Aether Revolt Constructed Review: Green

PREVIOUS AETHER REVOLT SET REVIEWS

Limited:  White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts, Gold and Lands

Constructed: White | Blue | Black | Red

Alright, welcome to the Aether Revolt Constructed Review!

Let’s take a look at the grading scale. Keep in mind that that the written evaluation of the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade. The grading scale is a little different than the one for the Limited format.

GRADING SCALE

(Also known as the “Jace” Scale)

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren.Painful TruthsHissing Quagmire.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat.Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept.AnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing.)

Aetherwind Basker

Constructed: 2.0

I’m not normally a fan of 7 drops in Constructed, but this is potentially a 15/15 trample the first time it attacks. It also fuels energy cards like Aetherworks Marvel, and the ability to make massive amounts of energy is worth taking into account.

Greenbelt Rampager

Constructed: 3.0

This is one of the more interesting cards in the set. By itself, it’s GGG for a 3/4, and that payment can be split up among multiple turns. That’s okay, but not fantastic. Combine it with energy cards and you either get a cheap 3/4 or an energy-generation engine, and those 2 abilities add up to a very appealing 1 drop. Where I see this fitting best is an aggressive energy deck, as it can utilize both halves of this card.

Greenwheel Liberator

Constructed: 2.0

I like this more for Modern than Standard, though a 2 mana 4/3 isn’t quite there either. Without fetchlands, this is a bit too much work for too little payoff.

Heroic Intervention

Constructed: 2.5

I like the look of this. It strikes me as a sideboard card, and an effective one. It counters sweepers (Yahenni’s Expertise aside), is relevant in combat, and can stop any targeted removal spell or ability. That’s a lot of card for just 2 mana, and removal-based decks are going to need to watch out.

Hidden Herbalists

Constructed: 2.5

Burning-Tree Emissary got a new friend, and this could lead to more sweet Reckless Bushwhacker turns in Modern. Fetchlands make this a great turn 2 play, and there are plenty of ways to take advantage of a 0 mana 2/2.

Maulfist Revolutionary

Constructed: 2.0

The 3/3 for 3 part of this is a little less impressive in Constructed, but the counter synergy is much easier to pull off. This will often end up as 4/4 or 5/5 in stats overall, which is worth it in a deck built to maximize that.

Narnam Renegade

Constructed: 2.5

This is one of the Revolt cards that I like best. A 2/3 deathtouch is a solid little fighter, and costing only 1 mana makes it that much more likely it will be on. It’s also relevant without Revolt, and the combination of all that makes this intriguing. At the very least, it’s a super Kird Ape in Modern.

Natural Obsolescence

Constructed: 2.0

Purely sideboard material, Natural Obsolescence gives you a good option against cards you don’t want to send to the graveyard, or cards that are indestructible.

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

Constructed: 3.5

Rishkar is the sweet combination of a lot of stats and a very powerful ability, all for just 3 mana. Any deck with a lot of 1- and 2-drops should consider Rishkar, as this is one of the most powerful cards in the set.

Rishkar’s Expertise

Constructed: 2.5

The idea of drawing 3 to 5 cards and playing something large for free definitely appeals to me, and it doesn’t seem impossible to get that to work enough of the time. The drawback of your 6 drop doing nothing is a big one, don’t get me wrong, but when this works it will be strong enough to risk that drawback.

Unbridled Growth

Constructed: 2.5

I don’t know exactly where this goes yet, but a 1 mana Revolt enabler that you can sacrifice later (making it cost zero on the turn you need it to) that doesn’t cost a card is worth noting.

Top 3 Green Cards

  1. Rishkar, Peema Renegade
  2. Greenbelt Rampager
  3. Rishkar’s Expertise

Rishkar is no joke, and Greenbelt Rampager is a solid dude. Past that, green got a lot of speculative cards, and is not as obviously powerful as some of the other colors.

Aether Revolt Constructed Review: Red

PREVIOUS AETHER REVOLT SET REVIEWS

Limited:  White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts, Gold and Lands

Constructed: White | Blue | Black

Alright, welcome to the Aether Revolt Constructed Review!

Let’s take a look at the grading scale. Keep in mind that that the written evaluation of the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade. The grading scale is a little different than the one for the Limited format.

GRADING SCALE

(Also known as the “Jace” Scale)

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren.Painful TruthsHissing Quagmire.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat.Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept.AnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing.)

Aether Chaser

Constructed: 2.0

If this is good enough, it’s barely good enough. The dream is somewhat worth chasing, as a 2/1 that makes a 1/1 is a good deal for 2 mana, but it’s really going to depend on what aggressive red decks look like and how many x/3 blockers are running around.

Enraged Giant

Constructed: 2.0

Between this and Freejam Regent, red may have enough Improvise payoffs to really go aggro on a deck full of cheap artifacts. If this gets down to about 3 cost, it’s a real beating, and that seems doable if the rest of the deck is made up of good enough cards.

Freejam Regent

Constructed: 2.5

The same caveats about Enraged Giant apply before you should feel free to jam this, with flying and firebreathing being enough better than trample and haste to get a slightly better grade.

