Head in the Clouds
Hello, Magic fans! Enjoying the delights of Dominaria United? The cards in Legends sparked a lot of inspiration for decks when I was getting into Magic, and seeing a healthy number of them reappearing with an updated power level is so exciting! Dominaria definitely has that "classic Magic: the Gathering" feel, and what's more classic than tribal decks? In this week's Sift Through Sands, we'll be looking at two combat-focused tribal decks:Birds and Giants.
Kangee and Ruhan aren't the most popular choices for tribal decks, each representing a large tribe with few commanders. Kangee comes as a janky late drop pump spell, boosting our Birds to lethal damage, while Ruhan's chaotic attacks give us a dangerous early threat in a tribe that tends to be high mana value. Birds and Giants alike want to amass a force of dangerous creatures, with our Birds getting incrementally more threatening, while our Giants are bombs for later in the game. Let's start with Kangee!
You Can't Stop Storm Crow
The objective of this deck is to playas quickly as possible. We will never be upset to see it. Jokes aside, early-game drops like Storm Crow, , , and all get us moving. As classic of a strategy as there is, getting a lot of cheap fliers in play can start to make our opponents sweat as they hope to find their own. We want to continue strengthening our flock, with anthem effects like and or by profiting from using them as chump blockers with .
Our best Birds come in the form of legendary creatures, with, , , and being notable. carries the deck's reliance on incidental counters, making our commander and more dangerous alike. By this point, our force of Birds includes small fliers and these more dangerous threats as we begin to snowball.
Being so focused on creatures, our deck utility comes with wings.converts to a manageable size, disrupts combos, and helps us with removal. Our ramp package includes plenty of mana rocks that tap for multiple mana, like and , keeping us ahead of the curve in order to play more Birds and let Kangee compound their threat with plenty of feather counters. Most importantly, lets us pull our second into the game (if it's okay with your playgroup, of course).
The Birds here want to win by building up a low-mana-cost force and boosting them, which works well early game. Ruhan, unlike Kangee, doesn't have as many early game threats. However, the critical setup needed to keep us in the game comes in our first few plays, especially when our curve is high. Let's take a look at our list:
Giants they might be, and giants they are. With their size comes a mana value weight that we need to consider, especially with our lack of reliable land-based ramp. However,, , and help us out, sifting through our deck for the right cards. Our ramp comes in the form of cheap mana rocks, allowing us to curve into Ruhan and friends. Utility spells and countermagic, such as and , help keep us in the game as well.
Our support Giants are important plays., , and are all welcome sights. If we have trouble with mana, helps us drop in or much faster, and it does a lot of work in this list. As we approach late game, we want to have combat boosts, like , , and , to help us pack a better and faster punch.
We want our Giants to hit hard and to make the ground quake as we cast them., , and all make quite an impact. To close the game out, , , and work to make sure we pack a punch no matter what, and ideally letting us deal large amounts of damage from attacking and tossing a Giant at an opponent.
Tribal decks can be multifaceted, with some leaning towards thematic combo decks and others being a variety of aggro strategies. In each of our decks, we need to have a tribal glue to support the shortcomings of picking from a narrower field of creatures. The following cards are in both lists:
Azorius Tribal Package
As neither of our lists include green, and both need lots of mana to work well, many of these cards work to get us that mana. Outside of our rocks,, , and are essential ways to get that mana. makes it easier to match faster decks by getting us more creatures, and keeps us ahead in the card advantage game. Including useful Changelings, like , is a powerful tool as well. Tribal decks can be explosively powerful, and recent cards like help tribes that occur in color identities that aren't always creature-focused compete.
That's all for now! Now that we're through, I want to hear about your tribe of choice, and I want to know why you like it! Did you think about building Spike tribal like a younger me? What do you think makes tribal decks so endearing in this complicated game we play? Let me know in the comments and I'll see you around. Thanks for reading!