So Many Insane Plays – Pounding Your Opponent Into The MUD

The StarCityGames.com Open Series comes to St. Louis!
Tuesday, June 15th – MUD, or Mono Brown, has been a Vintage staple for a fair few years. However, while a number of the strategy’s core cards are the same, there is a surprising variety between the separate builds. Today, Stephen Menendian presents a comprehensive look at one of the more aggressive options in Magic’s Broken Format.

If you have the urge to shatter skulls, to beat someone into the ground, to bash their face to a bloody pulp, then it’s time to play some Vintage. And let’s face it, whose dreams would you rather crush than snooty Vintage players?

This is your first Vintage tournament. You’re excited. But you’re also nervous. Your palms are sweaty, and you can’t get your heart to stop pounding. Your opponent seems friendly enough. He has a nice playmat, with Vintage images drawn over it. His sleeves are new. He shuffles your deck for a bit, and you shuffle his.

You’ve been playing Magic for a little while now. You’ve even played a bit of Legacy, but Vintage seems so much more intimidating and… unpredictable. It’s almost as if the impossible is possible in this format. Anything can happen.

Your opponent proposes, “high roll?” “Sure,” you reply. He pulls out a 20-sided die, and rolls an 8. You reach across the table and check out the dice. It’s not a spin-down. You roll a 17.

A burst of relief washes over you, but is replaced by a bundle of tense nerves. You’ve won the roll, but it’s only added to the pressure.

You pick up your cards and look at your hand. Your chest tightens. You hold your breath. You announce that you’ll keep.

Your opponent considers his hand, impossible to read. He quietly, but clearly, states that he’ll do the same.

You inhale, and play Mishra’s Workshop. Nothing he can do about that. So far so good. Then, you drop a Mox Jet onto the table. Your first spell. It resolves.

Now your heart is pounding in your chest, a war drum. You will yourself to present a calm exterior, even though your hand tremors as you tap your Mishra’s Workshop and Mox, drawing four mana into your mana pool. Your opponent’s expression remains the same — stony and distant.

You snap a card onto the table, and announce Lodestone Golem, leaving a sweaty fingerprint on the sleeve face. Your opponent considers the situation, frowns, and tersely responds, “resolves.”

You can feel your jaw unclench. Your pulse slows, and you regain your composure. You pass the turn.

Your opponent draws a card, plays a basic Island and a Mox Ruby, and passes the turn, in one swift motion.

You untap your lands, and announce an attack with Lodestone Golem. Golem sends your opponent to 15 life. You’ve settled into a rhythm. You’ve regained your focus. You adjust your opponent’s life total on your pad. You put down your pen, and tap Mishra’s Workshop to cast Tangle Wire.

Your opponent runs his hand across his temple and through his hair, scratches his neck, and confirms the resolution of Tangle Wire. You play a Mishra’s Factory and pass the turn.

Your opponent taps his Mox and Island, feeling the pressure of Tangle Wire, draws a card, plays a Polluted Delta, and passes the turn.

You carefully explain to your opponent that you’ll stack the Tangle Wire triggers, removing a counter, and then tapping the Tangle Wire, Factory and your Mox, leaving Lodestone Golem and Mishra’s Workshop untapped.

You attack with Golem, sending your opponent to 10. Will it be enough? You look at your hand, searching for more threats.

You’re having a great time, but you’re not out of danger. You want to seal the deal as quickly as possible. You look at your hand, and a card jumps out at you.

You tap Mishra’s Workshop, and play Sword of Fire and Ice. Lodestone Golem is a monster beater. But imagine him equipped with this Sword. He’ll be untouchable.

In his upkeep, your opponent untaps, and breaks his Polluted Delta for an Island, going to 9. He taps the Island and the Mox and plays Mystical Tutor in his upkeep.

Your brow furrows. That’s not good. He picks up his library, and starts searching. He isn’t perusing his library; he’s on a mission. He stops, and slips a card onto the table, shuffles his library and reveals Tinker. You shuffle his library, and think about what might happen. He taps his Island to Tangle Wire.

