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Commander Review: Aether Revolt Part 2 (Red, Green, Multicolor, Colorless, Lands)


Aether Revolt has been fully spoiled, so it's time for another Commander Review! We continue where we left off from Part 1 with a review of Red, Green, Multicolor, Colorless, and Lands.

 

RED

 

Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I won't lie: this card isn't good in Commander. However, Kari Zhev, Skyship Raider is a legendary pirate and she brings along a legendary monkey with her, so people will enjoy playing with her for flavor reasons alone. Do you go with a Pirate theme, sailing the high seas/skies on your ships (Bomat Bazaar Barge) for loot (Faithless Looting) and glory (Kari Zev's Expertise)? Or do you go Tribal Monkey and give Ravenous Baboons a home? Maybe both?

 

Indomitable Creativity

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Indomitable Creativity is a red sorcery version of Mass Polymorph that can also hit artifacts. It's alright at dealing with your opponent's 20/20 Mana Gorger and upgrading your own Llanowar Elves into (hopefully) something better. Polymorph cards shine brightest, however, when you build a deck around them, Make sure all you creatures are expensive threats (Blightsteel Colossus) and have noncreature cards that generate tokens (Hordeling Outburst). Destroy your tokens with Indomitable Creativity to cheat out your giant threats. Profit!

"Polymorph" cards are traditionally a Blue thing, so decks that really want Indomitable Creativity probably want to be in Izzet (UR) colors. Perhaps Jhoira of the Ghitu.

 

Lightning Runner

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

The Energy deck gets its own version of Aggravated Assault. Lightning Runner also synergizes well with Aethergeode Miner and Glint-Sleeve Siphoner for an aggressive Energy deck. I wouldn't be surprised if there are infinite attack step combos to abuse, though I haven't discovered them yet.

 

Pia's Revolution

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Pia's Revolution doesn't look great on paper. When everyone starts at 40 life, it seems so easy for your opponents to take 3 to prevent you from getting anything back. I think this enchantment will perform a lot better in practice, however, since you choose the opponent who gets to decide whether or not you get back the artifact. If you have no friends at the table, obviously target the opponent with the lowest health. Does that person really want to go from 20 to 17 life to prevent you from getting back Solemn Simulacrum? Even better, you can make a deal with your opponent to get back whatever goes into the graveyard; the "deal" often being "I'll help you out too" or "I won't attack you with all my creatures."

The enchantment is very similar to another card that I didn't think was very good until I saw it in a real game: Athreos, God of Passage. In theory, yeah, your opponent having the option to deny you card recursion for 3 life doesn't seem appealing, but when you keep stacking those triggers nobody is willing to cough up that much life if they can avoid it.

I have a feeling that Pia's Revolution will end up being one of the most underrated workhorses in Red Artifact decks. It's a lot of recursion potential for just 3 mana in a color that doesn't often get access to it.

 

GREEN

 

Aid from the Cowl

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Aid from the Cowl is a big mana investment and isn't guaranteed to hit a permanent in every deck, but in super permanent-heavy decks (which is often the case in Green anyway) it's like Green's Big Boy version of Phyrexian Arena. Activating revolt is trivial in Commander, be it cracking your Wooded Foothills or sacrificing a 1/1 token to Skullclamp, so I don't expect decks running Aid from the Cowl to miss triggers.

Primal Surge decks will love this as an easy source of card and mana advantage. Other decks might like this as another way to cheat big things into play if they run enough topdeck manipulation. For example, use Enlightened Tutor to put Omniscience on top of your library and cheat it into play with Aid from the Cowl.

 

Heroic Intervention

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

These days I always find myself running Boros Charm in WR decks and Rootborn Defenses in Tokens decks. They're great at protecting your board from removal; having all your creatures survive a Wrath of God while your opponents sweep theirs into the graveyard is an absolute gamechanger.

Heroic Intervention does the same thing but even better than Boros Charm because it also protects you from targeted exile cards like Swords to Plowshares and Return to Dust. In Green decks without access to Blue's countermagic, Heroic Intervention is simply amazing. A Counterspell is far more versatile, but making your board indestructible to a Wrath of God or Planar Cleansing while all your opponents drop their board into their graveyards is way better than just countering the wrath. That type of play wins you the game, folks!

I love Heroic Intervention, and I can't wait to surprise my opponents the next time they try to board wipe!

 

Rishkar's Expertise

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I run Hunter's Insight and Hunter's Prowess in my Xenagos, God of Revels deck. They draw a silly amount of cards. The only "downside" is that I draw so many cards but don't have the mana to play them all! 

