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Thread: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

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    [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    UWx StoneBlade

    UWx StoneBlade is a control deck (or rather, an archetype of control decks) built around the powerful Stoneforge Mystic together with some of the powerful blue staples of Legacy. After the initial printing of Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor in 2011, Stoneblade quickly climbed up the ranks of the Legacy format. The deck fell out of favor a few years after that, when most players defaulted to an incredibly strong Miracle Control deck powered by Sensei’s Divining Top. But after the ban of Top in April 2017, Stoneblade has re-emerged as a viable UW control shell, offering a resilient mana base together with a powerful suite of answers and win conditions.

    Preface: Deathrite Shaman or no Deathrite Shaman?

    Deathrite Shaman has found its way into Stoneforge Mystic decks ever since the broken Elf was printed in RTR block, giving rise to a new archetype (Esper Deathblade) for which the primer can be found here. This primer is focused on UWx Stoneblade decks that do not play Deathrite Shaman.

    Deathrite Shaman is certainly very powerful, but there are a couple of reasons why one might choose to forgo it. DRS requires either stretching your mana base to 4 colors to accommodate, or playing a single copy of Tropical Island in your Esper deck. This might not seem significant at first but stretching from 2 colors (plus a possible splash) to 3-4 colors makes the mana base much more susceptible to Wasteland and powerful land hosers like Blood Moon and Back to Basics, while also taking away your ability to play those land hosers yourself. Traditional UWx Stoneblade is often able to fetch only basic lands for the first few turns of the game, whereas Deathblade is not able to do so. This significantly improves our matchup against Wasteland decks like Delver and Death and Taxes, as well any prison decks running Blood Moon.

    I. The Deck

    Core cards

    Stoneforge Mystic
    Batterskull
    Umezawa’s Jitte

    The namesake “package” of the deck and one of its main ways of stabilizing the board and generating card advantage. Batterskull is essentially a 4/4 Lifelink creature that can be deployed turn 3 with SFM and bounced for re-use later in the game, if needed. The self-bounce ability can also protect the batterskull itself from removal.

    Umezawa's Jitte is widely regarded as the most busted Equipment card, for good reason - it quickly takes over the game against any kind of creature deck. Jitte's ability triggers on any combat damage - not just combat damage to a player - which means that even if the opponent has blockers available, Jitte is still going to devastate their board if they can't either answer it or clear your own board quickly. Jitte's ability to give opposing creatures -1/-1 by removing a counter is certainly its most powerful, but the lifegain ability can also be very relevant against decks like Delver or Burn, and the +2/+2 ability can help you kill a combo player faster or protect the creature holding Jitte from removal.

    SFM has some other uses as well, like grabbing a Sword of X and Y that shines in a particular matchup, or simply acting a way to shuffle post-Brainstorm. One common trick is to Brainstorm an equipment back on top of your library, then play SFM to fetch it.

    When playing SFM, you’ll often have to choose between tutoring for Batterskull or Umezawa’s Jitte. Going for Jitte is often the better option against decks with removal because it’s better to have in hand in case your SFM is killed. Against decks with lots of small creatures (Death and Taxes, Elves) you’ll generally want to grab Jitte as well.

    Important note about using SFM and Batterskull: Sometimes you will have a situation where you have an SFM and a Batterskull on board with no Germ token, and at least 5 mana available. In this position you might want to pay 3 to return Batterskull to your hand, then activate SFM to put it back in play with a new token. However, this will allow your opponent to kill SFM in response to you returning Batterskull, which will leave you with the Batterskull stuck in hand. A better way to accomplish the same thing is to:

    1) Activate SFM’s ability, holding priority - In a paper game, do this by saying “I’ll hold priority and activate SFM” or something similar. On MODO, hold Ctrl and then activate the ability.

    2) In response to your own SFM’s ability, pay 3 to return Batterskull to your hand.

    3) Batterskull’s ability will resolve first, then SFM’s ability will resolve and you can put Batterskull into play.

    This is a better line because even if your opponent were to kill SFM in response to you activating Batterskull, the ability is already on the stack and you will still be able to put Batterskull into play.

    Brainstorm
    Widely regarded as the best card in Legacy and for good reason, Brainstorm is just way too good not to play as a 4 of in a control deck. For one mana at instant speed, you can draw three cards and shuffle your two worst cards back into your deck with a fetch land. This powerful card selection engine allows you to find the answers you need, avoid mana flood and mana screw, and trade Equipment cards in your hand for new cards in the event that your Stoneforge Mystic gets killed. Brainstorm also provides some protection against discard effects like Thoughtseize, Cabal Therapy and Hymn to Tourach by allowing you to “hide” important cards on top of your library.

    In general you want to be as patient as you can with your Brainstorms: don’t cast Brainstorm just because you have mana available, cast it when you need an answer for something, need lands ASAP, or have some other particular use for it in mind. Being patient this way will help you avoid the dreaded “Brainstorm lock”, i.e., having to put two bad cards on top of your deck without a way to shuffle them back in.

    Ponder
    Ponder is the deck’s other cantrip/card selection tool. Recently control decks have been moving toward playing 4 Ponders, with players deciding that the card selection it provides, while not as strong as Brainstorm, is powerful enough to mitigate its downsides. Namely, adding more “air” to your deck (cards that cost mana but don’t interact with the board or the stack) and making you more vulnerable to cantrip hate like Chalice of the Void, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and Trinisphere.

    I strongly believe that playing 4 Ponders is the right choice, however, if you don’t want to play Ponder, you’ll want to up your land count to 22 or 23.

    Swords to Plowshares
    Hands down the best removal spell in the format, and the main reason to play white in your control deck. Hits every relevant threat in the format except True Name Nemesis, including Marit Lage. Unless you’re in a super inbred combo-heavy meta you should be running 4 of these main deck.

    Force of Will
    The best universal answer card we have, protecting you from all the degenerate nonsense Legacy has to offer. This isn’t the only place Force of Will shines, however. While people will commonly tell you the card is poor against “fair” decks, it is often still very relevant as it can counter a key threat that you have no other answer for, or protect your SFM as a last-ditch effort to stabilize the board. Play 4 Force of Wills and don’t try to get cute by moving one to the sideboard.

    True-Name Nemesis
    At first it may seem odd to include a beater in a control deck, but TNN is still worthy of inclusion because of its raw power and its synergy with Equipment, particularly Umezawa’s Jitte. TNN helps stabilize against creature decks, ensures that your Jitte connects against decks that might otherwise make it difficult (Elves with Wirewood Symbiote on board, D&T with Thalia and/or Mother of Runes). TNN can also just give you some free wins against decks that are likely to out grind you in a longer game, e.g. Lands, 4 color Loam, Czech Pile, etc.

    Snapcaster Mage
    So now that you’re convinced Brainstorm is a good card, don’t you think it’d be nice if we could play a few more copies without having to worry about those pesky judges and their deck checks? Snapcaster Mage allows us to reuse our Brainstorms and other powerful cheap spells, and provides a 2/1 body that can hold a Jitte if needed, protect True-Name from an Edict effect, or even slowly close out the game.

    Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    Once you play against an opponent who drops Jace on an empty board against you, you will quickly figure out how powerful this card is. Though very expensive by Legacy standards, Jace is quick to completely take over a game after he resolves against nearly any archetype. Brainstorm is good. Brainstorm every turn will bury your opponent. In addition to the busted 0 ability, Jace can protect himself from attacks the turn you play him with his -1, or from Lightning Bolt with +2. The ultimate provides a win condition when necessary, but do not prematurely start +2’ing Jace towards the ultimate - by doing this you are passing up card advantage and giving your opponent a window to get back into the game. Usually it’s better to Brainstorm until you have the game locked up, then work toward the ultimate if you need.

    Counterspell
    Tied with Swords to Plowshares for oldest card in the deck, messing with people’s spells since Alpha. There’s not too much to be said about Counterspell; at 2 mana it’s a little slow and clunky for a format as efficient as Legacy, but, it’s still a great tool against combo decks and serviceable against fair decks as well.

    Other card choices

    Sword of Fire and Ice
    The other equipment worth considering for the main deck, it shines in some matchups where Batterskull and Umezawa’s Jitte are both lackluster. In control mirrors, Sword provides card advantage while also giving you a quick clock and the ability to attack through Baleful Strix and True-Name Nemesis(!). Against combo, Sword helps you dig for more disruption while killing your opponent.

    In general, the other Swords of X and Y (Feast and Famine, Light and Shadow, War and Peace, and Body and Mind) are not strong enough to run in this deck, but could be considered as sideboard options for certain metagames.

    Spell Pierce
    A couple copies of Spell Pierce are often included in the main deck, primarily as tools to fight spell-based combo decks. However, they are also good answers to Chalice of the Void, opposing Jaces, Liliana of the Veil, and is rarely a dead card because it can always be used on a Brainstorm, Ponder, etc.

