Faithless Brewing, Episode 20: Kethis, the Hidden Hand


Throne of Eldraine is around the corner and the previews are coming fast and furious. Some look sweet, some look strange, and some look downright broken, including a certain strange woman lying in a pond distributing swords. That's no basis for a system of government.


In the meantime, though, we've got unfinished business with Core Set 2020. Kethis, the Hidden Hand had a surprising breakout late in the Standard season, anchoring a slick combo deck full of powerful legendaries. Modern has even more enticing options, but can this bizarre strategy withstand the transition to the lightning-fast eternal format? Or should Kethis be reimagined as the centerpiece of a midrange build? The crew has some ideas, so let's discuss!


Flashback: Kiora and Niv-Mizzet


Ramp-less Niv-Mizzet (cavedan): Top 8 SCG IQ


Ramp-less Niv-Mizzet (Ihavethefire): 12-0 Modern Playoffs


Kiora Dragons: 10-10 leagues


Kiora Eldrazi: 11-4 leagues


Bonus list: Cat Jesus Returns (sketch)


Throne of Eldraine Previews


Dave has eight spicy hot takes on exciting new contenders for Modern, and Damon and Dan are eager to prove him wrong. Plus, don't miss our in-depth written article on the most dangerous card in the set, Emry, Lurker of the Loch!


Stoneforge Fishstick: A Brewer's Guide to Emry, Lurker of the Loch


Bonus list: Emry Ascendancy (sketch)


Brew Session: Kethis, the Hidden Hand


Sketch #1: 4c Value Kethis
Sketch #3: Project Keth-eX
Reference lists:
Standard Kethis Combo (Ondrej Strasky)
Kethis "KCI" (Matt Nass, test deck)


Abzan Kethis Station (yooisa, test deck)


Kethis Erayo (anonymous, test deck)


Kethis Emry Combo (Sam Black, test deck)


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 19: Kiora, Niv-Mizzet, Kolaghan's Command


Faithless Looting is gone, and our beloved "non-rotating" format is in upheaval once again. Tournament results are trickling in, but in the Magic Online leagues, it's the Wild West: everyone has dusted off their midrange decks, hoping that strategies that have always fared poorly will finally get a chance to breathe in a graveyard-free Modern. It is a great time to be a brewer.


With seemingly endless possibilities to explore, this week the crew revisits some old favorites: Faithless Brews that were powerful before Modern Horizons, but couldn't keep up with the madness of Hogaak Summer. We discuss new builds of RG Kiora Dragons, Rainbow Niv-Mizzet, and old school Grixis Control. Are these old challengers ready to compete for the top tier of the new Modern? Let's discuss!




Flashback: Stoneforge Mystic
UW Stoneblade (D00mswitch): 3-2 league
Jeskai QuellBlade: 2-3 league
Bant Devoted Blade (bobinchese): 4-1 league
Brew Session: New Takes on Old Favorites
Kiora's Dragons (post-Hogaak update)
Rainbow Niv-Mizzet (post-Hogaak update)

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Faithless Brewing, Episode 18: The Ultimate Guide to Stoneforge Mystic


It was a difficult week for the Faithless Family, as we had to say goodbye to one of our own. Faithless Looting, the best card in Modern, breaker of formats and giver of value, was struck down in the prime of its life, taken from us by a cruel stroke of research and development. Dear Looting, you shall be missed.


There is no rest for the weary, however, as a new powerhouse has been unleashed upon the Modern format. Stoneforge Mystic has arrived to thunderous applause and is already dominating the MTGO leagues, with no fewer than 27(!) distinct Stoneforge decks appearing in the first 5-0 deck dump. It is a time of wild experimentation, and we are here to guide you through all the different ways to make Batterskull and friends. You won't want to miss this one!





Flashback: Elementals

Bant Vesperlark: 5-5 leagues, an acceptable combo deck with a good ability to grind thanks to Risen Reef. Lack of interaction makes it difficult to keep up with aggressive strategies.
RB Thunder Forger: 5-5 leagues, Thunderkin is massively defanged by the loss of Faithless Looting, and this deck can never defeat a Batterskull. The Shaman core remains surprisingly powerful though.



