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Restrict: Preordain, Grim Monolith, Golgari Grave-Troll.
Unrestrict Fastbond, Flash.

Recent Posts
posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Good job. How is Hogaak? Worth more than 1 slot?
Why don't you like Mana Crypt?

posted in Decks read more

@nedleeds Urborg was a good addition, but I've gone in a different direction.

@Zias As for Ark of Blight, I discovered Field of Ruin, which radically evolved my mana denial archetype away from resembling Workshop Stax and has been shockingly successful, 8-1 so far in single queues. This is how you actually kill all their mana, every time.

4 Ancient Tomb
4 Wasteland
4 Ghost Quarter
4 Field of Ruin
4 Dust Bowl
4 Barbarian Ring
2 Mountain
1 Strip Mine
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Black Lotus
1 Mox Ruby
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
4 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
4 Simian Spirit Guide
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Thorn of Amethyst
2 Pyrostatic Pillar
4 Sphere of Resistance
4 Ratchet Bomb
4 Goblin Cratermaker
4 Boom/Bust
Side
4 Grafdigger's Cage
4 Null Rod
3 Ensnaring Bridge
2 By Force
2 Pyrostatic Pillar

The broken play w Boom is have 1R+Waste/Quarter (or 3R+Field, or 4R+Dust) hold priority, target your land to be sacked, and 2 for 1 their lands. However just 1R mutual Stone Rain is perfectly fine. Dust Bowl and Boom both allow killing of multiple lands/turn which ensures I can overcome enemy Time Walk tempo, has always been an issue for Stax-y decks.
I cut Trisphere+LSG bc rarely castable T1, and U decks pretty much fold to T1 Pillar, while Ancient Tomb/Bazaar decks can play through either.
Another thing I noticed, is this deck has lots of good on-the-draw action, by giving no forewarning their multiple moxen will be Bombed, or letting them expose their T1 fetch for a cantrip instead of building up for bigger spell, or explosive Workhop/Hollow One hand that is immediately solved via Tabernacle.
I cut Bazaar bc pretty much every card in the deck is relevant on board in most situations, and it doesn't build up redundancy in hand like artifact Stax. The only desirable cycle card is Tabernacle, but can feed to Dust.
Also, proud to say there's nothing in here that matters to Dack. Crucible was always a risky play both vs Pyromancer and Metamorph. With 21 cards saying "destroy target land" my draw step is basically as good as a Crucible.
Extremely low-curve, low spell count, resistant to counter-magic. Never have to worry about mana screw. Eight ways to kill Crypt.
Still a challenge but no longer impossible vs Dredge G1, since they aren't ever going to activate Bazaar more than once per copy, and Tabernacle guaranteed eats their team. Then its just a race of my blockers/B-Rings vs how many black creatures they can feed to Ichorid. But in any case, a cake walk post-board.
Possible changes:
I like the idea of Rishadan Port to pre-force their fetches into oncoming Waste-effects. I could see 2/2 Dust/Port, since Dust only comes online midgame. Dust has been great tho turning every extra Tomb/Tabernacle/B-Ring into endless Wastes.
Alternatively could go back to Revoker over Cratermaker and cut some B-Rings for Ports. The deck is slow to get threshold wo Bazaar, so B-Ring hasn't been amazing as uncounterable removal, and the pain is noticeable in games when also dependent on Tomb. If the only urgent red spell is Boom, then could get maybe away w SSG and Field as the primary red sources.
Ratchet Bomb has been excellent G1, but runs afoul of Null Rod in matches where its often needed, particularly being shut off by Karn. Null Rod is absolutely necessary for Karn and Paradox. Ratchet could maybe be Gorilla Shaman, but that makes Misstep actually a defense, since currently I don't really care that much about resolving Sol Ring w such mana density. Shaman adds minor ground game that doesn't have to die every time they play a mox, like Cratermaker. Having extra 4 blockers would probably make Ichorid un-loseable, but that is already a strong matchup. Threatening Pyromancer trade maybe more relevant. I have yet to detonate Ratchet at anything above 0, so the removal utility is not drastically better than Shaman, tho it kills multiples for cheaper, which can be critical. I think it comes down to the final red mana count and how much more Karn grows in the meta.
E-Bridge is a little slower to empty my hand w so many lands and no bazaar, but is still the most cost effective anti-attack-step card in colorless/red. Since the major fast redzone threats these days are Vengevine/Hollow One/Eldrazis only really need to get under 4 cards, which has not been a problem w SSG. I no longer board in Bridge vs Pyromancer, relying on mana denial to prevent token generation, and Tabernacle to finish.