    Engineered Explosives
    Provides extra removal that often scores you a 2+-for-1 against Delver decks and other decks with small creatures. Also can be used to blow up Chalice of the Void for 2 mana, or sweep a board full of Empty the Warrens tokens.

    Council’s Judgement
    Probably the most catch-all answer to permanents there is as it kills even True-Name Nemesis and Progenitus. A 1WW though, the cost is rather steep, and this card can be clunky. Still a good card, but probably not something you want more than 1-2 of.

    Vendilion Clique
    Once considered one of the most powerful creatures in the format, Vendilion Clique has lost a lot of popularity as the format has gotten faster and more efficient. It is still a good card though, and worth considering in Stoneblade decks. It can provide disruption and a clock simultaneously against combo decks, or can be flashed in EoT to kill an opponent’s Jace the Mind Sculptor or Liliana of the Veil, or to initiate a counter war that allows you to resolve your own Jace during your turn. It also has a neat synergy with Karakas, allowing you abuse its trigger over and over again to effectively fate seal your opponent on their draw step every turn while beating in for 3.

    Supreme Verdict
    Wrath effect that gets through Daze and Force of Will. Provides card advantage and a way to stay alive against creature decks, but at 4 mana is also pretty slow, and gives your opponent the chance to repopulate the board after you’ve tapped out for it. Good card, but Terminus it’s not.

    Spell Snare
    Has lost a lot of relevance now that Dark Confidant and Tarmogoyf are no longer at the forefront of the format, and Counterbalance is rarely played as well. Still good for countering Chalice of the Void, Snapcaster Mage, Infernal Tutor, Young Pyromancer, Stoneforge Mystic, Hymn to Tourach and a handful of other cards.

    Standstill
    Very powerful card advantage engine. For those unfamiliar, the idea is to play Standstill and then a manland like Mishra’s Factory or Faerie Conclave that will force your opponent to break Standsitll and allow you to draw 3 cards. While powerful, the Standstill engine requires running 4-5 manlands and usually 4 Wastelands as well, weakening the mana base significantly. It’s not very common nowadays, but if your meta is full of control decks, it could be worth considering.

    Ancestral Vision
    Was commonly used in early UW Stoneblade lists as a source of card advantage. Suspending AV on turn 1 against midrange and other control decks is very powerful, however, it is a near dead draw later in the game. This is just one of those cards that Legacy may have left behind as the format became more and more efficient (interactions with Shardless Agent aside).

    Spell Queller
    I’ve seen a few lists running this card lately, presumably as extra combo disruption that can also provide a clock/hold equipment similar to Vendilion Clique. I’m not sure if it’s really better than Clique, but it seems to be working for some people, so give it a try if you’re inclined.

    Squadron Hawk
    Ok, now we are getting into the super fringe…part of the original “Caw blade” deck that got Stoneforge Mystic and Jace banned from Standard a while back, Hawk can provide card advantage by fetching up copies of himself that can later be turned into real cards by Brainstorm or Jace. The extra bodies can be useful with equipment as well. Realistically though, I think this card is too slow for Legacy, though I’ve seen it in a couple of lists from time to time.


    Mana base

    A Stoneblade mana base will typically consist of the following:


    3 Tundra
    2-3 Plains
    4-5 Island
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 other blue fetch lands depending on splash
    2-3 U/x splash duals (Volcanic Island or Underground Sea)
    0-1 splash basic (Mountain or Swamp)
    0-1 Karakas
    0-4 Wasteland


    Fetch lands make up the core of the manabase - they are the most powerful lands in Legacy, due to their amazing interaction with Brainstorm as well as their ability to provide any color of mana you need (for example, if you're playing Esper list, your Flooded Strands can fetch Tundra or Underground Sea, providing you access to U,W, or B). Of course you need the original duals to actually fetch, and basic lands to fetch against decks with Wasteland or Blood Moon.

    Whether or not to include Wasteland is an interesting choice. It is a very powerful utility land, giving you another means of interacting with things like Dark Depths + Thespian’s Stage, or Grove of the Burnwillows + Punishing Fire. However, Stoneblade is a very mana intensive deck, and does not have any mana acceleration. For this reason, trading your land drop for an opponent’s land will often be better for them than you, especially against decks that have Deathrite Shaman to fix their mana. Most Stoneblade decks opt to not include Wastelands at this point, but the debate is still open.

    Karakas is another strong utility land that can deal with a Marit Lage token and is very strong against Show and Tell and Reanimator decks trying to cheat Legendary creatures into play. It also has a neat synergy with Vendilion Clique that allows you to bounce and reuse Clique on your opponent's draw step every turn, effectively Fatesealing them. However, as a land that only taps for white and can be Wastelanded, it weakens the manabase to include. For this reason you'll typically see it played in straight UW builds, but not in splash lists - this is not a hard rule, however.

    Sideboard options

    Flusterstorm
    Usually included in every Stoneblade sideboard. In addition to being good against Storm decks, flusterstorm is great against any spell based combo deck as well as Burn and UR Delver, and can be good in control mirrors that often involve counter wars over important threats like Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

    Rest in Peace
    Very powerful graveyard hate effect that shuts down Reanimator, Dredge, and Life from the Loam strategies. Shuts off our own Snapcaster Mages, but this is rarely relevant because in the matchups where you want RiP, you’re typically in such a good position to win when it’s on the board that you don’t care if it makes 3-4 of your cards bad.

    Surgical Extraction
    Another graveyard hate option that has additional use against pure combo decks like Show and Tell or Turbo Depths: despite not being reliant on the graveyard, these decks are severely crippled if they lose all 4 copies of one of their namesake cards. As graveyard hate, Surgical is not as impactful as Rest in Peace, however, it costs zero mana while RiP costs two. This is very relevant against BR Reanimator, which usually tries to go off on turn 1 or 2 before RiP can be played. If there is a lot of BR in your meta, I’d recommend Surgical over RiP. Of course it doesn’t hurt to play both cards!

    Ethersworn Canonist
    Playing white gives us the luxury of “hate bears” (2/2 creatures that have relevant abilities to shut down combo strategies). Canonist is the hate bear of choice against Storm decks, as they simply cannot win the game without removing it first. It’s also useful against Show and Tell decks since it prevents them from defending their Show and Tell with counter magic, and also stops Omniscience combos. It also stops Glimpse of Nature chains and Wirewood Symboite shenanigans against Elves.

    Containment Priest
    Hate beat of choice against decks trying to cheat creatures into play, such as Show and Tell, Reanimator and Dredge. It’s also good against Elves (Green Sun’s Zenith, Natural Order) and against Death and Taxes (Aether Vial). Won’t save you against Omniscience though, so be aware of that.

    Meddling Mage
    Not usually as powerful as Canonist or Priest, but this hate bear is a little more versatile and can still be devastating. Can name Show and Tell or Sneak Attack against Sneak and Show to shut off half their enablers, or name Infernal Tutor against storm to shut off their main payoff card. Also decent against Lands (naming Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire), Dredge (naming Cabal Therapy or Dread Return), and Elves (naming Green Sun’s Zenith, Elvish Visionary, or Natural Order).

    Disenchant
    Funnily enough, the original way of destroying artifacts and enchantments in white is still probably the best way of doing so in this deck. While one mana cheaper, Fragmentize is no good since it can’t hit Chalice of the Void (on 1).

    Invasive Surgery
    This rather new card offers additional disruption against combo decks, almost all of which include import sorceries. Against Storm and Show and Tell, don’t expect it to be better than an Envelope most of the time, as you’ll rarely have a creature or artifact in the yard to enable Delirium. Against Lands, though, it can sometimes allow you to “extract” Life from the Loam in a way that can’t be played around by Tranquil Thicket, which is cool.

    Pithing Needle
    Shuts down a bunch of relevant things for one mana. Including but not limited to: Deathrite Shaman (yep, it’s not a mana ability), Aether Vial, Mother of Runes, Thespian’s Stage, Sneak Attack, Wirewood Symbiote…just remember that it does NOTHING against Lion’s Eye Diamond or Food Chain.

    Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
    Elspeth, Knight Errant
    These planes walkers provide win conditions for grindy matchups against other control decks or midrange decks. Both are able to consistently power out tokens to pressure your opponent and any planes walkers they may have, as well as hold equipment. Be careful not to turn Gideon into a creature if you expect your opponent has Swords to Plowshares; this is a good way to throw a game.
    [cards]

    Path to Exile
    Much worse than Swords to Plowshares usually, but can be the 5th/6th copies of StP in matchups where you want more cheap removal, and sometimes can even be better than StP - against Delver decks that don’t play basics, or against decks that make Marit Lage.

