Welcome back to part 2 of Give ‘Em The D!, my Stasis Warden deck. Without further ado, here is the card analysis.
I’m going to cover the two most important cards first, just to stress how important they are that you run 3x of each and that you level them as much as possible. After that, the strength and utility of the card really depends on the matchup.
If you’re from the future and reading this, send me the winning lotto ticket numbers. In exchange, I’ll tell you cards that you should look for in future releases are free spells that grant pump/armor, more spell-based card draw, free spells in PR1, and spells that keep your creatures alive/clone them (Shallow Grave would be fantastic if it wasn’t for just one turn).
Stasis Warden – This is the guy that make the whole thing work. Your highest leveling priority, but because of Metasight and Metatransfer, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to play him. You almost always are going to want 2 on the board at all times though, to prevent a surprise removal from wrecking you.
Energy Surge – Hands down the second best card in the deck. I’d probably run 10 of them if I could. Energy Surge provides another free spell play, can potentially provide you more free spell plays, and can pull a Warden that you wouldn’t otherwise see. They are your second-highest priority in leveling. There is a big trap to avoid with them, however. If you don’t have an available non-spell card play (and remember, you really can only afford one non-spell per turn if you have free spells), and have another Stasis Warden still in your deck, avoid playing Energy Surge. You’ll feel like an idiot for playing that Energy Surge, drawing a Stasis Warden, and having to throw it away. Obviously if you don’t need it on the board, and don’t mind chucking it to Metasight, go for it.
Cypien Augmentation – Your only free pump spell, so abuse it. It provides a weak alternative win condition and some buffer against N/T soft removal, but pretty much sucks in PR 1. Replaceable, but nice to have.
Energy Prison – This is the card that you never want to play, but are always grateful to have it when you do. Basically, this spell guarantees a kill on a creature – very, very few popular creatures in the current metagame matter at all after being hit by this spell. Most of said creatures are Alloyin, which are generally featured in control decks, making Energy Prison weaker in a matchup you already dominate anyways. Don’t forget you can Energy Prison your Stasis Wardens to ease your spells-per-turn requirement. I would only do this if you don’t expect enemy removal – otherwise, only use Energy Prison on your opponent’s creatures.
Fervent Assault – This card I hadn’t originally considered, and added it after reading some mostly-outdated deck advice. It is fantastic early against Uterra lane-fill decks, but pretty useless in a lot of other matchups. Alloyin armor generally laughs at it, and even Uterra will outpace it if you don’t get it going early enough. However, this card is growing on me, as it does give another answer to Leafkin Progenitor and can force your opponent to play more big creatures, instead of leveling up their removal spells and activate creatures which you don’t want them to level. I also like having it to shift my wardens into the center lane for Cyperian Augmentation and to move my wardens in front of opposing creatures (to make playing Aggressive creatures / Witherfrost Banshee cost the opponent a card on the board). This can probably be cut if you don’t have it or don’t like it.
Glacial Crush – This card is a fantastic boon to the deck, and I really recommend 3x, although you could technically do without. It’s a free spell, hard creature removal, and win condition all wrapped up in one neat little package. Further, it’s not level-gated, so it teams up with Uranti Bolt as one of your few ways to remove otherwise difficult creatures.
Metasculpt – This spell is nice to have a few copies of, just to shut down annoying abilities like Synapsis Oracle and Zimus, the Undying. But 3x isn’t strictly necessary, and if you ran alternative removal I could see these being removed. Annoyingly, they’re not free until level 3, either.
Metasight – For some reason I didn’t use this little gem at first. That makes me an idiot. Don’t be like me. This is a spell that ends up being free, and greatly eases your terrible, terrible desire to level absolutely everything in your deck. It’s especially potent when your opponent isn’t killing your Wardens, as it allows you to level up new Wardens you draw while still casting spells and leveling up free spells.
Sonic Pulse – This spell I’ve had very mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it affects your opponent’s entire board, and permanently. However, it leaves creatures around, and doesn’t really do that much, especially out of PR 1. Opponents are either running lots of low power creatures with lots of buff cards (so they can buff those creatures right back up to threats) or they are running such high power creatures that Sonic Pulse just acts as a weak life-gain spell. On top of that, this spell scales terribly – just look at Epidemic and try to justify using this. I’ll wait (no I won’t). I’ve noticed most games I end up choosing to play it to stem the bleeding (i.e. I didn’t have something else to play), I end up losing anyways. It just doesn’t do enough, and could probably be cut.
Static Shock – This card will really save you during PR 1-2, where you are your most vulnerable. It provides a “free” spell when you don’t have any others and, if you’re lucky, can remove an opponent’s creature from the board. Pretty much the reason you’ll want to consider running Tempys as your second faction. Highly recommend you run 3x.
