At the start of this month I began searching for the meanest deck in Legacy. I started with a Mud Stax build that ran Possessed Portal and Planar Bridge. I had a couple great games that I was able to lock out, but overall the deck didn’t perform due to some obvious deck building errors—i.e. no Ensnaring Bridge. The deck was mean, but not quite built to lock an opponent out competitively. I ranked this deck a 3.5 out of 5 stars for being mean, but not consistent enough.

I then ran Lantern Control, which had won the Modern Pro Tour that morning. While I wasn’t entirely happy with the list, made some misplays, and also got locked by UW control with Gideon and Stony Silence; the night was a very decent learning experience and miserable for me, if not my opponents. I rated this deck a 4 out of 5 stars for being very mean but losing so easily to Stony Silence.

The next deck that I ran in my search was Dutch Stax. This is deck near and dear to my heart. Though I’m short two Moats and three The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale in paper, I have much experience with Stax in general. Having online access to playsets of Moat and Tabernacle was very exciting, and I enjoyed the deck very much. The deck needed Leyline of Sanctity and maybe Armageddon, but we learn for the future. I rated this deck 4.5 out of 5 stars for being extremely mean and being able to attack opponents from so many different angles.

Mono Black Pox was next on the list. Another deck I have fond memories of and enjoy playing in paper. Unfortunately I am less excited to play Pox since the Sensei’s Divining Top ban, but I do still enjoy it from time to time. The night didn’t go very well for us due to mana screw and some very good draws from opponents, but I’m still very happy to have this deck in my arsenal. I would rate this deck 3.5 out of 5 stars because the deck is mean but really suffers consistency issues due to having a very widespread angle of attack (i.e. discard, creature kill, land destruction, etc).

That brings me to the deck selected by my followers: Pauper Dinrova Horror Tron. This was my biggest challenge as I am very unfamiliar with the format. As I learned the deck, I actually enjoyed it very much. The burn match up was great, which was a large selling point. (I added a third Pulse of Murasa after the fact.) While the deck seemed to assemble Tron less consistently than in Modern where you don’t have access to Crop Rotation, I did end up finding inspiration to occasionally play Pauper. I rate this deck 3.5 out of 5 stars for being mean, but it’s somewhat slow, inconsistent at assembling Tron, and has bad mana.

Image result for dinrova horror mtg

Last Thursday I ran Michael Coyle’s Mud Stax deck which is hard prison with Metalworker beat down as a win condition. While the deck runs Serum Powder, I couldn’t ever seem to get a hand with enough early lock pieces or draw enough land. In one game versus Delver, I was on two Land while my Opponent had six in play. While this was some tough variance, that is the game when you run Mud without actual win conditions (Blightsteel Colossus, Sundering Titan, Eldrazi, Wurmcoil Engine) to end a game quickly. I rate this deck 3 out of 5 stars for being extremely mean but inconsistent and unable to close a game quickly.

This last Sunday I played an Esper Land Destruction deck submitted by a fan, which went fairly well. The deck had full sets of both Sinkhole and Vindicate. These pair well with Daze, which was easy to leverage late in the game as well as post-board on the draw. Below is the decklist I ran.

Esper Land Destruction

Lands (21)
Flooded Strand
Marsh Flats
Polluted Delta
Tropical Island
Underground Sea

Creatures (10)
Deathrite Shaman
Dark Confidant
Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy

Spells (30)
Swords to Plowshares
Abrupt Decay
Hymn to Tourach
Jace, the Mind Sculptor
Sideboard (15)
Ethersworn Canonist
Engineered Explosives
Pithing Needle
Spell Pierce
Surgical Extraction
Collective Brutality
Zealous Persecution
Life from the Loam
Liliana, the Last Hope
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Image result for vindicate mtg

I did not change the maindeck, as I was generally very happy with the way this deck looked. I made a few sideboard changes adding a second Flusterstorm, Zealous Persecution, and Collective Brutality. I took out Spell Snare for Spell Pierce and Crucible of Worlds for Life from the Loam.

After winning my entry back going 3-2, there are only a few changes I would make. First, add a creature that is an efficient win condition. Delver of Secrets was suggested by the person that submitted the deck and I like it. I would love to see a single Island and Swamp to be more insulated from an opposing Wasteland or Blood Moon. It is possible that Abrupt Decay could be slotted into the sideboard to help make room for the Delvers. Overall I rate this deck 4 out of 5 stars for its consistency and ability to leave an opponent at zero permanents—as I did against Elves, which is no easy feat.

Today (Thursday) is my last stream to find the meanest deck in Magic and I’ll be closing with Vintage Ravager Shops at 8pm EST. As far as mean decks go this deck doesn’t want you to play magic and can make that happen as early as turn one with the power of Mishra’s Workshop to power out multiple lock pieces.

Image result for mishra's workshop mtg

Hope you all enjoyed this search for the meanest deck in magic. As always have fun and don’t be afraid to play something different, it can work!

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

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.