He draws Tinker, plays an Island, and passes the turn.

You untap, stack the Wire, and tap Wire and Sword of Fire and Ice. You are pumped.

You tap the Mox and Factory, and equip Golem with Sword of Fire and Ice. Your Golem is now a force to be reckoned with, at 7/5. Your opponent is at 9 life.

You attack with Golem, and the damage resolves in lieu of any blockers, triggering Sword of Fire and Ice’s ability, which you target at your opponent, defeating him.

You did it. You won your first game of tournament Vintage. But your opponent isn’t happy about it. He scoops up his cards, but smugly declares that he would have won that game if he had been on play with Tinker, which he says could find Sphinx of the Steel Wind!

You don’t bother to respond, but you think about what he said. Is what he said true?

You replay the game in your mind. If he had been on the play, he would have led with Mox, Island. You would have played Golem. He would have played his Delta. But he’d be one mana short of being able to play Tinker, thanks to Golem.

Then, you’d attack him to 15, and could play Tangle Wire. He would have had to tap all of his permanents. Even if he plays Scalding Tarn, he wouldn’t be able to play Tinker on his next turn either.

Then, you would attack him to 9, and would resolve Sword of Fire and Ice. Tangle Wire would have 3 counters on it, so he’d have had to tap down all over again. You’d untap, equip Golem, and win again.

But what if he Mana Drained your Tangle Wire? Suppose that’s the case, although your skeptical that that’s what he meant. In that case, he could use the Mana Drain mana to play turn three Tinker. What then? He’d have Sphinx in play. But you? You’d be able to play Sword of Fire and Ice and equip it the same turn, attacking him to 5, from 14. He wouldn’t be able to block, since Sword gives Golem protection from blue and red. He could attack you with Sphinx the next turn, going to 11, sending you to 14. But then you’d attack him again, sending him to 3. He’d attack you again, sending you to 8, and himself to 9. But then he’d finally succumb. Golem equipped with Sword of Fire and Ice can race Sphinx of the Steel Wind.

Wow. Lodestone Golem is really good.

You just smashed your opponent with MUD.

What is MUD?

MUD is a broad, catch-all label that refers to any mono-brown (i.e. all artifacts) Mishra’s Workshop-based prison deck. All versions feature Lodestone Golem. Some versions are more aggressive, and run Juggernauts, Arcbound Ravager, or other beatdown creatures. Others are more controlling, and feature Smokestack and Crucible of Worlds. Some even have a combo finish of Metalworker and Staff of Domination.

MUD is not only a beating; it’s a proven tournament winner. MUD won 40% of the Vintage tournaments with 33 or more players held all over the world in the month of March, the month after Golem was printed. That’s no coincidence.

In this article I will explore the MUD deck in great detail. Now that MUD is winning many of the largest tournaments in the World, it’s more important than ever to understand what makes this deck tick. I’ve collected detailed statistics on the archetype, mining through dozens tournament results. I will begin by showing you the core of the deck, the six lock parts that compose the backbone of the archetype. Second, I will show you how MUD handles a few of the major matchups in the metagame, and the many, surprising tools at its disposal for addressing these matchups. Third, I will highlight some of the major areas of disagreement among MUD players, and try to resolve them. Fourth, I will then show you a composite list based upon 44 different MUD lists that appeared in Vintage Top 8s since the appearance of Lodestone Golem. Finally, in the appendix I provide a complete list of options for MUD pilots, a handy reference for you to peruse.

The Core

The core of the MUD deck is six different prison cards:

Lodestone Golem

Sphere of Resistance

Thorn of Amethyst

Tangle Wire

Chalice of the Void


Virtually every version of MUD runs each of these cards, and they tend to run them in maximum quantities. Each of these cards intefers with the opponent’s ability to play spells by disrupting their mana supply. Golem, Sphere, and Thorn increase the cost of most spells. Tangle Wire taps down the opponent’s mana, preventing them from breaking out of the Sphere lock. Wasteland serves a similar function, by destroying the opponent’s non-basic lands. Chalice of the Void prevents the opponent from playing Moxen when played for zero on turn one, and can substantially stunt an opponent’s mana development.

