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The late H. C. Andersen, Danish fairytale author, once told the tale of how a respectable hen lost a single feather. The other hens told the owls, the owls told the doves, the doves told the bats, each adding their only dramatic twist to the news until it reached the roosters at the other end of town that five whole chickens had died last night.
And so it went that a single feather turned into five whole chickens. In essence, it’s a story about not believing in rumors and checking your source material, something I guess many people could learn from today, but the story does not actually have anything to do with the topic for today.

Except for maybe how a single Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed can turn into five MTGO Standard league trophies.

Last week, I posted some decks that I had taken an interest to in early M20 Standard, and of those I’ve really taken a liking to Naya Feather. I think the green splash adds a lot that the straight Boros version doesn’t get access to. I’ve been tuning the deck and my sideboard approaches quite a bit, and this deck guide will get you right up to speed to where I’m at with the deck.

Current list

Keeping it up to date

Feather, the Redeemed from War of the Spark

Feather, the Redeemed from War of the Spark

Naya Feather by Simon Nielsen

Creatures (18)
Dreadhorde Arcanist
Tenth District Legionnaire
Thorn Lieutenant
Feather, the Redeemed
Gruul Spellbreaker

Spells (18)
Gods Willing
Defiant Strike
Reckless Rage
Domri’s Ambush
Shock
Season of Growth
Lands (24)
Sacred Foundry
Stomping Ground
Temple Garden
Temple of Triumph
Plains
Sunpetal Grove
Clifftop Retreat

Sideboard (15)
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Veil of Summer
Cindervines
Tocatli Honor Guard
Lava Coil
Fry
Demystify
Shock

Compared to the list I posted last week, I cut two of the Season of GrowthSeason of Growth to move a couple of ShockShock to the maindeck. This might seem odd, seeing as Season of GrowthSeason of Growth was the reason I splashed green to begin with. But I have found that it doesn’t really make or break any matchup. Even control decks can certainly win through it. But the card can be quite clunky and cause you to fall behind on board. ShockShock is the exact opposite of this and can help buy back the tempo losses you can have with 12 shocklands and no 1-drops.
You might wonder if it’s even worth it to play Naya rather than Boros if Season of GrowthSeason of Growth isn’t that amazing, but honestly I’ve grown to like the other green cards so much that I think they warrant a splash by themselves.

Thorn Lieutenant from Core Set 2019

Thorn Lieutenant from Core Set 2019

Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant and Gruul SpellbreakerGruul Spellbreaker are just so much better creatures than Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard and Legion WarbossLegion Warboss when you are behind. They are both good blockers, and Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant specifically also lines up quite well against Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler.
And don’t even get me started on how great Domri’s AmbushDomri’s Ambush is for the deck. The fact that it shoots planeswalkers is huge, and it works beautifully with Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist. Veil of SummerVeil of Summer is also a welcome addition, even though it is somewhat awkward against Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler.

I also found that UG Nexus is one of the worst matchups because we aren’t terribly fast and can’t win through Root SnareRoot Snare. This is why I added both CindervinesCindervines and DemystifyDemystify to the sideboard to shore up this matchup.

Tips and tricks

Get a head start on the common pitfalls

Reckless Rage from Rivals of Ixalan

Reckless Rage from Rivals of Ixalan

This deck isn’t exactly straightforward to play. It’s not like Heroic decks in Theros Standard where you just build up a giant creature they can’t interact with and kill them quickly. Feather is very much a value deck, especially this version. This means that you will be the aggressor against decks like Nexus, but most of the time you’ll face creature decks where you play the control role. And this deck demolishes creature decks, especially once you get Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed plus Reckless RageReckless Rage going.
So keep in mind that you are not just here to jam creatures on a curve and that you often want to hold back until you have protection up or you can guarantee value. And other times you do just want to jam. It really is a judgment call.
Here’s some tips and tricks to get you started:

