Creating a Stax Ban List

Commander Deck Help forum

Posted on May 16, 2019, 12:28 p.m. by bryanedds


My local group is trying to come up with a list of stax cards to ban. Is there an existing ban list by people trying to do the same? If not, what stax cards would you include if you were to locally ban stax?


UPDATE: Current list is posted here - Local Stax Ban List.

exec-MTG says... #2

Sadly Stax it's a very unfriendly way to play, but isn't mean that it's not viable to be used in a playgroup, if a Deck it's full focused to Stax it should be considered to a "change" in a group that it's focused into play fun and interactives matches, i don't think there's a "List of banned Stax Cards" but i know some cards that are not that oppresive and others that are very f* annoying cards like: Blind Obedience or Authority of the Consuls even for full creatures decks just slowthem down but not at the point to can't play the cards

But refeer to this list to analyze with your group: [LIST] EDH STAX Cards

May 16, 2019 12:42 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #3

First, what do you mean be stax?

There are tons of types. Often, it is in reference to a few, but there are tons.

Land destruction/land hate is a common type, but it is massive in scale is style:

Ravages of War , Armageddon , Ruination , Winter Orb , Back to Basics , Impending Disaster , Wildfire , Myojin of Infinite Rage , Decree of Annihilation , Cataclysm , Jokulhaups , Tectonic Break , Obliterate , etc.

This bleeds into more blurry lines, like Boil , which isn't necessarily land hate, but is color hate, or Blood Moon / Contamination , which are considered stax too.

Tax effects are plentiful too, Trinisphere , Nether Void , Sphere of Resistance , etc. are often considered staxy, Grand Arbiter Augustin IV , Thalia, Guardian of Thraben , Vryn Wingmare , Glowrider , Thorn of Amethyst etc. are taxing, but so are Pendrell Mists , Magus of the Tabernacle , The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale , Kataki, War's Wage , etc. count too.

Even color hate like High Seas can count in that department, etc.

Point is, I've barely scratched the surface of the basic stax cards, not to mention synergies like Brago, King Eternal with Rishadan Cutpurse , etc.

I don't think you can ban stax.

May 16, 2019 12:51 p.m.

PlattBonnay says... #4

The best way to ban Stax is to say to the Stax player “hey man, we don’t like playing those kinds of games here, do you have another deck that you could play?”

May 16, 2019 12:53 p.m.

GhostChieftain says... #5

Are all other players just playing aggro with creatures that do nothing? Although stax is a form of control, having some cards with controlling aspects is the way to stop it. Some example cards that stop a lot of staxy things:

Harmonic Sliver and Reclamation Sage kill so many individual stax permanents and still give you a permanent. Any spell that destroys artifact and/or enchantments is awesome to have.

Board wipes like Crux of Fate or Blasphemous Act are also great for getting a stax player down. There are plenty of creature wipes as well as wipes that get other permanent types. Austere Command , Bane of Progress , and Cyclonic Rift come to mind.

Counter magic is the best way to stop literally anything. A well timed Counterspell can potentially ruin a player's next 3 turns.

Banning stax is one way to make it stop, but if someone is playing an opressive deck any other players can and should gang up on them so they have a better chance

May 16, 2019 1:14 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #6

GhostChieftain you know that the most popular stax lists aren't artifact/enchantment based?

In cEDH, Brago flicker using cards like Rishadan Cutpurse , Rishadan Footpad , etc. and Tana/Tymna blood pod with Thalia, Guardian of Thraben , Kataki, War's Wage , etc. all are creatures.

Outside of cEDH, decks like hatebears in Gaddock Teeg shells, etc. are popular, what does Harmonic Sliver do against them xD

May 16, 2019 1:18 p.m.

GhostChieftain says... #7

SynergyBuild, take a look at your first comment. 1/3 of the cards you mentioned are artifact or enchantment based. In fact, you mentioned one less creature in your first comment than you did artifacts/enchantments. I understand that artifacts arent the lions share of stax cards, but to me they are some of the more opressive ones (especially in a non cEDH group like I assume this is) because creatures tend to be easier to get rid of than non creature permanents. I also mentioned that ways to kill creatures is a good thing, and counterspells are a good thing. I simply started with non creature removal and it seems as though you got fixated on that.

