Blue-based Stoneblade

The last time I played Legacy was either during GP Prague or Legacy Festival on Magic Online. My performance was poor (4-5) at the GP and the Legacy Leagues turned into Oops, All Spells!, RB Reanimator decks and Dredge metagame which was quite a change from Miracles, Grixis Delver and ANT. Going 5-0 wasn't easy because sometimes you just did not draw Force of Will and died to a human duo of Laboratory Maniac and Azami, Lady of Scrolls. It wasn't really fun to play in this metagame so I simply stopped. After the Legacy Champs I did not even join any Legacy tournament. I almost sold Shardless BUG but since I did not need any tix I just let it there collect some digital dust.

During the whole year I did not really have much time to dedicate to brewing or just enjoying playing with something I like. I only participated in several Standard and Modern PPTQs, Standard Showdown, WMCQs and several FNMs. Playing Standard was a rather strange experience. Since I stopped playing limited when Draft Leagues were introduced I realized that I do not know the cards played in Standard. When I came to the first Standard tournament I realized soon that the fact I don't know any cards except those in my deck would be a big disadvantage. I had to read a lot and I died to cards I had no idea they even existed. I also struggled with my deck because I wasn't sure which approach should I take with it against some matchups. I learned a lot during those events, I certainly did not play well enough to actually place well in a PPTQ (usually missing the top8) but it was good enough to 4-0 local FNMs and top 8 other events and win several Showdown 'Treasure Chest' packs. In Modern I felt similarly lost with the difference that I knew the cards my opponents' played. When I was tired of playing BG Delirium and Junk Midrange I decided to try Legacy next.

In April Legacy took a hit. Sensei's Divining Top was banned. This meant that Miracles sitting at the top of the metagame would be most probably dethroned and another deck would take its place. There was another possibility and that was still a Terminus/Entreat the Angels playing deck without Sensei's Divining Top. That kind of deck would be rather unreliable though in my opinion even if people would start playing cards like Portent. Right after the changes in banned and restricted lists there was MKM Series event in Frankfurt. It was the first big Legacy (and Vintage) event after the banning. That meant that probably control wouldn't really be that played at the event and combo decks would be more represented. Delver decks would most probably take the place along with 4c Control and 4c Midrange decks. My interest was in decks running Stoneforge Mystic which found its way into Noble Fish or rather something we know as 4c Deathblade. In general Stoneblade decks tend to be more of a control deck with Stoneforge Mystic package. Deathblade decks run Deathrite Shaman and are usually more midrange-y. They often run more threats and good creatures like Leovold, Emissary of Trest or True-Name Nemesis.

Since I was concentrating on playing Vintage before the MKM event I just showed up with 4c Delver at the Legacy event. During it, I found out that being a Delver player is rather demotivating when playing against value-centered Deathblade deck. Daze, Stifle and removal were all subpar against the deck since it ran all the threats I needed to deal with like True-Name Nemesis, Stoneforge Mystic and Leovold, Emissary of Trest. While I won my matches against the Deathblade decks, it was way tougher than playing against more control Stoneblade variants. Since Deathblade deck had the highest win percentage at the event I decided to check it out. After I got home from Germany I loaded that decklist on MODO and played few matches with it. To this day I usually played Esper Stoneblade and I had a period during which I was playing Esper Deathblade. I needed to know if this 4c Deathblade deck is still a Stoneblade deck or it would remind me more of a Noble Fish tempo I used to play years ago. While the deck was obviously good at winning games I didn't enjoy playing this new version of 4c Deathblade and decided to see if Esper didn't become viable once again.

In Legacy I really feel the need to play with a deck I enjoy. That often means that I need to be looking for a blue based control deck rather than midrange or more aggressive/proactive deck. In this case it either means running 4c Control (doesn't run white) or a Stoneblade (doesn't run red) deck. Miracles used to be the top control deck, but now without Sensei's Divining Top it isn't anymore. People still play the deck and have good results with it, but seeing very good Miracles players struggle with this deck I think that the deck gets more credit than it should. It's the players that make the deck seem good rather than the deck being actually good in my opinion (time will show).

