~Faeries have been the deck to beat since Lorwyn block. Wizards of the Coast, realising that just perhaps they may have developed Faeries just a smidge on the 'incredibly unbeatable' side, decided that enough was enough. This faerie course correction was most apparent in the recently released set of Conflux.
Faerie players got scared. Some of them moved on to a different deck archetype while others sat down at the drawing board to develop answers to all the new faerie hate. The final answer was deck evolution. Essentially, faeries did not die as everyone may have expected, they just got a bit slower with the inclusion of the necessary answers needed for survival.
Let's have a quick look at some of the threats that faeries are looking at. Most all of these threats were in the form of direct damage, and mostly from red. Scattershot Archer, Volcanic Fallout, Banefire, Infest, Raking Canopy, Magma Spray, Firespout, Pyroclasm, Cloudthresher and Jund Charm are among the greatest threats to faeries. Other problems such as Cumber Stone neutralised faerie threat. Filigree Fracture was mis-named and should have correctly been called 'Kill Bitterblossom'.
With all the hate now sitting at the table, faeries were desperately looking for answers. Cards such as Thoughseize and Esper Charm only provided partial solutions. Runed Halo, although quite effective, provided only partial coverage as well as one could only name one threat to nullify. Burrenton Forge-Tender had quickly become a staple in many Fae decks. This 1/1 Kithkin Wizards took care of almost everything and could fearlessly chump-block till the cows came home.
The new Conflux card,Mark of Asylum, also does an efficient job of handling all the hate that people could be packing in their decks against faeries. No longer would they fear the red burn. This very decent card keeps all those faerie tokens up in the skies to harass the opponent into submission. The faerie player only needs to worry about combat damage and trying to maintain their tempo with the addition of the new cards needed to answer red burn. The typical Blue / Black Faerie deck is now considering carrying that extra colour White to get them across the finish line.
With the fall rotation coming October 2009, faeries will now be retired to extended. I think there will always be some token threat (whether there is a sky of Thopter artifact creature tokens or a horde of stampeding Saprolings). I am also very certain that Mark of Asylum will be an inclusion in these decks as well. Whatever form this may take, expect that this would just not as powerful as the Fae as Wizards may have learned a lesson . . . maybe.