|Rare photo of the original piece.|
|The bane of thousand newbies|
"The card Stasis totally blew my mind—I had never seen it before, and I couldn't fathom just how much it neutered my entire deck and style of play. It reduced me to the role of helpless observer within the game; I simply stared at the contents of my hand and waited for death"--Aaron Forsythe, Sol'kanar vs Stasis 6/8/07
While many cards are famous in Magic, few are as notorious, as polarizing, and as infamous as Stasis. The card is easily one of the most well remembered, and one of the most despised cards from the early days of Magic. Everything from it's powerful effect, to it's unusual and distinct art. You either think the csard is one of the best cards ever printed, a gem among diamonds, or you feel it's something that should have never been put to print, and it's existence is everything wrong with MtG. To show this, it's easily one of the most reproduced single pieces of art in the games history (and even has a rule 34). Magic Lampoon wrote an entire article about a 20 year old Stasis lock finally being broken to do growing economic conditions.
|Alters are also somewhat common (done my MJAlters)|
One of my first control decks was stasis. It was the early 2000's, and someone at my school built Tolarian Academy. It was hell, with someone else copying an even better deck bought card for card offline, it quickly became an issue of how to beat it. While lementing on it at a store, one of the owners handed me a 4th edition Stasis, and said 'this could do the trick'. I built a deck after buying all the pieces, and after getting a lock down in a 5 player game, the academy player shouted 'that card should be banned'.
So how did this amazing card come into existence, well that is an amazing and interesting story. The card started life by being drawn by Seattle based artist Fay Jones, as a favor to her nephew, some man named Richard Garfield. The card itself was part of a cycle of five cards that were designed the last minute around unused art (Sedge Troll, Birds of Paradise, Island Sanctuary, Stasis, and Word of Command) by Garfield himself. This lack of play testing could attribute to how powerful the card became, however it wouldn't get it's footing for a deck for at least another year, as other cards were required to compliment it.
At the time of release, in '93, Fay Jones was most likely the most famous artist to have her art on a Magic card. Her art has appears in over a 100 solo and group exhibitions, and includes art in the downtown Seattle transit station, Seattle/Portland/Boise/Tacoma art museums respectively.
So what happened to the original piece? Well, over a decade, Ms. Jones simply told people she had given it to a neighborhood kid. Then an article called 'A life of Cards, from Bridge to Magic' was posted on the website Collectorsweekly.com. In it, the writer detailed his brief involvement with Magic, in early 94, and how is son met Ms. Jones and Mr. Garfield, and was given the art as a gift. It still sits their, framed, above his bed.
The art naturally gets a 5/5.
Stasis, did eventually get new art on MTGO, and while a nice piece, isn't nearly as memorable or as iconic as STASIS.
From the start, people wanted to try to make such an unusual, but powerful, card work. After all, a card that skips untap steps is extremely potent. It took some time, but thanks to cards like Winter Orb, Serra Angel, Reset, Yotian Soldier, Kismet, Boomerang, and Time Elemental, the first Stasis Decks were born. While clunky and gimmicky, when they worked, they could be downright impossible to overcome.
|"Sure you can borrow my deck"|
Then Ice Age came out, and with it, came a simple card called Despotic Scepter. This card allowed it to be tapped to destroy a card its owner owns. This card changed the definition of 'ownership' from a rule perspective, but it also indirectly created one of the most powerful decks of it's day (and one of the most powerful archtypes in Magic), Turbo Stasis. The deck ran a set of Black Vise with Howling Mine, numerous ways to bounce, or destroy your Stasis (including DS up there), and a handful of counterspells and removal, including eventually a playset of Force of Will. Matt Place placed top 8 with a version of this deck in the 1996 Us Nationals.
However this wouldn't be the end for Stasis, it continued to see play in extended, with cards periodically being printed to help the deck along until the early years of the millenium. This included Forsaken City, Chronatog, Gush, Thwart, Orim's Chant, and Isochrone Scepter.
|No turn? No problem!|
|Always have a blue mana|
Many players hate Stasis, saying it's an unfun deck to match against. It's fine, and requires a litmus test of mechanics. Sure getting locked sucks, but that's the nature of the game.
Stasis is the perfect Johnny card, requiring off the wall thinking. It's like a rubics cube, or a car engine. You need to figure out how the pieces work together, and how to make it run most efficently.
"Unlike Stasis, of course, which made me dislike the guy who played it and wonder if I was in over my head with Magic.'--Aaron Forsythe, Sol'Kanar vs Stasis
Flavor: The flavor behind Stasis is one of the most interesting part of the card. Inquest games once said 'what does a coyote and mime have in common? If you said nothing, you are probably correct, but that didn't stop it from appearing on one of Magics earliest power cards'. A long theory among fans of the card, is it's an art piece, and since art is meant to be appreciated by staring at it, that is what the card does. As long as the art piece is their, things grind to a halt, and slow down. While not the best theory, it's an interesting one, and helps get the idea across.
Stasis is the perfect card, from design, to art, to memorabilia. Deal with it.
PS If anyone could get me a playmat of the original art, I'd be very thankful.