I've been running 4c Delver in a control form for quite a while (literally years) with the exception when I played Grixis Pyromancer deck that unfortunately died to Terminus. 4c Control taught me many things about Legacy. Since this archetype didn't exist at that time it wasn't clear what the correct configuration of the deck should be, it became a collection of one ofs, 2-ofs - it was a control deck that could have a game against anything if one knew which cards are good against that 'anything'. I was often changing one or two cards before an event or after it. I got a certain set of cards good for more aggressive metagame, set of cards for more controlling decks and some version good against combos. In the end a real mess came out of it. Many cards were one ofs, some where in the deck in 2 copies but rarely in 3 or 4 copies with the exception of cards like Force of Will and Brainstorm (note that often the number of Forces also changed). I slowly learned that the deck itself is not that important it was the availability of options and unique effects that was winning the games. I learned that Legacy is more about single cards (now it is an established deck - 4c pile). This way I realized why I always tended to play Esper Stoneblade over Deathblade. Deathblade is a deck that is more in the midrange spectrum and is built to do relatively specific thing - the plan is linear while giving enough room for controlling the game when needed. Esper Stoneblade on the other hand is a very fluid deck that often wins by single cards played at the right time and the right situation. While it can also have a plan of playing Stoneforge Mystic on turn 2 fetching Batterskull and beating the opponent with it, it's not often the case. This can work against aggressive decks or fair decks without much disruption. Against Delver decks Lingering Souls were doing a great job, against some decks it was better to control the game and land Jace, the Mind Sculptor. I could find myself in any kind of role with this deck and use the unique parts of the deck to create an unique strategy. That's why I always loved Esper Stoneblade, being on the verge of proactivity and reactivity and being able to go towards more proactivity or more reactivity.

So I loaded one of the Stoneblade decks and entered a TP room with it to see how Legacy metagame looks like.

After a Surgical Extraction fiasco (where I did not remove the targeted card - Empty the Warrens - from the game) that resulted in a match lost against ANT, I played really nice grindy games against several Miracles decks and different kinds of Delver builds. I joined an event afterwards and did fairly well. I lost one match because I mulled twice to 5 lands and Stoneforge Mystic which wasn't enough against UR Delver and then I lost against 4c Control. It was a very funny game. Imagine that you have everything to win the game and your opponent has a really small chance to win. My opponent played Brainstorm and I already feared the worst - Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Wasteland. My opponent needed both cards in order to deal with my two threats and to have the means to win the game in time. My opponent drew Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Life from the Loam and got rid of both my attackers (Germ and Shambling Vent) and then closed the game with Jace. It was epic.

When the tournament was over, I was happy. While I did not win anything (nor lost) I enjoyed all the matches. Later, a thought passed through my mind, I could have gone X-1 or X-0 if I wasn't playing with Esper Stoneblade. After some thinking I tried to understand why people do not play Esper Stoneblade more. What made it fall off the radar?

Before I will answer that question I'll talk about how Stoneblade came to existence. To some it may be a surprise, the deck originated in for me relatively new Standard.

A little bit of history of Stoneblade

During ZEN-NPH Standard there was a deck named Caw-Blade. At first it was a Blue-White draw go control deck that turned into a tapout deck with cheap but efficient threats in the form of Stoneforge Mystic and Squadron Hawk. When New Phyrexia came out this deck did not need to play just Swords like Sword of Feast and Famine. It gained access to a very potent living weapon - Batterskull - that was very hard to get rid of and it stopped any aggressive deck. This deck was played by many players and it dominated the field. We played endless mirrors and if we did not face a mirror we faced Jace, the Mind Sculptor no matter what colors the opposing deck played (for example Mono Green with Jace, my favorite Jund with Jace etc). 4 Jaces wasn't enough and many decks ran Jace Beleren cards just to get rid of Jace, the Mind Sculptor to be able to play their own Jace, the Mind Sculptor. During the first quarter of 2011 everyone was preparing for Nationals as usual. At that time though players wondered if Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor wouldn't get banned. The cards did not get banned before Nationals and the price of both cards spiked. Jace cost over 100 USD and was very difficult to get. This also made Caw-Blade the most expensive Standard deck in Magic's history (note: I remember Standard decks being more expensive for us, Psychatog, MBC or UG Madness cost similar amount of money, but at that time I don't even know if prices of cards here were comparable to ones in the USA - so my statement might not be true for you). After the Nationals, in June 2011, both cards got finally banned. It did not take long for people to realize that Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, the Mind Sculptor would be good in other formats as well. The cards were banned in Extended so we had to put them in a Legacy or Vintage deck.

