Latest Update
16 December, 2006

Saturday Deck Teck - R.A.F!
(Royal Azorius Air Force)


By Anthony Skinner


As promised this week I am going to talk about the RAF - Azorius airforce deck I have been working on. In every standard format since I started playing there have been the same styles of decks doing well, whether it be Counters, Card Draw and Combo! Counter, Card Draw and Wrath! Weenie, Weenie, Burn , Burn, Burn! So far though this season, no one has posted a typical white Weenie deck. For those of you unfamiliar with the archetype here is Richard Moore's 2005 English Nationals winning decklist: -

Richard N Moore
White Weenie - 1st Place

Main Deck
60 cards
4  Blinkmoth Nexus
1  Eiganjo Castle
13  Plains

18 land

4  Suntail Hawk
4  Lantern Kami
4  Savannah Lions
4  Hokori, Dust Drinker
4  Leonin Skyhunter
3  Auriok Champion
3  Isamaru, Hound of Konda

26 creatures
4  Damping Matrix
4  Raise the Alarm
4  Glorious Anthem
4  Chrome Mox

White weenie wins by making a lot of quick creatures with evasion. As the game goes on cards like Glorious Anthem make sure that your cheap creatures remain genuine threats to your opponent's life total. The 2005 list had Hokori Dust Drinker to disrupt control decks and deprive them of their mana. The modern type 2 format does not have such a card and also with the Guilds from Ravnica there are great rewards for not sticking to one colour. The Azorius cards from Dissension give us access to some of the best evasive weenies to grace a set for many a year. To complement this there are also excellent tempo generating cards from the recent sets, such as Remand, Azorious Guildmage and Serra Avenger.

RAF - Royal Azorius Airforce
By Anthony Skinner 16th December 2006

Maindeck (60 Cards)
4   Pride of the Clouds
3   Azorius First-Wing
3   Azorius Guildmage
4   Suntail Hawk
4   Flying Men
3   Spiketail Drakeling
4   Serra Avenger
Mana Leak
3 Psionic Blast
3   Glorious Anthem
4   Azorius Chancery
4   Gemstone Mine
4   Hallowed Fountain
4   Adarkar Wastes
3   Plains
3   Island

4 Martyr of Sands
3 Proclamation of Rebirth
4 Repeal
2 Isperia the Incrustable
2 Wrath of God

Before I go into the matchup analysis I thought you would like a brief explanation of the cards I have chosen.

4 Pride of the Clouds
Mr broken, this guy costs 2 mana and often is upwards of 4/4 by turn 3-4. Air Elementals shouldn't cost two mana, which is why this guy is so good. The Forecast ability is just a bonus.

3 Azorius First-Wing
Filling in the 2 drop spot, this gets the nod over Leonin Skyhunter and Mistral Charger despite its UW cost. UW is actually easier to get than WW with this deck and the one toughness is good against opposing Javilineers and Shadow Guildmages. Protection from Enchantments - randomly good against Seal of Fire I suppose!

3 Azorious Guildmage
This guy is top draw, the fact that you don't need to tap him to use his abilities seems like cheating. I checked the card and it is not! Excellent card to play after your opponent's turn 3 Hellkite and a good finisher too.

4 Suntail Hawk
The turn 1 Spitfire of the deck, this powers up your Prides and make best use of Glorious Anthem.

4 Flying Men
Turn 1 Blue Spitfire!

3 Spiketail Hatchling
At the top of the curve the under rated Spiketail does a lot for the tempo of the deck. Usually on Turn 3 you worry about tapping out and being 3 or 4 for one'd by Wrath of God. The Spiketail removes this concern, if they have it, you sac him, if they don't have it you beat them!

4 Serra Avenger
This guy is just as wrong as Pride of the Clouds, the WW messes with the mana a bit, but with Glorious Anthem on the board you get a Serra Angel for WW, I am sure that's too cheap!

3 Mana Leak
"Wrath of God" , "Mana Leak" - drat - nuff said!

4 Remand
Essentially Timewalk in this deck, there is a reason Timewalk is restricted in Vintage, so play four!

3 Glorious Anthem
Only three copies, as a board full of Enchantments in a creature deck won't pick up many wins.

3 Psionic Blast
Originally I have all four copies, but I found that you don't want to draw multiples. The Blast is randomly good against some creatures, but mainly it gives you additional outs when your opponent has a stronger board. The opportunity to do a Craig Jones style, windmill slam top deck means this has to go in! Slamming Glorious Anthem sadly won't have the same effect!

4 Azorius Chancery
4 Hallowed Fountain
4 Adarkar Wastes
4 Gemstone Mine
3 Plains
3 Islands

What I can't decide is whether Flagstone of Trokair goes in here, maybe two copies should replace the Plains. The debate is that this leaves you even more open to Blood Moon, but less vunerable to Cryoclasm. The choice is yours. Also I have gone with 22 land as I want to play the Wrath and Isperia out of the board and the deck, although being weenie based, you want enough land to cast threats and play the cheap counters at the same time.

Match-up Analysis

Some playing around on workstation showed me the decks strength's and weaknesses. There are three archetypes generally to watch out for, Beats and Burn, Dragon Combo and Control. This deck eats Control decks for breakfast! What I mean by control is any deck that want's to play cards like Signets, Wrath, Compulsive Research, Phyrexian Arena and Large fat creatures like Angel of Despair, Akroma and Skeletal Vampire.

The deck struggles against weenies plus, Seal of Fire, Riftbolt, Lightning Helix. It struggles because the removal disrupts your synergy. Card on card Suntail Hawk is worse then Savannah Lions, Flying Men is worse than Icatean Javelineers etc.

Against Dragonstorm the match up is fair but comes down to whether they have turn 1 Lotus Bloom. From my results so far, you lose when they do and win when they don't.


So far Control has been eaten for breakfast so we need to make sure we snack on beatdown at lunch time and finish with a main course of Dragon for dinner!

4 Repeal - This is for the Dragonstorm matchup - One blue, return Lotus Bloom to your hand in your upkeep, with Remand back up! Mana leak is particularly useless in this match-up so that can come out. I say that because this match does seem to come down to the Lotus giving them the tempo they need to push through your damage clock and counters for the win. The third Psionic Blast can come out to make room for the fourth repeal.

4 Martyr of Sands, 3 Proclamation of Rebirth , 2 Wrath of God - This is for the Boros Matchup or anydeck with 16 burn spells and cheap creatures. The idea is to stay ahead in life - The Martyr will trade with a Lion, or a Javelin activation and gain a lot of life in the process. Wrath punishes them for over commiting to the board , something which is quite natural if they have removed all your creatures. The Proclamations are there to be hardcast to return all your one drops back to play. I found the Boros matchup goes on for a long time and eventually they win the attrition war. Bringing back your Martyrs, Hawks and Men, especially if you have Glorious Anthem should be game breaking.

2 Isperia the Inscrutable - For Boros and Dragonstorm. The 6 toughness is key. Naming Char off the ability is a good bet against Boros and it helps to win the attrition war against them. Versus Dragonstorm it can block a Hellkite all day allowing vital time to rebuild your airforce. If your initial pressure forces them to make a turn 3-4 Hellkite, then dropping this is key. The time this buys you allows you to win the top deck war and generally you will top deck a critical mass of creatures before they assemble a combo turn.

I hope you have enjoyed this week's article. Next week I will go through some updates to my Sacred Pact list from a couple of weeks ago and a new Critical Mass deck I am working on.



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