Brew Session: Stoneforge Mystic


Stoneforge lists from around the web, all from within the first two days of the card's legality. For the full Friday 5-0 deck dump, complete with 27 distinct Stoneforge lists, click here.
UWx StoneBlade
UW Stoneblade (Todd Anderson)
UW Stoneblade (Emma Handy)
UW Stoneblade (Ben Friedman)
Jeskai Stoneblade (Todd Anderson)
Esper Stoneblade (Todd Anderson)
Esper UrzaBlade (Samuel Graebner, 16-4 leagues)
UW UrzaBlade (kanister)
4c Urza (Ross Merriam)
UW Urza (Bryan Gottlieb)
BW Midrange
BW SewerBlade (CalebD, 5-0 league)
BW Ale-Drazi (xjcloud, 5-0 league)
Existing Combo w/ Stoneforge Support
Jeskai Saheeli Elementals (Jan Huang, 5-0 league)
4c Snowheeli Blade (Ross Merriam)
Bant Devoted Blade (Ross Merriam)
Bant Midrange
Bant Snowblade (aspiringspike, 5-0 league)
Bant Snowblade (SaffronOlive, 5-0 league)
Bant SpiritBlade (Emma Handy)
White Aggro
Mono-W CawBlade (aspiringspike, 5-0 league)
Mono-W Cawblade (kponce, 5-0 league)

Miscellaneous Midrange

Abzan Midrange (Reid Duke)
Naya ZooBlade (Wyatt Darby)
GW EldraziBlade (Ryan Overturf)
Equipment Combo
RW Hammertime (CalebD, 3-1 league)



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Thunderkin Awakening

Faithless Brewing, Episode 17: Risen Reef / Elemental Tribal


The Elemental tribe is rising from the reef with a host of new printings from Modern Horizons and Core 2020. Thunderkin Awakener has already established itself as a player alongside Lightning Skelemental, but Risen Reef has brewers experimenting with all five colors of the rainbow. The decks are already sweet, and we've barely begun to scratch the surface of what this tribe can do. Will Vesperlark give Altar of Dementia a second chance at breaking Modern? Does Master of Waves push Risen Reef over the top? Can Thunderkin Awakener breathe new life into Rage Forger aggro? Join us this week for a journey to the Primal Beyond, as we discuss all things Elementals with some slick new brews.




02:30 Lame Duck Modern + the post-Hogaak Metagame


17:40 Elemental Tribal: What We've Seen So Far


26:10 Brewing Elementals with the Scryfall Method


45:41 4c Vesperlark Value-Combo (Brew #1)


57:00 Bant Vesperlark Combo (Brew #1b)


1:02:45 RB Thunder Forger (Brew #2)


1:09:30 Temur Thunder Vine (Brew #2b)


Other lists referenced:


Skelemental, Thunderkin, Unearth, and Ball Lightning, plus Seasoned Pyro/Faithless Looting + standard B/R spell package, a couple Arcanists thrown in.
Basically the same, but trimming Thunderkins and dropping Ball Lightning to make room for copies of Young Pyromancer, Lingering Souls, Smiting Helix.
8-Balls + Collected Company + Pelt Collector, the worst creature in Modern.
Risen Reef and a random assortment of creatures. Aether Vial + the tribal lands (Cavern, Unclaimed Territory, Primal Beyond) + Smokebraider enable all 5 colors.
There are 2 more 5-0 "5c Elemental" lists that do not run Skelemental.
Reef as a value creature in Bant Company, with light Elemental package (mainly Voice of Resurgence).
Rage Forger + a bunch of terrible creatures that happen to be Shamans.

All-in Vesperlark Combo (Liam Cahalan)

Turbo mill to assemble Vesperlark + sac outlet + Image/Body Double.


5c Master of the Reef (Caleb Durward)

Miscellaneous 5c elementals, including Shorecrasher Elemental for increased devotion.


Amulet Reef Combo (u/Jrax)

Play your whole deck with Amulet of Vigor + Risen Reef (explanation here).


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 16: Niv-Mizzet Deep Dive


It's a Hogaak summer, it is what it is, but Niv's a 5-star dragon and we know he's got it lit. Dan and Damon spread their wings over Minneapolis last weekend with a new build of Rainbow Niv-Mizzet. The deck is sweet, but can you really cash a Grand Prix with a Faithless Brew? Yes, yes you can! Damon notched a 9-4-2 finish in the main event, and the deck is poised to get even better in the post-Hogaak metagame.

This week the crew breaks down everything Niv-Mizzet: our testing process, manabase considerations, sideboarding and matchup analysis, and recommendations for the build going forward. You won't want to miss this one!


Niv-Mizzet GP Deck Tech (Damon)


Friday MCQ Decklist (Damon + Dan)


Saturday GP Decklist (Damon + Dan)


Sunday MCQ Decklist (Dan)


Hogaak without Leylines (Andrew Wolbers, Sunday MCQ Winner)


Unexpected Tron deck tech (Nathan Graves, Saturday round 6 feature match)


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 15


It's a homecoming week for the Faithless Brewing crew, as we descend on the Twin Cities for Grand Prix Minneapolis. In this episode, we discuss the fundamentals of brewing competitive rogue decks: how do you go from spark of an idea to finished decklist? What are some guidelines for constructing successful brews, and what are the common pitfalls? We are joined by special guest and master brewer Rhett Wilfahrt.


