Faithless Brewing
Discontinuities: When Titan Vial Ruled Modern, and Citadel in Pioneer

Discontinuities: When Titan Vial Ruled Modern, and Citadel in Pioneer

August 21, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 68: Transmogrify, See the Truth, Discontinuity


By all accounts, 2020 has been a Very Long Year. It keeps twisting and dragging us into unexpected places, each more disturbing than the last. And somehow, it is only August.


So it can't really be called surprising when, for inexplicable reasons, a Modern deck called "Titan Vial" is somehow causing the price of Elvish Reclaimer to spike on Magic Online, while in Pioneer noted hall of famers are earnestly debating the proper build of a deck that contains a playset of Bolas's Citadel. Who can explain it? Does it even need to be explained? It's just been that kind of year.


Late August can sometimes be the doldrums of competitive Magic, as Standard awaits rotation and the summer Core Set has mostly played itself out. We are lucky, at least, that M21 is a set with a very long tail: plenty of interesting cards can still spark the brewer's imagination for at least a decklist or two, if not quite rising to the level of commanding a full episode deep dive. We tackle some intriguing ones this week as we probe the far reaches of the M21 spoiler: Transmogrify, See the Truth, and Discontinuity. What will we discover? Only the leagues will tell!


Titan Vial by fpawluszmtg


Flashback: The White Episode


Soul Speakers: 3-2 league

Basri Bots: unplayable

Mardu Nine Lives: 3-2 league

Chonky Capridor: 3-2 league



Brew Session: M21 Potpourri


Jeskai Inspiring Transmogrify

Izzet See the Truth

Bant Lotus Discontinuity


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White Is the Loneliest Color

White Is the Loneliest Color

August 14, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 67: The White Episode


Blue is not the loneliest color. In Magic at least, that hasn't been true for a while now, if it was ever true to begin with. Blue cards tend to bring along several more friends when you cast them. The same is true for Green, and Black, and even Red. One good card leads to another, all thanks to the magic of card advantage.


White, on the other hand... now there's a lonely color. With white cards, you tend to get exactly what you pay for, and nothing more than that. No undercosted rate monsters, no snowballing effects that run away with the game, no recursive threats or big mana engines. If your opponent removes your White card, it's usually just gone: my card for your card, the fairest possible trade. Imagine trying to win a game of Modern or Pioneer that way in 2020!


We haven't featured a White card on Faithless Brewing in a very long time. The options tend to be narrow and on the lower end of the power spectrum. Maybe they can spawn a deck or two each, but they're not likely to even be the best cards in their respective archetypes. If we're going to find success brewing around a White card, we'll need to take a more proactive approach and chuck the whole bag of darts at the dartboard. That's right, this week features no less than 7 new white cards from M21, with a frew brew for each: Speaker of the Heavens, Containment Priest, Griffin Aerie, Angelic Ascension, Nine Lives, Basri Ket, and Stormwild Capridor.


Will any of these cards have what it takes to make a splash in competitive play? You know the drill: let's find out in the queues!


Flashback: Second Chance Pioneer


Narset's Undoing: 4-1 league, 2-3 league

Tome Diviner: 4-1 league

GW Oath Enchantress: 2-3 league


Reference lists:

Narset's Undoing (by SrTortinha, 6-3 Pioneer Challenge)

RG Dinos (by Voltzwagon, 5-0 Pioneer league)



Brew Session: Seven Dubious White Cards


Sketch 1: Soul Speakers

Sketch 2: Priest and Taxes

Sketch 3: Griffin Aerie

Sketch 4: Jeskai Lukka Ascension

Sketch 5: Mardu Nine Lives

Sketch 6: Basri Bots

Sketch 7: Chonky Capridor


Reference lists:

Soul Speakers (by Gabriel Nassif, 5-0 Modern league)

Jeskai Lukka Fires (by FestiFan, 7-2 Pioneer Challenge)

A Second Chance at Love in Pioneer (ft. Aspiringspike)

A Second Chance at Love in Pioneer (ft. Aspiringspike)

August 7, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 66: Surprise Pioneer B&R ft. Evart Moughon


Life has a funny way of giving you second chances. One week, you're flunking out of season 24 of The Bachelor, roseless and rejected. The next week you're the darling of Bachelor in Paradise, delighting audiences with your antics as you revel in another shot at romance. So, too, in Magic: one week your format is a ghost town, with near-empty tournament queues and a "healthy and balanced" metagame of four combo decks, each with strengths and weaknesses against each other. The next week, practically the entire Tier 1 metagame is banned, and we are suddenly presented with a second chance at love in a wide open Pioneer.


