Enchantment (1)

Introduction to Staxshifter

cEDH - Elder Dragon Highlander/Commander taken to its upmost competitive extremes, as the 'c' stands for competitive. Has its own metagame like any other competitive format.

Stax - A deck based around using cards that shut down or severely slow down decks attempting to win the game. Can also refer to the cards that a Stax deck runs. An example is Chalice of the Void shutting down a deck that has mostly one mana spells.

Hate - A stax card that attempts to stop a very specific strategy, like Rest in Peace against decks that run cards that use the graveyard.

MLD/Mass Land Destruction - As the name implies, MLD/Mass Land Destruction is whenever a card or ability destroys all lands, perhaps a lot of them. Examples in this deck are Armageddon and Death Cloud. Occasionally Smokestack or any card that can destroy any permanent types can be used as that, but aren't generally called MLD.

Parity - The equality of a card of ability, 'Breaking parity' is generally when you can stop an effect from hurting you as much, for example, in this deck you can use Aminatou, the Fateshifter to put a card you want on the top of your deck, so you don't have a chance discard it to an effect like Bottomless Pit, giving you more control over the random effect than your opponents.

Durdle - Do nothing, just sit there.

Esper - the Color combination for White, Blue, and Black.

This is Staxshifter, an esper, three-way based stax deck. Primarily blue-white, with some black stax too.

How this deck attempts to function is a little different than any individual stax deck I have seen before, yet is a lot like a collective of all three of the major stax types. Blue's reliance on countermagic and tap/untap effects, from Static Orb, Winter Orb, with the added benefit of being able to break parity on this effect by untapping your own lands or running primarily large mana sources. White uses mass land destruction like Armageddon, hate on specific archetypes with cards like Rest in Peace, and tax effects such as Glowrider, Vryn Wingmare, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and can tap the opposing cards with effects like Blind Obedience and Thalia, Heretic Cathar. Black stax decks tend to force sacrifices onto their opponents with effects like Grave Pact, as well as use land hate with cards like Contamination, and a lot of discard effects.

These three decks use different cards to break parity and have strengths and weaknesses. Blue is weak when not in a super-synergistic shell like Teferi, Temporal Archmage, which needs combo as well to really work, and without it would durdle too much. White takes a while to set up locks, and otherwise is just generally too dependent on the perfect hand, without tutors or card draw, and black's discard takes a while to get going, and only is really good against specific control decks, as a lot of the Midrange decks like Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, and Kess, Dissident Mage's slower variants can survive discard, using resources outside of their hand to combo out.

What is good about mixing these three? Well, you get a monstrous amalgamation of possibility, able to Staxshift into any meta. With access to the best and most destructive stax and hate from the last 25+ years of Magic: The Gathering, you can change this deck to beat any other. The current incarnation you see above this is just an example that is being worked on to fit the current cEDH meta. Later in this primer we shall list further decks variants on this.

I am SynergyBuild, an omniformat player of Magic: The Gathering who is deeply entrenched in working on cEDH brews and will help any new players. I have been recently working on a lot of decks that cost $20 or less for EDH, Modern, Legacy, Vintage, Standard, Pauper, etc.

And I am Dango, I used to be an omniformat player much like Synergy, but nowadays I primarily play EDH both competitively and casually. We decided to collaborate on this primer because Synergy originally drafted a budget Stax list for me with Aminatou at the helm because she is in my favorite color combination, but we soon found out that after some fine tuning with my variation of the list that she pairs incredibly well with a Stax gameplan, and my list effectively shuts out an overwhelming majority of my current metagame. This list is more of a well-rounded variation, but it can effectively be tuned to perform well in just about any meta you may face which makes this Staxshifter archetype a true powerhouse.

A Dive into Staxshifter

This deck seems to be most similar to The Chain Veil/Teferi, Temporal Archmage, a stax-combo commander that is extremely powerful in the current cEDH. This deck runs a commander that at half the cost does half the things, as Aminatou, the Fateshifter clearly only affects the top card rather than the top 2, and only flickers one thing rather than untapping 4, etc. It is Teferi's little sister, and she is about to try to overthrow her brother.

