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

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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Faithless Brewing, Episode 28: Kiora Returns


It's finally time to dive into Pioneer, so it's no surprise that the first card we want to brew around is... Kiora, Behemoth Beckoner? That's right, Kiora! An old favorite on Faithless Brewing, Kiora has always been secretly excellent in Modern, especially when paired with Glorybringer in a ramp shell. New additions from Eldraine have Dan interested in updating the Modern list, while David believes that the basic shell can be ported over to Pioneer as well. But that's not all that Kiora can do. Looking outside of green, David has some wilder ideas for unlocking Kiora's synergies in Esper, Grixis, and Izzet. Do any of them have what it takes to keep up in the wild west that is Pioneer?


Update: We are now on Patreon! If you like our show, please consider joining our community:


Also, Dan has a new article up at, covering the rules of engagement for building successful decks in Pioneer. Check it out!


Roundup: SCG Atlanta + Week 1 of Pioneer


Simic Urza Oko Goose (by Zan Syed): 4th place, SCG Atlanta Modern Open


Boros Burn (by Lichking7): 7-1, Pioneer Challenge


Brew Session: Kiora in Modern and Pioneer


Modern lists


Bonecrusher Oko-Kiora (Dan): 5-0 league

For a writeup on the evolution of this deck, see this article.


Once Upon KiorDrazi (Dan): 5-0 league


Pioneer lists

Sketch #1: Gruul Ramp

Sketch #2: Esper Dragons

Sketch #3: Grixis Hollow One

Sketch #4: Izzet God-Pharaoh's Gift


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Modern After Regionals

Faithless Brewing, Episode 26: New Spice from SCG Regionals


In this second half of our double header episode, we are tackling all things Modern: spicy brews from SCG Regionals, testing results with The Great Henge, plus Damon's Top 8 finish in his Standard MCQ in Mox Boarding House, Seattle. Does the Czech testing house's Bant Ramp deck hold lessons for Modern as well?


Two other important announcements this week:


First: We are extremely excited to announce the launch of our Faithless Brewing PATREON (! Many of you have been asking us about this over these past five months, and lo, it has at last come to pass. Patreon is where you can support the show directly, and receive a variety of cool benefits as thanks, including bonus content, swag, and access to our Faithless Brewing Discord channel. We are very excited to build a community of brewers in the Faithless Family, which we hope can be a place to interact not just with us but with the many talented and creative brewers that make up our listener base. So if you like what we produce, find value in it, and want to help us make it even better, be sure to check it out!


Second, I mentioned that this Episode is part of a double header. The other half, which is posted as separately (as Episode 27), is already available on our channel and offers a guide to the Pioneer format from the perspective of a Modern player. We unpack the manabases, removal options, disruption tools, the most powerful cards and strategies, and how to combat them. If you are Modern player wondering how to get started brewing in Pioneer, you won't want to miss this!  






Weekend Roundup
5:21  Bant Ramp (Damon, via Czech testing house): Top 8, Standard MCQ at Mox Boarding House, Seattle
13:57  Urza Oko (by Zan Syed): 1st place, SCG Regionals Raleigh-Durham
18:23  Simic Eldrazi (by aspiringspike): 7-2 regionals, several 5-0s, also top 8 in MTGO PTQ (by C_E.L)
23:14  Foodie Niv-Mizzet (by Cameron Martinez): 1st place, SCG Regionals Knoxville
25:01  Faeburrow BTL Saheeli (David): 4-1 league
33:33  BTL Kiki Copycat (by forenmagra): four 5-0s in his last six leagues
Flashback: The Great Henge
35:58 Sultai Hengevine: 4-1 league
39:57 Golgari Undying: 4-1 league
45:29  Bant Monkeyhenge: 2-3 league
46:57  Mono Green Stompy: 2-3 league
54:22  Hengehammer Gruul: 4-1 league



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Faithless Brewing, Episode 27: A Brewer's Guide to Pioneer


Well that was unexpected.  The birth of a new format is a strange and wonderful thing. “Brewer’s paradise” is a phrase that gets thrown around often, and if that doesn’t apply to times like these, when does it ever apply? For a brewing podcast like ours, a completely unexplored format must be a dream come true.


The truth is that successful brewing is actually quite difficult when a metagame is completely undefined. We cannot attack a meta from unexpected angles if we ourselves have no idea what to expect.


So what should we expect from Pioneer? How do we build decks in this exciting new format? Fear not, you Faithless Brewers, we have you covered!


