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Aether Revolt Spoilers: Limited Review for December 30


Welcome to the first day of spoiler discussions for Aether Revolt! I know you've all missed me, so we're jumping right back into the fray. We have plenty of new cards that have been previewed already, and we have a full week of spoilers coming up next week as well. Now is the exciting time when we get to prep for the Prerelease on January 14 by evaluating cards and determining what will change Kaladesh Limited.

I'll be reviewing these cards from the standpoint of how well I expect them to perform in Limited. We can't rate the cards completely accurately without knowing the entire set, but we can evaluate the cards in an "average" limited format. You can find all the latest spoilers on the Aether Revolt page. Please note that if I haven't yet reviewed a card, it's probably because the official spoiler for it has not been released yet.

Grading scale

A: This card will often be the best card in one's deck. I'd consider splashing it where possible. (Gisela, the Broken Blade, Verdurous Gearhulk)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Murder, Aerial Responder)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Thraben Foulbloods, Lawless Broker)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Prophetic Ravings, Curio Vendor)
F: This card will have little or no impact on the game if I draw it or is strictly sideboard-material. If I cast this card, please stage an intervention for me. (Deploy the Gatewatch, Madcap Experiment)

White

Consulate Crackdown

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C+

Obviously Consulate Crackdown can be a powerful sideboard card, even in Limited, against specific types of decks. The question is: for Kaladesh block, are artifact decks common enough that Consulate Crackdown should be played in the main deck as well? Because of the existence of both Vehicles and Servo tokens that show up in so many different archetypes, I'm okay with playing this in my main deck, but be prepared to sideboard it out if it isn't getting enough value.

Blue

Disallow

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C

Cancel isn't generally an exciting card in Limited, but will the extra utility of being able to counter abilities make it desirable? Probably not in this block. Kaladesh has a huge number of enter-the-battlefield abilities on permanents which are already countered by Disappearing Act or Failed Inspection. Disallow's ability to counter a crew ability to effectively tap a Vehicle or stop the sacrifice effect of an already resolved Puzzleknot are niche cases that won't often come up.

Trophy Mage

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Nestled in a comfortable little nook between Trinket Mage and Treasure Mage, Trophy Mage seems like a premium Uncommon in this block. At Uncommon, you can tutor up Chief of the Foundry or Filigree Familiar, while at Common in Kaladesh you can get everyone's favorite pain train Renegade Freighter. Trophy Mage's value will be highly variable upon how early you can pick and plan around it in draft, and whether Aether Revolt also has good artifact targets in the 3-drop slot to search up.

Quicksmith Spy

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

While it takes longer to get working than Quicksmith Rebel, the extra card a turn can also turn the tide of a game, and the fact that is has three toughness means it will be slightly harder for your opponent to remove than Quicksmith Rebel.

Black

Battle at the Bridge

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Battle at the Bridge is a new sorcery-speed version Death Wind that also gives you life. I wouldn't pay too much attention to the improvise keyword besides picking artifacts slightly more highly because of it. The percentage of the time that improvise lets you cast a spell you otherwise wouldn't have is going to be much lower than with a more versatile keyword like convoke or affinity.

Yahenni's Expertise

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

While -2/-2 effects sometimes prove insufficient, killing things with up to three toughness is a much better bargain. I don't think you'll have to work too hard to kill multiple opposing creatures with Yahenni's Expertise and also get to cast a small creature for free.

Red

Pia's Revolution

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

D

In a very artifact-centric, very aggressive Limited deck, you might be able to get some value from Pia's Revolution. But in anything less than a fully dedicated deck, three damage to the opponent is much too small of an effect to warrant putting Pia's Revolution into your deck.

Quicksmith Rebel

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A-

Casting Quicksmith Rebel is a great way to win a game in Limited. There are artifacts aplenty to use this ability on and getting a free Shock a turn is going to win any reasonable game of Limited very quickly by either machine-gunning down the opposing board state or simply targeting the opponent's face and killing them. Your opponent will be forced to kill the Quicksmith Rebel or targeted artifact if they want to have a chance to win the game.

For added shenanigans, put this on Narnam Cobra for deathtouch damage that destroys any creature or Prakhata Pillar-Bug for lifelink damage that gains you two life per activation.

Multicolor

Ajani Unyielding

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

A

If you're losing, Ajani Unyielding is your Selesnya version of Tidy Conclusion that costs one extra mana. If the board is stalled or you're winning, Ajani Unyielding will help you win very quickly. The card draw effect is very strong and two activations will put 3-4 creatures into your hand on average. The Swords to Plowshares effect is even stronger, and two activations will turn practically any board state into one where you are greatly favored.

Dark Imitations

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

Bolas hype! Dark Intimations gives players yet another reason to pick up Prophetic Prism early or at least find some way to fix their mana, as casting this spell can grant a large, long-term advantage. The only immediate effect on the board state is the edict effect, so you want to cast this sorcery with enough time left in the game to be able to utilize the two cards added to your hand using Dark Intimations.

Oath of Ajani

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

C-

Are you a green-white creature deck? If so, you want this. Otherwise, you don't. Pretty simple. This isn't an effect worth splashing for, though it is worth including extra Fabricate creatures into your deck once you have an Oath of Ajani to power them up.

Tezzeret the Schemer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B+

As far as Planeswalkers in Limited go, Tezzeret the Schemer is underwhelming. His +1 effect doesn't affect the board state and really only serves to up your affinity count for his minus ability. His -2 removal effect will sometimes do nothing at all and requires three or more artifacts before it can pick off truly threatening opposing creatures. Finally, the ultimate is also somewhat unimpressive since if your opponent removes all your artifacts and Tezzeret dies, it does nothing. Still, it is a Planeswalker that can sometimes be good for two removal spells or cause your opponent to make overzealous attacks, so it's still good for Blue-Black decks with artifacts in them.

Colorless

Heart of Kiran

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B

Heart of Kiran is a hard vehicle to evaluate even without the complication of Planeswalkers using their loyalty to crew it. It's cheap at two mana, but developing it on turn two, then crewing it with your three drop creature isn't a great move most of the time. Without Planeswalker loyalty to use, you'll have to actually Crew 3 two times to make the vigilance relevant.

Ignoring all the trinket text of it being legendary and having vigilance and being able to be crewed by Planeswalkers, we're left with a vehicle similar in size to Renegade Freighter. It has a higher crew cost, but it gets in for damage a little more consistently given that it has flying. It also blocks much better than the freighter given that it has 4 toughness.

Scrap Trawler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

B-

It's amazing the power level difference between Rares and Commons sometimes. Scrap Trawler is like a twice better Workshop Assistant in that it gets two extra power and triggers off of other artifacts being destroyed as well. However there is a mana cost restriction on which artifacts you can get back, so there'll be no recurring of Accomplished Automatons or the like.

Aether Revolt Inventions

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00

A+

In a draft, whether you open an awesome Invention like Sword of Body and Mind or something awful in Limited like Black Vise, you're still going to want to draft it every time. They're just too rare and cool to pass up.

Conclusion

I'm excited for Aether Revolt and I hope you are too. May you have sufficient luck to open an Invention and have it not be Ornithopter (unless you're into that sort of thing). Please join me for more spoilers and more Limited review starting next Monday when the official spoilers begin. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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