I'm coming into Mu Yanling pretty blind. If there was web fiction about her when the Duel Decks came out a few years back, I never read it. I don't remember any online stories about this new one when she got her official Core Set debut, either. So I'm not terribly aware of her flavor.

However, we're not entirely deprived of clues. First, Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer cares about flying. Her plus ability causes a creature to lose flying, and her minus ability makes a flyer. And her ultimate ability, along with the rares from her Core Set, seem to reference more ethereal elements. We care about Islands, Drawn from Dreams, Floodwaters and Flood of Tears. I'm getting Water and Elementals, and maybe Birds since her token is both a Bird and an Elemental.

This gives us a lot of stuff to go on! And most of it is unique compared to the normal Jace or Tezzeret shenanigans.

Here's what we got:

Magic: The Gathering TCG Deck - Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer by Andy Hurst

'Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer' - constructed deck list and prices for the Magic: The Gathering Trading Card Game from TCGplayer Infinite!

Created By: Andy Hurst

Event:

Rank:

Freeform (Casual)

Market Price: $15.97

Cards

Kathari Screecher

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/27712_200w.jpg

Flying
Unearth {2}{U} ({2}{U}: Return this card from your graveyard to the battlefield. It gains haste. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step or if it would leave the battlefield. Unearth only as a sorcery.)

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Murder of Crows

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/243956_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever another creature dies, you may draw a card. If you do, discard a card.

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Augury Owl

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.26

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/125384_200w.jpg

Flying
When Augury Owl enters the battlefield, scry 3. (Look at the top three cards of your library, then put any number of them on the bottom of your library and the rest on top in any order.)

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Tidewater Minion

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/13450_200w.jpg

Defender (This creature can't attack.)
{4}: Tidewater Minion loses defender until end of turn.
{T}: Untap target permanent.

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Arcane Denial

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254171_200w.jpg

Counter target spell. Its controller may draw up to two cards at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.
You draw a card at the beginning of the next turn's upkeep.

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Drawn from Dreams

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.19

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192616_200w.jpg

Look at the top seven cards of your library. Put two of them into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in a random order.

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Warden of Evos Isle

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/226144_200w.jpg

Flying
Creature spells with flying you cast cost {1} less to cast.

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Winged Words

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/216058_200w.jpg

This spell costs {1} less to cast if you control a creature with flying.
Draw two cards.

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Master of Predicaments

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/91032_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever Master of Predicaments deals combat damage to a player, choose a card in your hand. That player guesses whether the card's mana value is greater than 4. If the player guessed wrong, you may cast the card without paying its mana cost.

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Wind Dancer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3150_200w.jpg

Flying
{T}: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.

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Celestial Messenger

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.14

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192752_200w.jpg

Flash (You may cast this card any time you could cast an instant.)
Flying
Celestial Messenger gets +1/+1 as long as you control a Yanling planeswalker.

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Floodwaters

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/130218_200w.jpg

Return up to two target creatures to their owners' hands.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Cephalid Coliseum

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $7.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/9592_200w.jpg

{T}: Add {U}. Cephalid Coliseum deals 1 damage to you.
Threshold — {U}, {T}, Sacrifice Cephalid Coliseum: Target player draws three cards, then discards three cards. Activate only if seven or more cards are in your graveyard.

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Palace Familiar

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/96650_200w.jpg

Flying
When Palace Familiar dies, draw a card.

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Aven Wind Mage

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/168448_200w.jpg

Flying
Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, Aven Wind Mage gets +1/+1 until end of turn.

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Borrowing 100,000 Arrows

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/161796_200w.jpg

Draw a card for each tapped creature target opponent controls.

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Crookclaw Elder

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.25

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10724_200w.jpg

Flying
Tap two untapped Birds you control: Draw a card.
Tap two untapped Wizards you control: Target creature gains flying until end of turn.

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Mystical Dispute

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.89

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/198683_200w.jpg

This spell costs {2} less to cast if it targets a blue spell.
Counter target spell unless its controller pays {3}.

