Faithless Brewing
Confessions of a Smitten Ghoul

Confessions of a Smitten Ghoul

July 3, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 61: Silversmote Ghoul


Life comes at you fast when you're a 200-year-old vampire. One day, you're a suave, brooding heartthrob, the envy of your high school. Your skin sparkles in sunlight, you play baseball during thunderstorms, and you just proposed to your girlfriend the day after her prom (that's not weird at all, right?). Here's hoping Bella says yes!


Then, one day, some Hero McJerkface sticks a silver dagger in your back, and suddenly you're a Zombie Vampire. You're now 200% undead, your hair starts to fall out, and when you look in the mirror... yikes. Such is the life of a silver-smitten ghoul. Tough break, Edward!


Nobody asked for a Twilight meets World War Z crossover, and to be honest nobody asked for Silversmote Ghoul either. But it's here, and it's free, so we should probably take a very close look. The new Prized Amalgam has a unique trigger condition and has already made a splash in both Modern and Pioneer, thanks to the incidental lifegain tacked onto format staples like Creeping Chill and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. We've got seven new Ghoul lists this week, plus more coming down the pipeline.


Also in this edition: a first look at M21 tournament finishes; our testing results with Conspicuous Snoop; and a difficult listener question about the future of Pioneer and Historic. Let's dive in!


Roundup: First Results with M21


03:46  Conspicuous Snoop

04:38 Frantic Inventory


07:21 Stormwing Entity

Izzet Prowess (by Spiderspace, 5-0 league)

Temur Delver (by TubbyBatman, 5-0 league)


10:34 Chandra’s Incinerator

Mono-Red (by Cherryxman, 5-0 league)


14:46 Thieves Guild Enforcer

Grixis Vantress Delver (by RogerSteady, Top 8 Modern Challenge)


Fierce Empath

Amulet Titan (by Moniz0801, Top 16, Modern Challenge)


18:51 Sublime Epiphany

Simic Reclamation (by talos41, T16 Pioneer Challenge) 


23:00 Eliminate vs Heartless Act


25:41 Lofty Denial + Shacklegeist

UW Spirits (by Phil_Hellmuth, 5-0 league)


28:45 Selfless Savior

GW Devoted Druid (by Meanfannypack, 5-0 league)


30:20 Teferi, Master of Time

Modern Bant Snow (by McWinSauce, T16 Modern Challenge)

Pioneer Esper Control (by killersuv, T32 Pioneer Challenge)

Worldgorger Dragon Combo (by fire10798, Legacy Challenge Winner)


32:58 Silversmote Ghoul


33:36 Mailbag: The Future of Pioneer and Historic



Flashback: Conspicuous Snoop




55:40 "Classic" Snoop (by Sebastian Steuckl): 1-4 league

59:50 "Double Combo" Snoop: 3-2 league

1:03:06 5-Discard Snoop (by kanister, 5-0 league)



1:13:59 Snoopwhacker Aggro: 1-4 league

1:15:40 Snoopcleaver Aggro: 3-2 league



Brew Session: Silversmote Ghoul



1:25:54 Sketch 1: Mardu Helix (Modern)

1:32:16 Sketch 2: Sultai Ghoul Emerge (Pioneer)

1:35:53 Sketch 3: Sultai Dredge (Pioneer)

1:41:48 Sketch 4: Abzan Energy (Pioneer)

1:45:47 Sketch 5: Silversmote Vampires (Pioneer)

1:48:56 Sketch 6: Blood for Bones Reanimator (Pioneer)

1:51:48 Sketch 7: Jolrael Sultai (Pioneer)


Reference lists:

Silversmote Dredge (by Sodeq, T4 Modern Challenge)

Sultai Dredge Emerge (by AlexFiero, 5-0 League)

Sultai Dredge (by PigNorton, 5-0 League)

Sultai Reanimator (by illsicknasty, 12-3 Leagues)



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Death by Snoopy

Death by Snoopy

June 26, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 60: Conspicuous Snoop


"Umm... Is that a goblin with his face pressed up against our window?" "Yeah" "Is he... spying on us?" "Yeah, it's exactly what it looks like."


