First take on the AER Draft format

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Oliver Polak-Rottmann

Hello and welcome back in 2017. I hope you had a lot of fun at your prerelease events and are looking forward to draft with the new set Aether Revolt as much as i do.

I personally really enjoyed Kaladesh draft, so I was excited to see what will change with the addition of a new set. I can take one thing away at the very start: 《Renegade Freighter》 is still the best common in the format and Skysovereign is still almost unbeatable. By now I have done 12 Drafts, so I think I should be able to give you a quick overlook of how the draft format looks now. I am talking specifically about the draft format, as you can not convert this to the sealed portion of the format.

Renegade FreighterSkysovereign, Consul Flagship

In Kaladesh there were pretty strict limitations for how your decks looked like in terms of synergies between colors. When a new set enters the block usually these patterns tend to break up a little bit. Aether Revolt is no exception to this “rule”. Your core commons change, the mixture of possibilities to open a card or get them during a draft change so you have to adapt for that. For last time I decided it was better to analyze the format by archetypes, for this time I will stick to the colors by themselves. But first let’s start with the new mechanics.

Revolt is the first mechanic I want to talk about and most of you know it’s rules through 《Fatal Push》. In limited it is much harder to trigger the ability so you need some helpers to get top value from your cards. Cards like the 《Renegade Map》, 《Unbridled Growth》 and the Implements are great at getting you there. Especially the Implements performed much better than I expected, still you would not want to overload in this department. But also blinking a permanent gets you there, so the quality of a card like 《Acrobatic Maneuver》 goes up by a lot. You can just blink your revolt creature and the effect triggers again! This is pretty exceptional on a card like 《Vengeful Rebel》. Green certainly is the color where you can use the revolt cards the easiest.

The second new keyword is Improvise. At first I did not think this ability will play out that way, but through the new cycle of energy cards there are more servos running around than there were in Kaladesh and the implements can also work quite handily as a 《Mind Stone》. To some extent there was one improvise card in Kaladesh in the form of 《Gearseeker Serpent》. it worked a little differently but cheating with mana is unsurprisingly pretty good. I personally really like 《Fen Hauler》 quite a bit, but all improvise card perform much better than expected as to give you a huge tempo swing.

Fatal PushRenegade MapUnbridled Growth

This is still an artifact-block, but there are not that many real artifacts floating around on the battlefield. Yes, there are several artifacts like Servos and Implements, but hardly any that stick around. The vehicles are generally weaker than the ones from Kaladesh so I still advise against running artifact removal in your maindeck because there are still enough decks that do not care about artifacts at all. I was not the biggest fan of 《Pyromancer's Goggles》 and and 《Torch Gauntlet》 in Kaladesh only, but they are overperforming for me right now as they help with improvise and are very strong with all the artificers in this set. The strongest artifact in the new set set is 《Pacification Array》, at least from my own experience.

The multicolor cards are insanely strong in this set. Again they are all either uncommon or rare, which means you cannot plan on getting them every time. In weak packs I could see myself firstpicking a multicolor card, but generally I would advise against it. I already firstpicked them twice in this format, both times they had to sit on the bench, as you have to be able to surf in this format as you could get some real late “bombs” if you are in the right color. I also think it’s reasonable to send them on the way in pack two, as the chances of wheeling them are given besides for the 《Maverick Thopterist》, as he is just too good.

Implement of FerocityPacification ArrayMaverick Thopterist

Tempo: It is very hard to analyze the right tempo at the beginning, but it feels like it is similar to Kaladesh in this regard. It did not get slower, as you got a lot of incredible good two drops and improvise speeds up the clock aswell. However the removal got more efficent, so games tend to go longer, but still its about the same speed in the first few turns as you will not survive a game where you play nothing before turn 4.

Regarding rare bombs I really like what Wizards did with this block as bomb rares are hard to find. Sure, they are good and from time to time have unique effects but they are just small upgrades from certain commons or uncommons. There are always your planeswalkers and Skysovereigns, but besides that I feel like it is pretty balanced.

Chandra, Torch of DefianceGideon, Ally of ZendikarDovin BaanSaheeli Rai

Over the last few Sets and Blocks, White has always been considered to be the best or one of the best colors. In Aether Revolt white is by far the weakest color from my understanding. At first it hardly as any really good rares that you would want to firstpick, it has no good uncommons besides the 《Oblivion Ring》 and in the common department it’s just okay. You have 《Dawnfeather Eagle》 but all your removal is pretty bad and also the pump spells are weaker than in other colors, even though 《Conviction》 has impressed me quite a bit. You can just bounce it to trigger revolt, so keep that in mind!

