www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com www.Blackborder.com
www.Blackborder.com

Navigation

Small orders ship for just 60 cents!

RSS

Subscribe to Syndicate

Hot Products

Hot Buylist Offers

Vraska, Relic Seeker

Ixalan

7 wanted at $7.50 each Sell

Carnage Tyrant

Ixalan

5 wanted at $7.00 each Sell

Legion's Landing

Ixalan

5 wanted at $2.00 each Sell

Treasure Map

Ixalan

4 wanted at $1.50 each Sell

Dragonskull Summit

Ixalan

20 wanted at $1.00 each Sell

Vanquisher's Banner

Ixalan

5 wanted at $0.75 each Sell

Primal Amulet

Ixalan

6 wanted at $0.75 each Sell

Kinjalli's Sunwing

Ixalan

19 wanted at $0.50 each Sell

Overflowing Insight

Ixalan

7 wanted at $0.25 each Sell

You are here

Standard Brews with Aether Revolt

node_image: 

Hello everybody!

Last time, I've talked about some of the Aether Revolt cards for Standard purposes. One thing that I mentioned several times was that the bar was set pretty high for cards that are playable in this format because of how good Emrakul and Smuggler's Copter are - any late game plan always had to be compared to ramping into Emrakul (or defending against that plan), since that was the best we had. Because of this, many cards had to be dismissed - they provided a sound plan, but weren't fast enough and would just get outclassed by the flying spaghetti monster. Now that Emrakul, Copter and (weirdly) also Reflector Mage are banned, it provides a chance for many fringe strategies. Apart from Aetherworks Marvel, which got significantly weaker, there doesn't seem to be any endgame that would be impossible to defend against. Trying to fight the war of attrition and getting small bits of card advantage here and there seemed foolish when all your effort would be hindered by a single card. Now the world is free of the Emrakul menace and we can build decks without having to worry about this issue.

Last time I analyzed individual cards and today, I'm going to try to figure out which decks they could fit in. Aether Revolt seems to have a number of "build-around-me" staples and cards that create weird interactions. The power level of some of them will certainly end up being higher than of some others, but without trying them out (and also without the knowledge of the Standard metagame), it's almost impossible to say which is which, so today, I'm going to try to see how far and in which directions we can push certain strategies.

I want to start with a card that I've been thinking about pretty much since I first saw it in the spoiler - Tezzeret the Schemer. Honestly, the card doesn't seem all that over-powered, mostly because the +1 ability is pretty weak. On the other hand, Tezzeret takes only two turns to ultimate, which is quite something for a 4-mana planeswalker. I think that the essential thing to do when building around Tezzeret is to figure out which end of the "combo --- control" spectrum we want to be closer to. In an artifact-based control deck, he could be a high-loyalty planeswalker who can defend himself. In most such "fair" U/B decks with only a small/medium artifact subtheme, his ultimate won't even be that great, but I think that if we go "all-in", ultimating him can be worth it. I've been trying to find the most aggressive approach and this is one of my lists with perhaps the most "combo" potential:

UB Tezzeret Affinity

Colors
Artifact20
Black9
Blue7
Gold3
Land21
Converted Mana Cost
012
113
45
53
76
Type
Artifact14
Artifact Creature6
Basic Land7
Creature6
Instant6
Land14
Planeswalker3
Sorcery4
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Herald of Anguish
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

For some time, we haven't seen any one-mana accelerator in Standard - going from one mana on the first turn to three mana on turn two has been deemed too strong for this format and since Avacyn's Pilgrim, there hasn't been any one-drop mana dork in Standard. That's why the ability "improvise" seems so potentially broken to me. Right now, there are three different 0-mana Standard-legal artifacts and they give us the option of some fairly ridiculous draws. If, for example, you have an Ornithopter, a Bone Saw and a random 0/1-mana artifact in your opening hand, you can cast Reverse Engineer on turn two and start going off from there.

The downside, of course, is that we play twelve cards that don't do almost anything if we don't draw our improvise cards. Card draw can help smooth the draws and in addition to the aforementioned Reverse Engineer, we also have access to Paradoxical Outcome, which essentially acts as card draw in this deck. A big advantage of Terrarion is that it cycles if we're flooded with cheap artifacts but no action. Still, this deck is not the textbook example of consistency. However, a turn three Herald of Anguish or Gearseeker Serpent, perhaps followed by Tezzeret, seems like a very strong play in Standard, especially if Fatal Push and Grasp of Darkness become the removal spells of choice, as neither of them can touch our win conditions.

I feel that this is perhaps the approach that pushes the "affinity-like" aspect of this possible archetype the most. Improvise can give you a pretty unfair advantage, but at a rather steep cost. But we can, of course, slow things down a bit. Instead of playing 0-mana artifacts that sometimes act like Moxen and sometimes are mulligans, we can play cheap artifacts that do something even if we don't draw all our Improvise spells. This is going to slow the best draws down by at least two turns, but it's also going to make the deck a lot more consistent. This is what I think such a list could look like:

UB Tezzeret Midrange

Colors
Artifact14
Black12
Blue7
Gold4
Land23
Converted Mana Cost
114
210
44
55
61
73
Type
Artifact14
Artifact Creature1
Basic Land5
Creature3
Instant6
Land18
Planeswalker4
Sorcery9
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Tezzeret the Schemer
Versions:
Aether Revolt (Foil)