  • If you’re playing on Arena, remember to set your stops right. When you have Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed in play with instants you can cast in hand, put a stop in their 2nd main phase. This is the phase where you need to cast your instants so that you get them back in their end step and have access to them on your own next turn. This way you get to draw two cards a turn from Defiant StrikeDefiant Strike. Even if it’s something as innocuous as casting Gods WillingGods Willing just to scry one, remember to get that free value. Just keep in mind when you cast something in their 2nd main phase, they can still cast sorceries afterwards.
  • Another stop you’ll need to have sometimes is in your own end step. This comes up often when you want to kill a bigger creature with Reckless RageReckless Rage while you have Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed in play. Cast it to deal 4 damage in your main phase, then in your end step after you get it back you get to cast it again to finish off their creature. Just remember that you need two creatures for this so you don’t accidentally kill off your own Feather. Or if you have Gods WillingGods Willing you can use the next trick:
  • Sometimes you need to cast two Reckless RageReckless Rage in the same turn, but you only have a single creature which would die as a result. This comes up most often with Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist. You can use Gods WillingGods Willing to save it, but be aware of your timing! If you cast Gods WillingGods Willing first, your creature will no longer be a legal target for Reckless RageReckless Rage so you can’t cast that at all. Instead, cast the lethal Reckless RageReckless Rage first, then respond to your own spell with Gods WillingGods Willing. Since Rage has two targets it won’t fizzle, but it also won’t deal any damage to your creature with protection from red. On Arena you need to go into Full Control to pull this off.
  • Sequencing can be very important with this deck, and usually you have a selection of 2-drops to choose between. If you have Gods WillingGods Willing, the most important two-drops to protect are Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist and Tenth District LegionnaireTenth District Legionnaire. This means you can safely use your turn 2 to deploy Season of GrowthSeason of Growth or Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant.
  • Another sequence you’d really like to go for is turn 2 Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist, turn 3 Tenth District LegionnaireTenth District Legionnaire plus Defiant StrikeDefiant Strike or Reckless RageReckless Rage. This gives you a nice boost of card advantage, a big attack and some card manipulation to boot.
  • Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist and Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed have this weirdly wonderful interaction where if you cast a spell from the graveyard and target one of your creatures, you’ll actually get the spell back at the next end step. This is because Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist tells you to exile the spell if it would end up anywhere but exile, but Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed also says to exile the spell as it resolves, so Arcanist sees no problem with that happening.
  • You can use that interaction to gain all sorts of advantage, but a common line where it comes up is usually on turn 4. On that turn, you often want to cast Defiant StrikeDefiant Strike or Reckless RageReckless Rage on your Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist BEFORE you play your Feather. Then play Feather pre-combat and attack, regrowing the spell you just cast and giving you a free extra use compared to just playing Feather, then casting your spell to get it right back before it hits the graveyard for Arcanist to use.
  • That interaction can also let you do a loop with ShockShock. Simply point the Shock at their creature or their life total before attacking, then attack and cast it from the graveyard targeting your own creature. Now Feather will bring it right back to you to use again. This is a way you can break through a wall of Root SnareRoot Snare if their life total is low enough.
  • Remember that you can use Defiant StrikeDefiant Strike on their creature in a desperate spot to draw towards a creature of your own.
  • Sometimes Tenth District LegionnaireTenth District Legionnaire is a perfectly valid target for ShockShock. This comes up especially if you have Feather in play to generate a constantly growing Legionnaire. You can also do it without Feather on your own turn to make your Legionnaire survive a potential damage-based sorcery speed removal spell next turn, like a Cry of the CarnariumCry of the Carnarium or Lava CoilLava Coil.
  • Also please remember that if you go turn 1 Temple of TriumphTemple of Triumph, your Clifftop RetreatClifftop Retreat won’t come into play untapped on turn 2. It shouldn’t really be necessary to say, but I’ve robbed myself of a turn 2 enough times that I thought I needed to mention it.

Sideboard Guide

Sideboard against Mono Red/White Weenie/BW Vampires

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord from Core Set 2020

Sorin, Imperious Bloodlord from Core Set 2020

Sideboard Out:

Season of Growth
Season of Growth

Sideboard In:

Shock
Shock

On the draw it’s also reasonable to consider cutting a Domri’s AmbushDomri’s Ambush to bring in Lava CoilLava Coil so you can kill a Runaway Steam-KinRunaway Steam-Kin immediately.

Against Vampires specifically I’ve also experimented with bringing in a couple copies of Veil of SummerVeil of Summer. But I think if you do this, only do it on the play where leaving up the mana is more reasonable and they probably will have more removal in their deck (since they’d be on the draw). You can maybe shave on Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant to fit them in.