Flashback: Watcher for Tomorrow


Watcher Blink: 3-2 league, Ephemerate is very powerful


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 14: Watcher for Tomorrow


Look at your top 4 cards and choose the best one. Then, do it again. And again. As many times are you can blink! Watcher for Tomorrow offers selection and value reminiscent of Narset or even Dig Through Time, all stapled onto an efficient creature. The only catch? You have to make him die. The crew thinks they are up to the task, with a few different possible shells. Which ones will have what it takes?


Spice Roundup


Snowy Niv-Mizzet: 5-1-1, SCG IQ Newington. Promising results with this snow manabase featuring Arcum's Astrolabe, Pillar of the Paruns, Search for Tomorrow and Wrenn and Six.


Brewers' Mailbag


What is the most competitive Faithless Brewing deck? This question is like an onion: many layered and with lots of tears. The crew peels it back as we ponder deck options for GP Minneapolis.


Flashback: Yawgmoth, Thran Physician


The Yawgfather has many talents, from card draw, to board control, to infinite combos with undying creatures. But how much should we lean on this card? Is the undying combo viable as a primary plan, or should that be a secondary angle in a creature based aggro deck?


Monoblack Zombies: 2-3 league, was using its recursive creatures too fairly


4c Undying Evolution: 6-4 leagues, Neoform + undying allows for a strong aggro plan, but the list can definitely be streamlined


Reference lists:


Jund Superfriends (lucky_dragon, 5-0 league): an intriguing take on Yawgmoth + tokens for value


Brew Session: Watcher for Tomorrow


Jeskai Saheeli


Bant Blink (Sketch)


UW Hatebear Blink (Sketch)


Reference lists:


Bant Blink (TscheggschDePoegg, 5-0 league)


Bant Blink (Gabriel Nassif, Fandom Legends)


Eternal Command (Shota Yasooka, Players' Championship 2012)


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 13: Yawgmoth


One month after Modern Horizons, the Good Doctor is well on his way to becoming a Modern staple. Free sacrifice outlets are powerful, free card draw is insane, and that's not even half of the card's text box! But is Yawgmoth best used as a value engine, a combo piece, or something in between? Brewers have been succeeding with both approaches, and the crew has a couple ideas of their own.


Brewers' Mailbag (New!)


Is it better to pick your best cards and play as many copies as you can, or is there value to playing a mix of 1-ofs? Does the equation change for main deck versus sideboard? What about for playtesting a deck versus registering for a tournament?


Have a question for us about the brewing process? Send them to us @FaithlessMTG and we will get to your question on air!


Flashback: Brought Back


Brought Back for a land and another card is slick, and Brought Back for two lands is the slickest. But the resulting decks necessarily end up being white-based control, and graveyard-reliant on top of that. As great as Brought Back is, the ceiling for this card may just prove to be too low.


Bant Midrange v1: 8-7 leagues, functional but weaker than Karn version


Bant Midrange v2: 4-6 leagues, stronger, but still needs improvement


Sun Titan Control (fincown, 5-3 Modern Challenge): 3-2 league, solid but hard work


Abzan Shadow (cavedan, test deck): Brought Back maybe worse than Unearth here


Listener-submitted decks with Brought Back:


White Amulet (blakfishy, test deck): explosive but fragile


Eternal Value (breakfast4dinner911, test deck): needs more disruption


BW Smallpox (Matt Young, test deck): interesting planeswalker angle


Brew Session: Yawgmoth


Monoblack Yawgmoth (Sketch)


Yawgmoth Evolution (Sketch)


Yawgmoth Zombies (Nick Vallas)


Other lists referenced:


Unearth Zombies (zorloth, 6-3 Modern Challenge)


4c Yawgmoth (TheWillHallExp, 5-0 league)


Sultai Aristocrats (visitor636, 5-0 league)


Mardu Pyromancer (MisterKite, 5-0 league)


Jund Superfriends (lucky_dragon, 5-0 league)


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 12: Brought Back


Core Set 2020's Brought Back took a star turn during our Lotus Field deep dive a couple weeks ago. So naturally, we Brought it Back for another chance at Modern glory, this time as the featured build-around. Part ramp, part card draw, part reanimation, Brought Back offers a little bit of everything. The only catch? You have to play white. Dave has some ideas, but what did we miss?


