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Thread: Mono Black "Stax"

  1. #1

    Mono Black "Stax"

    4 Ophiomancer
    3 Lodestone Golem
    3 Karn, the Great Creator
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Chrome Mox
    1 Expedition Map
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Tangle Wire
    2 Trinisphere
    4 Smokestack
    1 Bitterblossom
    3 Contamination
    4 Ancient Tomb
    1 Castle Locthwain
    1 Cavern of Souls
    1 City of Traitors
    6 Swamp
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    3 Urza's Saga
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Plague Engineer
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Liquimetal Coating
    1 Ratchet Bomb
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    1 Mycosynth Lattice
    4 Leyline of the Void

    I have always loved the idea of controlling the board with braids cabal minion and ophiomancer. Sadly, I don't think the old mono black stax mentality can hold up in the current meta. Instead of taking a traditional prison route, I wanted to develop a deck where I was primarily controlling the board with some prison elements tacked on. The deck seems to have a very "combo" set up that finishes into a control win. It's a very weird dynamic to have in a deck, but one that I've enjoyed. Chalice ended not being good enough with prismatic ending running around in abundance. The acceleration off dark ritual and hand hate from thoughtsieze have been much stronger turn one plays. This current 75 has gone through some testing and card changes over the past few weeks. I'm looking to tune it into a more competitive list. It is meant to be a fun deck, but have a competitive edge. Not looking to win a massive tournament with it, but have it hold it's own against the top tier decks. Couple card choices listed below. Open to any ideas/suggestions.

    Ophiomancer: who doesn't like deathtouch snakes. Also feeds contamination/smokestack
    Lodestone Golem: replaced braids when I came to the conclusion she wasn't as good as smokestack due to her being easier to deal with. Not entirely sold on it, so I'm open to new card choices for this slot
    Karn: it's karn
    Dark Ritual/Chrome Mox: our acceleration
    Tangle Wire/Smokestack/3 ball: our traditional prison pieces. Less 3 ball due to the one and two drops in the deck. Numbers have been fine for these cards. Tangle Wire is absolutely gross and usually functions as a 3 turn time walk
    Expedition Map: a one of to get tabby, wasteland, or saga. Also searchable off saga. I was surprised that I liked the addition of this card so much, but it has really proven its worth

    Thoughts:
    *Thought about crucible main to get back saga and wasteland
    *Should lodestone stay or go?
    *Do I develop a plan with winter orb for when a sac outlet+smokestack is online

  2. #2

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by bomberman32 View Post
    4 Ophiomancer
    3 Lodestone Golem
    3 Karn, the Great Creator
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Chrome Mox
    1 Expedition Map
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Tangle Wire
    2 Trinisphere
    4 Smokestack
    1 Bitterblossom
    3 Contamination
    4 Ancient Tomb
    1 Castle Locthwain
    1 Cavern of Souls
    1 City of Traitors
    6 Swamp
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    3 Urza's Saga
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard (15)
    2 Plague Engineer
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    1 Engineered Explosives
    1 Tormod's Crypt
    1 Pithing Needle
    1 Liquimetal Coating
    1 Ratchet Bomb
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    1 Mycosynth Lattice
    4 Leyline of the Void

    I have always loved the idea of controlling the board with braids cabal minion and ophiomancer. Sadly, I don't think the old mono black stax mentality can hold up in the current meta. Instead of taking a traditional prison route, I wanted to develop a deck where I was primarily controlling the board with some prison elements tacked on. The deck seems to have a very "combo" set up that finishes into a control win. It's a very weird dynamic to have in a deck, but one that I've enjoyed. Chalice ended not being good enough with prismatic ending running around in abundance. The acceleration off dark ritual and hand hate from thoughtsieze have been much stronger turn one plays. This current 75 has gone through some testing and card changes over the past few weeks. I'm looking to tune it into a more competitive list. It is meant to be a fun deck, but have a competitive edge. Not looking to win a massive tournament with it, but have it hold it's own against the top tier decks. Couple card choices listed below. Open to any ideas/suggestions.

    Ophiomancer: who doesn't like deathtouch snakes. Also feeds contamination/smokestack
    Lodestone Golem: replaced braids when I came to the conclusion she wasn't as good as smokestack due to her being easier to deal with. Not entirely sold on it, so I'm open to new card choices for this slot
    Karn: it's karn
    Dark Ritual/Chrome Mox: our acceleration
    Tangle Wire/Smokestack/3 ball: our traditional prison pieces. Less 3 ball due to the one and two drops in the deck. Numbers have been fine for these cards. Tangle Wire is absolutely gross and usually functions as a 3 turn time walk
    Expedition Map: a one of to get tabby, wasteland, or saga. Also searchable off saga. I was surprised that I liked the addition of this card so much, but it has really proven its worth

    Thoughts:
    *Thought about crucible main to get back saga and wasteland
    *Should lodestone stay or go?
    *Do I develop a plan with winter orb for when a sac outlet+smokestack is online

    Cool deck!

