Running the Modern Gauntlet – Next Level Faeries vs Living End

Welcome back to Running the Gauntlet!

Today I’m going to begin taking Faeries through the gauntlet, but let me preface that with a few words. First of all, this is pre-Innistrad. While I do think that Innistrad will have an impact on Modern, I felt that additional content was better than just doing nothing, especially given how many videos I want to do once the set comes out online. Legacy, Modern, Standard, Draft; they are all going to be fighting for time, so getting a set of videos up beforehand, even if they aren’t 100% accurate, seemed better.

Here is the list I used:

[deck]3 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Tarmogoyf
2 Thirst for Knowledge
3 Vendilion Clique
2 Venser, Shaper Savant
4 Cryptic Command
3 Engineered Explosives
4 Path to Exile
4 Rune Snag
3 Spell Snare
2 Sword of Feast and Famine
2 Vedalken Shackles
3 Breeding Pool
2 Hallowed Fountain
7 Island
4 Misty Rainforest
4 Mutavault
4 Scalding Tarn
1 Flashfreeze
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Negate
2 Krosan Grip
1 Glen Elendra Archmage
2 Sower of Temptation
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
2 Timely Reinforcements
2 Kataki, War’s Wage
1 Threads of Disloyalty[/deck]

This decklist obviously bears many similarities to the deck found here, and I even played against Mr. Sheppard in round five of the tournament. His deck looked pretty solid, and once Cloudpost got banned, I couldn’t help but think the deck got even better.

I battled against Living End, played by none other than its creator, Travis Woo.

Channel LSV: Modern Gauntlet – Faeries vs. Living End

Note: Unfortunately, Travis Woo’s game were lost due to technical difficulty, but we’ve included the discussion for the Living End deck’s card choices. Enjoy!


These games were intense. One thing I really love about matchups like this is that you actually get to play a ton of Magic. You can say what you will about the Modern bannings, but they certainly have increased interactivity in the format. Game one seems pretty close, since you don’t really want to tap out once it hits turn 4+, or even turn 3 in some games, but if you don’t pressure them, they will eventually have a good chance of resolving a huge Living End. It is possible to draw more counters than they draw Cascade spells, especially if they are long on Demonic Dreads and short on Violent Outburst, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Ideally, you draw exactly one Tarmogoyf and one Vendilion Clique, and can deploy them before they have Living End up, letting you win the game off just 1-2 counters instead of needing more. This also makes Rune Snags more live, since otherwise they can just wait them out.


The sideboard plan I ended up liking best was:


[draft]1 Relic of progenitus
1 flashfreeze
1 glen elendra archmage
1 negate
2 sower of temptation[/draft]


[draft]3 spell snare
3 engineered explosives[/draft]

Even though they have Ingot Chewers, Shackles and Swords seemed good enough to keep.


Because of how my sideboard was built, these games didn’t look all that different. I do think that Faeries improves more than End does, mainly because it gets to cut dead Explosives and Snares for actual live cards, but I only had one really insane card to bring in (the one Relic). You can obviously build Faeries with a more focused sideboard, but when starting testing, I’d rather have a variety. Having additional hard counters and an obvious trump in Relic was nice, as was actually having Sower of Temptation. Sower lets you beat some small Living Ends, even if it is vulnerable to Deadshot Minotaur and Shriekmaw.

At the End of the Day

I wouldn’t change a whole lot here. The matchup ended up being fairly close to even, and the obvious fix is to add another Relic or two. If you think that Living End is going to be popular, that seems like a good move, but otherwise you can probably get by without them. This isn’t Dredge; if you don’t have hate, it might be a grind, but again, it’s still just a very interactive matchup. Both Travis and I talked about how so many of the games hinged on us making different decisions, and I really liked that (also, that game where he misclicked Pulse onto his guy instead of Sower was obviously a win for him, but playing it out seemed interesting enough).


From Innistrad, I’d be looking to add just one card. One way to re-build the deck would be to take advantage of Snapcaster Mage, since he is obviously very powerful. Him plus Path is pretty nice, and at six mana, buying back on Cryptic is pretty sick too. I would like a few more cheap spells, perhaps a few Ponders, now that we have fetchlands to play with again. I’m not sure if you can fit Spellstutters and Snapcasters AND Rune Snags, but I definitely think Snapcaster wants to be in there. The deck will still play out very similarly, so these should help in deciding what matchups are troublesome, but keep in mind how to best fit Tiago in once Modern rolls around.

Tomorrow I battle against Owen once again, this time piloting an aggressive deck!



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