Standing Tall

For many years, Standstill was a format-defining control card in Legacy. There were a myriad of control decks that leaned on Standstill alongside Mishra’s Factory and Wasteland to ensure that you could interact favorably under a Standstill and force your opponent to break it. Even when they did, you were likely to have counterspells available to deal with whatever it was they were trying to do. It’s been awhile since we’ve seen Standstill in any kind of eternal format, but that doesn’t mean the archetype is dead:

Standstill doesn’t really have legs in Legacy anymore, in large part due to how efficient the threats are. It’s much harder than it used to be to play Standstill onto an empty board and leverage that advantage. Vintage, however, is a different story. It turns out that using the Moxes to play a Standstill on turn one, before your opponent has even taken a turn, is kind of powerful.

In addition to Moxes, Standstill gets a lot more powerful when the instant-speed answers are better. The higher the density of cheap interaction like Mindbreak Trap, Flusterstorm, and Mental Misstep, the more likely it is that you’re going to be able to defend yourself until you can resolve a Standstill and then leverage the advantage it generates for you.

There’s also the fact that Mana Drain is a reasonable backup plan that you don’t have access to in Legacy. Mana Drain allows you to generate a huge tempo advantage, even when you counter something relatively cheap. You can leverage that mana to let you cast Standstill, Crucible of Worlds, or even Jace, the Mind Sculptor while still leaving up mana for interaction.

If you’re looking to play a pure control deck in Legacy that can reasonably with games against everything from Workshop and Monastery Mentor to Dredge and Oath of Druids, this seems like a pretty great deck to try to get it done. The sheer flexibility of answers and hate cards in {W}{U} gives you the potential to generate huge advantages in deck-building, and the efficiency of answers and card draw engines means that you should get to play a reasonable game most of the time.

Ixalan is now available for Preorder! Pick up sealed product and singles as they're posted!