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 Multicolored 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
Spire Patrol – 0.0
I’m not really impressed by this card. The stats are ok and the ability is fine, but it’s too slow for the deck that wants it (Azorius fliers/tempo). I rather have Nebelgast Herald in those shells, since most of the cards you’re going to play are Spirits anyway. Being Human is relevant, but that is also a deck too fast to waste time on this.
Hidden Stockpile – 1.0
This looks anemic as a token generator and as a card filtering machine. It’s somewhat similar to Shadows of the Past, a card that sees very little play right now. Slow and grindy late game tools like this take too much time to get going, a time you’ll be pummeled by Vehicles and stuff pretty hard.
Renegade Wheelsmith – 2.0
While this is not the best 3-drop for your Vehicles/Dwarves deck, it’s still decent enough to be worth consideration. It Crews most good Vehicles and nullifies some blocks while doing that (or attacking). It’s not an impressive body, though, but it’s an acceptable partner for Depala, Pilot Exemplar and friends.
Ajani Unyielding – 3.0
This looks to me more like a worse Sorin, Grim Nemesis than anything else, but you can be worse than Sorin and still be pretty good (and we can’t run 4 Sorins anyway). Should be another good weapon for Planeswalker decks, and Green ramp decks might be a thing coming foward. Like most expensive Planeswalkers, he’s a winner of midrange battles. If that matchup becomes popular again, he’ll be a mainstay of the format.
Oath of Ajani – 3.0
The mana reduction ability is nice to have, but not ridiculous or anything, since a Druid of the Cowl would do the job as well. Look at this as a anthem effect with small upside, and since it costs only 2 mana, it should be a potent card for token based decks and decks that care about +1/+1 counters, not to mention things like Selesnya aggro.
Renegade Rallier – 2.0
The dream scenario is getting a trade on turn 3 then dropping this guy and getting your creature back. This doesn’t sound super likely, but getting back a lost 2-drop at any point it the game is nice. The problem is that the competition at the 3-drop slot in Selesnya Humans decks is very stiff, and it’s hard to justify this card over a Tireless Tracker. The fact that it can retunr noncreature permanents is cool, but you’ll be returning creatures most of the time to keep the pressure on.
Dark Intimations – 2.0
While this card is expensive, it can represent a big swing in the board state, not to mention the massive card advantage. The biggest problem right now is the lack of incentive to go to Grixis colors in your control deck. If you’re already in that color combination, this card should be a good asset to your deck, and I expect it to be foreshadowing a big incentive to go to the Grixis shard coming in the future.
Tezzeret’s Touch – 3.0
This card is one of the main reasons to go in a more aggressive approach to your Dimir Artifacts deck, and while it’s no Ensoul Artifact, the power is still good enough for Duels. Be careful about when you cast it (because Fatal Push hurts) and on what (because while the last ability helps offset the problem Auras normally have, it won’t work if you enchant a token). It’s a high risk, high reward card, but the reward is good and the card helps dimish its own risks.
Tezzeret the Schemer – 3.0
Unlike his Touch, Tezzeret goes better in slower decks, grinding out advantage through synergies and removing creatures (and also helping with winning the game sometimes). The power level is still high enough that you should play it in most Artifact based decks, though. Tezzeret is a team player, you need those synergies for him to shine, but he’ll do good work in the right deck, even if that deck is not your regular Superfriends deck that wants most Planeswalkers.
Maverick Thopterist – 3.0
Go wide strategies like the Thopter decks love when they can generate multiple bodies for cheap, and chaining multiple of those guys together is a sure way to beat your opponent. It does what the deck wants and plays well with your other cards. You could theoretically try to enable it on turn 2, but you don’t really need it. This card is powerful even at face value in a regular Izzet Thopter deck.
Rogue Refiner – 2.0
Another good role player for the Emerge deck, this guys generates value and is nicely positioned in the deck’s curve. You could try it in an theoretical Simic Energy deck, but not that deck is probably not good enough, you’ll be better using the body for better stuff than just attacking or blocking.
Weldfast Engineer – 2.0
The most popular Rakdos aggro decks, Madness and Vampire variations, aren’t exactly Artifact decks, but they still play a reasonable amount of Artifact creatures. The question is if you want to give up a more synergistic card to include this one (which is also synergy based). He beats hard and might even be a reason to explore a deck with a heavier Artifact component, though. It also hurts a little that the main colors for Vehicle decks are Red and White, not Black.
Winding Constrictor – 3.0
2/3 for 2 is a very good set of stats, and this card also brings a bunch of powerful interactions with that. Due to the nature of its colors, the main purpose will be granting +1/+1 counters, but the snake also works with Energy. The fact that it’s an Uncommon also helps putting Constrictor in the category of good build arounds.
Outland Boar – 0.0
4/4 for 4 and an ok evasion ability doesn’t make the cut anymore. Much like Spire Patrol, this card would’ve been good a year and a half ago during Origins season. Now it doesn’t make the cut on power, and lacks any relevant synergy.
Top 10 cards for Duels in AER
- Fatal Push
- Druid of the Cowl
- Heart of Kiran
- Aethersphere Harvester
- Yahenni’s Expertise
- Baral’s Expertise
- Sram’s Expertise
- Greenbelt Rampager
- Kari Zev, Skyship Raider
We have cards for every color and playstyle, some great Artifacts and multiple archetypes getting pushed. I’m very excited about this expansion and I can’t wait to try those cards and many more. And I hope you are too. Let the brewing begin!
Aether Revolt is coming soon and with this article we draw our review to a close. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing. The goal with these is to help players hone their card evaluation skills and start healthy discussions. If you have any feedback about them, I’m hearing.
See ya, in NGA and in Duels!