Sideboard against Esper Hero/Control

Teferi, Time Raveler from War of the Spark

Teferi, Time Raveler from War of the Spark

Sideboard Out:

Shock
Shock
Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage

Sideboard In:

Veil of Summer
Veil of Summer
Veil of Summer
Fry
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants
Ajani, Adversary of Tyrants

I assume they’ll board out their Hero of Precinct OneHero of Precinct One, so I’m boarding appropriately. If they do keep it in, you can keep a couple Reckless RageReckless Rage in your deck (since it also kills Basilica Bell-HauntBasilica Bell-Haunt) and instead take out a couple Gods WillingGods Willing. This might seem counterintuitive, but the protection spells can really brick against Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler, and you already have Veil of SummerVeil of Summer anyway.
Teferi, Time RavelerTeferi, Time Raveler is often such a nuisance. Often you’ll respond to it with Veil of SummerVeil of Summer so that you draw a card and prevent it from dealing with your creature, then hopefully you can amass 5 power to take it down. Otherwise it’ll just shut off all your protection spells and also stop Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist.

Sideboard against Gruul/Dinosaurs

Rotting Regisaur from Core Set 2020

Rotting Regisaur from Core Set 2020

Sideboard Out:

Season of Growth
Season of Growth

Sideboard In:

Shock
Lava Coil

If they are playing the Jund Dinosaurs deck with Marauding RaptorMarauding Raptor and Regisaur AlphaRegisaur Alpha, I think Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard will be better than ShockShock.

Sideboard against Elementals

Risen Reef from Core Set 2020

Risen Reef from Core Set 2020

Sideboard Out:

Season of Growth
Season of Growth
Thorn Lieutenant
Thorn Lieutenant
Thorn Lieutenant
Thorn Lieutenant

Sideboard In:

Tocatli Honor Guard
Tocatli Honor Guard
Tocatli Honor Guard
Shock
Shock
Lava Coil

This is the matchup where Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard really shines. Risen ReefRisen Reef is so laughably bad with this card in play. Usually when you bring it in, you’ll just swap it for Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenant. Recent elementals lists are going quite big, almost like Simic Ramp. In those cases you can board closer to the plan in that matchup and keep in the Season of GrowthSeason of Growth.

Sideboard against Simic Ramp

Mass Manipulation from Ravnica Allegiance

Mass Manipulation from Ravnica Allegiance

Sideboard Out:

Thorn Lieutenant
Thorn Lieutenant

Sideboard In:

Shock
Shock

As stated in the last paragraph, there’s a fluid border between the ramp decks and the elemental decks. Usually whenever they play Risen ReefRisen Reef that’s when you’d want to replace the rest of your Thorn LieutenantThorn Lieutenants with Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard. If you’re up against Mass ManipulationMass Manipulation decks, you can also replace the Lieutenants with a couple Veil of SummerVeil of Summer.

Sideboard against Mono Blue/UG Flash

Spectral Sailor from Core Set 2020

Spectral Sailor from Core Set 2020

Sideboard Out:

Season of Growth
Season of Growth
Domri’s Ambush
Domri’s Ambush
Gods Willing
Gods Willing
Thorn Lieutenant

Sideboard In:

Veil of Summer
Veil of Summer
Veil of Summer
Fry
Shock
Shock
Lava Coil

In this matchup Veil of SummerVeil of Summer really shines and effectively negates their game-plan of using counterspells to slow you down.

Against UG Flash you can leave some of the red removal in your board and instead bring in a couple Tocatli Honor GuardTocatli Honor Guard. Between Merfolk TricksterMerfolk Trickster and Frilled MysticFrilled Mystic I think it does enough to warrant an inclusion.

Sideboard against Nexus

Nexus of Fate from Core Set 2019 (Buy-a-Box-Promo)

Nexus of Fate from Core Set 2019 (Buy-a-Box-Promo)

Out:

Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage
Reckless Rage
Gods Willing

Sideboard In:

Cindervines
Cindervines
Demystify
Shock
Shock

In this matchup, it’s very important to be aware of your clock. Remember that putting them to 4 is significantly better than 5, because they essentially have to start casting Root SnareRoot Snare at that point, otherwise they die to double ShockShock (or ShockShock and an attack with Dreadhorde ArcanistDreadhorde Arcanist). This is why we bring in ShockShock even though it really doesn’t have any targets outside of their face.

Sideboard against Boros Feather

Temple of Triumph from Core Set 2020

Temple of Triumph from Core Set 2020

Sideboard Out:

Shock
Shock

Sideboard In:

Lava Coil
Fry

The mirror match is super complicated, but it can also just be a blow-out, especially if one person gets Feather, the RedeemedFeather, the Redeemed plus Gods WillingGods Willing up and running early. Adanto VanguardAdanto Vanguard can be an issue, but other than that I think we are slightly ahead in the mirror due to Season of GrowthSeason of Growth and additional lands.

 

 

This article was written by Simon Nielsen in a media collaboration with mtgmintcard.com