In a Standard cycle that features both Teferi, Hero of Dominaria and Wilderness Reclamation, it might seem hard for an expansion to provide a card that can insight even more fury. However, War of the Spark did just that with a card that breaks the rules of its color combination to provide a smart way to win through card draw and control… as opposed to the usual beatdown Boros gives us.
Feather, the Redeemed…
I’m just pulling your leg. I love this card, and I also pulled it during my War of the Spark pre-release, a day that we will leave forgotten in history. This past weekend, I was trying to rack up a few wins with my Abzan Superfriends deck, and I watched as this flying feather-duster took my all-powerful Planeswalkers apart, piece by piece.
It was like a symphony. A perfectly tuned bit of orchestration that provided them with both an endless supply of cards and free value from casting cheap cantrips.
I’ll try my best to restructure how it all went down.
Here is our deck’s namesake. At its base stats, a 3/4 flyer for three mana is solid, even if it is a bit difficult to cast. For that difficult casting cost though, it also has an engine that all but cures Red/White Boros’ recurring problem… an empty hand after turn-3 or turn -4.
As the text clearly lays out, your obvious tactic is to turn away from typical Red burn spells and focus solely on pump spells. Anything that targets your own creatures is key here because you’ll be able to cast it again… and again… and again… and again. That card advantage created by Feather is absurd, especially when opponents have no way of breaking through opposing blockers or indestructible beasts.
Of course, you need Feather, the Redeemed to make this all work, so a playset is a must. And you’ll also need other creatures since she can’t carry the weight all on her own.
In just a few months, we’ll be looking at Adanto Vanguard in the rear-view mirror when it rotates out of Standard. However, until then, we are still blessed with it as one of the absolute best White aggressive creatures in Magic. Nearly impossible to kill, always looking to get strong and be targeted by pump spells, Adanto Vanguard will be the early/late-game threat you need at any point in the game. Pile tokens onto it and watch as opponents shake their head with it charging in every turn.
Because one form of recursion just isn’t enough, Dreadhorde Arcanist has Feather’s back all the way. Granted, you only get one extra use out of your spells with him instead of an infinite loop… and the two don’t play well together since instant and sorcery spells don’t last long in the graveyard with Feather on the board. But still, this cheap Red threat helps keep the theme of our deck flowing, which is casting cheap spells multiple times to gain an advantage.
And yes, the two CAN close a game together if you are blowing an opponent out of the water with three or four instant spells on your last turn.
Another card from War of the Spark that was obviously created to be a partner in crime with Feather. Tenth District finally pulled itself together to produce a decent card after two lame commons in the last two set. A two-mana 2/2 haste creature is already sweet, again, even with that tough casting cost.
And again, we get a little extra from that casting cost with a card that gets bigger each time it is targeted, making it possibly better than Adanto Vanguard. This is the card that put away my Superfriends deck seeing that it was a 10/9 the last time it charged in… wasn’t pretty. When it is being targeted each and every turn by a cheap cantrip, the Legionnaire gets out of hand really quickly.
No, you can’t steal an opponent’s card with Dire Fleet Daredevil and then put it into your own hand. Feather’s ability only works when the instant or sorcery spell would be put into your graveyard, whereas an instant or sorcery spell owned by an opponent will always be put into their graveyard, making it an illegal target.
Nevermind that little trick not working though because this is still a legit card to cast early or cast late. Not a “four of” but still enough power to turn the tide in your favor if your opponent has already cast something you’re salivating over.
Because who doesn’t love FREE Goblins? Feather’s ability doesn’t work if you don’t have creatures to target, and the warboss here assures that you’ll always have some fodder to target.
Because you can’t kill him. Because if you target him as a creature, you get Feather’s bonuses. Because he is broken beyond all fixing. Gideon obviously has a place in our deck as a win condition, a rank and file three-drop creature, as a removal spell, as a way to get life back against burn decks, as a way to leave defenses up against aggressive decks, and maybe even a way to simply get our opponents to scoop on the spot.
He’s powerful, he’s White, and he’s a creature. He’s an easy inclusion.
