Faithless Brewing MTG: Modern and Pioneer for the Spike Rogue
In Search of Greatness, At Any Cost

In Search of Greatness, At Any Cost

February 28, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 13: In Search of Greatness

In Search of Greatness is a real brewer's card. It bears a passing resemblance to many different cards, but in each case the differences far outweigh the similarities. The most famous comparison is Aether Vial, a mana generator so powerful that it spawned an entire class of archetypes. But where Aether Vial has a clear ask -- fill your deck with creatures and put them at similar spots on the mana curve -- In Search of Greatness is far more demanding. To unlock its powerful but capricious free cast trigger, you need to play all up and down the mana curve, and dig deep into the bag of deckbuilding tricks. Getting even one free activation off Greatness feels like an achievement, much less activating it turn after turn. Toski is a fickle little squirrel it seems, always asking for something new and bigger in your hand. Then again, we can always scry 1!


Decklists for this episode can be viewed at


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What’s Winning After the B&R + Strixhaven First Look

What’s Winning After the B&R + Strixhaven First Look

February 25, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 12: Post-B&R Week 1 Roundup

There's nothing quite like that new meta smell. With one week of tournaments in the books and nary an Uro in sight, the crew takes a look at what's been winning in the new Modern landscape. Is Heliod Company a cut above the field? Which archetype is poised to become the new face of control? And why the sudden uptick in squirrels?

Meanwhile in Pioneer, the brewers are out in force and there is tons of innovation. From Dragon tempo, to Emergent Ultimatum combo, to Giant Ox vehicles, there's something spicy for everyone. If you've been sitting on the sidelines of Pioneer, now is the perfect time to dive back in!

It feels like Kaldheim has just begun all over again, but there's no rest for the brewing as Strixhaven is just weeks away. Wizards gave us a sneak peek at a cycle of enemy-color Commands; do any of them have what it takes?


Decklists and timestamps for this episode can be viewed at


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Gettin’ Jiggy with Righteous Valkyrie (ft. Arun Singh)

Gettin’ Jiggy with Righteous Valkyrie (ft. Arun Singh)

February 21, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 11: Righteous Valkyrie

There’s nothing subtle about Righteous Valkyrie. Pay three mana, get a 2/4 flyer. Make angels or clerics, gain some life, and double buff your team. It’s an eminently fair bargain, the exact kind of card that ought to be sweet but is rarely good enough in non-rotating formats.

But hope springs eternal, especially when all the formats are brand new. 2W for a 4/6 flying double anthem is plenty of payoff, but is the supporting cast going to be too weak? We’ve got six configurations to put through their paces, so let’s fire up the life gain and see what this angel can do!


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Brew Session: Righteous Valkyrie
Sketch 1: Bant Coco Angels (Modern)
Sketch 2: Mono-W Heliod (Modern)
Sketch 3: Righteous Soul Sisters (Modern)
Sketch 4: Orzhov Angels (Pioneer)
Sketch 5: Mardu Kaalia Angels (Pioneer)
Sketch 6: GW Angel Company (Pioneer)

Flashback: Birgi, God of Storytelling
Birgi Showdown 1.0: 1-4 league
Birgi Song Combo: 1-4 league

Where to find Arun:
Twitter: @asingh517
MTGO: Jiggywiggy
Serum Visions Podcast


Nuke It from Space: Fallout from the Biggest B&R in History (ft. Arun Singh)

Nuke It from Space: Fallout from the Biggest B&R in History (ft. Arun Singh)

February 18, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 10: Analyzing the Feb. 15 B&R Update


Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is very hard to kill. You can try to fight Uro with this strategy or that one, but the card just keeps coming at you, in format after format. Natural metagame forces were powerless in the face of Uro's F.I.R.E. design friends. In the end, Wizards took a page from Sigourney Weaver and did they only thing they could: You have to nuke it from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

Brewer extraordinaire Arun Singh joins the cast this week to help us make sense of the biggest B&R announcement in Magic history. Five cards were banned in Modern, including a beloved monkey, and the Cascade mechanic was altered to end the brief but terrifying reign of Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor. Five cards were also banned in Pioneer, sending shockwaves through a metagame that now seems completely wide open. Did WOTC go too far with these bannings, or have they perhaps not gone far enough? And what does this all mean for the formats we so know and love?


"Vehicles: Rails Were Meant to be Broken (ft. Cavedan!!)" -- Serum Visions Podcast #12


Where to find Arun:

Twitter: @asingh517

MTGO: Jiggywiggy

Serum Visions Podcast


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Fetch Me a Horn of Bounty, and Pour One for Yourself: Brewing Up a Storm with Birgi

Fetch Me a Horn of Bounty, and Pour One for Yourself: Brewing Up a Storm with Birgi

February 14, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 9: Birgi, God of Storytelling // Harnfel, Horn of Bounty

When evaluating new cards, a quick hack is to look for anything that cheats on mana. These are the cards that can really do something special. Cheating out a 7 mana Tibalt? Yep, that tracks. Fistfuls of Treasure off Magda? Sign us up.

