This deck makes me miss Spell Queller...NAH - who am I kidding!?
It's been awhile, but we have gotten back to the Spirit rotation in Standard MTG. These creature packages tend to be exceptionally dynamic, evasive and ultimately problematic for our opponents. We are also in a bit of a unique spot with Standard by having access to all sets from Ixalan through Core Set 2020 until September rotation.
Frankly, it's the most excited I have been about Standard for nearly two centuries. I'm not a Vampire.
Let's dive into this list - heavily inspired by MTG Community Member: QMCGARRY45.
We should probably do this in order of casting cost to talk about the impact of the curve in this deck, because that is one of the decided advantages we display: being able to outpace our opponents.
YES. Wow. What good 1/1 flyer? Am I wrong here? I mean, I know that Siren Stormtamer might be the better 1/1, or that Pteramander might significantly outpace Spectral Sailor in term so of overall value, but this will do nicely. I just love that fact that we can run dormant mana through this creature and draw cards. This is a dynamite uncommon in constructed, and a crazy good pick in draft and limited play. This might be the only one drop inclusion for our list - all of the synergistic elements are there - it flies, it's a spirit, and it has excellent upside with the draw card ability. BUT THAT'S NOT ALL! It has Flash - a common trope among Spirits, one that be the difference between winnign and losing games. Flexibility and Trickery. Only in Blue.
A flying 2/1 for two mana seems pretty status quo these days. Remorseful Cleric has upside as it pertains to our synergy and creature type, but also because we can sacrifice it at Instant speed and exile all cards from a players graveyard. Seems pretty benign at first, but then you begin to realize that there is a boat load of graveyard mechanics out there in Standard. Command the Dreadhorde, Phoenixes, Muldrotha, Zombies, etc. This is creature we need to have mainboard answers to this kind of recursion, and it feels really good to be capable of executing our game plan with on-board answers. In testing, I have been pleased with not only the speed and efficiency of this creature in our aggro plan, but being able to answer problems and have an option in the face of targeted removal.
Two lords for our flying creatures, with flying themselves, make it so we are compounding value with our creature presence. It has been shocking in testing how quickly our creatures can get out of reach, and just how effective our "to the chin" strategy can be in relation to combat steps. We are capable of deadly speed with total evasion. Supreme Phantom and Empyrean Eagle, folks!
Hanged Executioner is a very good Magic: The Gathering card. Left unanswered it becomes a kill switch for any creature without hexproof on the battlefield. There are some really interesting thoughts that start rolling around in my pea-sized brain when I see cards like this, like, how do I continuously bring this card back from the graveyard over and over again? Unfortunately, we don't have that luxury, and frankly, we don't really need it. No, the tempo game is what we are playing here; hit the battlefield fast with evasive growing threats, beat face, and stunt our opponents plans at every turn with saucy and bold shenanigans. When we are generating two creatures for 3 mana, and lording them, with the upside of exile removal options, we DO include this card.
Originally printed in Dark Ascension, Dungeon Geists is the real deal, and an effective finisher for our list. Honestly, at 4 CMC this card is the top of our curve, which should give you some reasonable indication of how fast and deadly this list can be. You may be worrying about recovering from board wipes, but don't we never play out our hand recklessly right? Right. We are playing the tempo game. We are making sure that there are limited disruptions to our plan, and forcing our opponent to play out cards on their curve, which puts us categorically into a dominant position due to our counter capabilities and creature control. Dungeon Geists is a crazy good top end finisher for us, and after you get an opportunity to play this list, you will agree.
Instants & A Sorcery
Spell Pierce is icing on the cake for our game plan, we hold it back and time our play to extinguish any plans our opponent may have for a board wipe, and believe me, they will hope they have them due to the flying abilities on all of our creatures. Unsummon is the cherry on top, often times we will need to clear the way for a final swing during combat, and our opponent's pesky fliers don't need to be on the battlefield stop us from winning.
Winged Words is Chart a Course, only explicitly for flyers. It's almost like WOTC wanted Spirits to be a thing again; like they felt it was time for the archetype to be revisited in a meaningful way. It doesn't just matter to Spirits though, no, it matters to Angels, Bird Illusions, and frankly anything that flies, Grixis Dragons, Phoenixes, etc. This draw spell is pretty good. At first I was considering it to be draft chaff, but this deck is proving that to be a sense of false bravado. Our Spectral Sailor also helps us keep up the draw, and frankly using that ability to hit this card and then cast it two mana feels pretty doggone good. Winged Words will see continuous playin various decks on a go forward. We use it now - we use it first - right here in UW Spirits.
An Enchantment That Lords
It's pretty simple: a two drop enchantment that buffs every creature in our deck. That makes twelve distinct cards that buff our Spirits and flying creatures - that, my friends, is some oppressive stuff. We are fast, and I mean really fast with this list. I have not experienced much during testing on Arena that would lead me to believe that this deck is bad. My win percentage over the past couple of days of testing is over 90%, and that's no lie. Simply stated, it's a combination of the evasive aggro and ability to answer threats or control that would impede our progress. Favorable Winds gets one last time to shine here, and I think it will end up doing that admirably. I don't know if this deck will win any major events, but for our purposes it is fun, it is dominant, and it is reasonably priced. Just build it, folks.
We do need the occasional answer to Enchantments, sometimes there are just sequences that see us tapped out and our opponent is able to stick something that represents a substantial roadblock. So, we Demystify the Enchantment and move on - we don't need an Ixalan's Binding keeping cards we draw in our hand.
Baffling End just gets the job done, and by now, nearly two years after the release of this card, you should be well aware of its benefits. Even when it is removed from play and our opponent gets a 3/3 Dinosaur token, it isn't a Dinosaur token with Reach - feel me? Dovin's Veto is a good include when we need to have options for a "solid no." We only run two copies, but it is better than nothing.
Narset, Parter of Veils is a good way for us to slow the roll of any deck looking to draw several cards per turn, which let's face it, is exactly what most competitive decks are looking to do - draw into the win - outdraw you - combo through card draw - etcetera. Teferi, Time Raveler goes a step further in punishing decks that like to play on our turn, and can be an effective way to tamp down our opponent's progress to ensure our flyers have a runway for landing damage.
Ixalan's Binding is a singleton in our list, when you board it in, have a specific purpose and accompany it with other control options. It's not filler, it's a valid answer we want to draw. Lyra Dawnbringer is just hilarious, she helps us reverse the board state against aggro decks, and when you factor in all of our lord cards, she is fearsome indeed, a totally relevant and dangerous finisher.
I promise you will not be disappointed by building this list and committing resources in Arena to this list of 75 cards. In fact, you just may thank me for writing an longwinded article explaining the intricacies of the list. It's not overly complicated, really, and this deck is extremely satisfying to play.
Until next time, this is Jeremy reminding you to cast your entire hand by turn 4 and win by turn 6.