    I've toyed around with mono black, mono green and mono red Stax quite a bit. In these builds I've noticed that Smokestack is the weakest part. What I have found that I think works better is to run some Stax staples such as Trinisphere, Lodestone and Tangle Wire as disruption and then smash your opponent's face in with cheap aggressive beats. And possibly splash a second win con via two card combo such as Painter's Servant + Grindstone. Saga can fetch out Grindstone so you'd only need to run one main deck. Thus requiring only 5 slots to run the combo. Running Gloom with Painter's Servant could be ugly too.

    IMHO, Tangle Wire is your best Stax staple followed by Trinisphere. Lodestone is great here because he taxes your opponent and beats. Combine that with Urza's Saga and you could have an aggressive Stax deck that doesn't necessarily go for the lock.

    I'm not a huge fan of Ophiomancer, Smokestack or Contamination. Opposition Agent and Dauthi Voidwalker for disruption + beats in these slots seems good.

    A lot of people will disagree with me but I don't like Karn in these Stax decks either. He's really expensive and sets you back a turn. In Stax and Aggro Stax you always want to be ahead of your opponent. The mana curve of these decks are already super high.

    If you choose to go with the Aggro Stax plan Shadowspear doesn't suck at all. Your Karnstructs with trample will win you games against chump blockers and the lifelink will save your ass from not only your opponent but also your Ancient Tombs.
    "WaaaauuugghhhaaaauuugghhhaauuugghhhaaauuugghhhW" -Chewbacca

  3. #3
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    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    I always want to play braids which leads me to black stax. There have been a lot of new cards since I last tried this idea out so it could be worth a new look.

    Why not braids cabal minion being all I want to get at?
    The Parfait Meta-Game

  4. #4

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by Laser Brains View Post
    Cool deck!

    I've toyed around with mono black, mono green and mono red Stax quite a bit. In these builds I've noticed that Smokestack is the weakest part. What I have found that I think works better is to run some Stax staples such as Trinisphere, Lodestone and Tangle Wire as disruption and then smash your opponent's face in with cheap aggressive beats. And possibly splash a second win con via two card combo such as Painter's Servant + Grindstone. Saga can fetch out Grindstone so you'd only need to run one main deck. Thus requiring only 5 slots to run the combo. Running Gloom with Painter's Servant could be ugly too.

    IMHO, Tangle Wire is your best Stax staple followed by Trinisphere. Lodestone is great here because he taxes your opponent and beats. Combine that with Urza's Saga and you could have an aggressive Stax deck that doesn't necessarily go for the lock.

    I'm not a huge fan of Ophiomancer, Smokestack or Contamination. Opposition Agent and Dauthi Voidwalker for disruption + beats in these slots seems good.

    A lot of people will disagree with me but I don't like Karn in these Stax decks either. He's really expensive and sets you back a turn. In Stax and Aggro Stax you always want to be ahead of your opponent. The mana curve of these decks are already super high.

    If you choose to go with the Aggro Stax plan Shadowspear doesn't suck at all. Your Karnstructs with trample will win you games against chump blockers and the lifelink will save your ass from not only your opponent but also your Ancient Tombs.

    I would definitely be interested in adding red to the party. I like having that safe plan B. It doesn't take away from my gameplan at all. The synergy with saga i'm sure is insane too. Havnt't toyed with voidwalker yet, but i've heard really good things. Interesting about Karn. Usually I feel like he is a shoe-in in artifact heavy builds. I am on the same page with you that if this takes an aggro perspective, he doesn't belong here. I'll tweak the list a bit and report tomorrow at some point. Lots of good things to consider. So, thank you for the feedback.

  5. #5

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
    I always want to play braids which leads me to black stax. There have been a lot of new cards since I last tried this idea out so it could be worth a new look.

    Why not braids cabal minion being all I want to get at?
    I originally had 4 in the main deck alongside the smokestacks. The issue is that there are too many answers in the format for it right now. It continuously died the turn I played it or the turn following. Also if she comes down too late in the game, it's not very impactful. I think years ago when the deck was developed she was stronger, but now other cards have taken her place. Namely, dauthi voidwalker and opposition agent

  6. #6

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
    I always want to play braids which leads me to black stax. There have been a lot of new cards since I last tried this idea out so it could be worth a new look.

    Why not braids cabal minion being all I want to get at?
    I agree. Braids is tight, and it's faster than Smokestack. There are some mono black 'mana denial' aggro lists that I've been toying around with that can in situations lock out the opponent but focus more on the aggro strategy with heavy Staxish disruption.

