Skyspear Avians

Skypear Avians' Air / Spirit is represented in a deck that has crazy mobility yet wants to remain together.

Skyspear Avians move the fight to wherever is less convenient for the opponent, usually being able to choose the where, when and how conditions of the match. This gives the deck significant control over the flow of the game.

This faction is composed of cards that are very strong as long as the units keep formation around their summoner Ava, and a few tools to manage some specific situations.
Skypear Avians are mainly a counter strike faction, seeking to adapt to the weakness(es) of the opponent. Against melee heavy factions the common start is to build ranged formation to begin poking the enemy units, and once the enemy summoner exposes themself in the attempt to support their units, then move the formation forward to punish the exposure.

Against factions with ranged superiority, Skyspear Avians may choose to use their range power to keep the score even until they can mount a quick offensive, often diving past enemy lines in order to greatly pressure the enemy summoner.

Regardless of the core strategic strengths of their opponent, Skyspear Avians must keep using their flexibility and diving in and out of enemy territory depending on the situation but again regardless of the matchup.
Ava's stats are the worst in the game so far for a summoner, however, her ability Take to the Skies is without a doubt the strongest, giving flight to nearby commons is extremely powerful, the extra movement would be strong enough, and moving through units, friend or foe, is just tremendous value. The fact that it also allows movement through gates makes the movement potential almost unfair.

However, the faction relies a lot on Ava, and with only 10 life, just a single slip can put Ava in lethal range. Ava's power is very high but the faction is quite fragile with just one mistake forcing her to retreat or play an extra risky game. Abusing Ava and at the same time ensuring her safety is the balance one needs to maintain to be successful with Skyspear Avians.
Aerie Steward
Aerie Steward is the core unit of this deck. You will summon 3 or 4 copies every game. Its life is very high, and its damage is good as long as they are next to Ava or an Aerie Sage. Its “secret power” is that Worthy benefits greatly from attack strength increases.  So its damage can become very high, very fast if Worthy is activated along with Aerie Sage and/or Battle Song enhancements.

With proper support its stats can be so high for its cost that it becomes good both in melee and at range. And they provide both damage and sturdy defense. Use them for everything. Its only weakness, which is no small weakness, is that they rely a lot on using movements to set up things in perfect position, and without Ava or Aerie Sage support, they are quite mediocre.
Aerie Sage
Aerie Sage's main job is to support Aerie Stewards. This unit is incredibly good just in general though as it has decent stats but with an extremely good ability. The ability to give extra power to another unit without exposing itself is deceptively strong.
The main cost is that it requires movement to reposition which can be quite problematic.
Aerie Sages shine when they buff Aerie Stewards, but don’t be afraid to use them to buff Aerie Divers or Sentinels too.
Aerie Sage along with Aerie Steward are the core fighting power of Skyspear Avians and a cluster of them can fight toe to toe favorably with any army.
Aerie Sentinel
Aerie Sentinel has a more niche role in the deck, which is a weird thing to say for the classic 2 cost, 3 / 4 statline.  It is largely because Aerie Steward steals the show as the core unit in the faction.  However, Aerie Sentinels are still key to help with two Skyspear Avians needs:
The first is having a solid combat unit that doesn’t rely on extremely strict positioning.  As with all 2 cost, 3 / 4 statline units, you can freely summon them and send them around since it’s both decent damage and life for the cost.
The second role is to protect Ava.  Ava's major fear is all the Summoner Wars tricks to remove summoner protection which then gives access to the opponent, in this case her own fragile and very valuable life. Aerie Sentinel prevents all that trickery, giving Ava a very critical, solid defender.

Despite this, don't be afraid to use Aerie Sentinels to be part of the flock fighting in melee, especially with the help of Aerie Sages.  Aerie Sentinels are always decent summons at least, thanks to that dependable statline, and with Aerie Sages they can become overpowered.
Aerie Diver
Aerie Diver is a very niche tool in this faction's arsenal and is intended for two specific uses:
The first is to finish up units without the need to spend an attack. Skyspear Avians are a faction that has no way to break the 3 attack limit rule, and that also focuses more on expensive units.  Yet because of their high mobility they often have multiple contact points. Having to spend an attack to finish up a 1 life unit is very annoying and that's where Aerie Divers come to fill the gap.
The second use is to support Ava offensives. Skyspear Avians are a faction that use their 3 movements a lot, bringing reinforcements to the front lines and repositioning them is quite difficult sometimes. Aerie Divers help with that by providing units that can be summoned right where you need a unit to be without needing to spend movements to get it there.
Outside of those 2 uses though, Aerie Divers are very underwhelming, as a 2/2 for 1 magic cost is overpriced.
Gathering Song
This Epic Event is extremely powerful and versatile.  The amount of value possible for this Epic Event that costs 0, makes it one of the strongest in the game.

