Everyone Hide! The Previews Are Revolting!

Aether Revolt previews are out in force, but Shaun McLaren couldn’t take shelter from them even if he wanted to! In his inimitable fashion, the Canadian Pro Tour Champion explores several cards about to shake the foundations of Standard and Modern…and a few that are just plain fun!

Boom! Welcome to 2017! Surprise, it’s preview season for Aether Revolt, and boom, the previews are coming in fast and furious.


These preview cards are shocking.

These previews are disgusting.

These previews will make you barf out your lung in sheer surprise and horror.

They are downright Revolting.

In a good way.

Anyway, let’s just get to it.

Why would you make it easier on me to combo off with Whirler Virtuoso?

Does Gonti, Lord of Luxury have a bum ticker or a heart of gold?

Six mana is a bit much for what is usually not going to have an immediate effect on anything.

The other big setback for Gonti’s Aether Heart is that it’s legendary. This is an issue for abusing Whirler Virtuoso to the extreme.

Yet another problem with Gonti’s Aether Heart (clearly Gonti is going to need a pacemaker soon) is that you have to exile it to take another turn. Not only are you investing a hefty six mana, but also an approximately just as hefty eight energy to Part the Waterveil, and you won’t be able to keep the combo going for infinite turns. Not great.

We even already have Era of Innovation, which is remarkably similar, and mostly just better than Gonti’s Aether Heart in every way.

It is possible you could end up running one in Temur Aetherworks Marvel, since it isn’t a terrible card to find off Aetherworks Marvel, and you already have Whirler Virtuoso, but it doesn’t seem great. That means we’re definitely going to be looking to blot out the skies with a bunch of Thopter tokens thanks to Whirler Virtuoso if we’re going to successfully break Gonti’s Aether Heart.

In this case, breaking a heart is definitely what we’re setting out to do.

There are plenty of ways to go infinite or semi-infinite with Whirler Virtuoso and Gonti’s Aether Heart.

Combo with Me, Folks

Decoction Module + Gonti’s Aether Heart + Whirler Virtuoso = Infinite Thopters.

Era of Innovation + Gonti’s Aether Heart + Whirler Virtuoso + one mana = one Energy + one Thopter.

Panharmonicon + Gonti’s Aether Heart + Whirler Virtuoso = Infinite Thopters, infinite Energy, and, conveniently enough, a way to take an extra turn and win the game by attacking immediately.

Panharmonicon’s a decent card, Whirler Virtuoso’s a decent card, and Gonti’s Aether Heart might not be so unreasonable in the right deck as well.

This might just be a case of the power level being too low and the mana cost too high to bother with. It also might be a case where all we need is something to tie it all together…

Tutor effects almost always strike a Chord with players.

Whir of Invention looks flashy and cool, but it does come at a high price. An extra three blue mana for your artifact is no joke, and there isn’t any way to make the colored mana requirement less hefty like you could with Chord of Calling. That means you’re rarely going to be getting a great deal mana-wise when you cast Whir of Invention.

To make the best use of Whir of Invention, you’re going to have to be serious about abusing it. Glassblower’s Puzzleknot and Prophetic Prism are good starts in Standard for ramping it out and Panharmonicon or Aetherworks Marvel are good targets to be tutoring for.

Whir of Invention lets you run spicy silver bullets like Gonti’s Aether Heart, Dynavolt Tower, or even Torrential Gearhulk (or any Gearhulk, for that matter).

Is this a possible upgrade in Temur Marvel decks to tutor for their namesake card compared to or alongside Vessel of Nascency? Possibly. It’s likely slower, or you won’t even be able to cast it, but it’s also guaranteed you’ll get what you want.

In Modern it might have an even better shot at seeing play, since you have way more cheap artifacts to help reduce its cost and better tutor targets like Lotus Bloom, Krak-Clan Ironworks, Sword of the Meek, Thopter Foundry, or Aetherworks Marvel.

My “shot in the dark” guess is that aggro players will plow through anyone trying to abuse these clunky combo cards for the first few weeks of Standard until the right deck comes along.

Where does Sram, Senior Edificer fit? Right next to Puresteel Paladin, my good reader!

C’mon and Sram, and welcome to the jam!

This deck is nothin’ but Spidersilk Net.

The plan is simple: cast Sram, Senior Edificer and/or Puresteel Paladin and then draw a bunch of cards. With either Sram or Puresteel Paladin on the battlefield, Retract essentially becomes a one-mana Paradoxical Outcome on all your Equipment and resets your Mox Opal. Once you’ve drawn enough cards, add Monastery Mentor into the mix and kill your opponent.

Slam, bam, thank you Sram!

There are plenty of directions you could take the deck, but right now it is a lean, mean card-drawing machine. Win conditions could be added ranging from Grapeshot to Aetherflux Reservoir.

Could this deck port over into Standard as well? You have Sram, Senior Edificer alongside the likes of Sigarda’s Aid, Foundry Inspector, Bone Saw, Cathar’s Shield, Prophetic Prism, and Paradoxical Outcome.

