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Valuable Lessons – Faeries!

Welcome back to Valuable Lessons! Over the last few weeks, we’ve explored a number of exciting options for the Modern PTQ season. Today, we’ll be talking about one of my favorite decks. Faeries is a surprisingly powerful strategy that’s extremely well positioned against the control and combo strategies dominating the format. We’ll be discussing the deck’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in an effort to forge the perfect list.

Faeries has Thoughtseize/Inquisition advantage, which is a key ingredient to performing well against huge swaths of the Modern field in the dark. We don’t have any truly terrible matchups, outside of aggressive red decks with Eidolon of the Great Revel, because we have the ability to Thoughtseize and Inquisition our way into a winning situation. Voice of Resurgence is a serious issue for the deck, but with a few copies of Spell Snare and our discard, we can significantly decrease our chances of letting one stick to the table. Birthing Pod (the card, not the deck) can also be a problem for Faeries.

When playing against Birthing Pod decks, it’s important to keep Birthing Pod and Voice of Resurgence off the table, our cards are naturally powerful enough to beat the rest of their deck.

Faeries wants to operate at instant speed, this significantly strengthens it against control and combo.

Decks like Splinter Twin have a lot of trouble beating Faeries because we can always leave open all of our mana and punish them for having dead cards. Some versions of Faeries play Sword of Feast and Famine, casting/equipping the Sword is a great way to get blown out by the Pestermite/Deceiver Exarch combo. Our opponent will tap down our equipped creature, and kill us the following turn. We generally want to be sideboarding out our Sword in this matchup.

Control decks have a lot of trouble with Faeries. Bitterblossom is exceptionally strong against the blue/white/red decks.

We should be making our deck as reactive as possible when playing against the Burn decks. They need to resolve seven actual spells to beat us after we sideboard out our Bitterblossoms and Thoughtseize.

Being weak to Voice of Resurgence is rough, but the Melira Pod decks have a lot of trouble dealing with a turn two Pack Rat, especially if it’s following a Thoughtseize or there’s a Mutavault involved. This must have been the thought process behind IwalkAlone’s Faerie’s deck:

IwalkAlone’s Faeries
Modern – 4–0, Magic Online Daily #7095575

I started playing with this Faeries list a few weeks ago when I first saw it. I was doing pretty well with the deck, but I quickly recognized a few things that I didn’t love.

While Pack Rat gave me a great way to make a game into a race after firing off a discard spell, the card seems quite bad against Scapeshift, Jund, and Splinter Twin. I felt like those decks represented too much of the current metagame and decided to cut the Rats for the time being.

I think Smother is superior to Agony Warp, especially in a deck that plays a lot of colorless lands.

Dismember required a lot of life for a deck that was already Thoughtseizing and casting Bitterblossom. I wanted to try Disfigure as a better option against the most aggressive decks. Disfigure felt like Lightning Bolt to me, and I quickly found myself with four copies between the main deck and sideboard.

Vapor Snag was good with Pack Rat draws, but pretty lackluster in other situations.

I wanted to try Sword of Feast and Famine. I remember the card being one of the better strategies for Modern in past years, and I liked the idea of applying that type of pressure. I was immediately impressed with Sword of Feast and Famine’s strength in the deck. In many games, I found myself just attacking with a Mutavault or Creeping Tar Pit that was equipped to untap with Cryptic Command mana after leaving my opponent with no cards in hand.

After ten or so days of playing with the Faeries deck, I played the following list in a Daily Event:

Jacob Van Lunen’s Faeries
JVLTMS (4-0)
Modern Daily #7167166 on 06/09/2014

This list was marvelously positioned at the time, but I’ve made some small changes since then.

I found myself in staring contests a lot when I was playing the Faeries deck initially. This led me to include a copy of Jace Beleren in the deck after I saw another list that played two copies of it. I was happy with the planeswalker at the time, but I feel like there’s too much UR Delver and most of the control decks have begun playing Vendilion Clique and Restoration Angel, instead of just having Snapcaster Mage. This means that Jace Beleren isn’t in the best spot anymore.

Snapcaster Mage is one of the best cards in Modern. Unfortunately, it’s one of the worst cards in Faeries. I started with four of this in my first list and the number kept dwindling until it fell to its current number of zero.

I found myself missing Pack Rat as an answer to Melira Pod strategies. Having a few copies of Pack Rat in the deck lets us pitch discard spells when we draw them in the late game, while also giving our deck a clear plan when things seem to be falling apart. Going all-in on Pack Rat is a surprisingly potent strategy.

I’ve currently been battling with the following list to great success:

Modern Faeries
by Jacob Van Lunen on 06/14/14

Faeries can be a gamble. The deck plays much better on the play than the draw, but that’s true for most Modern decks. Faeries isn’t great against Pod decks, but it’s certainly a winnable situation. Combo and control decks are great for Faeries. Infect is becoming popular again, and that deck can never beat Faeries in a million years. It’s definitely a real deck, and I recommend that those of you that once considered yourselves Faeries masters pick the deck back up. I’ve been very impressed (and successful) with the strategy!

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