This week we welcome special guest Evart Moughon, aka Aspiringspike, to survey the new Pioneer landscape after the long shadows of Theros combo decks have been lifted. We tackle a bit of post-Astrolabe Modern as well, and wind down with some questions for Evart from the Brewers' Mailbag. Is this the dawn of a new era of brewing? What new decks and strategies might rise to the top? Which pre-Theros strategies are poised for a resurgence? The one thing we know for sure: if Aspiringspike has anything to say about it, it's going to involve a lot of Shark Typhoons. Happy brewing!


Where to find Evart:


Flashback: Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse


Temur One-Mind Jolrael

BG Jolrael Enchantress

Sultai Jolrael Delirium


Brew Session: A Second Chance at Love in Pioneer


UB Narset's Undoing

UB Tome Diviner

UG Sublime Sharks

Jeskai Lukka Sharks

Mono-G Karn


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Jolrael Empress of BEATS (ft. ManaCymbal)

Jolrael Empress of BEATS (ft. ManaCymbal)

July 31, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 65: Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse


What happens when you take a mechanic based on drawing extra cards, and move it out of Izzet colors and into Green? Does it somehow get a whole lot better? Jolrael thinks so, and we are inclined to agree. The empress of the Jamuraan jungles has gotten a lot leaner, fiercer, and more cat-friendly since we last saw her all the way back in Prophecy. As a splashable two-mana legend that generates tempo and card advantage every turn, Jolrael seems to have all the right moves for both Modern and Pioneer, so let's see what she can do!


Roundup: Brewers' Mailbag ft. ManaCymbal


Where to find Zach:

Links to Zachs' YouTube, Twitter, etc. can be found here


Flashback: Mazemind Tome


Blue Moon (Damon): 4-1 league

Eldrazi Tron: 5-4 ManaTraders Qualifiers

Classic Dice Factory (by Hampuse1): 2-3 league

Saheeli Dice Factory (by Brian M): 3-2 league

Blue Tron (by Lordofthelobsters): 3-0 league


UB Tome Diviner (David, Zach): 4-1 league, 3-2 league


Mazemind Niv (by Grixisism)

Esper Maze-Seize (by Spotred)


Brew Session: Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse




Sketch: Jolrael's Shadow

Sketch: Bant Jolrael

Sketch: Temur Tokens

Sketch: Jolrael GW Taxes

Sketch: Jolrael UG Kinnan




Sketch: Jolrael Delirium

Sketch: Bant Cycling

Sketch: Jundrael Enchantress








The New Sylvan Library

The New Sylvan Library

July 24, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 64: Mazemind Tome


M21's Mazemind Tome certainly looks unassuming. For a small 2-mana down payment, you get the option to "crack a Clue," as it were, by paying another 2-mana installment. If you don't want to spend mana, you can trade a Clue for a scry 1. Do that four times, then collect 4 life. Sounds simple enough. Can a bootleg Tireless Tracker really set the Modern format on fire?


Well, don't take our word for it, just ask the Eldrazi Tron players who have adopted this card en masse while surging to the top of the metagame in the wake of last week's B&R. You can blame those players too for the Sylvan Library comparison: it's not that there is an actual mechanical similarity between the two cards, but exude that same energy of "I've got this": if you get your engine down safely and have a few turns to extract value from it, you feel like a million bucks.


The beautiful thing about Tome is that it is colorless and cheap, which means it can potentially fit in a host of different strategies. It's not exactly a "build-around," as it asks very little of you and mostly supports whatever else your deck is attempting. But it does its job efficiently and well, and who isn't in the market for a reserve supply of 4 Clues? We've asked the question, so we'll do our best to answer it this week with some new homes (and some old ones) for Mazemind Tome in both Modern and Pioneer. Happy brewing!


