Faithless Brewing
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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If you like our show, be sure to join our Patreon and leave us an Apple Podcasts review. Thank you for your support!
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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If you like our show, be sure to join our Patreon and leave us an Apple Podcasts review. Thank you for your support!


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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If you like our show, be sure to join our Patreon and leave us an Apple Podcasts review. Thank you for your support!



Eighty Is the New Sixty

Eighty Is the New Sixty

April 24, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 51: Yorion, Sky Nomad


It's Friday night at the game shop, and you are starting to get nervous. Your opponent just sat down across from you, and they're the best player in the store. You've seen that swagger, that easy confidence, that friendly-but-never-cocky vibe. They flash a smile and greet you warmly. Despite yourself, you smile back. There's no mistaking that aura. They reach into their backpack and you already know what's coming: a well endowed deck box, the envy of any Commander player, holding a thick stack that must be at least 90 cards high. They shuffle it smoothly and offer you a cut. No need, you reply. You know they would never cheat you. "High roll to see who starts?"


Ikoria has crash landed into Magic's competitive formats, and left players everywhere scrambling to sift through the wreckage of the Companion Apocalypse. In every deck, in every format, it's Lurrus all the way down for every archetype that can support it. And for everyone else, there's Yorion, with giant decks suddenly en vogue everywhere you look. "Life begins at forty"? More like "Eighty is the new sixty"!


This week we tackle Yorion, the friendly bird that asks just one simple question: does your brew have that Big Deck Energy, that no-effs-given swagger to scale up effortlessly to 80 cards? We explore possibilities for maximizing Yorion's trigger, and break down the nuts and bolts of crafting the perfect 95. After that, we open up the Brewer's Mailbag and field questions from listeners on the deckbuilder's craft, our picks from Ikoria, and much more.




Brew Session: Yorion, Sky Nomad




Sketch 1: 4c Kiki-Chord


Sketch 2: Bant Blink




Sketch 3: Yorion's Monument


Sketch 4: Esper Doom Foretold


Sketch 5: Niv-Yorion Fires




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Brewer’s Guide to Ikoria, Part 2: The Best of the Rest

Brewer’s Guide to Ikoria, Part 2: The Best of the Rest

April 20, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 50: A Brewer's Guide to Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths


Part 2: Wedges, Cycling, and the Best of the Rest


Well, that escalated quickly. Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths has been online for just three days and already the Companion mechanic is running rampant across all formats.


Luckily, we were able to record our second installment of our Brewer's Guide to Ikoria before the advent of our new cat overlords, when the world was still bright with possibility. And since we already covered the Companions in Part 1, this installment may provide some welcome reprieve from our new furry friends. There are miles of exciting designs from top to bottom in Ikoria: from powerful enchantment engines, to tricky cycling options, efficient legendary creatures, and some slick removal to boot. Let's go exploring!




02:35 Triome Lands
Enchantment Cycle
08:56 Song of Creation
16:49 Whirlwind of Thought
19:11 Offspring's Revenge
22:15 Death's Oasis
25:28 Titan's Nest
Ultimatum Cycle
28:20 Eerie Ultimatum
30:48 Emergent Ultimatum
32:54 Ruinous Ultimatum
34:28 Inspired Ultimatum
36:48 Genesis Ultimatum
Mythos Cycle
38:44 Mythos of Nethroi
42:07 Mythos of Vadrok
46:15 Mythos of Brokkos
47:45 Mythos of Snapdax
49:20 Mythos of Illuna
Cycling Matters
53:41 Unpredictable Cyclone
56:53 Escape Protocol
58:55 Zenith Flare
1:00:47 Valiant Rescuer, Flourishing Fox
1:03:05 Yidaro, Wandering Monster
1:07:32 Shark Typhoon
1:09:54 Ominous Seas
Useful Effects w/ Cycling
1:13:51 Neutralize
1:14:58 Wilt
1:15:11 Boon of the Wish-Giver
1:15:57 Migration Path
1:17:39 Easy Prey
1:19:00 Footfall Crater
1:23:10 Reconnaissance Mission
1:26:13 Barrier Breach
1:28:29 Titanoth Rex
1:30:26 Void Beckoner
The Best of the Rest
1:32:28 The Ozolith
1:37:30 Luminous Broodmoth
1:40:23 Labyrinth Raptor
1:43:16 Call of the Death Dweller
1:45:36 Colossification
1:48:28 Sprite Dragon
1:51:36 Rielle, the Everwise
1:54:54 General Kudro of Drannith
1:56:49 Lavabrink Venturer
1:59:02 Winota, Joiner of Forces
2:02:20 Fire Prophecy
2:05:33 Kinnan, Bonder Prodigy
2:09:32 Fiend Artisan
2:15:29 Stormwild Capridor



