Decks built around themes or tribes have been around for as long as Magic has existed. Core Set 2020 provides support for several new theme/tribal-based decks. Last week, I wrote about Vampire Tribal. Since Core Set 2020 was released on Arena this deck has been a popular choice of players. Another popular deck is Azorius Flyers. Building around flyers has been something that players like because of the evasive nature of these cards. Until the release of Core Set 2020, the deck lacked the power needed for it to be competitive in the Metagame.

The big piece missing was a lord card that boosted the other flyers in the deck. Core Set 2020 gives us that lord in Empyrean Eagle. This spirit bird along with Favorable Wind from Ixalan gives the deck two different sources that boost flyers by +1/+1.

Having multiple ways to provide this boost gives the deck reliability that previous versions of the deck lacked. Here is a look at the deck I have used to move through Platinum and Diamond Tiers on Area.

Azorius Flyers

Creatures (27)
Loyal Pegasus
Siren Stormtamer
Spectral Sailor
Empyrean Eagle
Elite Guardmage
Faerie Miscreant
Healer’s Hawk
Shalai, Voice of Plenty

Planeswalkers (3)
Teferi, Time Raveler

Enchantments (8)
Curious Obsession
Favorable Winds

Instants (2)
Rally of Wings

Land (20)
Island
Hallowed Fountain
Glacial Fortress
Plains

Deck Breakdown

The deck has twenty-seven flyers as its base. Of these creatures, eighteen are one drops. This makes the deck play fast. The ideal play pattern is to play one creature on turn one and two creatures on turn two. This gives you a critical mass of flyers to begin beating down your opponent.

On turn three, you want to play Empyrean Eagle or Favorable Wind to boost your other flyers, so you can do six damage to your opponent on turn three. Turn four provides you with multiple paths to victory. You can play another copy of Empyrean Eagle or Favorable Wind. This will increase your potential damage to at least nine and possibly as much as twelve. This will bring your opponent typically to less than five life.

A second option is to play Rally of Wings. This gives each of your flyers +2/+2. When you play Empyrean Eagle on turn three, playing Rally becomes a win condition, if your opponent can not block your flyers. A key game play point with this card: play Rally after you declare your attack, so that your creatures will untap making it possible for them to block on your opponent’s turn if you need them too.

The final support piece is Curious Obsession. Getting an additional card each turn advances your game plan quickly and helps to make sure you hit your land drops.

A key lesson I learned from playing the deck is to ignore your opponent’s creatures and focus on attacking with yours. What I described above is my optional playout for a turn four or five win. It does happen regularly against decks that do not have a way to interact with flyers. Most games end by turn six because most decks do not have enough power to keep up with the explosiveness of the deck.

There are many different choices for the creatures in the deck. You could choose to have a spirit tribal approach, but I chose creatures that provide some form of benefit beyond their one mana cost. From Core Set 2020, Spectral Sailor, Faerie Miscreant, and Loyal Pegasus each add value.

Sailor has flash and the ability to draw a card for four mana. Usually, I play Sailor at the end of my opponent’s turn so that it does not die to first turn removal by my opponent. This also tells me know what I am facing before I make my first play. In games that get into mid-game play, the draw ability adds to your card advantage. Miscreant also provides card advantage. When you play a Faerie Miscreant with another one on the battlefield you get to draw a card. Loyal Pegasus has a 2/1 body with the down side of not being able to attack or block alone. This makes it a bad turn one play, but the added point of damage does lead to turn four wins occasionally.

The other two one drops are Siren Stormtamer and Healer’s Hawk. These cards have homes in other decks, so they do not need as much introduction. Stormtamer has a home in Mono-Blue Tempo and Hawk has been a part of Mono-White decks. Healer’s Hawk is important to the deck because it has lifelink. Against other decks that gain life or Mono-Red, this gives the deck additional time to execute your game plan. Siren Stormtamer can counter a spell or ability that target one of your creatures. This has not been as useful as I anticipated so far because most turns you are using all your mana.

From here, we move to the two four drops in the deck. First, Elite Guardmage provides a solid body with two good enter the battlefield triggers. When it enters the battlefield, you gain three life and draw a card. This can keep you in games where you have taken a lot of damage and provides an effective blocker against most creatures. The second four drop is Shalai, Voice of Plenty. She provides you, creatures, and planeswalkers you control with hexproof. Shalai’s four toughness makes her difficult to remove and when you have Empyrean Eagle or Favorable Winds on the field she will require a removal spell to get her off the board.

Below is version 2.0 of the deck. This considers what I have learned from playing the deck over the last week.

Revised Azorius Flyers

Creatures (25)
Siren Stormtamer
Spectral Sailor
Empyrean Eagle
Elite Guardmage
Faerie Miscreant
Healer’s Hawk
Shalai, Voice of Plenty

Planeswalkers (4)
Teferi, Time Raveler
Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer

Enchantments (10)
Curious Obsession
Favorable Winds
Winged Words

Instants (2)
Rally of Wings

Land (20)
Island
Hallowed Fountain
Glacial Fortress
Plains
Sideboard (14)
Conclave Tribunal
Negate
Winged Words
Disenchant
Dovin’s Veto

Changes

First, I added a sideboard for best of three play. I am not sure what the best choices will be yet, but the ability to stop Esper or Jeskai control in games two and three is needed. The second change I made was dropping the Loyal Pegasus from the deck. To often, I had it on the battlefield and I could not use it. Third, I added two copies of Winged Words for additional card advantage. The final change was adding one copy of Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer. I want to find out how good this card is. On the surface, the card does not look like a strong option, but having the ability to add a 4/4 flyer to the battlefield for only three mana is great value, if you can keep her alive for a turn.

I made these changes to deal with some of the problems I faced on the Arena best of one ladder. First the deck is not good against Feather decks. It does not have a way to deal with Feather’s once it hits the board. Second, Mono-Red is a bad match-up for the deck. Its ability to takeout on turn one the creature you played has a snowballing effect on the game. I have started waiting to play a one drop on turn one when I know that I am facing a red deck.

I want to get Favorable Wind in play to help protect my starting one toughness creatures. Then hopefully, I can get out an Empyrean Eagle so that shock is no longer a threat to my one drops. Another deck Azorius Flyers has struggled against is Esper Control. In games I can get out to a quick start, I can win, but in those that go long it is an uphill battle to win.

Overall, the deck is powerful and fast. I am looking forward to playing the deck at Friday Night Magic and in the Mythic Tier on Arena. Whether the deck will reach tier 1 status is yet to be determined.
Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!