Faithless Brewing
The Sun God Rises

The Sun God Rises

January 21, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 38: Heliod, Sun-Crowned


All things must come to an end, and for Mox Opal, that end proved to be a rather unceremonious bludgeoning with the ban hammer in Modern. Also banned are Oko, Thief of Crowns (yet again) and Mycosynth Lattice (thank you, next), the largest shakeup in Modern since... the printing of Throne of Eldraine. The crew pours one out for the fallen victims of last week's B&R, and takes another look ahead at promising new printings from Theros: Beyond Death.

But while the sun sets on an entire era, another sun rises, in both Modern and Pioneer -- specifically Heliod, the Sun-Crowned, who is perhaps the most hotly anticipated printing from Theros: Beyond Death. Heliod's infinite damage combo with Walking Ballista has echoes of Saheeli Felidar, or even (some say) Splinter Twin. Can the new God possibly live up to the hype? In truth, Heliod Ballista is an enormously mana intensive combo, but there are sneaky tools available to shave on mana costs and arrive at a leaner, meaner 1-2 combo punch. In Modern, this can also mean eschewing Ballista altogether, and instead pursuing infinite life with Spike Feeder or Kitchen Finks. And if that fails? Well, nothing says we can't turn our 5/5 indestructible beater sideways. Will any of these decks rise to glory? Let's find out!


Roundup: Modern B&R + Theros Previews
• Mox Opal: end of era
Flashback: Ghirapur Orrery
Simic Midrange (Damon): 3-2 league
Brew Session: Heliod, Sun-Crowned
Bonus Sketch: Bant Vannifar Heliod
Bonus Sketch: Bant Heliod Flash
Bonus Sketch: Basic Mono-W Heliod
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Theros Previews & Brew Review #1

Theros Previews & Brew Review #1

January 14, 2020

Faithless Brewing, Episode 37: The Brew Review


Theros: Beyond Death is upon us! The newest set looks poised to continue the recent trend of Standard-legal expansions massively impacting eternal formats, with a slew of exciting previews to unpack. At the same time, Modern as we know it continues to evolve and change, with results from major tournaments in paper and online giving a final snapshot of the Oko era before the latest round of massive bannings. (Note: this episode was recorded before Monday's B&R, so you can enjoy one last analysis of the Oko metagame as a fun little capsule in time.)


For our last episode before taking the plunge into the underworld of Theros, we are debuting a new segment on the show: the Brew Review! Instead of picking a single card to focus on this week, we instead solicited our listeners to share with us some of their spiciest brews in Modern and Pioneer: whether polished lists they've been testing extensively, or wild ideas that came to them in a rapturous fever dream of brewing energy. From End-Raze Forerunners combo, to Fires of Invention Angels, to a comprehensive brewer's guide to Myth Realized, this edition of the Brew Review has something for everyone!


Roundup: Modern Championships + SCG Columbus
Explore Titan (Matthew Dilks/Will Pulliam)
Galvanic Urza (Corey Baumeister / Pete Ingram)
Once Upon Eldrazi Tron (xfile, Modern Challenge)
Veil of Titanshift (i_b_true, Modern Champs)
Soul-Scar Burn (sandydogmtg, Modern Champs)
Glittering Niv-Mizzet (Lanny Huang, 7-0 Modern Challenge)
Naya Stonecleave (Ihavethefire, Modern Champs)
Liquimetal Urza (Phil England, 6th in Modern Classic)
KotR Titan Ramp (Kazuga, 5-2 Modern Challenge)


The Brew Review, Part 1
Mono-red Blitz (by Jiggywiggy) [Modern]
GW Mentor (by Shane B.) [Pioneer]
Speed Pigs (by KilgoreTrout503) [Pioneer]
Narset for Days (by unpronounceable) [Pioneer]
Angel Fires (by Paimon) [Pioneer]
Esper Mythseize (by Spotred) [Modern]
Bonus Brews:
GW Gideons (by allfordelilah) [Pioneer]
MonoGreen Ponza (by EnderXenocide) [Modern]
Blue Bird Arclight Dredge (by Jonathan Walsh) [Pioneer]
Agent of Duplication (by unpronounceable) [Pioneer]
Mighty Morophon Sliver Tron (by unpronounceable) [Modern]
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You Pick the Card: Ghirapur Orrery

