Aether Revolt Through A Modern Lens

Standard may have the spotlight, but don’t forget that Aether Revolt is good enough to move the Modern needle! Jennifer Long takes a look at some of the cards players may be sleeping on a little too soon!

The full Aether Revolt card image gallery is out, and while everyone is trying to figure out the new decks for Standard, I’m more concerned with the impact these new cards will have in Modern. Just like I did for my Kaladesh set review, I will be pulling out cards from Aether Revolt that I think will see play in Modern. Other authors have been writing about some of these cards as well, so hopefully I won’t repeat too much of what they are saying. Let’s get on with it!

This card is very expensive for Modern at five mana, but I want to consider it in B/W Tokens. Some lists have begun running Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, which has the ability to pump out tokens but can also create an Anthem. I see my friends using the Anthem ability most often, so is it worth four mana to give your team +1/+1? If so, it surely must be worth five mana and two turns to give your team +2/+2.

The unique thing about this card is that it will continue to grow with very little effort put into it. If you are able to play a five-mana Anthem, chump blocking becomes a bonus, not a necessity. Revolt is a powerful new mechanic that will likely see play in Modern from many cards, and I think this might be another one of them. Imagine: each, turn your army of tokens continues to grow in power by only letting one permanent leave the battlefield each turn.

All hail our new guardian, replacement for Splinter Twin, grand Cat Beast with blue horns! This new uncommon may seem rather unassuming, but I’m very excited to see it with Saheeli Rai. These two cards make a new turn 4 combo that creates infinite 1/4 hasty artifact Cat Beasts to kill your opponent with. While it will be less consistent than Splinter Twin, it can work similarly, the biggest drawback being the required three-color Jeskai deck.

It is interesting to note that there has already been an infinite combo found in Modern using Saheeli Rai. SaffronOlive talks about it in his article here. It required three cards but was able to win on turn 3 with some luck. This new combo only requires two cards but can win on turn 4, so I expect to see this deck given a lot of press and play.

We have a new early value engine for counterspell decks! I can see this card being played in Grixis Control or Jeskai Control as an early blocker and to reduce the cost of many spells. While looting is not quite as good as drawing cards, these decks are already running cards like Serum Visions to filter through their deck. Being able to repeatedly filter after every instant or sorcery spell can be very valuable.

Baral also opens up more instant and sorcery options for these decks. 1UU counterspells like Disallow now become Counterspell with upside. The biggest risk for playing Baral is removal. He does die to Lightning Bolt as well as Path to Exile and Fatal Push. I think he would make for an interesting experiment, if not a new regular inclusion for these control decks.

Speaking of the new counterspell, Disallow is super exciting. While three mana is quite high for a Modern counterspell, the flexibility to counter a spell or ability is exciting. It also plays very well with Baral to become super-Counterspell. Currently you do not see Stifle being played in Legacy, but when it is attached to a hard counterspell, it may be seen in Modern. This can stop opponents’ fetchlands as well as other problematic abilities.

And now for the card everyone is talking about, Fatal Push. This card will have a huge impact on Modern. It is the new one-mana removal, the answer to what black was missing to be as good as other colors, and it can kill way more creatures in Modern than it can’t. We have been waiting on a black Path to Exile or Lightning Bolt, and now it is finally here.

This is the card I am most excited about in Aether Revolt. I don’t want to repeat what everyone else has been saying, but if you want to read more about Fatal Push, head to Premium and check out SamBlacksarticle, SeanMcLarensthoughts, or PatrickChapingoingofftopic because he is so excited about this card.

Sadly, Jim Davis totally missed it.

Green is super-good in Aether Revolt, so it has given Modern Elves some new toys.

Aetherwind Basker could be a unique finisher option for Elves, since they always have so many creatures on the battlefield. This lets them attack the next turn with a huge trampling creature that can often get though the final points of damage.

Though slightly different, Rishkar, Peema Renegade could find a home in Modern Elves as a way of making value Elves into mana Elves. By playing Rishkar you can now give Elvish Visionary the ability to tap for mana. These will likely see testing for the Elves deck and I will be curious to see if they make the cut.

Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, lovingly known as “Pokedex,” proved how powerful it was this weekend at the LRR Pre-Prerelease. This may be a way for Elves to gain a large amount of card advantage over its opponent and to filter through their deck to find the answer they are looking for.

Paradox Engine seems like a card that can be broken by Elves. With so many Elves tapping for mana, this could allow them to play every card in their hand. If paired with Lifecrafter’s Bestiary, you can possibly play every creature in your deck all in one turn. Modern Elves is starting to look too much like Legacy Elves for my liking.

Mono Green Stompy has a new two-drop 3/4. Greenbelt Rampager is very efficiently costed, especially when you consider the ability to split the cost over multiple turns. I think this card may be the tipping point to seeing other good green energy creatures seeing play in Modern as well.

Hidden Herbalists reminds me very much of Burning-Tree Emissary. It is essentially free if you can afford 1G and have triggered Revolt. This card is better than Burning-Tree Emissary if you are looking to play spells that require only green mana. I have often seen R/G Zoo players play Burning-Tree Emissary and then only follow it up with a single green one-drop. With Hidden Herbalists, you would be able to play both green spells in your hand.

There has been a Four-Color Super Friends deck on the fringe of Modern for quite a while now. I really like that this enchantment not only makes planeswalkers cheaper but makes the mana creatures used to cast them early into useful creatures in battle. This may be the card that Super Friends was missing in order to see play in the big leagues.

Gonti’s Aether Heart is an interesting card. I really want someone to break it in Modern. Taking an extra turn is very powerful and there are several zero-mana artifacts that can be used to gain energy once this has been cast. Six mana is very high, so I imagine this is most likely to see play in a Puresteel Paladin deck or some other deck looking to make a lot of mana very fast.

Spire of Industry may replace Mana Confluence in Lantern Control. Tapping for colorless mana pain-free is a huge upgrade, and they will often have an artifact to allow them to use the second ability. The only time this is worse in Lantern Control is on turn 1 if you are looking to play Thoughtseize or Ancient Stirrings.

New Set Hype!

Overall, Aether Revolt is a super-high-powered set and I look forward to seeing all of the new spells and mechanics represented in Modern. I think there will be a strong upheaval to the format, and where it settles will likely be very different from before. Are there any other cards you are super-excited about in the new set, or any other interactions I may have missed? Let me know in the comments, and as always, happy gaming!