Mono-U Flyers: A Master's Guide

Introduction


Hey guys, my name is Petrify – for those of you who don’t know me I’m a Complexity Gaming twitch streamer & former professional Gwent player whose achievements include several tournament wins, an international trip and #1 ranked ladder placings. I’ve been playing Magic properly for around 3 months and have hit Masters Tier 1.

Whilst I didn’t hit Masters with this deck, I firmly believe it is easily possible as I have been grinding 7 wins on quick constructed for over a week and earned 15,000 gold from this deck. Possibly the biggest achievement I have done with this deck is hit 7 wins in quick constructed four times in a row whilst streaming it all (the first 4 runs from the beginning of the VOD are 7 wins, sorry about the muted sound in parts) . I firmly believe this deck is a high tier 2 deck, although to the disagreement of others.

This deck first surfaced in MTGO in a 5-0 by nebraskabrandon and was published by MTGgoldfish’s SaffronOlive. I have not modified the deck at all as I believe it is close to perfectly tuned for MTGA. The reason it caught my eye was because I noticed this deck, unlike many other proper standard decks had no cards that were stuck in Kaladesh.



Table of Content


Creatures:
4 Siren Stormtamer
3 Storm Fleet Aerialist
4 Warkite Marauder
4 Nimble Obstructionist
4 Tempest Djinn
2 Dreamcaller Siren


Spells
4 Unsummon
4 Lookout's Dispersal
4 Curious Obsession
4 Favorable Winds

Lands

23 Island






Why play Mono-U Flyers?


Firstly, this deck has no mythic cards, however it does require quite a lot of rare cards (14) so it is not strictly a budget friendly deck. In terms of other reasons to play it, for me it was pretty simple, I love midrange decks, but unfortunately they are very weak in arena right now, mostly because of lack of best of 3, no Kaladesh and the prevalence of UW control. So I searched for an aggro deck that wasn’t RDW (because I hate meta decks) in an effort to hunt down the evil UW control deck.

Enter, Mono U Flyers. This deck is absolutely great vs control decks. Consider the following vs UW.:
Turn 1: Island, Siren Stormtamer
Turn 2: Island, Storm Fleet Aerialist/Warkite Marauder. If they can Essence Scatter because they are on the play, that is fine, it likely gives us room to drop Djinn next turn.
Turn 3: Island, if they seal away our 2 drop we have Lookout's Dispersal, Unsummon + replay Aerialist/Marauder, or cycle Nimble Obstructionist to cancel. If they don’t we drop Tempest Djinn or even Favorable Winds + Siren Stormtamer. We also have the option of flashing in Nimble Obstructionist on their turn to open up our mana for a safe Djinn on turn 4.
Turn 4: Island, play damage adding effects such as Curious Obsession/Favorable Winds whilst leaving mana open to cancel with Dispersal or sacrificing the Siren Stormtamer. If they Settle the Wreckage we can sack our Stormtamer, this is a brilliant interaction and the absolute best counter to settle the wreckage that any aggro deck has. If they seal away, see above.

What you are basically seeing is that given a proper hand our deck has a plethora of answers to deal with UW’s control. Possibly my favourite interaction is cycling Nimble Obstructionist to deal with enchantment based removal – nothing feels like more of a blowout than cycling a card to stop their Cast Out.

If you want a deck that beats control consistently, this deck is for you.

Strengths


This deck thrives if you want quick wins and want to beat up on control players. Much like most decks in arena, it also destroys midrange decks due to the fact that most of them run no way to block flyers and simply can’t win against it in a race. I would also contend that this is one of the hardest aggro decks to pilot as the lines are not simple at all, on any given turn from 2 onward, you usually have at least 3 separate plays at all times. For instance on turn 2 we have lines such as, do I play my Curious Obsession on Siren Stormtamer to try hit my 3rd land, or do I play my 2 drop creature, do I play my Favorable Winds to ensure my 2 drops avoid removal or do I hold mana to keep up my counter spell? We also benefit from the fact that this deck is off-meta (at least before this guide was written) and most players will not know how to play around cards like Nimble Obstructionist or Siren Stormtamer.



Weaknesses


Mono blue flyers suffers hard vs the best deck in the game right now, RDW. Cards such as Fanatical Firebrand dealing 1 dmg to our Stormtamer or Warkite Marauder hurt, similarly with Magma Spray & Abrade removing our 2 drops effectively. We also simply can’t outrace an Ahn Crop Crusher stopping our Djinn from blocking and nor do we have enough value to deal with an un-cancelled Hazoret the Fervent.

