Extended Deck Tech – BUG Faeries

Normally on TP we focus on Magic for big boys, that being the Eternal formats of Legacy and Vintage. But that won’t stop us from dropping the knowledge about some Extended tech for our loyal readers who are trying to take their game to the next level by qualifying for the Pro Tour. Extended is almost as good of a format as Vintage and Legacy, but the power level of the cards is a bit less.

I played in an Extended PTQ in Madison, Wisconsin (USA) this past weekend, and 168 players showed up to battle for an invitation. I had been brainstorming some decks the night before, and this is what I rolled with to the tournament:
BUG Faeries 20101Q 1.0, by Jaco 02-19-2010
Business (38)
4 Ancestral Vision
3 Bitterblossom
2 Umezawa’s Jitte
4 Spellstutter Sprite
4 Tarmogoyf
3 Vendilion Clique
3 Thoughtseize
4 Spell Snare
3 Mana Leak
2 Cryptic Command
3 Repeal
3 Smother

Mana Sources (22)
3 Mutavault
4 Misty Rainforest
2 Verdant Catacombs
2 Watery Grave
1 Overgrown Tomb
1 Breeding Pool
6 Island
2 Swamp
1 Forest

Sideboard (15)
2 Extirpate
2 Shred Memory
2 Darkblast
2 Damnation
1 Deathmark
3 Kitchen Finks
3 Glen Elendra Archmage

I figured that Zoo and ThopterDepths variants would be the most played decks in the room. There ended up being a lot of those as well as everything else you could imagine. I ended up 4-2 then dropped to head home on a long drive. I beat Dredge, Tooth and Nail (with Iona+Painter combo), RW Landfall, and 4C Zoo (with Bant Charm, etc.). I ended up losing to another RW Landfall (he drew 4 burn spells in a row to kill me) and also lost to someone playing the Living End cycler deck (I drew ZERO counterspells of any sort in two games, although I had 3 Thoughtseizes in my two opening hands).

The deck is very good, and can play the aggro-control game very well. Smother is quite nice right now in such a creature heavy format, and can help you combat nearly every deck you’ll run into. I prefer this over Doom Blade because Smother also hits Dark Confidant and Vampire Hexmage, which is extremely important since I consider ThopterDepths to be one of the best decks in the format (and most played by those who have the cards). The protection package seemed very good, and I always seemed glad to have a counterspell handy to deal with things like Path to Exile or Lightning Helix. The Tarmogoyfs seemed better in theory than Mistbind Clique, as they cost half as much mana and are generally as big (although they don’t fly), but with four mana I often found myself casting a Tarmogoyf and protecting it with Spellstutter Sprite. The only drawback is that Tarmogoyf doesn’t fly and it doesn’t tap out your opponent’s lands. That slot is up for debate, but I felt the addition of Tarmogoyf main and Kitchen Finks out of the sideboard went a long ways towards helping combat the early rushes that aggro decks can present.

The sideboard was very good to me, but next time I would probably drop the third Glen Elendra Archmage and add the fourth Kitchen Finks to increase the odds of seeing those early against Zoo and aggro decks. I somehow didn’t get paired against ThopterDepths, but the Darkblasts are great at dealing with their Confidants and Hexmages, while Shred Memory (and even Extirpate) is good at dealing with the Thopter portion, and Glen Elendra Archmage is just fantastic in general against Blue decks. Damnation proved very useful against Zoo, as they almost have play out as many guys as possible against you to get through your creatures and Bitterblossom, and then you can just Damnation away a lot of their resources. Darkblast was the MVP against RW Landfall, and is also fantastic against Elves (which was everywhere after Matt Nass’ recent GP Oakland win).

If you are looking for something a little different, I think this deck is a viable option for the current Extended climate and current round of PTQs. If I was to play the deck again I would max out the number of Kitchen Finks available in the sideboard, but everything else seemed great at combating a field of ThopterDepths, Zoo, Elves, Dredge, and the combo decks out there (Hypergenesis, Scapeshift, Living End, etc). Good luck in your battles!