Wingmantle Chaplain Lays Down the BIRD LAW

Wingmantle Chaplain

Wingmantle Chaplain from Dominaria United

  • Card Name: Wingmantle Chaplain
  • Mana Cost: 3W
  • Card Type: Creature – Human Cleric
  • Rules Text: Defender. When Wingmantle Chaplain enters the battlefield, create a 1/1 white Bird creature token with flying for each creature with defender you control. Whenever another creature with defender enters the battlefield under your control, create a 1/1 white Bird creature token with flying.
  • Illustrated by: Miranda Meeks

The Ridiculous Questions You Never Knew to Ask

MichaelJ — Can I make it to the big show with my Bird / Wall theme deck?

Is it in fact possible to qualify for the Pro Tour using only Birds and Walls?

Are we in fact… Doing it?

Last week Jim Davis posted a frankly ridiculous deck based around “Mythic Uncommon” Wingmantle Chaplain.

Wingmantle Chaplain was an absolute killer in Limited (hence its over-the-top, if descriptive, nickname)… But at least prior to Jim’s video, I can’t imagine anyone took it seriously as a Constructed card. If you haven’t seen this thing in action: That notorious gap in your life, mind, and imagination ends today.

That’s Jim’s deck properly built, at least. When I played it I initially refused to Wildcard Faithbound Judge, so only played with one in my main deck. But if you’re going to take a swing for the Pro Tour with this collection of Birds, Walls, and Limited All-Stars yourself, you might want to do it right.

Here’s how the deck works…

Why Play Birds and Walls to Begin With? The Top-end Payoffs

There are two top-end payoffs:

  • Knight-Errant of Eos, Convoke newcomer from March of the Machine
  • “Mythic Uncommon” Wingmantle Chaplain

All the nonsense creatures — Larder Zombie and creatures more-or-less on the power level of Larder Zombie — give you bodies to slow the battlefield to molasses; and then a couple of turns in, to Convoke into Meeting of the Minds or Knight-Errant of Eos to get a little ahead… Or whatever passes for “ahead” when you’re playing a Bird-Wall theme deck.

If you’re scratching your head right now, think about how annoying a Larder Zombie or Ledger Shredder is for most conventional offenses. Is the average Soldier — or even the vaunted Thalia, Guardian of Thraben — somehow supposed to be able to get through a pickles-eating 1/3 Zombie-Wall?

What if you open on a Phoenix Chick? How long do you have to tank before you realize you have to point a Lightning Strike at the Ledger Shredder before the stupid Birds / Walls player gets a chance to Connive even one time?

Molasses. That’s what these cards turn a conventional battlefield into.

And then there’s the high end…

Wingmantle Chaplain is, in fact, “Doing It”

You might have noticed that many of the creatures in this deck have Defender. Ergo they are the “Walls” half of the Birds and Walls theme. Getting those cheap creatures down early give you fuel to Convoke Knight-Errant of Eos. The Knight will, in turn, get you more cheap Walls.

But being Walls isn’t just an opportunity to dunk on the opponent with creatures whose collective toughness is 3x or more their power (hi Becker!)… You also get payoffs going backwards and forwards with Wingmantle Chaplain.

“This game’s for the birds!”
-most opponents, most games

You basically make a ton of 1/1 Birds to lock up the battlefield and eventually swarm. If the opponent doesn’t have Trample, they might never be able to damage you! If you draw two copies of Wingmantle Chaplain, the game will go absolutely bonkers sideways faster than the trigger goes on the stack.





Lunarch Veteran

Lunarch Veteran from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

You didn’t forget this little one drop from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, did you?

Lunarch Veteran has earned medium inclusions in Tier Three life gain decks for the past year or so. Team Voice of the Blessed, et al; you know what I mean. But in this deck? You not only get an absolute fist full of Veteran triggers every time Wingmantle Chaplain flips the opponent the Birds; but its back-end is also pretty relevant.

Laying down the Bird Law subjects the opponent to a lot of crazy nonsense, but despite having Meeting of the Minds and Knight-Errant of Eos in its kit, the deck isn’t the best at maintaining a fat hand. That means that a little flashback (or Disturb) can be valuable in concert with Ledger Shredder. So dump the odd Lunarch Veteran! You might just get it back! Blocking with a Bird (or ten)? You might just be getting life gain going backwards and forwards, too. In Magic we often talk about using every part of the buffalo; this deck uses every part of the pigeon, squab, and wild turkey, and American Eagle cosplayer.

So… Can You Make the Pro Tour with a Birds / Walls Theme Deck?

I guess you’ll just have to find out.

In today’s video I play a Standard Event with Jim’s deck. Or, to be fair, Jim’s deck minus two copies of Faithbound Judge. Seven wins in an Event translates into a Play-In Point; and as you know, twenty Play-In Points can get you, eventually, on your way to the Pro Tour.

Plus, earning at least five wins will get you your Arena gems back (and a couple of packs). Do I make it to seven? Manage, at least, not to embarrass myself gambling gems? Should I in fact run it back?

Let me know!


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