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Budget Magic: $98 (18 tix) Modern Mono-Blue Faeries


ʔédlánet’é, Budget Magic lovers! It's that time again. We are currently in a strange place as far as Standard is concerned, thanks to the impending release of Eldritch Moon, which is stuffed full of new cards I can't wait to build around. As a result, I'm not all that excited to brew in Standard at the moment, and unfortunately, Eldritch Moon doesn't release on Magic Online until July 29. What this means is you should expect a lot of Modern on Budget Magic for the new three weeks, but then once Eldritch Moon hits Magic Online, we'll likely have a few Standard decks in a row to make up for it. As such, this week, we are heading to Modern for a sweet tribal tempo deck in Mono-Blue Faeries! While most of the cards in the deck are lacking in power on their own, there's an immense amount of synergy and flexibility in the archetype, which makes the deck much better than the sum of its parts. 

Let's get to the videos; then, we'll break down Mono-Blue Faeries. A quick reminder: if you enjoy the Budget Magic series and the other video content on MTGGoldfish, make sure to subscribe to the MTGGoldfish YouTube Channel to keep up on all the latest and greatest.

Mono-Blue Faeries: Deck Tech

Mono-Blue Faeries vs. Jund

Mono-Blue Faeries vs. Superfriends

Mono-Blue Faeries vs. Merfolk

Mono-Blue Faeries vs. Obliterator Rock

Mono-Blue Faeries vs. 8 Rack

The Deck

At it's most basic level, you can think of Mono-Blue Faeries like the UR Fliers deck in Standard. The deck is pretty straightforward. We play a bunch of little, evasive creatures with flash, generate value with nearly endless tempo plays, and eventually win the game with creature beats. However, we have a big bag of tricks we can dip into to generate small advantages, which, over the course of a game and a match, will hopefully be enough to add up to a win. 

The Lord

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Scion of Oona is likely one of the most straightforward cards in the entire deck. It's a 3-mana Faerie lord with the upside of giving all of our other creatures shroud. Most of our Faeries are rather small, so getting a power and toughness boost is quite helpful, although there are some sweet tricks involving the shroud-granting ability. First, if we can get two copies of Scion of Oona on the battlefield at the same time (and remember, Scion of Oona has flash, so we can wait for our opponent to tap out, play one copy at the end of our opponent's turn, untap, and play the second copy), we have the Faerie shroud lock. Each Scion of Oona gives the other +1/+1 and shroud, which means that, for the rest of the game, all of our opponent's targeted removal is blanked, so they'll need something like Anger of the Gods, Wrath of God, or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon to get rid of our creatures. The second sweet trick with Scion of Oona is to use it to fizzle a removal spell by flashing it into play to give our other Faeries shroud. This not only stops things like Lightning Bolt and Path to Exile but also uncounterable removal like Abrupt Decay!

Enters-the-Battlefield Faeries

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Faerie Miscreant is mostly filler. Every once and a while, we are able to draw an extra card because we happen to draw two, but mostly it's a one-drop Faerie that helps power up our more powerful Faerie synergies. That said, it's also quite important to the deck because we really want a bunch of Faeries on the battlefield, and we don't have much else to do on Turn 1. So, even though it's one of our least powerful creatures, it's also one of the most necessary. 

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Spellstutter Sprite is one of the best reasons to play Faeries. The ability to be a 2-mana counterspell that also leaves behind a (tiny) evasive body is very strong. Since we are mono-Blue, we don't have Bitterblossom to power up Spellstutter Sprite, so most of the time, we are using it to counter inexpensive spells like Thoughtseize, Lightning Bolt, and Terminate, although sometimes in the late game, we have a big enough board that it turns into a hard counter for just about anything our opponent could play. 

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No combos here. Instead, we just use Pestermite to pester our opponent, just like Garfield intended. Really, though, there are four different things we do with Pestermite, depending on the matchup and situation. Probably the most common play is to cast Pestermite on our opponent's upkeep to tap down one of their lands. While being 1 mana short for one turn probably isn't going to swing the game by itself, it is another one of those tiny, little advantages that add up over time. Second, we use Pestermite to tap down one of our opponent's attackers. Mono-Blue Faeries plays a lot of close games, and sometimes fizzling one attack by a Tarmogoyf ends up being the difference between winning and losing. Third, we use it to tap down an opponent's blocker. This doesn't come up all that much, because there are not too many fliers seeing play in Modern at the moment, but getting a Restoration Angel or Flickerwisp out of the way for a turn can be helpful. Finally, we play Pestermite as a 2-mana 2/1 flier by untapping one of our lands. This is especially helpful when we have four lands and want to both play a Pestermite and leave up a counterspell.

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Mistbind Clique is our big payoff card. Not only does it give us a 4/4 flying body, which can help us close out the game in short order, but it Time Walks our opponent by tapping down all their lands for a turn (which is why we almost always want to play Mistbind Clique on our opponent's upkeep). While tapping our opponent out for one turn is nice, it gets even crazier in multiples. When we manage to resolve a Mistbind Clique multiple turns in a row, it becomes pretty hard to lose the game. 

