Steel Stompy

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Vs Steel Stompy

(last updated 5/31/18)



Best cards (main): Swords to Plowshares, Aether Vial, Flickerwisp

Worst cards (main):  Mother of Runes, Sanctum Prelate, Thalia

Best cards (side):  Council’s Judgment, Path to Exile

Revoker targets: Lotus Petal, Chrome Mox, Arcbound Ravager, Hangerback Walker, Walking Ballista, Steel Overseer

Best Generic Sanctum Prelate Numbers: 0, 2


Sample Decklists

1st place, Legacy 1k 2018
2nd place, MKM Frankfurt 2018

Deck Strategy and Key Cards

Steel Stompy, Affinity, Legacy Shops…call it what you will, but in any case, this is another deck in the rich tradition of stompy decks. This particular decklist is clearly inspired by the Vintage Shops decks, which use Mishra’s Workshop to power out lock pieces and threats far ahead of schedule. Though the Legacy version doesn’t have the same level of brokenness, it still has the same general gameplan. It seeks to accelerate out threats and locks pieces with Ancient Tomb, City of Traitors, Mox Opal, and Lotus Petal. For early lock pieces, this deck usually plays 4 Chalice of the Void and Phyrexian Revoker supplemented with 3-4 copies of Thorn of Amethyst. It also has a few Lodestone Golem as a slower lock piece, but the most powerful draws can still drop this on turn two pretty easily. 

Despite the name Affinity often being applied to this decklist, there aren’t actually any cards with the Affinity keyword in the deck. We also don’t see many of the other hallmark cards of the more traditional Affinity shell such as Cranial Plating. Instead, this deck plays a handful of annoying and synergistic creatures. There is a very strong +1/+1 counter subtheme in this deck, and many of the normally innocuous creatures can get really out of control once they pick up a few counters. A Delver deck, for example, can’t really deal with a 6/6 Vault Skirge. Individually, the threats in this deck are not impressive; however, when combined, the deck can present lethal damage seemingly out of nowhere.

This deck has a *ton* of utility packed into its manabase. This deck usually runs about 20 lands, all of which have utility. You’ll definitely see the playsets of City of Traitors and Ancient Tomb, but from there there’s some wiggle room. Expect to see some number of Wasteland, Mishra’s Factory, Inventor’s Fair, Karakas, Buried Ruin, and/or artifact lands like Vault of Whispers.

The Matchup and Important Interactions

You are most certainly the control deck here. Your opponent is going to try to get out of the gates faster than you, and you need to catch up before you get overwhelmed. Your opponent’s lock pieces are going to have minimal impact on your gameplan in most cases, so focus your efforts on dealing with their threats. Your best chances at stabilizing the board in game one usually involve Swords to Plowshares and/or an Aether Vial start, but Flickerwisp can do a surprising amount of work as well. Once you get the board under control, your fliers and equipment can usually lock up the game.

While many of their threats are pretty annoying, Walking Ballista is probably the most dangerous. It threatens to quickly wipe our board, especially when combined with Steel Overseer or Arcbound Ravager for additional counters. Additionally, Ballista closes out a game extremely quickly. If your opponent has a 7/7 Ballista, they can attack you for 7 and then shoot you for another 7, effectively acting like a weird double strike creature. This is very important for your combat math, especially when your opponent has Ravager. Don’t be afraid to protect your life total aggressively if it looks like things are a turn or two away from going wrong.

This deck is like D&T in many ways: your opponent has a ton of small, tricky lines they can take that might not be immediately obvious. In no particular order, I want to walk through some of those things as well as a few interactions you should know.

Mishra’s Factory defends like a 3/3 since it can pump itself, however, it cannot pump itself on the turn that it is played due to summoning sickness.

Arcbound Ravager does some silly things and makes combat a nightmare. When your life total is low, you often need to block every creature your opponent attacks with. Failure to do so might result in your opponent sacrificing most of their permanents to Ravager and then putting all of the counters on the unblocked creature. In many cases though, you *want* your opponent to go all in, especially if you have a Swords to Plowshares or Flickerwisp at the ready. Other neat Ravager tricks include putting a whole bunch of counters on a Walking Ballista to shoot you for lethal, using it to sacrifice a Hangerback Walker to get a bunch of tokens (which can in turn be sacrificed…), and using it to sacrifice a Mox Opal before deploying a second Mox Opal.

