The Jester 2016 - back to the dark ages

  • For some reason my account was gone, so I'm back with the old name.

    Losing Chalice severely hurt shops a while back, but with today's restriction of Lodestone Golem, shops has been severely hampered in a way no shop veteran had ever expected. A creature restricted in Vintage?

    Shop aggro is never going to be the same, and smokestack has gotten even worse with Chalice down to 1.

    So, it seems time to test my favourite deck of all time once again.

    I present a test list, and would like feedback

    The Jester 2016

    Creatures (5)
    4x Goblin Welder
    1x Lodestone Golem

    Lock Pieces (25)
    1x Chalice of the Void
    4x Sphere of Resistance
    4x Tangle wire
    1x Trinisphere
    4x Crucible of Worlds
    3x Ensnaring Bridge
    3x Uba Mask
    4x Smokestack

    Lands (21)
    4x Bazaar of Baghdad
    4x Mishra's Workshop
    4x Wasteland
    4x Cavern of Souls
    2x Mountain
    1x Great Furnace
    1x Strip Mine
    1x Tolarian Academy

    Mana Artifacts (9)
    1x Black Lotus
    5x Mox
    1x Sol Ring
    1x mana crypt
    1x Mana Vault

    4x Grafdigger's Cage
    3x Witchbane Orb
    3x Wurmcoil Engine
    2x Ghost Quarter
    3x Relic of Progenitus

    I'm not sure how much needs to be talked about specifically, as this deck has been around for a very long time and onlt a few new cards are really relevant

    Many of our original posts are gone, but my original primer from 2006 is thankfully still intact. While the decks are different now, much of the theory is relevant and applicable today

    Here is the article I wrote
    from then for anyone looking for more info on the deck

  • Wow blast from the past and not just the decklist!

    I would think about Mox Opal as a red source for Welder

    Im expecting fish to pick up in the metagame so would consider dropping Null Rods and playing 2Spheres

    Also, Jester's Cap might actually be decent vs. all the storm. Though E.t.W. still exists

  • @shawnthehero I agree with Opal, I'd love to fit it in, there's just so many mana sources already and it often can't cast welder turn 1. It definitely would be card 61 though.

    As far as Cavern of Souls, there's 4 in the list you probably just missed it. But yeah it's amazing.

    Lastly if fish pops up I'd be happy to make the change. But I'm not expecting that, I'm expecting combo galore now that shops are significantly weaker.

    I'd actually love to go back to full on Jester with maindeck caps, but with 1 chalice we have little mana denial. We used to run 4 chalice and still consider 3 rods, now we don't even have chalice :s

    Cap still does and always will crush combo and oath, and fish style decks are usually well handled by wurmcoils and their tokens they leave behind.

  • @Yespuhyren

    I meant Fish decks might try to exploit Shops since there js no longer Chalice or Lodestone to hold them back in that regard. I agree probably wont happen right away

  • @shawnthehero no question, mentor and pyromancer decks are going to be seriously a pain to deal with.

    Praise be wurmcoil haha, that's why I go to 4 post board. If fish gets bigger granite shards can always come back!

  • I'd fit in smokestack in there.

  • I've been play testing an ubastax list since mid february. Without any shops experience my list was decent but not much else. However, ubamask simply wins in this meta. The amount of card draw that so many decks have packed into them means mask really screws with people's game plans. Its very strong now.

  • I've tested a lot of Uba Mask lately and it's a great card when it works. It's also absolutely atrocious at times, especially against Dack Fayden, or an opposing Bazaar.

  • Maybe your account isn't gone. You just have to login both in and

  • I agree with @vaughnbros . When it works, it's amazing and, in the limited testing I've done, it's a must-counter/remove for a lot of decks. My fear is that there is not enough game early to keep Mentor in check. Welder just feels too fragile and relying on the Mask/Bridge to keep you from getting hit by hordes doesn't seem fast enough.

  • Glad you're back, @Yespuhyren. I have an Uba Stax list in my article for tomorrow, and we're surprisingly close. (Like, you're going to think I lifted your list, but I swear I didn't!) I used Phyrexian Revokers over Null Rods and Spheres over Thorns for example. Thorns might be right, though. You have more mana, which I think is the right way to go. I'm looking forward to working more on these lines to see if this deck makes a comeback.

  • @GrandpaBelcher link to article please.

  • @gkraigher
    It was as easy as clicking on the user link, and in his main page you can find last messages from that user.

