Slowing Down the Competition — Putting Combos on Ice

Hey everyone, Kya here!

Happy belated April Fools! I hope everyone enjoyed our little gag! After some recent games, I thought I would shift my focus onto a slightly different subject this week. At various points throughout your EDH experience, you might find yourself stuck in a competitive environment. I know that where I live the competition can get more than just a little fierce. We’ve all had those situations when you might run into those combo players that win time and time again before turn 4. Or better yet, you might notice an arms race developing within your group. Slowly over time your group begins to build better and more competitive decks rapidly without end.

So how do you deal with this?


Being That Twinkle in Their Eye

Well my wonderful and yet derpy fiance found a way. Being the king of trolls, he helped put a complete end to the competitive players in non-competitive intended playgroups. Who is this horrible moron of a man I’ve yet to mention in all my articles so far? Well, I wanted to save everyone from his influence, but here he is:

Hard to see him? He can only be properly seen through the rage or terror of the victims’ eyes. He is the embodiment of how not to play Magic, the Gathering. I’ve shielded the EDH community for months from him and his shenanigans, but no longer. Sometimes you must fight fire… with ice! And this is the commander that he plays when it’s time to freeze up the competition!

Are you disgusted yet? If you stop reading at this point, I completely understand. In case you’ve never seen this commander before, this is who you target first. Welcome to the Stax ladies and gentlemen! For those newbies, yes you read the card right. He makes all your spells cost 1-2 mana less and everyone else cost one more to play. Yes, if you cast a white and blue spell, you get 2 generic mana off your spell! Now some of the more experienced players might ask why not play Brago, King Eternal? He’s arguably a much better Stax general.

His answer? The suffering needs to last much longer then our Ghost King will allow.


The Stax Package

So why Stax? Because Stax hurts combo players the most. Those decks that are reliant on winning before turn 4 need every drop of mana they can get right away. If someone decides to clog that nozzle with nonsense, it’ll shut down their deck fast. Ironically, the mid range players and more casual players will have an easier time against this.

Of course our general isn’t the only Stax card around. Above are some cards that have no problem duplicating the commander’s effect. Some of them hurt you as well, but that’s okay. Grand Arbiter helps keep things in balance. Don’t forget Lodestone Golem to help keep things costly! He’s a mighty beater to boot! Also there’s the mighty Thalia, Guardian of Thraben. She just got reprinted too!


Stax within Stax within Stax

There’s more then just making things cost in a good Stax deck. Welcome to a series of small things that can ruin you without you realizing it. Everything coming in tapped? Yay. Having to chose to lose a phase per turn? More annoying then you’d think. Playing cards out of your library or graveyard? Not anymore! The list goes on for how many ways you can stop a player from cheating cards in. There’s always the famous Aven Mindcensor that stops even fetches.


Grinding the Game to a Halt

And this is how you bring the game to a grinding halt. See, he argues that this is better than Stasis combos with Brago. The reason being that these cards bring false hope to their poor victims that maybe, if they save just enough, they’ll be able to play a card. Eww right?


When Flipping the Table is the Right Answer

Speaking of Stasis, let’s add it in shall we? Because why should anyone have fun?

This is how you make people rage. Play Tezzy, look for your blue artifact, drop Stasis. Now you can forever pay for Stasis and things forever stay tapped. Have an effect that make lands come in tapped and that’s game. Hope you brought your cell phone because you’re going to find something else to do sitting there aside playing Magic.


No Means Never

Ever have someone cast all 3 of these on you 3 turns in a row? I’ve experienced it. Not a fun feeling. I do want to give a small shout out to these cards though. You never see them enough and they’re amazing. Nothing is worse than finally building mana after dealing with the cards above just to be silenced by that stupid 1 Plains that was open by the Stax player. I pray they don’t make more of these in the future. Shout out to Time Stop for giving your victims the ultimate silence.


The Way of the Troll

You ever watch a Sol Ring get countered on turn 0? Ever experience getting slapped across the face by someone before he or she can even get a land out? Watching the players reaction as the safety of going first gets ripped apart? This is just the beginning of the psychological abuse this level of a Stax deck will allow. No puking mana rocks onto the field right off the bat the Arbiter says! Let’s add in another clause shall we? No more playing anymore spells for the rest of the game! Welcome to infinite silences! Of course you could add extra cards to silence everyone, every turn. But no. Lets punish just the mana rock player for believing he felt safe going first. This is the mindset of the troll. Winning is only a secondary factor.


 The Win… Condition?

So how does this stupid deck win in all its stupid glory? Well I’m glad you asked. This is the self-proclaimed win condition:

Is it practical? Absolutely not. Is it effective? Painfully so. 6 Arbiters on the field makes things just stupid. Find a way to flashback RoR and it just makes it even more of a nightmare.

 

Does this seem like a win condition to you? Let me ask you something. Have you ever paid 10+ mana for a mana crypt? I have. My poor friend still has nightmares of paying over 20 for a 2 drop. Hell by definition is watching Archaeomancer keep hitting the field and being beaten to death by an army of derpy Stax Pegasi. Seriously, to hell with this deck.


Closing Thoughts

And there you go! How to lose everyone you’ve ever known and loved in a single game! It’s funny that out the gates people often assume my fiance and myself collude to win if ever unfortunite enough to be stuck in the same pod. However people quickly learn we take out all our relationship stress out via spell slinging. Is it healthy? Probably not. But the cops are called less… unless I play Zur.

So what are everyone’s thoughts? Group shame this horrible excuse of a man? I’m down. Or maybe he has a necessary evil about him that helps keeps the format healthy from curb stompers that stalk poor unsuspecting local game stores. You decide! I’d love to hear your thoughts. Especially the ones that scream “burn the witch”.

… Stupid Grand Arbiter…

– Kya

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Never fear! Kya's here! Kya has been a long time EDH player and hobbyist. With an extended history of blacksmithing and 3d printing various MTG related items for fun, she has turned her attention to sharing her mad scientist brews to the public. Although a competitive player by nature, her aim is to provide fun and silly deck ideas to those looking to spice up their play groups. Kya is here to scratch that demented individual's itch for pure chaos and show everyone that a Warp World can be a fun experience! Except when you have a Hive Mind and Eye of the Storm out...