Posted in Building on a Budget on March 26, 2004

By Nate Heiss

Since Mirrodin has come out, one deck has captured the hearts of many – the Proteus Staff deck. Now, this deck can be made in many ways, but love of this deck goes all the way back to the days of Polymorph. In essence, the staff is Polymorph on a stick. As far as things on a stick go – they have become very trendy with the rise of Isochron Scepter. The general idea of the Proteus approach is to have a deck with very few powerful creatures in it that can be fetched up with the Proteus Staff.

The tricky part about the whole thing is that you need creatures in the first place to turn into bigger creatures with the staff, but you don't want to end up just getting another small guy. Because of this, tokens, generated by either Raise the Alarm, Nuisance Engine, or some other more expensive means (Mobilization or Decree of Justice work well also), are the prime target for Polymorphing.

So for all this trouble, you should expect to get something worthwhile…and you will! I recommend Darksteel Colossus. Why? Because he is big? Because he is mean? Because he is Indestructible???

Darksteel Colossus
Why yes…but mostly because he is a Beatstick. You probably thought I named this deck after the Staff. Oh no, the real beatstick is right here baby…all 11/11 of him.

Also, he has the added bonus of going back into your deck if they do figure out a way to deal with him, and he can easily be fetched out with the Staff again.

If that wasn't enough to get you excited about this deck – then get a load of this: There is an added combo. That's right, two cool combos for the price of one. With the deck stacking ability that Proteus Staff grants, you can easily set up a Goblin Charbelcher kill. You see, you get to rearrange the cards that go on the bottom of your library with Proteus Staff. If your entire deck happens to be going on the bottom because you failed to find a creature (because the Colossus is in play) then you essentially get to stack your entire deck any way you want it. This means you can put all your land at the bottom, allowing you to kill your opponent with a 20 point shot from a Goblin Charbelcher…which may or may not have been placed on the top of your library.

Now some variations of this deck do not play any creatures, and use the Staff purely for its deck stacking purposes and win with Charbelcher. While this is a valid strategy, I find smashing my opponent's face with a fistful of Colossus much more satisfying. Still, if you want to change this into a Charbelcher kill only deck, simply take out the Colossus and you can stack your deck on the first shot. Be warned…it is easy to be foiled if your only win condition is Charbelcher…there are lots of ways to stop it!

Here is my decklist:

Building on a Budget: Beatstick (about 30 Tickets)

Download Arena Decklist

Since the combo doesn't take up many slots in the deck, the rest of the deck can be dedicated to either searching out the combo or keeping yourself alive. Fabricate and Thirst for Knowledge help find your combo pieces. While fabricate is a bit slow, it gets the job done and also allows you to fetch up an Isochron Scepter that you can put Raise the Alarm on if you feel the urge.

Since this is a budget deck, I could not put in cards like Wrath of God and Akroma's Vengeance. Instead of using mass removal to stay alive, I instead went with a cuter method – Thunderstaff and Sun Droplet. Now, many of you already know how annoying it can be to try attacking into a Sun Droplet, but imagine if you had to do it with Thunderstaff out! Needless to say, this is an uphill battle. If you get more than one Thunderstaff or Sun Droplet out, your opponent's creatures might as well sleep in late, because they aren't going to do much bringing of the pain. You could use Icy Manipulator to help stall the beats instead of Mana Leaks, but the Mana Leaks are nice to have as a turn 2 play that you can also put on the Scepter later. Besides, by turn 4 you want to be setting up degenerate Proteus Staff things and have your big bad beatstick enter play.

Tips on playing the Deck:

  • I've said it before and I'll say is again – don't forget that you can Fabricate for the artifact lands if you need them! It is slow, but sometimes you need the mana.
  • It is improbable, but humorously possible, to actually defeat your opponent using Nuisance tokens and Thunderstaffs. If you do this, make sure your opponent never lives it down.
  • Don't be aggressive with your Raise the Alarm tokens unless you have it on a Scepter. You will need those tokens if you want to use your Staff. Still, there may be situations where you will need to chump block with one or maybe go aggro with Thunderstaffs and Stalking Stones.
  • Don't forget that you can use the Staff on your opponents' creatures for fun and profit! Now with control decks, you are only likely to find another Exalted Angel to pop out (or a Weathered Wayfarer) but with aggressive decks, wouldn't it be nice to turn that Arcbound Ravager or Disciple of the Vault into an Ornithopter?

Adding More Money to the Deck:

As I mentioned before in the article, Wrath of God would help this deck out a lot, same with Akroma's Vengeance. I think the whole Thunderstaf/Sun Droplet thing is more fun, but if you are actually looking to win more games and you have the resources, that is the way to go. Besides that I would also use Blinkmoth Nexus – since you can use it like you would use a Raise the Alarm token or Stalking Stones to Staff away.

There are many ways you can build this deck and many creatures you can fetch up. You could decide to get Platinum Angels or just have a bunch of utility creatures with interesting effects that you would get at random. If you are playing older formats you can imagine this deck like an Oath of Druids deck and have something like Crater Hellion…but that isn't for the online folks.

Until next time, Chimeric Staff.

-Nate Heiss
Team CMU
NateHeiss on Magic Online

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