This week, LSV and I decided to do something a little different. There is plenty of available information on updated decklists, but there isn’t much on matchup analysis, so away we went. We decided to run WB Tokens and Faeries, as there seems to be a lot of differing opinions.
LSV and I decided to play the Token deck at Worlds because it had a favorable matchup against Faeries. Since then, a lot of people have called that into question, so we decided to find out the truth.
I decided to play WB for a few reasons. While we both have played Faeries a ton, I felt like I was more comfortable with WB Tokens. Luis is a better player than I am, so giving him the “trickier” deck makes more sense, as then we will most likely play both sides to the best of our abilities to give you the best results.
Luis played PV’s list for the most part, while I played the list from my WB article. We made some slight changes, but nothing major. We both agreed that Stillmoon is pretty weak against WB, as it is hard to cast, dies to your own Infests, and doesn’t really fit into your game plan. Peppersmoke seemed much better.
I’ll cover the first one, and he’ll cover the second one, and we’ll both cover the last one. The reason for this is that we really like this format and want to see what works the best. Having both of us cover the same matches seems a bit repetitive, but it could work as long as it isn’t in excess.
Match 1, Game 1
I win the die roll and mulligan a hand with only Mutavault and Fetid Heath for mana sources into only a Reflecting Pool for mana, into:
Knight of Meadowgrain
While only having five cards, this is a very solid hand. If I draw a White source, I have a sick curve and a Heights, which is what I’m looking for in this matchup.
Luis keeps his hand and I start with the Heights, putting a Thoughtseize under it. Throughout our testing, Sculler and Thoughtseize were the most common cards you put under a Heights. Midgame you want to rip their four drops out of their hand, as those are by far Faeries’ best cards against BW.
LSV Thoughtseizes me, taking the Knight, while I draw a Bitterblossom and play the Plains. Luis plays an Island and passes, while I draw Terror, play Mutavault, and pass. He plays a third land and I draw another blank, this time a Thoughtseize. I can only end my turn, as I don’t want to risk losing my Mutavault to a removal spell. Luis plays an end of turn Scion and attacks for one, but doesn’t have a fourth land.
I draw a Cloudgoat Ranger, while Luis adds to his clock with a Spellstutter Sprite. He finally draws a fourth land, but has no play. I rip a Caves of Koilos and cast Spectral Procession, which gets Cryptic Commanded. If I had another castable spell here, I would probably play Thoughtseize and then my real spell, but since I can only cast one spell this turn, I decided to just run the Procession out there.
Luis has another land and a Bitterblossom, while I draw another useless Cloudgoat. I decide that I need to Terror his Scion this turn, but don’t want to get it countered, so I attack with Mutavault to try and get him to tap out. I kind of need the land, but resolving a Terror is going to give me more time and is therefore more important.
He doesn’t kill the Mutavault during the attack phase, so I decide to just pass and Terror during his upkeep. If he doesn’t have a counter, then I want to Terror before he draws it, but if he does have a counterspell, I will make him the use the mana during his turn. However, end of my turn he Agony Warps it, so I just take the opportunity to resolve the Terror then.
He adds a Mutavault, while I cast Bitterblossom, which gets countered by Spellstutter Sprite. After an attack from Mutavault and company, I’m dangerously low, and when my Procession gets Broken Ambitioned, I pack it in.
I sideboard in three Wispmares for the planewalkers, Ajani and Elspeth. LSV brought in the Smokes, Infests, and Sower, but changed what he took out depending whether he on the play or draw.
Match 1, Game 2
I keep another sick hand.
Knight of Meadowgrain
I obviously lead with the Sanctum, while Luis has a tapped Secluded Glen. I draw a Reflecting Pool and cast Thoughtseize, seeing:
I note what pictures the Islands are, just in case he plays a different Island in the future, as I’ll then know a card in his hand, and he wonâ€˜t know that I know. I take the Ambitions, as I would rather have him use something on his turn to answer my Processions than mine. Finally, I play the second Sanctum and pass the turn. LSV plays an Island and passes. I draw another Pool, play it, and get Infested after Luis plays a Secluded Glen.
I draw Bitterblossom, and play it and the Knight instead of just the Procession, as the earlier Bitterblossom is in play, the worse it gets for Faeries. If I only had the Blossom, I would probably just cast Procession, but the fact that I get to cast the Knight also means that I will definitely cast the two spells.