    Back to Basics
    Powerful hoser against decks heavy on nonbasic lands. Not a complete lock, however, as your opponent can still fetch basics after the fact, or play a couple of untapped lands into Abrupt Decay or other removal. It can also be taxing on your own mana base, if you had to fetch or play a couple of Tundras earlier in the game. I recommend running BtB for sure in a straight UW list, but when splashing red, I think you’re better off with Blood Moon (will get to that).

    Color splashes

    Playing a straight UW Stoneblade list is very defensible, as it provides the most resilient mana base possible with the highest number of basic lands. However, because the existence of duals and fetch lands makes playing a 3 color mana base almost trivially easy in Legacy, Stoneblade lists will often include a 3rd color. Black was traditionally the most popular color to splash, but post Top-ban Stoneblade players seem to be favoring red. Both splashes have strengths and weaknesses as outlined in the following sections.

    Red

    With the exception of Lightning Bolt, the red splash is typically used only for sideboard cards, making it “lighter” splash than the black splash typically.

    Pyroblast
    Red Elemental Blast
    Possibly the best sideboard cards in all of Legacy, and one of the main reasons to splash Red. In a format where blue is king, it’s no surprise that a card which can answer any blue spell or permanent for one mana is amazing. So much so that in Legacy, control mirrors are often decided by who draws more Pyroblasts (and Snapcaster Mages to flash them back).

    Pyroblast is ever-so-slightly better than Red Elemental Blast because it can do things like kill Phantasmal Image copying a non-blue creature, but this is so fringe that you might be better off running a split of the two cards to hedge against Cabal Therapy type effects.

    Blood Moon
    The other big reason to splash red. Although straight UW decks can run Back to Basics as mentioned earlier, Blood Moon is a more powerful land hoser as it shuts off all future fetches, duals and utility lands.

    Ruination
    From the Ashes
    Other red land hate cards that can be used in place of Blood Moon, if you expect a lot of Abrupt Decays, or your opponent fetching their 1-2 basics in anticipation of Moon. I still think Blood Moon is much stronger in today’s meta, especially against Lands which is one of the main matchups I want nonbasic land hate for.

    Lightning Bolt
    If you want additional removal, there’s nothing wrong with playing a couple of Bolts in the main deck. Worse than StP, but still kills most 1 and 2-drop creatures in the format. The downside is that by fetching for Red mana against Delver or D&T, you’ll open yourself up to a Wasteland by having to fetch Volcanic Island, or at least slow your mana development by fetching a Mountain. Usually, in these matchups we want to be fetching only Islands and Plains if possible, and trying to cast red cards early can mess with that plan.

    Izzet Staticaster
    Repeatable removal that cleans up tokens from Young Pyromancer or Empty the Warrens, and kills most cards from D&T and Elves as well as unflipped Delvers.

    Grim Lavamancer
    Another repeatable removal source that’s great against Delver, D&T, Elves, and 4 color control decks as well. Unlike static aster, it can kill Deathrite Shaman and flipped Delvers, and take planeswalkers off the table.

    Pyroclasm
    Another cheap sweeper that kills most relevant 1 and 2-drop creatures.

    Splinter Twin
    Deceiver Exarch
    Pestermite

    I’m not sure how viable this is, but it’s been tried. Perhaps the most controversial ban in the history of Magic when it was banned in Modern a couple of years ago, some players have been longing for a place to use their Splinter Twins, and UWr Stoneblade provides a reasonable shell for them. If you’re interested, you can check out Andrea Mengucci’s video series on TwinBlade here

    Black (written by The Source user glazed)

    Including black in a UW Stoneblade deck gives you the opportunity to play some extremely powerful cards that can help in many matchups. Anyone thinking of trying Esper Stoneblade should take a look at this article this article written by Ben Friedman.

    Esper, like most Stoneblade variants, is trying to gain incremental card advantage while using disruption and powerful threats to win the game. Although, Esper gives a player the tools to play proactive disruption in the form of discard spells.

    Discard Effects (Thoughtseize and Collective Brutality):
    Other Stoneblade decks rely on reactive disruption to control the game. With the inclusion of black and discard effects, you can play proactive disruption. You’re now able to take resources away from your opponent before they’re able to try and use them. Timing Thoughtseize right is key; you need to sequence it appropriately and disrupt their game plan. Thought seize can also clear the way for your game breaking cards like Meddling Mage, Containment Priest, True-Name Nemesis, and Jace, the Mindsculptor.

    Having access to discard effects in the form of Thoughtseize and Collective Brutality help in many combo matchups. The most noteworthy combo decks in legacy are TES Storm, ANT Storm, and Sneak and Show. These matchups become easier when black is added. One of the most backbreaking lines of play against combo is:
    T1: Thoughtseize
    T2: Meddling Mage/Containment Priest/Collective Brutality
    T3: Snapcaster Mage - Thoughtseize

    Discard effects also help in scenarios found in fair matchups. Cards like Aether Vial, Karakas, and Brainstorm all let your opponent do tricky things, and discard lets you make your opponent use their resources in less effective ways.

    Thoughtseize and Collective Brutality give you information on what is in your opponent’s hand. This information is something you cannot get when playing UW or UWR Stoneblade. Knowing what answers your opponent has to your cards in your own hand lets you craft your game plan and sequence your spells more optimally. This is what proactive interaction can let you do. Reactive interaction (like counterspells) might not do the trick because your opponent could have answers that can’t be countered, or they might have more than one answer. In these scenarios, discard, and the information you gain by looking at their hand, lets you play around everything.

    Lingering Souls
    This card is amazing in Stoneblade decks. There are times and metas where it is better to be playing Lingering Souls over True-Name Nemesis. The addition of Collective Brutality makes Lingering Souls even more powerful. Esper gets to play Supreme Verdict, as do all other UWx variants of Stoneblade. But Esper can quickly rebuild with Lingering Souls flashback. The inclusion and number of this card depends on your meta. Adding Lingering Souls to your deck makes planeswalkers like Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar much better. You’re also able to play Humilty effectively in your sideboard.

    Zealous Persecution
    ZP is one of the reasons to be playing Esper. It’s uses are endless. The ability to kill Young Pyromancer and all the Elemental Tokens, killing True Name Nemesis, allowing a Stoneforge Mystic to block and kill Leovold, killing a swarm of white creatures out of Death and Taxes, letting a Germ with Batterskull on it kill a Gurmag Angler. ZP also counters Marsh Casualties and Toxic Deluge when they’re used against you. Stoneblade decks typically have a tough time beating Elves, but having access to Zealous Persecution allows the deck to have another way to clear the board quickly. This card has so many uses and I typically sideboard two of them. At least one usually comes in against every deck with black in it.

    Baleful Strix
    Night’s Whisper

    These do everything Esper wants. The immediate card advantage plays to this deck’s strengths. Esper has the best matchup against Eldrazi Stompy because of the inclusion of Baleful Strix. Some people will opt for Night’s Whisper over Baleful Strix as they both provide immediate card advantage for two mana. If your meta leans towards Delver and Infect, play Baleful Strix. If there’s more 4c Leovold/Czech Pile and Stoneblade, play Night’s Whisper.

    Diabolic Edict
    This card helps in many matchups including Bant Deathblade, Turbo/Hex Depths, and Lands. There are many uses for this card, and it should have one or two spots somewhere in the 75.

    Engineered Explosives
    While any deck can play Engineered Explosives, Esper allows you to play it with a sunburst of three. You’re also given the option to play Academy Ruins in collaboration with Baleful Strix and Academy Ruins. This interaction is game ending against decks that can’t deal with Academy Ruins


    Tasigur, the Golden Fang
    Gurmag Angler

    Some players like to play 0-2 of these black delve threats. If you’re looking to race your opponent, these cards are usually the fastest way. Tasigur can help generate value in matchups like Shardless BUG and 4c Leovold/Czech Pile with it’s activated ability. Tasigur is much worse than Gurmag Angler in a meta with a lot of Death and Taxes because Karakas is a blowout.

    Fatal Push
    Many players choose not to play Fatal Push and instead play a full set of Swords to Plowshares. Players add 0-2 Fatal Push, and if they are played, typically they are in the sideboard.

    Sorin, Lord of Innistrad
    Sorin is powerful, allowing you to get ahead on the board and on life totals. This card helps in every fair matchup, and can be in the sideboard in place of Sword of Fire and Ice. Some people prefer to play Gideon, Ally of Zendikar or Elspeth, Knight Errant instead. Nahiri, the Lithomancer is also a choice that many Stoneblade players go for.

    Bitterblossom
    Similar to Lingering Souls, this card lets you quickly rebuild after a board wipe.