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Agoraphobia

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79917_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Enchanted creature gets -5/-0.
{2}{U}: Return Agoraphobia to its owner's hand.

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Tempest Owl

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/33449_200w.jpg

Kicker {4}{U} (You may pay an additional {4}{U} as you cast this spell.)
Flying
When Tempest Owl enters the battlefield, if it was kicked, tap up to three target permanents.

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Imaginary Threats

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/136698_200w.jpg

Creatures target opponent controls attack this turn if able. During that player's next untap step, creatures they control don't untap.
Cycling {2} ({2}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Memorial to Genius

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236230_200w.jpg

Memorial to Genius enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
{4}{U}, {T}, Sacrifice Memorial to Genius: Draw two cards.

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Pit Trap

Market Price: $0.15

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/3026_200w.jpg

{2}, {T}, Sacrifice Pit Trap: Destroy target attacking creature without flying. It can't be regenerated.

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Favorable Winds

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.39

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/144956_200w.jpg

Creatures you control with flying get +1/+1.

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Eternity Snare

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.03

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/79141_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
When Eternity Snare enters the battlefield, draw a card.
Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step.

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Watercourser

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/167879_200w.jpg

{U}: Watercourser gets +1/-1 until end of turn.

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Thieving Magpie

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.12

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/15361_200w.jpg

Flying (This creature can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.)
Whenever Thieving Magpie deals damage to an opponent, draw a card.

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Gaseous Form

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/118726_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt to and dealt by enchanted creature.

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Mist Raven

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/231258_200w.jpg

Flying
When Mist Raven enters the battlefield, return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $2.09

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192876_200w.jpg

+2: Until your next turn, up to one target creature gets -2/-0 and loses flying.
−3: Create a 4/4 blue Elemental Bird creature token with flying.
−8: You get an emblem with "Islands you control have '{T}: Draw a card.'"

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Flood

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.11

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/2153_200w.jpg

{U}{U}: Tap target creature without flying.

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Sleep Paralysis

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.02

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/192889_200w.jpg

Enchant creature
When Sleep Paralysis enters the battlefield, tap enchanted creature.
Enchanted creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step.

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Lonely Sandbar

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.10

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/236228_200w.jpg

Lonely Sandbar enters the battlefield tapped.
{T}: Add {U}.
Cycling {U} ({U}, Discard this card: Draw a card.)

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Saprazzan Skerry

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.45

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/6688_200w.jpg

Saprazzan Skerry enters the battlefield tapped with two depletion counters on it.
{T}, Remove a depletion counter from Saprazzan Skerry: Add {U}{U}. If there are no depletion counters on Saprazzan Skerry, sacrifice it.

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Aven Surveyor

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/227192_200w.jpg

Flying
When Aven Surveyor enters the battlefield, choose one —
• Put a +1/+1 counter on Aven Surveyor.
• Return target creature to its owner's hand.

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Strategic Planning

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.01

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/230725_200w.jpg

Look at the top three cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the rest into your graveyard.

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Flood of Tears

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.24

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/254150_200w.jpg

Return all nonland permanents to their owners' hands. If you return four or more nontoken permanents you control this way, you may put a permanent card from your hand onto the battlefield.

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Scion of Glaciers

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.04

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/93297_200w.jpg

{U}: Scion of Glaciers gets +1/-1 until end of turn.

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Keeper of the Nine Gales

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.43

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/10675_200w.jpg

Flying
{T}, Tap two untapped Birds you control: Return target permanent to its owner's hand.

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Island

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.05

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/215717_200w.jpg

({T}: Add {U}.)

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Floodchaser

Color Identity:U

Market Price: $0.07

ImageURL: https://tcgplayer-cdn.tcgplayer.com/product/17986_200w.jpg

Floodchaser enters the battlefield with six +1/+1 counters on it.
Floodchaser can't attack unless defending player controls an Island.
{U}, Remove a +1/+1 counter from Floodchaser: Target land becomes an Island until end of turn.

