I have done numerous Google searches, and come up with nothing remotely definitive for the reason for the name MUD given to MUD decks.

The definition of MUD appears to be, an artifact deck, that uses Mishra Workshop, AND Metal Worker. If the deck doesn't use Metal Worker the name to the deck is a "shop" deck.

  • 1
    It's because old artifacts had brown frames that looked like mud Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 23:21
  • I think I've seen the same acronym (mis?)used for Mono-Blue Devotion.
    – David Z
    Commented Feb 17, 2015 at 23:56
  • FYI, John, you can move your accept vote if you happen to like the new answer (which I freely admit is more of an explanation than my own) better.
    – Alex P
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 7:44

6 Answers 6


Generally, quite a few older deck names aren't really meaningful — they're a weird in-joke or just a random word someone pulled out of nowhere — and that tradition has been carried forward to the modern day in Legacy/Vintage as well. This is how you get the likes of Fruity Pebbles, Cephalid Breakfast, Team America (which is BUG, not red-white-blue), and Tinfins.

Sometimes there's a story behind it, but that story amounts to "I liked this reference" or "We had waffles at this restaurant the day before." About the most interesting story you're going to get from these is Boat Brew (created for a cruise; achieved massive hype quickly; lots of people today joke that it was an awful pile of a deck).

I've seen various backronyms for MUD, but really what you need to know is:

  • MUD plays gobs of artifacts
  • MUD decks are usually defined by Metalworker
  • Artifacts (used to) have brown frames

The rest seems to be speculation and folk tales.

  • Wasn't Boat Brew created on a Magic Cruise rather than to qualify for it?
    – xLeitix
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 6:39
  • 7
    @xLeitix I've edited my statement to be vaguer, and thus, more accurate.
    – Alex P
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 6:54
  • There was a trend for naming decks with instant-win combos (infinite or not) after breakfast cereals. I miss them. I was present when one I think only ever took off in my local area was named Lucky Charms (I contributed the idea that changed the deck from just really good to infinite combo). Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 5:28

This quote is from an article written by one of the creators of the deck:

Now Mud didn't really have a name at that time; it was simply called "our Artifact deck" or "the Artifact deck" or it was just referred to as Mono-brown control. It wasn't until December-January when we first started making up names so it actually about five months after we created Mud.


In the train coming back from a Castricum tournament we figured it was about time to give our deck its own identity since decks like Stax and TnT were showing up in our environment. So we started making up more names using the word Mud; things like Muddy this and Muddy that. Can you believe it still took about three more days before I e-mailed Koen with this message?

You know what... How about 'Mud'?

So it's not MUD (it's not an acronym) and it is a reference to the brown (for the artifact frame) and slowing (for the lock) nature of the deck. That said, I still think other (non-Metalworker) Workshop decks can be called Mud, without confusion.

I really recommend the article (there is a part 2 and part 3), it's a great read about a great deck.


MUD Decks are typically decks that attempt to slow gameplay down drastically. You tend to see cards such as Tanglewire (Tapping permanents), Thorn of Amethyst (All non-creature spells cost 1 more to cast), and even Chalice of the Void on Zero or One (This prevents the powerful Moxen and Black Lotus cards in Vintage, Stops a lot of burn plays like Vexing Devil, Monastery Swiftspear, Lightning Bolt in Burn in any format Chalice is Legal). These decks capitalize on the slower gameplay caused and play threats that then become unstoppable. The signature name comes from an analogy, like wading through mud.

Hope this helps!

  • Thanks for taking the time to answer, and to sign up on the website DerKetzer69! Since I've been encouraged to accept this answer, I'll make a couple of comments. This answer doesn't explain why the Metal worker is required for the deck. Many shop decks adopt this strategy, and are not called MUD. Additionally, this explanation doesn't address the acronym aspect of the name.
    – John
    Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 15:15

I've always known MUD to mean Mono Uncolored Deck

  • @Rainbolt Maybe he meant uncolored instead of undercolored?
    – Lyrion
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 15:47
  • There are a number of google results for "Mono Uncolored Deck"
    – ikegami
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 21:26
  • You'll also sometimes hear "mono-brown".
    – Cascabel
    Commented Feb 18, 2015 at 21:51

Yes, MUD is the name of the deck because of the brown frames artifacts used to have, the deck is mono-brown, and the prison/tax elements slow the game down. MUD was not intended to be an acronym, but Metalworker Urzas Destiny would be a great one. Chalice of the void, trinisphere, and thorn of amethyst slow the game down,and big robots like sundering titan/steel hellkite/wurmcoil engine/walking ballista can dominate the board. Big planeswalkers like ugin/karn can also exile threats and control the game. Fast mana like simian spirit guide/ metalworker/grim monolith/voltaic key/city of traitors/ancient tomb/vesuva cloning cloudpost + glimmerpost give you easy turn 1 chalice or thorn of amethyst,monolith into 3 mana which means you could also turn 1 trinisphere, or better, a turn 1 metalworker and do crazy things very fast.


MUD could be Mishra-Urza Deck, named after the two most famous artificers MTG has ever known & for not having a colour. From there, & over time as certain MUD decks became more prominent various names or iterations came about. Prior to Urza block they were known as Artifact decks as colored decks used few if any artifacts. With Urza block colored decks utilized artifacts heavily (esp. red, think Covetous Dragon, blue, think Tolarian Academy, Black w/ Memory Jar) thus MUD formed separately of Artifact decks which utilized colors along with the brown. From there, as brown decks began ascending as tier 1 tournament decks they began to differ thus their name differed to MUD (Metalworkers) and Shops (Mishra's Workshop) to delineate how mana was formed.

  • 1
    This is an interesting theory. Do you have any evidence to back it up?
    – diego
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 20:33
  • Only memory so nothing I can cite. I've been playing artifact decks since '96, they've always been my favorite, & I still play them today. They used to just be quirky decks one played w/ friends before they arose to tier 1 status hence why I always played them (the fun). Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 20:58
  • What about MUD: Metalworker from Urza's Destiny :P (awesome nick btw) Commented Feb 27, 2017 at 11:38

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