Flying Dorks Unite!

Posted in Feature on May 30, 2002

By Jay Moldenhauer-Salazar

Token creatures, like creatures in general, tend to stand out when they are either huge or funny. For this reason, big 6/6 wurms, mighty 3/3 elephants, and silly 1/1 squirrels have attracted the lion's share of attention in recent sets. If you look closely, though, you may notice that Judgment has snuck another kind of token creature into the mix: The 1/1 flier. These tokens are sometimes spirits and sometimes birds, but they are always small and usually underwhelming. Today, I pay special tribute to these little creatures, whom I have affectionately dubbed "the flying dorks of Magic."

Make no mistake, you can now build a deck featuring 1/1 flying dorks. Battle Screech is the most hard-hitting, allowing you to slap a small army of bird tokens onto the table. Funeral Pyre either kills an opposing graveyard in exchange for a spirit, or -- more commonly -- gives you something to do with your own graveyard. Spirit Cairn, coupled with a handful of discard spells, practically makes its own deck. Add these to the previously-existing Kirtar's Wrath, March of Souls, and Ordered Migration (to name a few) and you have yourself a veritable dork-fest. Indeed, Judgment almost begs you to make a Flying Dork Deck by supplying the deck with its very own standard bearer: Suntail Hawk.

The real question is: Just because you can load a deck up with flying dorks, should you? What on earth can you possibly hope to accomplish with so many tiny flying 1/1 creatures?

In such a deck, consider the following Five Truths of Dorkdom. These Truths suggest what cards might turn your army of spirits and birds into a ROILING JUGGERNAUT OF SEETHING DOOM!

HA! I almost typed that with a straight face.

Truth #1: You Have a Lot of Dorks

Play with the new cards from Judgment and you will inevitably put a lot of 1/1 flying tokens onto the table. On their own, these creatures might not inspire the kind of fear of, say, an army of dragons. Then again, an army of dragons would never come out in time to take advantage of a Tradewind Rider. Similarly, I imagine a deck full of flying dorks, Opposition, Meddling Mage, and some Counterspells would look decidedly un-cute to an opponent.

Remember, too, that a horde of anything can end the game quickly. Creatures with a single point of power are a win condition, and cards like Overrun, Trumpet Blast, Coat of Arms, Rites of Initiation, Centaur Chieftain, etc., are meant to speed up that win condition. Four 1/1 spirits may be forgettable. Four 4/4 flying, trampling, beatsticks? Veeerrry memorable.

Other opportunities exist to take advantage of an army of dorks. Beast of Burden, for example, is fun to include in a deck with loads of dorks, and Battle Squadron actually makes some kind of thematic sense. Spells like Collective Unconscious, Mob Justice, Superior Numbers, and Folk Medicine thrive in decks with the ability to create lots of creatures of any size. Heck, Epic Struggle provides an alternate win condition for these kinds of decks. If you can keep a lot of creatures on the table, flying dorks or otherwise, your options for wacky surprises abound.

Truth #2: Your Dorks Are Small

Remember, too, that David spanked Goliath silly. Several decks can turn the meek 1/1 size of flying dorks into an advantage. The most obvious of these decks probably use something like Ensnaring Bridge, Marble Titan, or Meekstone to ensure that only itty-bitty creatures can attack. "Wow," you can say, "those 6/6 wurms sure are impressive on your side of the table. Too bad they just stand there like that. I'm glad my 1/1 dorks can attack, and oh! Look! MY creatures have flying! Wheeee!"

You should consider creative options for using flying dorks as well. Equal Treatment, for example, not only keeps you alive when a Phyrexian Colossus attacks you, it also doubles the damage of your attacking army. Last Laugh, played at the correct time, can set off a chain reaction of damage that decimates everything on the board thanks to your disposable little tokens. Perhaps my favorite idea, however, is Cultural Exchange -- permanently swapping any number of flying dorks for more impressive fare.

Truth #3: Your Dorks Can Fly

The nice thing about flying dorks is that they do, indeed, fly. Thus although they don't inflict a ton of damage, they can usually soar over blockers to actually inflict damage. Their flying nature also comes in particular handy in combination with spells like Bloodfire Dwarf and Earthquake.

More anti-flying cards exist than pro-flying, but a few white cards particularly enhance an army of flying tokens. Soulcatcher can get positively huge as your other dorks die. Serra Aviary can pump all of your creatures if you can't afford cards like Glorious Anthem. Finally, Radiant, Archangel makes even Afterlife look like a good spell to use because she fits perfectly into any flier-heavy deck. Flying is one of the few redeemable qualities with spirit and bird tokens, so you might as well strive to improve upon this quality.

Truth #4: Your Dorks Are White

With the exception of Ordered Migration, pretty much every 1/1 flying token you can make is white. Although these days being white is bad, it was not so long ago that White Weenie and Rebel decks ruled most dining room and tournament tables. You might as well use the same tricks and tools that these decks used to survive. First and foremost, Divine Sacrament and Crusade make your flying tokens a lot more threatening.

Weenie decks also usually protect their creatures via cards like Mother of Runes and Shelter. These spells are still good options for a Dork Deck, but if you want to be particularly silly you can even include Daughter of Autumn and Hazduhr the Abbot as a way of protecting your little white dudes.

Truth #5: Your Dorks Are Tokens

Two words: Parallel Evolution. Then please proceed back to Truth #1 for more options.

Hazduhr the Abbot
Hazduhr isn't too proud to protect tokens... he just wants to be played!

Of course, I have not yet answered my own question; Should you make a deck stuffed to the gills with flying 1/1 tokens just because, thanks to Judgment, you can? I say go ahead and try it. Sure, beating an opponent with Squirrels or Saprolings might be more funny. Pounding an opponent with Wurms and Elephants might be more impressive. But none of these options lets you use Soulcatcher; or Radiant, Archangel; or Hazduhr the Abbot. That has to be good for some kind of entertainment value, right? I mean, come on: Hazduhr the freaking Abbot!

The decks below attempt to exploit my new little flying dork friends. Undoubtedly you will find other fun and interesting ways to do likewise. Notice that none of the decks are legal submissions for the Second House of Cards Deck Challenge, although they will hopefully inspire a submission. If you haven't sent me a deck yet, you have until this Saturday. Please take the time to dazzle me with an original deck of your own creation.

But hurry! Next week I'll unveil the truly interesting decks from the Deck Challenge!

Until then,


(Please note that the inclusion of Judgment cards makes these decks technically illegal for tournaments until July 1st.)


Download Arena Decklist
Creature (4)
4 Ravenous Rats
Artifact (3)
3 Ensnaring Bridge
Enchantment (7)
4 Spirit Cairn 3 Last Laugh
Land (24)
4 Caves of Koilos 10 Plains 10 Swamp
60 Cards


Download Arena Decklist

Battle Squadron

Download Arena Decklist


Download Arena Decklist


Download Arena Decklist
Jay may be reached at

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