Hungry Flames

Constructed: 3.0

Searing Blaze this is not, but it’s close enough for government work. Hungry Flames will kill enough of the creatures that matter, while pinging the opponent for a relevant bit of damage. Whether this sees play is contingent on there being a highly aggressive red deck, but that seems at least somewhat likely.

Indomitable Creativity

Constructed: 2.0

The main use this has is in a deck that can create tokens (either artifact or creature). You then blow them up creatively, and it finds the great artifacts or creatures from your deck, of which you are only playing a couple. That seems worth exploring, even if cards like this have never quite gotten there. It can also downgrade opposing cards, but that’s less exciting.

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

Constructed: 2.0

Kari Zev is pretty close to a 3 power creature for 2 mana, and that’s something aggressive red decks may be interested in. She triggers Revolt each turn, is hard to interact with in combat, and can create a Monkey each turn for sacrificial fodder (though that seems a little cruel to poor Ragavan).

Kari Zev’s Expertise

Constructed: 2.5

The power level on this is high enough that it threatens some big turns in Constructed. If you side this in against a deck with large creatures, you can set up a pretty sick combat by playing this and a free removal spell at once. It does still seem like a sideboard card rather than a main deck one, but a good one at that.

Quicksmith Rebel

Constructed: 2.5

This looks like another potent sideboard card. Against a deck with many 2 toughness creatures, playing the Rebel and starting to gun them down sounds appealing. You do need artifacts lying around, but Improvise decks may be in the right place to take advantage.

Release the Gremlins

Constructed: 2.5

I don’t know if it’s Sideboard Day or something, but red is getting a lot of cards that look quite powerful out of the board. Release the Gremlins is one of them, as it’s an effective way to punish artifact based decks, though not a card I’d run in the main deck.

Shock

Constructed: 3.0

This will see a fair amount of play, it’s cheap, efficient, and gets the job done. The format will dictate exactly how much play, as a wealth of 3 toughness creatures will clearly reduce the effectiveness of Shock, but I still see this as a staple.

Siege Modification

Constructed: 1.0

No. I don’t care how big the 7/11 is, still no.

Top 3 Red Cards

  1. Shock
  2. Hungry Flames
  3. Freejam Regent

Red didn’t knock it out of the park here, but it got some good removal spells, a couple big Improvise threats, and a lot of sideboard options. For a small set, that isn’t bad.

Aether Revolt Constructed Review: Black

PREVIOUS AETHER REVOLT SET REVIEWS

Limited:  White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts, Gold and Lands

Constructed: White | Blue

Alright, welcome to the Aether Revolt Constructed Review!

Let’s take a look at the grading scale. Keep in mind that that the written evaluation of the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade. The grading scale is a little different than the one for the Limited format.

GRADING SCALE

(Also known as the “Jace” Scale)

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren.Painful TruthsHissing Quagmire.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat.Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept.AnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing.)

Battle at the Bridge

Constructed: 2.0

You need to be deep on Improvise before this becomes good enough. Straight-up casting it isn’t acceptable outside of Limited, but if you can make it a 2 mana deal 5 (or the like), it could be worth it. Another use I could see is as a sideboard card, because it does punish aggro decks if you have a decent number of artifacts to fuel it.

Daring Demolition

Constructed: 2.0

I’d be really surprised if this got there, but maybe there’s a black deck that really wants to kill large Vehicles and has no other outs.

Fatal Push

Constructed: 5.0

If you were wondering what the best card in the set was, wonder no more. This is pushed enough to see play across every format, especially the ones with fetchlands. In Standard, cheap revolt enablers, make Push go big, and even the non-revolt version has plenty of targets. Once you do introduce fetches, this becomes absurd, and will kill everything from Tarmogoyf to Lodestone Golem without batting an eye. It’s funny that Smuggler’s Copter got banned before this came out to kick it around, but regardless, Fatal Push is the real deal. It will also incentivize 5 drops over 4 drops when it’s close, which is nice for diversity of threats and costs.

Fen Hauler

Constructed: 2.0

Anything with Improvise has at least some potential, but I’m not a big fan of this. The ability and stats just don’t do quite enough for me.

Fourth Bridge Prowler

Constructed: 2.5

I really like this as a sideboard card in the right metagame. Against an aggro deck full of 1/1s and 2/1s, this is a huge beating. It may even cross the bridge to the main deck, though that seems a lot less likely to me.

Gifted Aetherborn

Constructed: 2.5

This is a pretty good deal if you can get BB early. It’s big enough to survive most combats and doesn’t die to Shock, all while giving you life to play with and taking down anything it fights. I’ve loved Vampire Nighthawk in sideboards before, so this could also be a great Side Board option against aggro, as well as a main-deck option in a black-based aggro or midrange deck.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Constructed: 3.0

Maybe I’m being optimistic, but I like the look of this. It’s a nice little beater that threatens to draw a bunch of extra cards, and at a very low cost. If you have just 1 energy before you play it, it’s already going to replace itself if it lives to your next turn, and it can fuel itself easily. Aether Hub and Harnessed Lightning combine nicely with the Siphoner, and it’s already good on its own.

