With Grand Prix Seattle right around the corner last month’s Banned and Restricted list announcement might actually impact Legacy:
BLACK VISE is unbanned.
When I first read the B&R announcement I was a bit shocked. In many ways, I had forgotten that this card even existed as it has been banned ever since I can remember. Also, thus far none of the recent unbannings in Legacy have made much of an impact on the format.
I admire Wizards for being a little risky with this one. I believe Black Vise will definitely see play, but I don’t see it worthy of being banned. Some of the other cards the DCI has recently unbanned were kind of silly to even be on the list. However, there is some real risk involved with Vise because it is a very powerful card.
The most obvious use of this card would be in burn but thus far none of the burn decks in top 8s of any meaningful tournament have given it a shot – or at least placed. I definitely think this is a mistake, and I generally think most burn decks aren’t optimally built.
My mind does not work like everyone else’s. The first deck that came to mind was my favorite deck of all time.
3 Forsaken City
4 Misty Rainforest
3 Polluted Delta
2 Back to Basics
3 Cursed Totem
The misconception people have on Stasis is that you have to completely lock out your opponent to win. Now that Black Vise is legal, this is definitely not the case. Black Vise really puts the heat on your opponent, as you usually only need to keep Stasis in play for 5 or 6 turns.
Forsaken City is semi- lock with Stasis that is only really vulnerable to opposing WASTELAND. I tested splashing red for RAL ZAREK but that was just awful. JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR costs the same price, and you get way more for your investment. Let us go over some of the card choices:
Stasis: The name of the deck. You want to get one in play in order to lock down your opponent’s ability to do much of anything.
Black Vise: This is your main win condition. Turn 1 vise with nothing else is generally worth 4 to 5 damage all by itself. The key is that once Stasis hits the board that your opponent becomes unable to actually cast their spells and thus their hand size can’t decrease.
Daze: This card usually only sees play in tempo based decks. This deck is the exception; Daze was built for Stasis. Every untapped land for your opponent has is worth a ton of value because that is the resource you are trying to control. It is also amazing that you can pick up one of your lands and replay it next turn, which buys us another turn of paying the upkeep for Stasis.
Typically, Daze is a bad topdeck late in the game for most decks. Not the case for Stasis. It is often a hardcounter and a Time Walk!
Chain Of Vapor: This card is extremely good in Stasis. You mainly want to do this on your opponents end step to return your Stasis to your hand. Once you do this, you can untap all of your mana and reset the Stasis lock for another 5 or so turns. Don’t forget, you can bounce your Stasis, sacrifice a land and return one of their threats to their hand along with Stasis.
Ancestral Vision: This card is great as your goal is to stall out the game as long as possible Don’t forget, if you have 2 Black Vise going, you can always have them draw the 3 cards. This happens more often than you would think.
Thwart: Another free counterspell. This one also can help you keep Stasis going an extra 3 turns. You don’t want more than one in your deck due to that you can’t really cast it without a Stasis on the battlefield.
Misdirection: Notice a theme? You don’t want to have to pay mana for your spells. This is also one of the few ways to interact with ABRUPT DECAY.
Standstill: If you have a Vise in play, they can’t just sit there. Also, you can break a Standstill when it is convenient with a couple of Black Vises. Once my opponent responded to my cracking e Standstill by cracking it themselves to avoid drawing 3 cards.
JACE, THE MIND SCULPTOR
Jace, The Mind Sculptor: This is your alternate win condition in case they manage to deal with all of your Black Vise. Jace is just great for so many reasons.
Ponder/Brainstorm: Pretty straight forward as they clean up your draws. Brainstorm is just broken in general. The only down side of Brainstorm in Mono Blue Stasis is that you have to run the Fetch Lands to fully utilize its power.
Force of Will: This and Brainstorm are the two main reasons to play blue. There are some decks with turn 1 or 2 wins and it is great to have an answer to an early threat, and it helps protect your Stasis later in the game.
The Manabase: This deck is going for the basic islands, making you have one of the more solid manabases in Legacy. The only reason you run Fetch Lands is to get the most out of your Brainstorms. Forsaken City allows you to exile a card in your hand to keep Stasis going indefinitely. However, this card is vulnerable to Wasteland.
Legacy sideboards are extremely fluid. You need to decide this yourself, and copying a Legacy Sideboard from anywhere is usually wrong. That said, here are the reasons behind my current sideboard configuration.
2X Back to Basics: Any deck that can afford to sideboard this card, probably should. So many decks are all non-basic, or mostly non-basic.
3X Chill: Depending on your metagame, you might want the 4th Chill. This card is so good because the red decks are so low on mana, and if you have a Stasis going, it is nearly impossible for them to cast anything, even FIREBLAST.
3X Submerge: There are many creature tempo decks with green in Legacy, the most common of which is Temur Delver. Submerge is a 0 mana removal spell. One of the strengths of the deck is that it plays as many “free” spells as possible and the sideboard really extends this trend.
2X Flusterstorm: This is just another great card in a permission fight. Fluster allows you to have more permission than any other deck.
2X Propaganda: Any creature based strategies get very annoyed by this card. You want to tap out your opponent to lock them out. This also keeps their cards in hand for your Black Vise
3X Cursed Totem: Elves is one of the worst matchups for Stasis. However, Cursed Totem simply wrecks them. They can’t even use mana abilities with this in play. Nice DRYAD ARBOR you got there!
If I know Magic Players, they love to hate. This is the original hate deck from 1995, and I am very excited to have it back as a contender. There is no better feeling for a hater than to see your opponent sitting there with a full grip being helpless! It gives me goosebumps when they have to decide which card to discard during their end step.
Why choose Stasis you might ask? The “Stasis Combo” requires few narrow cards comparatively, allowing you to amp up on permission and sideboard cards. Miracles can be weak against combo because it is so reliant on counterbalance. Miracles is looking to fight the creature based –strategies; whereas a Stasis in play will thwart any beat down plan.
This deck is very good against combo, as they can’t sit there under a vise trying to build up enough resources to “Go Off”. They also can’t tap out early for fear of a Stasis, in addition to all of your card advantage and permission to stop an early combo kill. To top it off, this deck is fighting a very different axis than the rest of the decks. Traditional combo hate cards don’t really affect your plans.
As a bonus, if you are a burn player, you might want to test out this Vise Burn list:
4 Goblin Guide
4 Monestary Swiftspear
4 Eidolon of the Great Revel
1 Grim Lavamancer
4 Chrome Mox
4 Bloodstained Mire
Chrome Mox does not see enough play. Even though you are 2 for 1ing yourself, using that resource a turn earlier and having the speed is worth it. Drawing Chrome Mox or Black Vise late game can be bad; but don’t forget that topdecking a mountain is most likely bad as well. The upside is that Chrome Mox and Black Vise trigger MONASTERY SWIFTSPEAR. Vise Burn is still a work in progress, but it just shows you the potential of Black Vise.
I am excited to see what other Black Vise decks people can come up with. Perhaps an Affinity deck with Black Vise? Please post any comments or questions!
Why ral zarek is awful on this list? Do we have an update for this year?
What makes Ral awful with stasis deck? Do we have an updated list for this year?
Doug Azzano says:
The problem with that is Veldalken Mastermind is a creature. Most decks have some kind of creature removal, and against this deck creature removal is a blank.
Forsaken City is just a land and almost a hard lock against decks without wasteland. Definitely a must play in any sort of Stasis Deck.
I've been messing around with a brew that bounces stasis using vedalken mastermind on their end step. This way you still get an untap. I might give forsaken city a try.
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