This week since GP Vegas is coming up I wanted to discuss the seventy-five that I almost sleeved up and may still end up running. I am referring to my version of White-Black Dutch Stax. This is something that I have been working on for around two years now and I am fairly comfortable with where it currently is and although I have had a lot of experience with Stax as an archetype, I have not played the archetype since the inception of Queller Stax nearly a year ago now.

Here is the seventy-five that I may or may not end up with:

WB Dutch Stax

Lands (24)
Ancient Tomb
Buried Ruin
Gargoyle Castle
Inventors’ Fair
Karakas
Marsh Flats
Plains
Scrubland
Swamp
The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Wasteland

Creatures (1)
Wurmcoil Engine

Spells (35)
Chains of Mephistopheles
Chalice of the Void
Chrome Mox
Crucible of Worlds
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Moat
Mox Diamond
Sorin, Grim Nemesis
The Abyss
Toxic Deluge
Trinisphere
Utter End
Sideboard (15)
Humility
Leyline of Sanctity
Leyline of the Void
Timely Reinforcements
Toxic Deluge

Fast Mana

As with many prison decks fast mana is a key piece in ensuring that our lock pieces come down before we fall behind on board rather than after we fall behind on board.

[casthaven]Ancient Tomb[/casthaven] sticks around to add two colorless mana every time we tap it. This allows us to play [casthaven]Chalice of the Void[/casthaven] on one turn one. Combined with [casthaven]Mox Diamond[/casthaven] or [casthaven]Chrome Mox[/casthaven] it allows us to play a turn one [casthaven]Trinisphere[/casthaven] as well. Either of these turn one plays resolving will generally cripple an opponent past turn three which gives us time to continue to add lock pieces to the board.

[casthaven]Chrome Mox[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Mox Diamond[/casthaven] are not only fast mana for us to rush out powerful lock pieces, but also fix our mana. When your mana base is made up of Sol lands, [casthaven]Wasteland[/casthaven] and some utility, you need the mana fixing to ensure that you can play all of your double and multi color mana requirements.

 

Lock Pieces

[casthaven]Chalice of the Void[/casthaven] is the most obvious choice when it comes to prison-style decks. This staple is here because it shuts down large portions of an opponents deck, most importantly the card selection that many players run. Since we have very little in the form of card advantage or selection we have to ensure that our pieces get onto the board and stick. A large part of ensuring our game plan works is to ensure that our opponent can not freely draw into the cards they would need to either answer or ignore a key lock piece.

[casthaven]The Abyss[/casthaven] and [casthaven]Moat[/casthaven] are our main forms of creature control. [casthaven]The Abyss[/casthaven] will slowly pick apart any creatures that your opponent is running with the exception of artifact creatures and those with Hexproof/Shroud/Protection like [casthaven]True-Name Nemesis[/casthaven]. [casthaven]Moat[/casthaven] is our way of hindering the creatures that [casthaven]The Abyss[/casthaven] can’t help us with which generally don’t fly.

[casthaven]Trinisphere[/casthaven] is our last lock piece and definitely not least. A turn one [casthaven]Trinisphere[/casthaven] means that our opponent basically doesn’t get to play Magic for their first three turns. In case you were unaware Legacy decks are extremely low to the ground and streamlined to make some of their most important plays within the first few turns. [casthaven]Trinisphere[/casthaven] will also leave your combo opponents ([casthaven]Show and Tell[/casthaven] aside) pulling out their hair since they often need to cheat of mana via [casthaven]Dark Ritual[/casthaven], [casthaven]Lotus Petal[/casthaven], [casthaven]Lion’s Eye Diamond[/casthaven], and other mana rocks/rituals.

[casthaven]Chains of Mephistopheles[/casthaven] is likely one of the biggest cause for players and judges alike to scratch their head to figure out what exactly happens when a player draws cards. If you take the time to read it, it is really quite simple: don’t cast [casthaven]Brainstorm[/casthaven], don’t use the zero loyalty ability on [casthaven]Jace, the Mind Sculptor[/casthaven], and don’t forget that Chains is on the battlefield or that mistake could cost you the game.

Image result for chains of mephistopheles

Planeswalkers

[casthaven]Elspeth, Knight-Errant[/casthaven] is our primary planeswalker due to the fact that she can pump out chump blockers when our lock pieces aren’t quite online, she can fly a [casthaven]Wurmcoil Engine[/casthaven] over a [casthaven]Moat[/casthaven] to hit you really hard (and you thought it was scary before?) and when all is said and done she makes everything that we control and isn’t a planeswalker indestructible which means suddenly you just can’t answer our lock pieces and that makes you a very sad panda.

[casthaven]Sorin, Grim Nemesis[/casthaven] is why I likely will not be putting this together for Vegas. Originally this was three [casthaven]Liliana of the Veil[/casthaven] who in her own right was very powerful and hedged towards what we wanted to do. I have since decided that I would want to test Sorin as a potential finisher as he can provide us with card advantage which is a weakness of Stax. His -X ability can answer opposing planeswalkers as well as creatures which makes him even more appealing. Ultimately when we need to close out a game his ultimate at -9 provides us with a very swift clock which is conveniently the highest life total although it is very awkward when hiding behind a [casthaven]Moat[/casthaven]. Ultimately if I do run this at GP Vegas I will likely be back on three Liliana and minus an [casthaven]Utter End[/casthaven].

Creatures

While not the main focus of this prison-style deck the creature suite is very limited and chosen specifically due to some internal synergies here.

[casthaven]Wurmcoil Engine[/casthaven] while not only being a very tough creature to answer as well as a nightmare for an opponent on an aggressive strategy, also happens to be an artifact with plays nicely with [casthaven]The Abyss[/casthaven].

[casthaven]Gargoyle Castle[/casthaven] is another piece to the puzzle of win conditions that can fight past our Abyss. Gargoyle Castle creating Golem artifact creature tokens with flying naturally not only plays well with [casthaven]The Abyss[/casthaven] but also doesn’t mind that we have access to another key defense piece in [casthaven]Moat[/casthaven].

Sideboard

[casthaven]Leyline of Sanctity[/casthaven] for defense from targeted spells such as [casthaven]Tendrils of Agony[/casthaven], [casthaven]Lightning Bolt[/casthaven], and discard.

[casthaven]Leyline of the Void[/casthaven] is our graveyard hate of choice as an answer to Dredge and Reanimator.

[casthaven]Humility[/casthaven] is an amazing way to shut down [casthaven]Show and Tell[/casthaven] as well as a great way to nerf creature strategies like Elves, Death and Taxes, and Reanimator.

[casthaven]Timely Reinforcements[/casthaven] is a very efficient way to stay ahead of Burn and aggressive Delver strategies not only providing us with life to offset early aggression with life gain but also be defensive on the ground slowing the assault so we can stabilize the board.

A second [casthaven]Toxic Deluge[/casthaven] is here to ensure that if we fall behind on the board we can clean up quick and easy. The fact that it only costs three also makes it ideal against hate bears like [casthaven]Gaddock Teeg[/casthaven] where we can’t actually cast many of our spells.

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 or in email at [email protected]

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

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