Today's episode is exactly what it looks like. During preview week, it took approximately 7 minutes for the Modern community to latch onto the hot new combo involving Conspicuous Snoop. Play Snoop, play Boggart Harbinger, put Kiki-Jiki on top, easy as you please. As far as combos go, this one is pretty conspicuous.


So should we as Faithless Brewers even bother exploring this card, or should we trust in the collective efforts of the hive mind to Figure It Out? Everyone else is also working on this deck and the concept is very powerful, seeming to slot into an already solid Goblins strategy. That said, we don't often get chances to do a Goblin Week, and when you dig deeper into the tribe, it turns out there are many branching paths that can take a Goblins deck into unexpected places. This is especially true in Pioneer where the infinite combo is not available. As clear-cut as the combo is, there are many questions to be answered, not least of which is: How good is Conspicuous Snoop, really? We've got our first round of M21 deck sketches ready, so let's head to the queues to find out!


Roundup: Top Picks for M21


6:45  Kinnan Urza (Jiggywiggy, 7-1 Modern Challenge)

Kinnan Urza Deck Guide (by ManaCymbal)


Core Set 2021 Preview Roundup

15:30  Most Overrated

20:48  Most Underrated

33:15  Best fits for Existing decks

36:00  Best for spawning new archetypes

39:00  Most Fun / Most Excited to Brew With

44:50  Top 5 Overall


Flashback: Sprite Dragon


47:55  Izzet Prowess (Modern): 5-5 leagues

55:30  Grixis Lurrus (Modern): 2-3 league

1:04:48  One Mind Prowess (Pioneer): 2-3 league

1:10:45  Dragon Tempo (Pioneer): 6-4 leagues

1:18:30  Sprite Phoenix (Pioneer): 7-3 leagues



Brew Session: Conspicuous Snoop


1:30:12  A History of Goblins

1:33:20  Bushwhacker Aggro

1:37:13  Post-MH1 Midrange Goblins

1:40:40  Grumgully Combo Goblins


1:47:06  Sketch 1: "Classic" Snoop Combo (Modern)

1:52:35  Sketch 2: Snoopy Double Combo (Modern)

1:58:33  Sketch 3: Snoopwhacker Aggro (Pioneer)



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The Littlest Dragon with the Biggest Heart

The Littlest Dragon with the Biggest Heart

June 19, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 59: Sprite Dragon


The brewers have spoken! Two weeks ago, we unveiled the ten nominees for our Brewers' Choice episode. Now, the ballots have been cast, the votes have been tallied, and the winning card is... Sprite Dragon!


Narrowly edging out Sundial of the Infinite, Sprite Dragon could not be more different from the goofy artifacts we have busied ourselves with in past editions of Brewers' Choice. Sprite Dragon is, by many accounts, a "good card," even a format staple in certain metas. And yet, if it's true that a card is only as good as the decks it engenders, we must also admit that there is not currently an established "Sprite Dragon deck." The reign of Lurrus Grixis Delver in Modern was short-lived. Izzet Prowess in Pioneer has seen some recent success in the 5-0s, but beyond that it seems that the adorable hellkite is still searching for its forever home.


In other Magic news, we have the full set reveal for Core Set 2021, which means it is time for Part 2 of our Brewers' Guide to M21! The set looks stacked with intriguing build-around options. It also seems much more balanced than previous sets, with a noticeable lack of outlier cards likely to upend Magic's tournament formats. In short, it is a true brewer's paradise. We talk through the cards we are most excited to start building decks with, as well as our testing results with Sea-Dasher Octopus from last week.


