Video Daily Digest: Faeries Without Bitterblossom

Faeries without Bitterblossom?! Ross Merriam is intrigued by a Magic Online list that trades black for red. Can Lightning Bolt make Faeries a contender for SCG Dallas?

#SCGDFW March 10-11!

Faeries is one of those decks that sits among the pantheon in Magic’s history alongside Jund, Affinity, and Caw-Blade. It was dominant in its heyday, scoring major tournament victories in Block Constructed as well as Standard. It was also one of the better decks in Extended at the end of that format’s life.

Its history of dominance led to Bitterblossom being preemptively banned in Modern, and when the card was unbanned years later, the deck seemed poised for a comeback. Unfortunately for Faeries devotees, Bitterblossom is one of those cards that has been somewhat passed by, a bit too slow for the Modern format, and vulnerable to cards like Abrupt Decay and Celestial Purge that weren’t around to keep it in check earlier.

Without Bitterblossom, it’s hard to turn on one of the secret best cards in the deck, Spellstutter Sprite, which would often counter an early spell and start the aggression, sneakily getting in an important couple of points before being thrown away to a Mistbind Clique. Faeries wins by inches, so every point counts, and it’s also much better at playing from ahead than behind.

It doesn’t get much cheaper than two mana for Bitterblossom, but Faerie Miscreant fits that bill. It’s not the most powerful card, but here it gets the job done, enabling your Spellstutter Sprites early in the game and happily being exiled to Mistbind Clique. It works in Pauper, and that format has cards that are too good for Modern, like Preordain and Ponder.

Faerie Miscreant also gives you a critical mass of early bodies for Scion of Oona, which is often the card that turns the corner. Your opponent is prepared to beat a clock of two or three damage per turn, and suddenly that is turned into six or seven. Being able to counter a removal spell with it is mostly gravy. Pick your spot and get aggressive.

Without the need to play black, this list gets to play some burn spells, which are excellent when you’re trying to win a tight race. Bolt-Snap-Bolt has ended many a game in Modern, and I imagine it does so even more in this deck. Those pesky Dark Confidants and Mantis Riders that are nigh-impossible to race can get out of here.

Faeries is the deck I regret not playing more of back in the day because I’ve come to absolutely love how it plays. If I could sleeve it up in Modern, I would not hesitate to make up for lost time. And if you want intricate, combat-centric games, then I suggest you don’t, either.

#SCGDFW March 10-11!