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Initial Technology – Fixing Faeries

Now it’s time for a subject everyone will love: Faeries in Extended!

I do find it kind of funny that the top two decks in this format (arguably, at least), are also probably the two most hated Standard decks of the last 4 years. They, of course, are Jund and Faeries. Luckily, there is some good news: these decks aren’t nearly as dominating as they were in their heyday. Faeries is more like post-Time Spiral Faeries, after it lost River of Tears and Ancestral Visions. Good, yes, but not “play this or you are making a mistake” good. Similarly, Jund is not pre-Worldwake Jund, where it was just the best deck, not close. I even won a tournament (the Starcity Open LA at the beginning of 2010) by maindecking 4 Spreading Seas 4 Wall of Denial 3 Flashfreeze, since I realized the best play was actually just to presideboard vs Jund – it was that good. Extended Jund isn’t; it is just another deck, albeit one a little better than most of the competition. I can’t even say for sure if it is decisively better than Naya (and they share most of the same cards at this point), but I see Jund more often online.

As everyone no doubt knows, I’m not the guy to talk to about Jund. Kyle Boggemes wrote a good article about Extended here, and his Jund list looks solid. What I know is Faeries, and today I’d like to go over how I approach constructing the deck for this current season. Even if you don’t like Faeries, you can use this process for other decks, so this is definitely something worth picking up. It might seem obvious, but it is how I tend to approach deck construction (and providing relevant examples is always a good thing).

Lay out the core of the deck:

For Faeries, this is a fair(ie) amount of cards, since the deck is a Tribal deck, after all. I came to this core via playing the deck for half the time it was legal in Standard (the bad half, since I’m dumb), and testing it at various points for Extended. In my article last week, I mentioned it, but was unsure how to finish the deck, since I hadn’t tested enough. Now I’m getting there, though I’m not completely satisfied yet.

Faeries Core:

4 Bitterblossom
4 Cryptic Command
4 Mistbind Clique (I said 3 last week, but I was just wrong. This card is too unfair)
3 Spellstutter Sprite (I wouldn’t go less than 3, but the 4th isn’t a lock)
4 Thoughtseize effects
3 Mana Leak (I’ve been really happy with 3, and wouldn’t go back to 4)
6 removal spells
4 Mutavault
4 Secluded Glen
4 Darkslick Shores
3 Creeping Tar Pit
2 Tectonic Edge
8 other lands (I’m playing 26, but 25 is the bare minimum)

That equals 53 cards. Like I said, Faeries doesn’t have a whole lot of room.

Add sweet cards

No, really. When I start testing a deck, I usually try out a bunch of 1-ofs, just to get a feel for how each card performs. Not that I need much incentive to play a bunch of 1-ofs…

For Faeries, here is where I started:

 

Vendilions are awesome, and the number has never changed. I considered a fourth, but they aren’t quite good enough vs aggro to warrant that, and three seems perfect. I wouldn’t play less, even if I do side them out vs some decks.

The pair of Jaces were to see which was best, and the answer was resoundingly in favor of Big Jace. He does conflict with the other eight 4-drops, but the range of effects he adds are just so powerful, as anyone who has played any format in the last year can tell you.

Wurmcoil maindeck was a little optimistic. As sweet as it is in some matchups, playing a six-drop that doesn’t do much against any sort of blue deck just wasn’t the best plan.

The Edge was the 26th land, which I figured I needed in order to cast my 10 four-drops and Wurmcoil Engine.

As for the six removal slots, I chose 1 Smother, 2 Doom Blade, 1 Agony Warp, 2 Disfigure. That gave me a good mix, and all of them had their upsides.

The first list was then:

Battle!

This next step is pretty self-explanatory. Go out and test some games! The Extended 8-mans on MTGO have actually been perfect for this. Not only are the filling pretty fast now, the standard of competition has been quite high. The combination of a relatively high barrier to entry and a complex format means that almost everyone who plays in the queus is playing a real deck and playing it competently. I also like playing in queus in this stage of testing because I get to play against a wide range of decks, builds, and players, instead of sitting down for a test session against Web or wrapter. That definitely comes later, but for the first stages playing against the field is more useful.

