We’re back in Kaladesh! When we left, some important guy named Tezzeret was stealing everyone’s toys, and now things are heating up because of that. Some even say a Revolt is starting, but I’m just gathering Energy to Improvise my expansion review. Hop in my awesome Vehicle (I can’t ride my Copter everywhere now, but I sure can in Duels!) and let’s get to the White cards.
5.0: Format Staple (cards that define the metagame) – Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, Smuggler’s Copter, Harnessed Lightning
4.0: Good in multiple archetypes – Liliana, the Last Hope, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship, Blessed Alliance
3.0: Archetype Staple (cards that define a deck) – Nahiri, the Harbinger, Sphinx’s Tutelage, Torrential Gearhulk
2.0: Role player in some decks, but not mandatory – Arlinn Kord, Cathartic Reunion, Consul’s Lieutenant
1.0: Niche card, or currently unkown archetype – Kiora, Master of the Depths, Inexorable Blob, Empyreal Voyager
0.0: Don’t play this card – Animist’s Awakening, Tainted Remedy, Emissary of the Sleepless
Aerial Modification – 0.0
I can’t imagine a deck that is looking foward to play this card. While it can represent a lot of damage out of nowhere, it’s very expensive and has all the downside commonly associated with Auras.
Aeronaut Admiral – 1.0
This Crews most good Vehicles and gives them Evasion. It’s super frail and rather expensive, which means it’s not going to get a high grade anyway, but I can see it in some janky casual Vehicles brew.
Aether Inspector – 0.0
By the time you reach 4-mana, a 2/3 is likely too small to get a profitable attack, which means the extra Servo will be hard to get. You can get much better token generators for this cost, one of them in AER.
Airdrop Aeronauts – 0.0
You usually pay 5 mana for cards that can get you insane value, warp the game state completely or outright win the game on their own, and this guy is not any of those things. Look how much a card like Avacyn or Skysovereign can do and compare to this card. It’s simply not a card geared for Constructed.
Alley Evasion – 0.0
This card does some neat things, but there already much better combat tricks in our pool that don’t see any play. Evade this card at all costs.
Audacious Infiltrator – 1.0
At least this ability is more relevant than Kor Castigator‘s. You have better options for straight White Weenie decks, and this is not even a Human. It’s an option if you want to build around Depala, Pilot Exemplar, though.
Bastion Enforcer – 0.0
This one, though, is not good even in a Depala deck. 3/2 dies too easily and is not worth 3 mana.
Call for Unity – 1.0
This one is super slow and clunky, but I can’t imagine you losing any kind of creature matchup where you get this going. The card is not very good, but it has power. The problem is having to find the balance between building around it and being prepared for not drawing it.
Caught in the Brights – 1.0
If you have multiple Vehicles in your deck, this is decent, as the worst case is a passable card. The problem is that the competition represented by Declaration in Stone and others is too stiff. Fine if you don’t have better options, but not good enough for people with full collections.
Conviction – 0.0
You might be able to get some damage through with this, and leaving mana open helps with the inherent problem with Auras, but this card is too low impact to be worth a slot. You won’t have much space for noncreature cards if you’re considering playing this, and this is most likely weaker than your other options.
Countless Gears Renegade – 2.0
This is an interesting option for Nantuko Husk decks, since not only it’s very easy to trigger Revolt with Husk, but Renegade provides 2 bodies for the Zombie Insect. Sacrificing a bunch of stuff to make a large creatures has not been a good plan for a few expansions now, but the Revolt mechanic might bring a few new toys to the strategy.
Dawnfeather Eagle – 0.0
Inspiring Captain didn’t see any amount of play, and while paying an extra mana for Flying sounds like a good deal, the whole package costing 5 feels lackluster.
Deadeye Harpooner – 0.0
The timing on this card feels awkward. It will be harder to trigger Revolt if your opponent’s creatures are tapped, thus not able to block. So you need enablers to reliably get the EtB ability, but then it only works against certain decks. Not interested.
Deft Dismissal – 0.0
It sounds good if you look at it as a 4-mana Instant speed sweeper, but this card is quite far from that. You can’t cast it whenever you want, and only 3 points of damage doesn’t look like enough to get good value out of it. I’m dismissing it.
Exquisite Archangel – 1.0
This is an incredible expensive card with an ability that your opponent can ignore for the most part, and doesn’t have any form of protection or immediate effect, which means your opponent can easily remove it if the ability proves to be a problem. If you want a big Angel that helps you to not die, Linvala, the Preserver is your girl.
Ghirapur Osprey – 0.0
Unless Bird tribal becomes a thing at some point, this Wind Drake is not going to fly over the Duels metagame.
Solemn Recruit – 3.0
Finaly something good to talk about. It’s very easy to make this a 3/3 Double Strike on turn 3, and without any kind of support. The fact that she keeps growing forces your opponent to react fast. The creature type is also relevant (Human would’ve been better, but she’s still friends with Depala). Dangerous beatdown card and worth building around Revolt.
Sram’s Expertise – 4.0
White still needs a Raise the Alarm variant, but this helps a lot at putting it back in its place as the main color for tokens. It creates a reasonable board presence all by itself, amd the ability to cast another spell for free can really turn a game. This is finally White’s answer to Whirler Rogue and Pia and Kiran Nalaar, and it’s a damn good one at that.
Also worth noting is the usage of this card in Control decks. It’s not Lingering Souls, but it’s a good roadblock against aggro decks, a good way to pressure life totals/Planeswalkers, and the extra spell you get to cast helps create momentum. Probably not worth it if you’re playing many counterspells, but it can be a good tool for Abzan decks, for example.
Sram, Senior Edificer – 3.0
This is not a card for every deck, but it’s very good in the right one. I don’t think there’s an Equipment or Aura deck that will find this their breakout card (although Herald of the Pantheon for sure could use a partner), but Dwarves love their Vehicles. I’d love an extra point of power to help crewing, but I can’t complain to much here. Solid card.
Thopter Arrest – 2.0
Oblivion Ring is a very powerful card, and while this is not quite O-Ring, it still hits a lot of stuff to be comparable. It also can’t hit other copies of itself, which has its own upsides and downsides. The biggest problem this card will face is the amount of indirect hate it’s going to get, from Fragmentize to Reclamation Sage. It’s good, but it’s poorly positioned right now.
Top 5 White cards in AER
Boy, this looks bad. Every other card outside of this list got a grade of 1.0 or lower, and only the top 3 of this list are cards I think have a decent shot of showing up in popular decks (the format is too hostile to Arrest right now, and Renegade is more of a speculative card). I’m sure this won’t be an expansion White mages will remember fondly. Expertise is a legitimately good card, though, and Sram is a card to keep in mind if Auras and/or Equipments become relevant at some point.
Next article will look at the Blue cards.
See ya, in NGA and in Duels!