Regarding color combinations the Kaladesh block was never good for UW Fliers and I still would not want to draft it unless I have to. WB Servos I really liked in Kaladesh but now I think it is also not near the cream of the crop as you do not have fabricate anymore and 《Aether Inspector》 is by far the worst of this cycle. WR is still the aggressive vehicles deck but I also feel like it just lacks ways to push through properly. WG is the deck that could benefit from revolt the most and should be able to afford splashes and could potentially run different stategies with a go wide token strategy or very aggressive or even with an energy theme, however for that 《Eddytrail Hawk》 seems crucial.

Dawnfeather EagleConvictionEddytrail Hawk

Blue left the spot as the weakest color in Kaladesh and has now surpassed white, it’s still not my favorite. At least you got a bunch of good Rares, nice play around Uncommon cards and some very good energy commons. With 《Leave in the Dust》 and 《Ice Over》 you have some interaction and you have card draw to compensate for the lower quality of spells. Blue/Black is an interesting combination as it can go either control or rather aggressive. This basically depends on your artifacts. The more artifacts you play the slower you get because you orientate your gameplan to power out big improvise creatures or Serpents.

With UR you try to make tempo plays from efficent two drops with bouncespells or removal. You spellcount will be higher, so you have to make sure that your creatures are good and not too low impact, therefore some bigger beaters are also welcome and of course 《Gearseeker Serpent》 is always welcome. Blue/Green is your energy deck with tempo. It plays out differently than with red as your creatures are way bigger, but your removal is more conditional. In both combinations the multicolor cards really shine and for UG you can almost always afford running a small splash.

Ice OverGearseeker SerpentLeave in the Dust

Black is very interesting this time around as you have tool for all kinds of strategies. You have a big beater, a 《Typhoid Rats》 with upside, quality removal and great cards in the rare and uncommon slots. You also have 《Defiant Salvager》 which looks bad in the first place, but it’s really strong as you can also just sacrifice your Implements and generate an advantage there and of course it always triggers revolt. I really like black as it is really interactive it is just a little weaker then the next two colors.

Your Black/Red deck could go different directions, but usually it will be pretty aggressive with an artifact theme. You can improvise into the red creatures and deal a lot of haste damage or you could generate a lot of value with 《Defiant Salvager》 and 《Wrangle》. This Deck also has a lot of reach and can punish people even if you are behind at certain spots. 《Augmenting Automaton》 is pretty nice in this deck as well due to it being able to improvise and having reach.

Now we move to the color which I consider to be the best in the current format as it has 3 out of the 4 best commons in the set and the best uncommon. 《Shock》, 《Chandra's Revolution》, 《Aether Chaser》 are the best commons along with 《Daring Demolition》 and 《Scrapper Champion》 is the best card in general. If this guy is not answered you can immediately pack your things and go home. Equipped with something or with the power of pump Spells there is no way of beating this card. It is really hard to draft red because the cards all seem so powerful and unsually red creatures are junky, not even that is the case this time. Even 《Frontline Rebel》 and 《Embraal Gear-Smasher》 are decent cards if they fit your gameplan.

Defiant SalvagerWrangleAugmenting Automaton

This leads us to the last color combination in form of Red/Green. Most of the time if both of the best colors get paired together you end up having the best deck, that certainly is the case here. Due to the flexibility of both colors you can end up with different strategies, but try to keep the artifacts out of your deck as they do not help with any gameplan and might turn on dead cards in your opponents deck. >But from RG Energy to RG superbeats or RG Big Guys everything is possible. If you are drafting red, keep in mind that 《Torch Gauntlet》 is very good with all your red creatures because they either have first strike, menace , must attack or have the ability to sacrifice artifacts.

Last but not least there is green, and it once again is pretty stong. Quality two drops in form of 《Scrounging Bandar》 a decent energy creature with 《Aether Herder》, 《Prey Upon》, good Revolt creatures, insane Uncommons, you get everything this time around. Green does not go too well with artifacts but besides that you can customize as you please. A pretty nice interaction is the 《Scrounging Bandar》 with revolt, as you can move the counters in your upkeep to trigger revolt and therefore enable bigger boards. It is hard to say which cards are the best, as it really depends on your deck and strategy when the overall quality of cards is so high.

Torch GauntletScrounging BandarPrey Upon

I hope you could take something away from this article and use it for your next Grand Prix, Pro Tour or Friday Night Magic event. You will hear from me again in a few weeks, hopefully with a tournament report for a successful tournament and until then, I wish you the best of luck


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