In this special bonus episode, we take a deep dive into the Pioneer card pool. We unpack the mana bases, removal options, the most powerful cards and strategies, and the decks you will need to be prepared for on Day 1 -- everything you need to get brewing and start battling in the queues!




2:38 What is Pioneer?


5:18 Initial reactions + unpacking the B&R philosophy


11:15 Getting to know the card pool: Pioneer and Modern, compared


17:00 Understanding Pioneer mana bases: lands and ramp options


32:11 Cards that used to be banned in Standard and Modern


45:42 Understanding interactive tools in Pioneer: removal, sweepers, counterspells, and hand disruption


1:02:16 Understanding the Day 1 metagame: the most powerful strategies in the format


1:22 Summary: The Rules of Engagement for Day 1 of Pioneer


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 25: The Great Henge


Some weeks, when we pick a card to feature, we know it will be a hit. Charming Prince is a versatile role player. Emry is insanely efficient. Oko is simply Broko, and might prove too strong even for eternal formats. Brewing around these cards is a great way to get acquainted with future format staples, and maybe rack up some trophies in the process.


Other times, however, it is helpful to brew from the other end of the spectrum: pick a card that might prove totally unplayable, explore it to its fullest, and see where that leads. The Great Henge is one such card. Like the rest of Eldraine's mythic artifact cycle, The Great Henge demands an impossible mana investment, but offers a quest that might let you summon it on the cheap. Meeting this condition is already a giant puzzle, to say nothing of crafting a game plan that can exploit the Henge's abilities while also keeping pace with the brutal Modern format.


This week, our goal is to stretch our deckbuilding muscles. This means brewing in Hard Mode. Forget about 5-0s, or tuning a sideboard for the meta; these decks might not even survive the goldfishing stage. But the farther there is to climb, the more we stand to learn from the attempt. Join us as we venture to the Great Henge and beyond!


Roundup: Latest Developments in Modern


Utopia Niv-Mizzet (Dan): Top 4, SCG IQ Danbury, Sprawls are quite good at landing a planeswalker on turn 2, which may prove more important going forward


Sultai Into the Story (Raphael Mark): Top 2, SCG IQ Danbury, a strong take on the Mystic Sultai hard control archetype


Flashback: Charming Prince


Naya Dubious Defector: 13-7 leagues, hilarious and powerful, struggles to play defense


GW Charming Challenge: 2-3 league, Iona is stronger than Woodfall Primus/Worldspine Wurm, but requires giving up Through the Breach


Boros Blink: 2-3 league, grinds well, but struggles to disrupt unfair decks


Charming Taxes: 2-3 league, relies heavily on Aether Vial and Stoneforge Mystic to present anything powerful


UW Charming Soulherder: 3-2 league, very strong but requires a lot of clicks and triggers to win


Brew Session: The Great Henge


Sketch #1: Golgari Hengevine


Sketch #2: Yolo Yorvo Combo Henge


Sketch #3: Basic Henge Stompy


Sketch #4: Arcanist Hengehammer Beats


Elfball Combo Henge (Meryn MTG): 5-2 in 1v1 queues


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Faithless Brewing, Episode 24: Charming Prince


Oko, Thief of Crowns crushed it last week. We tested five homes the new Simic walker, and the trophies just started stacking up. Sultai Faeries, Bant Okoblade, Bonecrusher Kiora, even Faeburrow Niv-Mizzet got in on the 5-0 action. 38-7 is not a normal record for our testing sessions. Was it just good luck, good decklists, or is Oko simply brok-o? What is clear at least is that the card has many hidden modes, functioning more like a six- or seven- ability walker. "Five-Oh-ko" (too much?) looks to be a multi-format staple going forward, so pick up your copies now.


Four trophies will be a tough act to follow, so this week the crew takes a crack at a more humble offering from Eldraine: the Charming Prince! Like Oko, Prince Charming offers three modes, but contextually they can feel like four or five. Versatility like that on a 2 drop is great, but the blink mode in particular has Dave's gears turning as potentially enabling broken plays. Can the young prince rescue our permanents from the enemy’s clutches, and stake his claim as a future Modern staple?



