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Assessing Aether Revolt, Part Two

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Hello boys and girls!

Sometimes two parts is better than one.

That is certainly the case today, since we have so many commons from Aether Revolt to still talk about!

In case you missed the article from last time, here is a brief summary: I went over the cards Aether Chaser, Aether Poisoner and Aether Swooper in detail, dismissing the green and white creatures in the cycle as being too expensive. I ranked the blue Swooper highest in terms of Pauper promise, followed by Poisoner in black and Chaser in red.

Today I intend to cover the remainder of the head-turning cards from Aether Revolt (I got a bit carried away in the previous article with my analysis of that Aether creature cycle).

So let's get things rolling, shall we?

Bastion Inventor

Bastion Inventor
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

Is this the guy responsible for Inventor's Goggles? We may never know. What we do know is that improvise is a brand new mechanic that functions like a sort of powered-down affinity.

Maybe it's just me, but the explanatory reminder text for improvise seems overly dumbed down. That aside, we've got a 4/4 hexproof beater (or control finisher?) here for as much as 5U and potentially as little as U. Pauper has shown us via cards like Myr Enforcer and Gurmag Angler that big bodies for low prices equate to some of the best deals available in the entire format. Bastion Inventor seeks to hammer this point home upon entering the arena of commons only.

You may have seen me make a case for Gearseeker Serpent a couple of months ago. In that article I expressed my appreciation for a U/x control deck with a lot of artifacts and a quadruple helping of Galvanic Blast. I can easily picture Inventor in a similar deck, but at that point he's competing with Serpent itself. While Serpent can be removed by more things, Bastion Inventor struggles quite a bit more in combat. I think this will end up being a relevant drawback in addition to the fact that Inventor is actually harder to cast than Serpent is.

With a mechanic like affinity, artifact lands work great because they not only tap for 1 mana, but also reduce the cost of a permanent with affinity by 1. This is not the case with Bastion Inventor. We will need a high number artifacts that sit around and otherwise do not need to be tapped for anything (like equipment, Puzzleknots, vehicles and Wellsprings for instance) for Inventor to be at his best.

I'm leaning slightly towards “no” with this guy currently, mainly because Gearseeker Serpent can fill a similar role in many decks. However, there might be enough working pieces to get an Inventor's Goggles deck going. Aether Swooper, Bastion Inventor, Trinket Mage and some spicy equipment, anyone?

Countless Gears Renegade

Countless Gears Renegade
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

Gee, another Artificer for Inventor's Goggles! However, the more likely considerations for this card are as a synergy piece in Kuldotha Boros (adds Servo tokens for metalcraft, builds a board for Rally the Peasants and can be bounced with Kor Skyfisher), or as a component within a Ghostly Flicker or Momentary Blink shell.

Last time around I compared Aether Chaser to Attended Knight in order to more properly evaluate the former's playability. Let's do something similar with this new dwarf. Countless Gears Renegade will be a Grizzly Bears nearly 100% of the time on Turn 2, whereas Chaser and Knight both automatically do something when they enter the battlefield. Chaser and Knight both also have first strike, so they're more effective in the red zone than this new Artificer is.

Conversely, Dwynen's Elite has proven itself in the past as a sturdy uncommon and Renegade offers up a similar effect at common when its conditions are met. The trick will of course be meeting those conditions an acceptable percentage of the time. Kuldotha Boros can bounce permanents with Boros Garrison, Glint Hawk and Kor Skyfisher, sacrifice permanents with Kuldotha Rebirth and sacrifice Clue tokens thanks to Thraben Inspector. That actually sounds like enough Renegade-friendly activity to start making Servos.

I'm going to rate this card slightly higher than Bastion Inventor, and I imagine if it sees play it will do so in Kuldotha Boros or a revamped version of Azorius Kitty (or perhaps even some other related take on the Momentary Blink strategy).

Fourth Bridge Prowler

Fourth Bridge Prowler
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

Yet another card for me to mess with in a Dimir shell! This guy somewhat resembles Fume Spitter, which is a creature that has seen a decent amount of play in Tortured Existence decks and Trinket Mage control decks over the years.

