30 Stoneforge Mystic Brews For SCG Dallas And Beyond

30 decklists, no kidding! GerryT sees near-limitless potential in Stoneforge Mystic for Modern. Will any of these lists break through at SCG Dallas or future events?

Well, this was unexpected.

I didn’t think I’d live to see a Stoneforge Mystic unban in Modern, but I suppose if they’re willing to unban Jace, the Mind Sculptor, anything can happen. Wizards of the Coast’s stated goal was to get Modern back to a place that focused on the battlefield. This will probably work.

White is one of the weakest colors in Modern, so I’m happy it’s receiving a much-needed boost, but I worry that it comes at the cost of diversity. If white ends up being one of the stronger colors now, it will be as a result of Stoneforge Mystic. The prevalence of Stoneforge Mystic dictates that players show up with artifact removal, which is a deckbuilding cost I don’t appreciate being built into a format.

We’ll see what happens, though. In the meantime, it’s time to brew with the most exciting card to enter Modern!

First of all, which Equipment are we searching for with Stoneforge Mystic, and how do we decide which one is best for our deck?

Batterskull is the default option. It allows Stoneforge Mystic to function as a solitary threat without needing any additional backup. Plus, once Batterskull is on the battlefield, Stoneforge Mystic’s job is done, so you don’t care if she dies to a Lightning Bolt shortly thereafter. The same cannot be said for the various Swords, and Batterskull is among the reasons why Stoneforge Mystic is so powerful.

Which Sword(s) you use depends on your deck. In general, if you have plenty of ways to spend your mana, either because you have card advantage or some other way to not run out of resources, you’ll want Sword of Feast and Famine. Both protection colors are relevant, and if you find a window to connect with it, you effectively cast and equipped your Sword for free. That’s a huge tempo boost, plus they discard a card, and you have mana open to further cement your advantage.

A creature deck with few sources of card advantage will probably want Sword of Fire and Ice. The chip damage and much-needed card drawing will help with closing games or catching you back up. It also gives you a way to interact with problematic creatures, which a creature deck typically won’t want to devote many deck slots to doing.

Each Sword has its uses and which ones people use will shift depending on the metagame. If Golgari-based decks are popular, Sword of Light and Shadow is incredible, but it’s mostly a sideboard card at the moment. I’ve seen Sword of War and Peace tossed around as a potential candidate. While I agree on its power level, I don’t think its effects are more useful than the other Swords’, but that could be wrong. We won’t know for sure until we have a clear picture of the metagame.

There’s also a sneaky option.

Walking Ballista is the obvious tool for this one, but cards like Grim Lavamancer and Izzet Staticaster work just as well too. Devoting slots to these combinations means the format has to be in a very specific place, which I don’t think we’re in, but it could come to that.

The Walking Ballista combo is particularly difficult to build around because of how large of a mana investment Walking Ballista is. That leads you down the Tron route, but at that point, you can be doing more powerful things than assembling a flimsy combo.

What works well with Stoneforge Mystic?

Creating multiple bodies (or a body with value), protecting your investment, and winning midrange creature mirrors all seem quite important. These cards might not have lined up well in a Hogaak metagame, but they will see more play in the coming months.

And maybe the worst card with Stoneforge Mystic?

Most of the decks that could utilize Stoneforge Mystic as a positive way to enhance their creature deck by adding some staying power also needed Leonin Arbiter as disruption. If Modern becomes focused on Stoneforge Mystic, the necessity for that disruption wanes to some degree.

You could play them together, but it’s awkward. You want to play Leonin Arbiter as soon as possible to shut off your opponent’s fetchlands, but if Leonin Arbiter is on the battlefield first, you can’t search with Stoneforge Mystic. Depending on the matchup, I could see casting Stoneforge Mystic on Turn 2 instead of Leonin Arbiter, but then why play Leonin Arbiter at all?

Stoneforge Mystic also has an awkward interaction with Stony Silence, which is white’s main way to beat up on artifact-based decks. For the most part, Stoneforge Mystic isn’t integral to your strategy against artifact decks, so that actually seems fine. However, if you think you’re going to want Equipment and artifact hate in the same matchup, you should look toward playing something other than Stony Silence (or Collector Ouphe). The same can be said for if you’re worried about opposing Equipment, as something like Ancient Grudge, Abrade, or Nature’s Chant will serve you better than Stony Silence.