You should be identifying a number of things in this step:

1) How each card performs

Is Agony Warp better than Smother? Does six removal spells work, or should there be more/less? How was Wurmcoil Engine?

2) What matchups seem good/bad, and what you would need to make the bad matchups better

3) Whether the sideboard numbers work, and which cards were best

4) If the deck is viable

I found that yes, Faeries is in fact viable, Agony Warp was better than Smother, and Wurmcoil Engine was best suited to the sideboard. I also found that Doom Blade wasn’t that impressive. Here are the creatures that you come across (and want to kill) most frequently:

 

There are other as well, but those are the main offenders. Doom Blade misses on Putrid Leech (huge), Creeping Tar Pit, and Demigod of Revenge. Wrapter, being the genius that he is, suggested Grasp of Darkness. It kills everything on that list, and is the only removal spell that kills Mistbind Clique and Putrid Leech, as well as being the only removal spell at all that kills Demigod. I was immediately sold, and made the switch, as well as removing the Smother for an Agony Warp. The color requirements just got more intensive, so I also took out a Tectonic Edge for a Sunken Ruins.

Jace Beleren became a second Jace, the Mind Sculptor, but then was eventually added back in for the Wurmcoil.

I battled some more, and went through more versions, since this step needs to be repeated a number of times. After battling many times, here is the list I ended up with:

The sideboard is still not where I want it to be.

Once you have a list you like hashed out, time to move on to the next step:

Play the problem matchups

Unless you have found The Deck of Decks, you will have some matchups that need attention (and if you have, skip this step and go treat yourself to a movie or something). Ideally, that list isn’t very long, since if it is, you might not be playing the right deck.

Here is what I think the tough matchups are for Faeries:

Jund/Naya
Faeries

Note that when I say “tough”, I don’t necessarily mean “bad”. Sometimes that certainly will be the case, but here I more mean that these are the matchups that I want to explore more fully. This Faeries deck really does feel like the Lorwyn-Shards Standard version; it has no truly bad matchups, a few easy ones, and most matchups are really close. Close, but if you play Faeries very well, they are almost all winnable, which is exactly where I like a deck to be. If everything is winnable and easy, everyone plays the deck (Standard Jund comes to mind), so winnable and hard combines the two things I want in a deck. I don’t mean to scare people off of Faeries, but if you want to play it, I recommend a lot of practice. PV is actually writing about how to play Faeries, so look for that article this week (I’m just covering how to build it!).

Back to the matchups. Naya and Jund both have some important points in common:

1) Fauna Shama/Vengevine, with Demigod as well in Jund
2) Access to Great Sable Stag and Volcanic Fallout
3) An overall aggressive plan backed by Bloodbraid Elf

All of these things are annoying, but none of them are fatal. What I do still need to do is find the right sideboard plan. I like how the maindeck is configured, though I could be convinced to cut the Jace Beleren for something.

The key to this matchup is to realize that you usually can’t just control the game by killing all their threats. They will eventually draw Bloodbraids and Vengevines, and even Cryptic Command can’t hold those back forever. Instead, you want to play the typical aggro-control role, and beat down with Mistbind and Vendilion while delaying them with your counters and removal. If you get Jace going, sometimes you can just out-card them, but you still want to kill them relatively quickly. An unanswered Fauna Shaman is tough to beat unless you have a ton of pressure, since it will chain Vengevines into Bloodbraids all day long, with Jund even having access to Demigod.

Right now, my sideboard plan is the following:

+2 Wurmcoil Engine
+3 Wall of Tanglecord
+2 removal spells

-3 Mana Leak
-1 Jace Beleren
-1 Inquisition of Kozilek
-1 Spellstutter Sprite
-1 Vendilion Clique

That isn’t set in stone, and I make adjustments based on the matchup. For example, Mana Leak is better against Jund than Naya because of their higher curve and lack of 1-drop accelerators, and Spellstutter Sprite is good at stopping Path to Exile and other 1-drops out of Naya. I’m not fully satisfied that this is the best way to board, and this week I’ll be focusing on testing these matchups in-depth. I’ve mostly moved past the play the field step, and am looking to just jam games here.

