Spells And Spirits? Kykar!

Even a birdbrain could see Kykar, Wind’s Fury might make a powerful commander! Bennie Smith builds a spicy deck around Spirits and spells!

Another week, another super-cool legendary creature from Core Set 2020 to brew a Commander deck around! This time, we’ve got the Jeskai Bird Wizard on tap, and I really like this design too.

Kykar, Wind’s Fury feels very “Jeskai” with a trigger that makes Spirit tokens similar to how Monastery Mentor works. But instead of prowess making itself and the tokens bigger, Kykar and the tokens it makes have flying. This makes Kykar much better at protecting you or planeswalkers with chump blockers if that’s what you need.

In addition to that, Kykar can sacrifice Spirits to make mana. What’s super-cool about the combination of abilities is that you can easily shift gears between a go-wide, token-centric strategy to instead cashing them in to cast one big spell or a flurry of spells, depending on what your cards and the battlefield state dictate. While you can easily lean heavy one way or another and try to break off Kykar, I think the most fun way is to support all the various modes with plenty of cards to maximize your flexibility.

Let’s get brewing!

Spells Matter

Wizards R&D has made a lot of “spells matter” style cards over the past few years, so we’ll definitely want to make use of a lot of them here.

Curious Homunculus is a fun inclusion, giving you an extra mana one instant or sorcery spell per turn until it transforms, in which case if provides a discount to all of your instant or sorcery spells while becoming a threatening body with prowess.

Primal Amulet is big game. If you’ve got that and Kykar on the battlefield, each instant or sorcery spell is effectively discounted by 1R so long as you have the one red to start the ball rolling. Which should make it super easy to transform it into a land that’s a spell-copying machine.

Saheeli, Sublime Artificer does a good job at churning out more flying chump blockers too, and the activated ability can turn one of them into a copy of your best creature or artifact when the time is right.

Trail of Evidence is great alongside Kykar, since each instant or sorcery spell gives you a Clue token and a 1/1 Spirit you can cash in for half the mana you need to cash in the Clue for a card.

Cheap Red Spells

Since each Spirit on the battlefield with Kykar represents a red mana whenever you need it, I wanted to have a fair number of cheap spells I could cast with red mana. Lightning Bolt is often not quite good enough to see play in Commander, but if you can basically cast it for free while generating a 1/1 flyer, it definitely makes the cut. Being able to cast Boros Charm or Deflecting Palm for one white mana when you’ve got a Spirit and Kykar on the battlefield is fantastic.

Past in Flames is a sweet card where you basically need cards like Pyretic Ritual to really get a bunch of value from it. Well, with Kykar, basically each noncreature spell you cast gives you a mini-red Ritual attached, so I think Past in Flames can do work here for one or two big turns.


Buyback spells are a great way to ensure that you have a steady stream of noncreature spells to trigger Kykar, and the extra mana Kykar can generate really helps make the buyback cost much more affordable. I really like Reiterate here since it can copy big game spells with the red mana that Kykar ensures you’re going to have a lot of.


Finally, on the spell front, we’ll want to have some number of X-spells we can dump a bunch of extra mana into, since each Spirit potentially ramps that X up a notch. The instant-speed ones in particular like Sphinx’s Revelation are great. You use it in response to a battlefield sweeper since you’ll be losing all your creatures anyway.


We definitely want to take advantage of Kykar’s activated ability to churn out Spirit tokens and then sacrifice them for mana. Anointed Procession means that Kykar makes two tokens for each spell, and Divine Visitation makes the 1/1 Spirit tokens into 4/4 Angel tokens with flying and vigilance. Of course, that means you can’t sacrifice them for red mana, but I imagine the upgrade in size makes up for it.

Field of Souls and Requiem Angel churn out Spirit tokens whenever any of your creature cards die. It’s wild that, with Requiem Angel and Divine Visitation on the battlefield, all of your Angel tokens basically replace themselves when they die.

Skullclamp is a great way to turn spells into more spells as you equip the hapless one-toughness tokens and they die.

Impact Tremors is a sneaky cheap enchantment that takes advantage of Kykar churning out 1/1 tokens so easily, pinging your opponents constantly.


Of course, every good Commander deck needs plenty of interaction. Jeskai’s colors give us a ton of noncreature options that will spit out Spirit tokens with Kykar and I’ve included many of them here.

I’m incredibly excited about Wild Ricochet and Radiate, fun cards that often do crazy things in a game of Commander. The problem comes from the relatively high casting cost; it’s difficult to hold up four or five mana just in case someone plays a spell you’d want to target. In this Kykar deck, each Spirit token shaves the cost you have to hold up by one mana, and the high number of instant spells means you usually won’t waste any mana you’ve held up if no one casts a spell you’d want to target.

I thought Chaos Wand would make a good addition; in case none of your spells in hand are needed, you can activate it and cast an instant or sorcery from an opponent’s deck and still get the Spirit token from Kykar.

Mana Acceleration

Kykar provides one-shot mana sources aplenty, but I imagine we’ll still want additional sources of mana. I like the Signets here because one Spirit sacrificed to Kykar provides enough mana to activate a Signet. And Pyromancer’s Goggles leverages your red spells with additional copies.

Sweet deck! But wait, there are too many cards. I’ll start by looking at our mana curve:

Coverted Mana Cost

Number of Cards


8 (including lands that don’t produce mana)






12 plus commander





7+ and X


71 total cards plus 39 mana-producing lands equals ten cards too many, so we need to make some cuts! Let’s see what we can trim, starting with the top of our curve.

Firesong and Sunspeaker is better if we’re playing mass damage spells like Blasphemous Act and it can get a ton of life out of it. Soulfire Grand Master provides that capacity while giving the added ability of giving your cheaper spells virtual buyback, so I think Firesong and Sunspeaker makes for a safe cut. Field of Souls is nice but low-impact because so many of the creatures we’re going to have on the battlefield are going to be token creatures. Ral, Storm Conduit plays pretty well with our plan and we’ll have chump blockers to help keep him safe, but both Ral and Murmuring Mystic aren’t as appealing as some of the other four-mana cards that I’m keeping instead.

I like what Mizzium Tank is doing but I feel that in a typical Commander game it’s going to get outclassed quickly outside of any big turns you have. Hallowed Spiritkeeper could potentially produce a lot of Spirits but I don’t anticipate having too many actual creature cards in my graveyard most of the time.

I do like Fork a lot, but I feel that Expansion offers a similar effect while also being really good late-game with the Explosion side. Invulnerability seems less needed in this deck due to having so many potential flying chump blockers to protect me from something large and scary.

I like having Lavinia, Azorius Renegade in decks when I can since it forces opponents to play more fairly, but I don’t think it’s particularly crucial to our plan, so as one of the last cuts I’m okay with it. Lastly, Magnetic Theft could be a fun surprise, but I feel it could rot in my hand enough that I’m okay chopping it as my last cut to 100 cards.

Okay, so here’s how the deck ended up:

Kykar, Wind's Fury
Bennie Smith
Test deck on 07-15-2019
Magic Card Back

What do you think? Are there any cards I’ve overlooked? If you see any new cards from Core Set 2020 that should find a home here, let me know!

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