Video Daily Digest: Have Some Faith

Faithless Looting isn’t necessarily the Modern Brainstorm, but wow are we starting to get close! Ross Merriam draws a few and puts a few away here!

Faithless Looting started off in Modern as an enabler for graveyard-based
combo decks. Dredge and Goryo’s Vengeance decks needed the combination of
card filtering and a way to get key combo pieces into their graveyard, and
Faithless Looting provides those two things more efficiently than any other
card in Modern. However, the fact that it inherently creates card
disadvantage made it anathema to pilots of fair decks that care about raw
resource count.

But since the emergence of Mardu Pyromancer, we’ve seen that having enough
good cards to discard, mostly Lingering Souls, can make Faithless Looting a
potent tool even in a deck that looks to attrition its opponents. Faithless
Looting is the card that makes that deck tick, and has since been
recognized as one of the most powerful cards in all of Modern.

The only natural next step is to see if we’ve been missing out on the card
in other decks. Ben Friedman has had success adding it to his Grixis
Death’s Shadow list, taking it to the top 8 in Grand Prix Las Vegas, and
today’s featured list is yet another home for it: Temur Delver.

A classic tempo deck, Faithless Looting performs a number of tasks here,
from acting as another hit to flip Delver of Secrets, a cheap sorcery for
Young Pyromancer, and a way to fill the graveyard for Hooting Mandrills and
Traverse the Ulvenwald. There are no Flashback cards to discard, so you’re
always going to be down a card, but in a tempo deck that loss of card
advantage isn’t a big issue since you’re trying to end the game quickly and
that generally means having an unused card or two in your hand.

Moreover, this deck wants to operate on a very low land count, and any land
after the third can be easily discarded at little cost. What’s important is
that you find the cards you need to shut your opponent down, whether that
be Lightning Bolt against Humans or Spell Pierce against Jeskai Control,
and Faithless Looting does that better than the blue cantrips.

Delver decks have had a tough go of it in Modern. Without the more powerful
disruptive elements of the Legacy variants and facing a higher density of
cheap removal, the 3/2 flier is hard to protect and the strategy as a whole
gets shut down more easily. But Faithless Looting gives you a way to go
longer and dig toward more threats when your opponent answers the first
wave or two, so maybe the secret to making these decks work has been right
in front of our eyes all along.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.