Herald of Anguish

Constructed: 3.0

Now this is an improvise card worth building toward. It’s immune to Fatal Push, it can come out for 3 or 4 mana, and it eats a card essentially right away. It also flies over for a substantial amount of damage, and can throw your Prophetic Prisms at the opponent’s creatures, making it a threat against both aggro and control. I like Herald of Anguish, and can see it being the gas an improvise deck is looking for.

Midnight Entourage

Constructed: 2.5

Getting a card back whenever one of your creatures dies is an intriguing enough textbox that I’m in for playing a glorified Hill Giant. This can let you get good attacks in with the right curve, and punishes removal decks well. The biggest challenge is finding enough good Aetherborn, but that does seem doable.

Secret Salvage

Constructed: 1.0

Is the secret Relentless Rats? Tell me it’s Relentless Rats. Otherwise, this is too expensive and fiddly to really be worth the effort.

Vengeful Rebel

Constructed: 3.0

I’ve got high hopes for Flametongue Kavu Jr. here. If you can cheaply enable revolt, this is a very powerful play, and in the creature based format that is Standard, one that can generate a lot of value. Renegade Map is a big part of this, as is Terrarion, at which point you may be able to verge on improvise if you want. This also has merit as a sideboard card for creature mirrors, where you have a higher likelihood of just trading guys and then being able to play this without doing anything fancy.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan

Constructed: 2.5

Yahenni doesn’t quite match up to their Expertise, but still has some interesting things going on. Being indestructible and triggering revolt at will is nice, as is growing whenever you kill off an opposing creature. As a 3 mana 2/2, that’s still not quite enough to make this a Falkenrath Aristocrat, but mana-less sacrifice outlets are always valuable (see: Nantuko Husk).

Yahenni’s Expertise

Constructed: 3.5

Mini Languish plus a 3 mana voucher is an enticing card. It is context-dependent, and being this powerful naturally pushes people to reduce the number of creatures that die to it, but it’s still got a ton of potential. I expect this to be played in control, midrange (especially with 4 toughness creatures), and even out of the board in all sorts of decks.

Top 3 Black Cards

  1. Fatal Push
  2. Yahenni’s Expertise
  3. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

Getting the best card in the set is a nice way to start, and black even picks up a great sweeper, a great 2 drop, and Herald of Anguish (the next best card). That’s a lot for a small set, and I’m very impressed with black’s offerings.

Aether Revolt Constructed Review: Blue

PREVIOUS AETHER REVOLT SET REVIEWS

Limited:  White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts, Gold and Lands

Constructed: White

Alright, welcome to the Aether Revolt Constructed Review!

Let’s take a look at the grading scale. Keep in mind that that the written evaluation of the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade. The grading scale is a little different than the one for the Limited format.

GRADING SCALE

(Also known as the “Jace” Scale)

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren.Painful TruthsHissing Quagmire.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat.Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept.AnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing.)

Aethertide Whale
Constructed: 2.0

I do like that this is a control finisher that protects itself, though we’ve flown past the days where Aetherling-style finishers are what end games. High-end cards these days need to play defense and offense better than the Whale, though in a removal-heavy mirror it could be annoying.

Baral, Chief of Compliance

Constructed: 3.0

Baral looks pretty sweet to me. Getting a 1 mana discount on any spell is a powerful ability in either a combo or control deck, and the loot effect helps you churn through cards. You can even play more copies of Baral than you would otherwise because of that effect, which is nice on a legendary card.

Baral’s Expertise

Constructed: 2.5

This Expertise is a little harder to build around, because triple-bounce is a fairly narrow effect. It can help you combo off with Sram or Aetherflux Reservoir by bouncing 0 drops, or you can slot it into a tempo deck and try and get ahead on board. I’m more skeptical of the second plan, and would think Baral’s Expertise lends itself more to combo shenanigans.

Bastion Inventor

 

Constructed: 2.5

Hexproof plus cost reduction makes me interested in inventing an improvise deck immediately. Playing a 4/4 hexproof beater for 2 or 3 mana is a real dream, and given enough cheap artifacts this could be the finisher that these engine decks are looking for. Make sure not to have your cheap artifacts do stone nothing. I’m thinking Prophetic Prism and Terrarion more than Ornithopter.

Disallow

Constructed: 3.5

A 3 mana counterspell with significant upside is a nice addition to Standard. This owns planeswalker ultimates, stops anything you need to stop, and even fights against Aetherworks Marvel. Disallow is going to be a staple in blue control decks.

Efficient Construction

Constructed: 2.0

This is potentially a replacement for Aetherflux Reservoir in this theoretical nonsense deck, but I don’t think that’s the deck’s weak spot. As a fair engine card, I don’t see this being efficient enough to construct a deck around it.

Mechanized Production

Constructed: 2.0

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the combo of this plus Clues, ideally off Tireless Tracker, but I don’t have high hopes for making the full 8 needed to win the game.

