aether revolt artwork

Aether Revolt Combat Tricks and Cards to Play Around

This weekend WotC will be delivering a gift of 184 fresh new cards with the release of Aether Revolt.  I believe one of the best places to start learning a format is by getting your head around the combat tricks, removal, sweepers, and other key effects that you can gain a strategic benefit from learning about and properly playing around.  You can use the guide below to prepare for your prerelease and beyond as the format matures.  Of course we’re not starting from scratch — there’s already an existing Kaladesh format.

But it will seem like Aether Revolt cards are much, much more common because a) two packs out of three in the draft are Aether Revolt and b) it is a small set, so the relative frequency with which each common appears is higher. But just like with Eldritch Moon, the last set is still in circulation, so I’m going to include Kaladesh cards again in the list of tricks here. Although their frequency may be diminished, there’s still a whole pack of KLD so you need to remain cognizant of the “old” cards.

I’ve also reorganized the formatting of this list, so hopefully it will be easier to use.  Let’s get started!

Combat Tricks and Bounce Spells

Green Combat Tricks

[cardimg align=none]Highspire Infusion[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lifecrafter’s Gift[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lifecraft Awakening[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Heroic Intervention[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Ornamental Courage[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Commencement of Festivities[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Blossoming Defense[/cardimg]

White Combat Tricks

[cardimg align=none]Alley Evasion[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Built to Last[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Inspired Charge[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Acrobatic Maneuver[/cardimg]

Red Combat Tricks

[cardimg align=none]Precise Strike[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Invigorated Rampage[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Built to Smash[/cardimg]

I don’t expect [card]Invigorated Rampage[/card] to be amazing (since it doesn’t help you win combat) but it definitely will enable some dumb wombo-combos with cards like [card]Scrapper Champion[/card] and [card]Electrostatic Pummeler[/card].  Mainly things that double and get an extra boost from trample.

Black Combat Tricks

[cardimg align=none]Renegade’s Getaway[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Cruel Finality[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Subtle Strike[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Rush of Vitality[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Make Obsolete[/cardimg]

What a downgrade from Kaladesh. Although [card]Renegade’s Getaway[/card] will likely have some nice synergy applications, 3 mana is a lot to pay for a trick like this.  [card]Grave Birthing[/card] was not a super strong card.

Blue Combat Tricks

[cardimg align=none]Illusionist’s Stratagem[/cardimg]
[cardimg align=none]Aether Meltdown[/cardimg]

Blue/Other Bounce Spells

[cardimg align=none]Leave in the Dust[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Dispersal Technician[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Baral’s Expertise[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Aether Tradewinds[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Select for Inspection[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Aethersquall Ancient[/cardimg]

Blue’s bounce spells are a little more proactive this time, in that they don’t require the creature to be tapped or require you to return one of your own permanents.  This might allow some slightly more aggressive/tempo strategies in contrast to the control-only role that blue had in Triple Kaladesh.

Sweepers and Removal/Damage Spells


[cardimg align=none]Yahenni’s Expertise[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Indomitable Creativity[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Monstrous Onslaught[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Foundry Hornet[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Perilous Predicament[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Chandra’s Pyrohelix[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fireforger’s Puzzleknot[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Take Down[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Furious Reprisal[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Incendiary Sabotage[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Make Obsolete[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Eliminate the Competition[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Hazardous Conditions[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fumigate[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Demon of Dark Schemes[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Cataclysmic Gearhulk[/cardimg]

Included here are cards that are not strictly “sweepers” but anything that can punish you for playing out multiple creatures.  There are no new Wrath effects in white, although black did get another at rare.

Red/Other Damage – Creatures Only

[cardimg align=none]Chandra’s Revolution[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Welding Sparks[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Harnessed Lightning[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Spark of Creativity[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Skysovereign, Consul Flagship[/cardimg]

Red/Other Damage – Both Creatures and Players

[cardimg align=none]Shock[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Hungry Flames[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Quicksmith Rebel[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Walking Ballista[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Chandra’s Pyrohelix[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fireforger’s Puzzleknot[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Furious Reprisal[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fateful Showdown[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Dynavolt Tower[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Chandra, Torch of Defiance[/cardimg]

Red/Other Damage – Players Only

[cardimg align=none]Implement of Combustion[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Welder Automaton[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Consulate Turret[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Gremlin Infestation[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Reckless Fireweaver[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Spireside Infiltrator[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Unlicensed Disintegration[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Combustible Gearhulk[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Saheeli Rai[/cardimg]

Black Drain

[cardimg align=none]Ironclad Revolutionary[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Gonti’s Machinations[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Night Market Lookout[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Underhanded Designs[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Marionette Master[/cardimg]