Here are some other cards whose value will rise.

Being able to remove smaller creatures with value will be huge because it means you’ll be able to stop Stoneforge Mystic from cheating Batterskull onto the battlefield. Cards like Kolaghan’s Command and Abrade are versatile ways to have answers to Equipment. Removing artifacts wasn’t necessary last season, so those cards were all but absent from the format. With artifacts making a huge return, any deck able to play Kolaghan’s Command is going to be worthy of consideration.

Also, Mono-Green Tron doesn’t care about puny Stoneforge Mystics, so that’s a deck we have to respect.

Let’s get to the decklists, loosely sorted by archetype.

This is where most people are going to start. Azorius Control is the most successful deck that Stoneforge Mystic has historically slotted into, so it will inevitably be popular. Squadron Hawk has largely been supplanted in power level (although it does show up in a couple of my decklists), so we need a secondary creature to carry Equipment.

Teferi, Time Raveler is a potent combination with Spell Queller because even if Spell Queller dies, your opponent’s spell is gone forever. You can also bounce your Spell Queller, exiling their spell, and use it again. Both fit the tempo-leaning gameplan with Stoneforge Mystic, so it’s not surprising to see several people end up with similar lists.

We haven’t seen this is basically forever. The goal is to use Aether Vial to play your creatures while leaving your mana open to do other things, like counter spells, move Equipment, or draw cards. Using Cryptic Command to bounce Snapcaster Mage is more effective when you have an Aether Vial on two.

Any deck that plays multiple copies of Teferi, Time Raveler has to consider Delay as their two-mana counterspell of choice. That warrants additional testing.

Although this isn’t a “true” Eternal Command deck with Eternal Witness for more shenanigans, it could be. A green splash for Eternal Witness and Ice-Fang Coatl is doable and potentially quite good. Arcum’s Astrolabe would fix the mana for Cryptic Command and give you enough artifacts to play Thirst for Knowledge if you wanted.

While probably not the strongest deck in this article, it’s easily one of my favorites.

If you’re using Stoneforge Mystic in a controlling deck, you have to ask yourself why you’re not just searching for Sword of the Meek. Using Swords to beat up your opponent with creatures is powerful and fun, but is it actually better than the Thopter / Sword combo? We’ve never been able to assemble the combo so easily (without using narrow pieces like Steelshaper’s Gift and the like), so maybe it’s time?

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a dedicated Gifts Ungiven control deck, but now could be the time. There’s a lot to unpack here. Going over every single card choice could be an article on its own and we have plenty of other decklists to cover. If you’re interested in working on this deck, here are some cards I considered but ultimately cut.

One thing I will note is that we’ve never lived in a world where Ojutai’s Command is legal alongside Stoneforge Mystic and Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Granted, Stoneforge Mystic and Jace don’t work well together, but they are both independently powerful two-drops. I’m excited to see if Ojutai’s Command will make a dent in Modern.

It’s… just not the same.

As one of the best homes for Kolaghan’s Command and the color combination that can actually utilize alongside Stoneforge Mystic, Mardu has limitless potential.

Dreadhorde Arcanist is another potential partner for Stoneforge Mystic. It plays incredibly well with the plethora of one-mana spells and can even do busted things once it’s wielding an Equipment. The other variant I looked at contained Soulfire Grand Master. Honestly, that card is probably too slow for Modern, but giving things like Magmatic Sinkhole lifelink does sound nice.

I’m more excited about Mardu because of its metagaming capabilities than any specific configurations that I’ve found. Hopefully someone can find something I missed.

Abzan Midrange is boring, but it’s necessary for the meticulous nature of this article. I did my best to innovate, but the tried and true seemed like the best approach. The only other angle I wanted to work on was Stoneforge Mystic alongside Traverse the Ulvenwald, but that’s probably too mana-intensive and durdly.

Oh, boy.

I’m not sure what to think of this one. I wanted to put Stoneforge Mystic in the old Emeria, the Sky Ruin decks, but got a little carried away. Sun Titan led me to Brought Back, which plays well with Lotus Field. Elvish Reclaimer and Flagstones of Trokair are both phenomenal with Lotus Field and Knight of the Reliquary is a fine addition as well.

This deck could have massive potential or it could be completely unplayable, but I’m not sure which. Regardless, Elvish Reclaimer plus Flagstones of Trokair needs to be explored.

