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Stet, Draconic Proofreader and Knowing Your Metagame

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Know your metagame.

Just as tournament players need to know the meta to know what should go in their decks, casual players need to know their meta as well. If your playgroup is particularly harsh to planeswalkers, you are going to have to decide if including a planeswalker for only one of its abilities is really worth it. Is your playgroup particularly light to enchantment removal? If so, then you are going to want to load up on the recent Theros Beyond Death enchantments!

However, knowing your kitchen table meta goes beyond that. If you are seeing the same friends around your kitchen table every week, you can start adjusting your decks to their decks! Are two of your friends running mill decks? Perhaps it is time to throw a few Eldrazi that let you shuffle your graveyard back into your library, or, if you are playing 60-card casual, try running 75-card casual instead! If your buddy Frank is making your life miserable with a deck that runs a particular combo, maybe it is time to load up a few cards to shut the combo down. Maybe your group is running exclusively creature damage, so you want to add a little extra mass removal to your decks. The key is to know your metagame!

For this week's deck though, we are taking know your meta just a little further. Say hello to our next Unsanctioned legend, Stet, Draconic Proofreader!

If we are going to build around Stet, we really want to know the upsides and downsides of the card, so let's break down this Bureaucrat's stats.

Stet, Draconic Proofreader

The Basics: 4/4 flying dragon for 6 mana.

It is nice to have a commander that can swing in. I know that Voltron is not seen as a powerful option in Commander, but I like that you can force your opponents to always think about it. Players running Aristocrat-style decks have to know their life total may not mean much. There are also those games where some opponents know that you getting a commander damage kill is the only way to eliminate a shared opponent, so they lay off your guy.

The obvious downside is the mana cost. Six-mana commanders must be protected. You do not want to be paying eight and 10 mana for your commander, especially not a commander that is in Boros colors.

Given these things we are going to want our deck to have plenty of ramp and plenty of ways to protect the commander.

"Whenever Stet, Draconic Proofreader attacks,..."

Without reading any further, we know that our dragon is going to do something beneficial for us when it attacks. This means we are going to want to create board states where Stet can attack with little risk of getting killed. This can mean that we'll want to make Stet indestructible, or have a way to bounce it back to our hand. Perhaps we'll just want to be able to pump the toughness. There are a variety of ways to make that work.

This also means that we should start seriously considering a Voltron option. If Stet is attacking every turn, why not take advantage of it! Suddenly equipment and some auras are cards we may want to look at. Ways to kill our opponents' blockers or ways to give Stet trample all seem like good ideas.

"...you may exile a card from your graveyard."

If we are going to use this ability, we are going to need cards in the graveyard. We immediately start thinking about ways to fill our graveyard. Instants and sorceries are great ways to make that happen. Sac-lands and cards that sacrifice other permanents can do the job as well. Another way to get the job done is with effects like Wheel of Fortune. You are tossing your entire hand into the graveyard and drawing a replacement hand. There are cards like Chandra, Flamecaller that will let you discard your hand and draw that many cards plus one, and it costs no loyalty at all!

"When you do, Stet, Draconic Proofreader deals 4 damage to any target..."

Sweet! Any target means any creature, planeswalker, or player! This means that Stet can kill off creatures that could block it, or creatures that opponents rarely use in combat because their ability is too good to risk. Stet can attack an opponent and use the ability to attack a planeswalker or opponent. It says, "any target," so you can attack one opponent and target another opponent or their planeswalker with the four damage. That is a ton of flexibility. We can really work with this as a way to manipulate the board! An opponent with spirit tokens can quickly become an ally when they can sacrifice the token to block, knowing you are going to do four damage to another opponent's planeswalker! Ahhh, this is a bureaucrat who can make your opponents' dance!

"...whose name begins with the same letter as the exiled card."

Say what now?

So if I exile my Lightning Greaves out of the graveyard, Stet can do four damage to any target whose name begins with "L?" Hmm. So I can take out my opponent's Lotus Cobra? I can do four damage to my opponent's Liliana of the Veil. But I can't kill the spirit token that is going to block Stet this turn? This just got a LOT more complicated.

"w: Delete the first letter of target permanent or player's name until end of turn."

Well this gives us a little more flexibility, and definitely adds to the silver-bordered flavor of the card! If I really want Jace Beleren gone, I just have to spend six White mana and change his name to "leren." Then I can do the four damage to him. This means that the ramp demands of the deck we were talking about earlier would be echoed here, as there will be plenty of times when we are going to need a lot of White mana to make it work.

This also accentuates the need for a large graveyard. We are going to want a lot of cards so we aren't spending a ton of White mana to change a target name to fit the cards we have in the graveyard.

Please note, you can't take letters off of the name of the card you are sacrificing to make it match. You have to change the name of the target.

When I got to this point on the card, I started to question what I was even trying to do. Building Stet effectively was going to involve determining the most common first letters in creatures and planeswalkers, then building a deck that uses those letter primarily. While I can see where some players would love that building challenge, I'm not one of them. I started to look at other options, then realized the importance of knowing your meta.

I can ignore the permanents on the table and target my opponents! Normally, you don't know who you are playing until you sit down to play, unless you are playing at your kitchen table! Every week I play against my usual crew! Andy, Will, Josh, and Brad are all regulars that I play against almost every week! I don't need to load my deck with cards that begin with all different letters of the alphabet to cover every contingency, I just need to get most of my cards to start with A, W, J, or B!

I can even take this a step further. I run a weekend long gaming event for a bunch of my friends call BruCon. Twenty or so friends converge on my place and play a ton of Commander and cube draft all weekend long. It is a blast. I happen to know Andrew, Adam, Sean, Preston, Carlos, and Omar will be coming. With just a little White mana that is:

  • Brad
  • Adam
  • Sean
  • Andrew
  • Andy
  • Omar
  • Carlos
  • Preston
  • Will
  • John
  • Josh
  • Josh #2

It appears that everyone I'll be playing against has a name that starts with a vowel. Suddenly my deck just needs to focus on cards starting with a vowel, with a big focus on "A," and I'll get to use Stet's ability all the time! It really pays to know your meta!

Stet, Draconic Proofreader | Commander | Bruce Richards


It is fairly obvious that the deck swung toward an angel-themed build. I do love that a pencil-pushing dragon with glasses and a tie is leading an angelic horde against the tyranny of the Andrews, Amys, Aarons, and Barrys of the world, but so be it!

There were a handful of cards that followed the theme of vowels and still worked especially well in the deck. Anje's Ravager allows you to discard your hand and draw three cards. Admittedly, it will likely die after one or two attacks, but then, isn't that what we wanted? Alms Collector limits our opponents' draws and will draw a few extra cards for us, which is nice for a Boros deck. Embermaw Hellion is fun in this deck as Stet can attack and do five instead of four damage to a target, then do five instead of four damage during combat. Eldrazi Displacer is there to bounce Stet when the Bureaucrat finds itself about to be buried in paperwork. Finally, Ox of Agonas is a new card that acts as a quasi-Wheel creature as well

This deck is obviously meta dependent. If your playgroup is Steven, Jessie, Keira, you'll want to refocus the deck on Elspeth and many of her respective spells. If your playgroup is Xenon, Zorro, and Quinn, perhaps Stet isn't for you.

I am seriously considering putting this deck together and would love to hear your suggestions for upping the Stet count. Obviously the deck is underpowered against virtually everyone, but if you find a better option than Swiftfoot Boots, let me know in the comments or on Twitter! Let's get this deck full in on the theme!

Bruce Richard

@manaburned

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