Day 10: Stasis

Didn't get the chance to update this Friday, so I'll compensate with both a card of the day and a decklist today. To keep the fun at a reasonable level though, let's talk about Stasis.
Stasis was a late addition to Alpha, one of the five rare cards added in the last minute "top-down cycle" of the set. The five cards in the cycle were reportedly added to make use of otherwise unused art, and the cards never got playtested before release. The five in question were Island Sanctuary, Stasis, Word of Command, Sedge Troll and Birds of Paradise. Some of these cards worked better than others, and e.g. Word of Command is easily in the top five of "cards-giving-rules-headaches" in Magic. The function of Stasis was inspired by the team working on Ice Age, and gave us a first peek on what would later become Cumulative Upkeep.

The art is a story in its own. In contrast to most of the other Magic artist, who were mainly local art school students, Fay Jones was an established artist. She's got her own wikipedia page and everything. Faye only ever painted one Magic card, Stasis, and getting her to sign the card can be notoriously difficult. If you are looking to get a signed set of the original Gathering, you'll probably need to use a portion of your cunning get Stasis signed. So why would Fay Jones paint a Magic card? Well, turns out she did it as favor to her nephew, Richard Garfield. 
Faye Jones
The unusual art has gotten a polarized response from the players over the years. To quote the first description I found after a quick googling: "[...] this card’s blatant defiance of logic, even in the fantastical sense, has baffled and enraged Magic players for years. You see, the nerd mind demands structured art on MTG cards, something that illustrates what the card does effectively while still being interesting – and clear – enough to hold one’s attention. Thus, this illustration, which appears to be of a mime analyzing a floating paint palette on a seesaw opposite a blindfolded deer-human hybrid pressing its nose against an orange ball while a giant amoeba looks on, simply won’t do. "

Well, drawing "time standing still" is pretty hard to without some abstraction. I've always figured that the fox is a representation of Anubis from Egyptian Mythology, and the scale is some sort of interpretation of the scale he used to weigh a persons sins against a feather before entering eternity. The pierrot on the left side is drawing blue mana (the "amoeba") to keep the scale fixed and keep the world in a purgatory. I could be way off, and I'm sure someone more cunning than me has made a deeper interpretation of the art. The ball the fox is holding surely have some purpose, and the color palette in the middle looks a little random at glance. But that's one of the things I like with Stasis, the art can't pass you by unnoticed and trying to interpret it opens up for discussions.
Ivory Tower has little effect when the wincon is Feldon's Cane.
Playing the card can be a good way to make some enemies. Around the time of Legends, when Time Elemental and Kismet saw the light of print, players started to work on ideas to live the dream of "hard locks", where the opponent won't ever get to play an untapped permanent nor untap the ones in play. One issue with the card is that whenever you cant or wont pay the upkeep, your opponent gets to untap first. Time Elemental and six mana makes this a non-issue. The problem is however that it's really slow, and is fairly easy for an opponent to stop unless you already have control of the game.
Resolving Reset is (usually) easier.
The latest version of Stasis showing up to break the meta was Shark-winner Henrik "Brorsan" Jerberg's top8 deck from the Moss tournament last weekend. It looks like a really solid pile.
One-off Feldons Cane is as good a wincon as any :)
If you don't have access to a slew of dual lands, and enjoy sucking up all the fun of a Magic game to have it for yourself, I can highly recommend trying out Stasis. It is a very interesting deck. Some "less evil" lists splash e.g. white for Island Sanctuary or Serra Angel; or green for Birds and Instill Energy.


What about #MtgForLife? We've reached over $6,000 by now! The #mtgunderground is contributing a lot to make this a success. There might be some things in the works to reach out to the more general community as well, I'll let you know how it works out in the coming days :)


  1. Ahah, a great nod to one of the most famous and hated card ever printed ! I so much love it, thanks ;)

  2. Hi guys, love the blog and the format and I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a guess blog on mtgUK to tell readers more about the Old School format?

    Many thanks,

    Tu Nguyen

    T. 01905 745 032

    1. Yes, I'd be glad to. I'll have to put it on hold for a couple of weeks though, as my plate is pretty full until November 20. We'll keep in touch.


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