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60CC – Flock of Seagulls

Soulcatcher's AerieHello again my faithful readers!  This one’s simple yet entertaining.  When I started playing again around the time Onslaught came out, I noticed that Birds seemed to be a tribe they were pushing.  This was cemented when I saw Aven Brigadier, who is just ridiculous with the various Bird Soldiers.  But it wasn’t until I saw the Judgment card Soulcatchers’ Aerie that I was completely blown away.  Every time a bird dies, ALL these other birds get bigger?  HOLY CRAP!  So I set to work building a Bird deck.  The first one was just a bunch of big expensive awesome birds, a Brigadier, and a pair of Aeries.  As the years have gone by, I’ve tweaked and changed and fixed and focused the deck.  Here’s the pre-60CC list:

Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (30)
4 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jötun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
1 Pride of the Clouds
1 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor
2 Shoreline Ranger

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatchers’ Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant

Seaside Haven baby!  The Soulcatcher makes an appearance all the way from Odyssey to keep watch over his Aerie.  I have a few birds that can off themselves for the good of the flock, like Aven Augur, Lieutenant Kirtar and the Aven Riftwatchers.  With a single counter on the Aerie, the Phantom Flock becomes impossible to kill with damage.  I have a bit of a bird token generating subtheme rolling around in here too, what with the Owl Keeper, Pride of the Clouds, Emeria Angel, and the set of Battle Screeches.  More small birds for cheap in the early game means more giant Serrakeet birds for cheap in the late game!  The Keeper of the Nine Gales and Crookclaw Elder take advantage of my fairly ridiculous number of birds to do nifty things like bounce threats or refill my hand.  And let’s not forget the Windbrisk Raptor as a nice way to change the game in a single swing.

But you see, then I started opening packs from the Zendikar block.  I nabbed a second Emeria Angel which of course MUST go in this deck.  I also opened an Archon of Redemption.  The more I looked at it, the more it spoke to me.  It whispered to me of three counters on an Aerie and not paying for the third upkeep on an Owl Keeper, then playing a land with Emeria Angel out, then flashing back a Battle Screech.  That comes to six 3/3 birds, which means 18 life! Such riches are more than even my considerable imagination could conjure, and I was weak in the knees.  In that moment of weakness, I agreed to put this evil Archon in the deck where it clearly belonged.  But only as a single, for multiples would surely bring about the end of days!  *ahem* Sorry about that.  What was I saying?

Oh yeah, I’m putting in new cards.  The Pride of the Clouds makes bird tokens, but it has to be in my hand and it takes 4 mana BEFORE I draw for the turn!  The Emeria Angel has to be on the battlefield and I have to play lands.  Holy crap, I was gonna do that anyway!  So an even 1-for-1 swap on those two seems fair to me.  If this deck was more about a swarm of tiny birds, then the Pride could be absolutely amazing, but it’s actually about making a swarm of huge birds, so it loses some value when I could just include another bird or a more efficient token-maker.  I looked at the Soulcatcher next.  There’s a full set in there.  I don’t think a full set is really necessary, especially since I already have the full set of Aeries.  And for some strange reason, I feel compelled to put the Archon in here.  Not quite sure what that’s about.  so let’s just do another swap there.

At this point, I’m still sitting at +2 cards.  Let’s see what’s left.  Disenchant!  What good does that crap do?  It does all kinds of good, the hell is wrong with you?  What about…Courier Hawk?  It’s small and vigilant, which works really well with the Aerie later in the game, but it’s a possibility.  My favorite thing to do with Aven Fisher is sacrifice it to a Seaside Haven to draw two cards and bump up the rest of my birds, and even if I don’t get to do that it still replaces itself when death comes for it.  No, at this point I decided to knock off the Shoreline Rangers.  The deck runs pretty well on 4 mana, so the islandcycling isn’t as necessary as it was in previous incarnations.  In other words, it’s a holdover from the time I had a whole mess of 5 and 6 cost birds in the deck.  With the smaller, sleeker creature the deck has become, the Rangers are unnecessary.  They’re still good, just not here.

As always (well, it will be always), here’s the full list of changes:

+1 Emeria Angel
-1 Pride of the Clouds
+1 Archon of Redemption
-1 Soulcatcher
-2 Shoreline Ranger

And here’s the final list, sitting right at 60 cards:

Flock of Seagulls
Land (22)
8 Plains
7 Island
2 Azorius Chancery
2 Coastal Tower
1 Sejiri Refuge
2 Seaside Haven

Creatures (28)
3 Soulcatcher
2 Courier Hawk
2 Keeper of the Nine Gales
2 Aven Riftwatcher
2 Jötun Owl Keeper
1 Lieutenant Kirtar
2 Emeria Angel
1 Commander Eesha
2 Aven Fisher
2 Aven Augur
2 Celestial Gatekeeper
2 Phantom Flock
1 Archon of Redemption
2 Crookclaw Elder
1 Aven Brigadier
1 Windbrisk Raptor

Noncreatures (10)
4 Soulcatchers’ Aerie
4 Battle Screech
2 Disenchant

So now for the educational part of this post.  First off, keep an eye out for cards that do the same thing only better, like the Emeria Angel replacing the Pride here.  Also, if you’re like me, you keep decks for a long time and tweak and change them as new cards come out.  Watch out for those cards that were required to make the deck run smoothly back in the day.  Sometimes you just have to go back to first assumptions and take a good look at those cards that you just leave in there because they’ve always been there.  Question everything!  And that’s not just a lesson in casual deckbuilding, that’s a life lesson.  But enough of all that.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the little birdies.  Thanks for reading and uh, go play some Magic.

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  1. By VIDEO: Homelands Winchester Draft on June 6, 2012 at 7:09 pm

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