While it might not be obvious at first glance, the other thing Mistbind Clique lets us do is reuse enters-the-battlefield abilities like those found on Spellstutter Sprite or Pestermite. The champion mechanic essentially works like an Oblivion Ring. When Mistbind Clique enters the battlefield, we have to exile another Faerie (or sac Mistbind Clique, so be careful playing Mistbind Clique with only one Faerie on the battlefield, since it's easy to get blown out), but then when Mistbind Clique leave the battlefield, we get back the exiled Faerie. Because of this, beyond tapping down our opponent's land, we can use Mistbind Clique to save a Faerie that's being targeted by a removal spell, or sometimes just to exile a Spellstutter Sprite, with the intention of bouncing the Mistbind Clique to get back the Spellstutter Sprite when we need to counter something. 

Bounce

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Faerie Impostor and Quickling give us access to a bunch of different tricks and synergies. They allow us to reuse Mistbind Clique to tap down our opponent's lands again, pick up our Mistbind Clique to return a championed Spellstutter Sprite to the battlefield to counter a spell, or return a championed Pestermite to tap down one of our opponent's threats. They can save our creatures from a removal spell, and in the late game, the tempo loss of picking up a creature is minimal. Since nearly all of our creatures have flash, we can often replay the bounced creature right away. Finally, if we have two copies of Quickling, we can block any one creature for infinity for just 2 mana a turn. Say, for example, that our opponent has a huge Tarmogoyf. We simply block with a Quickling and, before damage is dealt, cast the second Quickling to pick up the first, then rinse and repeat. Oh, one other important note: neither Quickling nor Faerie Impostor actually target a creature, so even if all of our Faeries have shroud from Scion of Oona, we can still pick up any Faerie we want using their abilities. 

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First off, everything I said about Quickling and Faerie Impostor holds true about Unsummon and Vapor Snag, with one big exception: we can't use them to bounce creatures that have shroud from Scion of Oona. That said, the main reason we have Vapor Snag and Unsummon in the deck is to bounce our opponent's creatures, not our own. One of the interesting aspects of Mono-Blue Faeries is we don't have any hard removal. Instead, our plan is to tempo our opponent out of the game by bouncing their creatures and making them spend their turn and mana to recast their creatures, while we are beating down with our horde of Faeries. If a creature is especially problematic, we can try to maneuver into a position where we can bounce the creature with Unsummon or Vapor Snag and then counter the creature on the way back down, getting rid of it forever. 

Counters

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Speaking of counters, our deck gets to run the full four copies of both Remand and Mana Leak, and both of these counterspells are extremely powerful in our deck. One of the downsides of playing counters, at least in most decks, is that you have to leave up mana. If your opponent decides not to cast anything, you end up losing some efficiency and possibly even Time Walking yourself by leaving up the counter. Well, in a deck full of flash creatures, this isn't an issue. I'd say that, with Mono-Blue Faeries, 95% of our turns consist of drawing a card, attacking with some number of  Faeries, and then passing. We hardly ever want to tap mana during our own turn. Instead, we pass and leave up our countermagic, knowing that if our opponent decides to play around our counters, we can flash in some more Faeries at the end of our opponent's turn.

Ultra-Budget Mono-Blue Faeries

Ultra-Budget Mono-Blue Faeries should play almost exactly the same as the version in the videos, but with slightly worse versions of several cards. Probably the biggest subtraction is losing Remand (which perfectly fits the Faeries tempo plan) for Deprive, which is a hard counter but doesn't draw a card (actually, it makes us pick up a land). Otherwise, Vapor Snags become Unsummons, we go down one copy of Mistbind Clique (the most expensive Faerie in the deck), and we rework the sideboard. While I think this version of fine for casual play, in a more competitive setting, the loss of Remand will be especially painful. 

Non-Budget UR Faeries

For our non-budget list this week, we have a sweet UR Faeries list that Sam Black recently used to 5-0 a Modern league on Magic Online. As you can see, the deck is fairly similar to the one in the videos but with some expensive upgrades, including Snapcaster Mage, Ancestral Vision, Spell Snare, Cryptic Command, and a bunch of sideboard cards. Just like the ultra-budget version, the non-budget Faeries deck has a game plan like the one in our videos; it just gets a major boost of power from some expensive cards. If you are not interested in splashing Red and want to remain mono-Blue, the cards I'd look at adding would be Mutavault, Cryptic Command, Vendilion Clique, Ancestral VisionSnapcaster Mage, and Vedalken Shackles

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! All in all, we went 3-2 in our matches, performing well against midrange and control decks but struggling against very aggressive decks (especially Merfolk, which feels like an unwinnable matchup thanks to Cavern of Souls, Aether Vial, and islandwalk). I had a lot of fun playing the deck, and if you enjoy tricky tribal strategies based around synergy rather than power, I think you'll have a blast with Mono-Blue Faeries! As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions in the comments, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive, or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.


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