Uranti Bolt – This little gem I overlooked at first because it’s 1) soft removal and 2) never free. But I think it’s definitely worth considering at least a few copies. It gives you a reliable answer to Leafkin Progenitor (LP), not only due to the fact that it straight-up kills level 1 LP, but because you can follow up with a Glacial Crush to kill a higher rank version. This works on all creatures, of course – it’s nice to have another backup if you can’t get your Energy Prisons or Stasis Wardens out right away. Even if you don’t get the Glacial Crush to pair with it, it still gives you another turn to find another answer. Be cautious about leveling it, however. I actually lost one game because I needed to make a Zimus a Defender, and since I had leveled up the Bolt already, it was going to kill the Zimus instead, causing the Zimus to respawn.
There are, of course, a lot of alternative options that are viable, and there are several I haven’t really gotten to try yet because I don’t have enough or any of them. In general, however, be very, very cautious about adding more creatures.
Ghox, Metamind Paragon – So, at first thought, I felt Ghox was an easy include in the deck. Ghox gives you more card draw that you desperately want, doesn’t need to be leveled, and can trade with a respectable amount of rank 1 creatures. But, on the other hand, he doesn’t immediately improve your hand (unlike the Adept), provides another target to rank up your opponent’s level-gated removal (Cull the Weak, most notably, but Botanimate as well), and crucially gives you another body that you must try to keep Defender on. If you can keep him alive he’s a fantastic asset, but usually the games you struggle with are ones where your opponent is loaded with removal.
Glaceus, Tundra Tyrant – If you’re going to add another creature, this guy is it. One of the few legendaries that fits the deck well. His ability is frustratingly annoying to time (thanks to there being no way to manipulate ranking up / ranking up abilities), but when you rank he effectively clears your opponent’s board. Further, out of any deck, you have the some of the best capability to keep him alive thanks to ample D to throw around. Unfortunately he’s very underwhelming underleveled, but at least you have a lot of options to level him.
Master of Elements – This card I go back and forth on, a lot. On the one hand, you already have overburdened leveling priorities in PR 1 and he’s basically a dead draw if underleveled in PR 2+. On the other hand, he can be critical in keeping you in the game in PR 1 against some rush decks, especially if you don’t get your Wardens up or they get removed, and if you Metasculpt him away in PR 1 he gives you a nice body with one of your spells in PR 2. I’ll need to do more testing with him, I think.
Metamind Adept – I basically use this guy as an extra Energy Surge in PR 1 that can hopefully trade with something useful. The problem I’ve run into, however, is that Metamind Adept doesn’t count as a spell (unlike Energy Surge), so unless you’ve already got a free spell in hand, it’s a risky play, especially if you draw into a Stasis Warden you need to play. However, you’re pretty boned if you don’t get your Stasis Wardens in PR 1, so maybe they’re worth the risk. I just wish they were 5/5 or 6/4 to trade a lot better with the metagame.
Steelscale Dragon – Fair warning, I haven’t tried it out. Which is unfortunate, really, I think. If I was going to run a creature to put on early pressure and try to create early card advantage, this would be it. The 8/9 is extremely useful in trading 2:1 in this metagame (there isn’t another level 1 creature that’s played that it won’t eat and stick around afterwards) and the mobility is a fantastic bonus for chewing up creatures with activates and other weak creatures. I would run this over Aetherguard any day.
Tempys – While perhaps strange, I’ve seriously considered removing Tempys on multiple occasions. The two key cards it brings are Static Shock and Glacial Crush. Static Shock is key in generating extra plays in early player ranks, but you could easily do without once you get to PR 4 or so. Glacial Crush is a fantastic win condition, a spell, and eventually free. But crucially, it’s not a reusable win condition (unlike a creature would be) and it provides no help to your early game. Every other card in Tempys is optional and pretty easily removed, so if you think you have a good substitute for the role those two play, I say go for it. I’ve tried Uterra for Primal Surge / Poison Coil / Spores, but not had much success.
Cards to Avoid Using
However, just because it’s not in the deck list doesn’t mean it’s going to be a viable substitute. I’ve run into several cards that just don’t work well in the deck.
Aetherguard – Judging from the internet community comments I’ve seen so far, I’m going to state a controversial opinion and say this robot has no place in the deck. Its meager amount of armor in PR 1 will only sometimes give you a 2:1 trade, and even then you’ve now consumed one of your valuable plays in leveling a non-spell. Sure, it’ll generate a fantastic amount of armor in PR 4-5, but by then I’ve usually won the game already. Crucially, it’s pretty worthless if your opponent is running Epidemic or non-damaging removal, and most of them are. In general I’ve noticed that it’s way more trouble than it’s worth.
Binben, Lightning Herald – Fair warning, I haven’t tried him out. Critically, he brings both defender and a potentially-useful ability. But I’m not sure how truly useful his ability really is. While you’re generally looking to play two spells every turn, a 4/2 isn’t really going to do much of anything to improve your board position (especially at the cost of a non-free, non-spell play). Further, his level 3 ability is of very little use, because at that point you will generally have 3-5 creatures on the board anyways, meaning his ability does not scale very well.