    Quote Originally Posted by bomberman32 View Post
    I would definitely be interested in adding red to the party. I like having that safe plan B. It doesn't take away from my gameplan at all. The synergy with saga i'm sure is insane too. Havnt't toyed with voidwalker yet, but i've heard really good things. Interesting about Karn. Usually I feel like he is a shoe-in in artifact heavy builds. I am on the same page with you that if this takes an aggro perspective, he doesn't belong here. I'll tweak the list a bit and report tomorrow at some point. Lots of good things to consider. So, thank you for the feedback.
    Yes, I'd love to see your aggro build if you go that route. Opposition Agent seems correct in a build like this. Most decks run fetches.

    As you mentioned about splashing red. You get Goblin Welder and Goblin Engineer. These guys together do stupid stuff with Tangle Wire etc.. I don't think the mana base can handle it though.
    "WaaaauuugghhhaaaauuugghhhaauuugghhhaaauuugghhhW" -Chewbacca

  7. #7

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Some advice from my time making curses:

    16 black cards is too low for chrome mox. Raise it to 20 (Hagra mauling?) or cut chrome mox for opal/diamond.

    Rule of thumb when first starting a brew: NO non-tutorable 1 or 2 ofs (except for untapped utility lands)

    Does contamination plus saga work like moon plus saga?

    Crucible plus saga is one of the most powerful things you can do, and it also synergizes well with stax. I would run at least 3 crucible and 4 saga.

    Karn is actually pretty bad unless you max out on fast mana as mentioned above.

  8. #8
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    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by Reeplcheep View Post
    Does contamination plus saga work like moon plus saga?

    Crucible plus saga is one of the most powerful things you can do, and it also synergizes well with stax. I would run at least 3 crucible and 4 saga.
    Contamination just changes mana production instead of changing the land type and abilities. Saga should still have its abilities, while Blood Moon just turns it into a Mountain with no abilities.

    If he keeps Karn then Karn = more copies of Crucible. If Karn is cut for tempo reasons, then more Crucible main seems good.

  9. #9

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    4 Opposition Agent
    4 Braids, Cabal Minion
    3 Lodestone Golem
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Mox Opal
    1 Expedition Map
    1 Grindstone
    1 Pithing Needle
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Tangle Wire
    3 Trinisphere
    2 Bitterblossom
    4 Ancient Tomb
    1 Castle Locthwain
    2 Cavern of Souls
    1 City of Traitors
    6 Swamp
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    3 Urza's Saga
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard (15)
    3 Plague Engineer
    3 Ashiok, Dream Render
    3 Spatial Contortion
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    4 Leyline of the Void

    Updated 75 from everyoneís feedback. Cut some of the weaker cards and put in 2 mox opal as well as crucible main. Also brought braids back to the party. Iíll give it a run tonight in a league and see how the new version goes. Iíll report back in the next day or two

  10. #10
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    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    The real reason for braids to me is volraths stronghold. The fact it dies easily is the biggest draw because that makes it easier to control for us and it provides a win con. This also ties in to my using entomb as a tutor engine.
    The Parfait Meta-Game

  11. #11

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by Weapon X View Post
    The real reason for braids to me is volraths stronghold. The fact it dies easily is the biggest draw because that makes it easier to control for us and it provides a win con. This also ties in to my using entomb as a tutor engine.
    Interesting. So, on upkeep I could sac braids, use stronghold to her her back, then draw and play her. While my opponent still has to deal with the sac 1 every turn. My only concern with that plan is when my opponent has removal for her or counters her. It kinda ruins the cycle, but it seems worth looking into. Entomb feels a bit outside of what Iím trying to do with this deck. Itís a cool idea and could definitely work, but I think it would require a different shell. One more focused around entomb. At that point though, arenít we just worse Reanimator?

  12. #12
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    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    I don't understand the point of Grindstone. Is that supposed to be Brainstone?

    I see a bunch of mediocre Saga targets. Why not run Retrofitter Foundry before some of the other questionable ones? There's obvious synergy with Braids (make 1 token per turn & sac).

  13. #13

    Re: Mono Black "Stax"

    Quote Originally Posted by bomberman32 View Post
    4 Opposition Agent
    4 Braids, Cabal Minion
    3 Lodestone Golem
    4 Dark Ritual
    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Mox Opal
    1 Expedition Map
    1 Grindstone
    1 Pithing Needle
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Tangle Wire
    3 Trinisphere
    2 Bitterblossom
    4 Ancient Tomb
    1 Castle Locthwain
    2 Cavern of Souls
    1 City of Traitors
    6 Swamp
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    3 Urza's Saga
    4 Wasteland

    Sideboard (15)
    3 Plague Engineer
    3 Ashiok, Dream Render
    3 Spatial Contortion
    2 Mindbreak Trap
    4 Leyline of the Void

    Updated 75 from everyoneís feedback. Cut some of the weaker cards and put in 2 mox opal as well as crucible main. Also brought braids back to the party. Iíll give it a run tonight in a league and see how the new version goes. Iíll report back in the next day or two
    Interesting. My thoughts here are that between Thoughseize, Bitterblossom and Ancient Tomb you are going to kill yourself, especially if going up against any mediocre aggro decks.

