This week I have brought something for Vintage that has been working. While this is not a new deck, it is a quite different take on the known archetype of Landstill. Landstill is generally known as a blue/white or Patriot control deck that focuses on creating a clean board state and then resolving a Standstill which punishes a player for casting spells by drawing three cards for their opponents. Often the deck will win with creature lands to get around a resolved Standstill preventing players from casting spells and giving their opponent card advantage. Although BUG Standstill is not a completely new deck in Vintage, some past versions go away from the typical control builds and towards a Dark Depths strategy with either Thespian’s Stage or Vampire Hexmage. The build that I have been playing is really just a color switch from UW or Patriot to BUG. Here is the list:

Depthless Sultai Landstill

Lands (23)
Creeping Tar Pit
Mishra’s Factory
Misty Rainforest
Polluted Delta
Strip Mine
Tropical Island
Underground Sea

Creatures (5)
Leovold, Emissary of Trest
Snapcaster Mage

Spells (32)
Abrupt Decay
Ancestral Recall
Black Lotus
Crucible of Worlds
Demonic Tutor
Dig Through Time
Force of Will
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Mana Drain
Mental Misstep
Mox Jet
Mox Sapphire
Spell Pierce
Time Walk
Toxic Deluge
Sideboard (15)
Energy Flux
Grafdigger’s Cage
Hurkyl’s Recall
Illness in the Ranks
Maelstrom Pulse
Notion Thief
Null Rod
Pernicious Deed
Toxic Deluge

I have skipped over Marit Lage to play a true control game and improve the mana base immensely. There have been occasional games where I see a Mishra’s Factory, Tropical Island, Wasteland and I can only imagine how terrible switching one of those lands for Dark Depths would be.


Most of the lands are pretty usual for a BUG deck being multiple fetchlands, dual lands and Wasteland accompanied by Moxen and Black Lotus.

The creature land suite includes the Standstill staple Mishra’s Factory and includes Creeping Tar Pit to avoid blockers and being a slightly increased clock, which can be relevant when running a grindy control deck.


Leovold, Emissary of Trest has pretty much been in my cross hairs lately when I think about BUG decks and try brewing/improving decklists. The amount of value I have accrued over the period of a night is better than having early investments in Microsoft or Apple. Having Leovold in play against many decks does a lot to shut them down by nerfing Brainstorm, Ancestral Recall, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, and Dack Fayden while also gaining defensive value giving us card advantage from spells or Wasteland/Strip Mine.

The best thing I realized with Leovold was in testing against Oath when I realized that Forbidden Orchard and Oath of Druids both target an opponent which again means that we get to draw additional cards. Often in games of Magic: The Gathering the player with the most card advantage wins and Leovold certainly puts you into that position quite often. It is worth it to mention that if something goes horribly wrong and we have to crack our own Standstill that Leovold stops our opponent from being able to draw more than one card.

Snapcaster Mage should be no surprise in a blue control shell. You’re running a lot of great one for one removal and countermagic and Snapcaster not only allows you to get those cards back but also goes on the offensive as a 2/1 flash creature. Don’t underestimate the Ambush Viper mode where it can surprise block and trade with an attacking Phyrexian Revoker out of Shops naming something like Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

Image result for leovold emissary of trest


Leading the charge in this deck is Abrupt Decay as per usual when running black and green. Decay does it all from removing an Oath of Druids that has resolved to removing Sphere of Resistance or Thorn of Amethyst. It also answers a Monastery Mentor without issue. Your opponent can potentially get a token or two out of the Mentor before it goes down, but one or two tokens are not going to match the value that we can slowly pick up.

Toxic Deluge helps a lot by answering large creatures that Abrupt Decay can not hit while it can also sweep the board of tokens and multiple creatures at once. Deluge can basically play the catch up role as an “oh shit” button to answer anything that has slipped through the cracks.


Jace, the Mind Sculptor is pretty much the ultimate control card being a win condition, removal for creatures that have hit the field and card advantage with his Brainstorm ability which can fix a terrible hand instantly using fetchlands to get rid of any under performing cards you may have drawn.


Much of the sideboard is designed against Workshops and Dredge which can overload the board easily.

Energy Flux, Null Rod, Hurkyl’s Recall, Maelstrom Pulse and Pernicious Deed are here to help sweep up and answer the board against decks that fill the board with permanents.

Grafdigger’s Cage, Maelstrom Pulse and Pernicious Deed are the anti dredge cards. Keeping creatures in the graveyard and sweeping the board is very important to keep the armies of the undead from attacking us.

Notion Thief is another clock while also giving us a great way to further our card advantage while stopping an opponent from digging out of a mess.

Against Gush Mentor we have Illness in the Ranks, Pernicious Deed and Toxic Deluge to help sweep up and control how wide the opponent can go if we can’t just counter or kill Mentor in the first place.

For the Storm variants we have Grafdigger’s Cage, Flusterstorm and Null Rod to slow their mana development, stop the storm kill and shut down Yawgmoth’s Will.

Image result for energy flux

Initial Thoughts

This past weekend I piloted this deck to a 3-1 record. The only match that I lost was against powered “Legacy Infect” off the back of mana screw and into a mulligan to five. When my mana base was together the deck was incredible. Having Crucible of Worlds and Strip Mine helped me lock out Workshops and Oath. Having access to Abrupt Decay meant I didn’t care about Gush Mentor at all and running Mana Drain meant having cheap and free access to anywhere from three to eight generic mana when I was countering Monastery Mentor, Gush or Dig Through Time. I really enjoyed the deck and Leovold was amazing for pulling ahead every single time I resolved him. I look forward to running this deck again with a few slight sideboard changes.

I found that Pernicious Deed was often unnecessary when I was destroying my own Moxen and setting myself back while it was often just answering one or two permanents. Given that shortcoming I have added an additional Null Rod and the fourth Abrupt Decay to fight the strategies and hit the problem permanents that I have found I want to answer. You could say this was a bit of a Mental Misstep and hopefully I have fixed the holes.

Image result for Standstill mtg

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 works part time at a game store 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

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.