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Deck Tech: Wind Rai
Written by Remetic
Created 01 September, 2023
Last updated 01 September, 2023
Fractured Crown came out just over a week ago, and for my second deck tech, I decided to cover an underrated champion and element combination from Dawn of Ashes that gets nothing but wins coming into set 2.
First, I want to give kudos to Hobocrab for researching and building this deck. He is the pioneer of Wind Rai, testing it much more than anyone else that I have seen and is an awesome person to bounce ideas off of. This deck was his idea and build, and performs beautifully.
The goal of the deck is to play a tempo/midrange style of gameplay. Consistently placing high value allies such as Windrider Invoker to push damage, while bouncing it to hand with Disorienting Winds and Aesan Protector. Your draw engine is Zephyr Assistant in combination with any of the flicker or bounce effects in the deck, which along with Ventus and Rai, Archmage, generate Enlightenment counters at a surprising speed to keep your hand at a healthy size.
Wind Spirit | Rai Spellcrafter | Rai, Archmage
The normal Rai line. Archmage is an incredible card, practically gaining 1/3 of a card per turn and also generating the counters needed for your level 3.
Rai, Mana Weaver
The much less represented Rai from Dawn of Ashes, but very unappreciated. His effect is one of the strongest champion effects in the game, with a surprising number of cards being mage spells. Something to remember is that you can copy your opponents spells with this, so you don’t always need to use his effect on your own cards.
Grand Crusader ’s Ring
Very self-explanatory to play this card. Drawing 1 is a very powerful effect for 0 memory cost. I will talk about Quicksilver Grail more in the sideboard section and when you should be removing this card in order to play Grail.
Chalice of Blood
Games with this deck can go rather long and slow, and against some rush decks you can be pushed to high damage early. With a lot of defensive options though, you can bait your opponent into getting a little extra damage to make this card increase your hand size, a massive luxury for the win condition of the deck. Don’t expect this card to work more than once without extra effort, as most high level players after seeing this materialized once will not play into it a second time.
You generate a *massive* amount of enlightenment counters with this deck, making this card a second Grand Crusader’s Ring. Drawing extra cards is always a luxury in wind and you can always materialize this when you know you’ll have 6 counters or after you gain them.
Crystal of Empowerment
A very useful card, especially in cases where you can’t Chalice of Blood. In terms of efficiency, this card is identical to Chalice of Blood without the added benefit of drawing cards. It also helps for early disorienting winds and ravaging tempest plays.
Lantern is an excellent defensive regalia. This deck is somewhat vulnerable to rush strategies, so any Erupting or Fiery Momentum will need to see Spurn to Ash in order to answer this card, giving you a bit of extra time. It also shuts down Crux sight, which is more important than ever with Merlin being in the format and needing to recur Incarnate Majesty.
This card is situational. Against some decks you will side it out, like Silvie and most Zander builds. However, it can win games into Merlin, Lorraine, and Rai if timed correctly. Sometimes, it is also useful to just banish a floating for draw 1 or get rid of a card you don’t want to gain a new one.
Ventus, Staff of Zephyr’s
My personal top Regalia from Fractured Crown. This card has an insane amount of utility. Every Wind mage spell begins to be 2/3 of a draw once you’re on level 2, saving counters can suppress threats and save your own cards. Very hard to remove as well, as you can use Zephyr to suppress it, losing your counters but keeping its utility. Just be careful against fire decks as they have the best chances of removing it. A must materialize card in many games.
Orb of Regret
This slot is a flex slot. I opted for Orb of Regret because sometimes, you do see too many spells when you need Windrider Invoker, or some other ally just to use your flicker effects and gain value. You can take this card out for many regalia, such as Tome of Knowledge, Orb of Choking Fumes, or one of the Trinkets depending on what is most useful for your local meta.
4 Spellshield Arcane
The premier defensive card in advanced elements, stopping 1 instance of damage completely while simultaneously being draw power. Against large, single instances of damage this card wins games, sometimes generating upwards of 12 enlightenment counters. Also, with good timing copying it with Mana Weaver can lock some matchups out of a turn.
3 Arcane Blast
One of the leading ways to kill your opponent in a midrange gameplan. You will eventually hit a critical mass on hand size where you can copy this to hit for 22 damage. Coupled with the outstanding ally package this deck has and chip damage, you will often outright kill when copying Arcane Blast
3 Develop Mana
A high utility card, getting 1 or even 2 used makes your Disorienting Winds much more useful, and making Arcane Blast slightly cheaper. Paired with Peer into Mana generates enlightenment counters needed to make the deck work and push forward the game plan.
3 Dungeon Guide
This deck really likes having an additional regalia, and isn’t running much floating, so using Dungeon Guide to level to 3 can help in getting your Ventus out as your main materialize. With the prevalence of Merlin and Scavenging Raccoon, leveling with Dungeon Guide is useful to force specific banishes.
3 Peer Into Mana
A strong generator for enlightenment counters. It is good to use on level 2, especially to set up your next level up, or in late game when you need enlightenment counters to draw through your deck and see more of your main threats.
2 Scavenging Raccoon
A very high value ally, letting you get rid of floating and slowing down your opponents game plan. It is also one of the best targets for Aesan Protector’s effect, getting value from being played before you return it to your hand, and being usable for later turns.