Metallic Rebuke

Constructed: 3.0

It would be a huge leak if I didn’t mention how good this card is going to be in Standard. It’s a 2 mana counterspell with just one artifact in play, and a 1 mana counter if you have two. Given how powerful cheap counterspells are, this is very much worth building around. How many random artifacts you can fit into a deck is yet to be seen, but the power level of this card is so high that it’s worth looking at fitting as many as possible. Clues, Prophetic Prism, Vehicles, and more, these all make Rebuke into a powerhouse.

Negate

Constructed: 2.5

Negate is great.

Quicksmith Spy

Constructed: 2.0

This looks to me like a sideboard card for matchups where there isn’t much removal. Siding this in if you are a control deck could be awesome, as it is a card-drawing machine if it lives. It’s a little expensive and unreliable to play when it’s just going to die, hence the sideboard trickery.

Reverse Engineer

Constructed: 3.0

I really like improvise in Constructed. It’s not that hard to build a deck that casts these cards for a 1 or 2 mana discount, and Reverse Engineer is the exact kind of card that can fuel crazy combos and decks full of cheap or free artifacts. It can also be a value card in an artifact based control deck, and all those possibilities add up to a card with high potential.

Skyship Plunderer

 

 Constructed: 2.5

2 cost 2/1 flier isn’t quite there, though we have playtested plenty of blue aggro decks that contain Welkin Tern. Getting an energy counter or a +1/+1 counter per hit is a real upside, with +1/+1 counters sounding better to me. If you can get enough cards that care about this trigger into an aggressive deck, this card has a chance.

Trophy Mage
 
Constructed: 2.5

I like the value here, and if you can assemble enough powerful 3 drops, Trophy Mage can put in some good work. A 2/2 is a real card, and getting card selection out of the card you draw is worth a trophy when the right tutor targets are present.

Whir of Invention
 
Constructed: 2.5

This one is slightly harder to get working than Reverse Engineer, but it still strikes a chord with me. Being able to search for all sorts of different artifacts is powerful, and with enough trinkets, this can be cast for a very big discount.

Top 3 Blue Cards

  1. Disallow
  2. Metallic Rebuke
  3. Reverse Engineer

Two counterspells and a card drawing spell. Sounds pretty blue to me, and these three cards are all quite good. It’s a good time to be a blue mage.

Aether Revolt Constructed Review: White

PREVIOUS AETHER REVOLT SET REVIEWS

Limited:  White | Blue | Black | Red | Green | Artifacts, Gold and Lands

Alright, welcome to the Aether Revolt Constructed Review!

Let’s take a look at the grading scale. Keep in mind that that the written evaluation of the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade. The grading scale is a little different than the one for the Limited format.

GRADING SCALE

(Also known as the “Jace” Scale)

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Painful TruthsHissing Quagmire.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. AnticipateTransgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living GuildpactNaturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing.)

Aethergeode Miner

Constructed: 2.5

This isn’t quite there on the rate, but it has some good combo potential alongside Decoction Module, Saheeli Rai, and Aetherstorm Roc. Combine enough of those effects and you get infinite energy, at which point Whirler Virtuoso can go off. This also does protect itself and attack for 3, which is a moderate back-up plan if you need it.

Consulate Crackdown

Constructed: 2.0

Purely a sideboard card, Consulate Crackdown will only show up if decks with 20+ artifacts are appearing in Standard.

Decommission

Constructed: 2.0

Another sideboard option, Decommission is barely above playable even if you assume Revolt is on, so I’m not very excited about this.

Felidar Guardian

Constructed: 3.5

The combo with Saheeli Rai where you make infinite Cats is clearly one that is worth testing for Standard. I’d be surprised if the combo wasn’t good, in either a control or combo shell, and Felidar Guardian as a card isn’t that bad either. It works with various Enter The Battlefield abilities, and has decent stats. You might get sick of this Cat come Standard season.

Sram, Senior Edificer

Constructed: 2.5

Bone Saw is ready! Sram has the ability to go off with 0 drop artifacts, and could see play in a Vehicles deck. You need to either use him as an engine if you are going full out, or draw probably 2 cards off him if you want him as a value play. Both those seem achievable, and Sram is cheap enough to see play.

Sram’s Expertise

Constructed: 3.0

Three tokens and a 3 drop is a good deal for 4 mana, though you do have to supply the 3 drop yourself. All the Expertise cards seem promising, as cheating on mana is traditionally a huge game. This could fuel some gross turns, and dropping a bunch of tokens in a beatdown deck alongside something bigger or a pump spell is dangerous.

Thopter Arrest

Constructed: 2.5

This effect always sees play to some degree, though this being unable to hit planeswalkers or enchantments is a big drop-off from Banishing Light.

Top 3 White Cards

  1. Felidar Guardian
  2. Sram’s Expertise
  3. Sram, Senior Edificer

Besides the potentially broken Felidar Guardian, White didn’t get anything insane. Still, one shot at a format-warping combo is nothing to complain about, even if the rest of the cards are various build-arounds that may not get there.