That is not to say this matchup is unwinnable, I have won plenty of times by sticking a Djinn on turn 3 and using it as a blocker, then keeping up counters while I race with my 1 and 2 drops, my estimates have this matchup at about 30% winrate for us while we are on the draw while we run at close to 40% when we are on the play. I would also contend that having a bad matchup against the best deck in the game is not necessarily a bad thing, there is a reason RDW is the best deck in the game right now – who has a good matchup vs RDW whilst not suffering vs all other decks?

Unfortunately this adds a level of inconsistency to the deck which means some quick constructed runs we may just bomb out before hitting 4 wins simply because we queued into RDW too many times while they are on the play. Statistically we are still running at a high EV as RDW isn’t at the level of popularity to make this deck unplayable.

For instance if we assume RDW makes up 20% of our matchups and 80% is the rest. We will also assume we have a 30% winrate vs RDW and 75% vs every other deck. If we played 100 games this would give us an estimated 66% winrate in quick constructed which is easily enough to go infinite.

Card Choices


Core Creatures

This guy is the King of the deck, especially against control. Siren Stormtamer provides an insane amount of utility against most decks in the format, if you ever want to make a meme about ‘he protect, he attack’ – this is the card to do it. Whilst chipping away for 1 damage in the air doesn’t seem much, it really adds up when racing. He also triggers your raid mechanics for Storm Fleet Aerialist on turn 2. He also protects your Tempest Djinn from being removed. He also counters Settle the Wreckage I basically am just in love with this card. Although its not ideal you can also use the Stormtamer as a Curious Obsession target on turn 2 if your hand is really worse for wear.

We only run 3 of these because it’s a little weak if you don’t hit it on turn 2 after having already played a Stormtamer on turn 1 to trigger the raid. However if you do drop this on turn 2 with a raid trigger you can expect to win most games, even against RDW. The 2/3 body is very, very strong vs RDW as a blocker and it allows you to race effectively.


Although seemingly underwhelming at a 2/1 body, the utility this card provides is quite strong. Any potential blockers in the air that your opponent has simply don’t matter when marauder on the board (Nice knowing you, Lyra). Having the ability to chip away for 2 damage every turn from turn 2 onward is also quite nice. I have also won games because this guy has forced an opponent to trigger an ability early which has allowed me to respond last with cards like Unsummon or Nimble Obstructionist.

If Siren Stormtamer is the King of your deck against control, Nimble Obstructionist is the Prince. Does your opponent have a Scarab God about to resurrect your flyers? No worries, I’ll just cycle my card and stop you. Are you racing a History of Benalia? No worries, I’ll just cycle my card to prevent the buff. Oh you wanted to cast out my Tempest Djinn? Lol, get cycled on kid. The funny part about this card is how particular insane it would be in this deck even if it didn’t have the Flash keyword. Being able to flash this guy in for surprise lethal at the end of your opponents end-step is just the cherry on top, similarly, you can often use flash this card in vs control to force out an essence scatter so you can drop a Tempest Djinn safely on your turn.


The absolute meat of our deck. The whole reason you go mono blue flyers. Tempest Djinn is a monster and our opponent is its breakfast. If you’ve dropped this guy on turn 3, congratulations, you’ve probably won! Not only is Djinn an incredibly good blocker vs aggro decks but it also absolutely destroys decks by swinging quite often for 6+ in the air. If you get a Djinn on the board, protect it at all costs.

I’m a bit 50/50 on how I feel about this card. Sometimes this card is absolutely insane letting you win a race by tapping two of your opponent’s creatures when they want to swing and then also letting you swing back for lethal on your turn. However sometimes it’s just a 4 mana 3/3 flyer that you wish you didn’t have in your hand. Definitely a replaceable card and I probably wouldn’t spend any rare WC’s on it if you don’t want to.


Spells

Another card in our deck that has quite a lot utility. Its sole function is to simply annoy your opponent by letting us our tempo them. I have not had greater satisfaction in this deck than unsummoning a Lyra (Nice knowing you, again). We use this card to also fizzle removal vs control and then replay our units quite often. Trading an Unsummon for removal is 10/10 for us.

Dispersal is probably the hardest card in our deck to know when to use. Its critical to time this card correctly. If you are vsing control don’t use it to simply stop them drawing cards or playing something irrelevant like Champion of Wits, use it to block a Settle the WreckageSettle the Wreckage or to protect a unit with Curious ObsessionCurious Obsession on it. Similarly vs aggro, don’t use it to stop a bolt to the face (well, unless you’re going to die), keep 2 mana open on turn 4 in case they are going to play Hazoret. I would suggest if you have this card in your hand and have creatures on the board by turn 3, simply always keep the required mana open to cast it and learn by doing on when to play this card.