Again, how you play is critical in this matchup, since there is a ton of play, and games tend to be pretty different every time. Sometimes you just are on the draw and get run over, but most games are interesting and full of decisions. I wish I could deliver a final verdict, but I really can’t until I get more games in (though I’ve played a bunch already).

Faeries is the other matchup I feel I should practice more, since I haven’t struck the right balance yet. Like PV has said before, games are really divided into three categories:

1) They have Blossom
2) You have Blossom
3) Both of you have Blossom

Games where Blossom parity doesn’t happen tend to be pretty lopsided, since one player having Blossom advantage is pretty devastating. It forces the other player to do things, which Faeries is kind of bad at without Blossom, and it makes the Blossom player able to react, which Faeries is quite well set up for. If you find yourself in the unenviable position of facing down a Bitterblossom, you really just have to get aggressive. You can’t leave up counters, and instead have to bash with manlands whenever possible. The printing of Creeping Tar Pit actually goes a long way towards making this matchup more interesting, since an unopposed Tar Pit can actually outrace a Bitterblossom. Cryptic is key too, since tapping their guys and bashing once can often swing the race in your favor.

All that being said, you probably aren’t winning if they have a turn two Blossom and you don’t. If you are the one with the Blossom, just flip what I said. Try to preserve your life total, and block aggressively. Try not to leave yourself open to a Cryptic-fueled alpha strike, and realize that they are the ones who have to make the first move.

With the way Faeries is built right now, most games fall into the third category. With four to five maindeck Duress effects becoming standard, and most players aware that mulliganing aggressively is important, most of the time neither player has Bitterblossom. I’m sure PV is going to go more in-depth on this, but this matchup becomes quite interesting in this case. You are both now playing a somewhat gimped version of UB control, since Spellstutter and Mistbind are kind of awkward, and most fights are over somewhat trivial things. Vendilion Clique becomes key, since it opens the door to resolving Mistbind or Jace, both of which end the game rather quickly. Manlands are also very important, and one of the most commons paths to victory.

Right now, my sideboard plan for the mirror is what I’m most dissatisfied with:

+1 Thoughtseize
+1 Spell Pierce
+1 Jace Beleren
+1 Glen Elendra Archmage

-2 Agony Warp
-1 Vendilion Clique
-1 Disfigure

The thing I’m having the problem with is what to take out. Disfigure can be really awesome, and so can Vendilion Clique, but both are pretty miserable when Bitterblossom is on the other side. The thing is, if you overload on answers to Blossom, like some builds I’ve seen, and side up to 7 or 8 Duress/Spell Pierce type effects, you set yourself up to lose most games where neither player has Blossom. Once nobody has it, drawing all those ineffectual 1-drops will lose to an opponent who has a ton of Vendilion Cliques, removal spells, and Jaces. Again, striking the right balance is tough, and I’m not sure yet how I want to sideboard.

Make the last few changes, keeping in mind metagame changes

I’m not quite at this step, since as I said before I’ve still got some work to do against Jund and Faeries, but this is how you finish off a deck. Bear in mind that your work is never done, and any time you have a multi-tournament format (like a PTQ or Grand Prix season, for example), you should be adjusting your deck after every tournament. Keep track of online and live results, and change your deck and sideboard accordingly. If a new deck arises, test against it, and don’t be too lazy to go back and re-test old matchups if the standard build changes significantly (Jund adding Fauna Shamans is one example of a change that has already happened).

I like Faeries quite a bit, and the deck is nearing completion, but I urge you not to just play the list I have outlined here. Feel free to change cards, particularly in the sideboard, and make adjustments you think are good. This process is useful for any deck, and even though it isn’t the most complicated, really does work. Testing is by far the most useful tool you have at your disposal, and once you have logged enough test games you can start making changes without testing them, since testing some changes is almost impossible. Finding the difference between 3 and 4 of a particular card is not really done by practice, but by theory. Still, you can’t formulate the correct theory until you practice, since knowing the deck is crucial when trying to make changes.