Budget Magic Deck: Jeskai Flyers

The idea of Jeskai Flying Men is pretty simple. Most importantly, many of the decks in Modern are fighting exclusively on the ground, so they have a really hard time dealing with a deck that is overloaded with aggressive fliers. Even better, many of our fliers are naturally disruptive, allowing us to counter a spell or, at the very least, make our opponent play off curve. So, the plan is to present a fast, evasive clock, back it up by just a bit of disruption, and kill our opponent before they have a chance to take over the game with cards that are more powerful in a vacuum.

Judge’s Familiar and Mausoleum Wanderer are essentially the same card in the deck , so we might as well talk about them together. These cards are the backbone of our deck and are surprisingly good in Modern. First, they present an evasive clock, starting on the very first turn of the game. Second, many decks in Modern are looking to win with spells in one way or another. Having a bunch of Familiars and Wanderers helps keep those decks in check. Of course, since they are only Force Spikes, they don’t lock our opponent out of the game forever, but they often force our opponent to play off curve, which is usually all we need to buy us enough time to close out the game with our other threats.

Judge's FamiliarMausoleum Wanderer

Pride of the Clouds is basically the Tarmogoyf of our deck, a two drop that can get so huge that it dominates the game in short order. Our best draws often involve one or more copies, and when we have curves like  Familiar on Turn 1 into Pride of the Clouds on Turn 2 into another Pride of the Clouds and  Familiar on Turn 3, it’s very possible that we can just win the game on Turn 4 with a completely evasive clock (and even some amount of protection, thanks to the Familiar itself). The reason Pride of the Clouds is so good in our deck is that it’s not only one of our best cards when things are going well, but it’s also one of our best cards when things go poorly, thanks to its forecast ability. If we are flooding out, we can simply hold our Pride of the Clouds in hand and start making a 1/1 flier each upkeep (for four mana). While this probably doesn’t sound all that exciting, it offers a weird form of card advantage and can keep us in the game while we are waiting to draw more powerful threats or removal to deal with our opponent’s board.

Pride of the Clouds

Spell Queller is simply one of the most powerful cards in our deck. While the Queller is at its best when it’s countering one of our opponent’s plays, it’s also perfect find as a 2/3 flying beater that we can cast on our opponent’s end step.

Spell Queller

To finish the game we  have eight Lightning Angels in the for of 4 actually Lightning Angel and 4 Mantis Rider. Since they have haste, they can punch our opponent’s face right when they land on the battlefield, but since they also have vigilance, they are also back on defense and then can attack again the next turn. Most importantly, these cards give our deck a way to close out the game super quickly. The other amazing thing about Mantis Rider and Lightning Angel is that the damage they offer is usually unexpected. If you think about a typical game of Magic, most of the time you are making your decisions based on what your opponent has on the battlefield (this includes things like when and how you use removal spells along with which creatures you attack with and which you leave back to block). Hasty, evasive threats like Mantis Rider and Lightning Angel throw off these calculations and allow us to kill our opponent out of the blue when they think they are safe.

Lightning AngelMantis Rider

While having a consistent Turn 4 kill doesn’t make us one of the fastest decks in Modern, being able to consistently kill on Turn 4 means that we can keep pace with most of the fastest decks in Modern. We are also more disruptive than many of the faster decks, since our Familiars and Wanderers can buy us an extra turn or two thanks to their ability to counter a spell and thanks to the handful of tempo spells we have in our deck.

Favorable Winds is amazing in our deck, considering that every single creature we have has flying. On level one, it makes all of our Familiars and Wanderers into 2/2s, which speeds up our clock significantly. However, Favorable Winds does so much more in our deck. One of the weaknesses of Spell Queller and Mantis Rider in Modern is that they die to Lightning Bolt (currently the #1 most played card in all of Modern), which means that many of our opponents will have a one mana answer to our three mana creatures. When we play a Favorable Winds on Turn 2, our Quellers and Riders go up to four toughness, allowing them to dodge Lightning Bolt. Finally, if we replace Pride of the Clouds with Favorable Winds while curving out, our clock is nearly as fast (we attack for two on Turn 2, six on Turn 3, and 10 on Turn 4, putting our opponent all the way down to two life).

Favorable Winds

We’ve talked a couple of times about how our deck is really good at getting our opponent down to one or two life on Turn 4, and thankfully we have some spells that can finish off our opponent, even if our opponent finds a way to deal with our creatures. Lightning Bolt typically kills a creature in the early game and goes to our opponent’s face in the late game. Electrolyze is basically a backup Lightning Bolt. Meanwhile, Vapor Snag disrupts out opponent just a little bit while also making our opponent lose a life. Apart from eating away our opponent’s last life points, these cards also deal with any flying blockers our opponent might present to allow us to keep attacking with our evasive threats.

Lightning BoltElectrolyzeVapor Snag

Here’s the full list:

Creatures (24):

4 Judge’s Familiar
4 Mausoleum Wanderer
4 Pride of the Clouds
4 Mantis Rider
4 Spell Queller
4 Lightning Angel

Spells (13):

4 Lightning Bolt
4 Vapor Snag
4 Favorable Winds
1 Electrolyze

Lands (23):

4 Battlefield Forge
4 Glacial Fortress
4 Island
1 Moorland Haunt
1 Mountain
4 Mystic Monastery
1 Plains
4 Shivan Reef

Sideboard (15):

2 Crumble to Dust
2 Dispel
2 Gut Shot
2 Izzet Staticaster
2 Negate
2 Tormod’s Crypt
2 Vandalblast
1 Wear // Tear

All in all, the deck feels really competitive. The creatures are powerful, the deck is naturally disruptive, and the clock is fast; plus, it’s really fun to play! Give it a shot. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

Deck Guide of the Day: R/W Land Destruction

Shutting off your opponent’s mana sources is commonplace in Eternal formats, but now you can have the same fun in Modern.