posted in Decks read more

God-Pharaoh Stax

I went 9-1 in single queues w this, losing only to an interesting non-Survival, Vengevine deck I'd never seen before that blew me out w Crop Rotation all 3 games.

4 Mishra’s Workshop
4 Ancient Tomb
3 City of Traitors
2 Buried Ruin
4 Wasteland
4 Ghost Quarter
1 Tolarian Academy
1 Strip Mine
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Sol Ring
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
2 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Trinisphere
1 Lodestone Golem
2 Null Rod
4 Phyrexian Revoker
4 Sphere of Resistance
4 Ark of Blight
3 Crucible of Worlds
4 Smokestack
3 God-Pharaoh’s Statue
Side
4 Grafdigger’s Cage
4 Ensnaring Bridge
3 Walking Ballista
2 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
2 Null Rod

This is the most brutal mana denial list I’ve ever run. Borrowing a page from the Prison Dredge concept, eschews moxen, here in favor of City of Traitors and Buried Ruin, which increases long game draw quality w little to no sacrifice in T1 threats.
I originally tried many versions w the new Karn alongside 4xGod-Pharaoh, and found the Statue more castable and game-sealing. I liked having 8 Null Rods, but 2c is still the price I want to pay. Two-sided Rod means no Grim Monolith, which makes Karn 4.0 out of budget. Similarly, Inventor’s Fair would be clearly bad here; wo moxes less likely to trigger life gain, nor get up to 4c-non-shop. And my card choice redundancy+Bazaar makes tutoring less relatively superior. Buried Ruin is similar function for half the cost, and rewards Bazaar milling. Tabernacle is the main anti-creature strategy, adds an Edict to every strip effect, of which I run 13.
Basically can’t lose post-board against anything not running a robust colored mana base, ie Dredge/Ravager/Eldrazi/Voltaic-Karn. Vengevine decks require tighter play since they can actually kill artifacts, but w a permanent-based strategy and no counter magic, is favorable in 3 games. Paradox I just bring in the 2 sb Null Rods, with the heavy anti-combo disruption main inherent to Stax. Its high variance but also overall favorable to win 2 of 3. Oath also high variance, but plays less mana and is more vulnerable to soot since they must win via a specific permanent in play for two consecutive turns.
Xerox decks are the fairest fight. Man those decks can shred you. Which brings us to Ark of Blight. The way to beat Pyromancer decks is to destroy/tax Every. Single. Land. I cut Tangle Wire bc it just doesn’t stop them and I desperately needed more active permanent removal. Tangle Wire is fairly good against the field, but doesn’t help the hardest match up.
First I tried Culling Scales for awhile, on the logic that running moxen-less, it would be one-sided against pertinent fast threats and artifact mana. Scales performed better here than I’d ever seen before, but it is still sloooww. 8 sac effects can rapidly chew up enemy board presence, and its nice to never worry about Mana Crypt long term, but often Scales is uncastable either on the play w Shop in opening hand and no other threats, or drawing it when I have some soft-lock pieces out and enemy is sitting on 3+ lands and they win easily.
Then I tried multiples Spine of Ish Sah, which is a hardlock w Smokestack, but keeping 7+ mana while feeding soot, is about as win more as it gets. Pretty much discarded to Bazaar every time, or way too late even killing their best permanent, or spiking an Island by the time they have 2+ other lands, etc. If they’d pushed it to colorless Desert Twister, and drop the sac recursion, would maybe be playable. So turns out 5c Stone Rain paid in two installments actually fits the strategy. Ark is best against Xerox, where I board out Null Rod, so it ends up as Bazaar fodder not that often. If Xerox resolves Dack un-Revokered, I lose, so best to just make sure they never have 3 mana. Its been awhile now since that mfer stole any of my shit, so I’m getting happy w this list. I might try a 2/2 Ark/Scales split. Maybe Sorcerous Spyglass, on top of Revoker? I'd rather kill mana for good than freeze it, but either way these are the weakest 4 slots in the deck.