Well, now we have a card that helps with the "problem," Rishkar's Expertise. It's safer to use than the other two cards because you don't need to target a creature with it, so your opponents can't kill a creature in response to make the spell fizzle, though they can kill your biggest creature to make you draw less cards off your second-biggest beast. You also don't need to deal combat damage. But the best part? You get to cast a spell of 5-cmc or less for free. And you get to do so after you draw your cards so you have the absolute best selection of what to cast. Holy moly it's so good!

I can't wait to jam Rishkar's Expertise in just about any Big Creature deck!

 

Rishkar, Peema Renegade

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

We've got on-theme ramp for the +1/+1 Counter archetype, and it's a great one! Rishkar, Peema Renegade acts as a Cryptolith Rite for your creatures with +1/+1 counters, while also enabling other +1/+1 counter synergies with the counters he provides, all for just 3 mana! Atraxa, Praetors' Voice or any other +1/+1 Counter deck will love him.

 

MULTICOLOR

 

Ajani Unyielding

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

One part card advantage, one part Swords to Plowshares, Ajani Unyielding is a sweet top-end for a Control deck and a very nice inclusion for Superfriends. You'll want him in a deck that doesn't run too many instants/sorceries and definitely some topdeck manipulation like Sensei's Divining Top and Sylvan Library for maximum value.

As a Superfriends player, it's a minor annoyance that we have yet another Ajani to consider, since you can only run ~3 versions of the same planeswalker before the legendary rule starts messing with you, but I do think that Ajani Unyielding is the best Ajani we've gotten so far. 6-cmc is a crowded spot for planeswalkers but we have the potential to draw 3 cards per turn while ticking up, and he can deal with threatening creatures! That's a significant step up from my next favorite Superfriends Lion Dude, Ajani, Mentor of Heroes.

 

Ajani, Valiant Protector

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Ajani, Valiant Protector does fine, consistent work for the +1/+1 Counter deck without needing to be built around. He doesn't have the potential to draw 3 cards per turn like Ajani Unyielding, but he's far more consistent in that he's always drawing you one, and it's always gas. Two +1/+1 counters per turn is also okay; not great for 6 mana, but not bad.

He's pretty much a worse Ajani, Mentor of Heroes; by no means a bad card, but you do have better alternatives.

 

Dark Intimations

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

If Wizards of the Coast intended to tap into veterans' nostalgia of Cruel Ultimatum, they've succeeded. Dark Intimations is similar to the lovely Ultimatum in that it's a massive card advantage swing for you and terribly painful for your opponents. It also plays way better in Commander since it scales for multiplayer, and it's way easier to cast, which is always a plus. Oh, and it has cute synergy with Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker, one of my favorite cards, letting you ultimate him on your second turn of him out! Yay!

Dark Intimations is amazing even without a single Nicol Bolas planeswalker in your deck. For flavor reasons you pretty much have to run both, however. Be sure to grow out your moustache so you can twirl it when you cast this!

 

Hidden Stockpile

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hidden Stockpile is an alright token generator and an alright sacrifice outlet wrapped together in one cheap card. If you have a deck that can make full use of both parts of the card, however, Hidden Stockpile becomes quite appealing. Athreos, God of Passage is probably the best fit for this enchantment, but I'm interested to hear what other people may use it for.

 

Oath of Ajani

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Many of the best planeswalkers for the Superfriends archetype happen to create tokens to protect themselves with. Oath of Ajani gives those tokens a boost and then gives a pretty good discount to your walkers, assuming you're regularly pumping out 1-2 per turn. The enchantment is particularly good in Superfriends lists led by Atraxa, Praetors' Voice, since she can proliferate the +1/+1 counters.

 

Tezzeret the Schemer

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Tezzeret the Schemer is a good addition to an Artifact deck. He's either generating flexible artifact tokens or acting as spot removal for bothersome creatures. His ultimate isn't amazing but it's easy to get off, and it's an emblem you keep for the rest of the game. That's a good chunk of value for a 4-cmc walker. Nothing insane, but all-around solid for sure.

 

Tezzeret, Master of Metal

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I feel obligated to review all the planeswalkers, so that's the only reason why I mention Tezzeret, Master of Metal. To put simply: he's not worth adding in Commander. Drawing one artifact or making an opponent lose some life is not worth playing a 6-cmc planeswalker. Black and Blue have far more powerful things to do at six mana. His ultimate is good, but not great for the amount of effort required (not counting Doubling Season). Pass.

 

Winding Constrictor

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Wow, what an insane counter generator this little snake is! It works with all counters, which includes energy (Aetherflux Reservoir), +1/+1 (Rishkar, Peema Renegade), and charge (Lux Cannon). This surely is an auto-include in all Atraxa, Praetors' Voice decks everywhere.