UW Stoneblade first appeared at GP Providence 2011 where Owen Turtenwald went undefeated day 1 and placed 5th at the GP. At the GP, Stoneblade variants (including BW, excluding Bant) were roughly taking up 8% of the field. In the following months UWx Stoneblade became a popular deck taking 30% of the field at SCG Legacy events, placing in top8s. Due to popularity of Stoneblade at that time people tried to figure out how to win the mirror match and started splashing either red or black and tried to figure out what kind of draw engine would be good for the deck. (the Bant decks featuring Stoneforge Mystic weren't considered Stoneblade decks, they were more tempo oriented than these decks that tried to be more on the hard control side).

At that time Legacy field was primarily aggressive. Goblins, Zoo, Merfolk and Dredge were common decks one could encounter. All these decks weren't happy to see turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull on turn 3. Since I was the person usually playing Stoneforge Mystic I did not understand why everyone feared Stoneforge Mystic that much. One day though it was me who came to a tournament with Naya Zoo (that being rather outdated deck already). Since I knew Batterskull would be a problem I packed 4 Destructive Revelry (or Smash to Smithereens?) and played artifact removal main deck. It paid off since I easily won the event. But I learned that Zoo facing Stoneforge Mystic is a fight I can't possibly win with Zoo and finally I understood how those players felt when facing turn 2 Stoneforge Mystic (without having removal for it). Out of the aggro decks out there, it was Merfolk that had advantage over Blue-based Stoneblade decks. Merfolk lords grant other Merfolks Islandwalk and that is something that Blue-based Stoneblade decks couldn't deal with. In between GP Providence and GP Amsterdam Maverick was born - a GWx deck that featured Stoneforge Mystic and equipment. This deck did not need to care about Merfolk at all and was the bane for classic aggro decks.

When Innistrad was released Legacy changed drastically. Mental Misstep was banned and Delver of Secrets was printed. RUG Delver, Stoneblade and Maverick were the decks to beat. Since Stoneblade struggled with this 'little' flying insect it started to splash red to have more answers to it or black to play Lingering Souls which was the best card to fight Delver decks. While we were trying to figure out what colors are the best for Stoneforge Mystic package and whether Sylvan Library or Sensei's Diving Top is better, Ondrej Strasky had a different point of view on the game. While he was a Merfolk player and doing well, he changed his mind after Czech Vintage and Legacy Series in Brno. He sleeved a deck we called Canadian Tresh (now being called RUG Delver). He needed to play some test games, so we were glad enough to be his opponents. We could see him struggle with the deck but he was well aware of his mistakes and he piloted the deck to a 10th place finish at GP Amsterdam and started his professional career there. I played Junk Stoneblade at that time later ending up playing Esper Stoneblade with Intuition and Lingering Souls to deal with all those RUG Delvers that fast became the most played deck at events. Player by player in our group we slowly switched to Delver decks too (that later turned out to be 4c Control). But this article is about Stoneblade so let's get back to it.

Stoneblade is a control deck that features Stoneforge Mystic package (Batterskull, Umezawa's Jitte and a Sword) and uses this as its primary threat. This deck first emerged in Blue-White variant but several other variants came to existence later. The second variant added black which gave access to Lingering Souls, Baleful Strix, discard and made Engineered Explosives better. Later a deck named Esper Deathblade emerged. This deck contained 4 copies of Deathrite Shaman. Some even packed Abrupt Decay (since singleton Tropical Island is needed because of Deathrite Shaman's third ability). Abrupt Decay was the most powerful card against Miracles because it dealt easily with Counterbalance - Counterbalance being the biggest enemy of Stoneblade decks (if I omit Jund). Deathblade though is rather a midrange deck though compared to its other counterparts. It's manabase is built to be efficient to support four colors and to even play spells like Liliana of the Veil. The mana base of these 3 colored variants is what makes it weak against Wasteland and that is why people often come back to UW Stoneblade. The last variant is Bant Stoneblade (Excalibur). These decks usually played 4 Noble Hierarchs to be able to land True-Name Nemesis or Jace, the Mind Sculptor earlier. True-Name Nemesis is better in this deck since it can often swing for more than 3 due to the Exalted ability. Since these decks can't play manlands like Creeping Tar Pit or Shambling Vent they often play 4 Wastelands instead. One more thing that makes these lists different is the use of Daze, because Bant variants can afford to return a land to their hand or pay 2 mana for it unlike other variants (running 8 mana dorks).

UW/b Stoneblade

Many people ask me why I omitted this deck in my Show and Tell: Introduction to Legacy article. Wee see players play this deck from time to time and even place well. The reason why I didn't decide to feature the deck is because there was a different deck that took the spot of the premier control deck - Miracles. Stoneblade was never dominant in post-Cruise/Dig ban era and that is the reason why I decided not to feature Stoneblade decks in the article.