The good parts of Aminatou, the Fateshifter is that she can use / mana, really making her have an edge in terms of interaction in-color, stax, etc. She also flickers a permanent, and unlike untapping, that can reset counters on cards like Smokestack and Tangle Wire, as well as reset the counters and activation on our walkers. This is very powerful, and while it is a worse commander than Teferi in terms of effect on board, it's colors give it an edge in any situations. This is what spawns this deck to work.

A link to a powerful Teferi, Temporal Archmage is at Chain Veil Teferi, a deck made by LabManiac_Sigi, toss them a +1 if you want!

A huge reason that this deck shows promise is the ability to run one of, if not the harshest creature hate spells in the game, Humility. This card is insanely powerful, giving many decks nightmares, luckily, it couldn't easily be played. It is only effective in decks that:

A - Have white in them.

B - Weren't creature-based.

C - Had a reason to slow down the game, specifically a stax or permission list.

There were none, or extremely few decks that were in the cEDH ecosystem that could claim all of the above. Non-creature stax decks generally specified Daretti, Scrap Savant and Teferi, Temporal Archmage, two non-white commanders, as any creature-commander was weak to Humility excluding Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, who is weak in general. The other decks walker commanders used creatures, expect perhaps the Kenriths who are bad, and also not white.. The new commander 2018 decks gave us two more chances though. Estrid, the Masked, and Aminatou, the Fateshifter.

So, why not Estrid, the Masked? She seems to be able to untap stuff, and also has The Chain Veil combos, so why not her? Well, she is absurdly slow, placing masks, one per turn, untapping them, etc. All of that takes forever, and without card draw excluding the ultimate, and the fact that the untap is a + ability means going infinite activation, repeatedly recasting her from the zone is impossible without exterior cards, and ultimating her once uses the yard, so it isn't all that useful. Aminatou is also in black, which allows us to abuse much more in terms of tutors, as well as discard-oriented stax, sure the dorks in Green are good, and we could use them, but until they make a 5 color walker that is good with stax, Aminatou, the Fateshifter is what we have access to.

This goes for Toxic Deluge in black, and any other creature-hate spells in white/black that Teferi doesn't have access to, that we do. These cards are efficient in stax, but were widely inaccessible, and now are for us, giving Staxshifter another edge over other decks.

One downside to building a deck based against creature-strategies is, the lack of creatures. By running Torpor Orb, I'd rather not run a bunch of cards like Spellseeker, despite their inherent power.

This does mean against Tymna the Weaver/Tana, the Bloodsower Blood Pod that we can shut them off much easier, and really stop other creature-oriented decks, from Druid, Hulk, Boonweaver, Yisan, Azami, Thrasios combo lists, and many other decks. We stop almost all non-planeswalker commanders, and have hate against planeswalkers in the form of Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass, which can be flickered to change the type of hate we run, as well as be extremely powerful against non-planeswalker decks.

Our major way of winning the game is the following line:

Requirements on field: Tezzeret the Seeker, Aminatou, the Fateshifter

Requirements in deck or on field: Basalt Monolith, Rings of Brighthearth, Goblin Cannon

Use Tezzeret's -3 to fetch a Rings of Brighthearth, -1 Aminatou targeting Tezzeret, then -4 Tezzeret, copying the ability with Rings to fetch Basalt Monolith&Goblin Cannon, use Monolith&Rings to make infinite mana, stack infinite Cannon triggers killing each opponent.

There are other possible variations on this, such as fetching Sensei's Divining Top over Goblin Cannon to draw your deck if you don't have a Rule of Law effect on field, etc.


Commander / EDH* Dango


by Dango - This deck is made for Dango's meta, but is really powerful as is. Similar in essence to this deck, with some minor changes.

Aminatou Turbo-Stasis

Commander / EDH IAmTheWraith


by IAmTheWraith - This deck is more Stasis based, trying to fetch and abuse the card, running Kismet type effects to really push the advantage into absurdity.

Staxshifter, The Hardest Control

Commander / EDH SynergyBuild


by SynergyBuild - A testing ground that is currently the version on this list, just copied. This version of the deck doesn't have the expensive variants though.

Aminatou Staxshifter (Esper Stax Primer) copy

Commander / EDH SynergyBuild


by SynergyBuild - An older, test version of the deck with cards like Uba Mask, not very good, but isn't awful.

