Winged Portent – Crimson Vow
Date Reviewed: January 11, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.33
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’m going to make a statement that used to be divisive: I much prefer “have lots of creatures with flying” as a pushed concept for blue over “play instants until time stops”. I don’t know if that’s still divisive, because I don’t really go on forums much any more. But I’ve always found it much more interesting to play with and to play against, and while it can be a dominating strategy in draft, it’s balanced by the fact that most of the available creatures might be small (even if they’re efficient) and have trouble against bigger things (some of which are even more efficient). Anyway, that’s my thing.
Winged Portent is one of my favorite examples of cards pushing “have lots of creatures with flying”. If you’re following that concept, you’re likely in aggro or midrange (leveraging the fact that your creatures can’t be blocked), and the perennial dilemma for such decks is running out of cards. In the right deck, you might draw five cards for three mana. Even in a deck with just “incidental” flying on creatures you’re including for another reason, you might get a reasonable return. And the option for a big, even less-bounded effect is very appealing. The old Squirrel / Opposition deck would have loved a card like this, but nowadays, green-blue is one of the most powerful color pairs and bases in Commander, and engineering a way to cast it for its cleave cost and maximum effect in that format is surprisingly easy.
Limited: 4/5 (evasive creatures already win in limited, but drawing even more of them wins even faster)
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
Plus, this is probably a reference to the classic Alfred Hitchcock movie The Birds – and that’s just cool.
Talk about fowl play. Winged Portent is pretty nice in a blue deck, since blue does love its avian perversions, though it also shines in blue/green decks as a way to draw a lot of cards late. It being an instant makes the Portent quite potent, since a lot of these counting card draw spells are sorcery-speed, and so it already comes with a bit of an upside in either of its modes.
As a general rule, you’d count this as a good deal if you can average 2 cards for every 3 mana you spend on a draw spell, so if you have two avian perversions, this more or less pays for itself. It’s a strong way to get some late-game gas or surprise an opponent aiming to wipe the board, and it helps to show how swooping is bad. It’s a bit fiddlier than a lot of blue’s draw spells, but it is the best flying color, and so you’re basically being rewarded for doing something you already wanted to do.
Constructed: 3.5 (I think Spirits as a deck will make or break this spell’s prospects)
Commander [EDH]: 3.5 (remember: this is blue-green, so plan accordingly)
I love the art but I don’t love the colors, blue/green is just such a funky color pairing to be top tier in multiple formats even in commander. I can see this in a Temur color pairing but I’m getting ahead of myself. Very good for the current spirits meta they’re trying to push in standard, you won’t even need to cast this for the cleave cost to get insane value from it. But if you’re on U/G elves or some other U/G/X combination then you could get away with using the cleave cost for crazy good value. Ideally this will be a part of your win con, you cast this late game when you have five or six creatures on the board and you (ideally) draw the card that wins you the game. The cleave cost having a green causes challenges but in the right deck they could be overcome.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5/5
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