    [cards]Mana Leak[cards]
    You’ll have to play with basic lands in the first few turns, and you’ll need to fetch your Scrubland more often than you think. Mana Leak is less strenuous on you mana base than Counterspell. You can also catch opponents off guard ;)

    Vindicate
    Council’s Judgement
    CJ is a clean answer to Leovold and True-Name Nemesis. But CJ is harder to cast having double white mana cost. Vindicate also can destroy lands that you may need to answer. It is possible to cast Vindicate through Blood Moon. Weigh these pros and cons for yourself, but definitely include one of them in the main deck.
    Adding credit to the users Seraphix and ClimbGneiss :)

    Weaknesses: Blood Moon and Wasteland recursion strategies are better against Esper than they are against UW and UWR Stoneblade. Esper plays a more greedy manabase that tries to play Ponder, Swords to Plowshares, and Thoughtseize on the early turns requiring you to fetch for dual lands early.
    Your play style and flex slot choices determine your UBx matchups, but most variants of UBx are 45/55 matchups for Esper Stoneblade. Experience and intuition will determine whether you win or lose these matches. Shardless BUG is a 35/65 matchup and is typically tough to beat unless you tune Esper to have more Snapcaster Mage, Lingering Souls, and Fatal Push in the 75.

    Esper has an unfavorable matchup against RG Lands. Esper’s spells are very color intensive and require you to fetch dual lands early in the game. You can’t play Blood Moon or Back to Basics like other Stoneblade decks. But you can always win off the back of True-Name Nemesis, Surgical Extraction, and Diabolic Edict.


    II. Decklists

    Stoneblade lists tend to vary quite a bit, but here are some examples for each variant:

    UW Stoneblade

    Pedroj - 1st place, MTGO Legacy Challenge 7/3/17

    // Lands (22)
    2 Arid Mesa
    4 Flooded Strand
    5 Island
    2 Plains
    4 Scalding Tarn
    3 Tundra
    2 Wasteland

    // Creatures (10)
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    2 True-Name Nemesis
    1 Vendilion Clique
    3 Snapcaster Mage

    // Spells (28)
    4 Brainstorm
    1 Council's Judgment
    2 Counterspell
    4 Force of Will
    2 Ponder
    2 Spell Pierce
    2 Spell Snare
    1 Supreme Verdict
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Back to Basics
    1 Batterskull
    1 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Umezawa's Jitte

    // Sideboard (15)
    1 Back to Basics
    2 Containment Priest
    2 Disenchant
    1 Engineered Explosives
    2 Ethersworn Canonist
    3 Flusterstorm
    1 Supreme Verdict
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Vendilion Clique


    UWr Stoneblade

    Mitchell Nguyen - 16th place, GP Las Vegas 2017


    // Lands (21)
    1 Arid Mesa
    4 Flooded Strand
    3 Island
    1 Karakas
    1 Mountain
    2 Plains
    4 Scalding Tarn
    2 Tundra
    3 Volcanic Island

    // Creatures (11)
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    3 True-Name Nemesis
    1 Vendilion Clique

    // Spells (28)
    4 Brainstorm
    1 Council's Judgment
    1 Counterspell
    4 Force of Will
    2 Lightning Bolt
    3 Ponder
    2 Spell Pierce
    1 Supreme Verdict
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Batterskull
    1 Engineered Explosives
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Umezawa's Jitte

    // Sideboard (15)
    2 Containment Priest
    1 Disenchant
    1 Engineered Explosives
    2 Flusterstorm
    1 Izzet Staticaster
    1 Meddling Mage
    1 Pyroblast
    2 Red Elemental Blast
    2 Rest in Peace
    1 Surgical Extraction
    1 Sword of Feast and Famine



    Esper Stoneblade (written by glazed)

    Back in May of 2017, there were a few players who did well on MTGO with lists like these. They feature Night’s Whisper and attempt to gain more value with extra Snapcaster Mage.

    In late 2016, a player did well at GP Chiba with this list. It plays two Tasigur, the Golden Fang and plays Crucible of Worlds in the sideboard in collaboration with Wasteland in the main deck.

    The MKM Series Prague had a lot of Stoneblade players do well. This specific list is playing Notion Thief and three copies of Baleful Strix to try and combat 4c Leovold/Czech Pile decks.

    This decklist plays some interesting sideboard choices like Blessed Alliance and Humility, which works well with Lingering Souls.

    Joe Bernal has this list from an SCG event in 2012. This list was different in it’s time, yet it never gained traction. It keeps the discard effects in the sideboard and plays Engineered Explosives and multiple basic lands in a meta filled with Delver of Secrets decks packing full playsets of Wasteland.

    Here is my list, I am choosing to play Collective Brutality, Lingering Souls, and Baleful Strix in my flex slots:


    3 Stoneforge Mystic
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    2 True-Name Nemesis
    2 Baleful Strix
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    4 Force of Will
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Spell Pierce
    3 Thoughtseize
    2 Ponder
    1 Supreme Verdict
    2 Lingering Souls
    2 Collective Brutality
    1 Vindicate
    1 Batterskull
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Engineered Explosives

    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Polluted Delta
    1 Marsh Flats
    3 Underground Sea
    3 Tundra
    1 Scrubland
    2 Island
    1 Plains
    1 Swamp
    1 Academy Ruins

    // Sideboard
    1 Pithing Needle
    2 Meddling Mage
    2 Containment Priest
    1 Ethersworn Canonist
    2 Zealous Persecution
    1 Disenchant
    3 Surgical Extraction
    1 Diabolic Edict
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Sorin, Lord of Innistrad



    III. Matchups and sideboard guide

    The following matchup and sideboard guide will follow my personal UWr list:


    // Creatures (11)
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    3 True-Name Nemesis
    1 Vendilion Clique

    //Spells(29)
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    4 Force of Will
    2 Counterspell
    2 Spell Pierce
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Lightning Bolt
    3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Batterskull
    1 Umezawa’s Jitte
    1 Council’s Judgement
    1 Engineered Explosives

    //Lands(20)
    4 Flooded Strand
    4 Scalding Tarn
    3 Tundra
    4 Island
    2 Plains
    2 Volcanic Island
    1 Mountain

    //Sideboard (15)
    3 Pyroblast
    2 Flusterstorm
    2 Blood Moon
    2 Ethersworn Canonist
    2 Rest in Peace
    1 Surgical Extraction
    1 Izzet Staticaster
    1 Disenchant
    1 Meddling Mage


    Matchups will of course change a bit based on which color you splash and your specific sideboard, but the general idea should hold for each matchup.

    Grixis Delver (favorable)
    Grixis Delver decks are at the top of the format right now, packing an efficient mix of aggressive threats and disruptive spells. With a resilient mana base, flexible cheap removal, and the Stoneforge Mystic package to help stabilize, Blade decks have a good Delver matchup, which is one of the main reasons to consider playing the deck in the first place.

    In this matchup, you’ll want to look for opening hands that can deal with a couple of early threats. Try to play around Daze when possible, but not too much - if you are effectively adding a mana to the cost of every spell, you are playing right into their game plan. Play around Daze for spells that you really need to resolve, but don’t be afraid to play into it otherwise if you are constrained on mana. If they have a good enough opener, you can easily fall too far behind on tempo to catch up, especially on the draw. But usually if you are able to survive the initial onslaught, you’ll be able to stabilize with SFM, Snapcaster, Jace and True-Name.

    Sideboarding:
    -2 Counterspell
    -1 Vendilion Clique
    -2 Force of Will
    -2 Spell Pierce

    +3 Pyroblast
    +2 Blood Moon
    +2 Flusterstorm

    Death and Taxes (even)
    You have better card advantage engines and are favored in a longer game, however, they will sometimes tempo you out with Aether Vial early in the game. I like to force a turn 1 Vial, as D&T is just so much less scary without one on the field. Your plan in this matchup should be to grab Umezawa’s Jitte and start connecting, at which point it will quickly invalidate their creatures. True-Name is very good, as it allows you to get through Mother of Runes and start going to town with your Jitte.

    -2 Spell Pierce

    +1 Izzet Staticaster
    +1 Disenchant

    Czech Pile/ 4c Control (unfavorable)
    Sort of the hot deck at the moment, this is not a deck we really want to fight - the Stoneforge Mystic package does not line up well against Kolaghan’s Command, Abrupt Decay and Snapcaster Mage, and they have more card advantage with more Snapcasters, Baleful Strix and Hymn to Tourach. However, you can still often win on the back of a True-Name Nemesis, which they have very few answers for, or by resolving a Jace and protecting it for a couple of turns.

    Post board, I actually like cutting the Stoneforge Mystic package and trying to beat them through Jace, Blood Moon and True-Name.