Aminatou, the Staxshifter

Commander / EDH SynergyBuild


by SynergyBuild - The first version of the staxshifter deck, made for Dango as a proof-of-concept, the worst version of the deck in my opinion, yet you can look back on it to see where this deck started.

Single Card Discussion

  • Aminatou, the Fateshifter - This card is a good card, synergizing a bit too much with the deck, being our way out of discard, card filtering, drawing us the cards we put on top using our tutors, flickering mana producing lands/artifacts to break parity under Stasis effects, and flicker cards like Pithing Needle, Tangle Wire or other stax effects to reuse them, and do the same for walkers, which gives me multiple activations, resetting their counters too. Truely a powerful commander.
  • Sphere of Resistance - We make a lot of excess mana so that we can pay for these types of effects, and tax effects let us much more often hinder our opponents than us. Slowing them turns occasionally, and even shutting off Food Chain combo from time to time.

  • Thorn of Amethyst - Just like Sphere of Resistance, this one just is worse, not hitting creatures.

  • Winter Orb - Keeping our opponents off of mana that would be used to cast responses, combos, etc. lets us win more often. Trying to slow down the game is good, and lets us build up our resources much more than the opposition mostly. Winter Orb is a perfect example. We can use Aminatou, the Fateshifter to flicker lands and mana rocks to break parity and get more mana through this effect.

  • Stasis - A more extreme Winter Orb, also, Aminatou, the Fateshifter lets us pay for the cost for many turns gaining turns on our opponents.

  • Static Orb - Static Orb lets you get a lot more value than Winter Orb against decks with dorks or rocks. This means that a lot of deck's main way of ramping doesn't help them at all, toss in a way to tap those remaining mana sources and you are gaining turns on the opposition. Again, Aminatou, the Fateshifter lets us get more value than we normally should.

  • Armageddon, Ravages of War - Powerful ways to put everyone off of valuable mana.

  • Rule of Law, Arcane Laboratory - These stop, Doomsday lines, turn off many tutors into immediately casting the tutored card, cantrips at sorcery speed are hurt, etc.

  • Bottomless Pit - A great way to force discard, hide cards you want to keep on top with Aminatou, the Fateshifter's first card!

  • Liliana of the Veil - A flickerable way to repeatably force discard. Flicker with Aminatou, the Fateshifter's 2nd ability to get a 2nd activation and reset counters. Also good for removal of creatures.

  • Oppression - This card is named properly, and I believe that wholeheartedly, it is oppressive through and through. Cantrips now just sucks, tutors to top lose two cards, the point is that players will lose their hand and mind to this card. Top you most important uncastable card with Aminatou, the Fateshifter’s +1 and you are set.

  • Grand Arbiter Augustin IV - This card is one of the two creatures good enough to run. It makes a ton of our deck cheaper, and all of our opponents’ decks mor expensive, we break parity with all of our ramp, a lot of which is colorless.

  • In the Eye of Chaos - This card is our non-creature Grand Abolisher, aimed to take down opposing Force of Wills, Ad Nauseams, etc. Instants are some of the most powerful card types, and though we run 15, the average CMC’s of them are 1.6, so we end up having not a lot of issues when paying the 1-2 mana.

  • Trinisphere - This card ends up serving a huge duty in our deck, specifically, it adds a ton of early game value, giving us plenty more turns than we would normally have. Even late game it shuts off storm decks, as well as the hidden Force of Will. Remember it only works when untapped, so a Tangle Wire to tap it down will shut it off, use this to your advantage.

  • Chain of Vapor - One mana instant speed nonland permanent removal. It is if Boomerang was longer to read but was half of the mana to make up for it.

  • Dimir Charm - This is close enough to run for a lot of cEDH decks, but in this deck, with Aminatou, the Fateshifter draw a card we topped, or it milling a card we topped with Aminatou, the Fateshifter that we don’t need, it has enough synergy to be great. Not to mention killing pests is more important here, because that damage getting in can kill our commander or another good walker we run.