If I had to sum this all up in one sentence, applicable to any deck in this (or any) format, it would be to isolate what’s important in a deck, add cards that seem interesting, and test the hell out of it. Good luck!

LSV

53 thoughts on “Initial Technology – Fixing Faeries”

  1. yo when u gonna do another draft vid man. you gotta do comeback after your first round exit on your last one.

  2. @LSV I am new to Faeries, but it seems like one of the differing factors in decklists seems to hinge on Scion of Oona or no Scion of Oona. What are your thoughts on its inclusion.

  3. LSV,

    I have had a soft spot in my heart for Fae ever sinceI learned about it way back in the Standard of yesteryear. Being a huge control favorite as a player, something about this deck just calls to me. That being said, I’ve tested the hell out of it for new Extended and I’ve found that my only out to Fallout is to a) Thoughtsieze effect it or b) Mindbind Clique them out of available mana. Are there other outs that I’m just missing? Having 10 outs to a card that hoses a good portion of the deck is still awesome but I’m just wondering if you’ve found anything along these lines in your testing that might help. Gotta love the Channel Fireball crew, you guys are great.

    -mdg

  4. @ mdg

    Mindbreak Trap it. Mindbreak Trap also counters Bloodbraid Elf and it’s cascade and Great Sable Stag. I don’t know if it makes sense now, but I was using Mindbreak Trap in the previous extended to foil all those as well as Punishing Fire.

    @ LSV

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of Scion of Oona, even though it was mentioned in in your last article. I’m sure you’ve thought about it even if you haven’t tested it, so what made you decide against it? It seems if the two biggest matchups are going to be Faeries and Jund it would be good since it’s one of the few ways to race a Blossom and helps you play aggro control better against Jund.

    Anyway, great article. It’s always helpful to hear about the process of someone who gets results.

  5. Great article, my one question is why a 2-2 split with Grasp of Darkness and Agony Warp? Is Agony Warp just easier to cast? Because as you pointed out, being able to take out a Demigod or a pumped Putrid Leech can be huge

  6. Luis Scott-Vargas

    I tried Scions but didn’t like them. They don’t help in your tough matchups, and are especially weak to Volcanic Fallout, a card people seem to like siding in against Faeries.

  7. @LSV: I actually found pretty funny what you found not funny on your very first sentence.

    @CF: My personal petition is to see one/two artcles about me4 sealed/draft, since its what some will play next saturday.

  8. I’ll definately have to try Grasp of Darkness. Still, I am sold on playing Preordain in Fae. I added a few, and then eventually four, and they have been making the deck better ever since. Have you tried them in testing?

  9. @LSV I don’t believe you ever mention Brad’s esper/omen fae list, have you compared the two lists? Brad did say it was the bee’s knees after all…

  10. Play testing this would be so much fun to watch. I know you’ve been advocating and practicing with 4CC, but it’d be worth to see how your second list actually plays out. I remember Faeries in T2, and it was great until M10 came along. Now it looks better than ever. The access to Grasp seems to seal the deal with Stag. God, that card was such a pain to play against when it came out.

  11. I lol’ed @ Wrapter having Umara Raptor as his mouse-over card.
    So random.

    Oh, and the article.It’s pretty good

  12. The mirror is incredibly prevalent on MOL, so I might suggest mentioning the most recent winning PTQ list sporting 4 Peppersmoke and 4 Scion of Oona, which is just bananas for the mirror.

    I’ve been testing literally all day, getting in about 30 matches on Magic Online (if not more), and my list looks pretty similar, and I agree on a lot of your points. However, the BB of Grasp of Darkness makes playing lands like Tectonic Edge awkward. While I support playing 2 Edge MD with 26 lands, I can’t support playing Grasp of Darkness. Just choose either Leech or MB Clique and figure out what you’d rather be casting against who.

    Fwiw Smother is pretty bananas, killing Creeping Tar Pit, Scion, and Vendilion in Fae, but also killing Leech, Ravine, and almost every creature in Mythic. I find that, against every single green deck, siding in Wall and Wurmcoil to be the plan. Vendilion Clique and some number of Mistbind come out most of the time, since you are reducing your Fae count, on top of your opponents gunning for your Blossoms.