This week continues that trend. Birgi, God of Storytelling is a cost reducer dialed up to 11. Her front face resembles Baral, Chief of Compliance or Goblin Electromancer: mana engines that scale the more spells you cast. But Birgi is even more generous. Cards that cost 1 are completely free, and cards that cost zero actually send up you mana. Mishra’s Bauble becomes a ritual; Mox Amber becomes Seething Song.

Once you have this much mana, all you’re looking for is a source of cards. Birgi makes this easy as you please: just flip the card over and you have Harnfel, Horn of Bounty, a multi-use Magmatic Channeler that trades each card in your hand for two fresh ones. Standard players learned to fear the pairing of Runaway Steam-Kin and Experimental Frenzy; Birgi gives you both effects on the same card.

All told, Birgi is shockingly open-ended, capable of supporting existing engine decks or perhaps spawning new archetypes all her own. We’ve got seven lists to test across multiple formats, so let’s see what Birgi can do!


View decklists for this episode at


Decklists for Birgi // Harnfel

Sketch 1: Boros Showdown Storm

Sketch 2: Temur Artifact Ramp

Sketch 3: Pioneer Song of Creation

Sketch 4: Modern Birgi Song

Sketch 5: Birgi Grinding Breach by Nilsfit (5-0 league)

Sketch 6: UR Prowess

Sketch 7: Birgi Waste Not

Flashback: Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Magda Jeskai Ascendancy: 1-4 league

Temur Treasures: 0-4 league

Jeskai Dwarf Tempo: 2-3 league

Aura of Dominion Combo: 2-3 league


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We Broke Modern and All We Got Was This Lousy Secret Lair Announcement

We Broke Modern and All We Got Was This Lousy Secret Lair Announcement

February 12, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 8: Top 8 in the Modern Challenge with 5c Counter-Tibalt

What is the highest achievement for a brewer? It’s not winning the Pro Tour. No, ask most hardcore brewers and they’ll tell you the ultimate dream is to “break the format” — to invent the deck that proves unstoppable, to rake in accolades as your creation gets picked up by top players and dominates the tournament meta.

But here’s the thing about broken formats: people tend to hate them. It’s a fine line between powerful and oppressive, and somewhere in the last seven days, Cascade Tibalt has crossed that line. We spent two weeks brewing an amazing Spell Queller Counter-Tibalt deck, taking it all the way to Top 8 in last weekend’s Modern Challenge, and guess what? People hate it. It seems that what’s true for Batman is also true for brewing: you either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain. 

The era of Cascade Tibalt is likely to be short lived, but while it’s here we are going to savor the moment. After all, it’s not every day that a brew we drew up as a thought experiment turns out to be tier zero. Along the way, we amassed an 80% win rate in leagues (28-7) and a 73% win rate in Challenges (7th and 19th place). Even an early version of our list, still running Demonic Dread, was good enough to notch a 10th place finish in Saturday’s Challenge. Of course, that was all ages ago in the fast moving world of Cascade Modern. The format has moved on, and so shall we. There’s always something new to learn, and the next broken deck to discover!

Happy brewing,

4c Counter-Tibalt (5-0 league):

5c Counter-Tibalt (6-2 Saturday Challenge, 5-2 Sunday Challenge):

Build notes: is this the final form of the deck?


Picks of the Week
David’s pick: Dimir Release the Gods by MentalMisstep

David’s version (4-1 league):

Damon’s pick: Mardu Showdown by Nolansanity

Cavedan’s pick: World Tree Combo by killersuv



The Truth about Tibalt’s Trickery

The Truth about Tibalt’s Trickery

February 7, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 7: Picks of the Week  // Flashback: Valki and Alrund


We’ll let you in on a secret: Tibalt’s Trickery is just noise. A deck with this much meme potential was bound to get lots of attention, but highlight reel screenshots do not equate to tournament wins. Yes, Trickery decks are stronger than expected, but they are easily hated out.

Valki, on the other hand… now there is a real villain. Big Tibalt may be overcosted at 7 mana, but at 3 mana he is straight busted. Our testing this week sent us deep down the rabbit hole, starting with all-in versions that aimed for nothing less than Turn 1 Tibalt, and morphing to hybrid builds capable of playing a longer game. As the week progressed, it became clear that Modern is ruled by the Cascade mechanic, with Tibalt at the helm. That means that Force of Negation and Teferi, Time Raveler are absolute powerhouses. And you know what card pitches to Force? Ardent Plea.

