Hello again, Premodern humans! Stasis has been ruining people’s fun since Alpha, and it even won the very first World Championships in 1994. Stasis decks were competitive at various points throughout the Premodern era, including early 2000s Extended, and almost certainly have a place in the Premodern format itself.
In the old days of the 1990s, Stasis decks almost always used Howling Mine to churn through the deck and keep finding outs to your own Stasis, as well as blue mana to pay its upkeep. In my opinion, Mercadian Masques made Howling Mine mostly irrelevant to the strategy, as Gush and Thwart made it so that you were continuously bouncing tapped Islands back to your hand, in order to replay them and keep making blue mana. The card draw from Gush greatly reduces the need for Howling Mines as well.
Overall, the game plan of Stasis is pretty simple. Counter spells, draw cards and control the game until the time is right to drop the Stasis, preferably with a tapped-out opponent. Deny them an untap step for the rest of the game by upkeeping the Stasis, or bouncing it back to your hand on their end step with Chain of Vapor and Boomerang and replaying it on your turn. Black Vise is the win condition of choice, with a single Stroke of Genius to speed it along, kill your opponent all on its own, or just draw you a few extra cards.
If mono-blue just isn’t enough to get you out of bed in the morning, maybe you’ll prefer the bonus deck this week: four-color Squandered Stasis.
Adding white gives us a huge pickup in Enlightened Tutor, as well as a card that combos very powerfully with Stasis, Equipoise. This card allows you to essentially Balance your opponent’s board every turn, but it’s intended to work so that their stuff comes back at the beginning of the untap step on their own turn. Well, Stasis shuts off the untap step, meaning that their creatures, lands and potentially artifacts will never come back as long as Stasis remains in play.
So what makes this a four color deck? Squandered Resources is good enough in this strategy to splash the other two colors just for it. Rather than returning lands to our hand, in this version, tapped lands get sacrificed for extra mana to upkeep the Stasis or play more spells. It can give you a burst of mana in the early turns to deploy multiple lock pieces and still have mana up for counterspells and Stasis upkeep. What’s more, when you keep your land count low, you get to exile your opponent’s lands too with Equipoise.
Without Gush in the deck, we fall back on the old favorite Howling Mine, but this deck puts the opponent in a much harder lock than the mono-blue version, making it even less likely that they’ll ever get to make use of those extra cards. There are a lot of moving parts, but when the deck is firing on all cylinders, your opponent will never get to untap with a creature or usable land once the lock is in place.