Beyond disrupting their mana, many of these cards serve other functions as well. Chalice of the Void, for example, can be used to prevent an opponent from playing key spells by setting it at different numbers. Tangle Wire can tap down opposing creatures, and clear the way for an unimpeded attack.

To support these spells, most MUD lists run a manabase that looks like this:

4 Mishra’s Workshop

4 Ancient Tomb

1 Tolarian Academy

1 Strip Mine

4 Wasteland

4 Mishra’s Factory

Sometimes, players substitute 2 Mishra’s Factory for 2 City of Traitors. But the vast majority of MUD lists have a manabase that looks very close to this, and 18 land is the norm.

While most MUD lists run these six prison cards and this manabase, beyond that little agreement.

Critical Matchups

Answering Oath

Oath pilots claim that MUD is a great matchup for them. In fact, that’s a big reason to play Oath at the moment — it at least has the potential to answer the deadly Lodestone Golem with a two mana (which should be easy to cast) enchantment.

Yet, MUD pilots have repeatedly proven their ability to beat Oath in tournament, and tournament Top 8s, in particular. How? There are a number of general answers, and then more specialized cards that can be used in the Oath matchup.

First of all, MUD pilots are often able to race Oath. It’s not unusual that Oath costs 4 mana. Even if the Oath pilot is able to eventually resolve Oath, they need to be able to do it in a timely manner. Resolving Oath the turn before getting killed by a Golem equipped with Sword of Fire and Ice is of little use. Neither is being able to Oath, only to have to tap your creatures down to Tangle Wire while your opponent attacks you to death. In addition to triggering Oath, Oath sometimes Oath’s up the wrong creature at the wrong time. Oathing up a Sphinx when you need Terastodon to destroy an equipped Golem is not enough. In sum, Oath pilots need to be able to play Oath, trigger Oath, and get the right creature to survive at the right time. Oath, by itself, isn’t enough.

Second, there are a number of commonly played cards that can be used to handle Oath. Virtually all MUD pilots run Chalice of the Void. A Chalice set at 2 in the early game will prevent the Oath pilot from ever being able to resolve Oath. Similarly, a Smokestack, which played in 39% of MUD lists, can wipe out an Oath before it can do much damage. Tangle Wire can also tap down Oath creatures, clearing the way for a successful attack. Less common, but no less useful, is Duplicant. About 30% of MUD lists run 1 or 2 Duplicant maindeck, and most run more in the sideboard. Duplicant can remove the first creature Oathed, clearing the way for one more final or penultimate attack, a critical tempo blow. Removing Iona, Emrakul or Terastodon with Duplicant also generates another huge creature that the opponent has to address. 34% of MUD decks run 2-3 Sculpting Steels maindeck. This can do at least three things. It can speed up the kill by copying cards like Lodestone Golem, which can race Oath. It can also copy a Sphinx or other artifact creature, to exile it.

Third, there are a number of generally useful sideboard cards that are useful against Oath. Sixteen percent of MUD lists run a maindeck Staff of Domination. You can ignore Oath and just combo your opponent out with Metalworker and Staff of Domination. Jester’s Cap can be easily played and activated to remove the Oath player’s creatures from game, leaving them with only planeswalkers as win conditions, a difficult and awkward route to victory. More Duplicants can be brought in from the board, both to remove blockers and potential threats. Ensnaring Bridge can prevent your opponent from using Oath to kill you. It’s particularly powerful if you can play it after they Oath up Terastodon. Then, you can just buy time to find other answers, such as Duplicant or Smokestack. Maze of Ith can perform a similar function, and can be recurred from the graveyard with Crucible, should your opponent try to destroy it with Terastodon. I haven’t seen anyone use this solution in the modern era, but Forcefield is also an effective answer to general Oath beaters, except it doesn’t stop Emrakul or Terastodon from blowing up your board. Albert Kyle argues that Null Brooch is an excellent answer to Oath, and sideboards multiple Brooches for that matchup.