    Highly recommend 5 discard spells md, as well as the 6 removal which you pointed out.

    Well done, and very useful information.

  13. @lsv Hi there, what do you think of adding white for path/omens/esper and possible wider sideboard options? Thanks for reply, keep up the good work.

  14. Very nice article, thanks a lot!

    LSV, what’s your opinion on Preordain? I’ve been skeptical at first, but it has won me a lot of games in subtle ways (preventing screw/flood, having Bitterblossom more consistently, avoid drawing removal against combo and control, reliably have removal against aggro, etc)

    I’m also curious why you think 3 Leaks are enough. That card has been stellar since there aren’t many low-curve aggro decks around.

  15. I do like the grasp choice, My leeches will be very sad soon.

    Mindbreak Trap seems like a solid SB option too, maybe worth a look in as a 1 or 2 of.

  16. 4 Bitterblossom

    2 Jace Beleren

    4 Spellstuter Sprite
    3 Vendilion Clique
    4 Mistbind Clique

    4 Mana Leak
    4 Cryptic Command
    4 Grasp of Darkness

    4 Thoughtseize
    2 Inquisition of Kozilek

    4 Mutavault
    4 Secluded Glen
    4 Darkslick Shores
    4 Sunken Ruins
    2 Creeping Tar Pit
    3 Swamp
    4 Island

    Do you think this list is 2 generic and unpowerfull?

  17. My whole reasoning for the list is that it wants to curve out as best as possible play to fearies strenghts and as a consequence eliminate its weaknesess. Also if you can curve out better than your oppoenent, your thoughtseizes will be better as you will by philosophy become an agressor more often than your opponent.

  18. @LSV – I asked in your last two articles, how is Plumeveil against Fae, does it and Clique make the 5CC matchup any harder than it has been w/ WoOmens. Second question, is the best way for 5cc to fight fae simply to play Bitterblossoms of your own and redesign your build around that?

    Thanks for writing and hope i see your answer…..

    TJDive

    ps – write more about 5cc

  19. justin richardson

    @TJ if you want to try and beat faeries with 5cc just play stags and fallouts and hope it works, if your going to add your own bitterblossoms and build your deck around that you should probably just play faeries

  20. Decent article. I liked some of the indepth discussion, especially the one about removal.
    Grasp does indeed do the job of 2 mana removal the best, though it’s casting cost is unfortunately the worst as well. I do imagine removing a edge for it is worth it though as edge isn’t superimportant anymore (as omen is getting much rarer then before).

    I missed some discussion about other popular cards though, most notable preordain, scion and peppersmoke which see alot of play nowadays.
    I see that you commented later about scion sucking because of fallout which i 100% agree with, it’s not even that good in the mirror as it only helps if you have blossom vs blossom wars which are getting rarer actually. On a sidenote the article is confusing as you state fae vs fae has 3 scenario’s, omitting the neither player has blossom scenario while you consequently state that that happens more and more.

    Preordain however is great imo and the article completely omits it in favor of jace’s. Even if you think jace’s are better i think you should at least include it in the discussion. That said I think most people agree now that preordain is actually better.
    First of all both jaces quite suck in fae for numerous reasons:
    – they are sorcery speed. This is terrible in this type of deck as it makes your other cards, especially mana leak, much worse by giving the opponent a free chance to resolve something critical.
    – their main function is drawing cards. Fae is more a tempo deck then a grind deck (unlike 4cc) so card draw isnt actually that strong. Fae has plenty of things to spend mana on already with 7 manlands and 1 or 2 edges.
    – many of the tactics/cards used against fae are crazy good against both jaces as well. The format is including more hasty guys, fallouts and stags every day and each of those excels at killing either jace, often 2 for 1ing as well.
    – neither are particularely good in the mirror as manlands deal with them fairly well, even if you +2 them at first it’s not unheard of that they simply play clique and bash with that + mutavault to kill it. When bitterblossoms are out it does even less as those games are short by nature.
    – they sit at flooded spots in the curve already.