  • Mental Misstep - One of the best cEDH counterspells, stopping many turn one wins we can’t expect to ever stax out. It is useful the whole game, hitting stray tutors, dorks, rocks, and even many combo pieces, like a Wirewood Symbiote or a value card like Sensei's Divining Top, even countering some removal like Chain of Vapor is very useful for this deck.

  • Delay - helps us stop early combo, lets us bounce a land for untapping effectively when we replay it, etc.

  • Mana Drain - This is a mix of a ritual and a counterspell, it is a staple for a reason. In this deck, with all of our artifacts it is particularly useful. This really gets some great action here.

  • Delay - Another staple, this exiling a card like Food Chain puts them off of their gameplan much more than a normal counterspell in which they’d go for recursion, putting them back 3 turns, and then perhaps dropping cards like Sphere of Safety, Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, Thorn of Amethyst, and Rule of Law stops them from casting it and doing much else that turn.

  • Force of Will - The best counterspell in cEDH for a reason, and since we run enough blue cards to commonly use it, it is worth it in our deck. I have rarely ever had this and not been able to cast it, unless I have some discard lock out, in which I don’t often need it.

  • Cyclonic Rift - One of the most popular cards in cEDH&EDH for a reason, it is just a wincon and removal at an efficient rate in one card. Not the best, not the worst, can be dropped for a card like Into the Roil if you don’t need to grind as much, but since the meta has Sisay&Teferi, I like the rift.

  • Muddle the Mixture - A counterspell at the same time as a tutor, mostly for stax, but sometimes another tutor or better interaction piece to fit the situation at hand.

  • Toxic Deluge - Our only sweeper. Unless Humility counts. It might. Deluge is the best and most efficient sweeper in the format, at least for mana cost and swath of creatures it can kill.

  • Swords to Plowshares - Top tier removal for this deck any day. Yes I could run Dismember, but this hits more.

  • Spell Pierce - Our great 1cmc counterspell is pretty great. Both effectively stop any combo our creature hate cannot, and do it with ease and efficiency too. Just good value in these, nothing more.

  • Vampiric Tutor, Imperial Seal - These two are top-of deck tutors that let us draw the cards immediately with Aminatou, the Fateshifter’s +1 and also are 1 mana each. Just some of the best cards in the deck.

  • Enlightened Tutor, Mystical Tutor - Worse Vampiric Tutors, but instant speed tutors, that can go to hand with Aminatou, the Fateshifter’s +1 and fetch good cards are worth more than 1 mana to us, so I’d run them any day.

  • Lim-Dul's Vault - This is Vampiric Tutor if it was also Ad Nauseam and has a sprinkle of Doomsday, setting us up for turns. Do not be scared to spend 5 minutes setting up your deck, writing the exact order of your cards and how many cards are in your deck, going through the whole deck, paying sometimes 20+ life into it, and winning from that value, drawing whatever the top card is from Aminatou, the Fateshifter’s +1 and to start the value train is just fine.

  • Demonic Tutor - The best tutor in the game, through and through, no gimmicks, just sheer power in one, simple card.

  • Inventors' Fair - A land that fetches one of 29 cards of which many are high priority wincons, engines, hate pieces, and stax is fine by me.

  • Tainted Pact - Not running any duplicates makes this in line with an instant speed Demonic Tutor that exiles a lot, often if you hit an irreplaceable combo piece, and don't have another wincon, you just draw it, which hurts, but the consistency of the card and instant speed tutor to hand at 2 mana is just so much value on the table ready for this deck to take.

  • Muddle the Mixture - Check under interaction.

  • Trinket Mage - Check under engines.

  • Spellseeker - Check under engines.

  • Tezzeret the Seeker - Check under Engines

Matchup Analysis

Against the current meta, there are really 4 main decks this deck has to deal with in some form or another:

  • Aggro-Combo/Storm Decks

These decks aim to win and do it fast. They generally use blue to hold up answers to our answers, and a lot of our stax might be too slow, and if we get to the midgame with some good stax, we often can obliterate them. They are the threat and focus of our interaction in the beginning, but become background threats later on, don't attempt to drop the shields against them though, unless you have thoroughly nuder's their deck's wincons.

