Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Aether Revolt Review: Multicolored and Vehicles

Green was all-right, White I need to think about more, Red was OK, and Blue and Black is probably where I will focus for casual deck-brewing.

Ajani Unyielding:
It's costed for batlecruiser. It should be a ton of fun in casual play.
(+2: Reveal the top three cards of your library. Put all nonland permanent cards revealed this way into your hand and the rest on the bottom of your library in any order.)
The +2 is great. On average, you will be netting three nonland permanents. That is really good. Oh, and it's not a +1. Also, as long as you don't shuffle, and you don't care too much about drawing specific lands, every +2 of Ajani will place more lands at the bottom of your deck. That can have a negative effect if you did not draw a land you needed in your draw step.
(−2: Exile target creature. Its controller gains life equal to its power.)
Wow, that's strong. This is Swords to Plowshares. That is amazing!
(−9: Put five +1/+1 counters on each creature you control and five loyalty counters on each other planeswalker you control.)
This is a great ultimate for super-friends. You should have one or two other planeswalkers on the boards, all low-casting, and have some protection in your deck to make sure your creatures survive getting this far with this planeswalker. 6, 8, 10: it will be three turns to ultimate if your opponent does not stop you. That's a fast clock.
Dark Intimations: Great title and this must mean that a Nicol Bolas planeswalker variant is coming in the near future. That's awesome. It also makes me want to play with the current Nicol Bolas planeswalker, which is not in Standard. This card is similar in build-around power to Villainous Wealth from Khans of Tarkir, a beloved card for all of us Johnny deckbuilders. At only five mana for such a strong effect, I wonder if someone will figure a way to use it well in Modern.

Hidden Stockpile: Great sacrifice outlet. It comes in early, and you can use that Scry knowledge for all kinds of shenanigans. Reanimation needs this card. A strong uncommon in a set that has many strong uncommons.
Oath of Ajani: This is a fantastic rare. I love planeswalkers, and Wizards keeps giving them tools. This is a great tool. It helps a whole class of planeswalkers that are one mana away from having a chance of being relevant in Modern, and even Legacy. Of course, a helper card takes a slot away from something else in your deck. The question here is that if by giving that planeswalker a chance, you get a net plus benefit for using up slots with this card.

Maverick Thopterist: Battlecruiser cost. It reads like a common. 5 mana for a 2/2 and two 1/1s is a 5 mana 4/4 in three bodies. If Improvise turns out to be even almost Delve good, then all bets are off about how good this uncommon can be. If all you need is two mana, you will want to play this, and it's in the right colors for a Blue/Red/Artifacts Thopter deck for which Origins has many pieces.
Outland Boar: reasonable uncommon in battlecruiser.

Rogue Refiner: "draw a card" for an Enters the Battlefield (ETB) bility is awesome on any card, and its double plus awesome on an uncommon.
Renegade Rallier: in Modern, you can return Voice of Resurgence. This is yet another awesome uncommon in a set just full of great uncommons.

Renegade Wheelsmith: solid uncommon in a denial strategy. The effect reads Blue/Black. It will go in my Dwarf deck for sure.
Spire Patrol: solid denial uncommon. It comes in a little too late for Modern, but in battlecruiser Standard it comes in at a good time in the game.

Tezzeret the Schemer: Costed to try out in Modern.
(+1: Create a colorless artifact token named Etherium Cell with "Tap, Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color to your mana pool.")
That's a very weak +1 that takes this card out of the Legacy contest, maybe even the Modern contest.
(−2: Target creature gets +X/-X until end of turn, where X is the number of artifacts you control.)
It can help you destroy a specific creature or boost one of yours, but you have no control on what X is unless you keep artifacts in your hand that you can play to get the correct X you need. It's tricky and requires too much thinking for one card.
(−7: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of combat on your turn, target artifact you control becomes an artifact creature with base power and toughness 5/5.")
There are ways to make this ultimate useless in Modern in a prison deck-where you have to pay a prohibitive amount of mana to attack. If we have a really strong set of tools in the Grixis colors (Blue/Black/Red) coming out in the next set or two, this card will get stronger. Right now, I am reading Dovin Baan.
Tezzeret's Touch: it has a drawback, but boy does it read like fun, and it adds to a deck with Ensoul Artifact. Another great uncommon from this set.

Weldfast Engineer: solid uncommon effect on a three drop 3/3.
Winding Constrictor: The artwork tells the story of this card very well. This card is like a snake that can bite your opponent, and it can also bite you. Never play this against Infect because then you are helping your opponent get to ten poison counters. There are also -1/-1 counters that can be placed on your creatures, and those would also increase with this card. It reads very interesting and must be played, and played very carefully.

Before I start on the Vehicles I will state my bias: unless I am totally wrong, Vehicles are one-trick ponies. They require tapping your creatures to play every.single.turn. That, in my Johnny heart, is lame. If you love Vehicles, that's great. In my case, I will give them another try with these, and then probably never play them again. If you don't have any creatures on the board, your Vehicles are dead in the water... lame. If a Vehicle has a wild, super-fun effect on it, then all that tapping of creatures is worth it, but once we are outside of Standard, Vehicles are worse than just playing creatures. The formula needs to be Vehicle + Creature(a) > Creature(b) since you are tapping Creature(a) to have the Vehicle do what Creature(b) would do, and the Vehicle would have to do it better. Vehicles remind me of Cumulative Upkeep in Legacy.

Heart of Kiran: Minus the clause, this is a five mana 4/4 that you pay for every turn. It reads battlecruiser Mythic once you add the clause. Dropping the crew cost every turn is really strong, but you have to keep control of at least one planeswalker.
Aethersphere Harvester: Reasonable source of lifelink for a low crew cost. four mana 3/5 Flyer reads junk rare.

Consulate Dreadnought: Seven drop 7/11 is very good for an uncommon. The problem with a such a high Crew cost is the problem with Vehicles: that you are losing the use of your creatures for this lone one-trick pony.
Daredevil Dragster: The lower crew cost makes it a better Vehicle. It's a five mana 4/4, and that makes it OK in battlecruiser. The sacrifice clause is awesome because, well, "draw two cards." This is a strong uncommon.

Mobile Garrison: Limited and good enabler for Improvise.
Irontread Crusher: solid in Limited.

Peacewalker Colossus: The 1W clause is really good since it allows you to make use of a creature you would have otherwise have tapped to pay a Crew cost. This is a really good rare for Vehicles since its effect can be used on a Vehicle with Crew 6 for free.
Untethered Express: Reads like a good uncommon. It only needs to attack twice to be 6/6.