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Flying Flyers


Favorable Winds
Suddenly having access to four color decks for Commander is game changer for a lot of folks, especially given that you can mix and match with the partners. Four colors for the win! You have so many options for decks, and you won’t always follow the five archetypes set by the five four-color legendary creatures we got from Commander 2016.

And here is a good example of that. A couple of weeks ago I created an artifact matters deck around the theme of the non-Green color combination led by Breya, Etherium Shaper. And while non-Green certainly has one obvious artifact centric theme, there are other mechanical themes we could give a non-Green deck. For example, Wizards could have printed a flying-matters theme instead.

Consider cards like Favorable Winds and Dragon Tempest that help out flyers. And then there is an obvious way to use the “Flying Matters” theme. You run sweeping ground based removal, like Earthquake to handle any non-flyers on the table and you swing in the air.

That’s a pretty cool theme to me. Now if Wizards made that one of the official themes of a Commander product later on, that’d be cool. We could have some more “Flying Matters” cards out there. But I wanted to build a flying deck using the same colors as Breya. A non-artifact Breya deck.

Now there are a couple of ways you could make this work, mechanically. First, you could partner two flyers that get you this color combination. Ravos, Soultender and Kraum, Ludevic's Opus. Or you could just run Breya, Etherium Shaper herself, as she makes two 1/1 flying creatures when she hits the battlefield. Let’s skip Breya this time, as she doesn’t fly herself. I want to keep this deck to flyers only, in order to fully flesh out theme.

Kraum, Ludevic's Opus
Ravos, Soultender

Kraum and Ravos it is!

Flying Flyers ? Commander | Abe Sargent

Sprite Noble
And there you have it!

Flying beats for the win! As mentioned above, we have a few flying enablers already — Favorable Winds and Dragon Tempest are both mentioned. Beyond those we have a small handful of other enablers, like Sprite Noble or Gravitational Shift. Those all work nicely. I also decided to toss in Flood. It can tap down ground creatures until you find a mass removal spell for them.

Another major theme is killing the ground pounders. We have a handful of X damage spells like Magmaquake and Earthquake in there. You can clean out the non-flyers and make the world safe for flyers out there. You also have Scourge of Kher Ridges which can hit ground pounders or flyers if you need to head skyward. Take a look at Ryusei, the Falling Star. It’s an on-curve Dragon that can play a lot of roles. And when it eventually dies, you can clean out some more ground vermin. Good stuff, right?

One of my favorite combos in here is Archetype of Imagination. Why run it, you already fly? Right? Because it drops all other creatures to the ground. That turns your Earthquake effects into a bunch of Plague Winds. And one-sided Wrath of Gods are a great way to push the table around.

Jiwari, the Earth Aflame
And don’t forget your leaders in there either. Ravos both pumps your team and can provide a creature back every turn. I thought about adding in Jiwari, the Earth Aflame as a channel-star that could be pulled back to channel again and again. Remember you can channel as an instant anytime you want to. But even without Jiwari, you can pull back a bunch of stuff with Ravos. Card advantage and beats! And you get the 4/4 majesty of Kraum who occasionally nets you some card-age as well. It’s too bad Tymna the Weaver doesn’t fly, or I would have tossed her in here as well. We can attack many different people easily enough here. I tossed in Bident of Thassa instead as a way to draw some cards from damage.

Every creature flies! The obvious place to run flyers is beaters like Avatar of Fury and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. But I needed to have some non-beater utility cards. I couldn’t run Solemn Simulacrum, but there’s nothing wrong with Pilgrim's Eye. Take a look at cheap defenders like Fog Bank and Wall of Denial, or Bone Shredder for removal, and such. Karmic Guide. Baleful Strix. Cloudblazer. You get the idea.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
And I layered in utility into other places too. Steel Hellkite is both on theme and can take out permanents. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is both a flying vehicle and three damage at a time at people’s creatures. Angel of Despair is removal on a stick. Bloodgift Demon draws you cards a lot like Phyrexian Arena. Aven Mindcensor doesn’t like your opponent’s tutoring, and reduces their options considerably, while Ob Nixilis, Unshackled will punish people for tutoring as well growing as things die. Like ground creatures to an Earthquake. Dragonlord Silumgar will steal something for a while. Draining Whelk counters on arrival while Glen Elendra Archmage sacrifices for other counters. Ethersworn Adjudicator can kill both enchantments or creatures. And Angel of the Dire Hour can be a great surprise out of nowhere to change the battlefield by taking out a flying horde the deck otherwise misses.