Flickerwisp is an all-star in this matchup. In addition to the normal shenanigans, it knocks counters off of permanents like Chalice of the Void and Arcbound Ravager. In some niche spots, it can also knock your opponent off multiple mana sources. Sometimes by flickering out an artifact, you’ll shut your opponent off of metalcraft for Mox Opal. This most frequently happens when you flicker out a Vault of Whispers at your end step.

Your removal spells and Revokers are pushed very hard in this matchup. You often have to make a judgement call about which of two problematic threats to deal with. When this happens, I try to imagine the next couple of turns and see which thing would make the game spiral out of control more quickly. If you need to Revoke in the dark, name Walking Ballista; that card is more or less unbeatable when cast for a decent number or paired with Ravager.

While Mother of Runes is one of your worst cards in the matchup, when combined with a flier, it can wall a Vault Skirge that got a bunch of counters on it. You can also push Mom through a Chalice of the Void on 1 with your Cavern of Souls, so don’t feel like you have to run them into a Chalice to see if your opponent remembers their trigger.

Sanctum Prelate can go on either zero to stop artifact mana like Lotus Petal and Mox Opal or two to stop Chalice of the Void, Thorn of Amethyst, and the occasional flex slot options like Sorcerous Spyglass and Umezawa’s Jitte. Neither of this options is particularly powerful, but I’d name two in most cases. It’s unlikely that you’ll deploy Prelate in this matchup at all though. It’s a low-impact card that isn’t very aggressive, so you’ll usually have better uses of your mana.


Sideboarding is pretty intuitive in this matchup on both ends. Mother of Runes is a relative dud here, so it comes out. Sanctum Prelate is weak as well, and if you’re looking to trim something, Thalia is a good choice since your opponent likely has a few copies of Karakas. You’ll bring in all of the removal you can, even the slower pieces like Council’s Judgment. If you have extra utility sideboard cards like Disenchant, Pithing Needle, or Leonin Relic-Warder, this is a great matchup for them.

Your opponent probably isn’t going to sideboard much against you; most of their sideboard is designed to specifically patch up bad matchups with 4 copies of hate cards like Leyline of the Void and Ensnaring Bridge. Expect them to pull the four copies of Thorn of Amethyst and maybe trim one to two other cards for more interaction. Expect cards like Ratchet Bomb, Dismember, Sorcerous Spyglass, and equipment like Umezawa’s Jitte or Sword of Fire and Ice. Ratchet Bomb is one of their worse options, as both decks have a ton of two drops and it’s likely to hurt them quite a bit. Since your opponent has so few cards to board in, Chalice of the Void will still probably be in their deck for the post sideboard games despite not being the greatest option.

Closing Thoughts
I am currently in the process of collecting more data on this matchup to write a meaningful set of closing thoughts. Here are my notes based on initial testing:

Play vs draw is HUGE in this matchup. In my experience, the player who goes first almost always wins in game one scenarios. The tempo you gain by going first is often insurmountable. The D&T player can stick a Vial before a Chalice of the Void lands. The Affinity player can deploy multiple must-answer threats before the D&T player can get their gameplan going. There are very few long, drawn out games in this matchup; most games are effectively decided by about turn 5.

The games are a bit longer and more interactive in post-sideboard games, as you have more removal to answer the initial set of threats. Your deck is going to improve more than their deck for the post-sideboard games, so if you get game one, you can probably snag one of the two games to close the match. The issue is the Phyrexian Revokers on the other side of the table. While we usually grind opponents out with Vial and equipment in slower games, they can shut down these engines. Unfortunately, you often have to just accept that since you need to save your removal for the true threats.

I would not sideboard any cards expecting to face this deck in a big tournament. It’s less than half a percent of the expected metagame. If you have a bunch of this deck locally though, just sideboard extra removal; you’ll overlap with other common matchups like Grixis Delver without sacrificing any real utility for more narrow cards. Many of the truly powerful cards you could play like Null Rod and Kataki, War’s Wage have a bunch of splash damage on you, so I would be wary about trying them. Something like a Leonin Relic-Warder, Pithing Needle, or Disenchant might serve you better.

I have not collected enough data yet to authoritatively give a statement on expected match win rates. Game 1 is really play/draw dependent, but games 2 and 3 are a bit more fair.

Data as of 5/31/18
Win rate with WW D&T: 2-0 (100%)
Win rate with RW D&T: n/a