Even though it’s been a few weeks since the March of the Machine Prerelease weekend, many players had to wait a week before bringing the new cards to tournament play. MTG Arena and Magic Online received the new cards five days after they released in paper, and many Local Game Stores were running Prerelease events over a tournament – as they should. One week later, players have been able to try MTG’s newest cards in a competitive setting. One card that some players thought was being overrated by the community completely dominated Magic Online’s biggest Legacy event! The card also has multiple finishes in massive Pioneer events, highlighting its potential to shake up formats. Let’s take a look at Faerie Mastermind!
MTG 2021 World Champion Yuta Takahashi built this monstrosity to be Legacy playable, and the card seems to be just that. It wasn’t difficult for us to pinpoint this card as the best Commander card in the entire set, and it looks like Faerie Mastermind is, ultimately, just as powerful as many players anticipated it to be.
Able to draw a card whenever an opponent draws a second card each turn, Faerie Mastermind seems like an obvious Commander staple. Takahashi built the card to take advantage of an opponent’s Legacy-legal cantrips like Brainstorm, but Faerie Mastermind is seeing play in more places than just Legacy and Commander. The card is also seeing Pioneer play in a reemerging archetype! We’ve talked about just how good this card is extensively already, but now that the card has finally gotten the chance to put up some results, let’s take a look at what the card accomplished over the past weekend.
Ozymandias’s Legacy UW Control
The biggest splash that Faerie Mastermind made this weekend was in MTG mainstay Ozymandias’s Legacy UW control build. This won a Legacy challenge over the weekend and plays a full playset of Faerie Mastermind. The card is incredibly versatile in this build, allowing the control player to create free pressure against the omnipresent Delver deck that runs a myriad of cantrip effects and, when needed, can also fuel free counterspells by pitching itself to Force of Will and Force of Negation’s alternate casting costs. Its also easy to identify that there is some anti-synergy between the Mastermind and Narset, Parter of Veils, since Narset prevents opponents from drawing more than one card per turn but, considering how fast the Legacy format is, having as many tools that can interact with combo decks as possible can only be a good thing.
For reference, in the top 8 of the challenge that Ozymandias won, only one deck was not running any form of card draw or cantrip. Brainstorm is absolutely everywhere in the Legacy format, and, as long as it has a presence in the format, Faerie Mastermind is likely to follow.
Dimir Rogues in Standard
Standard players from the Zendikar Rising age may get some PTSD from this particular title. Dimir Rogues was an absolutely incredible archetype during its time in Standard. The deck was a sort of pseudo-mill tempo deck with various win conditions, from milling your opponent out to attacking with a bunch of cheap creatures that synergized incredibly well with one another. The haymaker card back in the day was Into the Story, a seven-mana instant that reduced its casting cost to four if your opponent had seven or more cards in their graveyard. This card allowed Rogue players to draw four cards, completely refilling their hand. Combine this incredible payoff with the inevitability provided by Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and you have an archetype that won numerous tournaments during its height.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your feelings for the archetype, Dimir Rogues’ Standard success did not translate to Pioneer. This is mainly due to the deck’s atrocious matchups with two of the best decks in the field at the time: Izzet Phoenix and Rakdos Midrange. Rakdos players ran Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. Not only did this Escape card shut down a lot of the Rogue’s innate synergies, but the milling that they enable allows Rakdos players to cast this nightmare with ease, ripping apart the Rogue player’s hand and creating a 6/6 that immediately demands an answer, only to return over and over again.
Izzet Phoenix was even worse. A lot of the archetype’s game plan involves getting Arclight Phoenix into the graveyard with effects that can fuel powerful Delve spells like Treasure Cruise, and Dimir Rogues’ gameplan accelerates what the Phoenix player is trying to achieve. Arclight Phoenix also trades very well with the creatures that make up the Rogue archetype, making it a true nightmare scenario. That deck isn’t very popular anymore because of metagame shifts (but it is still very playable), but the main reason for Dimir’s resurgence is thanks to the new Faerie Rogue.
Dimir Rogues Return to Pioneer!
A new build of Dimir Rogues has begun showing up in early MTGO Pioneer challenges, and it’s putting in some decent results. Featuring one top eight, one top 16, and one top 32 finish on Saturday and a top 32 finish on Sunday, this new Rogues build is more of a reactionary tempo strategy than a midrange deck that wants to turn on Into the Story. Mill Synergies still exist in the deck, as seen with Thieves’ Guild Enforcer, Soaring Thought-Thief, Nighthawk Scavenger, and Drown in the Loch. Still, most of this deck’s cards can function without the opponent having eight or more cards in graveyard, which makes Escape mechanics weaker overall against the build.
Don’t be mistaken, Escape and fueling graveyards is still a massive problem for this deck, considering the presence of Greasefang Combo and Delve spells in the metagame, but the tools available to the Rogues archetype are a lot more efficient at combating these strategies. Most importantly, Izzet Phoenix decks are not a popular archetype anymore, but a fantastic performance in the Manatraders event this weekend suggests that the archetype could be back on the rise.
Either way, Faerie Mastermind is a new tool for the archetype that, alongside triggering other Rogue synergies currently available, offers a great way to keep up with opponents who are trying to outvalue you. It also allows the deck to create much faster kills – as a lack of creatures was a bit of an issue for the archetype previously. This deck will be one to keep an eye on for the many MTG players who will be playing paper Pioneer, thanks to the current competitive season favoring the format.
Vendillion has Fulfilled his Desire!
Shortly after Ozymandias’s new brew topped MTGO’s biggest Legacy tournament of the week, Yuta Takahashi, 2021 MTG World Champion, and Faerie Mastermind’s creator, was quick to tweet out his excitement regarding the card’s early victory. Takahashi sought to create a powerful blue card that was Legacy playable, and it looks like he accomplished just that.
If you’re looking to pick up a Faerie Mastermind of your own, you may want to consider doing that soon. The marketplace has already begun reacting to the Mastermind’s recent successes, and the price is slowly climbing. Heck, the Mastermind probably has a good chance of appearing at the March of the Machine Pro Tour for Standard as well. Phyrexia: All Will Be One’s Pro Tour results put Pioneer Creativity on the map, and prices shot up as a result.
I think this card is worth only a little less than the meta-dominant Ledger Shredder, and there’s still some room between the two cards. Take my prediction with a grain of salt, but I think we’ll see a lot more Faerie Mastermind soon.