Our Flashback segment this week chronicles Dan’s wild journey with Valki, culminating in a teched out Counter-Tibalt build that he rode to an 80% win rate (28-7) and ultimately to a Top 8 finish in the Modern Challenge. Some of that, though, happened after this episode was recorded, and is a tale for next week. Until then: don’t leave home without Spell Pierce!


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Roundup: Picks of the Week

David's Pick: 50 Land Trickery by Sodeq

Cavedan's Pick: Temur Giants by aspiringspike

Damon's Pick: Dimir Cosima Control by Galanator


Flashback: Valki and Alrund

Turn 1 Tibalt 1.1 (Modern) 6-4 leagues (3-2, 3-2)

Trick or Tibalt (Modern): 4-1 league

4c Counter-Tibalt (Modern): 20-5 leagues (4-1, 4-1, 5-0, 3-2, 4-1)

5c Counter-Tibalt (Modern): 8-2 leagues (4-1, 4-1), Top 8 Modern Challenge (6-2)

Dimir Release the Gods (Pioneer): 4-6 leagues (2-3, 2-3)

Esper Yorion Flicker (Pioneer): 3-2 league




Diamond Hands: Treasure Cruisin’ with Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Diamond Hands: Treasure Cruisin’ with Magda, Brazen Outlaw

February 5, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 06: Magda, Brazen Outlaw


The most dangerous mechanic in Magic? Fast mana. Always has been, always will be. Cards that produce bursts of mana are the rarest of the rare. Cards that do so repeatedly wind up on banned lists.

Imagine our surprise, then, when Kaldheim introduced us to Magda, Brazen Outlaw. Cheap, repeatable Treasures on an aggressive tribal lord, with a free repeatable tutor clause thrown in? Wizards is playing with F.I.R.E. here. Yes, the Dwarf tribe has been massively shorted (they're Dwarves after all), but don't let the fat cats in Renton dissuade you. There's fistfuls of Treasure to be gained for brewers with diamond hands.

Context is everything, of course. Whether recruiting Dwarves, tutoring Dragon or artifact payoffs, or unlocking obscure combos (Clock of Omens anyone?), one thing is certain: Magda is going to make us work for it. We've got four new lists to test and a half dozen more on the drawing board, so let's get to work!


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2:08 Magda Rules Notes

3:47 Tap Outlets

6:59 Are There Playable Dwarves?

10:05 Dragon Payoffs

13:56 Artifact Payoffs

18:01 Mana Sinks

20:22 Treasure Makers

22:47 Clock of Omens Combo

26:33 Aura of Dominion Combo

28:09 Paradox Engine Combo

30:49 Sketch 1: Magda Clock Combo (Modern) (3-2 league)

35:50 Sketch 2: Jeskai Dwarf Tempo (Modern)

44:38 Sketch 3: Boros Dwarves (Pioneer)

49:49 Sketch 4: Temur Treasures (Pioneer)




The Raven’s Eye: Does Alrund Have a Home in Pioneer?

The Raven’s Eye: Does Alrund Have a Home in Pioneer?

February 2, 2021

Kaldheim Season, Episode 5: Alrund, God of the Cosmos // Hakka, Whispering Raven


You've heard of bolting the bird, but why not blink the bird? Hakka, Whispering Raven doesn't look like much, but David thinks it has all the right moves. In Pioneer, a 2/3 blocker is well positioned, and Hakka can peck away at planeswalkers freely. But the real power lies in mischief: get a little tricksy, and you could unlock the mighty Alrund, God of the Cosmos several turns ahead of schedule.


It's a simple plan but one with many pitfalls. After all, how much is Alrund really worth? What can we expect from the end step trigger, assuming Alrund even makes it that far? And how much power can be gained from bringing Valki along for the ride? Join us as we search for answers the only way we know how: in the queues!


Decklists for Alrund // Hakka

Sketch 1: Grixis Release the Gods

Sketch 2: Dimir Release the Gods

Sketch 3: Esper Yorion Blink

Sketch 4: Azorius Alrund Tempo


We're experimenting with a new format this week and releasing our usual show in smaller chunks (namely, two 25-minute episodes and one 50-minute episode, instead of a single 100-minute episode). The goal is to make our content more accessible, so that if you click on an episode called "Exciting Brews with Valki" it actually starts with exciting brews with Valki. Ditto for our testing results and discussion of innovations in the metagame.


We know this will take some getting used to, but please bear with us as we iterate a bit and work out the kinks. We're want to create a more listener friendly experience and we're always happy for feedback! With that said, here's where you can find the rest of this week's content:


Roundup: Kaldheim Top 5s + Called Shots

Brew Session: Valki, God of Lies // Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor

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