons Torn for only three mana. How rude!


Here we have our Stax mainstay in Elspeth, Knight Errant. Making a token a turn is great to feed our World Queller or Smokestack, block, and eventually become a win condition. Her ultimate makes for an extremely hearty board state making it so a card like Wear/Tear is actually terrible when usually it is a blow out against us.


The sideboard is geared towards being better against aggressive decks, which can be tough. Having a match up with another deck heavy in permanents makes it harder for Smokestack to take over a game.

Leyline of Sanctity can be great against combo decks, as well as decks like Burn that punish us for using Ancient Tomb for the fast mana. Trinisphere and Chalice can be key here, but having a Leyline of Sanctity in play makes it harder for them to hit us with a majority of their burn spells. It also shuts off Tendrils of Agony and discard which is great against decks like Storm, Shardless BUG, or Jund.

Timely Reinforcements is another great piece for aggressive match ups. It can give us chumps for blocking or fodder to Stack and gain us life back. While running Ancient Tomb the latter is likely to happen even if the former does not.

Suppression Field is another anti combo as well as land hate card. Post board against a deck like Miracles getting a Suppression Field down with Thalia, Heretic Cathar makes it very difficult for them to do much of anything. Their fetchlands come in tapped, then cost two mana to use, every top activation costs two mana to use, Jace requires six mana to actually use an ability the turn he is played. Suppression Field gives us a great option to really punish decks that are heavy in fetchlands and require activating permanents often. Death and Taxes as well as Delver can be considered options for Suppression Field to come in. If not for the fact that we want to have our Wastelands easily activated we would play Suppression Field in the main.

Oblivion Ring as discussed earlier is our main option for removal as well as decent hate against Show and Tell decks. It is also one of our only ways to remove a Gaddock Teeg which can shut down most of our deck short of Queller or combat which seems unlikely.

Initial Thoughts

I am very excited for this build and will likely be running it on the day that this article goes live. The one concern that I have for the deck is the high average converted mana cost. It may be correct to run two or three Chrome Mox similar to my build of W/R Stax. Being Mono White and having access to the ten basic Plains I feel should be plenty to get up to five mana and keep it reliably.

Happy brewing to each and every one of you. If anyone has an idea for a brew that they would like to see, I will gladly take requests and challenges on twitter. 🙂

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. If you want to contact Aaron tweet @aarongazzaniga

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