I like that Prowler can cut down a Turn 1 Delver of Secrets and live to tell the tale! That is far, and I mean far from insignificant. There's also the possibility of sniping a Faerie Miscreant while simultaneously keeping Delver from attacking us. This is all before we even discuss the types of abuse we can enact by bouncing this bad boy. Ghostly Flicker lets us turn otherwise dead even board states into a miserable experience for our adversaries.

I would ultimately place this dude in a similar category as Aether Poisoner, in the sense that I plan on playing it a bunch and am not convinced that many others will do the same. I think Fourth Bridge Patrol is even better than Poisoner since it can also come down early and melt the faces of Delver of Secrets, Faerie Miscreant, Spellstutter Sprite, River Boa, Crypt Rats, most elves, a few goblins, and whatever else I'm forgetting to mention.

Unbridled Growth

Unbridled Growth
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

Abundant Growth's long lost cousin has finally dropped in to ask for some money. This “Growth” variant is admittedly worse than Abundant Growth, if only because its “draw a card” feature can only be used once if we have no way to retrieve it from the graveyard. At the same, that is what I kinda like about it. Allow me to explain: Unbridled Growth synergizes with a creature like Auramancer in a similar fashion to how Abundant Growth synergizes with a creature like Kor Skyfisher.

There's a chance that this card will fit into an Abzan Tortured Existence strategy with reasonable success. Even outside of that deck the card works generally well as a tool for mana fixing early. Once we've drawn enough additional sources of each color we can cycle it away. It's still a lesser option when placed side by side with Abundant Growth, though. At least it should work nicely in Standard Pauper!

The Implement Cycle

Implement of Combustion
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)
Implement of Ferocity
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)
Implement of Malice
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

I would not recommend playing any of these in a Classic Pauper deck. Each costs too much mana for the effect they are offering, with the green one (Implement of Ferocity) being the most reasonable...yet still not very appealing. If you want to put counters on a creature for cheap, find a way to abuse Hunger of the Howlpack like the rest of us.

Implement of Examination
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)
 
Implement of Improvement
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

Even if you had a UW Trinket Mage deck that wanted access to life gain, you could at that point play Sunbeam Spellbomb or any number of efficient white life gain cards.

Honorable Mentions

Appropriately following up the Implements is Universal Solvent. If a deck ever arises that combines the Tron lands with a Trinket Mage package, Solvent could end up being a workable but unexciting inclusion. This would be in addition to cards like Expedition Map and Relic of Progenitus, of course. I'm kinda liking the sound of this. We could call it Trinket Tron, perhaps?

I don't see Leonin Squire getting in the mix here, since the activation cost on Universal Solvent is simply too much to warrant going for many abusive shenanigans.

Irontread Crusher and Mobile Garrison are both competing with the preexisting Renegade Freighter, and for that reason I think they will both fall short. Crew 2 is far easier to pull off than Crew 3, and Freighter can trample over blockers which is very nice. Untapping stuff can potentially get pretty busted, but unless there is some specific combo that Garrison enables it will (in my eyes) pale in comparison to Freighter (again mostly due to trample).

Reservoir Walker offers up life gain to colors that don't normally get it, but 5 mana is too much. Anyone can play Bottle Gnomes already if they want too, and while they aren't particularly exciting they generate 3 life all the same. The energy production doesn't have much of a chance of being relevant, and if your deck can bounce this guy it can probably also be doing something better on Turn 5.

Aetherize

This concludes my assessment of the newest and brightest cards from Aether Revolt. What did I forget to mention? What did I overlook? You're more than welcome to let me know.

For our videos today, I've got a mixed bag of Pauper decks all in one playlist!

Thanks for reading, and as always, enjoy the videos!

Jason Moore
Jason Moore

About Jason Moore

Jason Moore is 25 years old, and a resident of Los Angeles California. He began playing Magic seriously in 2010, and has developed a strong interest in MTGO and the Pauper format. He is one of the hosts of the podcast Pauper's Cage, and has covered Pauper on other websites and his YouTube page. His other interests include acting, writing and playing guitar.

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