You Pick the Card: Ghirapur Orrery

January 7, 2020
Faithless Brewing #36: Ghirapur Orrery
The results are in! In the final days before Theros: Beyond Death, we let our listeners choose the card that we would brew around for the week. Many outstanding cards from Magic's past and present were nominated, but in the end, only one could emerge victorious in the patron poll: Ghirapur Orrery! This forgotten gem from Kaladesh hearkens back to the days when we were small children with a poor understanding of Magic's rules: we were convinced, for example, that if you played your last card from hand you immediately got to draw a fresh seven, or that if you declared "fast mana" you could play multiple land drops at once. Well guess what, children: with Ghirapur Orrery in play, now you can do both, and it's not even against the rules! The dream of going nuts with an Orrery is certainly enticing, but to make this card competitive, a lot has to go right. David has some ideas for getting the ball rolling, so let's dive into the lists!
Also in this episode: a GP Portland tournament report, 2019 in Review, Theros: Beyond Death Previews, Regisaur testing results, and more!
You Pick the Card Poll Results: Summary
Roundup: GP Portland + 2019 in review + Theros Previews
Izzet Flash (Damon): 4-4, GP Portland (Standard)
Flashback: Rotting Regisaur
"Amulet-less Titan" (bolov0): runner-up, Modern MOCS
Urza Charm (VTCLA): winner, Modern MOCS
Golgari Great Hengisaur (David): 5-5 leagues
Monoblack Picker (Dan): 7-3 leagues
Abzan Evolve (David): 4-1 league
Rakdos Vamp Madness (David): 4-1 league
Follow-ups from previous weeks:
Scarab God Reclamation (aspiringspike)
Blood Moon Niv-Mizzet (Lawson Zandi): 5-3 Modern challenge, 5-0 league, 4-1 league
RB Regicleave by Paimon ("Pioneer Death's Shadow)
Legacy Kiora Prison by Johan Bang
Brew Session: Ghirapur Orrery
Sketch 2: Sultai Dredge
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Now, That’s a Zombie!

Now, That’s a Zombie!

December 23, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 35: Rotting Regisaur


Fires of Invention was a real firecracker of a card. Last week's builds saw spectacular successes and spectacular failures across a wide range of strategies, and yet we've barely even scratched the surface of the card. It should be no surprise that Niv-Mizzet Fires is the build that seemed closest to breaking Pioneer, notching another Faithless 5-0 after the banning of Oko and Nexus of Fate. Sometimes all Niv does is win (including delivering Damon a 1st place trophy in his Modern 1K over the weekend). But there's so much more to explore that it's hard to call the book closed on Fires of Invention. I suspect we'll be seeing this card again sooner than later.


As for this week's brew-around, what is there to say? It seems almost unfair to theorycraft Rotting Regisaur; thinking too hard feels against the spirit of the card. Spend three mana, get a giant zombie. Discard a card or two. Turn sideways and try not to get turned into an Elk. It's a 7/6 monster that asks very few questions beyond, How would you like to use it? We've got a few ideas in both Modern and Pioneer, let's see which one roars the strongest!


Roundup: Pioneer Bans, Theros Previews


Oko + Nexus of Fate ban (Announcement)
Change to B&R schedule (Announcement)

Flashback: Fires of Invention


Gruul Escape 1.0: 2-3 league
Gruul Escape 2.0: 3-2 league
Gruul Escape 2.1: recommended for testing
Reference lists:
Temur Elemental Fires (David): recommended for testing
Bonus list:


Brew Session: Rotting Regisaur


Sketch 1: Heartless Regisaur (by Ryan from Maine)
Sketch 1.1: Heartless Regisaur (David)
Sketch 2: Vampire Madness
Bonus Sketch: Varolz Counters
Bonus Sketch: Rotten Company
Reference lists:
Zombies (Kotva): 5-0 league
Red-Black Pyromancer (Ivan_Catanduva_Br): 5-0 league
Rakdos Regisaur Midrange (Zxrogue): 5-0 league
Regisaur 8-Rack (destricted): 5-0 league
Melira Rotten Company (Sinisstar619): 5-0 league
Golgari Adventure (Chris Kvartek): Mythic Championship VII (Standard)
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We Have the Fires

We Have the Fires

December 16, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 34: Fires of Invention


"If it's free, it's me." The timeless words of Bryan Gottlieb teach us to pay close attention to anything that can be cast for free, one of the most powerful and potentially broken effects in all of Magic. Fires of Invention grants that text to any spell in your deck, allowing you to cast it without tapping lands. And then, it does it again. Two free spells every turn, and you still have all your mana available to spend on other effects? Yeah, that's me. Sign us up for a playset!