I tried to include some fun cards in here too. Take Kaalia of the Vast. Isn’t it fun to have these powerhouses of the format in different roles and not leading a deck? She fits here nicely considering the number of Dragons, Angels, and Demons we are running. And you can run Blue for her to drop that she couldn’t normally run, like Keiga, the Tide Star. Dragons, Angels, and Demons all (mostly) have flying. And your opponent will never know if Kaalia will work or not, so it’ll be pretty confusing over there.

Spirit Away
Speaking of fun cards, doesn’t Spirit Away qualify? Steal any creature out there, and then it flies over and is unaffected by your Earthquakes. (Oh, and public safety note — don’t equip the Sword of Fire and Ice to the creature you stole with the Spirit Away).

1 powerful subtle card here is Sudden Spoiling. Now Sudden Spoiling has always been a useful trick to unveil against someone. From a combat trick to a way to denude someone’s board position to allow another payer to kill their stuff, it’s pretty good. Don’t forget that the creatures affected lose all of their abilities. I like using it to deal with indestructible creatures. So it’s a great trick generally. But here? It’s perfect! Since your removal is damage based, you can use this to kill creatures that are normally immune to damage, destruction or regenerate. And they now have easy-to-kill defenses so you can kill some bigger creatures that might have otherwise survived. But there’s another thing you can do. Drop a team to the ground so your Earthquake can work on the whole lot of them!

Sudden Spoiling for the win!

There are a few cards I thought about. If you had the cash, then Moat is clearly a winner here. There are some other cards that popped into my mind as I was building this deck. Form of the Dragon and Teferi's Moat continue the Moat theme. Dragon Roost can spit out some Dragon tokens as you have spare mana. It’s old and templated oddly, but Serra Aviary is flavorful. What about Thunder Dragon? Stuffy Doll? Unburial Rites? Add Snow-Covered Basics and toss in Adarkar Windform to drop opposing creatures? Or you could add in Phyrexian Splicer to move flying from one creature to another for a turn, saving one person’s creature while endangering another. (And you can just give flying to your own creature that already has it if you want).

Subterranean Tremors
You could add some more Earthquake variants like Molten Disaster or Subterranean Tremors. I originally ran the Tremors, but the 8/8 ground token was deemed to be a little off flavor wise (for the same reason I pulled Overseer of the Damned from my first build). I tossed Fault Line in instead.

I’ve always had a fondness for Sweep and Keep decks. This is a genre of deck that runs mass removal that kills lot stuff, but not yours. Sometimes it’s easy to build that deck (like a Mono-White deck with Mass Calcify). But I have adored running decks like Pestilence with Protection from Black creatures and such. One of my favorites is a deck using Thran Weaponry to tap and pump all creatures +2/+2, including your foes, and then play Retribution of the Meek to kill all of the newly eligible creatures save for my one-power creatures that are now just 3 and still safe.

And this is another entry in that line. Unfortunately, our foes will run a lot of flyers in Commander land. So if you wanted, you could run stuff like Predator, Flagship (which I’d rule would count in this deck us represents a flying skyship). This deck used to run Demonic Tutor, until I replaced it with the Good Ship Lollypop . . . er . . . Skyship Weatherlight. Flavor win!

Other flavor wins might include Earthbind and Tightening Coils (I wish Pin to the Earth had the needed “loses flying” language!) Oh, and note that if all that is left on the battlefield post-Earthquake are flyers, then Skyblinder Staff suddenly looks really hot. I’m just saying. And if for some reason you seek to drop one of your own creatures back to the ground, but to keep it safe from Earthquakes, might I recommend Magebane Armor?

It’s too bad that Burning Palm Efreet doesn’t fly itself, or else I would have pulled that thing out of the dust of history and made it a feature of today’s deck!

Anyways, that’s a deck! So what did you think about our good flying theme? Does it work for you? Are you ready to drop Earthquake? And is there anything I missed for this deck? Just let me know!

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