 

COLORLESS

 

Crackdown Construct

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

It's really easy to make Crackdown Construct infinitely large. You can do this with Lightning Greaves (which most likely your deck is already running). Or you can use Basalt Monolith to tap and untap itself. Or go for more niche cards and strategies.

The only downside is that Crackdown Construct has no form of evasion. You can fix that by giving it trample (Loxodon Warhammer), Flinging it, or my favorite, Chandra's Ignition to take out all your opponents at once.

My favorite use of the construct is probably in Brion Stoutarm decks, since most lists are going to be running the Greaves and Monolith anyway and our commander is a Fling on a stick!

 

Gonti's Aether Heart

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Artifact decks can now generate a massive amount of energy, but the question still is "what are you going to spend it on?" Cashing it in for a Time Walk is always nice, don't get me wrong, but you'll need another card or two to really make use of all that energy that Gonti's Aether Heart can make for you. Hmm, if only Artifact decks had access to another great energy generator/spender that also happens to be an artifact... coughcough Aetherworks Marvel cough...

 

Hope of Ghirapur

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Hope of Ghirapur is great at stalling an opposing Control or Combo player, either making sure you can cast your spells without fear of being Counterspell'd or just shutting off Mizzix of the Izmagnus for an entire turn. That's a lot of value for a 1-cmc creature! It's also open to a wide array of synergies, such as being tutored up with Trinket Mage and brought back repeatably with Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

You can run Hope of Ghirapur as your commander, but I'm not interested in that as long as Kozilek, Butcher of Truth is an alternative. I think Hope will find the most use in Alesha, Who Smiles at Death, Athreos, God of Passage, and Artifact decks looking for a silver bullet against noncreature-focused decks.

 

Inspiring Statuary

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

As if Artifact decks didn't have enough ramp, we now have a way to make the archetype's nonartifact spells even cheaper! I love the idea of tapping 3 thopter tokens to ramp out a Tezzeret the Seeker or similar. Statuary's value varies greatly on the Artifact deck you're putting it in, but if you have a decent amount of nonartifact spells and have lots of artifacts around that aren't mana rocks then it can do serious work.

 

Lifecrafter's Bestiary

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

I love me some Mentor of the Meek! Lifecrafter's Bestiary is Green's answer to it and is just as good. You need to specifically cast a creature to trigger its card draw, but there is no restriction on the creature's size, which makes the Bestiary very good for different types of decks. I love scrying so that extra ability is a wonderful inclusion too!

 

Merchant's Dockhand

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Merchant's Dockhand is a remixed version of Muzzio, Visionary Architect. There's a lot of differences here, but both are letting you peek at the top cards of your library and take the best card from them. The ability is powerful but it's tough for me to eyeball the cost of paying 4 mana and tapping a bunch of stuff vs. the benefit of digging for a card. It's a numbers thing. I'll have to play with it before I make my final judgment. It seems fair, not amazing, not bad.

 

Metallic Mimic

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Metallic Mimic is a really funky tribal anthem: instead of giving the chosen creature type +X/+X while it's on the battlefield, creatures of the chosen type come in with a +1/+1 counter. I'm not sure if that's better or worse but it's definitely different and opens up synergy with +1/+1 counter themes. I'm not sure there are creature types that specifically care about +1/+1 counters, but if there is, Mimic is quite a powerful addition there.

 

Paradox Engine

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

This is probably the most hyped card out of the entire set for Commander players, and for good reason: Paradox Engine is insane! For any deck that runs a lot of mana rocks (basically any non-Green deck), this artifact is an enormous mana ramp to play out your hand in a hurry. Mana Vault, Grim Monolith, and Basalt Monolith all just got way better. Green decks that run mana dorks like Birds of Paradise, or turn all their creatures into dorks with Earthcraft / Cryptolith Rite, get a lot better with this. Cards with big splashy tap effects, like Captain Sisay or Selvala, Explorer Returned get way better. Or you can do combos with it, like Isochron Scepter imprinting Lightning Bolt and any nonland that taps for 2+ mana (Sol Ring).

Paradox Engine is bursting with synergy and potential to be abused. It's fun, it's flexible, and you NEED to destroy it the moment your opponent puts it on their board.

 

Peacewalker Colossus

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Most decks won't be running enough vehicles to make good use of Peacewalker Colossus, but I mention this card because it's an amazing inclusion in Depala, Pilot Exemplar decks.