Fires of Invention is Throne of Eldraine's entrant into the "broken four-mana enchantment engine" category, and it has already proven its chops in Standard as well as Pioneer and Modern. More similar to a Wilderness Reclamation than an Experimental Frenzy, Fires offers an insane mana advantage, provided that you can successfully navigate its numerous constraints. This week the crew has some explosive builds designed to do just that. You want decklists? "Just tell us how many you want and get out of the way!"


Roundup: Weekend Results
Simic Food Ramp (Gerry Thompson)
Gruul Kiora (Dan): 3-3, SCG IQ Newington
Azorius Approach (Tyler Surovy): 3rd place, SCG IQ Newington
Flashback: Crested Sunmare
GW Eldritch Horse: 1-4 league
Orzhov Horse: 3-2 league
Abzan Horse: 7-3 leagues
Brew Session: Fires of Invention


Reference lists:
Jeskai Fires (Paulo Vitor Damo da Rosa)
5c Niv Fires (Ken Yukuhiro)
5c Golos Fires (Shota Yasooka)
Izzet Turns (lsv, 5-0 league)
Izzet Turns (Gfrpaac, 5-0 league)
4c As Firetold (PetyrBaelish, 7-2 PTQ)
4c As Firetold (Runeskjold, 5-0 league)
Lawson Zandi (Niv-Mizzet streams):
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Maximum Horse Power

Maximum Horse Power

December 9, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 33: Crested Sunmare


Giddy-up, brewers! It's Horse week at Faithless Brewing, the theme episode you never knew you needed, but now can't recall how you ever lived without. David has been champing at the bit to get Crested Sunmare on the docket, a truly majestic steed that nevertheless failed to cross the finish line during its time in Standard. But don't believe the neighsayers! Despite this rather equestrian Standard pedigree, Sunmare has already galloped to a Grand Prix Day 2 finish in Modern of all places. Was it simply a lack of enablers that made the Standard builds come up lame? Or will the Modern shell prove to be a one-trick pony? In the greener pastures of Pioneer, David thinks he has a thoroughbred, but will his unbridled enthusiasm land him on the whinnying side? There's only one way to find out! This week we've got the horses in the back, horse decklists attached, sleeves are matte black, got the tokens black to match. Saddle up!


ALSO: This week, we have a very special bonus episode! We joined forces with our friends at The Dive Down for our first-ever podcast crossover, a deep dive into Niv-Mizzet Reborn in Modern! You can find that episode (The Dive Down, Ep. 51: "ROY G. NIV: 5c Niv-Mizzet, ft. Faithless Brewing") over at, or subscribe to The Dive Down on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, or YouTube to catch all of their outstanding content. Don't miss it!


Roundup: Modern Playoffs + Pioneer B&R



Pioneer B&R Announcement (Smuggler's Copter, Field of the Dead, Once Upon a Time)

Reference: 2017 Smuggler's Copter Ban Announcement (Standard)

GW Knights (Phill_hellmuth): PTQ Winner

Ari Lax B&R analysis (thread)



Format Playoffs Top 16


Flashback: New Perspectives + Witch's Oven
New Perspectives
Blood Sun Perspectives (Dan): 3-2 league, 0-5 league
Growth Spiral Perspectives (Danny + David): 4-1 league, 0-3 league
Twiddle Field (Runeskjold): PTQ Top 8 (x3)
Witch's Oven
Sultai Cat Dredge: strong, but likely does not survive bannings
Orzhov Cat Oven: 4-1 league, can be re-tooled without Copter and Lookout, see below
Temur Emerge Oven: 4-1, but played like a weaker version of Ryan Overturf's non-Oven Temur Emerge. No need for green without OUAT.
Bonus lists:
Kiora Dragons (Pedro Almeida): 8-0, LATAM qualifier series
Brew Session: Crested Sunmare
GW Eldritch Horse (Martin Colding, Fluffywolf2): GP Birmingham Day 2, 5-0 league
Bonus sketch: Abzan Life Rider
Bonus sketch: Ghost Dad Kiora
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New Perspectives on Combo (ft. Danny Salvatore)

