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 Post subject: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 6:33 am 

Joined: 2019-May-18 11:12 pm
Age: Wyvern
I like piloting stax. I love the playstyle and I enjoy the unique challenge of piloting a stax deck. But a lot of people,
And I know this is a generalization, hate stax with a burning passion.

So I've been working on a deck that fits both sides, fun for me and my opponent.

The commander is mogis, God of slaughter, and the deck is full of enchantments that either protect me in one form or fashion ,or punish my opponents actions without preventing gameplay. Things like manabarbs, instead of winter orb, or the curses that make zombies and gold tokens instead of ghostly prison and propaganda effects.
I'm considering discard effects like painful Quandary, but I'm not sure if that's to "unfun". Should I go with effects like barbed wire and bloodchief ascension as win cons for the slow bleed kill or should I jam some creatures to smash? I'm actually finding this to be a real challenge, and I'm finding out that I'm kinda sadistic personally because I seem to enjoy things that my opponents greatly dislike. And honestly I wanna have a fun game with friends not a single game and my friends dont play any more.
It's only just the beginning stages but I'd really appreciate some input.


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 8:03 am 
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Joined: 2007-Mar-28 12:38 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Omaha
"Stax" at its heart exists to win the game by making the opponent unable to play. It's a great strategy to win, but an awful strategy for a social game.

Playing a "Punisher" strategy is a way to have the feeling of playing a "cruel" game that doesn't force your opponents to watch you play solitaire. I would much rather lose 35 life to a Painful Quandary and Marchesa's Decree, then die to a random 6/6 than say, sit with no lands and creatures that can't swing into a Ghostly Prison until my opponent draws Debt to the Deathless or whatever, even if the end result is "me losing a game of EDH."

Opinion (as always, grain of salt): As far as slow bleed v. jamming creatures: A mix of each might be ideal. Go heavier on the slow bleed, if that's what you like, but including a pile of creatures that can close up the game a little quicker when necessary will work wonders. Creature combat is inherently interactive- -even when you're getting (figuratively or literally) overrun.

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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 8:18 am 
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Joined: 2012-Feb-07 4:15 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
#1 rule above all that applies to all commander decks, not just STAX decks: mutual interaction. Setting up a winning lock should feel like building a powerful machine, not shooting a stun gun. It should be possible to interact with you board up to every point (with of course increasing difficulty) before you get to your "I win" board state.

The flipside is also true. Your gameplan should be able to thrive and function in between the extremes of "I get to play the game and nobody else does" and "Everyone else gets to play the game and I don't". That is the single reason most people hate Stax, and also why a lot of people don't like playing it. Many Stax decks are of the sort that contribute nothing to the game if answered early and aggressively, and turn into a game of solitaire if not answered immediately.

Follow that #1 rule, and everything else will fall into place really well. "Is (insert card here) something people would enjoy playing against?" If it follows the above description, probably.

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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 9:53 am 

Joined: 2019-May-18 11:12 pm
Age: Wyvern
Thanks for the thoughtful replies. I appreciate the help.


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 10:00 am 
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Joined: 2009-Nov-12 10:51 am
Age: Drake
I think the way you're going about it seems pretty fair. Naturally, players might still gang up on you if you start becoming too much of a pain, but if they still can cast their cards and untap their lands a stax deck isn't so bad. Having some direct wincons as well in the deck, so that if you're ahead so much that you're poised to win you can do so relatively quickly would also be recommended - one of the worst parts against playing against stax is when they don't have a win con or you have to sit around for several turns for them to find one.

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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 10:28 am 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
To reiterate what has already been said, Stax is about preventing play. EDH is about playing (as opposed to tournament magic which is about winning).

I've found in the last 20+ years that here are a decent number of people that actually enjoy Piloting a Stax deck (which I would venture is less than the number of people who play a Stax deck); but there is a significantly smaller number of people who enjoy playing against Stax (though I have met a few who "enjoy the challenge of breaking a lock" (their words, not mine).