 

Planar Bridge

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Planar Bridge is definitely one of the splashiest and most exciting cards out of the entire set. It's basically the Mythic version of Planar Portal. It costs a bit more to tutor something up and only fetches permanents, but it puts the permanent directly into play instead of your hand. Paying 14 mana to play your first card off this artifact is very steep, but if you're playing Planar Bridge, then you're fetching up some equally splashy and expensive permanents, like Blightsteel Colossus or Omniscience

Planar Bridge will be a welcome addition to any Big Ass Spells decks. It could be decks like Jalira, Master Polymorphist, that pack enormous creatures. It could be in Jhoira of the Ghitu decks that are jam packed with giant spells, both creatures and sorceries. It could be in other decks as well! Be sure to pair the Bridge with Rings of Brighthearth for maximum value.

 

Scrap Trawler

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

So much artifact recursion in this set! Scrap Trawler encourages you to keep a graveyard full of artifacts, and in those decks it's a crazy card advantage engine. Decks like Daretti, Scrap Savant or Breya, Etherium Shaper love dropping artifacts into their graveyard to get other artifacts. Cards like Goblin Welder and Reshape just keep getting better and better!

 

Treasure Keeper

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Treasure Keeper is a sweet bit of card advantage in the right deck. If you can keep killing it, bringing it back, and killing it some more, its death trigger will do serious work. Cards like Goblin Welder, Daretti, Scrap Savant, or Nim Deathmantle are amazing at abusing it.

 

Universal Solvent

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

Black and Red decks without access to White/Green/Blue can sometimes struggle to deal with annoying enchantments, and in Black's case, artifacts as well. Universal Solvent is an expensive way of answering specific enchantments/artifacts in those colors. We also have Spine of Ish Sah and Scour from Existence for the same role, but Universal Solvent offers an alternative with its own pros and cons. The biggest thing going for it is its 1-cmc, which opens it up to interesting synergies such as Trinket Mage and possibly other things as well.

Is Universal Solvent worth running? In decks that synergize with its artifact subtype, its 1-cmc, and aren't in White/Green/Blue, and you're on a budget, then yes, it's a fine option. 

 

Walking Ballista

$ 0.00$ 0.00

Walking Ballista is Triskelion with a twist. If you cast it by paying its cmc, you have a more flexible, superior version of Triskelion. Unlike Triskelion, however, it doesn't enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters if you didn't pay its cmc. Triskelion always enters the battlefield with three counters even if you did so without paying its mana cost.

Which is better depends on how you plan on putting the artifact on the battlefield. If you plan on casting it, Walking Ballista is way better. If you plan on putting it into play without casting it, be it Reanimate or something else, then Triskelion is better. Of course, both work with the classic Mikaeus, the Unhallowed combo! Personally, I prefer Walking Ballista over Triskelion for most decks that want them.

 

Land

Spire of Industry

$ 0.00 $ 0.00

In an Artifact deck, or in a deck that happens to run a lot of artifacts, Spire of Industry is a City of Brass that has the option of not pinging you if you don't need colored mana. That's amazing, especially for 3+ colored decks like Sharuum the Hegemon or Breya, Etherium Shaper. Auto-include in those two decks.

 

Wrapping Things Up

The big winner from this set are Artifact decks. The archetype is probably the most supported archetype in all of Magic's history, and now we have a bunch more cards to play with. Blue and Red are still the best colors to be in when building an Artifact deck, but if you want 99% of the best artifact cards there's always Breya, Etherium Shaper to get access to White and Black.

 A bunch of other archetypes got one or two really amazing additions: Spellslinger got Baral, Chief of Compliance and Disallow, Equipment decks and Depala, Pilot Examplar decks got Sram, Senior Edificer, +1/+1 decks got Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Stompy decks got Rishkar's Expertise, a bunch of decks got Paradox Engine, and so on. It's a surprisingly good haul for such a small set!

Because people love lists, here's my loose top 10 ranking of cards I'm currently most excited for. It means nothing for how "powerful" the card is relative to others, just what I'm most eager to play with.

  1. Paradox Engine!
  2. Winding Constrictor
  3. Sram, Senior Edificer
  4. Baral, Chief of Compliance
  5. Rishkar, Peema Renegade
  6. Rishkar's Expertise
  7. Dark Intimations
  8. Trophy Mage
  9. Heroic Intervention
  10. Mechanized Production

Honorable mentions go to: Planar Bridge, Disallow, Whir of Invention, Sram's Expertise, Yahenni, Undying Partisan, Pia's Revolution, Gonti's Aether Heart, Hope of Ghirapur, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Scrap Trawler, Walking Ballista, Ajani Unyielding, Oath of AjaniTezzeret the Schemer, and Spire of Industry. Those are all the cards I'm most looking forward to playing with from the set. Quite a long list for such a small set!

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


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