New Perspectives on Combo (ft. Danny Salvatore)

December 2, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 32: Scrap Trawler, New Perspectives, Astral Drift


It was a golden weekend for Niv-Mizzet at Grand Prix Columbus, with Dan and Damon both posting 10-4-1 finishes with our favorite Faithless Brew. Is Niv the last control deck in Modern? What we do know is that, at the last Grand Prix of 2019, Niv quietly had one of the best performances of any archetype in the field.


This week, however, we depart from the realm of flashy five-color control, and turn our attention instead to some truly bizarre combos. Scraps from the Oven? New Perspectives? Astral Drift Turbo-Land? Oh yes, these are going to be spicy ones.


We are joined this week by special guest brewer Danny Salvatore, fresh off a Top 4 finish at the SCG Invitational. We talk about his preparations in Modern and Pioneer leading up to the Invi and the GP, before we collectively dive headfirst into assembling the combo machine.


Flashback: SCG Invitational + Grand Prix Columbus


SCG Invitational (Pioneer / Modern)


Green Devotion (Danny Salvatore, 3rd place)

Grixis Shadow (Danny Salvatore, 3rd place)


GP Columbus (Modern)


Utopia Niv-Mizzet (Dan + Damon, 10-4-1, 40th & 42nd place)


Rakdos Bone Picker: 2-3 league, needed more creatures to crew with


Brew Session: Comboing Off


Sketch #1: Scraps from the Oven


Sketch #2: New Perspectives (Growth Spiral version)


Sketch #3: New Perspectives (Blood Sun version)


Brainstorm Session: Astral Drift Turbo-Land


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What’s Cooking? Firing Up the Witch’s Oven

What’s Cooking? Firing Up the Witch’s Oven

November 24, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 31: Witch's Oven


Let's face it, Vantress Gargoyle is probably not going to make the leap to eternal playable anytime soon. It struggles to attack in Pioneer, although our Modern explorations did yield some very interesting builds using powerful tools like Archive Trap and Into the Story. That being said, when a card can't even hack it in Standard, we shouldn't ask too much of it off the bat.


On the other hand, when a card is dominating Standard and meets the benchmark metrics for eternal playability (best in class effect, highly efficient, useful card type) it is certainly worth a closer look. Witch's Oven fits that bill. The "Kentucky Fried Kitten" / "Meow Mix" combo with Cauldron Familiar was a breakout star at the most recent Mythic Championships, and those two have started to make some inroads into Pioneer as well. But how good is this combo really? And is there more to the Oven than just cat food? While Damon and Dan are busy prepping Niv-Mizzet in Modern for GP Columbus, David has been cooking up some spicy Oven lists that he thinks just might hit the sweet spot.


Flashback: Vantress Gargoyle




Simic Flying Goyfs: 3-2 league. Extremely effective at finding big flyers and attacking with them, but struggles against creature decks and high density of removal.


Sultai Flying Goyfs: 2-3 league, noticeably clunkier than the Simic version because Glimpse and Hedron Crab fight for mana, but some additions like Drown in the Loch are well worth the price of admission.


Gargoyles, Please!: 2-3 league. Yes, this is a Modern list with four copies of Didn't Say Please. The concept here is not bad, but the execution could use refinement.


Turbo Trap Control: 4-1 league. This strategy might be secretly excellent. Needs a more diverse set of spells in the main deck, but Mystic Sanctuary + Into the Story is incredible and the sideboard juke plan can steal games.