Luis only has an Island, and I decide to put him in an “Infest or no” situation, which he has. I draw a Windbrisk Heights and put a Terror under it instead of a Tidehollow Sculler. LSV has a Bitterblossom and Mistbind Cliques me in my upkeep. Once I get untap and use the Heights to Terror his Mistbind Clique, we’re onto game 3.
Match 1, Game 3
Luis keeps (as the man rarely has to mulligan), while I keep:
Caves of Koilos
Knight of Meadowgrain
He leads with Glen, revealing Sower, and Thoughtseize taking my Bitterblossom. Luckily, I draw a Spectral Procession, play the Sanctum, and pass. He plays a Mutavault while I draw Plains, play Reflecting Pool and Tidehollow Sculler him, which reveals:
Sower of Temptation
Obviously, I take the Sower. He plays Island, while I draw another land and play the Procession, praying there are no Infests in LSV’s future. He doesn’t have it, and when I play an Anthem, he concedes.
WB wins 2-1
Luis won the second match 2-0. Basically, I mulled to five and six and he countered most of the spells I played.
He does make an awesome play where I play an Arcane Sanctum and he plays a Secluded Glen revealing Bitterblossom and passes. The only things he can cast for one mana are a raw Peppersmoke he would almost never cast, as there are both no targets in my deck and he would just wait until he could draw a card, and maybe a Broken Ambitions if he was digging for a land to cast the Blossom.
Showing his opponent the Bitterblossom might make some players paranoid and cast a Thoughtseize or Sculler as opposed to their own Blossom, to make sure they can prevent the Faerie deck from playing their best card. If I had a Bitterblossom and a Thoughtseize, I would almost certainly play the Thoughtseize, unless I thought about the reason why LSV would willingly show me his Blossom. Clearly it was because he had two.
I cast a Thoughtseize and that confirmed that he had two, although it wasn’t because I chose to play Thoughtseize instead of a two drop, I simply didn’t have one. Luis didn’t get rewarded for his excellent play, but at least I was there to witness it and comment on his mastery.
Match 3, Game 1
LSV kept his opener, while I kept:
He opens with Secluded Glen revealing Mistbind Clique, and Thoughtseizes a Spectral Procession. I draw a mediocre Ajani and get my Procession Thoughtseized again. LSV even has a Mutavault for his land drop. I draw a Knight of Meadowgrain and play it, while Luis only has another Secluded Glen. His Mistbind Clique isn’t looking all that good at the moment, for various reasons.
I play a Caves that I drew and attack, while Luis just keeps playing lands. When I draw an Elspeth, we finally see some action with a Broken Ambitions. I keep my another Procession on top while LSV decides he doesn’t need another land, even though he misses his next land drop.
My Procession gets Ambitioned again. We both put our cards on the bottom, a Bitterblossom and Spellstutter Sprite respectively, while the Knight continues its merciless rampage. LSV plays another land and passes.
I draw a Thoughtseize, attack and pass. I don’t cast it for a few reasons. First of all, I want to wait until I can cast two spells in a row. Second, I have a feeling that he has a Spellstutter Sprite, which is confirmed when he runs it out end of turn.
He attacks and plays a sixth land. During my upkeep, he runs out the Mistbind Clique, which I allow. He just draws and passes, as he needs his guy to block my Knight. I start my turn with a Thoughtseize, which gets Spellstuttered. My Terror has the same fate.
At this point, I have two Cloudgoats and Ajani in my hand, to his no cards, and I’m also on 27 life. These are usually the types of situations this matchup comes down to, as Faeries has little way to recoup the card advantage that I get from my spells. Needless to say, I like my spot.
During my next upkeep, I get Cliqued again. I get to untap, but Luis has the Ambitions for my Goat. Now, I’m too far behind and nothing short of the fourth Spectral Procession will save me. I don’t get there, and we head to game 2, while I’m left wondering what happened.
Match 3, Game 2
Knight of Meadowgrain
I play Windbrisk Heights and select Thoughtseize instead of a Terror, as I am more worried about counterspells and Infest than I am about Mistbind Clique or Sower, as I can easily fight through those. Luis only has a Secluded Glen, while my Knight gets one upped by his Bitterblossom. I draw a Bitterblossom of my own, but play Spectral Procession to put the pressure on.
Luis has a Mutavault, but passes it back after that. I attack and he doesn’t block. I bait his counter magic with the Bitterblossom and he obliges with a Spellstutter. Then, I evoke a Wispmare to kill his Blossom. LSV again plays land, go.