Finally, if you haven't done so already, be sure to check out our sixth and final episode of Rogue Refinery! We gave the series a proper send-off with some truly awesome decks with Rielle, the Everwise (and multiple 5-win events to show for it). WotC is eager for feedback on this pilot series, so if you liked this style of content and would like to see more of it in the future, be sure to leave a comment on the video and show some love! Watch the series finale of Rogue Refinery here:


Roundup: M21 Previews, Week 2




10:42  Speaker of the Heavens -- 14:21  Thieves' Guild Enforcer -- 18:03  Miscast -- 20:00  Conspicuous Snoop -- 25:34  Heartfire Immolator -- 28:45  Conclave Mentor -- 30:58  Track Down -- 32:56  Ghostly Pilferer -- 35:33  Shacklegeist -- 37:57  Lofty Denial -- 39:00  Frantic Inventory -- 41:59  Barrin, Tolarian Archmage -- 44:30  Demonic Embrace -- 47:44  Silversmote Ghoul -- 50:58  Nine Lives -- 52:54  Radha, Heart of Keld -- 55:11  Sporeweb Weaver -- 56:30  Garruk's Uprising -- 58:03  Garruk, Unleashed -- 1:00:23  Transmogrify -- 1:02:55  Terror of the Peaks -- 1:05:46  Discontinuity -- 1:07:48  Sublime Epiphany


Flashback: Sea-Dasher Octopus





1:14:10  Mono-Blue Octopus Flash: 4-1 league


1:22:14  Emry Octopus: 3-2 league, 3-2 league




1:29:33  Bant Octoform: 0-2 league, 0-3 league


Brew Session: Sprite Dragon


1:36:49  Theorycraft: Finding a Home for Sprite Dragon




1:42:48  Sketch 1: Stormwing Prowess

1:46:35  Sketch 2: Jeskai Dragons


Reference lists (pre-Companion nerf)

Lurrus Grixis Delver (Zonast, MTGO SuperQ, 1st place)

Lurrus Grixis Shadow (WhiteHatMan, 5-0 league)

Lurrus Jeskai Control (Nilsfit, 5-0 league)





1:51:17  Sketch 3: Dragon Tempo

1:55:53  Izzet One-Mind Prowess (doshimo1110, 5-0 league)


Reference lists:

Izzet Wizard Prowess (MangoPunch, 5-0 league)

Lurrus Jeskai Heroic (pre-nerf) (PigNorton, 6-2 Pioneer Challenge)



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Ninja of the Deep Waters

Ninja of the Deep Waters

June 12, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 58: Sea-Dasher Octopus


Is there anyone who doesn't love Sea-Dasher Octopus? When Ikoria was revealed, what feels like years ago, the Octopus was warmly embraced by players near and far. Part Curious Obsession, part Ninja of the Deep Waters, with a fail-safe mode of Ophidian with flash, it certainly seemed like the Octopus could do it all. And that's not even accounting for all of the nifty synergies with the Mutate mechanic, or even something as pedestrian as Flash tribal.


And yet, a few months later, here we are. Sea-Dasher has not a single 5-0 to its name in Modern, and only two half-hearted 5-0 results in Pioneer. It doesn't even see play in Standard, not even in the Flash decks. Was the Octopus simply a casualty of the Companion apocalypse? Or are there larger structural problems that we just didn't see?


Core Set 2021 previews are coming fast and furious, but we've got unfinished business with Ikoria and a certain eight-legged bandit. What mysteries will the deep waters reveal?



