invasion of tarkir
20, Feb, 23

MTG World Champion Creates Broken Commander Staple!

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Article at a Glance

A lot happened in the world of MTG this past weekend. Alongside the triumphant return of the Pro Tour, MTG players were gifted with a first look at new cards coming in March of the Machines. Featured was a bunch of bizarre character mashups and an absurd 18/6 that puts Colossal Dreadmaw memes to shame. On top of all these odd creature combinations is the return of one of MTG’s oldest traditions. For the illustrious few who become the MTG World Champion, you get an opportunity to help create an MTG card that will be immortalized in your own image. 2021 World Champion Yuta Takahashi showed off his preview card this weekend, and while the card was tailored to be Vintage and Legacy playable, it looks like it’s actually meant as a new Commander staple! Let’s take a look at Faerie Mastermind!

Faerie Mastermind

Faerie Mastermind is a two-mana 2/1 flier with Flash. Anyone who is familiar with Takahashi’s MTG journey can immediately see some paradigms between this card’s features and the World Champion behind the card. Yuta Takahashi is a well-known Blue mage who, like any blue mage, loves to draw cards. He’s also famous for his dominance with the Faerie archetype throughout the years – hence the Faerie creature type.

As far as this goes in terms of being Legacy and playable, Faerie Mastermind seems to fit the bill. There are a ton of cantrip spells all over Legacy and Vintage, like Brainstorm, Ponder and Preordain. Faerie Mastermind can enter the battlefield in response to these spells getting cast and immediately net a card.

Originally, Takahashi wanted this to be a 1/3 so “it could block Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer,” but that was deemed to be too powerful by Wizards of the Coast. Additionally, Takahashi was adamant on the Mastermind being blue so it could be pitched to Force of Will and Force of Negation in these older formats. Takahashi also wanted the card to be relevant in the Vintage format, but Wizards may have turned down that as well. Only time will tell in terms of the card’s relevance in these older formats.

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Faerie Mastermind in Commander

Command Tower by Evan Shipard

While Faerie Mastermind seems playable in older formats (but not necessarily meta-warping), the card is an absolute home run in the Commander format. Faerie Mastermind is a fantastic card advantage engine in the Commander format, and it’s all due to its activated ability. Faerie Mastermind will trigger its static ability each time an opponent draws their second card for the turn. With two activations, the mastermind will draw you a ridiculous five cards! The ability itself will draw you two cards, and Mastermind’s static ability will draw you three more cards in response to the cards drawn by your opponents. This costs eight mana, but it’s an incredible upside on a card that already has an incredibly relevant ability in the format.

Many players compared Takahashi’s creation to Ledger Shredder, and for a good reason. Both cards have relevant abilities in competitive formats that get better in Commander due to having multiple opponents for these cards’ abilities to trigger on. While Ledger Shredder sees Commander play, the card excels in the cEDH format. This is because players are likelier to cast multiple spells in each turn. Win conditions present themselves very quickly in the cEDH format, which results in massive counterspell wars occurring early into the game. Ledger Shredder takes advantage of that. The card does, however, drop off a bit at more casual tables since the games tend to go longer. The Shredder can still obtain a lot of triggers as the game goes on, but it needs to stick around a while to gain a lot of value. The same isn’t true for Faerie Mastermind.

Commander games tend to go for a long time, which means players need a lot of card advantage to keep up with the rest of the table. If you run out of gas in the midgame against several decks built to keep presenting value throughout a longer game, you’ll be sitting doing nothing while you watch your opponents play. Since Commander is primarily a casual format, play experience is prioritized, and sitting around is not a lot of fun.

Faerie Mastermind is equipped to take advantage of this. If each player is trying to draw two cards per turn on average, Faerie Mastermind will net you three cards each rotation of the table.

Ledger Shredder’s Foil?

ledger shredder

Alongside comparisons to Ledger Shredder functionally, some MTG players are excited about how the Mastermind will play out against the ever-present Lawyer-bird:

“holy shit this against all the ledger shredder decks??? let’s go!” – MrBarrelRoll

Ledger Shredder decks are interested in triggering the Shredder’s ability as consistently as possible, which means it’s relatively easy for a Shredder player to draw two cards every turn. This can, in turn, trigger your Faerie Mastermind for its maximum value potential. Unfortunately for Ledger Shredder haters, it did not take long for players to point out that the card is also fantastic alongside the lawyer bird:

“You play shredder to limit their interest in deploying multiple cards.

You’d play faerie mastermind to refill your hand as they try to dig for answers to shredder since shredder gives you card selection but connive is card natural, and if you’re using counterspells/removal you are still spending resources.” – AltairEagleEye

As pointed out by Reddit user AltairEagleEye, one of the more easily forgotten pluses for Ledger Shredder is that it encourages players to be conservative with their spells until they find an answer for the bird. When your opponent tries to find answers to the Shredder by drawing cards, Faerie Mastermind can net you extra cards, getting even further ahead of your opponent.

Another massive difference between Ledger Shredder and Faerie Mastermind is the card’s stats. Takahashi wanted the Mastermind to be a 1/3 for a good reason. Ledger Shredder’s growing body, and ability to block Ragavan right out of the gate, are very important in context to the Modern metagame. Ledger Shredder, for example, is fantastic against the popular Crashing Footfalls archetype because of how easily it can grow to become a 3/5 and block the 4/4 tokens created by the namesake card.

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Political Protection?

One of the most easily forgotten upsides to Commander effects that favor everybody is the sort of political protection the card can receive. Faerie Mastermind is capable of drawing a card for the entire table. This can help other players find answers to cards on the board, directly hindering their game plan and potentially owing you a favor later in the game. Even though the Mastermind is likely acquiring you a ton of advantage, players may be less interested in killing it if it’s actively being used to draw them cards.


wrenn and six

The biggest glaring downside to Faerie Mastermind is its one toughness. This means it gets preyed on by Common Modern threats like Wrenn and Six and trades down to many one mana creatures that see play in older formats. Ideally, you don’t want to be trading with this card in the first place, but getting destroyed by almost any removal piece is less than ideal. Obviously, you do not want to play Faerie Mastermind in matchups where your opponents aren’t drawing cards. Honestly, you’ll be very hard-pressed to find a Commander table that isn’t drawing extra cards. However, this can occasionally happen in the face of cards like Expressive Iteration in older formats. Faerie Mastermind seems like a fantastic card that shows promise in some competitive formats, but the card looks absolutely fantastic in the Commander format.

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