I remember the card being used in the sideboard of Pedro Carvalho’s Affinity deck from the Top 8 of Pro Tour Return to Ravnica. There, it was used as a countermeasure to Lingering Souls and as an extra punch against Stony Silence. In a deck with 16 flyers (including creaturelands) that was fine, but the effect wasn’t powerful enough for the main deck—you needed at least 20-22 flyers to really take advantage of Favorable Winds.
In an all-flyer deck, the effect can be similar to Honor of the Pure in a White Weenie deck. Such decks have been major players in Standard, with the 2-mana enchantment playing a big role. So the question becomes: Is there enough support for Favorable Winds in the Standard-legal sets?
After looking through the options, I don’t yet see a top-tier deck that can compete with Ramunap Red or Temur Energy, but there is the possibility for a viable fringe deck that can prey on slow ground blockers. And that possibility is exciting to me. Let’s start by going through the best single-color blue and artifact creatures with flying. As you’ll see, there are decent options on all spots of the curve.
A mono-blue deck might technically be possible, but I don’t see a good reason to stay mono-color. Ramunap Red and Zombies were happy to stay mono-color for Sunscorched Desert and Grasp of Darkness, respectively. But Blue Skies does not have double-blue spells or a good uncommon Desert. I think you’re better off with a second color, and there are several options.
Black provides Blight Keeper, giving enough turn-1 creatures to support Storm Fleet Aerialist. As a result, the curve of this deck is very low. What’s more, almost all creatures in this deck are Pirates, which is great for Dreamcaller Siren and Lookout’s Dispersal.
For this deck, I chose Lookout’s Dispersal and Fatal Push over Disallow and Vraska’s Contempt. You are not a control deck that needs reliable answers in the late game—you are a tempo deck that wants to enter a damage race with evasive creatures and that aims to make favorable mana trades. Spell Pierce or Unsummon would also be good options.
An issue with this deck is that it will be underpowered if you don’t draw Favorable Winds. I added a Pirate’s Cutlass to mitigate this, but it won’t be as good. If you could run 8 Favorable Winds, this deck might be good. With just 4, it faces big consistency issues.
You could also build a hyper-aggressive deck with Twilight Skywalker, but I prefer this more midrange approach. In this deck, the toughness boost of Favorable Winds may be as important as the power boost, as it takes Aerial Responder out of Lightning Strike range and ensures that Angel of Sanctions can beat Glorybringer.
This is a bit of a speculative build, featuring Dowsing Dagger (a perfect fit for this deck) and Riddleform as the 2-drop. There are several card draw spells to exploit Lost Vale and to turn Riddleform into a creature. One of them is Galestrike, which is a combo with Kinjalli’s Sunwing. This may all be a bit too funky, but I like what this deck is capable of. It can also play a reasonable game of Magic if you don’t draw Favorable Winds.
With Favorable Winds, Maverick Thopterist creates two 2/2 flyers, which is quite appealing. This version is driven by artifact synergy, going as far as running a low-power Ornithopter and Vehicles without excellent pilots.
There will be a lot of variance in the opening hands of this deck, but the good draws will be pretty powerful. Imagine playing Hope of Ghirapur and Ornithopter on turn 1, Favorable Winds on turn 2, and Maverick Thopterist on turn 3. It’s not quite Affinity, but it comes somewhat close.
Favorable Winds enables several new decks, and the archetype can be built in various ways. Although there is no Favorable Winds number 5-8 to yield enough consistency for a tier 1 Standard deck, I imagine that Blue Skies could be a good deck choice for a weekend where Dinosaur decks are popular. Just soar over Ripjaw Raptor and Carnage Tyrant when the winds are favorable!
But these are just my first impressions. Which Favorable Winds brew do you like best?