full spoiler for Aether Revolt has been available for a while now, with the official prereleases running last weekend. As I continue to work on my set review, I will be highlighting some of the more interesting Commons here on my blog over the next couple weeks. Last time, I looked at the Implement cycle at Common. This time, I'm looking at yet another cycle in Aether Revolt - the Aether Cycle.
The Aether cycle is a set of Commons with an evergreen keyword ability consistent with each card's color (except for the Green one for some strange reason) that generates two energy tokens when they come into play and also allows you to cash in those energy tokens for a 1/1 artifact creature token when they attack. Like all energy cards, you can spend any energy tokens to activate the effect, not just the ones you generated with the original card.
As far as the creatures themselves are concerned, these are reasonable but nothing exciting. Both the Herder and the Inspector
are about one more mana than you would want to pay (a 2/3 Vigilance for
3W and a 3/3 for 3G respectively), and are probably the worst of the
cycle. On the other hand, the Chaser is a respectable 2/1 First Strike for 1R, while the Poisoner
is a 1/1 Deathtouch for 1B. Similar cards to these two have seen plenty
of play in Standard Pauper, and the fact that these can generate an
extra 1/1 body makes these reasonable choices for some decks. Finally,
in the middle we have the Swooper as a 1/2 Flying for 1U, which is borderline playable but not a strong card.
Overall I would rank these as fringe playable, but not likely to make a big impact on the format.