Blood Moon is still the centerpiece of this deck, as it is with many decks in Modern. No access to green ramp spells for a turn 2 Blood Moon is a huge knock against this deck compared to other land destruction strategies, but there are Simian Spirit Guides to help. With the perfect draw, a couple Spirit Guides can even lead to a turn 1 Moon, potentially while still playing a Plains!

Blood MoonSimian Spirit Guide

With 5 Plains and 4 Flagstones of Trokair, I do advise, possibly,to play Stone Rain over Molten Rain. Yes, the 2 damage is a nice bonus, but not enough to outweigh the times that you can’t actually cast your spell! Either will get a key land out of there, especially a basic under a Moon.

Flagstones of TrokairStone RainMolten Rain

One of the big combos of the deck is Goblin Dark-Dwellers with Boom // Bust. Boom is a great combo for targeting your own fetchlands or Flagstones so that you aren’t losing any value while still getting to destroy their land. Bust isn’t always a realistic spell to cast, as it does cost quite a bit, but Goblin Dark-Dwellers will make that even easier. You can target a Boom // Bust in the graveyard and choose Bust. You’ll also be left with a 4/4 menace creature when all is said and done for a quick close. Removal spells and land destruction spells offer a reasonable secondary plan for your Goblin.

Goblin Dark-DwellersBoom (Boom/Bust)

Lightning Bolt and Oust are the removal spells of choice. Bolt is a pretty easy one, but Oust is not a card you see much. This is even less likely in a white deck, as Path to Exile is one of the best removal spells ever printed. It does, however, go against the game plan. Oust may bury a creature deep enough that your land destruction plan will lock them out of even recasting the creature by the time they draw it again!

Lightning BoltOust

However none of these feel like great sells for playing white over green, so why do we play it? Is it the Kor Firewalkers? They’re going to be absolutely amazing against some of the aggro decks in the format. You’ll gain a handful of life from your own spells, but being Bolt proof and able to stop Goblin Guides cold is awesome. Is it Ajani Vengeant? An awesome planeswalker that can lock down a land, gain some life, and eventually blow up all the lands? Possibly, but probably still not enough.

Kor FirewalkerAjani Vengeant

The Nahiri, the Harbinger and Emrakul, the Aeons Torn combo is awesome. It is verging on becoming an entire pillar of the Modern format as more and more decks look to incorporate it. Nahiri is already awesome at discarding excess lands and Blood Moons. It can even discard a Boom // Bust to help set up an earlier Goblin Dark-Dwellers. In a couple turns, Nahiri fetches Emrakul and you win. If not, you can even use it as a removal spell to deal with problematic permanents on the other side. Nahiri is sick!

Nahiri, the HarbingerEmrakul, the Aeons Torn

Here’s the full list:

Creature (12):

1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
3 Goblin Dark-Dwellers
4 Kor Firewalker
4 Simian Spirit Guide

Spells (25):

1 Ajani Vengeant
4 Nahiri, the Harbinger
1 Anger of the Gods
4 Boom/Bust
4 Stone Rain
3 Oust
4 Lightning Bolt
4 Blood Moon

Lands (24):

4 Arid Mesa
4 Flagstones of Trokair
3 Mountain
5 Plains
4 Rugged Prairie
4 Sacred Foundry

Sideboard (15):

3 Anger of the Gods
1 Oust
2 Leyline of Sanctity
3 Shatterstorm
2 Stony Silence
4 Sulfur Elemental

This deck is pretty sweet. Any decks that can combine Blood Moon with Stone Rains is exactly what I love to be doing, check it out if you’re in the same boat!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

Brews for the Weekend: 8 Rack

One of the focal points of Modern is resource denial. We’ve looked at a number of strategies that accomplish that in a variety of ways. It can be through countermagic, Thalia and Chalice effects to slow them down, land destruction to disrupt their curve, or hand destruction to make sure that they aren’t able to get these spells cast or onto the battlefield.

The 8 Rack strategy aggressively attacks an opponent’s hand size and then finishes them off with “Rack” effects. The Rack is a cheap artifact that punishes opponents for not having cards in their hand, a perfect combo with discard spells. But Shrieking Affliction is the card that really put this strategy on the map. The restriction of an opponent needing to only have 1 or fewer cards in hand means that it will take a serious investment to get there, but the payoff is huge. Both Affliction and The Rack can deal 3 unblockable damage every upkeep. Even one of these effects will end the game quickly, but they also scale to increase the clock.

