Turns out, you only need a single line of text on a Magic: The Gathering card to kick off some punishing shenanigans. Among the cards released in Magic’s newest set, Streets of New Capenna, a certain six-mana green artifact has deck-builders buzzing with its potential to take over games and promote table-flipping reactions. Allow me to introduce you to Bootlegger’s Stash.
Before exploring some of the specific applications that Bootlegger’s Stash has, let’s clarify why this card’s ability is noteworthy in the first place. In short, by granting all your lands the ability to produce treasures, this card generates value in the form of a concept Magic players sometimes refer to as “material.”
Consider your everyday Magic cards: lands and spells. For the most part, when you have lands or creatures, playing one card from your hand only puts one object or “permanent” on the battlefield. But common exceptions to this principle are cards that make tokens. Classic examples such as Thraben Inspector (which makes a clue) or Hordeling Outburst (which makes three goblins) will represent one card in hand but produce multiple permanents on the battlefield, here in the form of tokens. When Magic players refer to “material,” it’s usually this ability to create multiple permanents off one card.
Generally, token makers are no big deal. Practically every set has them, and the majority see relatively little play because the in-game value these cards produce isn’t powerful enough for competitive constructed formats such as Standard or Modern. But every once in a while, a unique new token maker breaks through because it’s easy to cast, annoying to deal with, and the tokens themselves are good enough to want multiples.
Older players might recall when Bitterblossom or Gideon, Ally of Zendikar were format-defining cards for their unique abilities to produce a steady stream of pesky creature tokens on otherwise hard-to-answer permanents. Even today in the Modern format, Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer is one of the most-played creatures thanks in part to its ability to generate ongoing treasure tokens on a cheap, aggressive body.
Like previous token maker all-stars, Bootlegger’s Stash checks a critical box: It keeps producing material after it is played — treasure tokens, no less. These let you extend the range of your mana base beyond your land count and color restrictions. Popping off a half-dozen treasure tokens is fun once, but pull that trick two or three times in a single game and you’ve established a huge resource bank that potentially triggered some other powerful synergies. By transforming your lands into token makers, the decks that maximize all these treasures will find themselves snowballing quickly with a variety of outlets that can exploit a never-ending supply of widgets.
One of the scariest applications for Stash is the threat of enabling an infinite-turns combo when it’s on the board at the same time as a two-mana artifact called Time Sieve. The best part of all? The combo is as easy as casting both cards.
Since Time Sieve only requires five artifacts to activate, and Stash can enable at least six treasure tokens every turn, once the two artifacts are online simultaneously, your opponent better have some artifact removal handy or they’ll never take a turn again.
Academy Manufactor and Chatterfang
Among the limits to Stash’s potential is the fact that it only makes one type of token. Of course, having access to tons of mana via treasures is powerful, but eventually, you need something to spend the mana on. With the help of a couple other token generators, Stash can produce so much more material with every activation. The simplest one-two punch is to have Academy Manufactor on the board, which diversifies your material production into mana, card draw, and life gain effects. With Manufactor out, each treasure you make comes with a clue token and a food token, providing a built-in application for all the mana you produce. Crack the clues to draw through your deck and find a way to win, or pad your life total with some tasty food if opponents have you under pressure.
You can take this combo one step further by creating creatures in the process with Chatterfang, Squirrel General, the most adorable apex predator currently hiding out in the vast catalog of legal-to-play cards. Although Chatterfang works even without an Academy Manufactor out, it gets significantly stronger as you generate more tokens. By themselves, Chatterfang and Stash produce an additional 1/1 squirrel with every treasure you make. Bare minimum, that’s at least six squirrels every turn while both cards are on the board.
Things get really out of hand if you have Manufactor on the board, too, because now, every land you tap is making two extra artifact tokens along with three squirrel tokens. Assuming we’re still only working with the six lands you used to cast Stash, that means you can make up to 36 tokens every turn between squirrels and other widgets. So if you haven’t drawn a Time Sieve to take infinite turns, your practically infinite material should close out the game.
Streets of New Capenna is out now for Magic Online and Magic: The Gathering Arena, and is available for tabletop play starting April 29.