Let’s Break Aetherworks Marvel In Historic

Will Aetherworks Marvel break Historic when Kaladesh Remastered arrives? Patrick Chapin gives it his best with a series of brews.

Aetherworks Marvel, illustrated by James Paick

Kaladesh Remastered is coming to Magic Arena, merging Kaladesh and Aether Revolt into a single set, while also cutting some problematic elements.

Walking Ballista Smuggler's Copter Felidar Guardian

Okay, sounds like a reasonable premise. What’s the worst that could happen?

Aetherworks Marvel

Aetherworks Marvel and most of the rest of the high-rate energy cards are back, presumably under the theory that Historic is enough more powerful of a format compared to Kaladesh-era Standard that this might be okay.

Attune with Aether Woodweaver's Puzzleknot Rogue Refiner

Basically all the key cards are here, though it is interesting to see them bring back Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot, while excluding Glassblower’s Puzzleknot.

Okay, so we have Aetherworks Marvel and ways to get energy. What about hits for your Marvel? After all, it’s not like we can rely on Emrakul, the Promised End this time. Without Shadows over Innistrad, we’re going to have to look elsewhere for expensive bombs to cast for free.

Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

We’ve still got Ulamog, however, so that’s already enough to give us good chances at making the game a clown show. If we just want more expensive cards, the first place we’d normally look would be Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

Ugin, the Spirit Dragon

However, in light of Zendikar Rising, I think we can do better. A lot better.

Sea Gate Restoration Turntimber Symbiosis

Sea Gate Restoration and Turntimber Symbiosis are absolutely unreal with Aetherworks Marvel. Playing them alongside Ulamog means we’re over 76% to hit something with cost seven or more, compared to the 55%-60% that Marvel decks used to have. However, instead of playing seven or eight extremely difficult-to-cast cards, we can play three or four, with the rest coming from our manabase. This may not seem like the biggest deal, but the amount of increased power and consistency we’re getting on both sides of the deal really is monumental.

How good of bombs are they to cast off Aetherworks Marvel?

Well, Sea Gate Restoration is often going to be a draw-five or draw-six, giving us a ton of options for next turn, likely meaning we’ll be able to activate Aetherworks Marvel again while also developing our position quite a bit.

Turntimber Symbiosis will find Ulamog about 44% of the time, which isn’t a bad option (even though, sadly, we won’t get the “when cast” trigger from Ulamog, since Turntimber Symbiosis merely puts the creature onto the battlefield rather than casting it). That Turntimber Symbiosis can put Ulamog onto the battlefield at all helps elevate the Eldrazi above Ugin; however, given the lack of synergy with the most appealing part of Ugin, I could easily imagine us cutting it entirely in favor of more inexpensive cards (or game-winning threats that realize their full potential when Turntimbered).

Servant of the Conduit Rogue Refiner Whirler Virtuoso

If we include red, as was commonly the case back in the day, we’ve got a pretty decent squad of potential Turntimber targets that’ll wear the three +1/+1 counters with pride. While playing a 5/6 Whirler Virtuoso on Turn 4 may not seem like the most broken start you’re capable of (it’s not), it is a whole lot better than whatever else you would have picked if you had seen a Forest instead of the Turntimber Symbiosis.

Okay, here’s a starting point: 

My biggest concern here is our lack of interaction and, as an extension, our vulnerability to combo decks. We’ll get some pretty incredible starts, sure, but other people trying to do broken stuff generally will just get to do their thing.

Mazemind Tome

I’m not at all sure about this and could see picking up more dedicated library manipulation to help find our Aetherworks Marvel.

Glimmer of Genius

Maybe this is an option, but it just seems so slow for how Historic plays out these days. If we’re gonna Glimmer, maybe we should Shimmer instead…

Opt Shimmer of Possibility See the Truth

Opt is always a reasonable option to consider, just from an opportunity cost standpoint. Shimmer of Possibility digs decently hard if we just really need more access to Marvel in a hurry. See the Truth is kind of interesting in that it’s only 3/4ths of the digging power of Glimmer of Possibility, but when you reveal it to Aetherworks Marvel, you do get a draw three. I’ve skipped here because of just how many hits it seems our DFCs will provide, but especially if we end up moving away from Ulamog, it could be another great way to get our “hit” count up.

Explore Growth Spiral

I considered these, but they just don’t actually help our curve very much. I could imagine it ending up being right to have some of this action, but I wanted to start out with a little more prioritization of impacting the battlefield, rather than just immediately filling the deck with as much “air” as possible.