    Preordain is simply much better then the jaces. Card selection for a low price is better then card draw for a high price for fae because of it’s tempo nature. Especially since fae has tons of dead draws later (bitterblossom, discard, mana leak) and cards it needs to have early (bitterblossom). Preordain finds the stuff you need while putting the redundant stuff to the bottom which is just so damn good, it also fits perfectly as a turn 1 or turn 3 play.

    Finally some more stuff is missing imo in the article, for example iok vs thoughtseize. Most believe you want more iok as life is just so crucial in all matchups and all the annoying cards (stag, fallout, bb, leak etc) are 3 or less anyway.

    As for the jund matchup, something that might want a chance from the board would be time warp. The jund matchup in my testing (and it seems yours as well) seems to be very tempo oriented, they have lots of uncounterable stuff (vengevine, demigod, anathemancer) that can kill you eventually and fae needs to land a wurmcoil or just kill them asap to have a shot.
    Time warp helps with both as it basically helps you go from 5 to 6 to land your wurmcoil AND it is amazing to just get 1 extra attack in (jund doesnt have flyers anyway). Everytime you have a critter or a BB out it basically sais: ramp a land and do some damage while drawing a card. Jund doesn’t have any instants you are afraid to tap out for anyway.

  21. Very good comment, mark.

    I agree with Preordain being awesome. I disagree with Jace Beleren though. In my experience it has been pretty great at giving you the edge in the midgame, where you simply need the card advantage to sustain your tempo. Beleren is also pretty nice in the mirror when you don’t have BB, since you can continue using the +2 ability while basically forcing your opponent to attack Jace (leaving your lifetotal intact). Once you have BB, you can start using the -1 ability, at which point you should be in the driver’s seat.
    I’m running 4 Preordain and 2 Jace, they go pretty well together.

    Lately I also like Inquisition over Seize, since the only card that Seize can handle is Cryptic Command (though that is a biggie). The life-loss is indeed very relevant.

    I don’t think Time Warp is worth it against Jund. If you have problems against Vengevine/Demigod/Anathemancer, I would suggest Puppeteer Clique or Molten-Tail Masticore.

    Another article about sideboarding strategy would really be appreciated (granted, I’m biased).

  22. IMHO, playing Jund mostly, I’m not worried about whatever removal spells the Faerie player runs in regards to Putrid Leech because if I have a Leech out and my open has pretty much any combination or red and/or black mana open, they’re only taking 2. I know sometimes it’s right to test the waters and see if they have it, but early in the game you don’t absolutely positively have to try and hit them for 4 every time. Jund is a tough matchup for Faeries because as LSV said: A. they have cheap, efficient creatures and disruption, B. Fauna Shaman chains into Vengevines and/or Demigods, which nearly end the game on the spot if you get 2 or more into play at any given time and C. Jund has actual and pseudo burn spells in Lightning Bolt and Blightning that make at least game 1 very tough for Faeries. Games 2 and 3 Jund has at least 8 discard spells, Greast Sable Stags and more removal so while Wall of Tanglecord can be a pain it’s usually nothing more than a speed bump; Wurmcoil Engine however is the stone cold nuts and unless the Jund player can remove it from the Faeries player’s hand with discard and/or get the Faeries player low enough to burn them out then usually Wurmcoil just wins the game on its own once it hits play.

  23. 6 is a lot of removal when you consider that lots of decks dont even have decent targets for it. And they are basically mulligans vs control or the omen decks. Against Jund it is probably not the best idea to try to trade 1 for 1 for their creatures because of the Bloodbraids and Demigods.
    Scions are weak to Fallout but they give you an edge in the mirror and lots of other decks because you can kill them out of nowhere (or at least speed up the clock significantly) or blank one of their removal. After board when people bring in all the fallouts one can easily take out some scions for more discard.
    There must be a reason why lists with scions have been winning lately.

  24. @ mister miyagi
    little jace sucks too much in non-fae matchups to be worth it imo. It is just too easy for jund to blightning it or whatever. Besides if the deck runs preordain there shouldn’t be any spots left in the deck for jace’s imo.
    The deck should just be the core LSV described (53 cards) + 1 mana leak (the 4th is great if you don’t run jaces) + 1 discard spell (5 is a great number imo) + 3 vendilion clique + 2 preordain. Jaces make the deck needlesssly slow and if you need any at all 1 beleren can sit in the board.

