On social media. On my daily streams. In article comments. You guys have practically been begging me to update the Chieves list that we played during Khans of Tarkir. Well, during my stream on Monday I took the Khans of Tarkir list apart and put together a new Fate Reforged version.

(For those wondering what the story is behind chieves and why they're called that and what they are, get with the program! But seriously, you can check it out here.)

We removed the green entirely due to there being such an abundance of white and black cards to add to the deck. There was no reason to ruin our mana base with a third color when we could get most of the effects we were looking for in two.

This was the list I came up with.


Well, it was one of the lists I came up with. You see, the archetype has a ton of different options as far as the cards we can use. There were tons of choices, most of which I'll go over after videos, and the deck had definitely changed a few times over the course of the streams. This was the version I settled on for videos, and I'm still not 100%, but we'll go over some of my ideas and opinions on the list after we see it in action.

Let's check it out.

Chieves vs. RG Midrange

Chieves vs. Abzan Control

Chieves vs. GR Devotion

Chieves vs. UW Heroic

We have 23 lands and we still get a ton of unplayable hands. I'm tempted to go up to 24, but statistically 23 should be enough, and I'm sure I'm just being susceptible to variance here. The deck tops out at four mana, so we shouldn't really need more than 23 lands.

The biggest problems I was having was finding the right mix of removal, protection spells, and over-the-top creatures, like Mardu Strike Leader and Brutal Hordechief (which is amazing by the way). My original list that I was piloting on stream had two Athreos, God of Passage in it because it's a form of card advantage, and when it isn't a form of card advantage, it's increasing the clock very quickly in a deck that already has an incredibly fast clock. Alternatively one stream viewer suggested that we try out Grim Haruspex and while I initially liked the suggestion, I think my results with Athreos were a little better.

I like that Haruspex is a creature, and that we're guaranteed to be able to attack with it, but that isn't why it's in the deck; it's basically there to provide us with a form of card advantage, and often times the opponent will simply kill the Haruspex first, netting us a big fat goose egg of cards. I'm not sure either belong in the maindeck, but I am leaning toward Athreos.

Another suggestion was the addition of Raiders' Spoils. I actually really liked the idea, considering we could actually draw something like four cards on certain turns. The problem with the card is that we have too many four-drops as it is, and all of our other four-drops are just bonkers. The life gain from Sorin is often relevant, as is the +1/+0, and the life loss from Brutal Hordechief is also always relevant. Hordechief is also a warrior so he gets buffs from both chieves.

One card I was thinking of adding since Bile Blight is such a nuisance for us was Gods Willing. I actually had two copies in the previous list as a filler and it did what it was supposed to. It lets us make a creature unblockable for a turn or it counters a removal spell, both of which can prove crucial, especially if we're saving our Brutal Hordechief or Mardu Strike Leader. Ultimately the Valorous Stance are filling their role, though unfortunately they don't protect us from Bile Blight and they cost two mana rather than one, which is a significant different in a deck that makes use of every single mana.

The two Banishing Light in main are the floating slots. They can be the Gods Willing or the Athreos, God of Passage, or whatever you need them to be. I basically just added them back into the deck to deal with things like planeswalkers or Siege Rhino when we didn't have a Valorous Stance in hand. So if you have a card you want to try, this is a good card to start the cutting with.

Another question I asked myself when I had four Seeker of the Way in the deck was, is Seeker even good? I mean, at the time I had about five cards that triggered his ability, and I only had three Battle Brawler in the deck. Battle Brawler definitely needs to be a four-of, and Seeker has been reduced to a two-of since his ability is so narrow. He's still a warrior, but he might not even be the best man for the job in the two slot. I'm also not sure if the configuration of one-drops is correct. We might want four Mardu Woe-Reaper and two Mardu Shadowspear, but each has their uses; the ability for Shadowspear to deal a couple points of damage just by attacking can actually close out a game at times, and the dash mechanic is basically haste.

Finally, maybe the deck wants a second Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth to make the pain lands a little easier to handle. Maybe. I'm not 100% sure though.

As you can see the sky is basically the limit in terms of what we can and can't include in the deck, and I think that's what makes the deck so incredibly fun and challenging. It's also competitive, and I can't tell you how sweet it was to finish a match then go back to the deck to see what we could change. It feels infinitely customizable and it feels like it has access to a tool for every job.

I'm not entirely sure the deck is finished yet, but I like where it's headed and I think it's a blast to play for a deck that doesn't actually have that many rares in it. That's all I have for this week, but make sure to catch me back here on Monday for some more Modern and be sure to tune in for my daily stream on TwitchTV starting at 2 pm PST. It's been a blast so far, so don't miss it. Thanks for reading and I'll see ya there!

Frank Lepore
@FrankLepore on Twitter
FrankLepore on TwitchTV, streaming Monday - Friday, starting at 2 pm PST