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Brewer’s Guide to Ikoria, Part 1: Mutant Companions

Brewer’s Guide to Ikoria, Part 1: Mutant Companions

April 17, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 50: A Brewers' Guide to Ikoria, Lair of Behemoths


Several months ago, an article from WotC R&D issued a cryptic warning. Standard set releases, they said, were going to be intentionally powered up. Throne of Eldraine was at "approximately the desired power level" — ominous words for a set whose headliners, Oko and Once Upon a Time, have since received the Gitaxian Probe treatment and are now banned in nearly all formats. Even beyond those outliers, efficient powerhouses like Mystic Sanctuary, Brazen Borrower, and Mystical Dispute have become format-defining cards, with additional cross-format staples up and down the spoiler.


Theros: Beyond Death had giant footsteps to fill, yet it broke loose even more forcefully. The top tier Pioneer metagame is almost entirely defined by Theros-powered decks, while Uro and Kroxa are running rampant in Modern, and the Legacy ban list gained a fine new addition in Underworld Breach.


So it is with great trepidation that we greet the arrival of Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Can a battlecruiser set full of casual Godzilla monsters really make an impact on Magic's eternal formats?


Yes, yes it can.


In this special double-header edition, we present our comprehensive Brewer's Guide to Ikoria, analyzing every card that we expect to have an impact on Modern and Pioneer. The set is so stuffed with power top to bottom that we couldn't even fit it all into one recording. Instead we are dividing this weeks' show into two parts, clocking in at more than four hours of content. Check back for Part 2 of our Brewer's Guide very soon!


Part 1: Companions, Mutants, and Planeswalkers



Outline + Timestamps


The Companions

12:32 Kaheera, the Orphanguard
17:24 Yorion, Sky Nomad
22:15 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
28:11 Obosh, the Preypiercer
34:02 Jegantha, the Wellspring
39:22 Zidri, the Dawnwaker
44:03 Umori, the Collector
47:57 Lutri, the Spellchaser
55:02 Keruga, the Macrosage
59:53 Gyruda, Doom of Depths
The Planeswalkers

1:05:12 Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast
1:09:54 Vivien, Monsters' Advocate
1:15:16 Narset of the Ancient Way
The Mutants

1:23:18 Snapdax, Apex Predator
1:26:42 Brokkos, Apex of Forever
1:30:31 Necroi, Apex of Death
1:33:55 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder
1:38:35 Illuna, Apex of Wishes
1:41:41 Sea-Dasher Octopus
1:45:37 Lore Drakkis
1:48:25 Gemrazer
1:51:25 Migratory Greathorn
1:53:42 Everquill Phoenix
1:56:16 Dirge Bat
1:59:08 Parcelbeast
2:03:06 Pollywog Symbiote
2:06:22 Mysterious Egg


In Part 2, we will cover the wedge cycles, cycling, and the best of the rest. Stay tuned!



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The Wild Side of Modern (ft. Lawson Zandi)

The Wild Side of Modern (ft. Lawson Zandi)

April 10, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 49: Modern Brewing with Lawson Zandi


On April 16, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is poised to lay waste to Magic's eternal formats. The set is chock full of giant monsters, insane enchantment engines, and "if you dare" build-arounds. There has never been a better time to be a brewer. What better time, then, to pick the brain of one of Modern's most prolific brewers and streamers: the youngest old soul in Magic and certified mad scientist Lawson Zandi.