4 Windrider Invoker
The strongest ally in your deck. Replacing itself while pushing 4 damage is extremely useful, and also helps control the board against other threatening allies. It is your leading target to return to hand with your bounce effects in order to make the most value of drawing each copy. If you only see 1, make sure you try to protect it with your return effects because in long games, it is part of your win condition if you don’t see Arcane Blast
4 Zephyr Assistant
Your main Enlightenment counter generator. This card along with Displace, Zephyr, and Ventus make up the main drawn engine of your deck, as well as enabling Mana Weaver’s effect to copy your spells.
4 Aesan Protector
One of the bounce effects in the deck. One of the strongest allies in the game, once on the board it can push damage or protect you from attacks from decks running weaker allies. Something to consider about this card is after declaring your target with his effect, you can use Ventus, Zephyr, or Displace to flicker the ally, in order to keep the ally on board. This is mostly useful when paired with Zephyr Assistant.
4 Disorienting Winds
The top return option for returning your Windrider Invoker to hand. Disorienting makes it a +1 on card advantage to bounce it to your hand. It is also one of your answers to an opponent's Majestic Spirit, returning it to the material deck. It is an overall good card that helps recur strong on enter effects while cycling through your deck.
This card's main use is flickering your Zephyr Assistant’s, but much like Disorienting Winds, is also an option to out Majestic Spirit. It is also useful when combined with any ally and Aesan Protector. If you respond to the On Enter effect of Aesan, it will fizzle the target meaning you don’t bounce an ally. You generally will want to use this when you’re planning on bouncing a Zephyr Assistant with Aesan but using it on raccoon isn’t bad either if you need to banish cards from a graveyard.
Displace might as well read as “Draw 1” when used on a zephyr assistant. It also can rest Majestic Spirit, and save certain allies when you need them to not die. It is overall a strong combat trick that has a wide array of uses. I encourage experimenting with it and learning the fun things you can use this card for.
2 Summon Gale
An excellent bounce spell to use on Windrider Invoker or Zephyr Assistant. We are playing it over reclaim because of the efficiency, and with the prevalence of Merlin and Raccoon we don’t want to be using too much floating. The ability to play this card for free on level 3 or even level 2 makes it incredibly useful.
2 Ravaging Tempest
Our main board clear spell. When combined with a tithe proclamation underneath a Quicksilver Grail against “go-wide” ally decks, you can heavily disrupt an opponent's board while still keeping their hand size small, significantly improving your odds in a game where your board control is lacking.
2 Channel the Winds
On level 2 Rai, this card is Gentle Respite. Gaining 2 enlightenment counters and a refinement counter on your Ventus, it replaces itself instantly while still helping with the utility that Ventus provides. A useful card but not something we need to see every game.
4 Fairy Whispers
Excellent search card, going hand neutral while filtering cards from deck. Using it at fast speed makes it good for both Ventus and Level 2 Rai’s effect to make sure you’re getting counters every turn, and it allows you to set up precise banishes for your leveling. Once again another overall good card.
4 Veiling Breeze
Just a good defensive card. Reducing every instance of damage is very powerful and helps a lot against aggressive decks, especially if they’re pushing allies onto the board. Just note it isn’t a Mage card so it won’t gain counters for Rai or Ventus.
3 Favorable Winds
If your opponent is using precise damage to kill allies, this is obviously a good card. It also helps with leveling while not banishing cards you don’t want to lose while still gaining your Enlightenment and Refinement counters to bolster your strategy. Overall another good high value card.
2 Innervate Agility
A strong card to save allies in a pinch, also it is a Mage spell so it can gain counters. Against other Rai players, gaining Spellshroud is very useful, and it can stop Lorraine aggression in its tracks. You can always side this card out or change it out for other options if you don’t like it.
Viridian Protective Trinket
This deck can be vulnerable to water, so forcing them to either pay more or Fracturize this card is a good option. Either way, you will be disrupted less, either needing to face less cards from your opponent during your turn or gaining a fractal for the entire game. I would side Nullifying Lantern out of the mainboard for this card, unless I’m against Lorraine or Merlin. Then I would consider siding this card for Orb of Regret.
Orb of Choking Fumes
An outstanding card to stop combo. It can heavily hinder Rai players, especially if they need to get rid of your tithe proclamation. Just an overall good disruption piece against stronger decks in the mid-late game.
Another useful choice, especially in a Rai mirror. When you double arcane blast, a water barrier or Spellshield Arcane can be devastating, so being able to break it with Poisoned Dagger gives you a huge advantage. However, it is very telegraphed so you do need to be careful
Used intelligently, Grail is incredible. Many of your regalia are quite strong if brought in at fast speed, and using this enables you to force extra interaction in some situations. Both Tithe Proclamation and Nullifying Lantern are your top options to materialize with this card.
3 Morgan, Soul Guide
Morgan is very useful against water decks that heal a lot, or Zander. Healing is very difficult to deal with this deck, unless you are confident you can OTK with Arcane Blast and Windrider Invoker. Additionally, it is very good against Innervate strategies because stopping the Recovery stops them from playing Innervate, as they can’t pay the cost.
The Majestic Spirit
Mana Weaver can copy Incarnate Majesty.
Overall, Wind Rai is a very strong and fun midrange deck, with a wide array of combat tricks allowing a skilled player to shine, taking advantage of all of the high value cards. The deck doesn’t have a really bad matchup, but it doesn’t necessarily automatically win any matchups either. It is entirely up to the pilot to play it well which makes it one of my favorite decks to play, because you can usually tell where you went wrong. I look forward to seeing where Wind Rai, and specifically Mana Weaver, is taken in the coming months.