Roundup: M21 Previews, Week 1




14:55  Archfiend's Vessel

17:45  Village Rites

20:17  Selfless Savior

22:38  Chandra's Incinerator

25:00  Seasoned Hallowblade

26:59  Angelic Ascension

29:42  Eliminate

31:56  See the Truth

34:30  Stormwing Entity

37:45  Waker of Waves

40:37  Mazemind Tome

44:11  Volcanic Salvo

44:26  Pack Leader

46:22  Alpine Houndmaster

48:49  Sparkhunter Masticore

51:59  Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge

54:01  Bolt Hound

54:51  Basri Ket

56:31  Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose

57:47  Idol of Endurance

59:18  Teferi's Tutelage

1:01:18  Teferi, Master of Time

1:08:32  Liliana, Waker of the Dead

1:11:52  Carrion Grub

1:13:07  Basri's Lieutanant

1:14:58 Teferi's Ageless Insight

1:16:57  Chandra, Heart of Fire

1:20:02  Elder Gargaroth

1:22:46  Containment Priest

1:26:50  Fierce Empath

1:29:07  Massacre Wurm

1:29:13  Baneslayer Angel

1:29:22  Cultivate, Solemn Simulacrum

1:29:31  Azusa, Lost but Seeking

1:29:35  Runed Halo

1:29:56  Faith's Fetters


Brew Session: Sea-Dasher Octopus


Theorycraft: The Modes of Sea-Dasher Octopus

1:34:48  Octopus vs. Curious Obsession

1:36:10  Octopus vs. Ninja of the Deep Hours

1:39:08  Octopus vs. Ophidian




1:45:42  Sketch 1: Mono-Blue Tempo

1:54:50  Sketch 2: Bant Flash Company

1:59:02  Sketch 3: Bant "Metalcraft"




2:05:17  Bant OctoForm: 4-1 league



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Brewers’ Choice: And the Nominees Are…

Brewers’ Choice: And the Nominees Are…

June 6, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 57: Brewers' Choice Nominees


The Magic content in this episode begins at 16:00.




The View from Minneapolis: George Floyd, Black Lives Matter, and Police Brutality


01:08 Updates from Minneapolis

02:14 Updates from Seattle

11:40 How to Stay Informed


16:00 Housekeeping


Roundup: Companion Change + B&R Update



18:14  The New Companion Mechanic

29:00  Lessons from the Standard B&R

45:07  The Dangers of Functional Errata



Brewers' Choice: Meet the Nominees


The winning card will be determined via patron poll, which will be posted in our Discord and on our Patreon feed.

For non-patrons, a public poll will also be posted on our Twitter feed (@FaithlessMTG).

Listen to our analysis and then cast your votes!


58:10  Abandoned Sarcophagus

1:00:36  Aggressive Mining

1:05:35  Athreos, God of Passage

1:10:15  Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy

1:15:01  All the Nicol Bolases

1:21:11  Song of Creation

1:25:22  Sprite Dragon

1:29:57  Sundial of the Infinite

1:33:08  Umori, the Collector

1:36:51  Winota, Joiner of Forces


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The Last Days of Companion

The Last Days of Companion

May 29, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 56: Days of Thunder


"On Monday 6/1 there will be an update to the Banned & Restricted list impacting the Standard and Historic formats that will also address the Companion mechanic." Thus spake WotC's official Twitter account on Tuesday, and just this morning Blake Rasmussen confirmed that there will indeed be a functional change to Ikoria's flagship mechanic. Let the speculation commence!


While few would contend that nothing needs to be changed, there is broad disagreement about what fix, if any, would satisfy the goals of Wizards and the player base at large. Can the Companion mechanic be saved? Or is it safer, in the sage words of David Robertson, to "nuke it from space"? And what lessons can be drawn from the changes to Standard and Historic that are also on the horizon?


Add this episode to your time capsules, as it will surely be fun to look back and laugh at our wild predictions when the truth is finally revealed to all in just a few short days.