Enchantments

I have two rules with this card. 1) Don’t use it on Siren Stormtamer unless you need the draw (you will usually sac Stormtamer to protect the card with Obsession on it). 2) Don’t prioritise playing it over dropping a creature. In saying that, this card is absolutely amazing if you are wanting to keep mana open for something like Nimble Obstructionist or Lookout's Dispersal. Simply use your 1 mana on Obsession and keep the 2/3 required for the other ones. The stats are often really relevant on this card at putting something like a raided Aerialist out of bolt range, or putting a 1 toughness minion out of Firebrand/Chainwhirler range. Remember when this card is on the board to swing first before playing anything (unless you can add more damage in with Favourable winds) in case you draw a different line.

This is a logical card for the deck. We have many flyers. We want flyers to get bigger. We play Favorable Winds. I have a few issues with this card in that when you play it on turn 2 its very low tempo and that it is a little win-more at times. Quite often we don’t actually need this card to do enough damage to win. Before it is actually useful we need lots of flyers on the board and to get lots of flyers on the board it usually means we win. However this card is crucial in a lot of matchups as it puts your creatures outside of many removal spells. Before you blindly dump Winds on turn 2, make sure you think about how you can kill your opponent quicker, usually the correct answer is to play a creature before you play winds, and then play the winds the next turn.


Alternatives & Optimisation
There is not a whole lot that can be replaced here. The deck is very tight and very optimised. If you don’t have Dreamcaller Siren, consider Glyph Keeper as a good replacement. It’s a very sticky, albeit slow minion, that will generally help dominate control matchups. If you are missing Warkite Marauder, there really isn’t much to replace them with aside from Artificers Assistant – quite frankly we don’t really care about the historic cry effect, its just as useful as Siren Stormtamer for all the same reasons except the countering part (which happens to be pretty important). If you are missing Tempest Djinn – consider playing another deck, they are totally irreplaceable.

I would consider replacing two Unsummons if you are running into a lot of control for two Admiral's Order. Admiral's Order is potentially a fantastic card in this deck at stopping removal, and can be used on opponents turns on fringe cases.


Lands

Gameplan & Mulligan Guide


General Mulligan Rules
  • • Your ideal hand looks something like this. Island, Island, Siren Stormtamer, Storm Fleet Aerialist, Tempest Djinn and then anything else is simply a bonus.

  • • Keeping 2 landers is totally fine with this deck if you have a Siren Stormtamer/2 drop and a Tempest Djinn, otherwise I would generally mulligan a 2 lander.
  • • Avoid hands that have very few minions and a lot of cards like Lookout's Dispersal and Unsummons.
  • • Watch out for hands with 0 plays on turn 1 or 2, we really need to drop a Stormtamer or 2 drop early to beat control
  • • Almost always keep any hand with Stormtamer in it. Especially if you have Curious Obsession alongside it.
  • • Mulligan as if you are vsing control, we don’t care about losing to RDW as we are expecting to anyway, so don’t prioritise hands that are good against RDW.




Gameplan Advice
Kill your opponent before they kill you… just kidding – but not really this is at the heart of all aggro decks. Always maximise your damage by calculating when to play your cards like Favorable Windss, and protect your creatures at all costs by keeping counterspells and 1 mana up to sacrifice your Siren Stormtamer.

Calculate the race!! I cannot emphasise this enough. If you are racing your opponent calculate who wins first if you leave x blockers up. Quite often you don’t need to swing with everything because you have lethal next turn knowing they can’t block your stuff, so just play it safe and keep a blocker up. This deck is also a great example of the famous ‘who’s the beatdown’ scenario, where sometimes we simply have to sit in the air with our fliers and block until we get an overwhelming amount of them and blow them up.

Both on the play and on the draw we are looking for Siren Stormtamer. On the draw we would prefer a hand that has Tempest Djinn in it as quite often we will be behind on the board vs aggro and need a blocker to stall, similarly on the draw we really need a 1/2 drop to pressure control decks.

Closing Thoughts


This deck is absolutely great and extremely underrated in Arena right now. I highly suggest giving it a go if you enjoy aggro decks and want to punish control. Even though this deck has no cards in it from Kaladesh, I actually believe it gets stronger because of the fact that RDW becomes far less popular in proper standard – in saying that I have no idea how it performs vs the ever popular RB Vehicles. I also firmly believe this deck gets stronger in a format with sideboarding as it has a tonne of great cards to sideboard in/out (Such as Deep Freeze for aggro decks or Glyph Keepers for control decks).

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