While these two Tezzeret lists share a lot of cards, they are very different decks. The first one is trying to do degenerate things at the cost of playing some really bad cards. The second one is aiming at casting some artifacts, playing defense with removal or bounce and then closing the game with Tezzeret or Herald of Anguish. Which deck is better largely depends on the metagame. If many opponents are vulnerable to a turn three Herald of Anguish or Gearseeker Serpent, then it makes sense to try to go all in. But if playing these threats backed by card draw so early in the game doesn't translate into enough wins, it could be reasonable to try to be more controlling. The second list is a lot better at interacting with the opponent and yet also has a lot of flashy plays and cool synergies. The two-mana artifacts, while not being as fast as Ornithopters and Cathar's Shields, give you mana while also drawing cards - Prophetic Prism when it comes into play and Key to the City every time you use it to make mana for an improvise spell: since you don't have to discard anything when you cast Reverse Engineer, for example, you end up one card ahead next turn when the Key untaps. Baral's Expertise works as a sweeper of sorts, since your late game plays are so powerful that bouncing permanents is pretty close to removing them. And slamming Tezzeret off of the "free spell" clause on the Expertise just feels amazing.

Speaking of Tezzeret, even in a deck like this, he doesn't feel overpowered, but at the same time, he does a lot of things. I like his +1 ability with Fatal Push - on four mana, Tezzeret provides the extra mana for Push as well as the revolt trigger thanks to the fresh Lotus Petal. He doesn't do anything super-exciting, but generating a critical mass of artifacts to help cast your Improvise spells is very important and the ultimate should frequently win you the game in a deck with so many redundant artifacts.

The next deck that I've been brewing is my take on the "Copycat" combo:

Jeskai Copycat aggro

Hanweir Garrison
Versions:
Eldritch Moon (Foil)

There are many possible approaches to the combo of Saheeli Rai + Felidar Guardian. You can go for the dedicated combo deck and in that case, you want to play as many cards that help dig for the combo and keep you alive until you find it. But you can also play a more midrange shell that doesn't necessarily kill with infinite cats - if you choose to go that way, it's important to have other uses for the two combo pieces, because you might end up drawing a bunch of Guardians or Saheelis and not the other. Usually, the way to make sure you're not stuck with useless Saheelis and cats is by going for value with cards like Cloudblazer and Panharmonicon and typically, such a deck is base blue-white. But I think there's also a lot of potential in the "aggro-combo" shell, as weird as that name might sound. First of all, if you're beating down, you force the opponent to react, hopefully tap down for some sorcery-speed removal spell or maybe Ishkanah, which gives you a window to get the win with the combo. But on top of that, I actually think that Saheeli is better fitted for an aggro shell, where the 1 damage from her +1 ability is a lot more relevant and copying creatures with haste, which can make them attack right away, is also crucial. There's a number of beatsticks that work really well with Saheeli - most notably Thalia's Lieutenant and Hanweir Garrison - the first one for her enters-the-battlefield ability that boosts most of the creatures you have on the battlefield and the second one for the amount of power that attacks right away. The sequence of "turn 2 Thalia's Lieutenant, turn 3 Hanweir Garrison, turn 4 Saheeli Rai, copy Hanweir Garrison" gives you a 7/7 attacking Lieutenant together with six more attacking creatures. If you happened to play Thraben Inspector on turn one, you end up with dealing twenty-three damage by turn four.

This whole particular list is designed to take advantage of the "swarm" strategy and cards that boost your whole team. We have plenty of cards that produce multiple creatures and three different kinds of "Glorious Anthem" type effect - Thalia's Lieutenant, Angel of Invention (another amazing target for Saheeli Rai) and Gideon. Maverick Thopterist might look suspicious, but between Thraben Inspector giving you clues, Heart of Kiran being an artifact with vigilance and Pia Nalaar producing Thopters, I think he could be a pretty interesting token generator - my earlier list included as many as three. Playing Sram's Expertise might be a safer (and better) option, but the deck already has a lot of 4-drops and Maverick Thopterist can also be blinked by Felidar Guardian if you don't have the combo. I'm sure I'll try to test both alternatives and see what's better.

Heart of Kiran seems to be one of the best cards in Aether Revolt and a very capable substitute for Smuggler's Copter. The two planeswalkers that are likely going to get into the driver's seat of the legendary vehicle the most are Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar - in order to be reliably able to activate the Heart, you need a lot of 3-powered creatures, cheap planeswalkers or both. This deck mostly aims at activating Heart of Kiran with Saheeli Rai and I think that she makes for an excellent driver, who can jump-start the engines on turn three just as well as Nissa can.

These are some of my versions of the archetypes that seem to be made possible by the bans and by the new cards. Aether Revolt looks like an extremely deep set and there are many synergies that I like. Spire of Industry, for example, is one of the best colorless-mana producing lands since painlands and this could give Eldrazi a decent push. I think that so far, we've only scratched the surface of the format and there's still plenty more to be discovered in terms of Standard play.

Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Adam

Adam Koska
Adam Koska

About Adam Koska

Adam is an experienced player from the Czech Republic who has a number of high-profile finishes under his belt:

  • 14th at Pro Tour Portland 2014
  • 9th at Worlds 2009
  • 9th at Pro Tour Kyoto 2009
  • 64 Lifetime Pro Points
  • Three times Czech Nationals Top 8
Average: 
0
Your rating: None
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)
All trademarks and copyrights are acknowledged and are the property of their respective owners. This website is not produced by Wizards of the Coast TM. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com may only ship sealed Magic: the Gathering products within the United States. As an Authorized Internet Retailer of Wizards of the Coast, adventuresON.com cannot sell sealed Magic: the Gathering products business to business. Authorized Internet Retailer for Wizards of the Coast