  • That deck is my favorite one too. Last time i played it in tournament was november and i was trying to update it (for a tournament next month) when the new B/R came. I am not yet sure what i will do to take in account the new B/R (work on this deck or build a new one) but here is the way i adressed some problems with the deck.
    My list was on the old website but i can't find it so here it is :

    1 Strip Mine
    1 Tolarian Academy
    4 Ancient Tomb
    3 Mountain
    3 Barbarian Ring
    3 Bazaar of Baghdad
    4 Mishra's Workshop
    4 Wasteland
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Trinisphere
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Ensnaring Bridge
    4 Tangle Wire
    4 Goblin Welder
    4 Lodestone Golem
    3 Phyrexian Revoker
    3 Uba Mask
    2 Expedition Map
    3 Ratchet Bomb
    SB: 3 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    SB: 3 Tormod's Crypt
    SB: 3 Grafdigger's Cage
    SB: 3 Sphere of Resistance
    SB: 3 Razormane Masticore

    If i compare to yours the differences are :

    • barbarian rings / caverns are not really friends (i mean you can't use cavern to activate rings for damage). I chose to run rings for the ability to ping creatures in a agro meta. Now, i would probably come back to cavern only.
    • i did not used sphere MD because of few combo in my meta. Now i would put the whole package.
    • Null rod is not a strict replacement for chalice. It works quite differently and I would use it only in a Tezz (or so) meta.
    • I run ratched bomb (in the smokestacks slot) because it is more targetted.
    • expedition map is off-tempo in all shop decks but not in this one. then i could cut the 4th bazaar (to reduce double BoB in opening hand) and i get a nice land toolbox.
    • my SB is very different but well it depends a lot on the meta.

    I am not sure if this deck is a good call in the new meta and these days i was actually trying some very different builds. Chalice + golem restricted are a huge blow to a strong prison build so i was trying colored builds but with a less prison build. Nothing very conclusive so far. I am very interested too by any comment or advice about uba stax deck.

  • I played this list at a microtournament/playtest thing yesterday and it felt great. I played against Painter twice (won both) and Storm twice (one win and one loss, the loss was partly due to a terrible mulligan descision vs a storm god hand):

    3 Goblin Welder
    2 Phyrexian Revoker
    1 Lodestone Golem

    Lock pieces:
    1 Chalice of the Void
    1 Trinisphere
    4 Tangle Wire
    3 Uba Mask
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    2 Ensnaring Bridge
    4 Sphere of Resistance
    4 Thorn of Amethyst
    3 Smokestack

    Artifact mana:
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Mana Vault

    3 Barbarian Ring
    3 Cavern of Souls
    3 Bazaar of Baghdad
    1 Mountain
    1 Tolarian Academy
    4 Mishra’s Workshop
    1 Strip Mine
    4 Wasteland

    4 Grafdigger’s Cage
    3 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    1 Ensnaring Bridge
    2 Witchbane Orb
    2 Wurmcoil Engine
    3 Jester’s Cap

    The 4 Thorns might be the incorrect choice for certain meta games, but I assume there will be a lot of spell based decks hoping to take advantage of the Lodestone restriction. If I had Leyline of Sanctity I would have run them over Witchbane Orbs and some number of the Jester's Caps.

    I felt unusually comfortable with all of the numbers actually, I would definitly like to try this exact list except for some sideboard changes again to see if anything is working out badly in other matchups.

  • I played Uba Stax at the Eudemonia Vintage event in January and made the top 8. It is (unfortunately) probably not the best Workshop deck right now, but it is definitely the most fun. The restriction of LSG hurts this build much less than the more aggro archetypes.

    Here's my current list:
    4 Mishra's Workshop
    4 Wasteland
    4 Bazaar of Baghdad
    4 Cavern of Souls
    4 Mountain
    1 Tolarian Academy
    1 Strip Mine
    1 Sol Ring
    1 Black Lotus
    1 Mox Emerald
    1 Mox Jet
    1 Mox Pearl
    1 Mox Ruby
    1 Mox Sapphire
    1 Mana Crypt
    1 Mana Vault

    1 Lodestone Golem
    4 Goblin Welder
    2 Triskelion

    4 Tangle Wire
    4 Sphere of Resistance
    4 Smokestack
    3 Crucible of Worlds
    3 Uba Mask
    1 Trinisphere
    1 Chalice of the Void
    2 Ensnaring Bridge

    4 Grafdigger's Cage
    1 Ensnaring Bridge
    1 The Tabernacle at Pendrell Vale
    1 Crucible of Worlds
    2 Phyrexian Metamorph
    1 Triskelion
    3 Witchbane Orb
    2 Null Rod

    Here are some of my thoughts on the deck:

    Null Rod is good, but it is dead against a fair number of decks.

    Ensnaring Bridge is the best.

    Why are people playing Thorn? You play literally 6-7 creatures. Just play Sphere.

    Why are people playing Barbarian Ring? You know you have to have another red source to activate that card, right? When we used to play 3-4 Mountain in ADDITION to B-Ring it was pretty solid, but now with Cavern it's not useful anymore.

    Why are people playing Leylines in the board? Wouldn't you rather have something that you can cast and interacts with Welder?

    And finally, you gotta play Smokestack. It's not the best right now, but it is central to the goal of the deck.