    Puppeteer clique is pretty awesome for the jund matchup as well, helps alot to race them and with all the discard etc you will never be short of sweet targets. 2 clique’s and 1 wurmcoil seems like a sweet plan actually, i never liked relying on the 2 wurmcoil plan alone as it makes blightning very annoying (discarding land won’t let you reach 6 land in time, and when you do they burn you out often).

  25. What I’m saying is that it’s probably a good idea to start out with a proactive list and then after game 1 board in the answers you need instead of trying to be everything for everyone.
    Also Agony Warp is a lot worse vs Fallout than a Scion.

  26. I wonder if anyone has tried Vampire Lacerator in the board. It seems like a viable way to apply pressure early so that you can sit back and be reactive.

  27. i’m a bit confused at the choice of card drawing in this deck. i would figure there are 2 directions you can go in

    1) maximize mana efficiency with Ancestral Vision

    or

    2) maximize power with Jace, the Mindsculptor

    in either case i’d want to play the full 4. the 1 Beleren, 2 Mindsculptor split makes no sense to me. why not just 4 Mindsculptor? its a much better card overall and has noteworthy synergy with Spellstutter Sprite, Mistbind Clique, and Vendillion Clique.

  28. Has anyone considered spreading seas? It is a card that is great against all the hard Fae matchups, including the mirror. Like LSV said, man lands are key and you can take them out with seas. Disrupting Jund and 4-5cc mana bases while replacing itself is nothing to sneeze at! At the very least try it out to see if it performs over the Jaces or preordains.

  29. @dbg: How do you want to run twelve 4cmc spells in this deck? I’d much rather run 0 Jaces than the full 4.

  30. I like the discussion about Jace/Preordain. As I commented before, Preordain has become a 4-of auto include for me. mark explained it very well, although I don’t fully agree with “Jace sucks”. Sorcery Speed is awful, but Jace Beleren costs 3, which is oftentimes affordable, especially since there a many situations where you ‘seized, inquisitioned or cliqued your opponent and know what is going to happen if you tap 3 mana to cast Jace. Also you can’t really compare Preordain to the continuous source of card advantage that Jace is. That said, i still like Jace TMS better after I tested both. 4mana is so much more than 3, but the again Jace tMS ist just SO much better than Beleren. Oftentimes the opponent can just let Beleren sit there for a while and still attack you, they can’t really do that with tMS. Brainstorming WILL find you Cryptic Commands and Mistbind Cliques, fatesealing puts them on a clock while limiting their options, and unsummoning sometimes does the trick of maintaining your tempo advantage quiet well. Look at me explaining in bad English what the card does, but what I’m trying to get around here is making clear that Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a play with WAY more impact then Jace Beleren, although lil’ Jace will sometimes fit the curve better and still provide what you’re in need of.

  31. Oh, also – i doesn’t happen very often, but bouncing Mistbind Clique with Big Jace and tapping them out every turn will lead to a very quick concede. The problem being that in this scenario you were probably already winning before you got to do that…

  32. And one more thing: I’m still waiting for my Jund opponents to answer Wurmcoil Engine not with “The Game ended on turn 8 in defeat. Phillythekid has won the game.” but rather with Slave of Bolas so i can go “eeeewwwwwwwwwww” all over the place and then leave.

  33. Are people really playing Wurmcoil Engine as the answer to jund? That card does nothing until turn 6, has to be ditched to blightning, can be thoughtseized, etc. this along with the fact that cards like terminate, nature’s claim, and maelstrum pulse all hit it.

    Naya, Jund and Mythic all seem to have positive results vs faeries so far in my testing. I assume WW and RDW are very good as well. The Hideaway deck seems like it would also give faeries some problems, although it is pretty swingy.

    At least Wall of Tanglecord is a 2 mana answer to Jund’s 2 and 3 mana threats. Wurmcoil Engine vs a deck with that much dedicated discard just feels wrong to me, and jund definitely has outs to it.