These decks are generally storm lists like Yidris, Jeleva, Kess, or combo decks like Food Chain, some Najeela, the Blade-Blossom decks, Flash/Protean Hulk, Doomsday, or Hermit Druid decks. Slowing them for long enough to lock the game and they die fast. Normally a tutor for a single card can get you the right answer to cut them out easily, as they often abuse something we can counter, like almost any of these decks when we drop Rule of Law.

  • Midrange Combo Decks

Decks like Yisan, the Wanderer Bard, Kess, Dissident Mage Turns, and a lot of other engine oriented combo decks, these builds are aimed at using interaction and engines to pull a win, through some levels of stax, and a lot of counterplay, but keep in mind that even when they drop stax, we are often going to get through it and try to win the game past them. They aren't as fast as the other combo decks, and so will be allies against those decks early on.

In all honesty these midrange decks aren't super prevalent, but still definitely exist, so make sure you know the lists and can play properly against them as the true control deck at the table. Often getting rid of their engines, perhaps by naming Yisan with a Pithing Needle, Leyline of the Voiding the Kess turns deck, or something else won't be enough as they have removal, so hold more answers than you would for the fast combo decks here.

  • Stax/Control Decks

Excluding Teferi, Temporal Archmage and Captain Sisay, despite them being the prime 'stax decks' for reasons I will later explain, these decks are like Tana, the Bloodsower/Tymna the Weaver Blood Pod decks and other really harsh stax lists, expect to face them with most of your interaction throughout the game, as they have a lot of hate against your deck, but you do for them. By shutting them off with all you have before they can do the same to you, with any number of stax and hate cards they cannot break parity on, you will hopefully win. Derevi, Empyrial Tactician decks, Brago, King Eternal lists, and even to some variants Grand Arbiter Augustin IV lists make good use of their creatures, which is why we make sure to run Humility and a lot of other creature hate cards to break parity on them.

Daretti, Scrap Savant and other non-creature based stax decks often use artifact mana to break parity, leading to us commonly playing the same types of effects and parity breakers. We try to use our tutors to break more parity, stacking even more stax than normal, trying to out stax a stax deck is hard, but is possible. Grand Arbiter Augustin IV is difficult to do this against, as our decks are extremely similar for stax, but we can often break parity better.

The last of these decks are the true control decks like Tasigur, the Golden Fang, Rashmi, Eternities Crafter and even Grand Arbiter Augustin IV again. Try to stop their engines from going, with Tasigur, they often try to abuse Seasons Past and Tasigur, so exile their yard or name Tasigur with our Pithing Needle effects or drop some serious hate like Cursed Totem that does the same thing. These decks often crumble to specific hate if you can stick it, like In the Eye of Chaos or Rule of Law type things.

  • Stax/Combo Hybrid

These are the Captain Sisays and the Teferi, Temporal Archmages of the format, the decks that can play combo some of the time, next game go in on stax. They can switch their gameplan up well enough to confuse us on how to counterplay, or how much we need to focus on them. I would focus on them like a Stax player mid-late game, and if they have fast mana, as is often needed for their explosive combo plays, you act as though they also need your early interaction. They are constant threats unless you can stop them from breaking parity and can crush their gameplans.

To do this, you ought to know the metagame. Teferi's -1 lets the deck run cards like Stasis, similar to our deck, but we can just name Pithing Needle on their commander, and assuming it sticks they cannot combo out with The Chain Veil or stop their own stax. This is greatly beneficial to our deck. Captain Sisay runs dorks and rocks to get mana, using Armageddon, Kataki, War's Wage, and other effects to stop opposing mana production plans. Make sure to drop a Humility or Cursed Totem or even just sweep the field with a Toxic Deluge if you can, given this deck can go off a lot with the card draw and mana from their creatures. Playing against these decks are often our biggest hurdles, but successfully doing this and fighting the other decks is what this deck is aimed to do.

Now we have discussed our major counterplay against these archetypes, and some specifics on decks, now, out of the top decks, what do you want to tutor for? What stax best suits the situation?

Try to find our major creature hate, this deck fails to often compete against cards like Cursed Totem and Humility without in-hand answers, so you normally get many turns off of them until they can remove these cards with a Nature's Claim. Even Pithing Needle and Sorcerous Spyglass work to turn of their commander, used in the deck's Paradox Engine combo, however Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, Rule of Law and occasionally Sphere of Resistance can shut off that combo alone, so the combo isn't the huge issue. Toxic Deluge can also set them back a lot.