Despite him telegraphing Scion by not blocking earlier, I run my guys in there. Sure enough, Mutavault and his token eat my guys once he plays a Scion. If I had a Terror here, he would basically be dead, but he needs to risk it in order to win. Notice that if I put the Terror under the Heights instead of Thoughtseize, I’d crush him this turn, but I still think the Thoughtseize is correct.
I had the post combat Cloudgoat, so not all was lost, despite LSV adding a Bitterblossom to his side. I played another Goat on my main phase and attack with my other one, which he double blocks to kill it. Luis attacks with his Scion, Thoughtseizes me to make sure the coast is clear, and then Infests. We have a brief laugh the next turn when I Thoughtseize him and also see only a land.
Sadly, he draws a Sower of Temptation, while I draw a semi useless Glorious Anthem. He attacks and passes the turn, but drew the Broken Ambitions for my Spectral Procession.
I obviously put a land on the bottom, while we briefly debate whether or not he should keep a Sower on top. If he does, he will have lethal damage next turn, then I will have to draw something and he has to not draw something to kill his Bitterblossom, as he will be at one. In the end, he decides to keep it, but I rip a Terror, while he draws a Peppersmoke, but that whiffs.
Match 3, Game 3
At this point, I decide to get kind of creative, as it’s very obvious that I want some extra removal. Sometimes he has Mistbind Clique, Scion, and Sower and I’m kind of screwed. I didn’t expect Luis to play around Wrath of God, so I brought two in for a Cloudgoat and a Knight of Meadowgrain.
Luis mulligans to five and I keep:
Knight of Meadowgrain
Luis leads with Swamp, while I draw a Thoughtseize and play Arcane Sanctum. He has a Sunken Ruins, but no Bitterblossom. I draw a Caves of Koilos and play the Knight, as next turn I can cast Thoughtseize and then Bitterblossom. My Knight goes unmolested, and Luis only has another land.
Windbrisk Heights is my top card, and I lead off with Thoughtseize, seeing:
Sower of Temptation
I take the Sower and then play my Blossom, while he draws his fourth land. I draw another Heights and play it, again taking a Thoughtseize and moving Terror, Knight of Meadowgrain, and a land on the bottom. At the end of my turn, he bounced my Blossom with Cryptic, untaps, and passes the turn.
I draw a Wrath of God, which is pretty comical, bait with an Anthem which works, and then recast my Blossom. LSV plays two Bitterblossoms, trying to play catch up. A Wispmare off the top kills one of his Blossoms, and I continue my assault. Luis uses a Peppersmoke and an Infest to clear the board.
We each just play lands for the rest of the game, but it’s good enough to kill Luis combined with my early damage and his Bitterblossom.
WB wins 2-1
In the end, the matchup was basically what we thought. WB Tokens was favored enough to win the majority of the matches. In the games I did lose, I was mulliganning a lot (although he did mulligan to five once himself) and Luis was drawing some great spells after I ran him out of gas.
The more aggressive nature of the WB deck and the fact that Faeries has a hard time coming back from a losing board position is what puts WB over the top. Windbrisk Heights and the discard spells are by far the most important cards for this matchup, although Bitterblossom, Spectral Procession, and Terror also play important roles.
Cryptic Command is Faeries’ ace, as the WB deck can only force Fae to discard it and can’t do anything if Faeries’ draws and casts it. Generally, this is one of the main ways Faeries will force through the last damage.
Sower of Temptation and Mistbind Clique are their main ways to stop your offense. Infest out of the board is kind of annoying, but with so many “army in a can” spells, you can recover quite easily. It’s the cards that help Faeries permanently stabilize that you care about. For that reason, you absolutely want more Terror effects.
I think Murderous Redcap could fill that role, and you should probably play a couple of them maindeck instead of an Ajani and Elspeth. They can kill Mistbind with a couple Anthems in play, but more likely you are going to be able to save your Terrors for the Mistbinds as you pick off the smaller stuff with Redcaps.
Wispmare has been somewhat poor, as the times where they don’t have Bitterblossom, it is a mulligan. You just don’t have enough answers to Mistbind Clique and Sower of Temptation, and those are sometimes enough to beat you on their own. I wouldn’t recommend cutting Wispmares, as you need them in other matchups, mainly the mirror match.
I hope this helps give you some insight into the matchup, and I definitely hope you liked this format. If you have any questions or comments (especially on how to improve this matchup format), please post them in the forums.