For the Premier Event scene, this Standard format is over, and the next big tournament is next year. So, let’s talk about the first Aether Revolt spoilers! The official preview season and release is not until January and Pro Tour Aether Revolt is not until February, but Wizards of the Coast didn’t waste any time whetting our appetite with some previews. 13 cards, at the time of writing this article, to be exact. What are some of the first opinions we’re gathering from the second part of the Kaladesh block?
- Convoke for Artifacts
So… Improvise is basically Convoke, except that it only works for artifacts. This will greatly increase the value of cards like Prophetic Prism (which is basically draw a card and add one mana to your mana pool to cast an improvise card) as well as vehicles and servo tokens. However, a shell that can truly use Battle at the Bridge is something like Affinity, where you have not just one or two artifacts, but many more.
- A better Voidslime
This is not just a simple reprint it, they made it better! Swapping out green mana for colorless has made Disallow one of the best additions to Standard. It is basically the most “catch all” counterspell they’ve ever printed in a long time and it will be extremely versatile in Standard. Enter the battlefield triggers, planewalker activations, nuking Evolving Wilds. Well, Disallow disallows a lot of things and we expect it to see heavy play starting from Pro Tour Aether Revolt.
- A new 2 drop Vehicle
Smuggler’s Copter might still be the better card because of its card filtering abilities and its easy crew cost but for the last three months it has not only done that, but also filled the role for pressuring planeswalkers such as Liliana, the Last Hope and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. However, Heart of Kiran looks like it will be the largest thing in the skies if it sees play and it even has vigilance to boot. Not only will it be able to attack and defend, you also get to activate it with the help of your planeswalkers AND still attack with any creatures you might have! At Mythic Rarity, it looks like it could potentially be a chase rare, considering that its colorless and only costs 2 mana!
- Three new Planeswalker
Ajani Unyielding is almost exactly the GW version of Sorin, Grim Nemesis, with a plus ability that generates card advantage, a minus ability that kills creatures, and an ultimate that should win most games. Unfortunately, this comparison isn’t encouraging in terms of Standard play. At his peak, Sorin was a one or two of in very specific decks, and this is probably the most we can hope for in regards to Ajani Unyielding. Ajani, Vailant Protector is a slowest and worse version of Ajani, Mentor of Heroes. Tezzeret, Master of Metal seems to slow to see Constructed play.
- Ghitu Slinger comes back boosted
The Slinger was worthy of being a first pick during its time and it was common. Thankfully, they had the good sense to make Quicksmith Rebel a rare because it’s broken as hell in Limited! While it’s not close to being Flametongue Kavu, keep in mind that when things are set up properly it will usually enable a two for one. And if unhandled, that’s just two damage being dished out in turn which will wreck havoc on the board and end games in no time.
- The Mage Cycle is now complete
To be honest this is pretty cute. In the past, we could only search for very small artifacts or very big ones and now we get to search for a mid sized one with Trophy Mage. It looks like the biggest winner for now is Dynavolt Tower, because having access to up to eight copies makes the control deck way more consistent than before, especially if it relies so heavily on it. In addition, Commander players will be happy to include it in about every blue deck that they have, considering that it searches for cool things like Champion’s Helm, Coalition Relic, Chromatic Lantern and whatnot!
- Pia Nalaar guides the Kaladesh Revolution
My initial reaction to Pia’s Revolution is that it’s completely and utterly unplayable. I mean, it looks a lot like one of the most disappointing mythics of recent years: Athreos, God of Passage, whose triggered ability is essentially the same as Pia’s Revolution but for creatures rather than artifacts. After thinking about it some more, I still think that Pia’s Revolution is close to unplayable, but there may be an exception in Standard.
- An answer to the Smuggler’s Copter and other Vehicles
This is not so good. Merciless Eviction is just one mana more and better. Maybe in limited with all the artifacts is amazin but in constructed won’t be that good. However it surely can see play and being good in standard as an answer to Copter and other Vehicles, but certainly is too slow for modern.
- An endless stream of Artifact
Scrap Trawler iss very purposefully worded in a way that makes it extremely hard to use as a combo piece. While it’s still possible someone way smarter and more creative than I am will figure out a way to make it work, I just don’t see it. Without combo potential, Scrap Trawler is a relatively underpowered value card, that is going to have a hard time finding a home in Standard with much better options in the 3 Converted Mana Cost slot.
- Yahenni’s Expertise is very powerful
When Yahenni’s Expertise was first previewed, it looked too good to be true. Wouldn’t this spell the death of aggro decks? I mean, isn’t that too much of a tempo swing for black mages? As if Languish wasn’t bad enough, aggro decks now have to deal with this. In fact, Yahenni’s Expertise might even break it into Modern and see light play. What this only means is that Liliana, the Last Hope is going to become more popular than ever. Not only can you clear the board of three toughness guys, you can also use Liliana’s first ability to pick of a four toughness one. This sequence of plays is very powerful, and it can also be used in conjuction with Ruinous Path to take out Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. Whatever it is, this card is going to impact Standard for a long time to come and it is really, really good!
- A New Nicol Bolas is on its way
I seriously hope that they aren’t trolling us by printing this card and then not having a Bolas planeswalker in Aether Revolt. Well, I’m sure they’re not so evil so it is very likely we’ll be seeing a new Nicol Bolas but whether or not Dark Imtimations will see play is another thing. The previous Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker was too expensive to see Constructed play. If R&D keeps this one within 5 or 6 mana, we might stand a chance! Remember, you can always use Tormenting Voice or Cathartic Reunion to discard enough copies of Dark Intimations and perhaps even threaten the ultimate on the very turn Aether Revolt’s Nicol Bolas comes into play!
It seems like there is no shortage of powerful sweet cards coming out of and with the holidays, as well as 2017 coming up, we can’t complain.
Thanks for reading