As said previously, movement and support of offensives is key for Skyspear Avians and this card provides that, allowing you to reposition and bring reinforcements without spending movement.

In addition to that in the same turn, it can allow for even more repositioning, protecting both Ava, and the repositioning units.

An important note is that the ceiling of power for this event is very, very high and yet you shouldn’t be greedy. Sometimes just repositioning in one of the phases is enough value to still use this. Don’t clog your hand waiting for that perfect turn, just find a spot with enough value to play this, which is not going to be hard given the power and versatility of this event.
Sky Assault
An event that is quite versatile and strong and that may be easy to miss in its qualities. Often this event is used to try to finish an enemy summoner or champion, and that is a perfectly valid use, however, one should not miss that you don’t need to do something extreme for this event to still be worthwhile.  Often getting your third attack in is very risky but Ava may get an "extra" attack thanks to this event. 
Is it worth using this event just to allow Ava to get an attack where you would otherwise just get only two other attacks? Absolutely yes!  A 3 ranged dice attack for one event is totally worth it and you should indeed use this in such scenarios.
Battle Song
Battle Song is an event with a low ceiling, basically the best you can get is 3 extra attack strength.  Looking at this guide about the previous event, that is acceptable for an event, but in this case it’s pretty much its ceiling. The difference here is that when combined with Steward's Worthy it can be quite a bit more. This is a simple event, just use it if you can get 3 attack strength out of it, consider Worthy extra strength valued at 1.5. Sometimes just getting 1 melee strength and 1 Worthy strength is enough value to be worth it.
Aerie Gate
Probably the weakest event of the deck, it is for the most part just an extra gate.  Is it worth losing 2 life on a gate for the force one space effect?  Very marginally so … and it depends.
Ava does really need gates to mount an offensive, and the benefits of this Avian Gate are marginal though multiple. It can save you valuable movement, it can make Aerie Divers easier to use, and it can be used to move units inside Ava's range to gain Flight from her Take to the Skies ability. 
Some general advice is this is a "UOD card" (use or discard), that is to say there are times where it will be exactly what you need, and go ahead and place it next to Ava or even defensively if you really need a gate, but if you don’t need it this turn, just discard it for magic. It is not worth clogging your hand saving this and most of the time a regular gate will do just as well or better.
Sairook, easily a player’s favorite champion in the deck, is just overall strong and versatile. It needs to have multiple and diverse units on the battlefield, but when fully powered by aerie units, it’s of extreme value. There is not much to talk about except it is so versatile and powerful that you should always summon Sairook, no matter what you do, he has a place in your Skyspear Avians' plan.
Where Sairook is strong and versatile, Gilford is even stronger … but not as versatile. In the right games and situations, Gilford can cause such chaos with the Bully ability that this can win the game on its own, but then again sometimes it just feels like a weak 3 / 7 that doesn’t do much.
Gilford is mostly a support unit, it needs you to already have a good army in the game.  However, once that is so, it can help to disrupt enemy ranks against factions that care about positioning, and offensively can make the enemy summoner almost impossible to protect for your opponent.
At present, it's too early to give guidelines on how to spot where Gilford is going to be that quality force of disruption versus those games where you should just discard, except to say don’t summon him if you don’t already have a decent army on the board.
Rath is the highest source of damage in the Skyspear Avians' faction. With 4 melee strength and the ability to teleport (though no Flight ability), Rath can hit hard and practically anywhere. Unlike Gilford, Rath doesn’t need an army.  Rath is the army.  Prey is very versatile and allows you to attack cards that are hard to reach.  Don’t miss however the "secretly" more powerful part of the ability, which is to strike and hide, an important strategy because Rath's life is quite low for its cost.

Rath is more suitable for a slow game and the fact that it costs 6 magic adds to that, but if allowed to roam freely, this champion can take over the game on its own.
Skyspear Avians is a versatile counter strike deck that seeks to abuse its movement advantage to drive the opponent faction into uncomfortable (suboptimal) places. Be ready to dance with Ava and her flock around the map choosing the fights that are more favorable to you.
Often Skyspear Avians matches may get a little clustered and that is okay.  Thanks to Aerie Sages and Stewards, Skyspear Avians can gamely fight toe to toe with other factions.

Deciding when to stand your ground, when to move the flock into range or move the flock behind enemy lines, deep into their territory, is the toughest ability to master with this deck.

The major threat to Skyspear Avians is that this faction's power relies on Ava being very active and if Ava gets damaged, keeping their value becomes very hard without the risk of summoner death (game loss). Gauging how much to risk Ava in order to get her maximum potential is quite the dance.

If you like to dance around the map, switching flanks and fronts all the time and like the puzzle of which of the three stances to use, hold position, move into range, move past enemy lines, then Skyspear Avians are going to be great fun to you.
Copyrights for the Summoner Wars logo and art belong to Plaid Hat Games, used herein with their express permission.
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