This weekend is the Aether Revolt prerelease, and today I'm going to tell you which cards to get rid of now while the price is high and which cards to pick up while the price is cheap. Most of my recommendations are based on each card's usefulness in non-multiplayer formats, but some Commander consideration are also made. Comments will be brief as I will touch on every Rare and Mythic Rare in the set!
We're also going to play a game with a prize to the winner. Here's how the game works. Pick the mythic rare I am the most wrong about, percentage-wise. Then pick the non-mythic rare I am the most wrong about, percentage-wise. For instance, last time I was wrong about Torrential Gearhulk spiking after the Pro Tour – I told people to sell it – but I was right about most other things. So you would basically want to pick which card I say to sell that will actually go up the most (or a card I say to buy that will go down by the most) by this time next month, right after the Pro Tour. Do this for a mythic rare and a non-mythic rare from the set and submit your picks in the comments section of this article. I will send a foil Grand Prix promo Progenitus to the winner, along with some extra swag to be determined.
Aside from Fatal Push, this may be the best card in the set. Works great with planeswalkers, three-drop, three-power creatures (of which there are many), and especially Toolcraft Exemplar. I expect this to replace Smuggler's Copter in a lot of decks and see enough play in winning decks to merit $20.
A lot of people are down on Tezzeret, but I think there are enough good artifacts in Standard for this to be a reusable removal spell with other abilities tacked on. Not as versatile as Heart of Kiran, but all it takes is one breakout performance to spike.
I liked Ajani a lot as an answer to Emrakul, but even without Emrakul in the format I think Ajani is very good. He requires some deck-building restrictions to get full value out of him, but as long as you can accelerate into him, I think he will be worth the cost.
Intruder Alarm now costs five mana and untaps artifacts in addition to creatures. The fact that the effect is one-sided on this card makes it more appealing in multiplayer formats (I think?) but I don't expect this card to take off in popularity unless someone comes up with a broken combo deck.
Demons historically do not rise in price, even if they see as much play as Mindwrack Demon. I think this one may be an exception. Board-dominating if it sticks around and gains card advantage as long as it survives to the end step, which it almost always will. Very scary in a Tezzeret deck.
Extremely hard to beat once it gets going, but six mana without impacting the board and then eight mana thereafter are both very steep costs.
Alternate win condition in a deck that can generate a bunch of clues, but I'm highly skeptical this will see play in a competitive strategy.
Cool idea and I'm sure people will try it, but this is not a five-mana Time Warp. The cost appears to be too steep on this one.
Red polymorph with the added restriction of not being able to play artifacts in your deck, but also with an added upside of being able to target multiple permanents to avoid getting blown out by an instant speed removal spell. I would buy at $.25 but certainly not at 10 times that price.
A Platinum Angel you have to exile in order not to die? No thanks!
The idea is neat, but it costs too much energy to use and I expect Shock to be a staple in Standard, making this quite the awkward five-drop.
I have a hunch $1 is low. I don't expect big things, but it really is game over in a lot of scenarios and hard to stop. This might by the card to replace Emrakul in the Red-Green Marvel Ramp strategies since it can be cast on the fourth turn off a turn three Chandra, Torch of Defiance. It's also a good follow-up to Ishkanah, Grafwidow since the tokens give you energy to reuse Aetherworks Marvel.
Super good with Liliana, the Last Hope. Vehicles are the weakness of sorcery speed removal, but with Copter leaving, this downside is not very big. It's the new Languish of the format, but I don't think $5 is really sustainable for a card like this. The card is great, but only goes in one or two decks and is the Game Day promo.
Unlike Yahenni's Expertise, I think Baral is straight up overvalued. It will go into Modern Storm – if that is even still a deck without Gitaxian Probe –but likely won't see much play in Standard. Maybe Tiny Leaders?
This one is interesting. Unlike all the wacky combo enablers of the set, determining whether this card is good is purely a value analysis. The body blocks most things, including Archangel Avacyn and Heart of Kiran, and the lifelink helps to win races. Evasion is great and the crew cost is low. I think there is enough upside for this colorless card to buy at $3.50. If it's good in the metagame, then it will go into a lot of different decks.
Strong card that will see play, and will even make its presence known in Modern. Long-term it may go up in value, but I don't think the appeal will be high enough in Standard just yet. Lands that fix mana like this definitely have the potential to be in high demand though.
This may prove to be the most versatile counter in Standard, but even still, the double blue to cast will keep it from being a splash and will therefore likely only see play in dedicated control strategies, of which there will likely only be one or two. The card is good and I expect to pick up a playset at some point, but I highly doubt it will stay at $3.50.
It's an artifact for Toolcraft Exemplar, it pumps tokens and non-tokens alike, and it can fit into multiple different tribal strategies. I think it has just enough going for it to buy at $3. It's basically Anafenza, Kin-Tree Spirit for every tribe and color.
I think it will see play, but only in one deck, and even if that deck is good, I expect the price to drop. Gold cards are so narrow in terms of which decks want them, unlike artifacts.
