Almost There: Faeries

Posted in How to Build on March 16, 2018

By Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa

Paulo has been playing Magic since he was eight years old. At fifteen, he ventured outside of Brazil for his first international tournament, and he's been globetrotting as a professional player ever since.

Jace, the Mind Sculptor is a very powerful card, and its unban almost forces a revisit to any blue deck that you can play in Modern. With the reprinting of Vendilion Clique in Masters 25, this seems like the perfect time to go back to my favorite deck in the history of Magic—Faeries!

This is the deck Lastbean recently took to a 5-0 record in a Magic Online Modern League:

Lastbean's Faeries

Faeries is an aggro-control deck that has the ability to adapt to whatever it's playing against. It doesn't excel at anything, but it can play multiple roles relatively well, and all your cards can be played aggressively or defensively, depending on the situation. With Faeries, it's very easy to fall behind in the early game, get a couple of Vendilion Clique attacks in, and then all of a sudden kill your opponent with a Cryptic Command tapping their team.

Historically speaking, the play pattern is usually sticking a threat (Bitterblossom is ideal, but Vendilion Clique or a combination of small Faeries also work) and then being reactive after that. Most of your deck either is very cheap or can be played at instant speed, so you have a lot of versatility in how you answer whatever threats your opponent is presenting, and you can usually deploy a threat of your own if they do nothing. Because of this flexibility, Faeries is a very hard deck to play (and to play against), but it's also very rewarding, since you often win games that you feel like you had no business winning.

With the introduction of Jace, the deck lost a bit of its aggro-control identity, and now taps out more aggressively. Both Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Liliana of the Veil play much better with discard than with counterspells, since you want to clear the way for them, so both Thoughtseize and Inquisition of Kozilek are present, giving the deck something of a blue-Jund feel. It's still a Faeries deck, and it can still play well at instant speed, but that's no longer the single focus of the deck.

There are two key cards that draw us toward playing specifically Faeries as opposed to other creature types: Spellstutter Sprite and Mistbind Clique. Spellstutter Sprite is almost good enough to see play by itself, as it can counter many of the format's most common cards by itself—Path to Exile, Lightning Bolt, Fatal Push, Death's Shadow, Ancestral Vision, Serum Visions, and Ancient Stirrings, to name a few. Once you add another Faerie, such as Vendilion Clique or Mutavault, then it becomes almost a hard counter against a lot of archetypes. If you have Bitterblossom in play, then you can counter basically anything you want after you've made some tokens, including Eldrazi or Primeval Titan. The fact that you're left with an extra body after countering their spell is a big part of how this deck manages to disrupt the opponent and apply pressure at the same time.
 

Mistbind Clique is a card that lost a bit of power from the printing of Fatal Push, since it's weak to instant-speed removal, but it also gained from the unbanning of Jace, the Mind Sculptor and Bloodbraid Elf, because Lightning Bolt is again the most popular removal in Modern. Several Jund lists, for example, play four Lightning Bolts but only one Fatal Push. Between Bitterblossom, Mutavault, Spellstutter Sprite, and Vendilion Clique, there is no shortage of Faeries to champion, so you can often play around a one-mana removal spell if it doesn't kill Mistbind Clique itself.

If your opponent has no way of dealing with it, Mistbind Clique is often a 4/4 body with a Time Walk attached. Sorcery-speed decks like Tron or Scapeshift are particularly vulnerable, and they usually just have to hope you don't have a Mistbind Clique on a key turn. Against other decks, you can often use it to ambush an attacker or to get rid of your Bitterblossom if you fall too low on life. If you're lucky, you might even get to bounce your Mistbind Clique with Jace for repeatable Time Walks!

I like the way this deck is built, and I would only make a couple of changes. First, I think playing four copies of Mutavault is mandatory; it works so well with what your deck is trying to do, and has synergy with Mistbind Clique and Spellstutter Sprite. Second, I like playing at least one Collective Brutality in the main deck—it's a flexible life gain spell, which is important in a deck with Bitterblossom. Third, I want a third copy of Mistbind Clique, because I think it's well positioned. To make room for this, we can cut an Opt, which isn't a great card anyway and is mostly there to make Snapcaster Mage better. Fourth, I don't think you want to play this many Darkslick Shores now that the deck has even more four-drops than it did before.

This is how my Faeries deck would look:

PV's Faeries

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