Discard is only "Stax" when the deck's goal is to make sure the opponent never has any cards in hand, though many players will dislike a deck with a significant amount of discard. Especially if it is not symmetrical.

If you can find a playgroup filled with people in the second category... go for it.

RonB wrote:
The commander is mogis, God of slaughter, and the deck is full of enchantments that either protect me in one form or fashion ,or punish my opponents actions without preventing gameplay. Things like manabarbs, instead of winter orb, or the curses that make zombies and gold tokens instead of ghostly prison and propaganda effects.
I'm considering discard effects like painful Quandary, but I'm not sure if that's to "unfun". Should I go with effects like barbed wire and bloodchief ascension as win cons for the slow bleed kill or should I jam some creatures to smash? I'm actually finding this to be a real challenge, and I'm finding out that I'm kinda sadistic personally because I seem to enjoy things that my opponents greatly dislike. And honestly I wanna have a fun game with friends not a single game and my friends dont play any more.
It's only just the beginning stages but I'd really appreciate some input.


That isn't Stax, that is punisher. Punisher is about choices (usually lose/lose choices) but can also include "all in, "pay-to-play" and "chaos-ish" punisher cards.

Examples:
Lose/lose - Choice of Damnations, Goblin War Cry, Combustible Gearhulk, Angel's Trumpet
All in - War's Toll, Tectonic Instability, Mana Web, Grand Melee, Invasion Plans, Disrupt Decorum
Pay-to-play - Manabarbs, Ankh of Mishra, Underworld Dreams, Farsight Mask
Chaos-ish (not just "chaos," but punisher cards that affect opponent's strategy/tactics) - Risky Move, Storm Cauldron, Teferi's Puzzle Box

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Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 12:48 pm 
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Joined: 2011-Feb-07 3:37 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Location: Danbury, CT
To piggy-back on what Treamayne, Stax and Punisher are inverse strategies. If Stax is about preventing people from playing, Punisher is about encouraging people to play (and then making them suffer for it). If I can engage in some relentless self-promotion, check out this Kaervek the Merciless deck https://tappedout.net/mtg-decks/kaervek-group-slug-4/

The list is stacked with board wipes, but it's also running a ton of wheel effects to refill everyone's hand. It's like you're saying, "Hey, sorry I killed all your stuff. Maybe this time will be different! Play out your hand (preferably into some Kaervek the Merciless triggers)! It'll be great!"

...

If you decide to play a true Stax build, my suggestion would be to pick something that can win the game quickly. Frequently, the worst part of Stax is how long it takes for the game to end, even once it's nominally "over." The W/X deck lists are kinda the worst at this... a lot of times their only actual "win" is the general plus swords, and it takes a 10 turns to actually kill everyone. I like G/B as stax colors for this reason; green and black have the best tools for murdering the table, so decks like Nath or Mazirek can mop up pretty quickly. (Wave of Vitriol with Mazirek and a couple other dorks in play? Game goes by quick...)

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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 2:14 pm 

Joined: 2019-May-18 11:12 pm
Age: Wyvern
This is all awesome insight thanks everyone!
I appreciate the help. This leads to a second question: how much staxs is to much? And which peices should I avoid in the name of fun? Some obvious ones in my opinion would be winter/static orb those 2 cards have earned me more groans than anything else by quite a wide margin. Would something like blood clock/ umbilicus be ok as they feel more punishment than stax, would tangle wire and smoke stacks be to much? Maybe I should just commit to the punishment style and go deep on wound reflection and pain magnification. Actually maybe just the whole rakdos colored curse package would be ok. Opinions?


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 2:30 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Jul-18 9:59 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
Blood clock is not stax at all - when your opponents get to reuse their Eternal Witness every turn, that gets old real quick :P

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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-20 9:08 pm 
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Joined: 2010-Dec-10 12:16 pm
Age: Elder Dragon
RonB wrote:
This is all awesome insight thanks everyone!
I appreciate the help. This leads to a second question: how much staxs is to much? And which peices should I avoid in the name of fun? Some obvious ones in my opinion would be winter orb/static orb those 2 cards have earned me more groans than anything else by quite a wide margin. Would something like blood clock/ umbilicus be ok as they feel more punishment than stax, would tangle wire and smoke stacks be to much? Maybe I should just commit to the punishment style and go deep on wound reflection and pain magnification. Actually maybe just the whole rakdos colored curse package would be ok. Opinions?


