Here we are in the middle of another preview season. It happens rather infrequently, but sometimes during previews, the planets align and I become consumed by one of the legendary creatures being previewed. This week saw the reveal of Kykar, Wind’s Fury by The Command Zone; and while they didn’t inspire me right away, after some consideration, I really became enamored by this new Jeskai general.

I admittedly have a blind spot for decks that lean heavily on the spells slots more than the creatures. As such, had a harder time trying to figure out how to make a functioning deck that I would be pleased with. But the more I thought about them and started examining when the upper end of their abilities could do, I began to see several branching paths possible with a deck led by this brand new bird wizard.

A spirit tribal deck is the easiest version of the deck to see. But after expanding my view a bit, I began to see room for broader themes and a chance to have a sweet spell-based endgame plan that would either enhance the army we’d built or use our spectral creations as fuel for the killing blow. The mixture of part Monastery Mentor and other parts Skirk Prospector begs for an interesting build that I don’t feel can be easily replicated but other generals within Kykar’s color identity.

Burns Like Team Spirit

One of the simplest interactions with Kykar is their creation of spirits for the purposes of creating small rushes of red mana in a moment of need. The ability to create spirit tokens to sacrifice later feels essential to the deck. Unfortunately, in all my research, I don’t know if there is a way to create enough spirit tokens to break even on red mana or go beyond it, short of imprinting Hallowed Spiritkeeper on Mimic Vat. But we don’t need to break the game in half when we could instead play directly into spirit tribal strategies.

If we are able to build up formidable forces through creatures like Geist-Honored Monk, Drogskol Cavalry, or Oyobi, Who Split the Heavens, we just might be able to tap into a surprisingly underrepresented Spirit tribal deck. With cards like Supreme Phantom, Long-Forgotten Gohei, and Drogskol Captain acting as lord effects, the spirit tokens we’re making every time we cast an instant or sorcery—say a Midnight Haunting—will be far better than a simple 1/1 flier. And Ugin, the Ineffable makes spirit tokens we often would rather see die for  card advantage. Heck, with enough Spirit spells in our deck, we may even be able to make good use of Kiri-Onna, Nikko-Onna, or Yuki-Onna.

To make best use of all these tokens, we can include Twilight Drover to recoup some of our losses, with Field of Souls backing them up for any creature cards we may be sacrificing for red mana. We can turn a single creature death into a flood of creature tokens with Promise of Bunrei. And Spirit Bonds not only creates more spirit tokens, but also can be used to protect our general in a time of need.

If there is one aspect of this deck that I am a little unhappy with, it has to be the lack of green in the color identity to use the Spirit tribal support that came out of Kamigawa. If I could play Kodama of the Center Tree and Kodama of the South Tree, I would be visibly happier to sleeve it up. But I feel that what Kykar lacks in support from green can be substituted with other great themes.

Flying High

While I see a lot of potential in Kykar as an unconventional Spirit tribal deck, I actually envision that they could be better as a Talrand, Sky Summoner with access to more colors. Having seen Talrand in action, I know that flying can be a potent way to build an unstoppable army to win through combat. Since all of our instants and sorceries will already be creating flying tokens for us, it seems appropriate to include Talrand’s underappreciated cousin, Murmuring Mystic. With our general and the aforementioned token-generating package, we can include lords that enhance all flying creatures, like Empyrean Eagle, Thunderclap Wyvern, Windstorm Drake, and Favorable Winds to make any token we produce massively more impressive.

For the most part everything that is generating spirits or buffing them has been squarely in white or blue. Yet we’re turning our spirits into red mana. This is where I found the biggest roadblock for this deck. Luckily red has no shortage of awesome spells that can help to end the game. Taking advantage of the red pieces of the color identity with enchantments like Onslaught and Impact Tremors will make each creature entering the battlefield have a little more weight. And since most of our creatures may end up being flying tokens, we can use Ashling’s Prerogative and Dragon Tempest as subtle buffs as well.

Kicking Into High Gear

The kicker mechanic provides an outlet for our excess mana and looks poised for success with Kykar. (Maybe that’s where their name comes from?) So it seems appropriate to play Rite of Replication. While we haven’t gotten nearly the saturation of multikicker that I would personally like to see, I could be content with Comet Storm and Deathforge Shaman for damage and Marshal’s Anthem for creature buffing and resurrection. And in the most magical of Christmas-lands, I would like to end at least one player’s game with a kicked Illuminate, possibly even refilling my hand.

Much like how I wanted to use Onslaught and Impact Tremors to take advantage of creatures entering the battlefield, Flux Channeler and Cathars’ Crusade seem made for each other in this deck. Runechanter’s Pike is a late-game equipment that should really shine in a deck full of instants and sorceries. And as a companion to that, creatures like Soulblade Djinn and Sage of the Inward Eye that have pseudo-Prowess abilities should be able to thrive and act as secondary lords to our board. As I envision the end result of all these crazy interactions should be a massive torrent of spells and combat damage to create a great story.

From what we’ve seen of Magic 2020, I have a lot of enthusiastic feelings about the set. I think the decision to put the legendary creatures mostly in wedge colors was a fantastic idea, because it allows for more generals in color combinations we rarely see without having to build an entire world around five distinct groupings. As always, my biggest takeaway from most of the decks that I spotlight is that they at best push me in directions that I have not considered recently. I think Kykar will be another one in that vein.

Ryan Sainio is a Graphic Designer who writes about EDH and the EDH community. He has been playing Magic: The Gathering since 7th Edition in 2002 and values flavorful and fun gameplay over competitively optimized decks.

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