Modern Metagame Analysis (via MTGModernMetrics)



Flashback: Vadrok, Apex of Thunder


Tempo Strategies

Tribal Zoo by beestjes (6-2, Modern Challenge)

Jeskai Tempo (Standard)

Mardu Vehicle Vadrok (Pioneer)


Token Strategies

Vadrok Boros Tokens (Pioneer)

Jeskai Tokens Vadrok (Pioneer)


Combo Strategies

Chance for Glory combo (Modern)

Infinite Manamorphose Combo (Modern)


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Beyond Brewing on a Budget (ft. Emma Partlow)

Beyond Brewing on a Budget (ft. Emma Partlow)

May 22, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 55: Brewer's Mailbag with Emma Partlow



There's more to Magic than winning and losing. There's more to budget than dollars and cents. This week we are joined by the one and only Emma Partlow from TCGPlayer. We open up the Brewer's Mailbag to ask Emma about everything under the sun: the B&R update, the future of companions, the 5 slipperiest bogles, and much more!


Where to find Emma:


Social Media




From the Refinery


As luck would have it, we have also been working on some Hexproof stratgies ourselves in the latest episodes of Rogue Refinery. Do these pass the Bogles test?


Rogue Refinery #2: Colossification


Rogue Refinery #3: Vadrok, Apex of Thunder. NB: This week's episode is divided into three videos!

Part 1 (Standard)

Part 2 (Pioneer)

Part 3 (Modern)




Aura Swap Bogles (Modern)


Jeskai Slippery Vadrok (Modern)


Temur Hexproof Vadrok (Pioneer)



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The Top 8 Modern Innovations Since Ikoria

The Top 8 Modern Innovations Since Ikoria

May 15, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 54: Eight Modern Innovations


Look, let's be honest. For many fans of Magic's eternal formats, morale is currently low. The sudden shift to a Companion metagame, paired with the loss of in-person play and the small joys of connecting with our fellow Magic enthusiasts, has left some players feeling adrift in an unfamiliar and rapidly shifting landscape. These are indeed strange times. But let us say it plainly: You Are Not Alone. The beautiful thing about The Gathering is that, even listening to a brewing podcast during spare moments in your home quarantine, you will never be alone.


One thing that is certainly NOT true is the notion that "Magic is dead" and "It's all Lurrus, there's no innovation." Building decks with companions, and playing matches with and against them, is disorienting but also exhilarating. You may have heard "Lurrus is everywhere" but when you look closely you will find that there is tons of innovation happening in Modern, day after day, tournament after tournament. This week we take a look at eight of our favorite new decks to emerge since the release of Ikoria. With drastic changes come new spaces for creativity and discovery, so come take a look and get inspired for your next Modern brew!



Flashback, Part I: Lutri, the Spellchaser


Jeskai Otter by ManaCymbal (Modern): 4-1 league



Naru Meha Combo (Pioneer): 4-6 leagues



Flashback, Part II: Song of Creation


If you missed it, be sure to check out Episode 1 of our new video series, Rogue Refinery! We take a close look at Song of Creation in Standard, Pioneer, and Modern, complete with gameplay highlights and expert analysis from AliasV and Paul Cheon. Watch Episode 1 here:




Kinnan Storm by AronGomu (Modern)


Amulet of Creation (Modern)


Song Ascendancy (Pioneer)


Ascendancy Combo by Paul Cheon (Pioneer)


Song of Nissa (Standard/Pioneer)


Rhythm of Creation (Standard/Pioneer)



The Top 8 Modern Innovations Since Ikoria


HM: Curious Bogles


#8: Zombie Copter (Ross Merriam)


#7: BW ZirdaBlade


#6: Slithery Dimir (Damon)


#5: Hammer Time (Tom Ross)


#4: Umori Titan


#3: Counterbalance Miracles (aspiringspike)


#2: Umbral Zirda


#1: Auratouched Winota (Lawson Zandi)


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Take the Otter Challenge (ft. Zach Ryl)

Take the Otter Challenge (ft. Zach Ryl)

May 8, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 53: Lutri, the Spellchaser


It's our one-year anniversary at the Faithless Brewing Podcast, and we're celebrating in a big way. Special guest brewer? Absolutely. Wild 5-0 lists in Modern? Yes indeed. Gorgeous new banner? Very much so. New video series with Wizards of the Coast?!?! Why, yes!