One final ‘more general’ solution to Oath, that is a little bit more difficult to set up, but quite potent, is Ghost Quarter Recursion with Crucible of Worlds in tandem with The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale. Tabernacle is already useful against decks like Goblins or Fish, but most Oath decks only run a couple of basic lands. If you can recur Ghost Quarter or string together a couple of Ghost Quarters and neutralize their artifact mana, you can wipe out their manabase and then Tabernacle will destroy any creatures they summon up. Remember, also, that Tabernacle gives all of the Orchard tokens an upkeep cost. So, if you keep Wastelanding their Orchards, they’ll never be able to force Oath trigger. Tabernacle is a solid anti-Oath measure.

Fourth, in addition to all of those options, there are a number of far more specialized solutions. Perhaps most obvious is Eon Hub, a pricey, but effective artifact, that will prevent your opponent from being able to Oath. Of course, the downside to Eon Hub is that you won’t be able to use Tangle Wire or Smokestack. But your creatures won’t have to stare down an Oath creature. Three other, similar solutions include Spawning Pit, High Market, and Matt Elias favorite, Blasting Station. Unlike Eon Hub, Spawning Pit and High Market are not permanent solutions, as you’ll need to eventually find a way to win that likely involves creatures. Nonetheless, both cards can buy time to win with Mishra’s Factory or to find solutions like Duplicant or Smokestack, or other, even more specialized answers. The great upside of High Market is that it’s uncounterable, and MUD players in heavy Oath metagames would be wise to consider maindecking a pair. Your opponent has to get two Forbidden Orchard’s going to trump your High Market, a difficult task when you have 4 Wasteland and a Strip Mine.

As you can see from this review, there are a plethora of answers to Oath. MUD pilots who expect to face Oath have many options for defeating Oath, and should consider the possibilities carefully.

Dealing With Dredge

Another Metagame menace is Dredge. MUD has a surprising number of tools for dealing with Dredge. Unlike other decks, it’s much harder to lock Dredge out of the game by denying them mana, since they can win without using any mana in the first place!

Relic of Progenitus, followed by Tormod’s Crypt, are the most common solutions. Relic of Progenitus appears in over 80% of MUD sideboards. Suffice to say, you should probably be running this card. In fact, Relic and Tormod’s Crypt are virtually tied as the most common played MUD sideboard card. No card even comes close to appearing as often as Relic and Crypt in MUD sideboards. The most successful, tournament winning MUD lists typically run some combination of Relic, Tormod’s Crypt, and Pithing Needle, or just Relic and Crypt. For example, look at this MUD list, which won the 347 player Bazaar of Moxen:

Fabian won the largest Vintage tournament of the year, and he did so with a complete anti-Dredge package. Much as I suggest with decks like TPS, he ran 7 dedicated Dredge answers. It’s also important to note that once you have a Crypt or a Relic, other cards, like Sphere of Resistance, become more potent, since they prevent the opponent from playing spells that would help them speed up their kill. Also, Wasteland taking out a Bazaar, in concert with Tormod’s Crypt or Relic is enough to win many a game with the clock that MUD runs. Pithing Needle serves a similar function, stopping Bazaar activations. Damping Matrix also does the same thing, but it’s more expensive.

Various MUD pilots also run weaker graveyard hate, such as Ravenous Trap, Bojuka Bog, Heap Doll, or Phyrexian Furance. I would not advise running these cards over Relic or T. Crypt, but they can be run in tandem, particularly Bojuka Bog, which can be recurred with Wasteland and Crucible.

Another option that is run in some MUD sideboards is Leyline of the Void. About 18% of MUD lists that made top 8 since February have run Leyline in their sideboard. Most of the lists that run this in the sideboard, however, have Serum Powder maindeck. I’ll talk more about Serum Powder later. As a side note, many lists with Leyline in the sideboard also boarded a single Helm of Obedience as a win condition.

Other options include: Ensnaring Bridge, Tabernacle, and Powder Keg.

The important take away is that most tournament winning MUD lists had at least 7 answers for Dredge. If you expect Dredge in your metagame, you should run no less.

