Stoic Muse

ArcanistheOmnipotent.jpgStoicAngel.jpgSeedbornMuse.jpg
One of the things I did on coming back into Magic after my long hiatus (my collection has a mild hiccup between Ice Age and Time Spiral) was go back through the coverage archives, first video and then text, and read about the recent history of the game. I’ve talked before about my favorite events in the archives, and among them is the top eight of Worlds 2005. I enjoy it because it includes a number of highly interactive matches, and that’s the kind of Magic I like to play — thus my proclivity for playing mid-range, grind-out-a-win-style decks.
Seedborn Muse appeared as a one-of in the sideboard of Mori’s Ghazi-Glare deck in that top eight, and that really caught my attention. Offering the possibility of tapping out on your turn and then Glaring the opposition down on their turn — or of untapping under a Hokori — the Seedborn is an enticingly powerful engine card. Also, it turns out you can accidentally win a free game off of Frank Karsten if everyone misses the interaction between Yosei and Muse. Oops.
The upshot of all this is that I’ve been wanting to use the Muse in a deck where it’s actually a good idea, yet have been disappointed at how often it just isn’t a good choice. However, I think the build I’m going to highlight below represents an instance of proper Muse use in a deck that has a chance to compete with the little blue people and all those technicolor mana bases.
Click through to the extended for a deck list and explanation.


Stoic Muse

11 Creatures:
Stoic Angel
Seedborn Muse
Arcanis the Omnipotent
Cloudthresher
25 Spells:
Negate
Fertile Ground
Rampant Growth
Bant Charm
Wrath of God
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Primal Command
24 Land:
Seaside Citadel
Treetop Village
Reflecting Pool
Plains
Island
Forest
Yavimaya Coast
Adarkar Wastes
15 Sideboard:
Remove Soul
Oblivion Ring
Imperious Perfect
Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile
Hallowed Burial
Cloudthresher

As I explained here, one excellent way to design a deck is to make multiple builds tailored to different expected matchups, then synthesize those decks into a unified build. This tends to lead to stronger main deck and sideboard choices than the common practice of “make a core deck, slap on some solutions”, at least in my experience.
Of course, before you can build these variations on a theme, you need a theme. In this case, I struck on my core idea when I was using the new Gatherer to try and find cards that might interact well with Seedborn Muse — that is, those that tap to do something, or refer to tapping in their text. As I was looking through the results from one of my searches, I ran across Stoic Angel, and quietly said, “Ooh…” This is sort of like the Hokori/Muse interaction, but for creatures. Not bad. Other “hits” in this area included Arcanis the Omnipotent (as famously Chorded out by Luis Scott-Vargas to win US Nationals) and Imperious Perfect, as well as other token makers. I sketched out a quick initial build that was token-generator heavy, but a couple playtest games showed that the concept was a terrible failure, and I quickly binned it. In its place, I decided on a more controlling approach that would gain control, then combine Muse with a couple key tools to dominate the game. With that idea firmly in place, I built my variations:
StoicMuseBreakdown.jpg
Click here to view the chart in a pop-up window
That exploration left me with a core deck of 24 land and 28 other cards, and with a floating set of 18 other cards. Thats 70 cards, total, so I’ll actually have some spare room in the sideboard even keeping all the cards I want for my tuned builds.
Here’s the core deck:

8 Creatures:
Stoic Angel
Seedborn Muse
Arcanis the Omnipotent
20 Spells:
Fertile Ground
Rampant Growth
Bant Charm
Wrath of God
Elspeth, Knight-Errant
Primal Command
24 Land:
Seaside Citadel
Treetop Village
Reflecting Pool
Plains
Island
Forest
Yavimaya Coast
Adarkar Wastes

The idea, then, is to tune this core to deal with our most common matchups, with an eye toward winning game one as often as possible. With that in mind, one thing springs out at us immediately. Negate is in three of the major builds — and these are the builds that deal with our most common upper-table matchups (that is, the matchups that will happen if we’re winning). Fine. Four Negate in.
The next obvious point is that the builds are split half-and-half between three and four Wraths. We’re going to go up to four so that we don’t auto-lose to some dumb aggro build.
Finally, I’m going to add those three Cloudthreshers in, because I want game against Faeries.
And that gives us our core sixty. What about the sideboard?
From the variant builds above, we have four Imperious perfect, three Remove Soul, three Hallowed Burial, and one more Thresher. We’ll keep those, so that puts us at eleven cards in the sideboard. Now we can shore up other potential matchups. I think I’ll throw in three Oblivion Rings, in case we hit a planeswalker-heavy build. For the last card, we’ll try Brigid as a Primal Command target, so we can butcher token-based armies.
…and that’s how I came up with the deck list above. I’ve done only a little bit of testing so far, but it’s been solid enough. I’ll be interested in seeing if I can refine it enough to play it in any upcoming Standard events (if there are any coming up soon…). Let me know if any of you end up trying it, too.

1 thought on “Stoic Muse

  1. yo, i run a stoic/muse type deck very similar to yours. it’s super fun! i have more tap control instead of WoG / elspeth ($$$$) but still fun!!
    great combo.

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