M14: Zephyr Charge

The value of Zephyr Charge is determined by a few different factors:

  • How many blue creatures already have flying
  • How likely blue is to be paired with another color that would benefit from Zephyr Charge
  • How many cards provide a benefit if you have more creatures with flying
  • How many blockers/answers are there for flyers

This spreadsheet of M14 creatures tells us that among blue creatures, 4 of the 9 commons have flying, as do 2 of the 5 uncommons, 2 of the 5 rares, and the only mythic, so 56% of the blue creatures in a typical draft will already have flying. The rest of the creatures are likely to be blockers for opposing ground creatures and don’t usually need flying, so a monoblue deck wouldn’t really benefit from Zephyr Charge.

Among the 4 possible color pairings, U/W and U/B decks in M14 already have access to sufficient numbers of flyers. U/R has access to Goblin Shortcutter, Seismic Stomp, Lightning Talons, and Shiv’s Embrace as cheaper ways to get through opposing defences, although Zephyr Charge might work in a deck with multiple Regathan Firecats and Marauding Maulhorns, or as a sideboard card against a control R/X deck to get your Academy Raiders through. I can imagine a U/G deck that uses Deadly Recluse, Seacoast Drake, Wall of Frost, and Giant Spider to stall the board and Zephyr Charge to get large green creatures past opposing blockers. However, this requires drawing your defensive creatures early and having both large creatures and Zephyr Charge before you can start attacking, so I would rather draft a G/R or G/W Slivers deck, or a G/R Beasts deck instead.

M14 has 2 cards that benefit from creatures having flying: Warden of Evos Isle and Windreader Sphinx. Warden of Evos Isle only affects flyers not in play, so it doesn’t benefit from Zephyr Charge. And if you’re attacking with Windreader Sphinx, you’re probably already winning, so Zephyr Charge would usually just be a win-more card.

Finally, M14 has a number of answers to flying creatures, including Deathgaze Cockatrice, Deadly Recluse, Giant Spider, and Plummet, in addition to the normal removal spells.

So Zephyr Charge is filler, at best. It is a common and comes around reasonable late, so you shouldn’t spend a high or even a mid pick on it. You should only consider it if it’s late in the draft and your deck don’t have many win conditions.

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