You mention that you believe that MUD has reached its peak. Are you speaking from the standpoint of a European player, or an American player?
I would caution you that Aggro MUD just won Blue Bell Game Day, a 63 man tournament held in Pennsylvania:http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=41533.0
Five MUD decks top 8’d the Council Open #2, with Espresso Stax winning:http://www.themanadrain.com/index.php?topic=41522.0
I feel that a Mark Twain quote is appropriate here: “Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated.” The results from these events aren’t two weeks old yet.
Serum Powder isn’t about discarding chaff – it’s about finding a hand that is best suited to fight a game. Shop decks, even 5CStax decks, are built to be redundant. Sometimes this redundancy is reflected with awkward opening hands. You’re only ever going to be able to run four Mishra’s Workshop. As such, you’re going to have hands without them. You’re going to have hands without any real pressure. Serum Powder smooths that out, and helps you find a hand more calibrated towards what you need, or believe you need, in order to win.
In the United States, Trygon Predator has been played, aggressively, since before GenCon. This has led American Shop pilots to play cards like Maze of Ith and Duplicant. I run two Duplicants main, a third in the sideboard, and I run three Maze of Ith’s. While Welder is an answer, running Welder requires running many cards that make Welder good. He’s not a threat in and of himself. He’s a threat when you have cards like Bazaar of Baghdad and Crop Rotation. He’s a threat when you have reached an advanced board state, and have artifacts (like Tangle Wire) in your graveyard. Both of those things take time to implement. Rather than expend resources seeking to achieve this board state most MUD pilots have chosen threat redundancy and incredible pressure. This doesn’t mean that your approach is wrong for your metagame. Given the success of the American MUD approach to the American metagame, I would say that it’s evident that this approach is acceptable as well, evidenced by the torrid streak that MUD decks have been on.
I have played many, many games with 5CStax, and I can speak from experience when I say that I know how devastating Energy Flux can be. It’s terribly difficult to fight no matter what kind of Shop build you’re playing. 5C has Welders. MUD has a full set of Ancient Tombs. Both cards help fight Flux. If your opponent has landed a Flux against you early enough in the game, the outcome is probably not in your favor, regardless of your build.
If I find my hand to be ‘busted’, I generally don’t find that I lose. Still, it happens on occasion. While playing 5C, more than a year ago now, I opened with the following hand:
Black Lotus, Trinisphere, Mox Ruby, Goblin Welder, Ancestral Recall, City of Brass, City of Brass
I lost this game because I was on the draw, and because my opponent assembled Tezzeret/Vault on turn one. There is nothing that I did to misplay this, and 5C was no better equipped to fight that than any other Shop deck.
Shop decks are permanent based decks. It’s because they’re built on the back of Mishra’s Workshop, which is only able to power out permanents. You say that you deviated from a strategy ‘where you have to drop a lot of permanents and keep them in play to win.” There are 52 permanents in your deck, as opposed to a straight 60 in a MUD build. The average blue deck runs around 30 permanents. Your game plan is all
about playing permanents, and having them stick around. Welder affords you some brokenness in the mid-late game at the cost of efficiency in the early game.
Your deck may be properly constructed for your metagame, but American Shop pilots have responded to the American metagame by running a Shop deck that is more geared towards beating the opponent in the first three turns. Maybe you find that you have additional time to win the game (proxy vs. no proxy environments warp metagames.) MUD is the most successful Shop deck, right now, in the United States. I respect your finish, and congratulate you on your performance, but I would mention that the divergent metagames may have helped foster your opinion regarding the superiority of a multi color Shop build as opposed to a MUD build.