posted in Single-Card Discussion read more

still waiting for that 3c T:1 delve

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

I like the Loam version a lot, but def opposed to cutting Crypt. Lock + bazaar is one of the best T1 plays. Plus loaming thru my own spheres, and tomb#5 for DarkStage and the occasional grave troll finish. The only times I've lost to crypt rolls is when they waste my bazaar which is a tough slog regardless.
I haven't played since my last post until tonight. The London Serum Powder interaction is more complicated than I assumed but still a very comfortable improvement. I went 4-1 w this, only loss to a maestro w T1 Containment Priest both G1+2.
4 tomb
4 shop
4 riftstone
2 waste
1 strip
1 lotus
1 crypt
4 bazaar
4 powder
4 null rod
4 sphere
1 thorn
1 trisphere
1 chalice
4 grave troll
4 stinkweed
4 bloodghast
4 amalgam
4 hollow one
3 loam
1 balance
side
4 w leyline
4 b leyline
4 stage
3 depths

I brought back sanctity after bad record v oath w last iteration. If I were to cut white leyline again, I like needle over spyglass, bc unlike stax, not trying for long term denial (ie dack/jace), only defending Marit for one turn, so their hand info isn't tactically relevant, and I want to be able to cast via Stage alone, regardless if Shop still in the deck.
Postboard Vs Pyromancer/Survival/Oath Ive found they're pretty good at still playing their hand out through minor locks, and if they hit my yard, I feel dumb starting from scratch w just a sphere in play vs their regular threats. I'm more concerned about spreading my wincons against their hate.
I have yet to face eldrazi w prison dredge.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Pharaoh has been relevant. My board plans:
Oath / Survival / any U-control w Wasteland+Snapcaster
+15
-4 null rod
-4 sphere
-1 Thorn
-1 Trisphere
-4 Workshop
-1 Thug/Ichorid/Imp

Paradox
+9 Dark Stage and needle
-9 Ichorid/Thug/Imp/Grave-Troll

Ritual
+13 not Pharaoh
-8 Troll/Imp
-5 Ichorid/Thug/Amalgam

Shops
+11 not leyline
-4 sphere
-1 Thorn
-1 Trisphere
-1 Chalice
-2 Shop
-2 Thug/Imp

Dredge
+15
-4 null rod
-8 Imp/Troll
-3 Ichorid/Thug/Amalgam

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Since OP, I went 4-1 twice w this. 1of Ichorid is surprisingly good. Pithing Needle also worthwhile, maybe 2of main over Thug. I'm interested to try the Loam version, to increase dredge count, and Petrified Field is meh, and living the dream of hardcast Grave Troll ftw.
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishras Workshop
3 Wasteland
2 Petrified Field
2 Dakmor Salvage
1 Strip Mine
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Serum Powder
1 Pithing Needle
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Trinisphere
4 Null Rod
4 Sphere of Resistance
1 Golgari Thug
1 Ichorid
4 Bloodghast
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Golgari Grave Troll
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Hollow One
Side
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Dark Depths
4 Thespian Stage
2 Vengeful Pharaoh
1 Pithing Needle

I've been crushing a lot of Pyromancer. Its surreal boarding out Workshop.

