Hello and welcome back to the daily series that explores all things deck. Yesterday I selected a random card from the history of Magic and discovered, to my surprise, that it was Living Airship. That’s an amazingly bland card, and it triggered the same section of my heart that has a fondness for Scarwood Bandits.
The similarities between the two cards was so great, in fact, that Abe declared that Living Airship’s day in the sun would be extended by at least one more Daily article and began soliciting ideas in order to give the Airship its own deck.
Several interesting ideas were written in the forums. Today, I want to take a look at one of those ideas and see if we can’t hash out a deck from the original deck.
I want Living Airship to have a great deck. A deck with 36 flyers and 24 lands is not a great deck. It’s an easy deck. A deck with every flying airship including the Weatherlight and Predator is not a great deck; it’s another easy deck.
I want something clever. Yet I also want the Airship to be the lynchpin of the deck. I don’t want the deck to look like the Airship is one of many or an afterthought. I don’t want to add the Airship to a U/G Control deck, for example.
However, like I said, one idea struck me. This was posted by Noumenon. He wanted to give away creatures, like Emberwilde Djinn or Sky Swallower. I don’t think people will pay mana or life to take your Emberwilde Djinn when you have a flying regenerator in play, so that might not work. Plus it adds a third color to the deck, and I want to steer clear of that.
Sky Swallower needs to come into play on my opponent’s side to work, and I want to steer clear of that too. That would require some serious deck manipulation including Desertion, Vedalken Orrery, or Teferi and Mindslaver. If you are going to go to that much work, might as well use Leveler.
However, Noumenon’s suggestion did get me started on other possibilities.
See, there is this clever little 3/3 flyer in Blue that you have to give to your opponent that the Airship could block. That was the beginning of the deck.
Okay, let’s take a look at the deck. Since I ultimately decided that the deck was pulling me in a Red direction anyway, I decided to relent in regards to the Emberwilde Djinn. If the Living Airship is out, then nobody will probably steal the Emberwilde Djinn, which gives you an efficient beater. On the other hand, if they do steal the Djinn, you have regeneration protection, forcing them to look elsewhere for Djinn meat.
One of the keys of this deck is the Gilded Drake. As mentioned above, the Gilded Drake can be played, swap with a creature that’s pretty good, and then get eternal-blocked by the Airship. Not only is this powerful on its own, but we have six bounce effects in the deck, including two that are repeatable. This allows you to bounce the Drake back to your hand and repeat the misery. Getting good creatures is fantastic. Having a way to block the remnants is even better, and that’s where the Airship comes in.
This deck is also a Draco deck. I included one each of Plains and Swamp in order to use Kodama’s Reach to have extra lands out. This will decrease the cost and upkeep of Draco considerably. Maybe you’ll just want to kill with Draco, which is certainly fine.
If Draco gets stolen, you have defense for it, so it’s a beater you can control. Your bounce effects, which are so good because they bounce Gilded Drake, also bounce Draco. Aether Mutation will bounce Draco if stolen and give you sixteen 1/1 critters. Sometimes you might want to Aether Mutate your own creature even when it’s on your side!
I have a pair of Legerdemains to entice Draco to joint the other side for one of their creatures/artifacts. You can then steal it back with Gilded Drake, bounce it with a Portal or Aether Mutation, trade with someone who can’t pay the upkeep, block it with an Airship or, my personal favorite, use it to Dong Zhou a person.
I love Dong Zhou, and he really has a home in this deck. You play Dong Zhou, and then hit someone for a lot of damage. In this case, he’ll deal nine damage if an opponent is currently the possessor of Draco. Remember all of that bounce? Well, bounce Dong Zhou back to your hand and repeat. That’ll be a quick death, I assure you.
I tossed in a few Impulses to round out the deck. You want to be able to find something early and often, and Impulse is grand at that task.
As I look at the deck, I’m proud of it. Between the Airship, Djinn, Draco, Dong Zhou, Portal, Aether Mutation, Legerdemain, and Drake, it came out alright.
This was truly a deck worth building. It may be the Airship’s only day in the light, so I’m happy to have extended it to two days. This was a good result. I always think that everything works out in the end, and this is no exception.
Tomorrow there will be no Daily from me, nor will you be getting my normal article (its Thanksgiving here in America). Sorry. We’ll have one more article on Friday when I will try an experiment in deckbuilding that I’ve been longing to try for a while. Hope you like it!