Black/Other Removal – Size Unconditional

[cardimg align=none]Daring Demolition[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Universal Solvent[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Perilous Predicament[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Battle at the Bridge[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Dark Intimations[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Tezzeret the Schemer[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Tidy Conclusion[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Underhanded Designs[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Unlicensed Disintegration[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Eliminate the Competition[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Noxious Gearhulk[/cardimg]

Black/Other Removal – Conditional

[cardimg align=none]Cruel Finality[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fourth Bridge Prowler[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fatal Push[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Vengeful Rebel[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Die Young[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Subtle Strike[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Essence Extraction[/cardimg]

You’ll note here that if you can properly play around these cards (not allowing your opponent to trigger revolt, not getting into a combat where -2/-2 would kill your big creature), you can severely eliminate the effectiveness of several of these otherwise pretty powerful black removal spells.

White Combat-based Removal

[cardimg align=none]Deft Dismissal[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Impeccable Timing[/cardimg]

White Removal – Conditional or Enchantment-based

[cardimg align=none]Caught in the Brights[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Deadeye Harpooner[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Thopter Arrest[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ajani Unyielding[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Revoke Privileges[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Skywhaler’s Shot[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fairgrounds Warden[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Captured by the Consulate[/cardimg]

Blink and bounce (and to a lesser extent, sacrifice) effects still look quite good against the premier white — and blue, for that matter — removal spell.

Blue Removal

[cardimg align=none]Ice Over[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Malfunction[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Shrewd Negotiation[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Aether Meltdown[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Confiscation Coup[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Dovin Baan[/cardimg]

Green Removal

[cardimg set=AER align=none]Prey Upon[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Monstrous Onslaught[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Peema Aether-Seer[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Hunt the Weak[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Nature’s Way[/cardimg]

Anti-flying Removal

[cardimg align=none]Take Down[/cardimg]

Instant Speed Enchantment Removal

[cardimg align=none]Decommission[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Appetite for the Unnatural[/cardimg]

Instant Speed Artifact Removal

[cardimg align=none]Decommission[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Natural Obsolescence[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Appetite for the Unnatural[/cardimg]

[card]Decommission[/card] adds another small dimension to playing against white – you weren’t going to get surprised by a [card]Fragmentize[/card], but with this card you now have instant speed artifact removal available in both green and white.

Killing You out of Nowhere: Mass-Pump Spells

Mass-Pump Instants

[cardimg align=none]Lifecrafter’s Gift[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Invigorated Rampage[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Inspired Charge[/cardimg]

Other Mass-Pump Cards

[cardimg align=none]Dawnfeather Eagle[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ridgescale Tusker[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Rishkar, Peema Renegade[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Midnight Entourage[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Oath of Ajani[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lightning Runner[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Start Your Engines[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Engineered Might[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Durable[/cardimg][cardimg align=none]Chief of the Foundry[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Master Trinketeer[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Depala, Pilot Exemplar[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Verdurous Gearhulk[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Angel of Invention[/cardimg]

Now that we only have only one pack of Kaladesh, it appears the go wide strategies may be weakened.  You won’t be able to get [card]Inspired Charge[/card]s as reliably; or have to be worried about getting killed by it as much, for that matter.


Counterspell – Unconditional

[cardimg align=none]Disallow[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Failed Inspection[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Disappearing Act[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Insidious Will[/cardimg]

Counterspell – Conditional

[cardimg align=none]Negate[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Metallic Rebuke[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Revolutionary Rebuff[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ceremonious Rejection[/cardimg]

We’ll see how playable [card]Metallic Rebuke[/card] ends up being, but it’s interesting that anything in the range between a simple U up to 2U can represent the card.

Combat Math Effects

Threaten Effects

[cardimg align=none]Wrangle[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Kari Zev’s Expertise[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Hijack[/cardimg]

There are actually some artifact and creature sac outlets at common in Aether Revolt, so these cards have an increased chance of ruining your day.

Falter and Tap Effects

[cardimg align=none]Take into Custody[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Destructive Tampering[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Spire Patrol[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Pacification Array[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Renegade Wheelsmith[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Renegade Tactics[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Pressure Point[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Pia Nalaar[/cardimg]

Haste Creatures

[cardimg align=none]Enraged Giant[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Tezzeret’s Touch[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Yahenni, Undying Partisan[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lightning Runner[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Spontaneous Artist[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Speedway Fanatic[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ovalchase Dragster[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Iron League Steed[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Snare Thopter[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Brazen Scourge[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Skyship Stalker[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Bomat Courier[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lathnu Hellion[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fleetwheel Cruiser[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Nissa, Vital Force[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Saheeli Rai[/cardimg]

It looks like Aether Revolt has really stepped down the number of haste creatures, featuring only two at uncommon.

