Stoneforge Mystic: how to use it in modern?

Modern forum

Posted on Feb. 28, 2019, 1:48 a.m. by ToolmasterOfBrainerd

Personally, I don't think it's a matter of if, but rather a matter of when Stoneforge Mystic will be unbanned. If you think it's too powerful for modern you are free to do so; I'm not really interested in debating that.

What I am interested in doing is brewing some decklists for modern that use stoneforge mystic. If you have ideas on good shells, card combos, or even want to make and post full decklists, I'm interested in seeing how you would use stoneforge mystic. In particular, I want to make a spell-based multi-colored midrange or control deck around it but have not been successful yet.

I've tried making a few decklists myself but they frankly suck because I'm too sentimental with my card choices.

Vman says... #2

Well the death and taxes community has been begging for SFM unban for years so they can finally be tier 1. UW control has more and more started to look like the OG Draw-go that ended up becoming the dreaded caw-blade so i guess it might see play there too.

Equipment wise im pretty sure it would be Batterskull

February 28, 2019 4:27 a.m.

Icbrgr says... #3

Jeskai could be neat. Lots of available control tempo spells in those colors along with many possible tutors with middle the mixture and others... saheeli raised could be cool...along with haste enablers like Expedite as well as protection from spot removal with Robe of Mirrors and a few copies of Lightning Greaves "to boot."

I tend to agree with Batterskull probably being the primary target for equipment.

February 28, 2019 8:49 a.m. Edited.

Boza says... #4

The problem is this - outside of Batterskull , there is no other good equipment and even batterskull is at best a t3 4/4 lifelink, vigilance stick. Additionally, swords of X and Y will be a good idea too - UR and GB swords are the best, as they produce straight CA.

Jitte will not be unbanned, so the best equipment is out of reach. And modern does not have good cards to equip to like True-Name Nemesis .

I think it has applications in Boggles and D&T and Cawlbade will obviously be back in full force with JTMS now unbanned, thus UW Miracle control.

February 28, 2019 8:56 a.m.

wolfhead says... #5

i've always felt that stoneforge could be really powerful in an "old school" affinity list, where she would basically be Cranial Plating 5-8. so definitely anything with Inkmoth Nexus for sure, and maybe a sword or batterskull just to diversify.

maybe shed be good in the Experimental Frenzy lists as a way to reset the top of the deck?

besides D&T i could also see her in some agro-ey lists, I'm sure shed show up in soul sisters,

but modern isn't kind to her, since her power really comes from jitte and true-name. id still love to brew with her, though

February 28, 2019 10:57 a.m.

DuTogira says... #6

Given how lackluster modern's "stick holders" are in general, I think SFM is either fetching up top-end equipment to close out games ( Batterskull specifically), OR specifically Sword of the Meek as a good tutor for that part of the thopter sword combo.
The swords of X and Y are good, but modern has too much good removal relative to the mana costs of the swords for me to believe they'll make a deck T1. Assassin's Trophy , Abrupt Decay , Cindervines , all creature removal in response to attempts to equip... I don't see the swords overcoming the huge tempo disadvantage that they represent when combined with the fact that you need to have a living, unequipped creature to equip them to. That's a huge ask in modern which STILL loses to a Reality Smasher .
I guess you could rock Mirran Crusader and Phyrexian Crusader with the swords and SFM, but at that point you're so all in on the equipment strategy that you're really playing B/W equipment midrange, and not any other strategy. I'm not sure that B/W equipment midrange is good enough to be a top tier deck. Don't get me wrong, it has all the potential (good removal from Path to Exile / Fatal Push , hand disruption from Black), but it lacks card draw, and that's a huge problem for a deck that's trying to put sticks on creatures. Your creatures start counting for 2 cards instead of 1, which makes a B/W midrange deck have to fight an uphill value battle against decks that will undoubtedly be faster.
Batterskull as a new control wincon is fine. Having 1-2 Vigilant, lifelinking beaters that can dodge relevant removal at instant speed is nuts for a control deck. Cheating those in for 2 at instant speed is definitely the nuts.
As far as thopter sword goes ( Sword of the Meek + Thopter Foundry )... The deck struggles to find its combo components in time, and being able to replace some of your Muddle the Mixture / Whir of Invention // Gifts Ungiven s (which are good cards but super slow tempo wise) with a body that blocks and tutors for just ? That sounds good, and might just be the push the deck needs to really hit the competitive scene.