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The Game Plan

Play some flyers and evade our way to victory, using trickery and elementally-charged spells to tie up the opponent's creatures.

Favorable Winds is a pretty clear declaration about this deck's intent. We're in it for the flyers. Winged Words, Warden of Evos Isle, and Murder of Crows contribute to this theme too. And while the rates on our flyers aren't ideal normally, the fact that they can get in for some extra damage and a few extra perks (Thieving Magpie or Mist Raven) more than earn their keep.

Our early drops are… rough. But hey, it's a mono-blue deck. We're not going to gain tons of aggressive edge here. Thankfully they're mostly Birds, which will enable one of our rares (see rares section). And they fly, so they can get in for damage if need be.

Removal isn't terribly plentiful, but it's not bad either. Agoraphobia and Gaseous Form will more or less shut down whatever they're enchanting. Flood of Tears is extremely powerful. Pit Trap will kill most of the things that give us problems, and is extra clutch against green decks, since green has by far the least flyers.

Try to set up situations where we can make use of our big discounts. Warden of Evos Isle lets us two-spell faster than normal. Trimming a mana from divination makes Winged Words substantially more powerful. And if we can ever get an opponent with a cheap Mystical Dispute, it's such a devastating play.

The Rares

Even though it was consigned to this project as a forgotten gem, Tradewind Rider was at one time an iconic, immensely powerful creature. And when Keeper of the Nine Gales got printed in Legions, it seemed primed for a strong run in Standard. Unfortunately all the other Birds kinda stunk at the time, so it never caught on. But here, in a deck with a dozen other Birds, we get the Tradewind Rider effect back! And it's even cheaper! Practice saying, "At the end of your turn…" when learning how this card works best.

I'm a huge fan of the Magic Invitational cards. Although they have (for now) discontinued that, we got a taste of it a few years back in Magic 2014 with a batch of cards by designers from other games. And Master of Predicaments is extremely cool. I think the Level 1 game play is to always choose an expensive card if possible. If your opponent picks correctly, we'll likely have the mana to play the other thing without a problem, and if they pick incorrectly we get a steep discount. But maybe that's too simplistic? I'm not 100% sure. All I know is it creates a fun little subgame that can be the core of all kinds of comeback victory stories.

We haven't gotten a ton of great Mu Yanling, Sky Dancer flavor gems yet, so I thought it important to include whatever I could find in this deck. And that meant making space for these next two rares. Drawn from Dreams is a little disappointing at first, but only if you've already been spoiled by Dig Through Time. Dig Through Time was a broken card banned in multiple formats. On its own merits, Drawn from Dreams is perfectly acceptable. Getting two cards from a possible seven is a strong effect and is certainly worth 4 mana.

In almost all of these decks, there's at least one really strong card. A bomb. Something capable of putting a game away, while also possibly turning a losing situation into a winning one. In this deck, Flood of Tears is that card. Upheaval is probably too broken (not to mention unfun), but Flood of Tears can absolutely change the game and put us in the driver's seat. This probably goes without saying, but please look to get the bonus here. And remember, said bonus is much easier to achieve when we're bouncing things like our own Gaseous Form and Agoraphobia to be replayed later.

Unsung Hero

Ophidian broke the game long ago as a blue creature that acted as a card advantage engine. As the game evolved a little bit, Thieving Magpie came around and became the next big thing. We don't have to choose between the damage and the card! The rate is… rough. A 1/3 flyer for 4 is a terrible deal, but I think any newer players will quickly find that an extra card every turn is valuable and well worth the extra mana.

For us, we can catch a discount with the Warden of Evos Isle, a size buff with Favorable Winds, synergy with Winged Words, and benefits with Keeper of the Nine Gales and Crookclaw Elder. For a card that generates value, we're well primed to take advantage of it in several different ways.

Oh, also the art is rad. 10/10 much recommend.