And it’s finally here. Kaladesh and Aether revolt were the last two sets missing from the full standard in MTG: Arena, and the last primer waiting to be written up for our website. The magnificent plane of Kaladesh awaits to be explored, and really, what better way than through draft?
Aether Revolt resembles Dominaria in a lot of ways. It allows a lot of freedom when drafting and focuses on card interaction rather than archetypes. The main characteristics of this limited format are:
- - 2x Aether Revolt & 1x Kaladesh booster packs
- - Low tempo much like RIX slowed down the snowbally IXL limited, Aether Revolt does the same for Kaladesh. While trading up and maintaining board control is important, games do not snowball out of control as easily
- - Strong removal is available even at common rarity. Combined with somewhat weaker creatures than there were in Kaladesh
- - Creatures are important: as they are generally weaker than in Kaladesh, picking up dull fatties is often better than lucrative weenies
- - Red is the best color: yes, really. It’s not as overbearing as it is in constructed, but combat tricks, burn and premium removal put it slightly ahead of the pack
- - White is the weakest: but not by a large margin. Don’t be afraid to draft it if you find it wide open
- - Not archetypal: unlike more or less every other set, including Dominaria, archetypes are wide open, and you can draft more or less any two colors you wish. Focus on card synergies instead.
- - Improvise: allows a player to tap artifacts rather than pay some of the mana cost of a spell. Each artifact tapped after activating mana abilities pays for 1 mana. (e.g Battle at the Bridge)
- - Revolt: signals that a spell or ability has different effects, additional effects, or may only be used if a permanent you controlled left the battlefield earlier in the same turn. (e.g. Silkweaver Elite)
- - Energy (Kaladesh): An energy counter is a counter that, unlike most other counters, is placed on players rather than objects. It’s used as a resource to pay for certain abilities (e.g. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner)
- - Vehicles (Kaladesh): Artifacts with this subtype have the crew keyword, which allows them to temporarily become artifact creatures
As I've iterated earlier, the archetypes are very loose in Aether Revolt, and have decided to instead break the format down by colors. They are listed in the order of power as I perceive them, each with the best removal, bomb and commons available to them.
The strongest color in Aether Revolt draft. Although tempo is not as important as it was in Kaladesh, Red has the perfect tools to continuously trade up and maintain the control of the board. Filled with cost effective and hard to block creatures, pair it with any other color and ride to victory.
If red is straight up the strongest color, black is the one I personally find the most fun. Deathtouch, removal and Menace are defining black in Aether Revolt, making it a perfect main or support color regardless of what you pair it with.
+1/+1 counters, some of the fattest bodies and decent removal are a great way to compensate for any shortcomings green might otherwise have. As the common creature cards are all but impressive in this color, I love to pair it with either red or black, both Gruul and Golgari representing my two favorite color pairs in the format
Evasive flyers are a staple of blue in any Limited format and it’s no different in Aether Revolt. The power and flavor of any blue based deck will depend heavily on the color you pair it with. I found the color best used in a tempo styled deck, where its low stat fliers can apply the most pressure.
To be fair, most of the strongest cards in the format are artifacts. Not only is the crew mechanic very powerful, picking artifacts help us stay open longer, and can help us if we end up color locked at any point in the game.
That's ignoring the fact a nuclear shit ton of cards synergises with artifacts, tutors or recurs them.
All in all Aether Revolt is a fun format that allows a lot of experimentation, wacky interactions and relatively powerful albeit not very fast decks. If you have enjoyed the relative freedom of Dominaria, Aether Revolt should be right down your alley even though it has its quirks.
This article concludes our Draft Primer series until Core 2019 in June. Hope you’ve enjoyed it and best of luck!