    A couple reasons not to run Thoughtseize besides the fact that it deals you 2 damage.
    1). It isn't necessary if you're sticking to your mana denial plan. If you can stop your opponent from casting spells then it doesn't matter what is in their hand.
    2). It isn't a permanent. In Stax you want all or most of your spells to be permanents. The more permanents in play, the more permanents you have to tap to Tangle Wire and sac to Braids. This strategy banks on the fact that many decks you will be going up against don't run as many permanents as you therefore Tangle Wire and Braids are that much more useful.

    Next, I would cut the Grindstone unless you want to include a set Painter's Servant and possibly 2-3 Gloom and want a back up plan aside from your aggro. In my opinion this route is certainly worth exploring. Grindstone does nothing for you without Painter. Retrofitter Foundry on the other hand does many things you want to be doing. Its tutorable with Saga, it creates tokens to tap to Tangle Wire and sac to Braids. It also provides chump blockers, mini beaters, and can turn on Mox Opal. It also creates flyers for evasion and 4/4 bodies in a pinch.

    I would also cut Tabernacle unless you want to go creatureless.

    Is Dark Ritual necessary here? It does facilitate one of the decks best plays which is Ritual + Opposition Agent but it also is card disadvantage and it isn't a permanent that can be sacked or tapped to Braids and Tangle Wire. I was thinking more Mox Opal should be better here in it's place and back them up with Vault of Whispers.

    With this in mind I was thinking you should trim down and reorganize your mana sources. Reeple will probably give you better advice than I can as far as running a Stompy land package but I think he'd agree that some reorganization here would be useful.

    As it is you are running 28 mana sources including Rituals. I'm assuming you only have 1x City of Traitors otherwise you'd be running 3-4 main deck. Also, Wasteland is tight with Crucible for a softish mini lock but it's not game ending and it hogs up lots of slots. Since you are already running Expedition Map you could trim your total down to 1 or 2 and make more room for black mana producers. Wasteland can be tutored up when you need it for that soft lock.

    To beef up your aggro package some utility creatures seem not shitty. Plague Engineer would be useful against a slew decks in the current meta. I really would rather Dauthi Voidwalker but his double black requirement sucks. With the mana base I'm about to propose could it support Voidwalker's double black?

    The other beater I was wanting to recommend is Nettlecyst. He not only can get huge but he provides 2 permanents which is good when sacking stuff to Braids and tapping stuff to Tangle Wire. If your in a pinch you can sac it's token and then re-equip him to another creature. He's really nice on thopters created by Retrofitter for evasion.

    Shadowspear. With the damage you are taking from Tomb, this card can save your ass. Also, It can outright win you games against chump blockers with it's trample evasion and it pulls Lodestone out of Bolt bait range.

    With all of that being said, I was thinking something more along the lines of:

    Creatures: 19
    4 Opposition Agent
    4 Lodestone Golem
    3 Braids, Cabal Minion
    8 Plague Engineer / Voidwalker / Nettlecyst (some combination of these 3 guys)

    Tools / Lock: 15
    4 Tangle Wire
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Trinisphere
    1 Expedition Map
    1 Soul-Guide Lantern / Nihil Spellbomb
    1 Shadowspear
    1 Retrofitter Foundry
    1 Pithing Needle


    Mana: 26
    4 Mox Opal
    4 Ancient Tomb
    1 City of Traitors
    4 Swamp
    4 Vault of Whispers
    3 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
    4 Urza's Saga
    2 Wasteland


    With this basic shell you could explore splashing the Painter combo alternate win. Saga tutors Grindstone so you only need one copy. You could cut some of the 8 Plague Engineer / Voidwalker / Nettlecyst and:
    +4 Painter's Servant
    +1 Grindstone
    +2 Gloom

    [EDIT]:
    Or, you could explore Torpor Orb + Phyrexian Dreadnought instead. Saga tutors Dreadnought so you only need one copy. You could cut some of the 8 Plague Engineer / Voidwalker / Nettlecyst and:
    +4 Torpor Orb
    +1 Dreadnought

    The reason this feels attractive is that you can squeeze this combo in with only cutting 5 cards. Plus Torpor Orb is useful without the combo by shutting down stuff that D&T and other decks do that utilize ETB effects.
    "WaaaauuugghhhaaaauuugghhhaauuugghhhaaauuugghhhW" -Chewbacca

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