Budget Magic Deck: Jeskai Flyers

The idea of Jeskai Flying Men is pretty simple. Most importantly, many of the decks in Modern are fighting exclusively on the ground, so they have a really hard time dealing with a deck that is overloaded with aggressive fliers. Even better, many of our fliers are naturally disruptive, allowing us to counter a spell or, at the very least, make our opponent play off curve. So, the plan is to present a fast, evasive clock, back it up by just a bit of disruption, and kill our opponent before they have a chance to take over the game with cards that are more powerful in a vacuum.

Judge’s Familiar and Mausoleum Wanderer are essentially the same card in the deck , so we might as well talk about them together. These cards are the backbone of our deck and are surprisingly good in Modern. First, they present an evasive clock, starting on the very first turn of the game. Second, many decks in Modern are looking to win with spells in one way or another. Having a bunch of Familiars and Wanderers helps keep those decks in check. Of course, since they are only Force Spikes, they don’t lock our opponent out of the game forever, but they often force our opponent to play off curve, which is usually all we need to buy us enough time to close out the game with our other threats.

Judge's FamiliarMausoleum Wanderer

Pride of the Clouds is basically the Tarmogoyf of our deck, a two drop that can get so huge that it dominates the game in short order. Our best draws often involve one or more copies, and when we have curves like  Familiar on Turn 1 into Pride of the Clouds on Turn 2 into another Pride of the Clouds and  Familiar on Turn 3, it’s very possible that we can just win the game on Turn 4 with a completely evasive clock (and even some amount of protection, thanks to the Familiar itself). The reason Pride of the Clouds is so good in our deck is that it’s not only one of our best cards when things are going well, but it’s also one of our best cards when things go poorly, thanks to its forecast ability. If we are flooding out, we can simply hold our Pride of the Clouds in hand and start making a 1/1 flier each upkeep (for four mana). While this probably doesn’t sound all that exciting, it offers a weird form of card advantage and can keep us in the game while we are waiting to draw more powerful threats or removal to deal with our opponent’s board.

Pride of the Clouds

Spell Queller is simply one of the most powerful cards in our deck. While the Queller is at its best when it’s countering one of our opponent’s plays, it’s also perfect find as a 2/3 flying beater that we can cast on our opponent’s end step.

Spell Queller

To finish the game we  have eight Lightning Angels in the for of 4 actually Lightning Angel and 4 Mantis Rider. Since they have haste, they can punch our opponent’s face right when they land on the battlefield, but since they also have vigilance, they are also back on defense and then can attack again the next turn. Most importantly, these cards give our deck a way to close out the game super quickly. The other amazing thing about Mantis Rider and Lightning Angel is that the damage they offer is usually unexpected. If you think about a typical game of Magic, most of the time you are making your decisions based on what your opponent has on the battlefield (this includes things like when and how you use removal spells along with which creatures you attack with and which you leave back to block). Hasty, evasive threats like Mantis Rider and Lightning Angel throw off these calculations and allow us to kill our opponent out of the blue when they think they are safe.

Lightning AngelMantis Rider

While having a consistent Turn 4 kill doesn’t make us one of the fastest decks in Modern, being able to consistently kill on Turn 4 means that we can keep pace with most of the fastest decks in Modern. We are also more disruptive than many of the faster decks, since our Familiars and Wanderers can buy us an extra turn or two thanks to their ability to counter a spell and thanks to the handful of tempo spells we have in our deck.

Favorable Winds is amazing in our deck, considering that every single creature we have has flying. On level one, it makes all of our Familiars and Wanderers into 2/2s, which speeds up our clock significantly. However, Favorable Winds does so much more in our deck. One of the weaknesses of Spell Queller and Mantis Rider in Modern is that they die to Lightning Bolt (currently the #1 most played card in all of Modern), which means that many of our opponents will have a one mana answer to our three mana creatures. When we play a Favorable Winds on Turn 2, our Quellers and Riders go up to four toughness, allowing them to dodge Lightning Bolt. Finally, if we replace Pride of the Clouds with Favorable Winds while curving out, our clock is nearly as fast (we attack for two on Turn 2, six on Turn 3, and 10 on Turn 4, putting our opponent all the way down to two life).

Favorable Winds

We’ve talked a couple of times about how our deck is really good at getting our opponent down to one or two life on Turn 4, and thankfully we have some spells that can finish off our opponent, even if our opponent finds a way to deal with our creatures. Lightning Bolt typically kills a creature in the early game and goes to our opponent’s face in the late game. Electrolyze is basically a backup Lightning Bolt. Meanwhile, Vapor Snag disrupts out opponent just a little bit while also making our opponent lose a life. Apart from eating away our opponent’s last life points, these cards also deal with any flying blockers our opponent might present to allow us to keep attacking with our evasive threats.

Lightning BoltElectrolyzeVapor Snag

Here’s the full list:

Creatures (24):

4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Pride of the Clouds
4 Mantis Rider
4 Spell Queller
4 Lightning Angel

Spells (13):

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Vapor Snag
4 Favorable Winds
1 Electrolyze

Lands (23):

4 Battlefield Forge
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Island
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Mountain
4 Mystic Monastery
1 Plains
4 Shivan Reef

Sideboard (15):

2 Crumble to Dust
2 Dispel
2 Gut Shot
2 Izzet Staticaster
2 Negate
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Vandalblast
1 Wear // Tear

All in all, the deck feels really competitive. The creatures are powerful, the deck is naturally disruptive, and the clock is fast; plus, it’s really fun to play! Give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Thanks Everybody for reading,



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