And also… Ajani, because he is awesome. You might not get to ultimate him, but those counters are a big help when beating an opponent down!
Now we find ways to exploit Feather’s unique ability. We are primarily looking for spells that we want to cast again and again, something that can potentially give us value every turn, and we especially want them to be able to target our own creatures. Assume that Shocks and Lightning Strikes have their usual home here to finish off opponents. We’re just looking at the spells that take advantage of Feather’s abi…
THIS #*^&ing card?! This seemingly insignificant little puke of a useless combat spell always finds a way to worm itself to the top of the pile and over-perform. On surface value, it doesn’t help your creatures survive combat, and it isn’t even worth the slot in your deck by virtue of replacing itself. What a useless card…
And yet, when it first came to us in Khans of Tarkir (oh… what a glorious expansion you were), it was very playable thanks to the Jeskai’s reliance on prowess as an ability, creating huge lifeswings for just a single mana. And now, its benefits from Feather’s ability in the most obvious way. Sure, it’s still useless in combat, but when you look at that second line of text… you get to draw a card for a single White mana. White already struggles at card draw, so putting this card back into your hand at the end of every turn means an extra card every turn, right?
Well, it doesn’t stop there! Since Defiant Strike can be cast at instant speed, this means you can cast it during your opponent’s turn as well! No lie, you get an extra TWO cards every turn cycle. In an aggressive Boros deck, keeping your hand that full is dangerous since you’ll have more than enough ammunition to throw into an opponent’s face.
All thanks to this insignificant combat trick.
Enrage will go down in Magic history as a mediocre ability that couldn’t elevate Ixalan block out of its own stinking filth. This card was obviously intended to be one of the prime ways to trigger the ability, but instead, it has outlived the short shelf-life of its Limited intentions and become a constructed bomb thanks to Feather.
For a single Red mana, we’re talking 4 direct damage to a creature each and every turn. Yup, because you are targeting your own creature with the 2 damage, you get to snag it back at the end of your turn! Target Feather, it’ll survive. Target Tenth District Legionnaire, it’ll get the +1/+1 counter before the two damage is dealt to it. Target Adanto Vanguard, you can pay the four life and get to remove their biggest threat.
This is the real deal here, a recurring removal spell that never leaves your hand. Every Red player’s dream.
This would be broken at instant speed, but we’ll still settle for it at sorcery speed. With this card, you get an infinite barrage of +1/+1 counters on each of your turns. Tenth District Legionnaire gets two counters, Adanto Vanguard becomes even more threatening. It’s the simplest of the cards we run, but it’s worth it if we’re pounding an opponent into the dust.
Another forgettable card turned into a lifesaver. Nothing feels worse than casting your array of spells and then losing Feather just before heading into your end step. Yup, if the angel dies, you get NOTHING back, which means you’ll want to keep her safe at all cost.
Indestructible can do just that, keeping Feather alive long enough to buy all of your spells (including Sheltering Light itself) back. Of course, your opponent knows it’s in your hand once you cast it the first time, and they’ll make adjustments. However, there is no need to fear non-exile removal once you get this card into your routine.
And the scry 1 helps you get card advantage as well. Go figure…
With a playset of Sacred Foundry and Clifftop Retreat, you should be all set for lands. No need to get fancy. A steady flow of Red and White mana are all you need
- 4x Adanto Vanguard
- 1x Dire Fleet Daredevil
- 4x Dreadhorde Arcanist
- 4x Tenth District Legionnaire
- 4x Feather, the Redeemed
- 2x Legion Warboss
- 2x Gideon Blackblade
- 1x Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
- 4x Defiant Strike
- 4x Reckless Rage
- 3x Sheltering Light
- 4x Shock
- 1x Gird for Battle
- 4x Clifftop Retreat
- 6x Mountain
- 8x Plains
- 4x Sacred Foundry
Your strategy is simple: play creatures, prioritize Feather, and then let your instant and sorcery spells fly! You’ll be able to buy them back and out-value your opponent in terms of card advantage. Not sure if I want to make it though, but if I ever get the urge, Feather might be a solid Commander down the line for EDH. That’s a long way away though.
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