Emry Ascendancy: achieved numerous turn 3 kills, but this deck relies super heavily on Emry surviving, and probably shouldn't run any Gargoyles as they can never attack


Gargoyle Gift: 3-2 league, Gargoyle is actually a decent blocker here and synergizes with both Kiora and Gift


Bonus list: Retraction Helix Ascendancy by MrRaeb


Brew Session: Witch's Oven




Sketch 1: Sultai Cat Dredge


Sketch 2: Rakdos Bone Picker


Sketch 3: Grixis Emerge Oven


Sketch 4: Orzhov Life Gain




Utopia Niv-Mizzet (GP Columbus build)


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The Real Gargoyles of Castle Vantress

The Real Gargoyles of Castle Vantress

November 17, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 30: Vantress Gargoyle (Modern & Pioneer)


Just when you thought you'd seen it all, it turns out the castles of Eldraine are guarded by blue Tarmogoyfs with wings. At 5/4 flying for 1U, Vantress Gargoyle is an absolute unit. It's even an artifact to boot, with an illustrious pedigree of potential synergies. The catch? It might be a while before you can start attacking. Oh, and if you want to block, better make sure that hand size doesn't get too low. Perhaps you'd like to tap and mill for 1 instead?


Good cards come to those who break them, so this week, the crew is leaving no stone unturned with new lists for Vantress Gargoyle in both Pioneer and Modern. Will we ever attack with this card? Will we ever get to block with it? And perhaps most important of all, is this strong enough to be the centerpiece of its own deck, or is the Gargoyle better utilized as a role player in small numbers? As always, there's only one way to find out!


Roundup: Pioneer B&R, Redux


Blue Moon Canlander (Damon): Top 8, Puget Sound Battleground 1k (Individual); Top 4, Puget Sound Battleground 1k (Team Trios)

Pioneer B&R Announcement


Flashback: The Royal Scions
Izzet Arcanist: 2-3 league (adapted from this 5-0 list by Habster)
Blue Moon (by thepensword): 7-3 leagues
Temur Prowess: 1-4 league
Grixis Arcanist: 4-6 leagues
Temur Deathtouch: 4-1 league
4c Royal Vehicles: 2-3 league
Izzet Firebirds: updated sketch (compare to these Izzet Firebirds lists from Challenge)
Additional concepts:
Grixis Flamewake Phoenix: updated sketch
Grixis Ninja Scions (by Pedro Almeida): sketch
Royal Frenzy Aggro (by Elvis Alcomb): sketch
Brew Session: Vantress Gargoyle
Sketch 2: Dimir Control
Sketch 5: Mystic Forge
Sketch 6: Gargoyle Gift
Sketch 1: Dimir Turbo Trap (by Jordan Boisvert, based on this article at Modern Nexus)
Sketch 2: Sultai Delirium
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Royal Pain in the Scions

Royal Pain in the Scions

November 10, 2019

Faithless Brewing, Episode 29: The Royal Scions (Modern & Pioneer)


Kiora delivered us a fresh 5-0 last week, but we knew that would happen, as Kiora has always been great. The combination with Glorybringer is excellent in Modern and even stronger in Pioneer, although the mana requirements proved to be much trickier without the smooth shock-fetch manabase. Eldrazi add an interesting wrinkle to the Gruul ramp archetype, and Niv-Mizzet got in on the 5-0 action too.


This week, we're on to the next 3 CMC walker with absurdly high loyalty. Oko has already been widely accepted as planeswalker royalty, but what about Eldraine's actual royalty, the dashing Kenrith Kids? Two useful +1s and an achievable ultimate make The Royal Scions an attractive card to brew around, in both Modern and Pioneer. We've got more than a dozen new lists, so whether you like looting for value, unlocking graveyard synergies, or pumping creatures and turning them sideways, there's something for everyone this week!


Roundup: Pioneer B&R Announcement

Kiora Green Devotion (Dan): 3-2 league


Flashback: Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner


Classic Niv-Mizzet (Damon): 5-0 league
Once Upon KiorDrazi (Dan): 5-0 league, 3-3 Modern Challenge
Once Upon Kiora (Damon): 4-1 league
RG Dragons (David): 2-3 league, 4-1 league
RG Dragons (Damon): 0-4 league, 4-1 league
Jeskai Dragons (David): 4-1 league, 1-4 league
Jeskai God-Pharaoh's Gift (David): 2-3 league


Brew Session: The Royal Scions


Sketch 6: Temur Pummeler
Reference: Blue Moon (thepensword)
Reference: Temur Kiora (Dan, 5-0)
Reference: Faeburrow Niv (Damon, 5-0)

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