The RackShrieking Affliction

Liliana of the Veil is perfect for this strategy. Coming down to immediately kill a creature is great at helping you to stay alive, but a reusable discard outlet is almost unbeatable. Many games of Modern involving Liliana will just have the opponent playing every spell and land they draw while trying to live off of the top. This is already a tough position to win from, but when that means Affliction and The Rack are fully powered, it’s game over. The ultimate is a real threat to a variety of big mana decks, but you’re generally just happy to make sure their hand’s empty.

Liliana of the Veil

The other source of repeatable discard is Raven’s Crime. You don’t necessarily care too much about what they’re discarding, as long as it reduces the size of their hand. Turning excess lands, of which you should have plenty since there’s nothing in the deck that costs more than 3, into discard spells is pretty awesome. Once their hand gets light, even if you don’t have Liliana in play, almost every draw will either be a discard spell or a land that you can use to retrace your Crimes.

Raven's Crime

You don’t really want to take much damage from your cards, so Thoughtseize isn’t as strong here as in other decks, but it’s still solid on the early turns to make sure they can’t curve out perfectly and put you too far behind the 8-ball. Once you get a couple turns into the game, you’re going to make them discard everything anyways, so Thoughtseize is one of the weakest draws. The same holds true for Inquisition of Kozilek, although when you aren’t taking a loss of life, the risks are much lower. You’re trying to make them discard literally everything, so anything that can miss is much less appealing. Thoughtseize actually misses sometimes in the middle of the game, as well, due to not hitting lands that you want them to be discarding!

ThoughtseizeInquisition of Kozilek

Wrench Mind is almost always going to be card advantage and one of the better ways to remove cards from an opponent’s hand. Value. Smallpox is technically symmetrical, although that ends up rarely being the case. You can get a critical land to slow them down, which can be huge, but this is mostly used to make sure you’re killing a creature while still progressing your plan.

Wrench MindSmallpox

Finally, you need some removal spells. The way 8 Rack is most likely to lose the game is to a creature rush, or getting combo’d out by Become Immense, Infect, or Cranial Plating. You’re going to want some instant speed removal to pair with Liliana. Dismember is far and away the best choice as an awesome effect even if they have pump spells, an instant, and one that we can cast for as little as 1 mana if necessary.

Dismember

Funeral Charm isn’t a common choice, but it’s a pretty cool one. It’s a split card that can make an opponent discard or that can kill powerful creatures like Noble Hierarch, Blighted Agent, Blinkmoth Nexus, Inkmoth NexusGlistener Elf, Vault Skirge, Steel Overseer, Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, and many others.

Funeral Charm

Here’s the full list:

Spells (36):

4 Liliana of the Veil
4 The Rack
4 Shrieking Affliction
4 Dismember
2 Funeral Charm
4 Inquisition of Kozilek
4 Raven’s Crime
4 Smallpox
3 Thoughtseize
3 Wrench Mind

Lands (24):

16 Swamp
4 Mutavault
4 Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth

Sideboard (15):

2 Relic of Progenitus
2 Asylum Visitor
2 Death’s Shadow
1 Leyline of the Void
2 Waste Not
2 Disfigure
1 Night of Souls’ Betrayal
1 Flaying Tendrils
2 Deathmark

8 Rack is not the most played deck in Modern, but it does a great job of attacking slightly less aggressive metagames. Decks that aren’t able to empty their hands quickly by choice will still be forced to do so. Even a deck like Affinity may not be fast enough to race The Rack and Affliction if they don’t have the right payoff cards. It’s definitely a blast to play if you like locking people into not having options on cards to cast!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

Deck Guide of the Day: W/B Hate Bears

Hatebears has been a successful deck for years in many different flavors, from Modern to Legacy to Vintage. Using powerful creatures that can enter the battlefield cheaply and disrupt your opponent provide that combination many decks are looking for in aggression and disruption simultaneously.

Leonin Arbiter does serious work in Modern. There are lots of search abilities between fetchlands, Path to Exile, and countless other effects. Aven Mindcensor has a similar impact on the game, while Thalia, Guardian of Thraben slows down the opposition and makes the benefits of playing cheap spells in Modern much tougher to manage.

Leonin ArbiterAven MindcensorThalia, Guardian of Thraben

Stopping the opponent from casting their spells and search abilities is fantastic, as is the addition of further disruption. Path to Exile can turn into an improved Swords to Plowshares with an Arbiter or Mindcensor in play. Ghost Quarter turns into Strip Mine.

Path to ExileGhost Quarter

Flickerwisp is one of the most powerful creatures imaginable in conjunction with Æther Vial. An instant speed creature that can target opposing permanents becomes an improved Restoration Angel. Don’t forget that you can vial in Flickerwisp in response to the Tidehollow Sculler enter the battlefield trigger and permanently exile a card from their hand. Of course, when Sculler enters the battlefield, it triggers again, and you get another card out of the deal. Completely insane. Protecting your creatures is great, and the addition of Athreos, God of Passage furthers that game plan, and a potential 5/4 indestructible threat when the game gets bogged down is another nice bonus.

