At halftime during some NBA basketball games, a challenge is presented where a member of the audience has thirty seconds to make a layup, a free throw, a 3-point shot, and then a half court shot. If they make all of them, they win a lot of money. I’m going to challenge myself to do the same, except with Aether Revolt spoilers. Unfortunately, if I end up hitting all of my shots I won’t win $50,000. I’m going to pick four cards that I think are going to be good in some capacity. One that everyone knows (layup), one that most people agree on (free throw), one that’s controversial (3-pointer), and one that’s a real long shot (half-court shot).

Let’s get started.

Layup

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Greenbelt Rampager

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Let me get this out of the way, since it seems to be an area of contention: this card will not see play in Modern. Energy as a mechanic is simply not pushed enough. However, I certainly think that this card being played on turn two is still extremely impressive. If you’re playing a deck that supports Attune with Aether, you could play a Rampager (or two!) on turn two. Something important to note is this card’s unique ability to bounce itself and gain energy rather than sacrifice itself, which essentially lets you cast it on turn 2 if you also cast it on turn one. Also, turn one Forest into turn two Aether Hub pays for Greenbelt Rampager without forcing you to jump through hoops. The exact manner in which this card is going to succeed is hard to predict, but there is no doubt that this card is going to be a Standard staple in some capacity. Beyond that, it’s unique design is going to be remembered for years to come. I’m a big fan of this card.

Free Throw

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Heart of Kiran

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As we see in the Expertise cycle and throughout the history of magic, alternate costs are dirty, dirty things to play around with. For many of the planeswalkers in Standard, one loyalty counter isn’t a big cost (think Gideon, Ally of Zendikar), and a 4/4 flying body is especially relevant because it blocks a certain 3/3 flying artifact that may or may not have been attacking a lot of planeswalkers in the past few months. Heart of Kiran is a card that would probably just be an average Limited rare without it’s alternate activation cost, but with that alternate casting cost being included and the fact that this card is colorless, I would be very surprised to not see Heart of Kiran out in the field. However, I would note that as the amount of mainboard artifact removal in the Standard format increases, Heart of Kiran might just be one of the first artifacts to hit the bin.

Three Pointer

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Kari Zev, Skyship Raider

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I can already tell you that this card is one of my five favorite cards of all time. This is exactly the power level that I want cool Legendary rares at and it is fun and interactive in Limited. Come on, who can hate this card when it creates a Legendary Monkey token? Let’s talk about what this card actually does. I think that Kari Zev, Skyship Raider could actually see a lot of play in R/B Aggro in Aether Revolt Standard. Outside of Smuggler’s Copter, there is a real possibility that players are going to try and move away from Vehicles in general due to an increase in removal and the printing of Fatal Push. Kari creating an additional creature on attack is going to be useful because it spreads attack and a 1/3 first strike isn’t the easiest thing to kill in combat. It might be a rather long shot, but I think that Kari has some potential, but it will certainly depend on the contents of the rest of the spoilers.

Half-Court Shot

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Consulate Dreadnought

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The combo between the cheap/free vehicles and Start Your Engines has been mentioned by many players. But, this combo is especially relevant with Consulate Dreadnought. If an opponent isn’t ready for the combo, then it can end up being a fairly easy kill, and even if the opponent is aware of the combo, the fact is that the opponent is going to have a very hard time attacking if they are aware of the easy activation of your 7/11. Furthermore, Consulate Dreadnaught fills out a curve in a vehicle combo deck that is not fully addressed, unlike the two and three mana spots. I understand that the card looks very bad on paper, but in the right deck there’s a chance that this card could see Standard play.

Let’s go, Knicks!

Read all about the most obvious layup revealed in Aether Revolt so far in this article by Jonah Gaynor.

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