Kills creatures, is a mana sink, and can burn out an opponent. The rate is pretty weak, but it also disrupts the Saheeli combo. I would buy at $.50 but sell at $2.
Revolt enabler, energy producer, and cost-effective threat all rolled into a card that only costs one mana to cast! I expect it to find enough homes to stay around $2 and possibly move up to $3-4 at some point.
Really good follow-up to a second turn Winding Constrictor or Grim Flayer, so I expect it to see play in Black-Green Aggro decks. It may also make its way into Green-White Tokens to be played off Sram's Expertise. Just an overall strong card.
Speaking of which, I like nearly the entire expertise cycle, even though I don't think all will necessarily rise in price. They create tempo like the cascade mechanic by essentially granting you a free Black Lotus worth of value when cast.
This isn't the type of card that will "take off," but I could see it being played in an aggro White-Blue Flyers deck or an artifact-matters aggro deck. Still, $1.75 is too much.
This card has my favorite flavor of any card in the set! Attack with a pirate and a legendary monkey comes out of nowhere and attacks with her! The rate is quite high and she is human, so I expect her to see play in a few aggro decks.
Could see play in a deck with lots of cheap artifacts, especially if such a deck has an artifact-based combo kill. This could be a sleeper if someone else finds the right deck for it. I have not found it and so I am selling until I do.
Doesn't stop Yahenni's Expertise and has the same awkward timing as Selfless Spirit against Kozilek's Return triggering from the graveyard. Still, It stops most other removal spells and might compete for space with Blossoming Defense in some lists depending on the metagame.
The problem with Threaten effects is that they put you behind on tempo the turn you cast them, so they really have to be a finishing blow to be good. This one essentially costs just one(!) mana, so does not have the same drawback. If the opponent's plan to play creatures, this will be good.
Much worse without Smuggler's Copter, but Raphael Levy built a budget white weenie deck around it if you're interested.
Great follow-up to second turn Heart of Kiran, but I don't expect it to be as good as most other three-drops in the format, even though it's colorless.
One-sided Evacuation that lets you cast another spell the same turn. This one is underrated.
I'm calling this one
Dark Confidant, how me miss you! This one is actually okay.
Not quite powerful enough for Modern, and lacks efficient enablers in Standard.
Great Commander General to follow up with Damnation, but too many of Standard's best removal spells exile or give –X/-X for the indestructible ability to shine.
The mana cost is likely too steep for Standard, but maybe for Commander?
Sideboard card for green decks against grindy midrange decks.
Dying to Shock is a big deal. Dwarves have better three-drops.
Steep crew cost, but makes your other vehicles better if you're playing white.
Worst rare in the set.
This is my #2 pick for sleeper rare of the set! It can attack freely any time. If they block it, then blink it out for free and your other attackers get through. If they block another attacker, then you get to keep the two energy to protect it from a removal spell later. If you play it on the second turn and they play a blocker instead of a removal spell, then you can use a removal spell on their blocker and then you get that energy reserve to protect it from future removal spells. It's not the best card in the world, but the rate is good enough that $.50 is way too low.
Could be a strong card in the right wacky deck, but I won't be the person to find said deck.
A decent amount of value for a one-drop, but it will only see play in blue decks that benefit from cheap artifact creatures, which means only in one deck - and that deck might not even be good.
Might see play in some numbers, maybe just as a sideboard card in a Tezzeret deck. Not much upside here though.
Manic Vandal would be great in Standard right now, and this is basically Manic Vandal that can splice more Manic Vandals when cast! This is my #3 hidden sleeper pick of the set and incidentally the one with the most upside since it is basically bulk price right now!
Sweet, a four-mana Rotlung Reanimator! Maybe if Aetherborn were somehow good?
Reasonably powerful, but why play this over a planeswalker?
Unity among the bulk rares! We will rise to obscurity as one unheard voice!
When Nicol Bolas returns, this will likely jump in price. Wizards loves to do this type of foreshadowing.
Great Whale? More like Not-So-Great Whale.
Neat against Affinity or potentially against Tezzeret decks as a sideboard card, but unlikely to rise much above a quarter if at all.
This one might actually see some play, but it's an outside chance. The Demon is stronger and in a better color for cheap artifacts to fuel the improvise mechanic.
Why are the rebels in this set not actually part of the rebel tribe? Are the Mercadian Masques searchers deemed too good to add to their tribe? They see literally no play anywhere. This is a major flavor fail in my opinion.
I expect a few improvise cards to see play and Key to the City works great with them. The quicksmith cycle I'm less hopeful about, but Key works great with those too.
With Felidar Guardian-Saheeli Rai combo sure to become a major player in Standard, Authority of the Consuls is an extremely inexpensive proactive answer with additional upside of tapping down potential blocker.
Jeskai Saheeli combo mirrors will likely become a thing and Fevered Visions seems like a great way to win the mirror. Also good at defeating control decks that want to sit on a handful of reactive hate cards waiting for you to go for it.
Pick one mythic and one non-mythic and submit your picks in the comments!