Other matchups in brief:

Fish: A very popular sideboard card is Razormane Masticore. It appears in 55% of MUD sideboards. It even appears in 27% of MUD mainboards. Triskelions, Serrated Arrows, Sword of Fire and Ice, and Crucible of Worlds are each useful in this matchup as well. Powder Keg also appears. Razormane is preferred because it isn’t affected by Null Rod.

Workshop Mirror: Crucible of Worlds is the most common sideboard card for the Workshop mirror, and it appears in 45% of MUD lists. Less common, but more techy, is Culling Scales, which is one of the best possible cards you can play turn one on the draw in the mirror. Triskelions are critical to killing Goblin Welders. Ghost Quarter is also like a Strip Mine in this match.

Tezzeret: This is the matchup where Null Rod really shines. Jester’s Cap is sometimes effective here as well, depending upon the particular build. Rishadan Port and Ghost Quarter are two land options that can be used to attack their manabase. Mishra’s Helix can also be used to that effect. Smokestack is also very good in this matchup. Sculpting Steel is also important in this match, to neutralize Tinker as an answer. You can Sculpting Steel Inkwell Leviathan, even though it has shroud. It kills both Darksteel Colossus and Sphinx, two other common Tinker targets. Sundering Titan can also be devastating in this matchup. If you are specifically concerned about countermagic, cards like Defense Grid are also an option.

Storm Combo: Your maindeck tools are supremely effective in this match, from Sphere to Chalice. However, other sideboard options are available, such as Jester’s Cap, graveyard hate, and very narrow cards like Null Brooch.

MUD Controversies


It may come as quite a shock, but over a quarter of the MUD lists that have made top 8 in the last few months have not run Trinisphere. Specifically, only 73% of MUD lists that made top 8 since Lodestone Golem have included Trinisphere. Fabian’s Bazaar of Moxen winning list is an example. Since Trinisphere is arguably the best lock part ever printed (hence it’s restriction), why wouldn’t they include it?

I think there are a number of rationales for this omission. First and foremost, the density of “Sphere” effects (Sphere, Thorn, Golem), make Trinisphere somewhat redundant. Trinisphere does almost nothing if you already have two Spheres in play, and Hurkyl’s Recall, Oath, etc cost the same amount with a single Sphere in play. Secondly, Trinisphere probably is weaker in the Workshop mirror. When you play Workshop, Trinisphere on turn one, you open yourself to being Wastelanded, and then allowing your opponent to lock you out of the game. That’s just one example of how it might be weaker in the Workshop mirror.

I have to admit that many successful MUD lists have not run Trinisphere, but I do not find that fact persuasive. Trinisphere is too powerful and too potent to omit. A Mox is still cheaper with two Spheres in play than it is with a Trinisphere in play. I can see an argument for sideboarding it out in particular matchups, or on the draw in the mirror. Or I can even see an argument for sideboarding it, in a particular metagame. But omitting it entirely is inexcusable, in my book.

Null Rod

Matt Sperling insists that Workshop players run Null Rod. He says that “[s]hutting off two Moxes with a Null Rod is almost like casting two Sphere’s of Resistance for 2 mana and 1 card.” I agree with his comparison, which is telling. He’s saying Null Rod is two Spheres in one card. Null Rod is unbelievably powerful, denying opponents as much as 40% of their manabase. The traditional Control deck runs 15 lands and 9-10 artifact accelerants. Not to mention, it’s strategically valuable, in that it stops Time Vault combo, and other combos like it.

Only about 14% of MUD lists run Null Rod maindeck. If it’s as powerful as Matt says, why is it so disfavored? There are a number of reasons for this. Some claim that Null Rod is too narrow in a broad field, in that it’s weak against Fish, Aggro and other Workshop decks. Some claim that Null Rod isn’t good enough because it disrupts your own mana base too much, and prevents you from using Metalworker and Sword of Fire and Ice. It also interferes with cards like Karn and Trike, key MUD staples. Some people say it’s all of these reasons, and more.