I’m not a fan of decks like these, but Stoneforge Mystic gives them another angle of attack, which will surely frustrate those trying to find a way out of the prison.

For the sake of my enjoyment, please do not register this deck.

If there’s ever a Stoneforge Mystic deck that breaks the format, it’s going to look something like this. You have answers, some of the most frustrating cards in Magic’s history, and a couple of ways to cheat on mana. To top it off, there’s disruption for Tron and lots of inherent card advantage. There’s also no shortage of potential cards to play, so you’ll have plenty of options to adapt as the metagame does.

Instead of merging control and tempo, we’re leaning into the tempo game. Being proactive tends to be a gameplan that wins more than trying to stop your opponent’s threats, and this deck helps prove that rule. People are mostly scared of Stoneforge Mystic out of a combo deck, but a good tempo deck is much scarier and harder to target.

Bant Company has slowly gotten improvements over the last few years and it’s at the point where this deck has it all. The only downside is somewhat of a reliance on having their Turn 1 mana creature live, but Stoneforge Mystic gives you a powerful two-drop to lean on when that doesn’t happen. Collector Ouphe and Deputy of Detention were huge pickups that let you answer problematic permanents while still making good use of Collected Company. Ice-Fang Coatl provides card advantage, velocity, and an easy way to answer larger threats.

The only thing that could keep this deck down is a faster Modern format than I’m expecting.

Spirits utilizes tempo and a soft lock with Drogskol Captain to make life difficult for its opponents. Overall, it’s not the most powerful strategy and the cards aren’t individually strong, but it manages to cobble together wins from seemingly impossible positions.

Spectral Sailor is another reasonable option. Realistically, you won’t be activating its ability much, but the threat and utility could be worth it. This deck got some nice tools from Modern Horizons, but is it enough?

If you’re looking for worse mana and some slightly better cards, there’s always Bant Spirits. It’s fairly medium, though.

Splashing is trivial, especially without Leonin Arbiter restricting your deckbuilding, so Mono-White doesn’t make a lot of sense. Still, it’s a viable choice for the purists out there.

Losing Leonin Arbiter is devastating, especially in a deck which had enough mana sinks that Stoneforge Mystic might not be entirely necessary. I fully support testing this archetype, but it’s unlikely to go anywhere.

Between losing Leonin Arbiter and gaining Stoneforge Mystic and Giver of Runes, this is the archetype I felt had room to change the most.

Thraben Inspector could potentially be a great fit here, although Giver of Runes is much, much stronger. Being able to protect Tidehollow Sculler, Thought-Knot Seer, and Stoneforge Mystic can be frustrating for your opponents and well worth the one-mana investment.

The black cards are a solid complement to the white ones since black shores up some of white’s weaknesses, namely the lack of disruption.

It’s only a matter of time before there are enough good legendary white creatures to make this deck. It’s capable of powerful turns, but the inconsistencies are very real.

Please give me a reason to assemble Basilisk Collar and Izzet Staticaster!

I’d be fine splitting the Stoneforge Mystics between maindeck and sideboard in Humans, using it only as a means to fetch a Sword in Game 1 to help grind. Humans is built on synergy and going wide, so the Stoneforge Mystic into Batterskull angle isn’t necessary. Having a Sword as backup is nice, though.

Between Giver of Runes, Stoneforge Mystic, and Deputy of Detention, there are a fair number of non-Humans in the deck and that can make life awkward. Looking at a decklist like this makes me want to focus on tuning things like Bant Company rather than trying to incorporate powerful cards in a deck otherwise based on synergy.

How many times is this deck going to get revived?

At this point, cutting the blue might be the correct choice because you wouldn’t miss out on much. Again, for the sake of completion and because I think people will actually register this deck, it’s important to get it out there.

For whatever reason, I am smitten with Elvish Reclaimer. It’s not hard to make it better than Wild Nacatl and that card has a Modern pedigree. Its ability is relevant (although I wish there were higher-impact lands to fetch), and if you combine it with Flagstones of Trokair, it even accelerates you. Maybe Elvish Reclaimer doesn’t do enough, but it’s very close to being there and decks like these are a good showcase for it.