February 28, 2019 4:30 p.m.

PlatinumOne says... #7

i think Umezawa's Jitte will eventually be unbanned as well, so thats the first obvious equipment. the "swords" cycle like Sword of Feast and Famine are also really good, especially on double strikers. modern has a ton of good creatures that can hold equipment, and just so many ways of "cheating" those equipment onto a creature, i'm honestly surprised someone hasn't figured out a way to break it already.

i'm honestly baffled by people here saying that modern doesn't have good equip users. theres Kor Duelist , Swiftblade Vindicator , Vault Skirge (an artifact creature that helps get metalcraft working for Puresteel Paladin or Mox Opal ), Champion of the Flame , Valduk, Keeper of the Flame , and Kazuul's Toll Collector .

lets say you have a double striker equipped with Sword of Feast and Famine , and a Sigarda's Aid in play. you attack, deal first strike damage, untap lands and opponent discards a card. then before normal damage is dealt you flash in an equip (such as a different sword), attach it to the creature for free, then deal normal damage and trigger the effects of both swords. seems good to me.

February 28, 2019 5:53 p.m.

DuTogira says... #8

PlatinumOne what if you don't have Sigarda's Aid in play? None of the equipment carriers that you just mentioned, save for maybe puresteel, are good enough to warrant playing on their own. An equipment deck needs to use its equipment to help already good creatures hit an even higher ceiling. I'd argue that the only creatures that modern has that fit that bill are Mirran Crusader and Phyrexian Crusader , MAYBE with Puresteel Paladin (but he's far better in Cheerios where he can be a draw engine). Maybe Sram, Senior Edificer makes its way into modern equipment lists too... but I'm gonna hold onto my skepticism because I've gotten stuck in modern goldfish bowls a few too many times to jump into a new one so eagerly.

February 28, 2019 6 p.m. Edited.

I've made some changes and now I've been having more luck with UWx builds. Spell Queller is actually really good for interacting with them and making a flying body to equip. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar is better than you'd expect. Sword of Feast and Famine is great because it allows you to slam a 4-drop planeswalker like Gideon or Jace and then untap your stuff and hold up Cryptic Command .

I've been trying out Jeskai, UW Miracles, and Esper.

Jeskai Stoneblade started as a Delver of Secrets  Flip deck because that's what I play in legacy. I've switched to Spell Queller since and I think it's a lot better. Lightning Bolt is good against the aggro field, but I suspect this deck will lose to BGx.

Esper Stoneblade gets access to turn 1 Inquisition of Kozilek and Thoughtseize . These effects are very good for clearing a turn 2 Stoneforge as well as for ripping equipment out of the opponent's hand on turn 3. And as long as you don't play too many it's entirely reasonable to have hand disruption and counterspells in the same stoneblade deck. In many ways Stoneforge is what allows those to work together. I'm not sure what the spell suite should be; is Supreme Verdict good enough for the mainboard? What about Lingering Souls ?

Stoneblade Miracles: Terminus is a very good magic card, but I'm not sure if this deck benefits from Stoneforge Mystic .

I'm going to try UW Death and Taxes next, and if that doesn't work mono-W D&T. UW gets Spell Queller , among other things. It was a legacy brew I saw awhile back and would like to try to port into modern.

February 28, 2019 6:33 p.m.

PlatinumOne says... #10

DuTogira: so what if i don't have Sigarda's Aid in play? that still leaves a double striker with a sword which is really good. i'd argue that every single creature i mentioned is absolutely good enough to use in a deck focused around use of equipment. Puresteel Paladin is 100% mandatory. you hold onto your skepticism if you want, i'll hold onto my optimism.