In the following text I will briefly introduce UW/b Stoneblade and talk about the struggles of this deck in the Legacy format.

This deck runs about 10-12 creatures and it always features 4 Stoneforge Mystic. The other creatures are usually a mix of True-Name Nemesis (hard to get rid of threat, that is practically unblockable), Snapcaster Mage (card advantage never hurts) and Vendilion Clique (more control and a flying body), Baleful Strix (replaces itself, doubles as removal). The deck's win condition is often a creature with equipment but it can also win games thanks to Jace, the Mind Sculptor that we usually find in 3 copies (Jace on open board is usually good game). These decks are actually light on permission running often just a set of Force of Will and 1-2 Counterspell. UW tends to run more countermagic while decks with access to black also run disruption in the form of Thoughtseize, Inquisition of Kozilek and sometimes Cabal Therapy. The deck also needs Stoneforge Mystic targets, most of the time it is just Umezawa's Jitte and Batterskull. Some decks run 1 or 2 Swords even (the most common being Sword of Fire and Ice and Sword of Light and Shadow). In order for this deck to run smoothly it needs some card selection cards. The best one - Legacy format defining - is Brainstorm. Many of the Stoneblade decks also play Ponder. Removal in the deck is usually 4 Swords to Plowshares, 1-2 Council's Judgment and 0-2 Engineered Explosives.

Here is a deck I used to play for few years, Delver was my main concern and that is why I ran Intuition and Lingering Souls.

Esper Stoneblade deck has close to 50/50 matchup with many decks which might make this deck seem to be good. Unlike Jund though which has similar percentages against fair decks, this deck does not trade 1-for-2 to gain card advantage but rather 1-for-1 and needs to attack opponent's resources in order to gain real advantage. In reality Stoneblade decks usually start a bit behind, in disadvantage. The games with a Stoneblade deck are very grindy which also means that you really need to earn all those wins. Playing with this deck gives you control over any kind of situation. The deck has answers to almost everything and can attack from different angles (has various win conditions) while being either proactive or reactive depending on the matchup or board state. It has disruption in the form of discard and blue permission spells like Force of Will, Counterspell or Spell Pierce. It runs both spot removal in the form of Swords to Plowshares and global removal usually in the form of Supreme Verdict and/or Engineered Explosives. And well since the deck is blue and control, it also plays Jace, the Mind Sculptor that can win the game on its own sometimes.

Stoneblade decks became rather obsolete when Miracles became the most played and probably the most powerful deck. The reason is that Miracles had access to Countertop lock and Terminus. Where Stoneblade had soft permission and few hard counters, Miracles could just land Counterbalance and counter spells for a long period of time. Where Stoneblade had spot removal, Snapcaster Mage and occasional global removal spell, Miracles had all that plus Terminus - a global removal for mere 1 white mana that could have been played at instant speed with the help of Sensei's Divining Top. Countertop lock and 4 Termini in the deck made a big difference, Stoneblade did not have anything of that kind of power and thus fell out of favor. One more thing to note, Miracles had the better card selection and has even now post-ban.

One of the games I actually won against Miracles.

Fortunately for Stoneblade players Sensei's Divining Top is gone and Miracles is not the powerhouse it used to be. This among others meant the resurgence of Stoneblade decks. With Terminus gone creature strategies can thrive. The most played version of a Blade deck is Bant splashing black (at least Online) for Leovold, Emissary of Trest and Abrupt Decay. As I learned earlier in my Magic life, when there is room for more midrange approach for a Stoneblade deck, it is that deck that is more favored. Deathblade variants are though a different type of deck than what this article is about (UW/Esper) - they are rather true midrange decks. The primary reason why Deathblade is way more popular is most probably because of Delver decks being very popular (being the most played deck at big events and online). Stoneblade decks always had a rough time with any Delver deck. I don't want to say that the matchup was outright bad but it wasn't anything good. Deathblade variants though have a favorable matchup with Delver decks and that is a very sound reason why to play this over UW or Esper Stoneblade if winning is what you strive for. As I mentioned earlier cards like Daze or Stifle are not as efficient against this deck since it runs 8 mana dorks. This also means that Wasteland doesn't do such a mess (one of the strengths of UW/b Stoneblade decks is that it has a strong mana base, unfortunately how big of an advantage this is in a world of 4c decks and no way of using that to our advantage?). Deathblade also runs more threats which the Delver player can have hard time getting rid of, even the mana dorks can win the game when on the board alone (Noble Hierarch still attacks for one or can wield a Sword)! Delver decks usually also rely on 1 toughness creatures (including True-Name Nemesis) that can die to bigger creatures or well timed Zealous Persecution that Stoneblade decks run. Occasional Gurmag Angler can get plowed. The deck simply has all the answers, it just needs to be aware that the card Delver of Secrets is the most potent threat which when followed by True-Name Nemesis can be game winning.