  34. LSV – for the Fairy mirror, what about Marsh Casualties in the side board?

    If can wipe out a blossom accumulation and it is one sided. It gets Vendillions and sprites as well – pretty much everything really. Being able to play it unkicked and still get enough also means it can frequently be forced through a Leak or Spell Pierce.

    The other useful card to have in the mirror is Scion of Oona, for blanking their removal and pumping your little guys, and making your cliques bigger than his.

    The two combined can mean you have mass removal that hits through shroud and they have none that hits yours.

    Admittedly the Marsh is only useful against white weenie beyond the mirror, and not may are playing that these days (it would also hit some Boros and Quest builds but the same applies – not really around right now). Scion is actually pretty good against Jund too, because they pack so much removal and it blanks a lot of it.

  35. @dbg

    Did you SERIOUSLY just suggest ancestral vision as an option?

    please don’t play any extended PTQs, as vision is not legal in extended…

    /headdesk

  36. jace in fairy deck –a the world have gone mad
    how do i put it, on faeries the 4 cmc slot is reserved for mistbind clique and cryptic command ONLY (back in the day people often cut the 4th clique for other lower cmc because too many 4 cmc is just bad for the fairies). and jace is sorcery speed. why the hell you want to add sorcery to perfectly-fine-all-instant-speed-deck which is the cutting edge behind the fairies.
    preordain over ponder? ………. my god…. i think its better to dig 3 card or shuffle than to scry 2 either way you get the same result so why preordain?
    in case you didn’t know there is an artifact called relic of progenitus. that card is way better than the lousy spellbomb.either way the bitterblossom provide a chump blocker for the demigod and cryptic command can be used as a fog in case of emergency.

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  38. What are the general propositions regarding the fae matchups.

    We’ve got the:

    If they blossom turn 2 and you dont have an immediate answer or one of your own your in trouble but what else is there?

    What cards do you need to see early vs jund or dont want to see? What are they in the other main matchups?

  39. Hi Luis,

    Big fan! Absolutely addicted to channelfireball since you and the crew have started posting videos with such great regularity. Really, great job pushing the site.

    I’m no pro, and honestly due to budget reasons I get my magic in strictly watching videos and theorycrafting at this point. That said, I had a thought about the two matches you mention as tough for Faeries. As faeries likes to be reactive, would it make sense to find a better answer?

    My thought was to add a third color for something like Maelstrom Pulse or Oblivion Ring. Maybe that weakens your mana base too much, but if control decks can run four colors, why can’t aggro control run three?

    Other folks, jump in too! I’m honestly curious if such a strategy is viable in this format, and I don’t have the option of testing it myself.

    Thanks!

  40. Hi,

    on the Faeries mirror: Ratchet bomb seems good, as it kills bitterblossom and creatures/jace should the need arise (never a dead card I think). When I was testing I also wanted spell pierce for the drawn out counter wars and to counter blossom on the draw.

  41. Hey LSV, I have been testing for Atlanta for the past 3 Weeks. Im planning on running faeries, and I have a few serious questions for you. I love running Jace, Mind Sculptor in the deck, but find myself feeling like its not that great in the deck and siding them out a lot. How do you feel about them in the deck as far as interfering with other 4 drops, and what matchups do you feel that they are great in? I know that jace is one of the best cards ever printed but do they really belong in the deck? Thanks!

  42. The way I feel about faeries today is that 4-5 removal is enough and I personally run 6 discard effects with 4 seize and 2 iok main. I tried preordain x4 and then 2 mind sculptor 1 beleren then I decided I don’t like any of this main deck. The place I really felt the power was using these jace things off the board in control matchs. Now my removal package has been shaved down to 4 to fit in 3x scion which I like very much. I’ll keep testing for everyone and get back to you. Peace.

  43. OK I have been testing and its been observed that Jace the Mind Sculptor is strictly sideboard material for this deck. Preordain is officially a waste of time in Faeries and I would rather just draw the spell I’m looking for and forget the blue mana. I’m already allocating all my blue mana to other priorities so preordain is not an option. Hope this helps.

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