Botanical Sanctum

Obviously, all the energy cards are new to Historic because of Kaladesh Remastered, but Botanical Sanctum is also a pretty big pickup for the format in general. The format isn’t saturated with Tier 1 two-color lands and this cycle is among the best in the game’s history. While there is some risk of it not giving you a fourth land untapped, I think I’m into it over Breeding Pool in this list to save some damage. We’re gonna have to untap these DFCs sometimes, not to mention the Stomping Grounds.

Valakut Awakening

Entering the battlefield tapped is already so brutal, and we really don’t need more nongreen lands. That said, I wanted to give it a shot in case it overperformed as a way to dig to Aetherworks Marvel and as a potential option to reveal. Being able to cycle away more DFCs and Ulamogs seems like it could have its moments.

Harnessed Lightning

Still the best energy-based removal (as far as energy-based removal goes); and between Aether Hub, Attune with Aether, Servant of the Conduit, and some two-color lands, the third color doesn’t cost much. Besides, without Whirler Virtuoso, Turntimber Symbiosis definitely takes a hit.

It’s not for sure that Simic is a worse Temur, but when I try to make the Simic version, the “improvements” to the mana are very small, while the downgrades to Virtuoso and Harnessed Lightning are quite large (to say nothing of potentially wanting red sideboard cards).

Llanowar Visionary is fine, I guess, but the loss of energy will really be felt when it comes time to try to pull off an early Marvel activation. It’s also not exactly ideal to have to rely completely on Aether Meltdown.

Aether Meltdown

It’s not that Aether Meltdown is bad. It’s just not as flexible or reliable, plus it’s just not bringing as much energy to the table for spots where that’s all you want.

Karn, the Great Creator

Now there’s an interesting way to find Aetherworks Marvel!

Not only can Karn assemble Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot + Aetherworks Marvel himself, he gives us a substantially greater range of interaction, not to mention being a fine backup plan and a pretty respectable reveal from the Marvel.

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim is an interesting angle we could take (whether in a Karn build or just one of the above), serving as a pretty respectable hit for Marvel or Turntimber Symbiosis while also giving us more ramp towards hardcasting Ulamog, particularly if we find room for a Castle Garenbrig.

Golos, Tireless Pilgrim Castle Garenbrig

Activating Golos is also very realistic. We’ve got Aether Hub and Servant of the Conduit, and that’s without even changing our manabase to include a land that helps Golos.

As far as improving our ability to interact with other “unfair” decks, we’d be hard-pressed to find as good an upgrade as Thoughtseize, if we’re willing to go black.


And while it doesn’t offer Whirler Virtuoso and Harnessed Lightning, we could do a lot worse than Glint-Sleeve Siphoner.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner

The use of Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Thoughtseize really gives us a lot more ability to play semi-fair. The list below still tries to be pretty unfair, but I could definitely imagine pulling back a bit from here.

Another salient question is “Do we actually need to keep it to three colors?” We don’t sacrifice much adding the third, and it’s not like we have to make that big of sacrifices to get all four colors of Magic in the mix.

You know, it’s not like we couldn’t get a Phyrexian Tower in here…

Phyrexian Tower

Or, if we’re willing to move a lot more back into “good honest Magic” territory (insofar as any energy-based strategy can ever be described as such), we could try something like:

Maybe we’re just not getting enough out of Aetherworks Marvel to be worth it, but Sea Gate Restoration just looks so incredible to me. Dropping back down to three colors, but playing a little more fair, is also totally reasonable.

I considered straight Jund but it just seems so wild to skip both Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso. I also considered trying to hybridize one of those Historic “Tron” decks that are generally mono-colorless (or close to it), leveraging Forsaken Monument to ramp out Ugins and Ulamogs.

Forsaken Monument

That they’re already playing so many of the cards we want to reveal to Aetherworks Marvel (plus all kinds of Karns) makes it a very attractive path to consider. However, so far, no matter how I put it together, I can never get enough energy without playing green.

Deadlock Trap Gonti's Aether Heart

Deadlock Trap and Gonti’s Aether Heart aren’t even legal!

Decoction Module

I thought I might be onto something with Decoction Module, but without green, what creatures are we even playing? Once you start adding green mana (instead of a nearly colorless manabase) you start making Forsaken Monument worse. Additionally, all those green cards aren’t exactly helping the colorless synergies themselves, and trying to make room for those cards kind of involves cutting so many of the role-players that really shine in that deck. 

Guardian Idol

Like, are we cutting Guardian Idol? At a certain point, why are we even bothering with the colorless stuff at all?

For the time being, I’m sticking to the above Temur and Four-Color builds as my starting point. My hunch is that to adapt, we’ll need to incorporate more fair elements; however, the core is so strong, I definitely think it’s worth pursuing energy as a strategy in the format ahead.