This gets me to True-Name Nemesis. When this card was printed it saw a lot of play (even in Stoneblade decks) but later people realized that this card is not invincible. After Sensei's Divining Top's banning this card skyrocketed to cost almost 80 tix. As I said earlier, without Terminus we can play decks that run more creatures and when we have these creatures around we can't just ignore them. It is very difficult to get rid of this Merfolk creature. There are Edict effects and global removal cards to get rid of the card (discard, permission as well) but even those are rather scarce in Legacy. True-Name Nemesis paired up with very strong equipment is truly a nightmare which requires the opponent to find several answers while trying to stay alive and watching their board die. Deathblade decks are the ideal home for this card since it can accelerate into it, protect it and equip it. This deck is capable of burying opposing deck with threats unlike Esper Stoneblade which is very threat-light. While UW Stoneblade can also profit from playing True-Name Nemesis it is one of very few threats (even less than in Esper). When playing against a blue-based deck, post-board the deck will most probably face Pyroblast/Red Elemental Blast. These decks often run several copies of Snapcaster Mage and also other more 'costly' permission like Force of Will or Counterspell. Stoneforge Mystic being usually the second creature will immediately die to Swords to Plowshares/Lightning Bolt which are often dead cards against UW Stoneblade. The last creature in the deck is often Snapcaster Mage which creates a card advantage and often provides a body that can attack for a while. This card doesn't usually win games. Jace, the Mind Sculptor, the last threat in the deck, is not that easy to resolve and keep in play either. Everything takes time. Single True-Name Nemesis has to attack about 6 times to deal lethal damage and that is a very long time in a world of cantrips. Against other decks, True-Name Nemesis often doesn't simply do enough. While True-Name Nemesis pretty much good game against Death and Taxes, against other creature heavy decks it often has to be a blocker. Many decks can either have bigger creatures and attack with several of them into True-Name Nemesis, can fly, have their own True-Name Nemeses or just go wide with tokens.

/* Stoneblade itself struggled with Miracles because of these differences - it couldn't really deal well with Counterbalance and Sensei's Divining Top lock (apart from counterspells or occasional Abrupt Decay). Miracles was the deck that was better in late game than Stoneblade and that put Stoneblade in the aggressor role in that matchup. Esper Stoneblade though is not an aggressive deck and couldn't deal damage fast enough which meant that it wasn't good against Miracles. That was the reason why a Stoneblade deck never dominated the metagame when Miracles were around.

On the other hand when Eldrazi (and 4c Loam) started to be on the rise many Miracles players started to lose to Eldrazi making the metagame better for Stoneblade decks that could actually deal with Eldrazi. I personally was taken aback by the sheer power of Eldrazi decks and also had to switch gears. I did not really pick up Esper Stoneblade because more 'midrangy' approach was better at beating this deck. A different deck took Deathblade's place - Shardless BUG. Still at this time there was a short resurgence of Stoneblade decks in the metagame. Miracles came back with a full force when the players realized what to do with Eldrazi.


/* I tend to prefer running Esper Stoneblade because I like the deck more. If I want to have fun, I have the need to feel that I earn my victories if it comes down to them. I need to play games in which I know that it is primarily my decision that impacts the game and results in a loss or win. Deathblade is a very strong deck but is limited in decisions. It plays very strong cards that are difficult to answer if they resolve and sometimes just wins out of the blue. */ /* If you think that Miracles was the deck that should be like that, you are wrong. Miracles had access to very strong cards that could win the game and thus even inexperienced player could win many matches with Miracles unlike with a Stoneblade deck for example thanks to these high impact cards. This clearly shows that Stoneblade simply lacks cards with very powerful effect and impact on the game. One such a card for example can be Back to Basics. But even Miracles can play Back to Basics or Blood Moon easily. The best threat Stoneblade has is Stoneforge Mystic -> Batterskull, followed by True-Name Nemesis with an equipment and Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Neither of these cards though win the game on the spot or put an opponent in a situation where they can't just do anything. The game needs to be played from the very beginning till the very end, which is something Miracles players didn't really need to care that much since they got to a point when they simply controlled the game and needed to keep it that way till they would win. I don't want to say that playing Miracles is easy (or easier than playing Stoneblade) but there was a huge power level difference between these two deck archetypes. Stoneblade could never reach for inevitability while Miracles could.

