GP Vegas Write Up: Faeries Go To Vegas!

Written by Zach Cramer on . Posted in Competitive Magic, Modern

GP Vegas Write Up: Faeries Go To Vegas!

Zach Cramer

Zach is a Northeastern Magic grinder who specializes in eternal formats. When building decks, he has a strong preference to Blue cards, toolboxes and combo decks. With a recent RPTQ finish just short of an invitation, Zach hopes to take his skills to the next level and play on the Pro Tour.

Greetings all, as promised, I’m here today with a write-up of my GP Vegas experience. To the surprise of basically no one, I was locked into playing Blue Black Faeries at this tournament. If you follow me on Twitter, the tribal enchantment Bitterblossom has been very good to me over the last two months. I have played it in four tournaments while bouncing back and forth between a few other off-the-wall decks for the event and have been successful (and lucky) enough to top 8 all four of them! I even managed to split in the finals of two of them. I’ve posted many articles on Blue Black Faeries in the last year but my hope in this article is to serve as a primer for the Faeries list I’ve settled on. I’d like to begin this article by sharing my decklist and a few unique experiences during my GP and the side events I played after opting to skip day 2 of the Legacy GP.

In terms of the deck I played, I registered the following 75:

-In my first side event, I played 4 Death’s Shadow decks and went 8-1 in games picking up 2 Tundras for my trouble.

-In my 2nd side event, I played against Bogles, Mono U Tron, RG Scapeshift, and Kiki Chord. I managed to go 2-2 and here were some highlights:

-Against Bogles I played a turn 1 Engineered Explosives on 1 which left my opponent unwilling to go all in on Slippery Bogle and instead play 2 Kor Spirit Dancers. I cast Cryptic Command to bounce my own EE and tap his team and then replayed EE and blew it up, killing both of his untotemed Spirit Dancers.

-Against Mono Blue Tron, my opponent cast Turn 5 Ugin destroying my Bitterblossom and all my Faeries. I killed that Ugin over the course of the next 5 turns and then was able to kill the 2nd Ugin that came down. Our 3rd game began with 6 minutes and 30 seconds left and I managed to take it down before time was called. Play fast and play to your outs.

-Against RG Scapeshift, I used Collective Brutality to bring my life total to 22, forcing my opponent to cast a Scapeshift for 2 Valakuts and 6 Mountains, which allowed me to Cryptic Command has land taking 6 damage and running him out of mountains.

-I lost to Gavony Township continually resetting Kitchen Finks and pumping an enormous Voice of Resurgence. Those cards are insane against me, please don’t play them.

Here are some highlights of the Modern GP:

R3 Loss to Naya Company featuring Blood Moon and Chandra, Torch of Defiance with the full set of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben.

R4 Loss to Mardu Control with the Nahiri and Mapcap Experiment plan. In the post board games, my opponent’s deck included his own copies of Bitterblossom complimented by his own Night of Souls’ Betrayal. A little of column A and a little of column B, I guess.

I won Game 2 by surgically extracting my opponent’s Platinum Emperion so that his Madcap Experiment just killed him.

R5 Win v. BW Devotion with, again, MAINDECK Night of Souls’ Betrayal. Guys, please, stahp.

R6 Win v. UWR As Foretold Nahiri Control. In Game 1 I animated my Mutavault and learned from the Head Judge that I need to say “Combat, Combat” before I declare my attackers due to the new ruling. When I attacked for lethal, my opponent and I chuckled about the silly redundancy.

R7 Loss v. Abzan Midrange: I mulliganned to 5 in Game 1 and my opponent clearly misboarded because he threw his head in his hands after I played Turn 2 Bitterblossom, exclaiming “That’s not what I thought I was playing!” I imagine he boarded out his 2 Abrupt Decays because he brought in 2 cards in Game 3 and cast 2 Abrupt Decays on my Bitterblossom IMMEDIATELY. Good beats.

R8: Win v. Infect. Not a particularly notable game. Opponent was incredibly kind, despite a few rough mulligans.

R9: Win v. Esper Control. Game 1 I beat Sphinx’s Revelation for 6 and then Cryptic Commanded my opponent’s 3rd land after they missed their 4th land drop and the game ended fairly soon after.

R10: Win v. Living End. Sad opponent realized that Spellstutter Sprite is pretty great against 0 CMC cards.

R11: Win v. Burn. If you doubt the 3rd Brutality in the sideboard, I encourage you to play this matchup.

