Friday, January 6, 2017

Improvising an Aether Revolt

We're not even through the first week of spoilers, and already most of Aether Revolt has already been revealed. Last time, I took a look at three Commons that showcase the new Revolt mechanic. Today, I will once again look back to the Aether Revolt Mechanics article to bring you the other new mechanic: Improvise. Let's take a look at three Commons and see how it plays out.

Foundry Assembler is pretty unassuming as a 3/3 for 5 generic mana. In an "artifacts matter" themed set like Aether Revolt, just the fact that this is an artifact does make it better than a vanilla 3/3. Of course, it also has the Improvise mechanic, which means that you can tap other artifacts to help pay for that cost. This card reminds me a lot of Frogmite from Mirrodin, but costs one more mana for another point of Power and Toughness. Obviously the cost reduction from Improvise isn't nearly as powerful as Affinity, but it should be relatively easy to get this down for 3 mana early and potentially for free in the midgame.

Mana Leak returns to Standard with Metallic Rebuke, a card that is good enough to potentially see Modern or even Vintage play. Being able to hold up a soft counter for only one Blue mana (plus two untapped artifacts of any sort) is quite good. And even in situations where you don't have any artifacts - either in play or even in your deck - a slightly more expensive Mana Leak certainly isn't the worst. This card is going to push many players towards an artifact-heavy Blue midrange deck, and I suspect that such a deck will be quite strong in Standard Pauper once Aether Revolt is released. While not great late game, at any other point this card is very strong.

Sweatworks Brawler is another card that would already be decent even without the Improvise mechanic but becomes much better with it. A 3/3 with Menace is already tough to block early on, and it doesn't take much work at all to get this down on Turn 3 or drop this plus another creature once you've reached the mid-game. While even in the best case this card probably won't dominate the game, Sweatworks Brawler could easily play a solid role in a Gruul monsters or Rakdos style deck. On its own though, the payoff isn't quite good enough to be worth running artifacts in your deck without some other strong incentives.

So that's going to do it for my first looks at Aether Revolt this week. However, with how quickly the cards are being spoiled, I suspect I will be working on my first set review of 2017 by this time next week. What cards have impressed you from this set so far? Let me know in the comments below. See you next time.

1 comment:

  1. Forget Standard, or Frontier- think of some amazing decks with just this block! Any chance, due to overall power creep, of UNbanning Self-Assembler (who now has other viable, but unrealistic, search options)? Would a card like Fortuitous Find be considered for a ban hammer, too? I'll be honest- not entirely sure why this card is banned. At 1st blush, it seems we are beginning to make our own format, which could be prohibitive to any new players. Grasp of Darkness? Uncommon, but okay, like Ornithopter. This good common = banned, despite any fun Golgari graveyard dump and search strategies. Explain, please? Any hopes of reconsidering unbanning SA? Thanks, and I look forward to your set review!