  • Had a chance to run the same list as I posted earlier in a smallish 4 swiss round tournament and got knocked out in semis. I beat Mentor, Oaths and Planeswalker Control and lost to Painter (terrible draws) and Lich Mirror (on the draw against a turn 1 combo deck that doesnt event care that much about taxing effects was a rough matchup).

    Never drew any Ensnaring Bridges in the matches I wanted it, and they have been dead in most matchups I have faced with this deck so far, but that is of course meta game thing.

    I like to max out on sphere effects so I run both Thorns and Spheres. I would cut Thorns before Spheres though if I wanted to cut that effect.

    I run Barbarian Rings mostly as an alternative win condition more than utility, but they are hard to activate, yes. In some meta games the damage you take from them matters enough to change them to Mountains I guess.

    While Leylines are harder to interact with for some decks where that effect is needed the most I have changed my mind and I think I prefer to be able to cast the spells in my deck; though I do understand why someone would run them over Witchbane Orb.

    Smokestack is great.

    Best performing card this tournament was Crucible of Worlds. Goblin Welder was of course doing a lot of work as well. Biggest surprise was how much I gained from Uba Mask even without Bazaars in play.

  • Welcome back Jason! Glad to see The Jester rebuilt. I miss talking with you and Evenpence about the deck on the BZK forums and on instant messenger.

    Some general thoughts:

    The last time I played the deck (2nd Gush era with a heavy Dredge component with lesser amounts of shop pseudo-mirrors, oath, and fish lists), we needed Powder Kegs to handle the combination of Dredge and the permanent-based mirrors (fish and shops). I'm unsure how well Ratchet Bomb would do these days, given that our main token-producing enemy was Empty the Warrens, which didn't really refill, but it has the possibility of killing Oaths (and as always it's something to do vs spirit tokens, although unexciting) as well as Jace (albeit super slowly). Being cheap, it does offer to bridge the gap to an Ensnaring Bridge, and given that we no longer have multiple Chalices, it may be of tactical importance to kill moxen to make Smokestack effective.

    4x Bridge was important then, and I can't see it being less important now. The only matchup where it is actively bad is Storm, and even then, we've always made good use of spare permanents and spare cards in hand. Not drawing one against Mentor or the shops mirror seems more catastrophic than a dead permanent vs Storm. Both Cap and Smokestack seem less important as 4-ofs than Bridge, although I'd lean towards Cap being slightly more important to draw early (early Smokestack is negated more often now due to our lack of Chalice @ 0).

    The Tabernacle at the Pendrell Vale was a 1-of main, with multiple other copies in the sb (up to 3 IIRC), and it seems very good at controlling token populations, although I suspect that 1-3 monks is still a major problem. I don't know if this card is still good enough, but it's worth considering in depth.

    Pithing Needle was strategically important in 2007 against Bazaar and opportunistically against workshop mirrors (where we'd needle something that they had that we didn't yet, and be able to smokestack it away in the future if we drew our copies). I'd suspect that we need copies of the effect against Planeswalkers, although Revoker being able to pressure walkers might be stronger these days than Needle on Bazaar from 2007.

    Without Chalices to constrict mana and options at 1cc, Sphere of Resistance seems important as a sideboard option for making the most out of Smokestack. I vividly remember assembling a Smokestack/Crucible lock but being unable to close out games where I didn't have Trinisphere.

    Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth helped smooth the manabase some (letting Bazaar tap for mana and letting us cast Leyline of the Void ). We might not have the space for it now, but I remember this being very useful.

    In general, I worry that Crucible isn't strong enough with more Barbarian Rings or Factories.

    Regarding Uba Mask vs planeswalkers:

    • Uba Mask is decent at slowing down Jace, although it's a disaster if Jace stays around long enough to get them to an empty hand. Jace is already a disaster, so I don't know if this is worth worrying about.
    • Dack Fayden isn't very good against our deck, and the targetting looting shouldn't be more than a mill against us. For them, it provides the same obstacle as Jace does if they can empty their hand.
    • Both of these are similar, although I think less problematic than Brainstorm was in the first era. Brainstorm, if we did not lay Chalice @ 1, served as 4 spare copies of Ancestral Recall. While not repeatable like a planeswalker, it was far more dangerous as we had little in the way of options to interact with it (Factory, Barbarian Ring, Revoker, and Needle are all options now) AND they tended to have mana left over with which to cast spells.

  • Karn should be in these lists, shouldnt he? Eats moxen to help Stax Lock, is a game ender, and can block the mightiest of mentors. Just my thoughts.

  • TMD Supporter

    splashing white gives you all the answers to trouble matchups.

    ethersworn canonist, containment priest aegis of the gods all fantastic in current meta, easily castable via cavern of souls. makes welder un counterable also.
    blaine has the right idea barbarian ring is no longer viable,