There are the people who lived through the wonder (nightmare) that was Faeries, and there are the people who have ever only heard about it second hand.
Waxing Poetic About the Delight that Was U/B Faeries
Allow me a quick stroll down memory lane: In the glory days of U/B Faeries, the deck was easily one of the most delightful I’ve ever played. First of all, it was overpowered compared to the rest of the field. It was the kind of deck that was always better than you were, even when you were playing well. Which isn’t to say that the deck didn’t reward strong play.
When it came to playing Faeries, there was an element of you get what you give to it. When you played well, the deck gave you opportunities to win tough games.
Ah, those topdecked Cryptic Commands—so fair in a racing situation…
Don’t Call it a Comeback
The bar is set pretty high for Faeries, because expectations are always going to be too high. The deck was one of the most beloved (or despised, depending on who you talk to) decks ever to wear Pink Dragonshield armor.
Sour flower power.
Bitterblossom has failed to make an impact since it was unbanned in Modern. Magic is complicated, and I could speak to a dozen nuanced reasons that contribute to Faeries having been mediocre, but it boils down to:
- Power creep
- Lack of a 1cc removal spell
It is funny that Faeries is the recipient of a new card that kills two Tarmogoyfs with one stone.
“I’ve got to keep on pushin’ (mmm – hmm), I can’t stop now.”
Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions had the right idea when it comes to Modern—keep on Fatal Pushing in every deck. How about another The Impressions caption?
“It’s all sprite, have a good time
‘Cause it’s all sprite, whoa, it’s all sprite.”
Faeries is the beneficiary of the perfect card, because not only is Fatal Push one of the most insanely powerful spells to see print in the past 5 years but it is exactly the type of card the deck desperately needed.
I’ve played my fair share of mediocre U/B and Sultai Faeries in Modern, and have played some pretty inferior Fatal Push substitutions over the years…
Fatal? Yes. Pushed? No.
Fatal Push is better than these weaklings. I’m also very excited to snap back Fatal Push in my blue decks:
A pushed card flashing back another pushed card.
Aside from obvious synergies with 1cc spells, Snapcaster also facilitates cool plays like: Flash in Snapcaster inside combat before blocks and target Fatal Push—block and let combat damage resolve. When Snapcaster dies in combat, it triggers revolt for when you flashback Fatal Push post-combat. Cool stuff.
The expectation with Faeries is always too high because of what came before. Will Faeries be tier 1? I doubt it. But Fatal Push shores up the deck’s Achilles’ heel to the point where I expect the deck to be competitive once again.
A Fae For Today
Faeries was always the kind of deck that was better than you are. When you boil that down, it just means that Faeries is a difficult deck to play.
Faeries was always hard to play well, even when it was the best deck in the format. The difference between then and now is that the margin for error is smaller because Faeries isn’t a whole tier better than everything else.
Faeries was also a difficult deck to build properly. It required precision in having exactly the correct mix of spells. I remember back in the Extended days endlessly debating sideboard choices with my old pal D.J. Kastner until we had the perfect 75 to crush PTQs.
About a month ago, when Fatal Push was just a dream nobody knew about, my friend Bryan Kinnell asked to borrow my Bitterblossoms for a LGS Modern tournament. Obviously, whenever somebody brews Fae, I’m interested. I followed his progress but became much more interested when Fatal Push was spoiled.
I was lucky Bryan had been working on the list already because it provided a great head start on the archetype. I made some tunes and tweaks to the deck, but the basic concept and design was Bryan’s hard work.
A lot of the cards in the deck are exactly what you would expect them to be—there are only so many good “Faeries” cards and Snapcaster Mage seems like a no brainer in this U/B Flash deck.
One card that has really impressed me so far is Collective Brutality:
The Black Cryptic Command.
When playing Faeries, options become the bread and butter of how the deck wins, and I’m willing to pay a premium for flexible cards. Collective Brutality does good things across a range of matchups and is never dead. I also love that it gives you an outlet to cash out extra Ancestral Visions that will be too slow to impact the game.
I imagine a tiny Faerie creature carrying a miniature Sword of Feast and Famine the size of a toothpick and just swatting the ever-living crap out of some wizard somewhere. The wizard is like, “What the @#$& is this? Stop that! Stop that AT ONCE!” Obviously the Faerie never ceases the beatdown because Faeries are relentless. Also, Faeries are jerks.
I liked F&F then and I’m still digging it today. If you catch an opponent tapped out and get to suit up, bash, and keep the shields up—well, you win every time.
The sideboard is a work in progress and needs to see more games to really fill out nicely. Currently, I’ve been playing around with a Ghost Quarter, Shadow of Doubt, and Surgical Extraction package to fight against decks like Tron and Valakut. It seems effective in matchups that are challenging.
Yahenni’s Expertise is an interesting sweeper for Faeries because it has mad synergy with Ancestral Vision, which can be cast for free when Expertise resolves. I’m not sure it is the best card, but I’m very interested in trying it more.
I’m looking forward to playing U/B Faeries once Aether Revolt and Fatal Push become legal on Friday. I’m happy with how far the list has come in a short amount of time, and would like to thank Bryan again for letting me share it.
One of the coolest elements of non-rotating formats is when the opportunity arises to necro an old deck that you loved and relive those old glory days. Faeries is one of those strategies that I can see myself piloting in a tournament, provided the list is up to snuff. At the very least, Faeries will be a fun pet project to have sleeved up and work on in the coming months. I’ve always been cray cray for those Fae.