I’m honestly not sure what to think. I think, at least in the American metagame, Null Rod is probably too powerful to omit entirely. It’s synergy with Sphere effects is unbelievable. Think about the opening vignette, and how powerful Null Rod is with Golem. I would try to fit at least two Null Rod’s maindeck, and failing that, a pair in the sideboard for the Tezzeret match.


This is one of the most intriguing issues of all. About 45% of MUD lists making Top 8 in the last couple of months run 4 Metalworker maindeck. Yet, it’s also a card that receives much of the strongest criticism about MUD decks. Matt Sperling, in particular, has heavily criticized this card. One of his main points is that Metalworker is only good when you have enough mana to operate your deck, and it’s no longer necessary. Others say that Metalworker isn’t good enough, because it takes a turn to be useful when you should be locking your opponent out on turn one. Others lament how pathetic it is against Oath. Finally, it also precludes or interferes with the use and abuse of Null Rod.

I’m also on the fence on this one. I think Sword of Fire and Ice is an enormously powerful card, one that is tremendously underestimated. It’s one of the few cards that can help you directly race Oath and Tezzeret’s Tinker targets. And it protects your creatures from cards like Ingot Chewer and Rack and Ruin, not to mention Echoing Truth and Chain of Vapor. And, it’s a draw engine. Sword of Fire and Ice is one of the best reasons to run Metalworker, in my opinion.

There are others, though. It does allow an explosive turn two, if it resolves. And it can help you play things like Keening Stone or even Eldrazi. And it does combo out with Staff of Domination, which is an option.

For me, though, if I decide to run Sword of Fire and Ice, I’ll have to take a close look at Metalworker as an option. But if I don’t run SOFI, there is little chance I’d include Metalworker. Including Metalworker would be nothing more than a concession that I want SOFI.


Thirty-Nine percent of MUD pilots run Smokestack maindeck. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of players who run Smokestack also run Crucible of Worlds maindeck. These two cards come as a bundle. There is also a negative correlation between Smokestack and both Triskelion and Juggernaut, in particular. Virtually no list runs both Juggernaut and Smokestack. While most MUD pilots run Triskelion, players with Smoketack are less likely to run it, or run fewer copies. Likewise, no list that ran Sword of Fire and Ice also ran Smokestack. If you don’t run Sword, then Smokestack is probably a solid inclusion.

This may be the second major cleavage among MUD players, after the Metalworker issue. My view on the issue is that you should play the card that are best suited to your metagame. By no means do I think that Smokestack is necessary or even important in this day and age. MUD is more than capable of creating enough tempo that neither card is necessary to win matches. That said, Smokestack is an immensely powerful card. The problem with Smokestack, in my view, is that it’s strongest on turn one, but that’s also the optimal time to play Spheres rather than Smokestack. Smokestack should receive strong consideration, but it’s not an automatic inclusion, by any stretch of the imagination. Smokestack also seems stronger, to me, in builds with Null Rod.

In other words, the SOFI, Metalworker, more Trikes package is probably mutually inconsistent with the Smokestack, Crucible, Null Rod package, and you have to choose one or the other. At the moment, though, I think I prefer a hybrid approach.

Smokestack is a great card, but I don’t think it’s its time to shine. Metalworker is lackluster. I do think that Null Rod and Crucible are great at that the moment, and in different matchups. Trike is perennially good. And SOFI is incredible. The question is, how do you get those disparate cards to synergize?

Mana Vault, Mana Crypt and Black Lotus

There has been quite a bit of controversy on the Mana Drain because the New York area MUD pilots have been omitting Black Lotus. Take a look:

No Black Lotus. Eleven percent of the (5 of 44) MUD lists that made top 8 since the printing of Golem didn’t run Black Lotus. These were all because of these New York area players. The chief argument, as it has been presented, against Black Lotus is the fact that it is an one-shot mana source in a deck that needs reusable mana. I might be persuaded to at least credit that argument if they all didn’t run Mana Vault. I think omitting Black Lotus is just wrong, even if you run Serum Powder, as these players do, to get more stable mana draws. Black Lotus powers out too many broken plays.