    -4 Stoneforge Mystic
    -1 Batterskull
    -1 Umezawa’s Jitte
    -1 Engineered Explosives
    -2 Force of Will

    +2 Blood Moon
    +2 Rest in Peace
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +3 Pyroblast

    Sneak and Show (favorable)
    Perhaps the format’s scariest combo deck, as it can have some crazy nut draws that put Griselbrand or Emrakul into play with Force of Will backup on turn 1 or 2. However, this deck is often beatable with a couple of counter spells in game 1 and we get more answers after sideboarding. It’s a pretty straightforward matchup: your goal is to stop Show and Tell and Sneak Attack from resolving.
    Ethersworn Canonist is a mixed bag here; it’s good at preventing them from protecting their big spells with counters, but it also stops you from being able to use Snapcaster to flash back counters. Overall though, I think it is still worth bringing in. Meddling Mage is great as it shuts off one half of their enablers.

    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Lightning Bolt
    -1 Umezawa’s Jitte
    -1 Engineered Explosives

    +3 Pyroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +1 Meddling Mage

    Storm combo (unfavorable)
    This is probably my least favorite matchup to face with UWr Stoneblade out of the top decks in Legacy. We have a lot of relevant interaction, but the lack of a fast clock means that the Storm deck can often take the time to sculpt a hand to win through said interaction. We also have a lot of dead cards game 1.
    The goal of the Storm deck is to cast ten spells and then a Tendrils of Agony in one turn. A key part of their combo is often, but not always, to resolve an Infernal Tutor with the Hellbent clause active. Countering the Tutor will often leave them without resources and will put you in a great position to win, however, sometimes countering a prior spell (such as a Dark Ritual or Cabal Ritual) can be correct instead, despite being less of a blowout. This is really situation dependent, and the only real way to learn this matchup is to practice playing against it a ton. My biggest piece of advice is to try and make plays that maximize your overall chance of winning the game, rather than just minimizing your opponent’s chance to go off that turn. For example, Forcing their first Dark Ritual might be the best way to stop them going off, but will also mean that you traded your Force (and another card) for just one of their cards, that is easily replaced. You might want to be more patient with your counter magic and try to stop them going off after they’ve already used more than just one resource. Izzet Staticaster is worth bringing in for this matchup, in case they go for an Empty the Warrens line. Infernal Tutor is usually the best card to name with Meddling Mage: you might be tempted to name Tendrils of Agony, but they will often be able to remove the Mage right before killing you after they’ve seen tons of cards with Ad Nauseam or Past in Flames. Naming Tutor will often prevent them from going off in the first place.

    It’s also worth noting that Esper’s discard effects give it a better Storm matchup than straight UW or UWr Blade.

    -3 True Name Nemesis
    -1 Umezawa’s Jitte
    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Lightning Bolt
    -1 Council’s Judgement

    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +2 Pyroblast
    +1 Surgical Extraction
    +2 Rest in Peace
    +1 Izzet Staticaster
    +1 Meddling Mage

    Elves (favorable)
    Slightly favorable due to Jitte being so insane against them, but Elves can often win in a grind anyway. Similar to D&T, your primary strategy should be to survive until you can start connecting with a Jitte. Glimpse of Nature is a must-counter, as it will quickly bury you in card advantage. Natural Order, of course, is also a must-counter. Don’t play out your Jitte before you can actually attack with it, because it could get killed by Reclamation Sage on their turn. Wirewood Symbiote is important to remove for a few reasons: (1) when paired with Elvish Visionary, it becomes a powerful draw engine, (2) it can prevent you from getting counters on your Jitte by bouncing a blocking creature, and (3) they can bounce Reclamation Sage with it to destroy multiple pieces of Equipment.

    Lists with Supreme Verdict are naturally going to have a better Elves matchup than lists without, and Esper lists with Zealous Persecution and Engineered Plague will be even better off in this matchup.

    -2 Spell Pierce
    -1 Council’s Judgement
    -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    +1 Izzet Staticaster
    +1 Meddling Mage
    +2 Flusterstorm

    RG Lands (even)
    Lands typically crushes fair blue decks, but we are perhaps the best equipped to fight them because of True-Name Nemesis, a resilient mana base and sideboard Blood Moons/Back to Basics. True Name is very difficult for Lands to answer and will usually force them to try and race you with a Marit Lage token. You can stop Marit Lage with Swords to Plowshares, but this will give your opponent a lot of life and time to reassemble the combo, which is not too difficult for them if they have their Life from the Loam engine going. You will be unfavored in game 1 because of the inevitability that Loam provides for them. Punishing Fire + Grove of the Burnwillows is also a big problem; it’s very good at killing Jace and at killing Stoneforge Mystic before you can untap with it.

    Post-board, though, you get access to graveyard hate effects that shut down the Loam engine. Rest in Peace is the best because it shuts down both Loam and Punishing Fire at once. Surgical Extraction is also great, as exiling all of their Loans can be a back breaking play, but be careful of them cycling Tranquil Thicket and dredging Loam in response to counter your Surgical.

    Blood Moon is simply amazing in this matchup - it shuts off nearly everything they are trying to do. It’s not an automatic win, as they can still beat you with Tireless Tracker, or with Life from the Loam, Molten Vortex and a basic Forest or Mox Diamond. They will also be bringing in 3-4 Krosan Grips to answer it. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely powerful hate card that gives UWr Stoneblade lists a distinct advantage over their cousins in this matchup. Back to Basics is also very good, but not quite as impactful as it doesn’t actually stop them from playing Dark Depths and Thespian’s Stage untapped, or recurring Wasteland and Ghost Quarter.

    Meddling Mage can be decent naming Life from the Loam or Punishing Fire. If you have a Blood Moon or Rest in Peace in play, you can also name Krosan Grip to protect it. This still gives them the out of Punishing Fire into Grip, but still puts you in a very strong position.

    UWx Stoneblade (mirror match)
    As with most control mirrors, the UWx stoneblade mirror is a grindy affair. Pre-board, the most important card is Jace - if you’re able to resolve it and keep it alive for a couple of turns, you’ll likely be in a great position to win the game. True-Name Nemesis is also often game breaking once it resolves, particularly in combination with equipment, as many Stoneblade lists don’t play answers to it in the main deck outside of Council’s Judgement.

    Red stoneblade lists are going to have a distinct advantage in the mirror, since Pyroblast is so incredibly strong. Countering TNN, Jace and Snapcaster Mage for one mana is incredible, and being able to remove a Jace that’s on the field for one mana can save you from sure defeat as well.

    Flusterstorm is decent in this matchup as it can help win counter wars over key cards. Force of Will, though often considered a weak card in matchups between “fair” decks such as this, can often still be valuable as the matchup
    tends to be more dependent on who can resolve key spells rather than just straight card advantage. I like to shave 1 or 2 copies typically, but keep a couple in. I think it’s also fine to shave a Stoneforge Mystic since the games tend to go long and you will run out of equipment to fetch.

    +3 Pyroblast
    +1 Disenchant
    +2 Flusterstorm

    -2 Swords to Plowshares
    -1 Engineered Explosives
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic
    -2 Force of Will

    UW Miracles (unfavorable)
    This matchup plays somewhat similarly to the mirror, but they have a slight advantage. While CounterTop locking out our spells is no longer an issue, they still have a stronger late game thanks to the Predict engine which can create a lot of card advantage. Monastery Mentor can also get out of hand very quickly if not immediately answered.

    +3 Pyroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm

    -2 Lightning Bolt
    -1 Force of Will
    -1 Swords to Plowshares
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic

    RB Reanimator (favorable)
    Probably the fastest combo deck in Legacy currently (outside of fringe stuff like Belcher), its goal is to try and reanimate a creature turn 1 or 2, often with protection from Force of Will via Chancellor of the Annex or discard spells. If possible they will go for Griselbrand, which is nearly impossible to beat once in play unless they already have a low life total, or Iona, Shield of Emeria, which will name White and give you exactly one out - Jace’s -1 ability. Other times though, they might try to reanimate Chancellor of the Annex or Tidespout Tyrant, which is easily answered with Swords to Plowshares.

    You will often have to decide between trying to stop them from putting a creature in the graveyard vs trying to stop their reanimation spells. The former can often be a more effective strategy, as they typically play more reanimation spells than ways to get creatures in the yard. Personally, if they lead with Entomb I like to counter that and try to stop them binning a creature, but if they start with Faithless Looting, I don’t like countering it - they are not guaranteed to be able to discard a creature with it, and if they do it might be a Chancellor/Tidespout, which are not nearly as threading as the Griselbrand that would almost surely be fetched by Entomb.

    -1 Umezawa’s Jitte
    -1 True-Name Nemesis
    -2 Lightning Bolt
    -1 Engineered Explosives

    +2 Rest in Peace
    +1 Surgical Extraction
    +2 Flusterstorm


    IV. Closing thoughts


    I hope that this primer has provided a decent overview of UWx Stoneblade decks. Of course, nothing can be a replacement for actually playing the deck - go out and give it a try!

