Okada Naoya brought the power of Thopters to the entire Magic world by making Top 8 at Grand Prix Shanghai. We’ve seen similar lists going 5-0 in MTGO Competitive Leagues in the week since, and prior to that both Craig Wescoe and Craig Fennell had found success with similar strategies.
The Thopter producers in Standard are all individually powerful. Whirler Virtuoso will make a single Thopter on its own, but can also use any of the energy you may have stockpiled throughout the game to make more flyers down the road. Maverick Thopterist works extra well with other token makers to make the relatively high casting cost feel much lower. 4 total power and toughness across three creatures and two flyers is an excellent rate. The middle ground is Pia Nalaar, who greatly resembles a Whirler Virtuoso in a deck that isn’t focused on energy. Able to pump your Thopters and keep your opponent from blocking, Pia is only held back by her legendary status. All of these creatures provide 1 or more Thopters, which is perfect for playing defense against aggro and going wide against control. Having extra blockers happens to also be an effective strategy against midrange, so these cards have a ton of utility in Standard right now.
Creating a bunch of Thopters is great, but at the end of the day, 1/1 flying creatures aren’t the fastest clock. When combined with a whole bunch of other flying creatures, however, Favorable Winds finds an awesome home in Standard. Pumping your entire flying force is amazing and cutting down the number of turns your opponent has to survive in half is valuable for just 2 mana.
In order to maximize your Favorable Winds, you’ll want to add some cheap flyers. Siren Stormtamer is an early clock that can protect some of your bigger creatures later in the game. Keep in mind that Settle the Wreckage actually targets a player and Siren Stormtamer can therefore counter it. Hope of Ghirapur’s sacrifice ability isn’t the best, but it will be relevant against sweepers occasionally and provides a cheap artifact flyer to attack in the air or help accelerate out a Maverick Thopterist.
This deck also has the ability to go big in the late game. Glorybringer is a huge threat and removal is sure to be taxed with your aggressive early clock. Glorybringer helps clear the way for your other creatures, protect your life total, and hits for huge chunks of damage.
The best Vehicles in Standard also have flying to combo with Favorable Winds. Aethersphere Harvester is the best of the bunch in a deck with 1-drops and Thopters as it’s easy to crew and can even give you lifelink to win a race. Favorable Winds and Pia Nalaar pumping your Harvester can gain you huge amounts of life when it matters most. Heart of Kiran isn’t easy to crew, but all of your Thopter producers create enough power to do it, and a 4/4 flying threat is awesome even without Winds and Pia to pump it up. Heart can close the game in a hurry even if it requires several creatures to jump in to get the job done.
In the end, this is an aggressive deck looking to put a quick clock on the opponent, so reach is useful. Lightning Strike and Shock can both clear the way for creatures to get through, buy you some time to survive, or go to the face to finish off your opponent.
U/R Skies has the ability to go wide, put up some quick damage, and even has an anthem effect to pump your small creatures. This deck can put a fast clock on the opponent and leaves them with few ways to interact… but please go from 13 to 15 sideboard cards!