This deck often uses the commanders for card draw to pull of some type of Protean Hulk based win. Rest in Peace, Leyline of the Void, and Grafdigger's Cage can all stop creatures from coming out with it, either by stopping the card from hitting the graveyard to activate, or stopping creatures from libraries to hit the field at all. Make sure you hold up mana early on to stop this deck, as it is extremely fast. Cursed Totem and Humility also work to stop the deck from functioning properly.

Some lists actually use Thrasios, Triton Hero's ability infinitely with some infinite mana combo to win, here Pithing Needle, Sorcerous Spyglass, Cursed Totem, and Humility stop the deck from activating the combo, and many of the infinite mana combos and finishers die to Rule of Law, Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, etc. For this reason you should be prepared to look at the cards this deck plays very early on and even how it mulligans to tell which deck it is and what answers you need.

This deck is most often found as a Food Chain deck, so attempt to drop in a Sphere of Resistance, Rule of Law, Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, Pithing Needle, Sorcerous Spyglass, Humility, or Torpor Orb effect, as all stop the combo that this deck tries to go off with. Try to delay them long enough to drop this, as they are fast decks.

Other varients are Druid oriented, so try to act as though they are fast combo all of the time. Grafdigger's Cage, Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace, Humility, Cursed Totem, and a few other hate pieces like our Pithing Needle effects will work against these versions.

These decks are another with multiple great varients. Demonic Consulation/Laboratory Maniac combo is the most popular, but Storm, and even Splinter Twin variants do exist. This deck is a graveyard oriented storm-esque deck, so cards like Rule of Law and Arcane Laboratory are great at slowing them down, but a lot of our normal stax, Sphere of Resistance effects, but slowing them and shutting off their main combo isn't enough, the deck has many outs in differing situations. Keep an eye on their trickery.

These decks are extremely powerful decks, and hard to know what their gameplan are, because Najeela is the premiere 5 color commander, one-card-comboing with Druids' Repository and a number of other cards. The repository hurts us the most, making our mana denial gameplan difficult. Sometimes naming it with a Pithing Needle or Sorcerous Spyglass is useful. Ensnaring Bridge, Humility, Cursed Totem, etc. are all good against Najeela, but she is a issue, given that it isn't always we can stop her from steamrolling our walkers even if we do stop her from comboing out. A rough matchup, but not impossible to win by any means.

This deck is what our deck is based on, but we have answers to it, and have similar playstyles, so it is often similar to any mirror match. This isn't perfect as an explanation of the matchup, because The Chain Veil gives the deck some really fast wins when it isn't the opposing stax deck, so I would imagine that you will often have to hold up answers against this type of deck, even early game when you need to face the fast combo decks at the table.

This deck is a very fast combo deck using the graveyard, and while there are a ton of intricacies to the deck, that is effectively all you need to know when staxing it out. Leyline of the Void, Rest in Peace are good, Grafdigger's Cage isn't as good. Damping Sphere and tax effects slow it down, and Rule of Law, Arcane Denial, etc. can all stop infinite mana loops the deck tries to pull off.

The premiere mono-green deck of the format, this list has a lot of ramp and will abuse it as much as possible with its commander, being a powerful midrange combo deck. Don't underestimate the speed of it, but you can spend less of your time worried about it in the first two turns often than some of the Breakfast Hulk or Food Chain decks. Really, make sure to drop some good creature hate to slow them down, Toxic Deluge, Cursed Totem, Humility, etc. While they have answers, they might not have them immediately, until you can stick some lock that will let you shut them out of the game. Aven Mindcensor and Torpor Orb are also useful here.

Zur decks are mostly Esper decks just using Necropotence as a backup plan in the commander zone, or as an engine for storming off. The two main versions both use Doomsday as a wincon, but one, Doomsday Zur goes all in on this plan, while the other is a storm deck aiming to use Necropotence and the cards you get from it at instant speed rather than discarding all of them. Shimmer Myr is a great method of this, so the name goes Shimemr Zur to these storm decks. Some variants are 'Tainted Shimmer Zur' also run Tainted Pact, Demonic Consultation and Laboratory Maniac as a backup win, a lot, if not almost all run Ad Nauseam with Angel's Grace, so this deck definitely has a lot of wincons.