Icebound Fortitude – This seems like an easy include to help mitigate N/T soft removal, but in my experience I either can’t afford to play it as I need my spells to actually stop damage. I also hate seeing it against Alloyin or Uterra decks because it’s essentially a dead draw. I’ve run it several times and just not been impressed, but I think it’s a valid choice if you can get it to work for you. The biggest problem I run into is if it’s helpful in a matchup, you want 3x, but that means you now have 3x dead draws in other matchups. 1x just doesn’t do enough.
Sap – This card is almost always bad, in my experience. It’s level-gated, just like Energy Prison, but it doesn’t “remove” the creature nearly as reliably. Most decks run some sort of creature pump and critically, it does not set the creature up to be hit by Glacial Crush. It also doesn’t level a card like Metatransfer. Generally speaking, the only time you want to play this is if an opponent has a Jetpack and has no way to pump the creature further. A pretty narrow niche and not worth a slot. And even then, a Metasculpt can often solve that problem just as well, if not for free.
Uranti Heartseeker – I’ve seen others mention using him, but I’m just not nearly impressed enough to really do so. Every game I’ve played him, he’s only brought down one creature, at best. Sure, you can use Static Shock and other damage spells to get other targets in range, but at that point I’d rather just play a Flame Lance and get to the point. I don’t even consider running Flame Lance. And that’s in PR1. It’s even harder to line up his activate in higher player ranks. Now, if his ability was able to kill anything with 4/9/15 health or lower, he might actually be worth it.
Uranti Icemage – In my experience, this guy just doesn’t work reliably enough to be worth it. First, his Defender ability only lasts for a turn, instead of until your next turn (unlike Stasis Warden), he doesn’t come with Defender, and can only give Defender to one creature per turn. Pass.
Wallcrusher Yeti – Basically, every time you play this guy, you really would have rather played a Glacial Crush because it is free at ranks 2&3 and counts as a spell, which Yeti does not. While the body might seem like a good idea, a lot of opponents will pump their creatures endless and not really have any problems chumping the meager body Wallcrusher Yeti brings. Now, if its ability was an activate… well, I can dream.
Cards You Hate Seeing (And How to Deal with Them)
Gemhide Basher – A simple, direct way to wreck your Stasis Wardens. Luckily these don’t seem to be very popular, despite being very good. You really can’t do anything about this, either, besides playing opposite your opponent’s creatures so you can at least force him to waste a card.
Leafkin Progenitor – This card, most reliably of all, will give you fits if played in PR 1. It just doesn’t like the D, as it will quickly become immune to all of your cards trying to give it Defender. You either have to have Metasculpt immediately available, or have a Stasis Warden -> spell -> Glacial Crush. Ferocious Assault will do it, too, but it’s rare for your opponent to play into that. I added Uranti Bolt just to give added protection against this plant.
Scourgeflame Sorcerer – This guy is actually probably worse for you than Leafkin in most situations, as 2 of your 4 answers to Leafkin don’t work here. However, he’s played much less often, and less commonly has the deck built around him that will give you fits. Luckily, however, he doesn’t level out of most of your removal one turn immediately after.
How to Beat this Deck
Level up your removal aggressively, but only so long as you maintain board position. During each rank, this deck can play at most 3 Stasis Wardens (although it will usually draw all of them, due to having up to 9 card draw options). What this means is that usually, if you’re going to play a removal, you want to be doing it in a single spell. Plays like double Dreadbolt or using Epidemic to whittle them down might remove a Warden or two, but it also makes it much, much easier for the deck to maintain Stasis because you don’t have as many creatures on the board and eventually they will draw more wardens than you draw removal.
Fill your lanes. This deck hates seeing Ether Hounds in PR 1 especially, because it usually means it needs to play Sonic Pulse to stop the bleeding, and then the hounds make for an easy pump target. Echowisps aren’t nearly as scary because of Static Shock and they’ll die to Bolt or a block even if pumped.
Replace your creatures. As soon as they’re hit with an Energy Prison, if you’re not running Jetpack, Explosive Demise, or Metasculpt (and, if you’re reading this, you probably don’t), they’re dead and a liability, because they make a great target for Glacial Crush. Ditto with anything that has negative attack that you won’t be able to pump back up. Replace them as soon as you’ve filled every other lane, if not sooner. If you have a deck that has any Mobility at all, I’d recommend replacing them right away.
Don’t play Zimus. Seriously. The only time I played against this deck I tried playing Zimus too, and it just fails utterly. Sure, Zimus is a pain in the ass late-game for this deck to deal with. But the thing is, Zimus is very, very easy for this deck to remove in PR 1 and not very threatening in PR 2. Basically, for a card to be a real problem for this deck in PR 2 (the most crucial rank for this deck, I think), it needs to be abnormally high power, have mobility and/or have a crucial activate. Zimus brings none of these in PR 2. Further, the first creature you play in PR 3 is often the last milestone this deck needs to handle to win the game – after that, it’s pretty much over. You don’t want that to be a 14 power creature that can’t grow on its own.
Well that was… lengthy. I hope my experience and insights were useful to you. Thanks for reading my experiences with the stasis warden deck. Feel free to add comments below.