At the Worlds 2010 the tables were littered with 5 Colour Control, Jund, Elves and Fae. While I have the greatest of respect for 5CC, I think that Faeries is the best choice for the extended PTQs. Faeries is incredibly resilient, has a “never say die” attitude and is capable of making remarkable comebacks. Let’s take an in depth look at the Fae…
Firstly here is the list that I ran at Worlds.
Now I can’t claim to have created this list myself, since I received it from a Japanese guy named Yoshi, via former Natschamp Dan_G (you can read Dan’s report here, incidentally you can also read Joe’s Worlds Day 1 report here). However due to having much experience with this particular archetype, I do feel qualified to give my opinion on this particular list, as well as Faeries in general.
I don’t believe I would change a single card in the deck. As I was playing it, everything felt right. For your convenience I will break the deck down into its appropriate areas and discuss each accordingly.
3 Vendilion Clique – the other Clique is great. I believe that one of the most important elements in Magic, and this is especially true for control decks, is information. The more information you have, then naturally the better your decisions become. The Clique is like a scout in the army. You can send him out there just for the purposes of gaining information, information that your opponent can’t match. He also comes with a very aggressive body and of course completes the synergies with your other faeries, Mistbind and Spellstutter. Some people suggest playing Scion of Oona over Vendilion but I do not agree with this. I am a fan of Scion, but Vendilion does so much more for one card. I should probably also mention that he doesn’t just gather information, he does actually pseudo Thoughtseize. Oh, and don’t be afraid to Clique yourself if you have a dead card in your hand. See what I mean about cards that give you options and control lines of play? Faeries is so good.
4 Spellstutter Sprite – this number should never be changed. Spellstutter is more often than not a straight up counterspell. However, it is also more than just a counterspell. It’s a great outlet for Mistbind Clique, not a bad chump blocker and gets stronger in multiples.
4 Mistbind Clique – I could definitely see this number changing, but personally I like the full four. Mistbind typifies what Faeries does best. Changing the game around and going from control deck to aggro. The ability to tap an opponent down is worth a card in itself. Stick a 4/4 flying body on it and you’ll soon be winning games. It is cards like this that make me love playing Faeries. It gives you choices, decisions and is very fun. You can play it during their upkeep, during combat or even on your own turn. You can champion Bitterblossom, its tokens, Spellstutters and Mutavaults. Being able to determine your own path during a game, dictating your own lines of plays (at least) is something I greatly value in a Magic card. Play cards that control your own game, and ones that control their game – it’s way more fun.
3 Cryptic Command – there is no doubting Cryptic’s place in Faeries, the only question is how many. My natural instinct is to jump straight to 4; however, I think three is fine. Cryptic is another great example of why I love playing this deck. Cryptic’s versatility is obvious, but it becomes even stronger in the aggro-control deck. When you can seriously profit from all four modes then you can really start to understand the power of this card. Tapping down an opponent’s creatures is a time walk in a race situation. Bouncing an expensive permanent or countering a key spell are all essential options, and the fact that you can always cantrip out of it makes Cryptic possibly the best card in the deck. Why three then? Well all of those modes are at their best at very key points in a game. You may only need to counter the one Cruel Ultimatum, or stifle their attack once or bounce their one fatty during the game. Fae has the power to kill very quickly and so it is in recognising the crucial moments that needed to be turned in your favour.
4 Spellstutter Sprite – see previous, above.
4 Mana Leak – this will most likely be the staple number for all fae decks. It’s the best option at its mana cost and gives you a lot of early game. It can also be very good late game versus the control decks in the environment because Cruel costs 7 mana, and you may find yourself engaging in counter wars where Mana Leak becomes a good tool to have.
3 Disfigure – Disfigure is the best removal you can be using during this current metagame. The problem though with removal is that it’s pretty dead versus the control decks. However, it is necessary to have early defenses against the faster decks such as Trap, Elves, WW, RDW and Jund. A one mana removal spell is a great answer to their early plays and helps you preserve you life total which, in my opinion, is underappreciated.
2 Smother – Smother is another excellent removal spell, hitting most of the creatures you want to kill. The fact that it deals with Putrid Leech, Creeping Tar Pit and Doran makes it marginally better than Doom Blade.
1 Doom Blade – despite being weaker than Smother I do like the split since occasionally you will need to hit Baneslayer Angel.
4 Thoughtseize – Thoughtseize is undoubtedly the best discard spell in the format. It does all the right things; costs one mana and hits everything but land. The 2 life can be relevant sometimes but for the most part it isn’t. The idea behind playing discard spells in Fae is that you want to punch a hole through control’s defences so that you can resolve your Bitterblossom or your Mistbind in their upkeep. Against combo decks you naturally want to take a piece of their combo away, and against the aggro decks you take their best creature. This will be a staple 4 of in every Fae list.