Rule of Law, Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, Sphere of Resistance, etc. all are great ways of stopping the storm or Doomsday piles, and Humility stops Shimmer Myr, Zur himself, and Laboratory Maniac. For this reason these are the stax pieces we want to find, but really any of our tax effects can do work against this menace.

This is a real control matchup, where we have to make sure we can deal with their card advantage engines are run them out of answers, they use Vial Smasher as a wincon, along with some storm in the form of Paradox Engine and some serious value in different cards like Divergent Transformations.

The control matchup isn't easy, but just try to lock them out of the game with cards like Sphere of Resistance and Armageddon, that ought to do it!

This deck is a midrange Ad Nauseam deck, and so we should treat as a midrange deck, similar to Yisan, the Wanderer Bard despite not being much like it in many ways. It can deal with threats and really isn't super threatening early on, these decks are just the greenless MAN decks of the format, using a bunch of value oriented cards.

Dropping a Humility may seem good in this matchup with Tymna, but really Tymna is for colors and card draw a bit, not a build-around. More often than not they aren't going to have more than 3 creatures. Try to put them off of their game as if they were a real control deck, with their answers and stuff, but do it a bit faster than normal, they can be a target after the fast combo decks are out of the game.

A creature-based stax deck that can help us early on by stopping some of the fast combo decks, but has enough creatures and damaging threats to kill our Aminatou repeatedly with ease. We use Ensnaring Bridge, Cursed Totem, Torpor Orb, Humility, and Toxic Deluge type hate against them.

Fetch basics out against them if you are worried about a Magus of the Moon or Blood Moon. Also make sure you have colored rocks, even tutor them if necessary. Try to get an answer to their Stony Silence and Kataki, War's Wage too, because even if we have answers against them, they have stuff against us.

This is a powerful creature-oriented combo list capable of running through us as many combo decks are, but luckily the deck fails to Humility most of the time, so we resolve that and win against them. Cursed Totem, Toxic Deluge, Torpor Orb, etc. all are good options against them too, but really they just are a Statue deck now, and have some Kiri-Onna lines, so they are overall just a bit of a pushover one you have removed creatures from properly interacting with the game.

Before that however, Weird Harvest, Spellseeker, Kiri-Onna and Ancestral Statue are all huge threats, that must be dealt with. Rule of Law/Arcane Laboratory have issues trying this alone, as they run Reclamation Sage and other tutorable removal, and they run tons of tutors, but they have minimal non-creature interaction.

Uses Citanul Flute with Paradox Engine to loop cast triggers and sacrifice 0 drops, making rocks and storming off, a fast combo deck that happens to lose to a lot. Cursed Totem, Pithing Needle, Humility, Sorcerous Spyglass, and Aven Mindcensor all directs shut off or damage Arcum himself, and Rule of Law, Damping Sphere, Arcane Laboratory, etc. are all good ways to shut off their combo.

They run a number of blue bounce/counterspells for interaction and card draw/filtering even w/o Arcum, but comboing out is really hard for them without Arcum, so if you have that down you should be fine for a while, running them out of answers by dropping later heftier stax rather than the targetted hate should close the deal.

Another control deck that uses Baral to ramp and filter through cards. It also runs a normal Paradox/Dramatic/IsoScepter/cSphinx wincon package. Relatively easy to hate out with some normal Chains of Mephistopheles or stax. It is a relatively easier deck to fight, as it isn't super fast, so we have some time to deal with it while working with it against the faster decks in the format.

A relatively better Aminatou that dies to Humility and is more creature based. Very similar matchup, but has a combo related to Strionic Resonator. Pithing Needle or Sorcerous Spyglass on the resonator and the base combo is off, but that doesn't mean you are safe, the deck runs a lot, and Humility is our best answer against them, but often we can still lose to the grind. This is a rough matchup, but if you can use their stax better than they can, with walkers over creatures, you can often win.