    Many thanks to glazed, 13b and chalupa43087 for their assistance with the primer!

    If you would like to discuss Blade strategies on the Discord server, here is the invite link: https://discord.gg/wtehtyY

    Finally, in case you are curious about the history of the deck and its beginnings, or you just want to try out some older tech, the old Blade Control primer can be found here: http://www.mtgthesource.com/forums/s...-Blade-Control
    Last edited by FZA; 11-10-2017 at 04:47 PM.
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  2. #2

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Reserved for future content
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  3. #3

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    From my experience don't board out lightning bolt vs storm. It kills xantid swarm and occasionally they drop into bolt range after an ad nauseum.

    Also, ethersworn cannonist is beast against elves.

  4. #4

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by NimbleJosh View Post
    From my experience don't board out lightning bolt vs storm. It kills xantid swarm and occasionally they drop into bolt range after an ad nauseum.

    Also, ethersworn cannonist is beast against elves.
    Most Storm lists aren't playing Swarms (or green at all) these days. If I saw a green dual game 1, or if I saw green cards game 2, I'd consider leaving bolts in. Otherwise they are just lava spikes, which isn't terrible, but I think probably worse than what we can bring.

    You're totally right about Canonist against Elves, that was just an oversight on my part.
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  5. #5

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    I'm still new at Legacy, and for that reason, take my guide with that in mind.

    My idea is that i will develop my 75 and my sideboardguide as i get better at Legacy. Hopefully some people will find it usefull, and hopefully people will make comments in such a way that I can improve my list. Ultimately make the perfect UW Blade Control deck.
    My current plan for my Magic life is to attend MagiccardMarket Hamburg in september. After that I'm most likely heading for eternal weekend in Oslo in november and then start preparing for the MKM circuit in 2018.
    For that reason my current 75 is not going to change till november 2017 as i don't have the time to get enough games in with a new configuration. I will most likely try evolve the list post november 2017.

    Right now I play the following list: UW Blade Control

    And my sideboard plan is the following.

    4 Control:
    +2 Back to Basics
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +1 Hydroblast
    +1 Blue Elemental Blast
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Back to Basics
    Role: Tempo / Control
    Thoughts: This matchup is about slamming a TNN and protect it for the win. In my testing so far, SFM has been inferior and I'm considering to cut that instead of FoW - the idea is, that FoW can protect TNN. Althought 2for1 yourself is very very bad in a matchup where managing your resources is key. I'm still wondering if Hydroblast / Blue Elemental Blast is worth it. The times I've played this matchup, Back to Basics has been key. If you manage to slam it at the right time (when he is tapped out) you will almost always win the match.

    Grixis Delver
    +1 Hydroblast
    +1 Blue Elemental Blast
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Back to Basics
    -2 Counterspell
    -4 Force of Will
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Back to Basics and Sword of Feast and Famine
    Role: Tempo / Control
    Thoughts: As with 4C Control, this matchup is about managing your resources and make a TNN stick to take over the game. I still believe B2B is insane against a deck which runs 0 basics. It really punish greedy manabases if you manage to handle DRS.

    ANT
    +2 Surgical Extractions
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +2 Hydroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm
    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Jitte
    -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Keycards: Ethersworn Canonist, Flusterstorm
    Role: Beatdown / Control
    Thoughts: We need to win, and we need to do it as fast as possible. With that said, the number one priority is to make sure that the ANT-player doesn't win. This could be an argument for taking the controlling rute to victory.

    Lands
    +2 Back to Basics
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +1 Disenchant
    -2 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Jitte
    -1 Spell Snare

    Keycards: Surgical Extraction, Back to Basics, Basic lands, TNN, Karakas, Swords to Plowshares
    Role: Beatdown
    Thoughts: If Surgical isnt in the opening, the game needs to be closed fast. Merit Large can't be beaten in a race, but we got plenty of answers. But I've only played this matchup once with UW, so I'm very uncertaint about it.

    Sneak and Show
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Containment Priest
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +2 Hydroblast
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Spell Snare
    -1 Jitte
    -3 True-Name Nemesis

    Keycards:
    Role:
    Thoughts: Honestly, i have no Idea as i havent played against the deck, like ever. This is pure theorycrafting and i believe its about stopping their S&T and ride your BS to victory.

    Death & Taxes
    +1 Disenchant
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Containment Priest
    -2 Counterspell
    -2 Spell Pierce

    Keycards: anything that stops Vial and kill creatures
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: I've tried this matchup once and to me it seems like a good matchup to us. TNN + Jitte is hillarious. But be aware that Jitte is one of your best cards, so protect it at all cost! D&T will try kill it with various things like Needle, Revoker, Disenchant etc.

    Reanimator
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Containment Priest
    -3 True-Name Nemesis
    -1 Jitte
    -2 Council’s Judgment

    Keycards: Surgical Extraction, Force of Will
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: Number one priority is to stop their reanimation. If succeed i believe the odds of winning is fairly high, escpecially if facing the BR version. I havent played against the version running blue yet, så not sure about that matchup.

    UWx Stoneblade
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +1 Disenchant
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: Vendilion Clique, True-Name Nemesis
    Role: Control / Tempo
    Thoughts: I haven't actually played the mirror, but i believe its about the same as any other control mirror. Place a threat, protect it - instant threats are the best as that force the opponent to do something on their own turn. Maybe Containment Priest is worth it, just for the 2/2 instant speed threat?

    Eldrazi Stompy
    +1 Disenchant
    +2 Back to Basics
    -1 Spell Snare
    -2 Spell Pierce

    Keycards: Force of Will (stop Chalice), Back to Basics (lock them out of the game)
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: To me this matchup feels like #1 to stop chalice, #2 to time your B2B and after that, win the game with whatever threat you got in your hand.

    Aggro Loam
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +1 Disenchant
    +1 Pithing Needle
    -2 Pierce
    -1 Counterspell
    -1 Spell Snare

    Keycards:
    Role:
    Thoughts: Again theorycraft. Never played the matchup but i figure its about stopping their engines and then ride a TNN/Batterskull to victory.

    Grixis Control
    +2 Hydroblast
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    -3 Ponder

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: Feels like this matchup is about answering your opponents threats till the coast is clear for your True-Name Nemesis to take over the game. Sword has been surprisingly good for me so far (if it sticks) and Hydroblast beats keycards such as Young Pyromancer and Kolaghan's Command.

    Sultai Delver
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Back to Basics
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Back to Basics
    Role: Control / Tempo
    Thoughts: Attrition fight, and SFM seems superior in this matchup. If they get locked out by B2B its pretty much win - watch out for Decay thought.

    Miracles
    +2 Surgical Extractions
    +2 Flusterstorm
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: Swords to Plowshares, Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    Role: Tempo / beatdown
    Thoughts: I've tried this matchup once, and my #1 plan was to stop the mentors and it worked out. I won both matches on the back of JTMS so this makes me believe that it is the best/safest wincon. But I'm far from sure of that. About Surgical i don't think it is that good afterall, but sometimes taking away their Mentor or Terminus means our chances of winning is raised by a lot. Its a bet which happens to work out sometimes, but I'm not sure if it is the right call.

    Burn
    +2 Hydroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +1 Disenchant
    -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    -1 Vendilion Clique
    -1 Windswept Heath
    -1 Ponder

    Keycards: Stoneforge Mystic, Hydroblast, Basic Lands
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: We got alot of Burn in my current meta, which is why this matchup is here. The matchup is all about getting Batterskull online (with protection) and ride it to victory. The reason for Disenchant is to stop their Vortex (and Eidolon). Honestly it feels like a good matchup for UW Blade Control, and I havent lost a match to Burn yet.

    Please feel free to make any comments, adjustment or simple talking about my list and the matchups listed here. If you got knowledge about another matchup which is relevant in current meta, then please share. All knowledge is welcome :)

    best regards
    //aRSKOG

  6. #6

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Do you think lightning bolt is a good option nowadays?

  7. #7

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by polski View Post
    Do you think lightning bolt is a good option nowadays?
    It's not terrible. Delvers, deathrites, moms and plenty other creatures are very prevalent and annoying that bolt answers very well.

  8. #8

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by aRSKOG View Post
    I'm still new at Legacy, and for that reason, take my guide with that in mind.

    My idea is that i will develop my 75 and my sideboardguide as i get better at Legacy. Hopefully some people will find it usefull, and hopefully people will make comments in such a way that I can improve my list. Ultimately make the perfect UW Blade Control deck.
    My current plan for my Magic life is to attend MagiccardMarket Hamburg in september. After that I'm most likely heading for eternal weekend in Oslo in november and then start preparing for the MKM circuit in 2018.
    For that reason my current 75 is not going to change till november 2017 as i don't have the time to get enough games in with a new configuration. I will most likely try evolve the list post november 2017.

