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Aether Revolt Spoilers: Limited Review for January 5

Welcome to the final day of spoiler discussions for Aether Revolt! Tomorrow morning we get the set in its entirety, giving us about one week to digest it all before Prerelease. Let's get into the sweet cards they've shown off today.

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)


Aether Cycle

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

$ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00 $ 0.00


Similar to the Thriving cycle (like Thriving Rhino) from Kaladesh, all of these creatures have below average stats, an energy gain on ETB (enter-the-battlefield), and enough energy to pay for one activation of their attack ability. 

Aether Chaser is the best of the bunch as a 2/1 first striker for two mana is already good in Limited. It's probably a C+. Aether Poisoner would get bumped down to a C- for being so undesirable to attack with, but deathtouch is a valuable keyword and you can always spend Aether Poisoner's energy elsewhere.


Efficient Construction

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Most average decks seem like their Thopter construction rate would not be sufficient or efficient with this enchantment. But with the common cycling Implement artifacts and Prophetic Prism and artifact creatures, it might be possible to build a deck in which Efficient Construction is able to be counted on for 4+ Thopters and is thus highly desirable.

Metallic Rebuke

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Conditional counters for three mana aren't great in Limited, and Metallic Rebuke isn't cheaper than that enough of the time to make a difference. When you do get the cost reduction, it's likely to be later in the game when your opponent can just pay the three mana required.


Herald of Anguish

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


When you have no artifacts, Herald of Anguish is a boring old beatstick that might nab a card or two from your opponent. But imagine for a moment you have just two artifacts on the battlefield. All of a sudden, it's a 5/5 flyer for 5 that can trade two artifacts for two opposing creatures if it lives for a turn. And if you're casting Herald of Anguish on turn 5 or 6, it's almost guaranteed to get multiple cards out of your opponent's hand. That's absolutely nuts!


Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Kari Zev, Skyship Raider has a weird collection of stats so here's the basic breakdown of how she works. On defense, she's a Dragon's Eye Sentry, only desirable if your opponent has a lot of 1/1s and 2/1s you want to scare off. On attack, she's sort of a 3/3, will trigger revolt with her Monkey, and will likely go unblocked except by two or more creatures with more than one toughness apiece. She's more interesting in her design and unique effect for red than her actual viability or power level, but she's an awesome Pirate with a Legendary Monkey so what did you expect?

Kari Zev's Expertise

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Threaten just got a lot more interesting in that it's not a completely awful play on turn three anymore. It's a little awkward that you usually want to play Threaten effects on the final turn of the game and a free creature at that point does nothing, but you can use Kari Zev's Expertise to cast an instant or sorcery spell or a creature with haste, so the free spell will probably rarely be without use.

Ravenous Intruder

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


A 1/2 is pretty low impact, but just a few expendable artifacts makes Ravenous Intruder into a real threat. Your opponent has to realize their attacking 3/3 might trade with your Prophetic Prism and also has to consider that any turn they don't leave back a blocker, they could die to a fabricate creature plus a bunch of Servos being sacrificed to this Atog impersonator. It also works quite well with the Implement cycle (such as Implement of Combustion) since you get your card draw regardless of how the artifact gets sacrificed.


Heroic Intervention

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Heroic Intervention is a regenerate effect that can save multiple creatures in combat, it's a counterspell that can effectively counter removal spells, and it's also the best possible card to bring out of the sideboard in response to Fumigate. There isn't usually much space available for non-creature, non-removal, non-good pump spell effects in Limited decks, and vehicles and other random artifacts are already taking up some of that space, so it may sometimes be hard to justify playing Heroic Intervention even if it does have a unique and strong effect.

Hidden Herbalist

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


A bear in Limited is always a fine curve-filler, and sometimes Hidden Herbalists will get its revolt trigger and allow you to cast something extra in the same turn. Seems like a sweet deal to me.


Maverick Thopterist

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


It's not quite Whirler Rogue, but Maverick Thopterist does have the potential to cost three or four mana and the Thopter tokens will probably be useful for either attacking in the air or tapping to improvise future spells (like maybe another Maverick Thopterist).


Aethersphere Harvester

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Aethersphere Harvester is an efficiently costed vehicle, a source of energy, and a means for converting energy into life (at an admittedly slow pace). Its closest corollary is Sky Skiff, but Aethersphere Harvester is clearly better than that. 

Hope of Ghirapur

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Yes, Hope of Ghirapur works well with improvise and revolt, but it's still just a lowly 1/1 flyer that barely impacts the board. Additionally, it doesn't have haste so your opponent will always know about the possibility of Hope of Ghirapur being sacrificed at least one turn in advance and can plan that when timing their noncreature spells.

Lifecrafter's Bestiary

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Lifecrafter's Bestiary ensures that you'll draw more cards and better cards than your opponent as the game progresses, but is it too slow of an effect? It works about as quickly as a Sigiled Starfish, but instead of a 0/3 body that is weak to removal, you get an artifact which combos with improvise and other artifact-centric cards in the set. Eventually as you have the mana available, you'll get to draw extra cards as well. I'll definitely be playing this if I open it in Two-Headed Giant, and I'll probably try to make it work in draft as well, but its power will depend on the speed of the format.

Paradox Engine

$ 0.00$ 0.00


Five mana to give your creatures vigilance most of the time is a pretty expensive rate. Paradox Engine can also do cool things like untap artifacts to use multiple tap activations or cast multiple improvise spells, but that's a corner case that won't come up often enough to make the card playable. 

Treasure Keeper

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Say hello to the colorless Bloodbraid Elf. It loses haste, gains a toughness, and makes you wait until Treasure Keeper dies to cascade, but it's otherwise very close. It also picks up all the sweet artifact synergies inherent to being in an artifact set.

Universal Solvent

$ 0.00 $ 0.00


Scour from Existence was played in situations where you really needed the removal, and Universal Solvent solves the same problem while also being something to tap for improvise spells.


Thanks for sticking with me through all the fun spoiler reviews and enjoy the rest of the cards tomorrow when Wizards reveals them. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards and feel free to send me pictures of your sweet Prerelease decks and accompanying stories!

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