FlickerwispTidehollow ScullerÆther VialAthreos, God of Passage

Here’s the full list:

Creature (27):

2 Athreos, God of Passage
2 Aven Mindcensor
1 Brimaz, King of Oreskos
3 Dark Confidant
4 Flickerwisp
2 Kitchen Finks
4 Leonin Arbiter
2 Serra Avenger
3 Thalia, Guardian of Thraben
4 Tidehollow Sculler

Spells (11):

4 Path to Exile
4 AEther Vial
1 Sword of Light and Shadow
2 Honor of the Pure

Lands (22):

6 Plains
1 Swamp
1 Bojuka Bog
1 Eiganjo Castle
4 Ghost Quarter
2 Godless Shrine
2 Isolated Chapel
2 Shambling Vent
2 Tectonic Edge
1 Temple of Silence

Sideboard (15):

2 Disenchant
1 Kataki, War’s Wage
2 Kor Firewalker
2 Mirran Crusader
3 Rest in Peace
1 Sword of Fire and Ice
2 Thoughtseize
2 Zealous Persecution

Hate Bears is a solid strategy that many Modern players love. This deck certainly is able to dominate your next Modern tournament!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas

Deck Guide of the Day: R/G Breach Titan

I like big creatures and I can not lie. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to play with some Eldrazi. Emrakul, the Aeons Torn is the most powerful creature in Magic’s history. While the casting cost is basically unimaginable for anybody not dropping Tron lands all over the place, there are a few ways to cheat Emrakul into play.

Emrakul, the Aeons Torn

While Nahiri, the Harbinger is the newest tech for cheating out an Emrakul, trusty Through the Breach works extremely well. For only 5 mana and no wait time, you can send an Emrakul across the battlefield, wiping an opponent’s board and taking 15 off of their precious life total. There’s no ticking up a planeswalker and no set up cost, just raw power.

Nahiri, the HarbingerThrough the Breach

This isn’t the only way to cheat out a giant monster. Summoning Trap doesn’t see much play, but it used to be a huge part of Standard ramp decks. Opponents may think twice about casting Remand or Spell Snare on your Sakura-Tribe Elder when it could be a Trap.

Summoning Trap

The other big hit is no surprise in any ramp strategy. Primeval Titan, can come down and end the game. A Through the Breach putting Titan into play gives you the enters the battlefield trigger, fetching up a pair of Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle, and then the attack trigger, which will result in 12 more damage from Valakut triggers when you fetch 2 Mountains, assuming you have at least 4 in play. That’s 18 total damage! The deck is capable of accomplishing this on turn 3.

Primeval TitanValakut, the Molten Pinnacle

The Sakura-Tribe Elder and Courser of Kruphix are nice creatures that can help cushion your life total by blocking and through incremental life gain. They also advance your game plan of getting enough lands into play for Primeval Titan to end things.

Sakura-Tribe ElderCourser of Kruphix

The top ramp spell is Search for Tomorrow since it enables the nut draw. By suspending on turn 1, Search will come off suspend on turn 3 for an untapped land. By casting any ramp spell on turn 2, such as Sakura-Tribe Elder or Farseek, you can play Through the Breach on turn 3. You also have many draws that can give you a turn 4 hard cast Primeval Titan or Summoning Trap.

Search for TomorrowFarseek

This particular version is loaded up with interaction for the creature matchups. With 3 copies of Lightning Bolt, 3 Anger of the Gods, and an Obstinate Baloth, there are a number of ways to interact with early pressure and help buy time to get to the midgame. These cards are not mandatory for the general game plan and you can move some of these to the sideboard. You can do that to speed up your deck at the cost of some interaction, so that’s the trade off. By adding more Farseek, Explore, or any other cheap ramp spell, you will speed your deck up but also leave yourself more susceptible to an opposing creature rush.

Lightning BoltAnger of the GodsObstinate Baloth

There’s also a single copy of Scapeshift in the deck as a card that wins the game once you hit 7 mana. I don’t think this is a necessary card to play either, but it’s a nice option. With Through the Breach, Summoning Trap, and Primeval Titan providing game winning effects that require fewer lands than Scapeshift, it’s the weakest option, but a decent safety net.

Here’s the full list:

Creature (15):

4 Sakura-Tribe Elder
4 Primeval Titan
3 Courser of Kruphix
3 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn
1 Obstinate Baloth

Spells (20):

4 Search for Tomorrow
2 Farseek
1 Scapeshift
3 Anger of the Gods
4 Through the Breach
3 Summoning Trap
3 Lightning Bolt

Lands (25):

3 Bloodstained Mire
4 Wooded Foothills
1 Blood Crypt
2 Cinder Glade
6 Mountain
2 Forest
3 Valakut, the Molten Pinnacle
4 Stomping Ground

Sideboard (15):

1 Obstinate Baloth
3 Leyline of Sanctity
2 Ancient Grudge
2 Crumble to Dust
1 Slaughter Games
2 Sudden Shock
1 Relic of Progenitus
2 Jaddi Offshoot
1 Shatterstorm

Primeval Titan is still one of the best creatures in the game, so finding ways to cheat it out along with the actual baddest girl on the block in Emrakul leads to some really fun matches—at least, if you’re on their side!

Thanks Everybody for reading,

Andreas