February 28, 2019 6:40 p.m.

DuTogira says... #11

PlatinumOne How'd you get that double striker with a sword? You pay full retail for the creature, sword, and equip cost? at the lowest? I'm not sold that your 6 mana double striking sword holder is worth 6 when it still dies to a TON of different things in modern.

February 28, 2019 7:13 p.m.

PlatinumOne I'm a skeptic because a very linear equipment aggro deck sounds easy to disrupt. When such a deck works it will hit really hard, but if the opponent plays removal on key pieces at the right time (which is not hard to do at all), you're in for a headache.

It might work, but a D&T deck is similar at a glance - it's a pile of creatures with a few equipment. The difference is that their creatures are Thalia, Guardian of Thraben and they can steamroll players just as well with or without equipment. And they're resilient to removal spells because each creature they play is powerful enough on its own to warrant a removal spell.

I'm becoming convinced that BW D&T is the way to go. They get some powerful stuff. Maybe mono-W would be better, but I'm liking BW right now.

February 28, 2019 7:16 p.m. Edited.

DuTogira says... #13

To add to ToolmasterOfBrainerd's argument: If linear equipment decks were good with modern's current suite of stick wielders, Boggles would be an S tier deck, because it has far better auras that create much more resilient creatures for far less mana than any modern equipment setup that isn't explicity cheerios.

February 28, 2019 7:20 p.m.

PlatinumOne says... #14

DuTogira i disagree entirely. the creatures meant to hold equips aren't going to be the same creatures meant to use enchantments. the aura's being "better" is subjective and debatable at best.

February 28, 2019 7:53 p.m.

Vman says... #15

Mono white might be the way to go. It has the consistency and the best creatures to protect themselves and carry a sword or more likely Batterskull . There tons and tons of threads regarding SFM and death and taxes.

Modern equipment is niche af. And fragile. Puresteel Paladin equipment or rhe cheerios variants have had success but only in smaller places. And that was a while back too.

If we loom at SFM success it came along standard caw-blade which had resiliance with Squadron Hawk . In legacy blade decks ( same story using resilient creatures) alongside protection. Ud want a deck with enough bodies, that can protect themselves even in small ways. And relevant equipment

February 28, 2019 7:57 p.m.

PlatinumOne if you'd like to throw a decklist together I'd be happy to give it a chance. Of course I understand that one brewer's attempt is not representative of a deck's full potential, but I'd still to see what you have in mind.

March 1, 2019 12:25 a.m.

lukas96 says... #17

PlatinumOne well no thats not subjective. Thats why bogles is a deck and there is no equipmnent beatdown deck. Thats also the reason why nobody figured out a way to break it. Equipments are way to slow.

March 1, 2019 12:32 a.m.

PlatinumOne says... #18

ToolmasterOfBrainerd: its a work in progress but i've had this list up for a while now.

lukas96: yes it is subjective. you can't just state that the worst aura is objectively better than the best equipment. equipments aren't slow if you build the deck properly. i've already listed multiple ways to get them onto creatures easily, but i'll do it again for you. Puresteel Paladin , Mox Opal , Sigarda's Aid , Kazuul's Toll Collector , Brass Squire .

March 1, 2019 12:54 a.m.

Boza says... #19

"i think Umezawa's Jitte will eventually be unbanned as well" - no, not really, the card is capable of breaking formats and I think wizards will sooner unban Dread Return than Jitte.

I played death and taxes in legacy and the only cases when I did not fetch Jitte with SFM were when I already had it in hand.

March 1, 2019 5:32 a.m. Edited.

lukas96 says... #20


well again no thats not subjective. You dont need additional cards to make auras work. There are tons of 1 and 2 cmc auras that are good in modern (well pretty much only in one deck but theres barely one equipment that is modern playable)

March 2, 2019 10:05 a.m.

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