Perhaps more meritorious is the exclusion of Mana Vault. Mana Vault only appears in 61% of MUD lists, meaning that it isn’t included in almost 40% of MUD lists. I thought that there might be a correlation with Metalworker and the absence of Mana Vault, but none exists. Mana Vault is included or not on a basis that can’t seem to be explained by the data. Not running Mana Vault puts you in decent company.

Mana Crypt is included in over 86% of MUD lists, and should not be omitted under any circumstances.

Serum Powder

Like the lack of Black Lotus, the NYSE guys are running Serum Powder in their MUD lists, to great effect. That’s why these five lists, representing 11% of the total MUD lists in Top 8s, all have Serum Powder. Why?

A couple of years ago, Chapin suggested that Stax decks would win the vast majority of games in which they had Mishra’s Workshop in their opening hands. It follows, then, that if Workshop in the opening hand is correlated strongly with winning, then Serum Powder would increase that chance, just as it does in Dredge with Bazaar of Baghdad.

In March, Albert Kyle wrote a long post on the Mana Drain arguing that Serum Powder should be included in Lodestone Golem-based MUD. He makes a compelling case that Lodestone Golem has subtly changed the power levels of other cards (via synergy), and suggested using Serum Powder as a way of ensuring that you begin the game with Mishra’s Workshop. The problem, though, is that you have increased vulnerability to Wasteland, due to all of the Sphere effects, and the possibility of locking yourself out. Thus, Albert also makes the suggestion of running 4 Crucibles, to protect Shop, and 4 Expedition Map, to find new ones.

The NYSE guys don’t run Expedition Map, but they are running a full complement of Serum Powder. I think the first question to evaluate is Albert’s claim that you need Mishra’s Workshop in your opening hand. I’m not sure I agree. If you run Metalworker, then I definitely don’t agree. Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors, or Mana Crypt/Vault and a Mox will allow you to play Metalworker and generate plenty of mana. I also think it’s possible to just have a seemingly even position, board parity, and break out of it eventually. That’s acceptable in a deck like MUD.

But, even assuming that Serum Powder creates a strong enough benefit, in finding Workshop consistently, that doesn’t mean that it should be included. That’s because we also have to assess the drawbacks. For every hand that you wouldn’t use it, it becomes pretty much a dead card, and, what’s more, a dead topdeck, in a deck that needs good topdecks. I can imagine plenty of hands where you have Serum Powder, but desperately wish it was something else. If I was running Bazaar Stax, with Welders, I would be far more inclined to include Serum Powders. In that deck, you can discard Powders to your Bazaar, or Weld other cards in for Powders. In MUD, I think it’s far less important, since you have plenty of other mana boosting lands, like Ancient Tomb, and more likely to be dead, and have a high opportunity cost. I would not run Serum Powder in Stax, although I look forward to seeing more evidence, one way or another, on this issue.

The Composite MUD List

I aggregated every single Lodestone Golem MUD list that made top 8 in any recorded Vintage tournament. The composite number reflects the average number of copies of each card across those tournaments. So, for example, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the average number of Mishra’s Workshops were 4 per deck. Here it is:

CardName – Composite
Mishra’s Workshop – 4.00
Tolarian Academy – 0.98
Strip Mine – 1.00
Wasteland – 4.00
Ancient Tomb – 3.98
Mishra’s Factory – 2.55
Black Lotus – 0.89
Sol Ring – 1.00
Moxen – 4.98
Mana Crypt – 0.86
Mana Vault – 0.61
City of Traitors – 1.32
Rishadan Port – 0.34
Ghost Quarter – 0.14
High Market – 0.05
Metalworker – 1.91
Lodestone Golem – 4.00
Trinisphere – 0.73
Sphere of Resistance – 3.93
Thorn of Amethyst – 3.32
Chalice of the Void – 3.61
Tangle Wire – 3.64
Karn, Silver Golem – 1.91
Triskelion – 1.73
Sword of Fire and Ice – 0.61
Memory Jar – 0.07
Smokestack – 1.39
Jesters Cap – 0.07
Crucible of Worlds – 1.66
Staff of Domination – 0.36
Arcbound Ravager – 0.20
Duplicant – 0.52
Expedition Map – 0.09
Sculpting Steel – 0.75
Razormane Masticore – 0.48
Null Rod – 0.43
Juggernaut – 0.91
Powder Keg – 0.32
Serum Powder – 0.45
Sundering Titan – 0.02
Su-Chi – 0.16
Kozileck – 0.02
Total – 59.98

