The winter break is finally over. In addition to a new set being released there’s also been three cards added to the Standard banned list. Not only is the ban not what everyone was expecting or envisioned, but with a new set to boot that’s quite a shakeup to the Standard scene. As more and more cards have been spoiled there’s been a lot of talk about the obvious stuff like infinite combos, the “new” Smuggler’s Copter, and Fatal Push. I thought it would be best to talk about the not so obvious cards that aren’t getting as much attention, if any at all. They may not be as flashy as infinite cats, but they’re cards that shouldn’t be overlooked.
Solemn Recruit – What will typically be a 3/3 Double Strike for WW1 is a pretty good rate if that’s what you’re in the market for. The ability to continue scaling up makes this card quite powerful. My only concern for this is the frequency in which Shock is being played. When Shock numbers are down, expect the recruit to be a player in Standard.
Aethergeode Miner – The stats are par for what you’d expect for W1. The ability to turn on Revolt, free of cost is a pretty powerful effect. As long as you get one attack off this will be very difficult to get off the board. This also means once you get the first attack through you’ll be stockpiling energy fairly easy. Expect to see a lot of these in decks that contain Solemn Recruit. Craig Wescoe must be a very happy camper right now.
Baral, Chief of Compliance – There’s been a lot of talk about his Expertise but very little on Baral himself. This is a great card for a control deck and forces your opponent to either keep in removal for him and make their deck weaker, or board out removal and they get punished for the spell cost reduction he offers. Casting Baral on turn 3 and being able to use cheap counter magic in the same turn is a pretty big tempo boost. The free loot is a nice tack on as well. If Nightscape Familiar taught me anything, it’s that spell reduction in control decks filled with counterspells is a scary thing.
Whir of Invention – I haven’t seen many reasons for this to be a big player in Standard yet. But what I’ve learned from Chord of Calling is that effect is quite powerful. I wouldn’t be surprised if before this card rotates out of Standard there’s some sort of broken combo with it or at the least the main reason to build a combo deck.
Skyship Plunderer – Yarrrrrrr! We haven’t seen Pirates in quite a while, but I’m glad they’re back. This is an interesting card that I can see being used well with blue planeswalkers like Saheeli or Tezzeret. The evasion, topped with a powerful effect makes me think this Pirate is ready for primetime.
Sly Requisitioner – I haven’t fully explored all the possibilities of what this card has to offer. I can say that making essentially free creatures is powerful. As long as Zulaport Cutthroat is legal this card has the potential to create a very fast clock when you have a sacrifice outlet.
Vengeful Rebel – Speaking of which, this may finally be the second coming of Flametongue Kavu. There is certainly a set up cost to consider that FTK never had. But there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a powerful effect that is something you can easily turn on if you have it in mind while building your deck. I think where I land on this is that this as a better Wasteland Strangler but a worse FTK.
Ravenous Intruder – Atog is back! Okay maybe not actual Atog, but a functional reprint. This is a card that will pair nicely with something like the aforementioned Sly Requisitioner. It will be interesting to see what kind of Black/Red artifact sacrifice themed deck people come up with and if it’s actually a player in Standard or not.
Lightning Runner – This card feels over costed, not very big and very demanding on energy. However, WoTC decided to make this a mythic. This makes me think there’s something that either we aren’t fully appreciating or that it’s possible it’s completely busted and we don’t realize it yet. I could see this doing some pretty nasty stuff in a RG energy deck, especially if you have access to Blossoming Defense.
Rishkar, Peema Renegade – I have no idea how good people think this card is or not. I can promise you some sort of B/G deck featuring this, Winding Constrictor, Verdurous Gearhulk and Walking Ballista is going to be a popular deck in the early weeks of Standard. Assembling a curve that contains those cards sounds like an absolute nightmare for any deck and screams synergy.
Unbridled Growth – This is an interesting way to get a cheap revolt trigger as early as turn 2. This can allow for some Hidden Herbalists shenanigans that’s reminisce of the Burning-Tree Emissary days or help you get an on curve Greenwheel Liberator. It’s also nice that it gives you some fixing of course.
Tezzeret’s Touch – I think we’ve all forgotten how busted Ensoul Artifact was and this is very comparable to that. A 3 mana 5/5 Haste is a very impressive card. If you can find a couple more uses for something like Ornithopter and it’s possible we get another Standard reign of 5/5 flying artifacts. You won’t see me complaining about something like that!
Inspiring Statuary – This can be a confusing card to evaluate. Basically I consider this to be a mana rock that turns your other artifacts into mana rocks as well. A curve that contains Prophetic Prism into Inspiring Statuary will allow for some pretty silly follow ups. This could be a really nice addition to the Metalwork Colossus decks.
Those are my thirteen Aether Revolt cards to watch for. Are there any you think I missed? Like you I’m excited to get brewing and see what the first Standard Open has to bring. Unfortunately I won’t be attending it and instead I’ll be on the PPTQ grind. This weekend I have my first Sealed event of the season and after playing in a few at the prerelease I think I’m ready for that portion of the event. All I need to do now is get my drafting as sharp as I can, given the time constraint. Wish me luck!
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