Timestamps and Decklists


Flashback: Oko, Thief of Crowns


03:45 Bant StoneBlade: 5-0 league

12:29 Shape Anew: 2-3 league

21:14 Sultai Faeries: 9-1 leagues

30:04 Bonecrusher Kiora: 17-3 leagues

39:10 Faeburrow Niv: 5-0 league


Roundup: Eldraine Week Two



51:03 SCG Team Open results

52:48 Once Upon a Time, Castle Garenbrig

54:06 Emry, Lurker of the Loch

54:56 Witching Well

55:34 Mystic Sanctuary

58:35 Gingerbrute, All that Glitters

59:24 Merchant of the Vale

59:43 Fires of Invention + Fae of Wishes

1:01:15 Fires of Invention + Savor the Moment + Mystic Sanctuary

1:04:55 Glass Casket

1:05:16 The Royal Scions

1:06:18 Drown in the Loch


Brew Session: Charming Prince



1:09:24 Charming Prince Overview

1:11:53 Sketch 1: Wr Humble Blink

1:26:37 Sketch 2: Naya Challenge


Reference lists:


Mono-W Taxes (kaosofmind): 5-0

Mono-W Emeria (Fincown): 5-0

GW Dubious Prince (k_f_chicken): 5-0




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Faithless Brewing, Episode 23: Oko, Thief of Crowns


Oko, Thief of Crowns, is a mischievous trickster. He’s so devious that he tricked Wizards into printing him with three powerful abilities and a giant pile of loyalty, all for the low, low price of three mana. Already poised to dominate Standard, the crew thinks Oko will be flaunting his skills in Modern in the very near future, and Dave has six new decklists to prove it.


Also, Dan has a new article up on a comprehensive Brewer’s Guide to Throne of Eldraine! Expanding on our discussions in the podcast and analyzing 65 cards across four different Top 10 lists (math checks out, right?) this article has everything you need to start brewing with one of the most exciting new releases that Modern has ever seen. You won’t want to miss it!


As always, thanks for listening!


— cavedan


Dan’s Article: A Brewer's Guide to Throne of Eldraine


Damon’s Tournament Results


Rainbow Niv-Mizzet (Damon): 6-2 Modern challenge, 5-0 league

Brazen Cutthroat Kiki (Damon, based on kahluah777’s 5-0 list): 5-0 league


Roundup: Throne of Eldraine Week 1


Paradoxical Emry (Kevslinger): 7-1 Modern Challenge

Emry Ascendancy (Rav104): 5-0 League

Wishclaw EmrySword (haubidtran): 5-0 league

Grixis Into the Story (aspiringspike): 5-0 league

Charming Emeria (Fincown): 5-0 league


Dubious Prince (k_f_chicken): 5-0 league


Gilded Skies (internetsurfer09): 5-0 league

Questing Stompy (fluffywolf2): 5-0 league

Once Upon a Bogle (__matsugan): 5-0 league

Glitterbrute Affinity (sandahl123): 5-0 league

SnowKo Niv-Mizzet (rodebo): 5-0 league, 4-1 league


Brew Session: Oko, Thief of Crowns


Sketch #1: Sultai Faeries

Sketch #2: Oko Shape Anew

Sketch #3: 4c Saheeli

Sketch #4: Bant OkoBlade

Sketch #5: Arcades Herder

Sketch #6: Faeburrow Niv-Mizzet (update: Damon notched a 5-0 with this updated list!)


Reference lists:


Bant OkoBlade (UBERMIKEYB): 3rd place, Modern Challenge

4c SnowKo Saheeli (Gab Nassif): 6-2, Modern Challenge



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Faithless Brewing, Episode 22: Emry, Lurker of the Loch


Eldraine is upon us, and Emry, Lurker of the Loch is the talk of Modern Town. In fact, we wrote an entire strategy guide for the card the very day it was spoiled. Our analysis contained one error, though: "Stoneforge Fishstick" is not the most appropriate nickname for the Lady in the Lake. Her power level warrants a more distinguished pedigree: nothing less than "Deathrite Salmon." This week, the crew unpacks five different ways to break Modern wide open with the new legendary merfolk. There's more than one way to fry a fish!




03:02  Niv-Mizzet Reborn (Damon): 5-2 Modern Challenge. Graveyard decks and Urza combo are currently ascendant in the metagame; plan accordingly.