Tormod’s Crypt – 2.20
Relic of Progenitus – 2.18
Pithing Needle – 1.18
Duplicant – 1.93
Crucible of Worlds – 0.73
Chalice of the Void – 0.20
Razormane Masticore – 1.16
Jester’s Cap – 0.59
Null Rod – 0.27
Phyrexian Furance – 0.02
Sword of Fire and ice – 0.00
High Market – 0.11
Bojuka Bog – 0.18
Sculpting Steel – 0.45
Thorn of Amethyst – 0.27
Platinum Angel – 0.20
Leyline of the Void – 0.73
Arcbound Ravager – 0.14
Maze of Ith – 0.20
Culling Scales – 0.09
Triskelion – 0.23
Damping Matrix – 0.07
Ravenous Trap – 0.07
Heap Doll – 0.07
The Tabernacle – 0.07
Ghost Quarter – 0.07
Sundering Titan – 0.05
Helm of Obedience – 0.02
Null Brooch – 0.02
Ensnaring Bridge – 0.16
Spawning Pit – 0.18
Ghost Quarter – 0.02
Icy Manipulator – 0.02
Eon Hub – 0.39
Metalworker – 0.05
Island – 0.05
Powder Keg – 0.66
Total – 15.05

The important lesson here is that there are a ton of options for the MUD pilot. MUD can be tuned to beat literally anything in Magic. The issue is the combination of cards you decide to run. It’s up to the MUD pilot to think carefully about their metagame and select the right mix of tools to win.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this article.

Until next time…

Stephen Menendian

Appendix: The Complete List of MUD Options

Heavily Played = **
Marginally Played/Rarely Played = *


Ancient Tomb**
Bojuka Bog*
City of Traitors**
Crystal Vein*
Ghost Quarter*
God’s Eye*
High Market*
Maze of Ith*
Mishra’s Factory**
Mishra’s Workshop**
Petrified Field*
Rishadan Port*
Strip Mine*
The Tabernacle at Pendral Vale*
Tolarian Academy**


Ankh of Mishra*
Arcbound Crusher*
Arcbound Ravager*
Black Vise*
Blasting Station*
Bottle Gnomes*
Bottled Cloister*
Chalice of the Void**
Crucible of Worlds**
Crumbling Sanctuary*
Culling Scales*
Cursed Scroll*
Cursed Totem*
Damping Matrix*
Defense Grid*
Ensnaring Bridge**
Eon Hub*
Expedition Map*
Grafted Skullcap*
Grim Monolith*
Heap Doll*
Helm of Obedience*
Icy Manipulator*
Jester’s Cap**
Karn, Silver Golem**
Keening Stone*
Lodestone Golem**
Memory Jar*
Mindstorm Crown*
Mishra’s Helix*
Mizzium Transreliquat*
Myr Retriever*
Null Brooch*
Null Rod*
Orb of Dreams*
Phyrexian Furnace*
Pithing Needle**
Planar Portal*
Platinum Angel*
Powder Keg**
Razormane Masticore**
Sculpting Steel**
Serrated Arrows*
Serum Powder*
Spawning Pit*
Sphere of Resistance**
Staff of Domination*
Static Orb*
Sundering Titan*
Sword of Fire and Ice**
Tangle Wire**
Thorn of Amethyst**
Time Vault*
Tormod’s Crypt**
Tsabo’s Web*
Umezawa’s Jitte*
Voltaic Key*
Winter Orb*


Leyline of the Void*
Ravenous Trap*
Street Wraith*