I don't disagree with anything you have said in the least bit (in fact I quite respect your opinions from other things I have seen on the site), but I feel as though my other points of counterspells, mass removal, and working together to stop oppressive decks have been overlooked entirely.

May 16, 2019 1:41 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #8

I just went over the first that came to mind, do you really think that is all of the stax cards?

May 16, 2019 1:44 p.m.

goodair says... #9

A lil stax is healthy for casual EDH. cEDH anything goes. But if someone plays a Armageddon for his laughs and then proceeds to just do nothing for the rest of the game, that is a deck/player problem, not stax.

Stax is literally proactive control and can be dealt with accordingly. The only thing is players in the pod should know better than to go full blown stax in a more casual setting. (removal shouldn't be overloaded to a point where they cant deal with more important upcoming threats) Some stax pieces affect certain archtypes and are innefective vs other.

Not everyone will have the same opinion. What I don't understand is how people conplain about combo, and then conplain about stax, the way to slow down combo so "fair decks" have a chance to breath. (mostly see the complaints on reddit). Again, there is a limit on how much/what type of stax to run depending on the playgroups power level.

Tldr: Instead of coming up with a ban list, players should just have common sense on what is and reasonable to run within the group. It's a social format and if a ban list is what you guys agree on, just keep in mind on some things we brought up.

May 16, 2019 2 p.m. Edited.

Of course I don't think those are all. If those were the ones that came to mind it is likely because those are relatively common ones. If 1/3 of the ones you come up with off the top of your head fit one of my 3 points, I don't think my point can be easily invalidated. I will actually go back a bit in my saying it is not the lions share because it certainly is now that I do some more thinking. It is just more common as creatures in the most powerful decks.

May 16, 2019 2 p.m.

bryanedds says... #11

I suppose I would loosely define stax as cards intended to lock players who use common lines of play out of the game - not just to slow people down a bit, but to keep them from playing entirely for as long as possible.

May 16, 2019 2:09 p.m.

bryanedds says... #12

Alternatively, we can just list the cards that are 'most' stax, and then pick an arbitrary cut off point.

May 16, 2019 2:11 p.m.

goodair says... #13

Do whatever your group agrees on.

May 16, 2019 4:17 p.m.

shadow63 says... #14

Why not just tell the stax player to turn it down a bit?

May 16, 2019 4:44 p.m.

bushido_man96 says... #15

Or you could Archenemy the Stax player.

May 16, 2019 7:24 p.m.

DerektheRed says... #16

bryanedds - while I generally agree with the other commenters (especially goodair), I'll share what our playgroup does: no hard 'bans', but we do have an informal list of cards that aren't fun and people generally don't run them. As you say, they are mostly cards intended to lock out players entirely; a good example is Iona, Shield of Emeria . We also discourage things that slow the game waaayyy down like Winter Orb , Orb of Dreams and Spirit of the Labyrinth / Eidolon of Rhetoric . We also discourage decks with both tutors and infinite combos, but are fine with one or the other. Last, like most casual groups, we don't typically run any mass land destruction. IMO this approach is much preferable to 'banning' cards that are otherwise perfectly legal in EDH.

May 16, 2019 10:35 p.m.

DerektheRed says... #18

My group would have a problem with Contamination; other than that, these cards are all fine. I think Winter Orb and any other card that says "players don't untap lands" are obnoxious because they usually mean a long, boring game. But if someone has a strategy to play them and then win... hey, that's what removal is for.

Erayo, Soratami Ascendant is banned in commander.

May 17, 2019 2:14 a.m.

bryanedds says... #19

Ah, I'll sub out Erayo for Iona then. Thx!

May 17, 2019 2:24 a.m.

bryanedds says... #20

I went ahead an made an official list here -

It's still open to suggestions, of course.

May 17, 2019 2:30 a.m.

bryanedds says... #21

May 17, 2019 2:31 a.m.

Leovold is also banned in commander

May 17, 2019 8:51 a.m.

DerektheRed says... #23

Forgot he was banned entirely; for some reason I thought he was only banned as commander.

May 17, 2019 9:01 p.m.

SynergyBuild says... #24

DerektheRed banned as commander is not a thing in EDH. It has a unified banlist.

May 18, 2019 8:31 a.m.

DerektheRed says... #25

Ah, true. I play with people who allow banlist flexibility on a case by case basis, so I sometimes forget that’s only a house rule.

May 18, 2019 6:33 p.m.

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