Legacy UW Stoneblade Primer – Fact not Fiction with Michael Maxwell

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Fact not Fiction – The Winners and Losers from Pro Tour Paris by Michael Maxwell

 

Pro Tour Dark Ascension is in the books, and now there will be the typical flood of analysis articles, tournament reports (I did awesome look how sweet my deck was), more tournament reports (I did terrible but look how sweet my deck was), and ‘what’s going to be good in the next few weeks‘ articles. So instead of adding to that I thought I’d give you something a bit different – a primer on U/W Stoneblade in Legacy.

After the dominance of Caw-blade in Standard it didn’t take people long to realise that Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Stoneforge Mystic are easily good enough for Legacy, and U/W Stoneblade has, for the better part of a year now, been one of the best performing and most popular decks at the StarCityGames Open Series. The addition of Snapcaster Mage has only made the deck stronger.

So here is a breakdown of a typical U/W Stoneblade deck for you. As I see it, the core of the deck, which I would pretty much never change at this moment in time, is this:

4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Batterskull

24 lands, including:

4 manlands (Mutavault/Mishra’s Factory)
4-6 basics (at least 1 Plains)
7-9 fetches
4 Tundra
2-4 utility lands (Wasteland, Academy Ruins, Riptide Laboratory)

Which comes to 54 cards. the other 6 cards are some combination of the following:

1 other equipment (Umezawa’s Jitte, Sword of Feast and Famine, Sword of Fire and Ice)
1-2 Elspeth, Knight Errant
2-3 other counterspells (Counterspell, Spell Pierce or Mana Leak)
1 Vendilion Clique
3-4 Ancestral Vision
1-2 Spellstutter Sprite

From those I think you definitely want a second equipment and at least 2 other counterspells.

Common sideboard options include:

For graveyard decks:

Purify the Grave
Surgical Extraction
Tormod’s Crypt

For combo:

Spell Pierce
Vendilion Clique
Mindbreak Trap
Fusterstorm

For aggro/midrange:

Path to Exile
Wrath of God
Engineered Explosives
Umezawa’s Jitte
Timely Reinforcements
Elspeth, Knight Errant

For control:

Elspeth, Knight Errant
Geist of St Traft
Crucible of Worlds
Jace, the Mind Sculptor

General options:

Disenchant
Oblivion Ring
Wasteland
Trinket Mage (if playing [card]Phantasmal Image">Tormod’s Crypt and EE)
[card]Phantasmal Image
(to kill legends mainly)

So given all that here’s the list I played for the last few months:

4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
2 Spell Snare
2 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Vendilion Clique
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Counterspell
3 Ancestral Vision
4 Mutavault
2 Tundra
2 Riptide Laboratory
1 Academy Ruins
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Misty Rainforest
2 Plains
4 Island

SB:

2 Spell Pierce
2 Elspeth, Knight Errant
2 Path to Exile
1 Wrath of God
1 Vendilion Clique
2 Phantasmal Image
2 Purify the Grave
1 Trinket Mage
1 Tormod’s Crypt
1 Engineered Explosives

There a few things to note about this list:

No Wastelands – this deck has quite a lot to do compared with most decks with a lot of mana (Batterskull, hardcast Force of Will, Riptide lab tricks) so trading off a land for one of theirs doesn’t excite me that much. Its quite possible that I’m wrong here, since Wastelands can completely manascrew some decks in Legacy, so feel free to try them out if you want to.

Wizards subtheme – Riptide Lab is mainly to bounce Snapcaster Mage, but can also bounce Vendilion Clique, Mutavault and Spellstutter Sprite. There’s also Trinket Mage after board. You could easily cut Spellstutters though and at that point Mishra’s Factory is probably better than Mutavault.

Lands – I only own 2 Tundras, and the Academy Ruins is probably not that good – certainly not if you cut the artifacts from the board. Having access to a reasonable number of basics is important so you can fetch them against decks playing Wasteland. I like having 2 basic Plains so I can cast Elspeth and Wrath after the board through multiple Wastelands. In fact I can’t state this strongly enough – build your deck, keep hands, and fetch lands in a way that means you can beat multiple Wastelands.

Wrath of God is much better than Day of Judgment since Thrun is a card green decks will bring in against you. Seriously, if you ever get caught with Day in hand against Thrun you wont be happy.

Keep an eye on how good Spell Snare is game 1. Its insane against most decks but there will be times you’ll want to board them out if they have no good 2 drops.

Counterspell might want to be Mana Leak, as having triple blue to flash back Counterspell with Snapcaster can be pretty tricky.

You don’t really have any way of interacting with artifacts and enchantments. Legacy is so diverse that you cant really prepare for everything, so having a generic answer like Disenchant or Oblivion Ring is never the worst thing.

One of the things I like about this deck is that you don’t have many terrible matchups. One exception is probably dredge, but to consistently beat it you need to devote 5-6 sideboard slots to graveyard hate and I’d rather just try and dodge it/draw one of the few pieces of hate I have.

Current List:

There is also the option of splashing a colour, usually red, which was an option I tried out at a small Legacy event last Sunday with this list:

4 Stoneforge Mystic
4 Snapcaster Mage
4 Brainstorm
4 Force of Will
4 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
3 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
3 Vendilion Clique
1 Batterskull
1 Sword of Feast and Famine
1 Umezawa’s Jitte
2 Counterspell
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant

3 Mishra’s Factory
2 Tundra
1 Riptide Laboratory
4 Flooded Strand
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Misty Rainforest
1 Plains
3 Island
2 Volcanic Island
3 Wasteland

SB:

2 Spell Pierce
1 Elspeth, Knight Errant
2 Grim Lavamancer
1 Wrath of God
3 Pyroblast
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Crucible of Worlds
1 Engineered Explosives
2 Geist of St Traft

Red gives you access to mainly Pyroblast/Red Elemental Blast but also Grim Lavamancer. Green would usually be for Krosan Grip, and black gives you Dark Confidant. Adding a third colour also makes the range of things you can destroy with Engineered Explosives much greater. Pyroblast was awesome throughout the tournament but I’m not sure if Grim Lavamancer is better than Path to Exile. Geist of St Traft was also fairly underwhelming. I would probably cut them for another Engineered Explosives and a fourth Jace.

So, there’s a primer on U/W Stoneblade, which has hopefully given you a good understanding of how the deck operates and the types of card you can expect to face when playing against this deck. If you liked this article and would like to see more legacy content let me know in the comments and I’ll get on it.

Thanks for reading (and wish me luck in GP Lille this weekend!),

Michael Maxwell

 

 

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