R12: Win v. Dan Fournier on Death’s Shadow: WOW THIS GAME WAS NUTS. G3 Ended with me keeping the following hand: Creeping Tar Pit, Fetchland, Surgical Extraction, Mana Leak, Fatal Push, Go for the Throat. My top card was Damnation and I rationalized that if Dan made me discard my other ways to beat Delve threats, this Damnation would be key. I kept it on top and sure enough Fournier Thoughtseized away my Go for the Throat on Turn 1 and Stubborn Denialed my Mana Leak on 3 playing 2 Death’s Shadows and a Tasigur the following turn. End of his turn I surgically extracted his Stubborn Denials and cast Damnation sweeping his board and winning the game several turns later.

R13: Loss v. Ben Friedman on Eldrazi Tron: I won Game 1 and lost to Hangarback Walker in both post board games. This is the 2nd time the 3rd Go for the Throat came back to bite me.

R14: Loss v. RG Scapeshift: I played like an absolute chuckle head and probably threw this game away. This match feels very positive, yes, even if your opponent has a Hornet Nest.

R15: Win v. Death’s Shadow. I dealt 8 damage over 2 games to win this match. Game 2 involved 2 EoT Snapcaster Mages on turn 5 which were both lethal.

The deck performed incredibly well. Eldrazi Tron is a difficult matchup and it’s really tough to beat Night of Souls’ Betrayal. Being able to take 1 win from the 2 NoSB decks felt very good. I lost to planeswalkers 3 times this weekend and so the Go for the Throat will be becoming a Hero’s Downfall for my next event. The loss to Abzan was more or less a coin toss that I felt favored in and I let my deck down against RG Scapeshift. A 10-5 from 2-2 was mostly positive for me, even if I sprained a toe kicking a post after losing to RG Scapeshift.

Before typing up this article I offered you all a chance to offer some questions about my Faeries deck and here are a few of the questions I was asked:

Why No Ancestral Visions?

Ancestral Visions is plain and simple too slow for this format. I navigated my way through 4 control matchups in this tournament with relative ease and reasonable prowess. Ancestral Visions is a card that wants you to draw cards that are good in the mid to late game. Put differently, I want Thoughtseize against the control decks so I can resolve Bitterblossom through permission, but, I don’t want to draw Thoughtseize off my Ancestral Visions.

“I wasn’t expecting 4x Cryptic Command or 4x Snapcaster Mage“

If we’re not playing 4 Visions, we do need another way to get Card Advantage. Snapcaster Mage is an MVP in this deck. It turns your best sideboard cards into multiples and protects absurdly well against Death Shadow’s discard. They can shred your hand and drawing Snapcaster will give you access to all your best cards all over again.

What are your best and worst matchups?

In short, you annihilate Death’s Shadow, you’re favored against Combo decks and Control decks you’re even against Midrange decks, and you’re a dog to Eldrazi Tron, linear aggressive decks like Burn, Affinity and Elves

Why Tectonic Edge over Ghost Quarter and Why Mana Leak over Remand?

Tec Edge and Mana Leak is its own unit. Tectonic Edge gives you the ability to keep Mana Leak live longer and color screw opponents to give you time. Remand is a tempo counterspell and Stone Raining yourself to give your opponent a basic is generally only helpful when you have pressure.

Have you considered any Planeswalkers?

Yes. Liliana, of the Veil feels like a bad card for this deck because I’m so dedicated to going longer with Cryptic Command and Snapcaster. Similarly, our cards are fairly anemic. X/1s, conditional removal and expensive or short term permission requires all of its resources and synergies to be available to win games. Your opponents’ cards are generally going to be better than yours, so you want to have all the opportunities to disrupt them as possible.

Why No Secluded Glen, Why Misty Rainforest, Why 4 Tar Pits?

Secluded Glen enters tapped far too often, gives away relevant information and doesn’t activate for a 3/2 unblockable. Misty Rainforest gives you access to Fatal Push with Revolt, basic Island, and another untapped Black sources in the early turns.

Why Exactly 3 Serum Visions?

You caught me. This is something I’ve taken to in order to keep deck consistency high and to move to the 6th colorless land. My mana base has been good and I’ve been able to develop my resources with relative ease because of Serum Visions, but, I’m not thrilled to draw it late nor am I interested in missing my 2nd or 3rd land drop to feed the 4th Visions.

Why No Discard?

I think the discard is only necessary in certain matchups. I don’t want to be drawing those cards along with my other dead cards in the very specific Modern format. As far as Inquisition of Kozilek goes, it’s even more specific than Thoughtseize and not a card that takes cards we have trouble with: Primeval Titan, Eldrazi, Karn, Nahiri, CoCo, etc. I think 4 Thoughtseize is probably right.

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