Roundup: Modern + Pioneer After the B&R


UW SharkBlade (by HeyPharaoh, 2nd place Modern Champs)

Eldrazi Tron (by TheTunnelingCat, 1st place Modern Champs)

Mono-White Tokens (by Marxelo, 7-2 Modern Champs)

Fervent Sunforger (by qbturtle15, 5-0 Modern League)


Pioneer: Aggregate results from Challenge + last four Prelims (by FamousOnLine)


Flashback: Teferi, Master of Time


Teferi Delirium (Dan): 6-4 leagues (a "Robertson 9-1," three losses were timeouts)

Teferi Phoenix (David): 2-3 league

Izzet Moon (Damon): 3-2 league

UW Miracles (Dan): 2-3 league


Brew Session: Mazemind Tome


Reference: Blue Moon (Damon)

Reference: Eldrazi Tron (by TheTunnelingCat, 1st place Modern Champs)

Reference: Dice Factory (by Hampuse1, 5-0 Modern League)

Reference: Blue Tron (by Lordofthelobsters, 5-0 Modern League)

Reference: Skred Red (by utopia_mycon, 5-0 Modern League)


Sketch 1: Klothys Prison

Sketch 2: Tome Diviner


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Teferi Is Better than Jace, Change My Mind

Teferi Is Better than Jace, Change My Mind

July 17, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 63: Teferi, Master of Time


Recently, certain members of the Faithless Brewing brain trust expressed skepticism that new Teferi could ever possibly be better than Jace, the Mind Sculptor (I won't name names, so let's just call them D***). How could any 2UU walker ever compete with JTMS, perhaps the greatest planeswalker of all time? But here's the thing: they don't write the show notes.


This week, we settle the score once and for all by putting Teferi through his paces in four different archetypes. And we do so set against the brave new landscapes of two formats completely refreshed by this week's B&R announcement. The metagame is brand new! Anything is possible now in Modern and Pioneer! .... ***wait, what's that? oh.... Modern only? no bans this week in Pioneer? awkward...*** Correction: Modern looks brand new and Pioneer looks as healthy and balanced as ever, so let's forge ahead!


Notable decks from around the leagues:

Chromatic Combo Tron (by Trellon, 5-0 league)

Liliana 8-Rack (by D00mwake, 5-0 league)

Sultai Neo-Evolution (by sivek, 5-0 league)


Flashback: Archfiend's Vessel


Abzan Horse Vessel: 1-4 league

BW Liliana’s Vessels: 4-1 league, 3-2 league

Archfiend Jund: 2-3 league


Brew Session: Teferi, Master of Time


Sketch 1: Te4eri Delirium (Pioneer)

Sketch 2: Te4eri Phoenix (Pioneer)

Sketch 3: Izzet Rielle (Modern)

Sketch 4: UW Miracles (by Zach Allen, Top 8 Modern Challenge)


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Big Surprises in Tiny Vessels

Big Surprises in Tiny Vessels

July 10, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 62: Archfiend's Vessel


Archfiend's Vessel is a card to make your jaw drop. 5/5 flying? For a single black mana? Move over, Gurmag Angler; where can we sign up?


As with most demonic bargains, the truth is that Archfiend's Vessel is rife with hidden costs. On the surface, the bargain is simple: kill my vessel, then bring it back for demonic fun and profit. But the card gives no guidance on how we are actually supposed achieve this. A 1/1 lifelink is not a relevant combat creature, so you can't rely on your opponent to kill the Vessel for you. And it's not like "reanimate a creature" is an effect that just gets thrown around for free. Once you set out to solve all the puzzles, the Archfiend might not feel like such a bargain after all. But, as we know, there's only one way to find out, so let's build some decks!


Meanwhile, around the Multiverse: a surprise B&R announcement has us putting on our speculation hats again, this time for both Pioneer and Modern. There's plenty that we'd like to see changed, but the timing of the announcement is also suspicious: is it possible that something will be freed from B&R purgatory? We make our best guesses before the bombshell is dropped on Monday. Also on the Flashback: our testing results with Silversmote Ghoul.




Roundup: B&R Predictions


Modern Predictions


Pioneer Predictions


Flashback: Silversmote Ghoul


Mardu Helix (Modern): 3-2 league


WB Silversmote Midrange (Pioneer): 1-4 league


Sultai Blood for Ghoul (Pioneer): 1-4 league


Sultai Jolrael Delirium (Pioneer): 4-1 league



Brew Session: Archfiend's Vessel




Four Conceptual Challenges


Reanimation Options




Reference: BR Lurrus Rites (by Wolfie98, 4-1 Pioneer preliminary)


Sketch 1: Rakdos Archfiend Rites (Modern)


Brainstorm: Archfiend Pox (Modern)


Sketch 2: Abzan Collected Sacrifice (Pioneer)


Sketch 3: Abzan Horse Rallier (Pioneer)



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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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