You’ve got your First Flight precon, and now you want to make it even better. If that’s the case, then you’re at the right place, as in this First Flight Upgrade Guide we’re going to discuss which cards can improve your new deck.
First Flight is one of the first five Starter Commander decks. This means that since the deck is somewhat different from regular precons, it’ll get a bit different Upgrade Guide.
First, I’ll assume that you’re a newer player. This is why I’ll try to explain some cards into a lot of detail. (If you aren’t, you’ll still find great advice on which cards to upgrade the deck with.)
Doing a complete upgrade of the deck, in one go, can be overwhelming for beginners. That’s why I only included three cards in the first section of the article. These three cards will immediately improve the deck significantly.
In the next section you’ll find budget upgrades, so cards that are good, yet fairly cheap. In the next section, we’ll throw our budget through the window, and take a look at some of the more expensive cards.
For a complete upgrade you’ll probably want to use cards from both sections, since just because a card is cheap, that doesn’t mean that it is weak.
At the end, I’ll give you some suggestions on which cards to cut, and provide a sample upgraded decklist. However, I’d recommend that you upgrade the deck in a way that feels best to you, and depending on your playgroup. You don’t need to follow all of my recommendations, build a deck in a way that you’ll still enjoy it.
If you don’t already own the First Flight precon, you can buy one on Amazon. The great thing about the Starter deck is that they’re cheaper than the regular precons.
First Flight Decklist
Before we start upgrading this precon, let’s check the First Flight decklist, as it comes when you open the deck:
How to Upgrade First Flight?
When I start to upgrade a Commander deck, I try to maximize synergies with its commander. However, the First Flight precon is a weird one. Creatures with flying are the biggest focus of this deck, but Isperia, Supreme Judge doesn’t support that theme, except by having flying itself.
So while you can still build a flyers-matter deck around Isperia, there are better options, even withing this deck. So the first thing I’d suggest you do is to swap Isperia for Kangee, Sky Warden. This way, you’ll be able to take more advantage of the fact that your deck is full of flyers.
Of course, the change is not absolutely necessary. If you prefer Isperia, you can totally stick with it, as it does have flying and it discourages opponents from attacking you, which is certainly a plus. Whether you swap Kangee for Isperia or not, I’ll still guide you towards a flyers-matter deck, and to make it better you’ll still need:
- better flyers
- additional flying synergies
- more simply good cards
- better lands
With that said, let’s start by finding the cards, which will help us reach our goals.
Top 3 Cards to Upgrade First Flight
First up, here are the three best cards to instantly upgrade your First Flight deck with. For this selection, I didn’t pay that much attention to their budget, I only excluded some of the most expensive cards.
Watcher of the Spheres
I was quite surprised when I saw that this card wasn’t already included in the First Flight precon. It’s a two mana flyer, which makes all of your other flyers a mana cheaper. It can also get bigger, which is neat. This is a perfect two drop for this deck.
On top of that, it’s an uncommon, so it’s actually pretty cheap, which is great if you’re building on a budget. You already have something similar with Warden of Evos Isle, but you don’t mind playing multiples of this effect, and Watcher is a mana cheaper.
You already have one such effect in your deck with Bident of Thassa, but it’s a very useful one to have. In any game where your flyers are able to connect, you’ll be able to get a constant stream of cards. In the rare scenarios where it won’t be useful, you can simply cycle it away.
Court of Grace
This card features the monarch mechanic. If you don’t know this mechanic, here’s a quick recap. Some cards can make you become monarch. At the end of your turn, if you’re the monarch, you get to draw a card. If an opponent deals combat damage to you with at least one of their creatures, they become the monarch. Then, if someone else (you or one of your other opponents) deals combat damage to them, they become the monarch, and so on.
This is essentially a kind of mini-game, with the reward being additional card draw. This deck is particularly well-suited to take advantage of this mechanic. Even if someone else deals damage to you, you’ll probably be able to damage them back, thanks to your many flyers. Additionally, if Isperia, Supreme Judge is in play, you’ll get to draw a card when an opponent attacks you in hopes of becoming the monarch.
This card also makes flying tokens in your upkeep, which is very welcome in this deck. You’ll get a 1/1 Spirit, but if you managed to stay the monarch, you’ll get a 4/4 Angel instead. As you can see, this card does two very good things for your deck. It grants you card advantage, and it makes flyers. A great addition!
First Flight Upgrade – Budget
As I’ve mentioned before, in this section I’ll discuss cards that will improve your deck, but won’t be too expensive. Keep in mind that the prices of cards can change. If you’re reading this a long time after the article was published, some of these might no longer be that cheap.
For this article, I’ve divided the cards in four groups: flyers, flying support, good cards, and mana base. Each of these is pretty self-explanatory, so let’s get right to it.
You’ll want to have some extra ramp in your deck, and Ornithopter of Paradise is great in this deck, as it works with your flying synergies.
Siren Stormtamer is a cheap flyer that can protect your relevant creature from removal spells. Sure, it doesn’t protect your board from mass removal spells. If you need something for that, then Selfless Spirit can get the job done.
Loyal Drake is a nice flyer to have, if you want something cheap that gives you card advantage.
Battle Screech is a great way to get multiple flyers in play quickly. Another option is Stolen by the Fae, but that one is better in the late game.
Donal, Herald of Wings is great with a lot of creatures in your deck. Sure, it doesn’t work with legendaries, but getting an additional copy of cards like Cloudblazer or Emeria Angel is amazing.
