Faithless Brewing
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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