If you are looking for the most medium deck in Modern, you have found the right color combination. Wrenn and Six is strong, but I’m not sure it’s good enough, even with Stoneforge Mystic. The two don’t have any inherent synergy either, so the rationale behind Naya seemed flawed.

Orzhov Tokens will always have a soft spot in my heart, and this iteration is much better than its predecessors. Force of Virtue gives us a reason to play Squadron Hawk and the one-drops are much-needed. At this point, the black aspect of the deck is at a minimum, but that’s only because we have so many options in white.

If I had to choose between Jeskai Humans or Bant Humans, I’d choose Bant. The manabase in Five-Color Humans doesn’t work well enough to support Stoneforge Mystic, so returning to a normalized build of the tribe is in order.

Collected Company is awesome with Stoneforge Mystic, so expect to see those two together in the near future. As with my previous Humans deck, I don’t see a reason to focus on the tribe rather than play individually powerful cards, but this is another fine option.

This build of Naya somehow makes more sense because it jams even more powerful cards together. Even though your cards don’t key off each other, each one is a must kill, and that’s exactly the type of strategy Azorius Control and Jund don’t want to play against. Overall, it has merit, even if it looks bizarre.

Last Naya deck, I promise. This one has Bloodbraid Elf as its four-drop, which I like. There’s still not a lot to be excited about here, especially since cascading into Boom // Bust no longer works.

The metagame has to be highly specific for Martyr of Sands to be the correct call. Again, we have a ton of new toys, but does it even matter? There’s also the fact that splashing is easy.

While building this deck, I wondered if Oketra’s Monument would be good, but then I started to realize it would be better off as its own deck entirely,

As far as porting Standard decks to Modern goes, this actually looks reasonable. Squadron Hawk, Ranger of Eos, and Sky Hussar give you card advantage and the blue splash provides disruption and answers to your opponent’s threats. Force of Virtue is the perfect card to pump your tokens at a low cost.

When people talk about how scared they are of Stoneforge Mystic coming off the Banned List, this is the type of deck they’re talking about. You have a powerful creature combo that works off mediocre creatures, and Stoneforge turns each of those mediocre creatures into a terrifying threat.

The saving grace is that each creature dies to every removal spell in the book, but you still have to kill each one on sight. With this deck’s access to sideboard cards like Veil of Summer and Vivien, Champion of the Wilds, that might not be doable.

“Snowheeli” is the type of deck that starts out as a meme but actually ends up being pretty good.

Your mana is great. You have answers, powerful planeswalkers, and a lot of value. Plus, the combo kill gives you free wins and allows you to play midrange while still having a shot against decks like Tron.

This deck seems busted.

Maybe we’re supposed to do away with the old shell and rebuild it from the ground up, but this seemed like the easiest place to start. The bullets for Whir of Invention are more exciting now that you have to worry about things other than the graveyard. However, Whir of Invention might be the weak link and a different version with more interaction could prove to be better.

This is the deck I would recommend for this weekend.

This is giving me some serious Twinblade flashbacks. Although it’s probably not as strong as the Urzablade deck, it still strikes me as something that could truly access in the format going forward.

Jeskai Saheeli is another deck where you could increase the number of Teferi, Time Ravelers and use Delay instead of Remand. I think that would be a better change, but I wanted to try the Seasoned Pyromancers that many were hyping in this archetype.

Maybe it’s not as powerful to blow up your opponent’s lands as killing them outright, but it’s more fun. Setting up the Celestial Kirin / Ugin’s Conjurant combo is almost trivial now with all the tutoring effects.

Other potential inclusions are Elvish Reclaimer, Fauna Shaman, and Scryb Ranger, but I wasn’t convinced of their usefulness.

Slow, durdly, and maybe you get some value and then die? Yup, sounds like Prime Speaker Vannifar.

I don’t know what it would take to make this archetype viable. Force of Negation is obviously a step in the right direction and Stoneforge Mystic loosely fits, but it’s not a slam-dunk inclusion.

Welcome Back, Stoneforge Mystic

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Stoneforge Mystic can also slot right into Azorius Tron, Bring to Light Scapeshift, Cheerios, Bant Blink, Affinity, Restore Balance, and many other archetypes. Granted, those decks haven’t been Tier 1 in quite some time, but a powerful, compact package is something those decks have been missing. It wouldn’t surprise me if the Stoneforge Mystic package could push a previously weak deck into Tier 1.