The Raven’s Warning does a lot of little things, that it can be a worthwhile inclusion.
Soulcatchers’ Aerie is a card that you can’t just jam into any version of this deck. However, if you do end up with lots of Birds in your deck, you should think about it.
Austere Command is a very versatile card. You’ll usually be able to pick two options that will set you ahead.
Unbreakable Formation is very useful. When you have a big board of flyers, it can either protect them from something like Wrath of God, or you can simply make a care-free attack.
If you want to protect a single creature, then Swiftfoot Boots can take care of it.
I really like playing lots of lands in my Commander decks. There’s always so much to do with your mana, that you really should miss a land drop. I’d suggest that you play 42–43 lands in this deck. So, the first step in the First Flight upgrade would be to cut three of the worst cards in the deck, and replace them with basic lands. This step is basically free, and you’ve already improved your deck.
However, you’ll still want lands that can provide both White and Blue mana, and some utility lands. The latter can work as a flood-protection.
Lands that make both colors of mana, can be expensive. Here are some of the cheaper ones.
Once you have added some of these dual lands in your deck, you can start to remove the ones that always come into play tapped, such as Meandering River.
These are lands that you can use not only for making mana, but to get some spell-like effects.
First Flight Upgrade – Full
So, the budget part of the article is finished, and it’s time to move on to the full upgrade. Cards that I’ll talk about here are either more popular, or have fewer reprints, than the cards above. You know, the whole supply and demand thing, which makes their price higher. However, if you don’t mind spending a bit extra, these will certainly make for a good First Flight upgrade.
If you manage to attack with Battle Angels of Tyr you’ll get lots of benefits, if you’re behind. If you aren’t then you’re likely winning anyway, and you’re still attacking each of your opponents with a 4/4 flyer.
Celestine, the Living Saint looks like it fits in a life gain shell. However, it’s actually pretty good on its own. You attack with it, gain 3 life, and you can return a creature that costs 3 or less from your graveyard to play, at the beginning of the end step. That’s just pure value.
Ledger Shredder is a cheap flyer, which can help you dig through your deck, and improve the quality of cards in your hand.
If you like taking extra turns, then Medomai the Ageless is a fun card to include in your deck. Another option is Alrund’s Epiphany, which also comes with two flyers.
Serra the Benevolent can do some work in this shell. It can pump your flyers, provide 4/4 Angels, and give you a relevant emblem.
Magus of the Moat can be a nice protection from attacks. However, this one really depends on what types of decks your play group is playing.
If you want to work even further on that theme, then you should also use cards like Propaganda[c] and [c]Ghostly Prison. You can pair them with Luminarch Ascension in order to start pumping out big flyers for cheap.
Akroma’s Will is a very versatile game-ending spell. You can protect your board, or you can make an attack, that’ll destroy some opponents, and give you a bunch of life.
Cyclonic Rift is one of the best Blue Commander staples, and it’ll do very well in this deck too. Another iconic staple is Rhystic Study, which is also a fine inclusion here.
Since you’re likely playing Counterspell, then you should also get Mana Drain if you can afford it. It’s a strictly better card, and it can give you some explosive turns.
Lightning Greaves is amazing for protecting your Commander, or any other key creature, thanks to shroud and the equip cost of zero. Haste is also quite useful.
Archeomancer’s Map is a great way to ramp as a White deck. Another even more expensive way of doing so is Smothering Tithe, although it can be quite annoying to play against.
So, here are the more expensive lands that can provide both White and Blue mana:
There are also plenty of utility lands, that you can choose from. Here are just some popular examples:
Cards to Remove
Commander decks consist of 99 card + 1 commander. This means that if you’re going to add cards to the deck, you’ll also have to remove that many.
So, how do you decide which cards to remove? I’d suggest you start with cards that don’t work in the theme, and/or aren’t extremely powerful on their own. For example, Vow of Duty would be one such card.
It’s either a clunky kinda-removal spell, or a mediocre benefit for one of your creatures. It’s just a bad card, and on top of that, it doesn’t even work with the theme of the deck.
Some other cards aren’t that obvious, but here are some examples of the cards you might want to remove first:
- Gideon Jura – quite mediocre in a multiplayer format
- Angler Turtle – doesn’t have flying
- Aven Gagglemaster – doesn’t do enough for five mana
- Remorseful Cleric – unless you expect to play against a graveyard matters deck
- Storm Herd – a strong card, but 10 mana is a lot
- Crush Contraband – many better options are available
Sometimes it can be hard to pick which card to remove. What you can do is take a look at the card that you’re adding and find a card with a similar, but weaker effect. For example, if I were to add Mana Drain, I could remove Absorb or Negate.
First Flight Upgraded Decklist
Here’s an example of an upgraded First Flight decklist. Of course, there’s no need for you to strictly follow this exact decklist – you should build your deck in a way that feels fun to you. Even when I was building this list myself, I was considering various other options for some card choices.
Anyway, this marks the end of the First Flight Upgrade Guide. As always, please let me know in the comments if there are some amazing cards that I missed. There are so many Magic cards, that I most certainly should talk about some others as well, but I didn’t want this article to get too long and too overwhelming.
If you’re just starting out with Commander, here are some other articles that might interest you:
- How to Build Your First Commander Deck
- 5 Tips to Improve Your Commander Deck
- Beginners’ Guide to Commander
- List of All Commander Precons
See ya next time!