This week, we sit down with Zach Ryl, aka ManaCymbal, to master the Way of the Otter. Lutri, the Spellchaser has a marginal ability and a seemingly punishing companion requirement. Can you really succeed with a singleton deck? Even if you manage to win, what did you learn from your pile of mismatched one-ofs? It turns out that the answer is, Yes, and A Whole Lot! Building decks around "buckets" rather than single-card synergies is a skill set all its own, and an invaluable tool in the brewer's arsenal. Zach talks us through the ins and outs of brewing successfully with Lutri, and has some spicy takes of his own on Lukka Legend as well. Come splash around with us and take the #OtterChallenge yourself!


New Banner: The Faithless Café by Ev Davis aka Whistler

A place for your daily brewing inspiration. There are 11 Magic cards referenced in the Café; can you spot them all?


Where to find the art of Whistler:


Twitter: @artofwhistler




New Video Show! Rogue Refinery (ft. Paul Cheon, Eilidh Lonie, and Faithless Brewing)


New episodes every Wednesday at 9am PT on the Magic: the Gathering YouTube channel. Watch Episode 1 (Song of Creation) here:


Roundup: Interview with Zach Ryl aka ManaCymbal


Where to find Zach:




Twitter: @ManaCymbal


Flashback: Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast




RG Lukka Obosh (David): 1-4 league


RG Lukka Creativity (David): 2-3 league




RG Lukka Obosh by Signblindman (Zach): 3-2 league


Maximum Lukka Drive (Zach): 4-1 league


Rampless Lukka Cat (David): 1-4 league


Rampy Lukka Cat (Damon): 3-2 league


80-card Lukka Cat (Dan): 4-1 league



Brew Session: Lutri, the Spellchaser


Izzet Otter Nonsense (Zach): 5-0 league by thepensword


Blue Otter Moon (Damon): 5-0 league


Grixis Otter Ultimatum (Zach)


Temur Otterwalks (Zach)


Jeskai Sl'Otter (Zach)


Jeskai Temp (Zach)


Sultai Sea Dog (Zach)




Lutri Evolution Combo (David)



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Lukka Legend, Tiger King

Lukka Legend, Tiger King

May 1, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 52: Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast


Somewhere in the Multiverse, there are grizzled veterans who played Polymorph before it was cool. Those players are bankrupt now, their tickets squandered, their play points long depleted. Finding Polymorph fodder when Emrakul can be your only creature will take you down strange and lonely deckbuilding paths (yes, we see you Dwarven Mine).


Enter Lukka, the newest addition to the roster of red planeswalkers. Lukka's -2 is a Polymorph with a twist: it only finds creatures of higher converted mana cost. Small change, massive upside. What if we could have our mana dorks, and eat our spaghetti monster too? What if we could graft a Polymorph  endgame onto an already functional ramp curve? Things just got very interesting.


This week we spin the wheel with Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast, in Modern, Pioneer, and even a touch of Standard. The best part about Lukka? He's not a Companion. The worst part about Lukka? Yeah, he's probably friends with Companions. But we're willing to forgive him if his critter pals deliver the goods. Happy brewing!


Flashback: Yorion, Sky Nomad



Niv Fires 1.0 (Dan): 4-1 league

Niv Fires 1.1 (Dan): 3-2 league

Doom Foretold 1.0 (Damon): 2-3 league

Doom Foretold 1.1 (Damon): 5-0 league

GW Enchantress (Dan): 2-3 league



4c Yorion Blink (David): 5-5 leagues



Brew Session: Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast



Sketch 1: 4c Lukka Cat Combo (Modern)


Sketch 2: Gruul Lukka Ramp (Pioneer)


Sketch 3: Lukka Creativity (Pioneer)


Sketch 4: Treacherous Winota (Standard)




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