People often ask if I’m trying to get back on the Pro Tour/play Magic competitively again, and it’s a tough question.  When I played competitively, Grand Prix existed, and they were a path for serious players who wanted to play competitively.  With the current system, you have few chances to qualify for a Pro Tour, so you don’t have as much agency.  I’m trying to qualify in that I attend RCQ events reasonably often, and when I win one, I attend the corresponding RC.  If I qualified there, I would also attend the Pro Tour.  I’ve also been playing the PTQ events at the US Magic Cons, which is the other way that it’s possible to qualify. So yes, I’m trying, but quite casually by my standards.

The other aspect is there’s kind of a difference between playing/attending events and really trying.  I intend to attend several Modern RCQs this season.  I’m tempted to add “unless I win one early,” but really, I intend to attend several, because I don’t expect to win one early.  The reason is I don’t really try that hard.  Specifically, I don’t intend to play much if any Modern in the coming months outside of those RCQs, and I might not often play good decks.

Why wouldn’t I play good decks? Because I don’t care much about winning and I like experimenting with things.  I don’t get to play much Modern, but I’m still curious about whether various ideas in Modern are any good.  As an example, last weekend I played my first Modern RCQ and I played Blue-Red Faeries, which, notably, isn’t really a Modern deck.

So why did I play it, and what is it?

I like Flame of Anor.  I like Archmage’s Charm because drawing two cards is great, and Flame of Anor lets you do so while killing something, and it’s even flexible about what it kills.  The problem is in order to do so, you need to have a Wizard, which is a surprisingly difficult task in Modern at the moment. Snapcaster Mage and Delver of Secrets aren’t what they used to be.

Fortunately, Sleep-Cursed Faerie, a new card from Wilds of Eldraine is kind of the perfect Wizard for Flame of Anor because it only costs one mana and it has ward 2. This means it’s likely to stay on the battlefield being a Wizard, which is all I really need from it.  Also, a 3/3 flier isn’t the worst threat–if I’m playing a control game, it’ll wake up eventually and start clocking my opponent without asking me to tap out.

I still want more Wizards for Flame of Anor, but fortunately, Spellstutter Sprite is a Wizard, and another card I like playing. Since Sleep-Cursed Faerie is a Faerie, my Spellstutter Sprite is likely to be able to counter more different spells.

The rest falls into place from there, and the reason I wanted to play the deck is I liked the idea of playing a control deck which can use Flame of Anor well.

This is the deck as I’d play it now:


Picklock Prankster’s not a Wizard, but it’s pretty impressive at enabling Murktide Regent because the adventure mills four. With so many instants, sorceries, and Faeries, I’m less than 5% to fail to find a card I can put in my hand.

Lórien Revealed is great as a pseudo fetch land which grows Murktide Regent and has a blue color identity for Subtlety and Force of Negation, but it also lets me functionally take a land off Free the Fae (Picklock Prankster’s Adventure), which is some nice additional flexibility.

The deck I played had Snapcaster Mages instead of two of the Picklock Pranksters and a Stern Scolding instead of the third Murktide Regent.  I found Snapcaster Mage very expensive and I wanted to be better at closing games.  Pranksters and Murktide play well together, so leaning into that made sense.

I also had Blood Moons in the sideboard instead of Chalice of the VoidBlood Moon is bad in this deck and Chalices were necessary.  I’ve played very little Modern in the last several years, so I didn’t really appreciate how good the cascade decks were against counterspells.  They can try to cascade on my turn and protect with a Force of Negation or Mystical Dispute, and this deck can’t quite keep up with a resolved Living End or Crashing Footfalls, so Chalice of the Void is absolutely necessary.  Realistically, I might need 3.

Unfortunately I got paired against cascade decks three times in a row, so I didn’t get much of a sense of how the deck lines up against the rest of the field.  My expectation was that it seems structurally similar to the Blue-Black control deck with Orcish Bowmasters and Sauron’s Ransom, except that Spellstutter Sprite is much worse than Orcish Bowmasters and Flame of Anor is much better than Sauron’s Ransom.  Given that the deck seems playable, I figured this would be as well, but there are a lot of reasons it’s not so simple.

My concerns with the deck are how it seems bad at closing games, and in the matches I played, Lightning Bolt seemed very bad. But, I don’t know if Bolt is better in other matches.  Endurance in particular is a huge problem since it beats all of my creatures except Murktide in combat and makes Murktide harder to cast–at least Flame of Anor is good against it.

I ultimately suspect the Faerie package is too much slower than the red creatures in traditional Izzet Murktide and that the additional speed of that deck gives it better matchups overall, but I like trying new cards, and there are a lot of nice interactions in this deck.

Before I thought of this deck I was intending to play a fairly standard Up the Beanstalk deck or something with Samwise Gamgee.  I’m not sure what I’ll play next, I could try this with my updates, or one of those, or maybe something with Agatha’s Soul Cauldron.

Sam Black (any) is a former professional Magic player, longtime Magic writer, host of the Drafting Archetypes podcast, and Twitch streamer. Sam is also a Commander Cube enthusiast, and you can find Sam’s cube list here. For anything else, find Sam on Twitter: @SamuelHBlack.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.