If by a chance you have never heard the term inevitability, here is Reid Duke's definition of it.

"Inevitability is a late-stage issue. Inevitability is concerned with a point in the game where tempo no longer matters. It's a point where both players have ample mana and ample time to spend it. More than that, you can think of it as a contest of a complete deck against a complete deck, instead of about whatever particular cards happened to have been drawn early in the game.

I first brought up inevitability in the context of power and card advantage, and it is most certainly related to those two things. However, it's also about ensuring that your late-game plan trumps your opponent's late-game plan. Your opponent must not be able to shut you down—by killing your creatures and Planeswalkers, for example—and must not be able to circumvent your defenses and kill you directly—as with a flurry of burn spells."

Somewhere in the text above I mentioned that Stoneblade (except Deathblade variant) is a control deck. In a way that is true. In another it is not. I mentioned that when UW Control around Zendikar block was around at first it was a draw-go variant that could simply play a very long game and the longer the match was taking the bigger chances of the control player winning. This is what makes a control deck a true control deck for some. It means that the deck has inevitability against other decks. When Stoneforge Mystic and Squadron Hawk started to be played in the Standard UW deck, the decked changed into something different - something that started to lose its inevitability. Yes, it is still a control deck but it requires proactivity from the player and sometimes this deck can find itself in aggressor role (not having inevitability in the matchup). The control decks of the past were very light on threats. Those threats (win conditions) were usually expensive and were played when the right time came (when the game could be finally won). Stoneforge Mystic though is not such a card. It is a cheap threat and can be played early in the game. Against some decks Stoneblade does not have inevitability. Legacy Stoneblade does not have inevitability against Miracles and needs to win the game in midgame because when it gets to lategame it is Miracles that is favored.

*/ /* In order to play this deck well one needs to know what role to play. Depending on that the pilot has to use the cards the deck provides efficiently in context. This means that Esper Stoneblade deck is very unforgiving. One little mistake can cost you the game. The midrange versions - Deathblade - are not that unforgiving even though it takes also a lot of different skills to pilot these decks.



As you probably noticed I really love Stoneblade control decks. For a long time I tried to play this deck and have some kind of success with it. Unfortunately I can clearly see that this deck always starts somewhere behind and hardly gets to being able to win. If this deck falls behind during a game it's hardly going to get back. As I said it is not Jund that with its good card advantage cards can gain tempo and still be able to come back. This deck also doesn't have access to more control cards like Terminus and often does not even run Supreme Verdict which could allow the deck to recover sometimes. UW/b Stoneblade deck is not aggressive enough to race and is also not good enough a deck as a control. Aggressive decks will be faster, Stoneblade will try to control the game and eventually win but it can easily succumb to all the aggressive creatures. Against control, if the player can just sit it out to the late game, Stoneblade won't be able to win. Any kind of a recursion is a problem for Stoneblade and that does not make it good against many other decks either. So what is left? Combos? Yes, against those Stoneblade is good (or rather better).

If you like to play very challenging games (very grindy and long) this deck is worth trying to play. I'd advise playing a black splash because that allows for a bit card advantage in the form of Lingering Souls, Enginered Explosives, Baleful Strix. If you'd want to play UW version I'd suggest considering playing high impact cards like Back to Basics (against all those four-color control and midrange decks), also including Supreme Verdict. I would also maybe consider thinking about another threat that one could play and running a higher number of cantrips to reach them. The threat should be white if possible and be able to create value - for example Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. It's not perfect but it is a good example of what I have in my mind. True-Name Nemesis in these control decks does not show to be that strong. It struggles to even be good. TNN has its home somewhere, but not in these decks. (If I were to play a True-Name Nemesis deck I'd choose a rather aggressive deck as shell. It would be a blue-white fish deck most probably. I would profit from playing Spell Queller and Thalia and it could even play cards like Palace Jailer. This would be also the perfect home for the card Meddling Mage and/or Sanctum Prelate even if the cards would be seen only in the sideboard).

If you want to be winning games more than enjoying the torture while playing Stoneblade I'd advise a different kind of deck be it Miracles or 4c Control.

Thanks for reading

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