1 Inquisition of Kozilek – Inquisition basically acts like a 5th Thoughtseize. It’s better than Duress since it hits creatures.
3 Vendilion Clique – See above
The bombs (for lack of a better description).
2 Jace, The Mind Sculptor – Jace is quite obviously the best card to be printed since Black Lotus. To play Beleren over TMS is just stupid.
4 Mutavault – Mutavault is another 4-of staple. It powers up Spellstutter, and get’s championed by your big bitch. Top card.
3 Creeping Tar-Pit – Tar-Pit is great. I’d only go with 3 because of the tapped thing, but it fits the Fae theme perfectly. Take control then kill quickly.
3 Sunken Ruins – again I’d only go with 3 since you play all these Thoughtseizes, but the card certainly helps when it comes to casting Infest out of the board, as well as multiple black spells in one turn.
4 Secluded Glen – every deck will play 4.
4 Darkslick Shores – every deck will play 4. Darkslick shores is about the biggest addition to the deck since Llorwyn block. Hence the 5 Thoughtseize.
1 Tectonic Edge – only one of these since you already have 4 Mutas, but it’s place in the deck is important. It can help keep 5cc off Cruel mana, kills Tar-Pits and hits the hideaway lands from the trap deck.
3 Swamp – don’t think I need to talk about these.
3 Island – Islands win you the games.
3 Wall of Tanglecord – this card may surprise some people but it will most certainly become a staple for the Fae sideboard. Naturally good against aggro strategies, it blocks Putrid Leech, and most importantly it stops Great Sable Stag.
1 Tectonic Edge – a second Tec Edge is good because against 5CC and the mirror you want land. You don’t need an extra coloured land and Edge actually does something cool.
1 Disfigure – as I mentioned earlier, Disfigure is one of the best removal spells going. One mana.
2 Infest – Infest is your best option at board sweeper. Great against Elves and Tap, decent against WW it deserves its slot in the sideboard. Only as a two-of though since you have so much other removal.
2 Glen-Elendra Archmage – this final Faerie is very powerful against the control decks out there. It gives you double Negate, and can even be championed after persisting once to gain extra value. Only two though since you do have quite a few four drops (though it could be considered a five drop).
2 Ratchet Bomb – the Bomb is great against Elves and WW. It is also used against Valakut since it kills Prismatic Omen.
2 Jace Beleren – more Jaces against 5CC. In that matchup he is just as good as Super Jace. Be careful to not let him die to Volcanic Fallout.
2 Wormcoil Engine – Wormcoil is primarily in here for Jund. It’s about the best card you could ever want against them, unless they play Slave to Bolas, which they don’t. It also has its applications against 5CC since many lists are shying away from Path to Exile.
So there is the list. Let’s talk a bit about matchups.
Jund – Jund is possibly your most difficult matchup. Bloodbraid Elf can be hard to contain and so Bitterblossom (surprise surprise) is your most important card. It’s important to mulligan hands that can’t deal with Putrid Leech. You should be on the back foot for most of the game but this is something the Fae is used to. Mistbinding can be really strong here and I’d try to use her during their combat step (unless it’s a Leech, you don’t really want to trade with that). Side in Walls in anticipation of Stags, and your Wormcoils should be superb here. I can’t say I’ve tested the matchup, but I would expect it to be quite difficult.
5 Colour Control – for all intent and purpose this is a favourable matchup. People seem to fear Volcanic Fallout but I’ve always found it a card that is fairly easy to play around. Just stop them from Cruel Ultimatuming and you should be fine. Besides Cruel they don’t have too many ways to hurt you. Jace is another threat but you have your own, and this matchup can quickly become centred around him, not Bitterblossom. You can side in Walls if you anticipate Stags, though for the most part they don’t bring them in. Your Thoughtseizes make this a favourable matchup as long as you play it carefully.
Scapeshift – again I can’t claim to have tested this matchup but I would think that it is favourable. You have plenty of counterspells and Thoughtseizes to strip them of their threats (Prismatic Omen/ Scapeshift). You actually side in Ratchet Bomb as an out to a resolved Omen. Mistbinding in upkeep is pretty powerful against sorcery based decks.
Elves – this is another favourable matchup. Your Spellstutters are live all the time, your discard is very effective along with your removal.
You can also watch my video Worlds 2010 Deck Tech below:
Thanks for reading and I look forward to your thoughts,