This is very similar to a Kess, Dissident Mage build, with less graveyard synergies for the addition of cards like Angel's Grace with Ad Nauseam, Swords to Plowshares, Silence, Enlightened Tutor, and Auriok Salvagers combo in-deck, and Aven Mindcensor.

The deck falls to Rule of Law/Arcane Laboratory effects, based on that their backup is Dramatic Reversal/Isochron Scepter. All of their wincons need to cast infinite or multiple spells in one turn, so these effects do great work in this deck. Humility stops all of their combos, but Cursed Totem hits Breya and Salvagers too, just leaving Lab Man. Removal/Countermagic is what you want to hold up against them, particularly more versatile removal, Swords to Plowshares fizzles against Breya/Isorev, so honestly isn't great, but is worth it if they try for the Lab Man or Salvagers win.

This matchup is relatively simple, not easy, Circu is a fast combo deck with protection for the combos it runs, but almost all of the combos require spell loops or combos to go through creatures or multiple casts in a single turn. This makes Humility, Rule of Law, and Arcane Laboratory locks on their deck, but often most tax effects or cards like Damping Sphere can still ruin their plan for a while. They do run a number of blue interactive spells, so don't expect them to sit their idly while you move onto other threats, after you drop a lock piece like this.

This is a creature-based stax build using blue, making it abuse untap/tap effects and hatebears, a strong combination, but as with all creature-based stax decks, we have answers. Cursed Totem, Toxic Deluge, Ensnaring Bridge, Humility, and other hate effects all work wonders against them, but they can answer it. As with all opposing stax decks, work with them to get past the early game, then spend your nearly entire focus on shutting them down, often with their own stax involved, just to stop them.

The Cleanup

My friend Dango, his friend IAmTheWraith, and I, SynergyBuild have worked a lot and will continue to in the future, but have a lot to do to test and edit this deck, any ideas or suggestions that you have we would be happy to hear, and would love to hear any thoughts on matchups, possible criticisms or anything we messed up on, this is a new deck and we would love to see it prosper.

Please, comment below any ideas, critiques, and thoughts. Also, feel free to give us and this deck an Aminatou, the Fateshifter's +1!


Updates Add

With the deck that I, SynergyBuild, and my internet friends DangoDaikazoku&IAmTheWraith have tested and tested endlessly over the last couple weeks, I have refined the capabilities of the deck, particularly in winning in such a method that gets around our own stax and hate, while making our stax gameplan more oppressive, and adding minimal dead combo cards.

In fact, below in the combo in question:

Requirements on field: Tezzeret the Seeker, Aminatou, the Fateshifter

Requirements in deck or on field: Basalt Monolith, Rings of Brighthearth, Goblin Cannon

Use Tezzeret's -3 to fetch a Rings of Brighthearth, -1 Aminatou targeting Tezzeret, then -4 Tezzeret, copying the ability with Rings to fetch Basalt Monolith&Goblin Cannon, use Monolith&Rings to make infinite mana, stack infinite Cannon triggers killing each opponent.

It is easy to remember, really only needs one card other than the commander to go off, and gets around every stax and hate piece we run.

The rest of the deck has been updated to run a lot more tutors and otherwise versatile cards, particularly to fight the current cEDH metagame, these cards are aimed at being useful in any situation, while being incredible in a few particular ones. Take Spellseeker for example, while on occasion, we have Torpor Orb or Humility, often it acts as a tutor for removal, countermagic, or another tutor to start a chain, and can be flickered with Aminatou, the Fateshifter's -1 to get another card. This is a very powerful effect to repeat, gaining repeated value that wins games. The same is true for Trinket Mage, despite them tutoring different cards.

Muddle the Mixture instead is great as a tutor or countermagic spell, somewhere inbetween Counterspell and Grim Tutor. A lot of versatility there.

Other changes were relatively minute, such as running Chalice of the Void against many decks of stagnant CMC, and can be flickered to be set to 0 cmc if we really need to cast a spell that would otherwise be countered.

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Date added 1 year
Last updated 4 days

This deck is Commander / EDH legal.

Rarity (main - side)

8 - 0 Mythic Rares

59 - 0 Rares

23 - 0 Uncommons

6 - 0 Commons

Cards 100
Avg. CMC 2.14
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