    Right now I play the following list: UW Blade Control

    And my sideboard plan is the following.

    4 Control:
    +2 Back to Basics
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +1 Hydroblast
    +1 Blue Elemental Blast
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Back to Basics
    Role: Tempo / Control
    Thoughts: This matchup is about slamming a TNN and protect it for the win. In my testing so far, SFM has been inferior and I'm considering to cut that instead of FoW - the idea is, that FoW can protect TNN. Althought 2for1 yourself is very very bad in a matchup where managing your resources is key. I'm still wondering if Hydroblast / Blue Elemental Blast is worth it. The times I've played this matchup, Back to Basics has been key. If you manage to slam it at the right time (when he is tapped out) you will almost always win the match.

    Grixis Delver
    +1 Hydroblast
    +1 Blue Elemental Blast
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Back to Basics
    -2 Counterspell
    -4 Force of Will
    -1 Stoneforge Mystic

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Jace the Mind Sculptor, Back to Basics and Sword of Feast and Famine
    Role: Tempo / Control
    Thoughts: As with 4C Control, this matchup is about managing your resources and make a TNN stick to take over the game. I still believe B2B is insane against a deck which runs 0 basics. It really punish greedy manabases if you manage to handle DRS.

    ANT
    +2 Surgical Extractions
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +2 Hydroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm
    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Jitte
    -1 Jace, the Mind Sculptor

    Keycards: Ethersworn Canonist, Flusterstorm
    Role: Beatdown / Control
    Thoughts: We need to win, and we need to do it as fast as possible. With that said, the number one priority is to make sure that the ANT-player doesn't win. This could be an argument for taking the controlling rute to victory.

    Lands
    +2 Back to Basics
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +1 Disenchant
    -2 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Jitte
    -1 Spell Snare

    Keycards: Surgical Extraction, Back to Basics, Basic lands, TNN, Karakas, Swords to Plowshares
    Role: Beatdown
    Thoughts: If Surgical isnt in the opening, the game needs to be closed fast. Merit Large can't be beaten in a race, but we got plenty of answers. But I've only played this matchup once with UW, so I'm very uncertaint about it.

    Sneak and Show
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Containment Priest
    +2 Ethersworn Canonist
    +2 Hydroblast
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    -4 Swords to Plowshares
    -2 Council’s Judgment
    -1 Spell Snare
    -1 Jitte
    -3 True-Name Nemesis

    Keycards:
    Role:
    Thoughts: Honestly, i have no Idea as i havent played against the deck, like ever. This is pure theorycrafting and i believe its about stopping their S&T and ride your BS to victory.

    Death & Taxes
    +1 Disenchant
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Containment Priest
    -2 Counterspell
    -2 Spell Pierce

    Keycards: anything that stops Vial and kill creatures
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: I've tried this matchup once and to me it seems like a good matchup to us. TNN + Jitte is hillarious. But be aware that Jitte is one of your best cards, so protect it at all cost! D&T will try kill it with various things like Needle, Revoker, Disenchant etc.

    Reanimator
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +2 Containment Priest
    -3 True-Name Nemesis
    -1 Jitte
    -2 Council’s Judgment

    Keycards: Surgical Extraction, Force of Will
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: Number one priority is to stop their reanimation. If succeed i believe the odds of winning is fairly high, escpecially if facing the BR version. I havent played against the version running blue yet, så not sure about that matchup.

    UWx Stoneblade
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    +1 Disenchant
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: Vendilion Clique, True-Name Nemesis
    Role: Control / Tempo
    Thoughts: I haven't actually played the mirror, but i believe its about the same as any other control mirror. Place a threat, protect it - instant threats are the best as that force the opponent to do something on their own turn. Maybe Containment Priest is worth it, just for the 2/2 instant speed threat?

    Eldrazi Stompy
    +1 Disenchant
    +2 Back to Basics
    -1 Spell Snare
    -2 Spell Pierce

    Keycards: Force of Will (stop Chalice), Back to Basics (lock them out of the game)
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: To me this matchup feels like #1 to stop chalice, #2 to time your B2B and after that, win the game with whatever threat you got in your hand.

    Aggro Loam
    +2 Surgical Extraction
    +1 Disenchant
    +1 Pithing Needle
    -2 Pierce
    -1 Counterspell
    -1 Spell Snare

    Keycards:
    Role:
    Thoughts: Again theorycraft. Never played the matchup but i figure its about stopping their engines and then ride a TNN/Batterskull to victory.

    Grixis Control
    +2 Hydroblast
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    -3 Ponder

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: Feels like this matchup is about answering your opponents threats till the coast is clear for your True-Name Nemesis to take over the game. Sword has been surprisingly good for me so far (if it sticks) and Hydroblast beats keycards such as Young Pyromancer and Kolaghan's Command.

    Sultai Delver
    +1 Pithing Needle
    +2 Back to Basics
    +1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: True-Name Nemesis, Back to Basics
    Role: Control / Tempo
    Thoughts: Attrition fight, and SFM seems superior in this matchup. If they get locked out by B2B its pretty much win - watch out for Decay thought.

    Miracles
    +2 Surgical Extractions
    +2 Flusterstorm
    -4 Force of Will

    Keycards: Swords to Plowshares, Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    Role: Tempo / beatdown
    Thoughts: I've tried this matchup once, and my #1 plan was to stop the mentors and it worked out. I won both matches on the back of JTMS so this makes me believe that it is the best/safest wincon. But I'm far from sure of that. About Surgical i don't think it is that good afterall, but sometimes taking away their Mentor or Terminus means our chances of winning is raised by a lot. Its a bet which happens to work out sometimes, but I'm not sure if it is the right call.

    Burn
    +2 Hydroblast
    +2 Flusterstorm
    +1 Disenchant
    -2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    -1 Vendilion Clique
    -1 Windswept Heath
    -1 Ponder

    Keycards: Stoneforge Mystic, Hydroblast, Basic Lands
    Role: Control
    Thoughts: We got alot of Burn in my current meta, which is why this matchup is here. The matchup is all about getting Batterskull online (with protection) and ride it to victory. The reason for Disenchant is to stop their Vortex (and Eidolon). Honestly it feels like a good matchup for UW Blade Control, and I havent lost a match to Burn yet.

    Please feel free to make any comments, adjustment or simple talking about my list and the matchups listed here. If you got knowledge about another matchup which is relevant in current meta, then please share. All knowledge is welcome :)

    best regards
    //aRSKOG
    Thank you for posting this, it's a nice guide and it does a good job of illustrating how sideboarding strategy can vary a lot depending on which variant of Blade you're playing, and your specific card choices.

    One thing I noticed was that you sideboard out Spell Snare against Aggro Loam, which I disagree with. It hits Chalice, Bob, Sylvan Library, and Loam (countering Loam can be very good if you're ahead on board and just need to buy time, or if you have graveyard hate in hand).

    Also not sure why -3 Ponder against Grixis Control? Card selection is valuable in grindy matchups, and the manabase is built with Ponder in mind - without it, you risk getting mana-screwed.

    Quote Originally Posted by polski View Post
    Do you think lightning bolt is a good option nowadays?
    IMO it is. It's always nice to have extra answers to DRS and Delver, despite playing 4 Plows you won't always be able to find one on time, and if you can't remove these cards quickly it's a problem.

    If you're gonna play bolts, though, I think you want a mana base with either 3 volcs or 1-2 volcs and a basic Mountain, otherwise you risk getting wasted off red.
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  9. #9

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Can you correct my name under UWr stoneblade? It's "Mitchell Nguyen". Thanks.

  10. #10

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by QKisMyName View Post
    Can you correct my name under UWr stoneblade? It's "Mitchell Nguyen". Thanks.
    Oops, my bad. Fixed!
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  11. #11

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Cool to see collective brutality popping up in other places, I've been running 3 in my esper deathblade list to good effect!

    One thing i'd like to point out is that in my experience the brutality discarding souls synergy comes up less often than i thought it would. Game 1 its probably fine, but Game 2 and 3 you probably just want to be casting both halves of the card as they'll probably have brought in some form sweepers.

    Other than that, great primer!

  12. #12
    Land Destruction Enthusiast
    Megadeus's Avatar
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    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Feels weird to post this on the first page, but has anyone tried a completely transformative side board? I was brewing ideas and came up with this list, you could try it with the blade package in the main I suppose if you wanted as well


    UW Stoneblade Omnishow:

    Maindeck (60)
    3 Snapcaster Mage
    3 Griselbrand
    3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
    4 Brainstorm
    4 Ponder
    2 Spell Pierce
    3 Swords to Plowshares
    3 Impulse
    2 Intuition
    4 Show and Tell
    4 Force of Will
    4 Omniscience
    4 Ancient Tomb
    4 Flooded Strand
    5 Island
    2 Plains
    4 Polluted Delta
    2 Tundra

    Sideboard (15)
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    2 True-Name Nemesis
    2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
    1 Swords to Plowshares
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Sword of Feast and Famine
    1 Sword of Fire and Ice
    1 Batterskull



    Shared via TopDecked MTG https://www.topdecked.me/decks/c156d...2-e227afa13c9e
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Cheese View Post
    I've been taking shitty brews and tier 2 decks to tournaments and losing with them for years now. Welcome to the club. We meet for cocktails after round 6.
    Quote Originally Posted by Stevestamopz View Post
    Top quality german restraint there.