Spice Roundup: New Takes on Old Favorites


The wicked Bridge is dead, so it is time for the brewers to come out to play. Spicy decks are everywhere in the 5-0 league results, including some nice takes on cards we have previously explored.


Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner


Kiora's Dragons (Damon): 2-3 Modern Invitational, powerful but sideboard has "leaky bucket" problem


Niv-Mizzet Reborn


Glittering Niv (lan2_13, 5-0 league): six dorks, 4 Glittering Wish, light on green sources


Rainbow Snow (Jiggywiggy, 5-0 league): 10 snow basics + Astrolabe, no Pillar of Paruns


Force of Virtue
WR Loxobots (Erks, 5-0 league)
Oketra's Monument (Rebus8, 5-0 league)
Zoo Squad (jjenson187, 5-0 league; Hybrid7, 5-0 league)


Flashback: Crashing Footfalls


We hoofed it through a few leagues with Crashing Footfalls, trying out multiple strategies for getting the rhinos into play. The card was quite powerful in a number of shells, but in the end there could only be one winner of the Rhino Rumble.


UR Rhinos (KyFly1): 4-6 test leagues, strong but narrow in scope
Restore Rhinos (Jakesbaked): 5-0 test league, felt more versatile against a wide field
BR Free (Dzy): 1-4 test league, fragile and very hard to cast Footfalls
Temur Ascendancy (SvenSveeterSven, 5-0 league)


Brew Session: Brought Back


Naya Landfall (Sketch)


If you have a list with Brought Back, or suggestions for one of our builds, we would love to hear from you! Send us your build and we may feature it on next week's episode of the cast.


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 11: Crashing Footfalls


Are you ready for a RHINO RUMBLE?!? Crashing Footfalls joins the lineage of "can't be cast" suspend cards that are historically powerful and ripe for abuse. The combination with Ancestral Visions gives a critical mass of generically powerful suspend cards, in contrast to all-in build-arounds like Living End, Restore Balance, or Wheel of Fate. But what is the best route for casting the Rhinos, and from which zone? Are we willing to wait for them, or do we need to make our Rhinos right now?


Roundup: Brewing After Hogaak


They actually did it. Bridge from Below got the axe after just four weeks on Magic Online. The crew discusses the post-ban metagame: what's still strong, what may rise again, and what a brewer should be prepared to face. Also: decks we plan to test in preparation for GP Minneapolis.


Flashback: Lotus Field


We put Lotus Field through its paces in four different builds, discovering quite a bit of clunk (drawing the 2nd copy is awful, Blood Moon and Damping Sphere are embarrassing) but also unlocking several powerful synergies. Blood Sun and the Brought Back + Flagstones + Ghost Quarter package were very solid and worthy of further exploration.


Blood Sun Eldrazi: 2-3 league, curve was disastrous, but Blood Sun is strong


RG Assault Loam: 2-3 league, needs speed and more versatile control elements


GW Brought Back: 3-2 league, Brought Back is strong, but needs better early plays


Twiddle Storm: 5-5 leagues, excellent in game 1, vulnerable after sideboarding


Brew Session: Crashing Footfalls


We take a slightly different approach this week, as several lists with Crashing Footfalls have already seen success. However, each of them tackles the "can't be cast" problem differently, opting to cheat the card into play either from hand, from graveyard, or from the top of the library. If you want to get really crazy, you can even suspend it the "normal" way and wait. Which routes are the most effective, and are there additional enablers that have not been fully explored?


Restore Dominance (Jakesbaked, 5-0 league x2)

Rhino enablers: 7 hand (As Foretold, Electrodominance), 2 graveyard (Finale of Promise). Green mana: yes.


UR As Foretold (KyFly1, 11-4 GP Dallas, 5-0 league, 6-2 Modern Challenge)

Rhino enablers: 8 hand (As Foretold, Electrodominance), 3 graveyard (Dreadhorde Arcanist). Green mana: no.


Black-Red Free (Dzy, 5-0 league)

Rhino enablers: 5 graveyard (Dreadhorde Arcanist, Finale of Promise), 4 hand (Electrodominance). Green mana: yes.


Living End "Fakeout" (MagicAids youtube + keatingn, 5-0 league)

Rhino enablers: 12 library (Violent Outburst, Demonic Dread, Bloodbraid Elf). Green mana: no.


Rhino Conjuring (Sketch)

Rhino enablers: 4 library (Collected Conjuring), 4 hand (As Foretold), 4 graveyard (Dreadhorde Arcanist, Finale of Promise). Green mana: TBD.


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