I'm just going to get right into it. These are the cards that sold the best throughout the entire Aether Revolt preview season. Let's go.
Aethergeode Miner has a lot of little things going for it. Blade of the Sixth Pride was groundbreaking when it was first printed but has gotten more and more underwhelming as players have gotten more reps with and against it. Aethergeode Miner's a dwarf, which will be relevant in aggressive tribal decks sporting Metallic Mimic and Depala, Pilot Exemplar. Three power is also emphasized more than usual thanks to some of the more conservative crew costs among vehicles. To top it all off, Aethergeode Miner triggers revolt by itself by simply attacking and then exiling itself before blocks.
Lifecrafter's Bestiary isn't quite Glimpse of Nature - the obligation of paying a green mana to draw a card off a creature every time makes it much harder to build up both cards and mana - but half a Thassa, God of the Sea stapled to a fairer version of Glimpse of Nature can swing midrange and control matchups.
My wish for the near future is for some sort of mono-green stompy deck to become relevant in Standard again, if only for a moment. Ideally, it wouldn't need some sort of devotion/constellation gimmick - just give me a deck with undercosted green monsters, pump spells, and Forests. I'm not asking for much here. Greenbelt Rampager's on the gimmicky side thanks to its energy requirement, but at the end of the day, a 3/4 for G will entice me no matter what.
Walking Ballista scales up and down, provides a mana sink, and can pick off chump blockers. These sound more like upsides for Limited than Constructed, but if Aether Revolt Standard ends up becoming grindfests, it's important to note that Walking Ballista pairs very nicely with many of the green cards of Kaladesh block, including Verdurous Gearhulk and Rishkar, Peema Renegade.
I'll stop grouping all the expertises together once some decks come out and their roles become more distinguished, but for now, they're just a cycle of rares that break the fundamental tenents of Magic and demand to be broken. Hot Take That I Just Came Up With: Sram's Expertise is the new Cloudgoat Ranger. Luis Scott-Vargas played Cloudgoat Ranger in the finals of a (Constructed!) Pro Tour. People forget that.
Anyone else out there remember Elvish Warrior? A 2/3 for a scant two mana seemed too good to be true to 13-year old Jon; between Gifted Aetherborn and Winding Constrictor, Aether Revolt's done a fine job at blowing that particular door off the hinges. Winding Constrictor's another card that combos with Rishkar, Peema Renegade, Walking Ballista, and every other midrange card in Kaladesh block.
This is the last time I'll hammer on it, but after a weekend of events, I will thereby expect ALL OF YOU to be caught up. Capisce?
Here's the deal: Saheeli Rai's -2 ability targets Felidar Guardian. A Felidar Guardian copy (with haste!) enters the battlefield and triggers, targeting Saheeli Rai. Saheeli Rai comes back with three loyalty, and more importantly, it can be activated again. That's the loop: Keep copying Felidar Guardian, keep blinking Saheeli Rai in and out of existence, and eventually make enough Felidar Guardians to run over the opponent.
The Seth Manfield piece that ran on Wednesday took an in-depth look at a bunch of different ways to build around the combo.
Our very own Adam Yurchick wrote a comprehensive primer on Metallic Mimic. You should read it.
Renegade Rallier doesn't replace Kitchen Finks in Modern in matchups like Burn or Affinity, but in a midrange mirror, Renegade Rallier looks to be a great successor. The card's floor is "when Renegade Rallier enters the battlefield, get a fetchland back," so it's definitely worth a look.
Now that Smuggler's Copter's banned, the race for the title of Best Vehicle in Standard is way more interesting. It appears to be a two-way race between Aethersphere Harvester and Heart of Kiran; Aethersphere Harvester's only selling better because of its considerably lower price point, but both have some similarities and a couple deliberate differences.
Heart of Kiran has Aethersphere Harvester beat on both converted mana cost and power, but Aethersphere Harvester has a much lower crew cost, can facilitate energy strategies, and swings life totals more than Heart of Kiran by virtue of its lifelink activated ability. If Aethersphere Harvester plays better with energy, Heart of Kiran plays better with Planeswalkers. Right now, my money's on Heart of Kiran, but that also banks on it being the first crew 3 vehicle to see considerable Standard play. That doesn't look like a stretch on its face, but the difference between crew 1 or 2 and crew 3 is huge. Both vehicles have their merits, and the one you select will be largely contingent on what the rest of your deck's doing. That's far more interesting than slamming Smuggler's Copter in every deck because it's far and away the best vehicle.
My intuition on Aether Revolt Standard is that it's going to be full of crazy linears. The Saheeli Rai / Felidar Guardian deck is at the forefront of everyone's mind going into the weekend, but Aether Revolt introduces a lot of cards that fuel potential engines: Inspiring Statuary, Lifecrafter's Bestiary, Paradox Engine, Gonti's Aether Heart. And that doesn't even include the linear-type cards from Kaladesh that will only get better with more cards based out of Kaladesh - I'm referring to stuff like Dynavolt Tower, Aetherworks Marvel, and the like.
Rishkar, Peema Renegade will be hard-pressed to make a dent in a format like this. It's a midrange card - a very good one! - but a midrange card nonetheless. Rishkar decks will get swallowed whole by Yahenni's Expertise decks and will get thoroughly outpaced by all the combo decks. Rishkar, Peema Renegade will certainly dunk all over aggro decks, serving as an excellent stepping stone for green decks to transition into Verdurous Gearhulk-fueled lategames, but decks that play Rishkar will be stopped cold by the decks players should be playing; the way this weekend's Open shakes out could make or break Rishkar, Peema Renegade.
Of course. What other Aether Revolt card was more unanimously hailed than Fatal Push? Aether Revolt's Planeswalkers are a bust until proven otherwise, and Smuggler's Copter's too fresh in anyone's mind for them to get excited about Heart of Kiran, so that leaves Fatal Push. Sure to be a player in Standard, Modern, and probably even Legacy, Fatal Push is the kind of funny spell that gets better as the average converted mana cost of the format falls, which is why it will almost certainly see play in Modern, Legacy, and maybe even Vintage.
Have a good weekend. I'll be glued to Magic coverage. See you Monday.