Seems like a Windmill Sram deck to play.

Modern Much?

My Smother from another mother.

This seems like a big deal in Modern. This won’t be last time you hear it, but this card is pushed power-level-wise!

Aether Revolt may easily end up being the set with the biggest impact on Modern since the cold days of Thought-Knot Seer because of the Revolt mechanic. Revolt’s interaction with fetchlands doesn’t quite make Revolt free, but it’s pretty close.

Fatal Push is immediately comparable to Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt, and at first glance actually seems better than either in plenty of situations. That’s some high praise, since Path to Exile and Lightning Bolt have set the bar for efficient removal in Modern since… Pro Tour Born of the Gods.

Image from Wizards of the Coast.

There are plenty of juicy targets for Fatal Push:

You’ll notice that Fatal Push is going to almost always be as better than Lightning Bolt or Path to Exile. All the creatures on that list don’t even need you to have Revolt active, either.

It’s more a question of what doesn’t this kill in Modern?

It’s also not great against Dredge. Path to Exile is going to be better against that list and Lightning Bolt can always get pointed at the face.

Almost every black deck in Modern is likely to run Fatal Push. Jund, Abzan, and G/B are all looking to gain from Fatal Push and it might open the door for more exotic strategies like Sultai or Esper. Grixis is probably the happiest to see Fatal Push, since it also happens to dodge Fatal Push nicely with Tasigur, the Golden Fang.

Is Fatal Push the best removal spell in Modern and not even legal in Modern yet? Quite possibly.

So what about Standard? Well, we’re also going to push it real good in Standard.

Finally, an excellent answer to Smuggler’s Copter! Grasp of Darkness used to be the chosen one and Fatal Push is approximately twice as good.

Revolt won’t be as easy to get, which will be annoying against something like Spell Queller, but it’s still almost confusing seeing such an efficient removal spell to punish aggro decks in Standard.


More? You Got It!

Talara’s Battalion, eat your heart out. A 4/3 for two mana that’s also an Elf? Not terrible in Modern, though maybe not quite good enough. It doesn’t look bad compared to Tarmogoyf or Grim Flayer and is usually going to be better on turn 2 and require less work.

Did I say Revolt would have a big impact on Modern? This Expertise cycle might end up having the biggest impact.

First of all, we can freely cast Restore Balance, Living End, or Ancestral Vision thanks to Expertise cards. But that’s not going big enough.

The truly exciting applications are with fuse cards, because you’re able to fuse a split card and cast both sides when cheating it out with Sram’s Expertise.

Boom // Bust and Beck // Call look like good options, but even forgotten fusers like Catch // Release or Breaking // Entering look appealing when you’re getting both sides for free.

So what’s a dream scenario?

You cast Sram’s Expertise, get three Servos, cast a fused Catch // Release, steal your opponent’s best permanent, maybe a land, maybe a creature, sacrifice it for them, and then you each sacrifice one of everything else as well. That might be better than Restore Balance.

Toss in Flagstones of Trokair, some more Expertise cards, Beck // Call, some control filler, and we have a deck. A very strange deck, but a deck.

You can run a combination of any Expertise cards that you want and not even care too much if you’re not playing the colors of your fuse cards.

Since this is part of an Expertise cycle, it’s hard to say what the best options will be right now, though.

For Standard, how about Sram’s Expertise into Oath of Ajani; Rishkar, Peema Renegade; or Nissa, Voice of Zendikar, followed up with Gideon, Ally of Zendikar? It seems like G/W Tokens might be making a comeback…

Greenbelt Rampager is decent at enabling Revolt and generating energy while also just being a potential 3/4 on turn 2 if you’re playing a Forest the first two turns.

The Elephant would be more relephant is you didn’t have to sink your energy into it, and you could just keep farming it for an energy for each green mana you had to activate Aetherworks Marvel. That still works with something cheaper like Longtusk Cub, though.

One mana and seven power is worth a second look.

A 7/11 still probably isn’t worth running compared to the more efficient Vehicles, but Big Gulp might have a chance to see play somewhere, since it’s so cheap.

At worst, when you cast Rishkar, Peema Renegade, he’s your only creature and puts a counter on himself and is a 3/3 that taps to add a mana. Rishkar’s strength is versatility, though. Sram’s Expertise, Oath of Ajani, and Nissa, Voice of Zendikar all work well with Rishkar, Peema Renegade.

Rishkar benefits your creatures as long as they have any kind of counter on them, so a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar -2 will let all your creatures add mana if Rishkar is on the battlefield.

Sram’s Expertise into Rishkar, Peema Renegade also seems good, generating seven power spread out over four creatures and some ramp for four mana.

The only downside for G/W Tokens is that you might not be interested in ramping very much if you’re focused on swarming with tokens.

That looks to be it for all the most interesting cards previewed at the moment. Time to go back to waiting for new cards to appear!

Let the revolution begin!