Hello again, Premodern humans! I’m finally back, this time with a prison deck possibly even more punishing than Stasis. The inspiration for this deck came from Bob Maher Jr.’s hilarious rogue brew that he played to a top 16 finish at Pro Tour Chicago 2000.
Maher’s deck was a sort of a janky Blue Skies deck that attacked with Rishadan Airships and Troublesome Spirits, with the Parallax Tide/Ankh of Mishra combo to disrupt the opponent’s manabase and put extra pressure on their life total. When brewing around this combo, I knew I wanted to go for more of a prison style deck with some of the powerful options that are available in Premodern, and finish the game with 10-20 damage from 5-10 Ankh of Mishra triggers. I thought about going blue-green for mana creatures, walls and Tradewind Riders, or blue-red for more land destruction, but I realized that you actually don’t really want to blow up your opponent’s lands with this strategy. You would rather they get up to five lands to make your Parallax Tide maximally effective, but just not be able to use those lands. So I came back to mono-blue. Without further ado, here’s the list:
Tangle Wire, Winter Orb, Propaganda and Rishadan Port all encourage your opponent to play more lands, but shut down their ability to actually use them. On the flip side of that coin, cards like Overburden and Mana Breach seem fun, but would be counter-productive to the plan of ending the game with Parallax Tide.
Of course, the deck can function without Parallax Tide, and it doesn’t even need Ankh of Mishra to win. Black Vise does an excellent job of clocking the opponent when combined with all of the other prison elements in the deck, and punishes them for holding onto lands to avoid Ankh damage.
Apart from that, the deck includes lots of mana acceleration in the form of mana rocks and Sol lands, Mana Leaks that will almost always be a hard counter for 1U, Tinker to tutor up whatever artifact you need, and Hoodwink as a versatile bounce spell. Bouncing an opponent’s land is always fun, and you can also use it to return your own Parallax Tide to double up on Ankh damage, or just save one of your lock pieces from removal.
Propaganda + Winter Orb does a pretty good job of shutting down attackers, and Cursed Totem out of the side will prevent the opponent from relying on mana from creatures, as well as a number of other creature-based shenanigans that exist in the format. Chill completely shuts down red decks, Sphere of Resistance and Arcane Laboratory give combo decks fits, and Karn, Silver Golem can come in as an alternate win condition.