Our full Ikoria set review will be out next week, but in the meantime, we've got six eye-popping decks from Lawson that are among the wildest Modern brews you will see. Perhaps the craziest this about them is that Lawson has been winning with them, a lot. Also, on the Flashback: our testing results with Aristocrats strategies in Pioneer. Many of these proved to be Woeful, but we're taking it all in Stride. Come join us for a walk on the wild side!


Where to find Lawson



Twitter: @LawsonZandi


The Hunter Burton Memorial Open



Brew Session: Lawson's Picks





#1: Bazaar TradeVine


#2: Soulherder-less Soulherder


#3: Walk This Way (Planeswalker Prison)


#4: Cat Combos with Everything


#5: Jeskai Possibility Storm


#6: Mad Science Niv



Flashback: Woe Strider





BW Angel Visitation (Damon): 2-3 league


Abzan Heliod Rally (David): 1-4 league


Rakdos Sacrifice (David): 4-1 league


Karn Aristocrats (Dan): 3-2 league


BG Aristocrats (Damon): 2-3 league




Jund Food by Kortero (Damon): 1-3 league




Jund Food (Dan): 2-3 league



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The Aristocrats

The Aristocrats

April 3, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 48: Woe Strider


Few things in Magic are more powerful than the ability to sacrifice your own permanents. Look no further than Krark-Clan Ironworks or the more recent Grinding Station Breach decks in Modern: if it doesn't cost mana, and you can do it repeatedly, the sky is the limit for sacrifice combo. On the creature side of things, sacrifice outlets have an equally distinguished pedigree. From the Standard Mardu Aristocrats deck that won Pro Tour Gatecrash, to Four-Color Rally the Ancestors, to Hogaak Bridgevine or Yawgmoth Undying combo, even stretching back as far as Zombie Bombardment in Legacy, it seems that every kind of sacrifice deck has found some competitive success.


Aristocrats as a strategy has been on a temporary hiatus, with contemporary design philosophy dictating that sacrifice should cost mana, or only happen at fixed moments in the turn. But Theros: Beyond Death has flipped the script, with the printing of Woe Strider putting sacrifice decks back on the menu in Pioneer and even Standard. Combined with the 2019 additions to the Modern card pool of Carrion Feeder, Altar of Dementia, and Yawgmoth, Thran Physician, there has never been a better time to start eating your own permanents for fun and profit. Let's get sacrificing!


Flashback: Brew Review Testing





Dimir Trap Control (Dan): 1-4 league

Original List: Dimir Trap Control by Soren W



Soul Sisters (Damon): 3-2 league

Original list: Soul Sisters by Paimon





Grixis Kroxa (David): 3-2 league

Rakdos Kroxa (David): 4-1 league

Original list: Rakdos Kroxa by illsicknasty



Spaghetti Flash (Damon): 3-2 league

Original list: Spaghetti Flash by nonstripedzebra


Imminent Doom Control (Dan): 3-2 league

Original list: Here Comes the Doom by KilgoreTrout503

"DOOM!... DOOM!" by James Earl Jones


Brew Session: Woe Strider





Sketch 1: Golgari Company

Sketch 2: 4c Rally Strider

Sketch 3: Abzan Double Combo

Sketch 4: Bishop of Wings Combo

Sketch 5: Rakdos Sacrifice



Reference lists:




BG Gruesome Company (Baymax, 5-0 league)

4c Vannifar Combo (Kurusu, 5-0 league)

4c Rally (Jhang Jhengyu, PT Nagoya, record unknown)

Rakdos Sacrifice (Troels Munk, PT Brussels, 2-3)

Mono-B Devotion (gloomy5200, 5-0 league)

Abzan Rallistocrats (Uniq, 5-0 league x2)




Jund Aristocrats (kortero, 5-0 league)




Rakdos Aristocrats (Theros Beyond Death era)

Mardu Aristocrats (Tom Martell, ISD/RTR era)



Zombie Bombardment (Legacy, Sam Black)



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