last edited by Zias
This opens up so much design space for Stax.
I've been trying to make Stax work for the last couple of years, and I've been torn between lists that do and don't play Null Rod.
Every time I play Stax lists with Null Rod, I feel like I'm weighed down. The card is burdensome in so many ways--there is serious dis-synergy with cards like Smokestack and Tangle Wire (these cards need to be doing something other than tapping down or sacrificing dead moxen), it increases the rate of dead draws (bad in multiples, and dead moxen, but ours this time, and Stax lists already suffer from rough top-decks), makes it harder to ramp to higher CMC spells (dead moxen again, reluctance to play Lotus and Crypt etc.), and it freezes rather than eliminates the opponent's artifact ramp (a single Ancient Grudge topples the house of cards).
For these reasons, I've much preferred playing without Null Rod in favor of maximizing synergies, like using Bomb/Keg to clear the board to magnify the effects of Smokestack/Tangle Wire. Of course, this comes at a cost-- Null Rod does so much for so little, and playing it dramatically increases the odds of making an impactful turn-1 play (all the more important after losing Thorn).
But this card is close to the best of both worlds. You get to play your ramp, since it doesn't do anything to yours. You get to play cards with activated abilities like Keg/Bomb. And you can even use an Expedition-Map toolbox . Hell, you can even go all out with a Serum-Powder build and retrieve exiled artifacts with the -2. And it's a win-con.
This is a good day for Stax.