Fun Fact: Smuggler's Copter was legal for less time than Skullclamp was. Wrap your head around that for a minute. Skullclamp, a card banned in both Legacy and Modern, lasted longer in Standard than Smuggler's Copter did.
The similarities between the two cards are worth calling attention to. Vehicles are obviously new, and equipment was still a new subtype when Darksteel hit the shelves. When dealing with new cards types, suddenly R&D can't draw from years of Magic knowledge to design, develop, and balance them. For the most part, Magic design still pulls from Alpha's playbook — Highspire Infusion, for how fresh it feels, is still just a Giant Growth variant — but when dealing with new card types, established heuristics go out the window.
Skullclamp was a victim of last-minute tweaks, while Smuggler's Copter was likely a deliberate push in order to make vehicles relevant in Standard that simply went too far for the DCI's liking. Both are colorless cards, pliable enough to go in any deck, that draw cards. That's a classic recipe for homogenization of decks in a small format, if not outright brokenness.
Growing up playing with Skullclamp, it was tough to appreciate just how all-time busted it is. Of course it's lame to lose to one, but in the moment, it helps me more to focus less on how busted a card is and focus more on how to win the format in front of me. At the end of the day, I love Magic, and despite their best efforts, Skullclamp, Smuggler's Copter, Jace, the Mind Sculptor, Pack Rat, et al. just aren't strong enough deterrents to get me to stop trying to win games. Maybe that's a testament to much deep the game has its hooks in me. Who knows? Point is, as skeptical as I am that Smuggler's Copter and Skullclamp are comparable in power level, it's certainly possible that Smuggler's Copter is the second coming. But I highly doubt it.
More can be said about what the hell they were thinking while developing Emrakul, the Promised End, whether or not Reflector Mage deserved the banhammer, and how much consumer confidence the new increased frequency of B&R announcements inspires. But that's not really why we're here, and besides, gallons of digital ink has been spilled on the topic already and it hasn't even been a week yet.
Puresteel Paladin was great in Block Constructed half a decade ago, and players are trying to recapture that magic with its spiritual successor, Sram Senior Edificer. It's less clear what players are trying to recapture with Yahenni, Undying Partisan. The magic of... Wild Colos? Who knows? Greenbelt Rampager, along with other aggressive green standouts like Hidden Herbalists, Narnam Renegade, Greenwheel Liberator, and Rishkar, Peema Renegade have me really excited to give mono-green aggro a shot in Standard. Stompy was the first deck I ever made, and I've wanted to get back to get back to my roots for some time now.
The expertise cycle, along with some of the stronger revolt cards (cough Fatal Push cough) feels a lot like a collective effort to directly influence Modern. Another "second set," Oath of the Gatewatch, was the beneficiary of a handful of cards designed to influence Modern, and it resulted in an Eldrazi-dense Top 8, an Eye of Ugin ban, and a Modern archetype that still pervades today and can make a reasonable claim as one of the format's best decks.
Yahenni's Expertise in particular looks to be egregiously strong in Standard. Tarmogoyf will shrug off a Yahenni's Expertise in Modern, but in Standard, the sequence of Yahenni's Expertise into Liliana, the Last Hope will be annoying and tough to beat in equal measure. It's going to suck.
The Felidar Guardian / Saheeli Rai combo is one I'm less worried about. It is true that tapping out against an opposing Saheeli Rai can now result in a loss on the spot, but there's enough stuff that interacts with Felidar Guardian that I think we'll be okay. Expect either Saheeli Rai or Felidar Guardian to get banned in the next round of bannings if they make a strong showing at the Pro Tour and a subsequent Grand Prix though.
How do you pronounce this card? I do it differently every time and there's no predictive way to figure out which pronunciation will come out of my face. Sometimes it's buh-rahl, and sometimes I pronounce it "barrel." How am I supposed to pronounce this word?! I know they playtest the cards, but do they playtest the names too? They should do that. That's my take and I'm sticking to it.
Aether Revolt has a handful of cards that look like they'd be broken by so much as a stiff breeze. File Inspiring Statuary in that category. It's not clear what it's going to do yet, but it's a nice, cheap pickup that has lots of potential.
Renegade Rallier is another Aether Revolt standard that feels like a card that goes from unassuming to supernova at the drop of a hat. Another cheap buy that has immediate applications in Modern and enough power to contend in Standard, Renegade Rallier could follow price patterns of other defining midrange Modern three-drops like Eternal Witness and Kitchen Finks.
Tribal has a massive casual appeal, so if you predicted that Metallic Mimic was going to sell well, congratulations on identifying the no-brainer. What's more interesting to me is whether or not Metallic Mimic will make a dent in Standard. Last week, Adam Yurchick wrote an introductory primer on the card that's worth checking out if you're interested in the myriad of directions you can push Metallic Mimic in in Standard.
Well, this card just looks nuts. Important note that you're probably already seen a hundred times by now: Rishkar, Peema Renegade only requires a counter on a creature. It can be any type of counter! WHEEEEE
The reason Aethersphere Harvester's selling better than Heart of Kiran has everything to do with its price point. Heart of Kiran is clearly the better card, clearly the one that will make its mark on Standard, but Aethersphere Harvester's outselling it at the moment because stock in Heart of Kiran's pretty high in the wake of the Smuggler's Copter ban. Aethersphere Harvester is a fine card in its own right, but its sales at this point can safely be chalked up to its relative accessibility.
Of course. Of coooouuuuuurse. What other Aether Revolt card could contend with Fatal Push for most influential card of the set? Its Planeswalkers are duds, re-skinned versions of Sorin, Grim Nemesis and Narset Transcendent. Heart of Kiran will forever be compared to its superior, banned counterpart, Smuggler's Copter. Fatal Push is the only logical best-seller.
Fatal Push checks a lot of the boxes a perennially well-selling card has going for it. It's uncommon, and it's a multi-format staple — yes, it will perform in Modern. Fatal Push will be the Aether Hub of Aether Revolt, which is to say that it'll be the best-selling card twice a week and there's nothing anyone can do about it.