posted in Vintage Strategy read more

Hey it's Ubastax guy. I sold my magic collection in 2012 for five houses in North St. Louis, and I've flipped over 150 ghetto properties since. In January I was alerted that a local shop was offering full proxy vintage so I've been playing most Sundays this year.
Stax in any form did not survive the restricting of Chalice as a tier 1 deck, but awhile back u/Zias posted 5-0 in mtgo league with an innovative Prison Dredge list. Combining Workshop, Bazaar, and Null Rod again spoke to me, so I've been running variations on this archetype. I finally went 5-0 in league myself last week. https://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/mtgo-standings/competitive-vintage-constructed-league-2019-03-24
4 Bloodghast
4 Golgari Grave-Troll
3 Hollow One
4 Prized Amalgam
4 Stinkweed Imp
4 Cabal Therapy
1 Black Lotus
1 Mana Crypt
1 Chalice of the Void
1 Thorn of Amethyst
1 Trinisphere
4 Null Rod
4 Serum Powder
4 Sphere of Resistance
4 Bazaar of Baghdad
4 Ancient Tomb
4 Mishra's Workshop
4 Wasteland
1 Strip Mine
2 Dakmor Salvage
1 Riftstone Portal
Sideboard (15)
2 Riftstone Portal
1 Hollow One
4 Dark Depths
4 Leyline of the Void
4 Thespian's Stage

The differences between my list and Zias
Main: -4 Cabal Therapy, -1 Riftstone Portal, -1 Wasteland; +4 Leyline of the Void, +2 Petrified Field.
Side: -4 Leyline of the Void; +4 Leyline of Sanctity.
I went 10-2 in games and my opponents discarded to Therapy in only two games, one of which I lost and the other I would have won anyway. Also given that Wasteland is the deck's primary weakness both pre and post board, I'm inclined to endorse Zias's maindeck, despite my good showing with this experiment. Sideboard, Tendrils is out of favor for Paradox wincon, and Hurkyl's is not a game breaker for this deck, so I'm still short selling white leyline, though Oath worries me. Instead I have had success holding off creature decks with Vengeful Pharaoh, or I see Spinning Darkness is back in pitch-dredge boards. Pithing Needle could also be worth slots vs Wasteland, as seen in the dedicated Dark Stage decks.

The deck plays along Dredge strategic lines, not Workshop. Its still a must-mulligan to Bazaar (at least game 1), and whatever disruption you can land is bonus. Cutting Moxen is the counter-intuitive breakthrough. It plays 10 cards that produce 2+ mana on their own, and all the disruption besides Trinisphere costs 2, so running Moxen would needlessly increase Null Rod parity. This was unthinkable in the Goblin Welder days of Stax, requiring cheap weldables and casting 4-drops. But Prison Dredge isn't trying for a hardlock, just slow the enemy enough that recurring free creatures carry the game. Its cutting the dredge package down to the minimum and foregoing free counterspells for the bargain soft lock pieces. Prison Dredge doesn't care at all about counter magic or creature removal or artifact hate. It only expects to drop 1 or 2 artifacts at most and can win without casting any. Enemy tempo and cards spent countering/removing your artifacts are not being spent winning the game, so just as good.
General opening hand plays.
Typical: Have Bazaar, Don't have both Tomb/Shop+Sphere/Rod in opening hand.
T1 Bazaar, discard dredge stuff, maybe cast Hollow One.
T2 Bazaar upkeep, play 2+c land, return avg 5 power, maybe cast Sphere/Rod.
T3 dredge a lot, avg 12 power on board.
T4 maybe attack lethal, or dredge most the deck w 15+ power on board.

Strong: Bazaar + Tomb/Shop + Sphere/Rod
T1 Tomb/Shop->Rod/Sphere
T2 Bazaar, discard dredge stuff, play another Rod/Sphere, maybe Hollow One.
T3 Bazaar upkeep, dredge, maybe return a creature.
T4 dredge a lot, return many creatures.
T5 Attack lethal.

Monster: Bazaar + Crypt/Lotus + Sphere/Rod
Plays like Typical, accelerated 1 turn. Can also draw into either Crypt/Lotus or Sphere Rod off first Bazaar activation.

The transformation into Dark Stage is clutch, by continuing to shrug off counter magic while ignoring yard and artifact hate. I easily won one memorable game against T1 Leyline of the Void + Black Lotus->Energy Flux.
Overall this deck has the main dredge upside of Serum Powder into the one card combo cranking out a fast, uncounterable, recurring ground game. It improves on other dredge builds by giving up the creature density and Dread Return big finish for more powerful disruption, plus the mana for alertnate uncounterable sb win, making it not dependent on either the graveyard or artifacts. I'm a fan, London mulligan should make this a tier 1 contender.