Jeskai Standstill by madlameguy on MtGO

Creatures (12)
2 Grim Lavamancer
2 Snapcaster Mage
2 Spell Queller
4 Spellstutter Sprite
2 Vendilion Clique

Non-Creature Spells (26)
2 Jace, the Mind Sculptor
2 Ponder
4 Brainstorm
1 Flusterstorm
4 Force of Will
1 Izzet Charm
1 Spell Pierce
2 Spell Snare
4 Swords to Plowshares
2 Engineered Explosives
3 Standstill

Lands (22)
1 Cavern of Souls
4 Flooded Strand
2 Island
1 Karakas
3 Mishra’s Factory
1 Plains
3 Scalding Tarn
2 Tundra
3 Volcanic Island
2 Wasteland

Sideboard (15)
1 Flusterstorm
1 Blessed Alliance
1 Containment Priest
1 Ethersworn Canonist
1 Izzet Staticaster
2 Meddling Mage
1 Pithing Needle
2 Pyroblast
1 Sudden Demise
1 Supreme Verdict
2 Surgical Extraction
1 Wear // Tear

Summary

With Miracles out of the picture in Legacy, players are forced to try different routes to fulfill their need for speed, or lack thereof. Standstill decks have long since been a fringe option in Legacy since better controlling options were printed, but it may be primed for a comeback.

The creature suite of this deck is a good indicator of how the deck wants to play. Grim Lavamancer is an excellent turn 1 play in this deck, both when combined with Standstill and when not. Being able to kill any early creature the opponent has played, thus turning the board state in your favor, is usually good enough to force your opponent to pop Standstill. When your opponent pops Standstill, Spellstutter Sprite and Spell Queller then counter the opponent’s first play post-Standstill and return you to a comfortable position on board and in hand. Vendilion Clique and Snapcaster Mage make up the rest of the creature base, and operate similarly in this deck as they do in other traditional blue control decks in Legacy.

Outside of the usual non-creature suspects here, the inclusion of Engineered Explosives is an interesting one. Generally speaking, Standstill strategies struggle against decks that can get ahead on board before Standstill comes down (think: Elves). Explosives helps massively in this regard, as it allows this deck to catch up and punish the opponent for over-committing. It’s also important to mention the importance of Mishra’s Factory in this deck. As a creature land, it enables this deck to play a Standstill on an empty board and still be ahead on board, which forces the opponent to pop Standstill or face down a 2/2 every turn until they do.

Due to the quality of card draw in this deck, the sideboard can afford to be very diverse. Flusterstorm and Pyroblast offer even more counter spells, Sudden Demise and Supreme Verdict offer sweeper effects against the format’s creature-heavy decks, and Containment Priest and Ethersworn Canonist target specific matchups. Additionally, Meddling Mage and Pithing Needle allow the deck to cover its bases against whatever it might come up against. Meddling Mage is specifically powerful in this deck, as the presence of Standstill forces the opponent to answer Meddling Mage first, giving time for this deck to get its footing in the game.

Here are the changes I would make going forward:

Mainboard

-1 Flusterstorm

-1 Izzet Charm

+2 Ponder

Sideboard

-1 Blessed Alliance

+1 Flusterstorm

This is day 131 of Spellsnare.com’s 2017 Deck of the Day column, where each day we’ll feature a different Standard, Modern, or Legacy deck that caught our eye. You can read day 130 here, where we featured a Standard deck looking to jam planeswalkers and thrive on the remains of 4-Color Copycat.

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