Personal list in order of least to most annoying:
Pillowfort - "You can't attack me" cards e.g. Constant Mists (Combat Damage prevention lock), Propaganda (Tax to attack), Island Sanctuary (Can't attack)
Restriction - "only" cards e.g. Silent Arbiter (Attack or block with "only" one), Teferi ("only" cast as sorcery), Rule of Law ("Only" cast 1/turn)
Tax - "Pay more" cards e.g. God-Pharaoh's Statue (tax cost), Rhystic Study (tax choice of cost - mana or card count), Invoke Prejudice (tax cost and lock), Blind Obedience (taxes by time or resources to untap)
Can't - players/opponents "cant" <something> e.g. Orbs,
Wipe Lock - removal all of a type of permanent (creature/land) then making so they can't keep that in play. Most of these are combo-based and require more than one card, but the elements themselves should be considered independently. e.g. Death Pits, Grave Pact and "Sac every turn" effects, MLD and land lock

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HK

Hazezon Tamar - Manland theme
Seshiro the Anointed - Snake Tribal
Jedit Ojanen of Efrava - Cat and Warrior Dual Tribal
Doran, the Seige Tower - Wall Tribal
Progenitus - Hydra themed Proliferate Deck
Karona, the False God - Backstabbing Hug


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jun-29 10:34 pm 

Joined: 2019-May-18 11:12 pm
Age: Wyvern
Update:
Cards are in, deck is in a playable state, and I spent the weekend with my playgroup! So far it's really fun and isnt oppressive.
Commander: mogis, God of slaughter
Lands:
7 basic swamps, 5 basic mountains, 12 duals, command tower, 5 cycle lands, bojuka bog, e. Wilds, terramorphic exp., warped and myriad landscape
Ramp:
Sol ring, wayfarer's bauble, fellwar stone, command sphere, darksteel ingot, worn powerstone, chromatic lantern, and solemn simulacrum
Instant and sorcery:
Syphon mind, bedevil, unlicensed disintegration, dreadbore, hero's downfall, terminate, never//return, and chain reaction
Creatures:
Zo-zu the punisher, xantcha sleeper agent, fate unraveled, grim guardian, forgeborn oreads, rampaging ferocidon, kaervek the Merciless, kederekt parasite, thoughtrender lamia, dread, erebos God of the dead and cunning lethemancer
Enchantments:
Torment of scarab, manabarbs, desolation, pain magnification, burning earth, lim-dul's hex, dictate of the twin gods, megrin, Honden of infinite rage, furnace of rath, impatience, waste not, aether flash, death pits of rath, power surge, tainted aether, Lillian's caress, captive audience, Vance's blasting cannons, outpost siege, theater of horrors, creeping dread, painful Quandary, curse of bloodletting, quest for pure flame, necrogen mists, honden of nights reach, underworld dreams, no mercy, bottomless pit, wound reflection, polluted bonds, spellshock, sulfuric vortex.
Artifacts(non-mana rock): barbed wire, ankh of mishra, geths grimoire

Thoughts? Also my playgroup is relatively new players from my LGS, trying to keep in the 5-7 out of 10 range.
I took out bloodchief ascension and mindcrank, it goes off to fast. Also took out everlasting torment, it let people kill my gods.


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 Post subject: Re: how do I build a stax deck that's fun?
AgePosted: 2019-Jul-11 4:47 am 

Joined: 2014-Apr-03 3:46 am
Age: Drake
I actually I think that stax is the hero edh needs. Too many people just play these dumb ramp decks that do nothing but ramp into dumb stuff and run interaction only to protect their dumb stuff.

Edh wants to think of itself as a "social format" but when you look at the top 10 most played cards it's mostly just non interactive ramp spells. Compare this to any other format and you get a completely different results.


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