U/B Faeries with Christian Calcano

Posted in Event Coverage on May 22, 2016

By Hallie Santo

Many rejoiced when Bitterblossom was unbanned in Modern in 2014. Fans nostalgic for Lorwyn-era Standard dug out their Mistbind Cliques and Spellstutter Sprites and headed to Modern tournaments, determined to foil their foes with Faeries. Some were victorious, but while the deck seemed intrinsically powerful, it often folded to a powerful start from an aggro opponent. Bitterblossom's day would come, but no one seemed to know when.

Christian Calcano hopes that today will be that day. Determined to test new brews on his Magic Online Beta account, he found a handful of Faeries decks and thought the archetype seemed underplayed, especially in light of another recent unbanning.

Ancestral Vision seemed like a great fit for the deck,” he says. “Playing a Turn 1 Ancestral Vision into a Turn 2 Bitterblossom is an ideal start.”

Christian Calcano

After a bit of testing, Calcano found that the deck was better-positioned than he initially thought. His match-ups against Abzan Company, Jeskai Harbinger, and Jund seemed excellent. Games against Burn and Zoo can be rough, he says, but he's hoping that the popular Jeskai build will help keep creature decks at bay. However, Calcano is prepared to play many difficult matches this weekend. “The format is so wide open right now,” he observes. “There will always be one or two bad match-ups.”

In order to shore up his aggro match-ups, Calcano decided to include one copy of Batterskull in his main deck. He even found, as he tested and tuned his list for the weekend, that the formidable equipment made his good match-ups even better. Batterskull over-performed against three-color midrange decks, and its ability to grant vigilance to an equipped creature gave him a huge edge against Nahiri, the Harbinger, whose second ability can only exile tapped creatures or artifacts.

Calcano made a few more tweaks to the decks he saw online. His list runs four copies of Ancestral Vision and five one-mana discard spells (two Thoughtseizes and three Inquisitions of Kozilek) because he feels it's important to hit the ground running with a Turn 1 play. He also plays more removal spells than the average Faeries player.

“Some lists I saw were only playing two or three removal spells and really leaning on discard and counterspells,” he reports. “I really wanted to play two copies of Kalitas [Traitor of Ghet] in my sideboard, though, so I needed more removal.”

Calcano's decision paid off: The Zendikari Vampire has been a huge boon for him this weekend. Kalitas is best suited for a Jund shell with ample removal, but Calcano considers the card playable in any midrange or control deck. Many players have commented that some of the major players in Standard – including Kalitas, Nahiri, and even Nissa, Voice of Zendikar – have unexplored potential in Modern; so, too, do older cards that have recently seen unbannings in Modern. Calcano found a suitable home for Bitterblossom and Ancestral Vision, and it'll be exciting to see what he comes up with next.

Christian Calcano's U/B Faeries – Grand Prix Los Angeles

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