People love to hate on Strength of Stone. “It’s too slow. It’s too weak. There’s no synergy between any of the overcosted cards. The deck is bottom tier garbage.”
Wrong, wrong, wrong, ultra wrong.
In the past, yes, Strength of Stone was a pretty low tier Duels of the Planeswalkers deck. There was no clear transition between early game threats and late game finishers, and there were simply too few cards that worked together to seal your enemies’ fates. Then came DLC #1.
Everyone’s least favorite mountain-fueled library went from so-so to so-badass because every single card included in the new unlocks filled a void that had previously haunted Strength of Stone. Slagstorm provided cheap, reliable board-clearing removal and seconded as player-aimed burn. Cyclops Gladiator was a well-costed beatdown machine great at clearing out troublesome blockers and utility creatures. And Stuffy Doll?
Evil laughter aside, Strength of Stone is now a solid deck, as far as Duels of the Planeswalkers balance is concerned. It doesn’t quite have the nasty speed necessary to outclass Realm of Illusions or its ilk, but it has several key factors that keep it competitive in almost every matchup.
First, Strength of Stone has a lot of mass removal. Slagstorm kills off more than half the creatures in the game, as does Magma Phoenix. Fault Line is a scalable “everything dies” solution to swarming, and Cerebral Eruption provides powerful, if unpredictable, way to nuke everything on the far side of the board. And while I don’t personally run Bloodfire Colossus any more, it’s the ultimate way to finish a game of Magic the Gathering… other than running out of pizza and diet soda.
This removal makes up for the deck’s relatively short list of early, cheap creatures by giving you a way to clear the air after your opponent has littered the ground with elves, illusions, and baby trees. Instead of including crappy cards like Goblin Mountaineer, you can wait out rushes and punish overeager foes with massive card advantage. By the time they recover, you’ll have one or more meaty creatures in play, ready to scrap with whatever they can muster up.
Of course, those skirmishes will be easier to handle due to evil fucking combos. Slagstorm with your Magma Phoenix in play to burn the battlefield for six damage. Weaken a creature with Flowstone Overseer before popping it with fucking anything. Drop Claws of Valakut on Spikeshot Elder for the cheapest direct damage this side of Dominaria. Or Fault Line for 10+ with Stuffy Doll in play to instantly deal 20 damage to your foe.
And the whole time this chaos is happening, your Rockslide Elemental is getting geometrically larger.
Of course, the final nail in your enemy’s coffin is Strength of Stone’s large number of finishers. Sure, the aforementioned combos are great, but many of the deck’s burn spells are enough to finish opponents. Spire Barrage is a strictly better version of Lava Axe in this format that can hit for much more than five damage and be aimed at critters, too. Fault Line/Slagstorm/Cerebral Eruption all put the hurt directly in your opponents’ faces. And even when they’re protected by an enormous fatty, you can always perform an Act of Treason to undermine their defense and swing for the win.
I’m going to make up a figure, but based on personal anecdote, I’d say I win 90% of the games I play with Strength of Stone. I can’t say that of many other decks. Perhaps my opponents simply underestimate its power, but in my experience they’ve generally lost once their life total drops below ten, well within the reach of the deck’s many fire forms of doom. Do yourself a favor and play it today. You can view my full deck list and some example videos below.
WiNGSPANTT’s Strength of Stone Decklist
- 1x Assault Strobe
- 2x Darksteel Axe
- 1x Grim Lavamancer
- 1x Spikeshot Elder
- 1x Fault Line
- 3x Spitting Earth
- 2x Act of Treason
- 2x Claws of Valakut
- 2x Koth’s Courier
- 2x Molten Ravager
- 2x Rockslide Elemental
- 2x Slagstorm
- 1x Cerebral Eruption
- 1x Cyclops Gladiator
- 1x Hero of Oxid Ridge
- 1x Lavaborn Muse
- 2x Oxidda Scrapmelter
- 1x Flowstone Overseer
- 1x Magma Phoenix
- 2x Spire Barrage
- 1x Stuffy Doll, bitch
- 2x Tephraderm
- 1x Conquering Manticore
Strength of Stone Deck Guide Video #1
Strength of Stone Deck Guide Video #2
Strength of Stone Deck Guide Video #3
Strength of Stone Deck Guide Video #4
If you need more information on any of these cards, I highly recommend Wizards of the Coast’s Gatherer search engine.