Flashback: Green Week


08:57 GW Leyline Elves: 3-2 league, needs more speed and redundancy in the combo to compensate for lower overall power

14:08 Genesis Devotion (by u/Cube_): 8-7 leagues, capable of truly astonishing combo turns, but struggles to interact with other linear/degenerate decks
25:17 Unbound Devotion: 5-5 leagues, Llanowar Tribe is solid and Hydroid Krasis is capable of carrying the deck. Still struggles with the same spread of matchups as the other green devotion lists
36:17 Unbound Revelation (by u/DiogenesCane): uses Heartbeat of Spring and Finale of Revelation for a Time Spiral-like effect, as described here
41:49 "Hogaak-less Hogaak" (sketch): an attempt to graft the Saffi+Rallier combo into a Vengevine aggro shell
44:41 Rallier Combo (by Aaron Westbrook): a variant using Kaya's Ghostform for redundancy in combo pieces
Roundup: Eldraine Top Ten
51:10 (HM) Grumgully, the Generous
53:01 (HM) Witching Well
54:50 (#10) Brazen Borrower
58:57 (#9) Glass Casket
1:01:10 (#8) Wishclaw Talisman
1:05:33 (#7) Castle Garenbrig
1:10:07 (#6) The Royal Scions
1:14:50 (#5) Oko, Thief of Crowns
1:16:33 (#4) Drown in the Loch
1:18:51 (#3) Mystic Sanctuary
1:22:32 (#2) Emry, Lurker of the Loch
1:24:17 (#1) Once Upon a Time
Brew Session: Emry, Lurker of the Loch
1:29:25 The Core Emry Package
1:33:17 UrzaSword
1:33:50 Jeskai Ascendancy
1:39:12 Paradox Engine
1:41:54 Paradoxical Outcome
1:46:51 Kethis, the Hidden Hand
1:55:11 Fair Decks with Emry
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Faithless Brewing, Episode 21: Leyline of Abundance + Eldraine Previews
It's finally here: Green Week! After a long and arduous Hogaak summer, the metagame has finally slowed enough to potentially reward a strategy of flooding the battlefield with green permanents. Core 2020's Leyline of Abundance has been waiting in the wings, offering explosive starts with mana dorks, as well as a few sneaky infinite combos. Also, did somebody say two free pips for Nykthos? The crew breaks down fresh new takes on Leyline Combo, Unbound Flourishing, and Green Devotion.
Plus: a host of spicy previews from Throne of Eldraine, including bonus decklists!
Roundup: Niv-Mizzet Takes Flight
It was a big week for Niv-Mizzet Reborn, as this Faithless Brewing Original has officially ascended to Tier 2 status (at least, according to the wise sages at the Arena Decklists Podcast). But don't just take their word for it. The tournament results speak for themselves, with Niv putting up strong results at MCQs both in paper and online.
Glittering Niv (Ihavethefire): 1st place, MCQ Pittsburgh
Ramp-less Niv (Damon): 6-2 MCQ Seattle, 6-4 MTGO PTQ, 5-0 league x2
Traverse Niv (cavedan): 6-3 MTGO PTQ
Flashback: Kethis, the Hidden Hand
We'll be straight up, these decks sucked. Even Matt Nass's build could barely win a game. Not all is lost, however: the Saffi combo proved strong enough to possibly become its own version of the deck, and Emry, Lurker of the Loch means that help is on the way for dedicated Kethis Kombo.
Project Keth-eX: 3-7 practice matches, curve felt too slow, Kethis combo less well integrated than Saffi combo
Kethis "KCI" (Matt Nass, test deck): 0-5 practice matches, deck folded to everything, mana was horrendous
Emry Kethis Combo (Sam Black, test deck)
"Hogaak-less Hogaak" (test deck): re-built for speed and to maximize Saffi combo, with potential for turn 2 kill (Carrion Feeder -> Stitcher's Supplier into Unearth on Renegade Rallier, return Saffi, attack for lethal).
Throne of Eldraine Previews
Specter's Shriek (Bonus list: BW Processor Eldrazi) -- Bonecrusher Giant (Bonus list: Bonecrusher Kiora) -- Grumgully, the Generous (Bonus list: Grumgully Goblins) -- Torbran, Thane of Red Fell -- Drown in the Loch -- Faeburrow Elder -- Merchant of the Vale (Haggle) -- Irencrag Feat -- Fires of Invention -- Vantress Gargoyle -- The Magic Mirror -- The Cauldron of Eternity -- Witching Well -- Oko, Thief of Crowns (Bonus list: Faerie Foodies)
Brew Session: Leyline of Abundance
Sketch #1: GW Leyline Elves
Sketch #3: Nissa Devotion
Sketch #4: Genesis Wave (designed by u/Cube_)
Reference lists:
Leyline Combo (PVDDR, test deck)
Leyline Combo 2 (PVDDR, test deck)
Devoted Elves (tagosaku, 5-0 league)
Bant Abundance (Jon Stern, MC Barcelona; Jeremie Ross, 5-0 league)
Steel Leaf Stompy (Ryan Robinson, 1st place SCG IQ)
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