    If I'm at the point where I'm rage quitting, you can bet your kransky that I'm calling everyone involved a cunt.

  13. #13
    Draw-Go Disciple
    Nestalim's Avatar
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    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Not sure how this deck can be tier 1 with its abysmall MU versus any form of combo, even with all the side you could imagine to help against it.

  14. #14

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestalim View Post
    Not sure how this deck can be tier 1 with its abysmall MU versus any form of combo, even with all the side you could imagine to help against it.
    Huh? Have you even played this deck? You're often playing the aggro control role game 1, with archetypes like esper having access to discard. Postboard almost all 3 archetypes get to overload on hate and attack combo decks on atleast multiple angles. This is completely ignoring Bant Deathblade and Esper Deathblade as UWx blade archetypes. Sometimes you keep hands that are reliant on 1 type of hate and lose because the combo deck has answers to that threat or just mulligan to oblivion but this archetype has a lot of game against combo.

    I think the problem with UWx stoneblade is that so many different decks are lumped into this category and a lot of the results aggregation websites tend to lump them all together. I don't think that tier 1 is a stretch, i'd say blade as a deck is probably somewhere between tier 1 and 1.5. This deck has it's weaknesses and a fair number of tier 1 decks are just naturally designed to thrash this deck.
    Quote Originally Posted by ThatDeleuzeGuy View Post
    I want to play as close to possible a 100% reactive deck that also approached 0% variance in how it played. I want to play magic with as little variance as possible. Also had a foiled out miracles deck that was an investment of about 6 grand that is now nearly worthless.
    Quote Originally Posted by twndomn View Post
    There's no control, not even close. The 4cc is nowhere near the classical sense of control, neither is Standstill. Mid-range strategy is called mid-range at best, don't try to sneak the word control into it.

  15. #15
    Draw-Go Disciple
    Nestalim's Avatar
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    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by CptHaddock View Post
    Huh? Have you even played this deck? You're often playing the aggro control role game 1, with archetypes like esper having access to discard. Postboard almost all 3 archetypes get to overload on hate and attack combo decks on atleast multiple angles. This is completely ignoring Bant Deathblade and Esper Deathblade as UWx blade archetypes. Sometimes you keep hands that are reliant on 1 type of hate and lose because the combo deck has answers to that threat or just mulligan to oblivion but this archetype has a lot of game against combo.

    I think the problem with UWx stoneblade is that so many different decks are lumped into this category and a lot of the results aggregation websites tend to lump them all together. I don't think that tier 1 is a stretch, i'd say blade as a deck is probably somewhere between tier 1 and 1.5. This deck has it's weaknesses and a fair number of tier 1 decks are just naturally designed to thrash this deck.
    Esper can deal with combo, the rest won't.

  16. #16

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestalim View Post
    Esper can deal with combo, the rest won't.
    Other than Storm, combo matchups for UWr or straight UW blade are not bad at all. Storm is the only one that's distinctly unfavorable, and it's not particularly popular at the moment. SnS, Elves, Lands, Reanimator are all even to favorable.
    Nobody plays Legacy anymore, the tournaments are all too crowded

  17. #17

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by Nestalim View Post
    Esper can deal with combo, the rest won't.
    I'm playing UWr and am 50/50 against ANT and TES. Granted I run two cannonists in my board on top of the normal combo hate. I've played against and have yet to loose to S&T, elves, belcher or lands.

  18. #18

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Quote Originally Posted by First_Revenge View Post
    Cool to see collective brutality popping up in other places, I've been running 3 in my esper deathblade list to good effect!

    One thing i'd like to point out is that in my experience the brutality discarding souls synergy comes up less often than i thought it would. Game 1 its probably fine, but Game 2 and 3 you probably just want to be casting both halves of the card as they'll probably have brought in some form sweepers.

    Other than that, great primer!
    First off, thanks for the feedback! I agree with you, preboard opponents typically don't have many ways to deal with Lingering Souls, and casting just one half is usually enough to do what you need to. But in all games (pre and post board) it will depend on the situation whether you think you'll even need to cast both halves of the card. So in some situations you'll want to cast both halves and in some spots you'll be fine with only casting it from the graveyard. Brutality really shows it's strength when the game goes long since it works so well when you can discard the extra lands you inevitably draw.

  19. #19

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Just wondering why this list has not been mentioned when the other top 16 deck was ?

    http://mtgtop8.com/event?e=15926&d=298115&f=LE

    Seems a lot cleaner to me and I like having access to wasteland.

  20. #20

    Re: [Primer] UWx Stoneblade

    Alright guys I need some help here - I played in a monthly tournament today. Had a little over 30 players and I got hosed all day on Esper blade.
    Here is my 75

    Lands - 21
    3 Tundra
    2 Underground Sea
    1 Scrubland
    2 Island
    1 Plains
    1 Swamp
    4 Polluted Delta
    4 Flooded Strand
    1 Marsh Flats
    2 Wasteland

    Creatures - 11
    4 Stoneforge Mystic
    3 True-Name Nemesis
    2 Snapcaster Mage
    2 Baleful Strix

    Artifacts/Enchants/Planeswalkers - 5
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Umezawa's Jitte
    1 Batterskull
    2 Jace, the Mind Sculpture

    Spells - 23
    4 Force of Will
    1 Spell Pierce
    1 Counterspell
    4 Swords to Plowshares
    2 Fatal Push
    4 Brainstorn
    2 Ponder
    3 Thoughtseize
    1 Inquisition of Kozelik
    1 Council's Judgement

    Sideboard - 15
    2 Meddling Mage
    1 Containment Priest
    1 Ethersworn Canonist
    2 Surgical Extraction
    1 Rest in Peace
    2 Zealous Persecution
    1 Supreme Verdict
    1 Flusterstorm
    1 Spell Pierce
    1 Thoughtseize
    1 Engineered Plague
    1 Disenchant

    Round 1 - RG Lands 0-2
    Game 1: Got hosed by wasteland/Ghost Quarter lock
    Game 2: See game 1

    Round 2 - Bantblade? w/ Aethervila, Cryptic Command and Sylvan safekeeper 0-2
    Game 1: He turn 1 vials and out tempos me until he gets an active jitte
    Game 2: He was able to flick Safekeep w/ command and a vial on 3 before resolving a sfm for batterskull

    Round 3 - ANT 0-2
    Game 1: I have a good opener w/ a counterspell, a sfm, brainstorm and ponder. I cantrip trying to find a white source to start a clock (had double UG sea) i was able to counter her first tutor, but drew into nothing and I was tendril's for 20 ending w/ a hand of sfmx2, stpx3, tnn, fatal push. Never finding a third land or white source
    Game 2: I had a good opener but was forced to blow my fow on a defense grid to keep my other outs alive. I resolved a RiP to stop any past in flames but went off on turn 4 w/ a double LED, git probe, into tutor x2 for warrens on 7

    So im pretty discouraged at this point but my buddy was doing well so I decided to not drop so I wasnt just sitting there doing nothing.

    Round 4 - Jeskai Blade 2-0
    Game 1: Im able to lead w/ a t1 thoughtseize to pull a bolt and land a t2 SFM for batterskull. I stp his sfm and run away w/ a batterskull and tnn
    Game 2: We fight over board before the dust settles on a single tnn on his end im at about 12 life when im able to get a strix w/ jitte on board. I get a tnn of my own and bring it home

    Round 5 - RG Lands 0-2
    Game 1: I start strong w/a t1 thoughtseize pulling his library and resolved a t2 sfm. He ripped a pfire, and comboed the following turn off an explore.
    Game 2: I again start w/ a thoughtseize he has gamble, crop rotation x2, pfire, a loam and 2 lands. I take his loam and surgical it. a couple turns later he plays a tireless tracker (which I forced, maybe a mistake? I dont have a lot of lands experience outside of today) he double rotates for the combo and swings over my batterskull and sfm

    I'm not sure what it was exactly that resulted in such a tough day - i did have a couple of poor draws, and maybe some questionable keeps (which i know will come w/ experience) But im so clueless on how to actually win vs lands especially game 1. Is there something im missing overall? Any noticeable holes in the list? I went into this tournament to a completely unk meta as ive never played at this shop before.

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