Cards That Give Flying/Evasion When Played

[cardimg align=none]Aerial Modification[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Aeronaut Admiral[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Larger Than Life[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Giant Spectacle[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Engineered Might[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ghirapur Guide[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Key to the City[/cardimg]

Flash Creatures

[cardimg align=none]Shielded Aether Thief[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lifecraft Awakening[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Whir of Invention[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Torrential Gearhulk[/cardimg]

[card]Lifecraft Awakening[/card] is an interesting one.  Fortunately your opponent will have to massively telegraph this by having an artifact untapped and probably at least 3-4 mana to help it win combat.  And if they’re trying to use that spell to help block, a well-timed bounce or removal spell will set them back significantly.

Tricks that Untap a Creature

[cardimg align=none]Illusionist’s Stratagem[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Acrobatic Maneuver[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Ornamental Courage[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Dramatic Reversal[/cardimg]

And the Rest…

Discard Effects

[cardimg align=none]Implement of Malice[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Herald of Anguish[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Mind Rot[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Harsh Scrutiny[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lost Legacy[/cardimg]

Although I will say, if you see a [card]Herald of Anguish[/card] on the other side of the table, the discard effect is probably the least of your worries…

Fog Effects

[cardimg align=none]Commencement of Festivities[/cardimg]

Instant Speed Lifegain

[cardimg align=none]Decommission[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Tidy Conclusion[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Appetite for the Unnatural[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Essence Extraction[/cardimg]

KLD Special:  Artifact Removal

From the Kaldesh Article: Typically we only care about instant speed artifact removal (which can ruin your day if your creature is equipped, for example), however with the sheer number of artifacts creating a strong theme, artifact removal will often be more equal to conditional creature removal in Kaladesh.  In sealed deck, players are going to be drawing from six packs of their best artifacts, so it’s likely that you’ll have even more targets for these.

I think the above thought applies equally as much to Aether Revolt.  Of note, [card]Daring Demolition[/card] can kill vehicles because it’s a sorcery.  Losing that instant flexibility of [card]Tidy Conclusion[/card], I guess they had to give us something in return.  Four colors actually have access to some kind of vehicle/artifact removal and blue even gets [card]Leave in the Dust[/card], which can target any permanent.

[cardimg align=none]Decommission[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Natural Obsolescence[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Destructive Tampering[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Daring Demolition[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Universal Solvent[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Consulate Crackdown[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Release the Gremlins[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Indomitable Creativity[/cardimg]

[cardimg align=none]Ruinous Gremlin[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fragmentize[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Demolish[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Appetite for the Unnatural[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Creeping Mold[/cardimg]

AER Special: Revolt Cards

Revolt adds some very interesting dynamics to limited gameplay — do you use your removal now or risk using it later when you might give your opponent a revolt bonus?  Do you really want to trade off creatures if you could cause them to make an awkward/suboptimal play by not giving them the revolt trigger?  Because these decisions are going to be ubiquitous in Aether Revolt, you should know what universe of cards your opponent might have based on the mana available.  Particularly the commons and uncommons.

Below, you have every single card with revolt in the set:

[cardimg align=none]Countless Gears Renegade[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Lifecraft Cavalry[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Night Market Aeronaut[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Silkweaver Elite[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Decommission[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Vengeful Rebel[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Deadeye Harpooner[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Fatal Push[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Airdrop Aeronauts[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Narnam Renegade[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Hidden Herbalists[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Hidden Stockpile[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Renegade Rallier[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Call for Unity[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Greenwheel Liberator[/cardimg] [cardimg align=none]Aid from the Cowl[/cardimg]

And that should do it for Aether Revolt.  I expect much of the gameplay around vehicles to be quite similar to Kaladesh limited, but revolt should lead you to some very different cost/benefit analyses than you’ve had before.  As always the most fun part will be trying out dozens of new cards.  Have fun!

19 Kaladesh Undefeated Prerelease Decks

What do all the decks below have in common?  They didn’t drop a single match during the prerelease.

I’ve scoured the internet to find you some of the best pools that people have shared from over this weekend.  While many of these decks have a lot of bombs, perhaps the most interesting for our purposes are the ones that rely more on synergy or high overall card quality.  I was surprised (well, only a little) by how many common fabricate creatures there were throughout all these decks.  The semi-card advantage, artifact synergies, and flexibility with vehicles make them too good to pass up.

White continues its dominance in sealed – in part to great bombs, two common removal spells, ability to blink creatures, and the pervasiveness of fabricate creatures.   [card]Smuggler’s Copter[/card]s are flying around everywhere.  Maindeck artifact/enchantment removal seems to work.  Surprsingly, most decks topped out at two vehicles.  I don’t know if this is a coincidence but I had previously thought the optimal number might be three instead.  No [card]Aradara Express[/card]es either.

Read on to see what it took to finish the first day in Kaladesh with a perfect record…

The Decks



Record: 4-0

Notable: Only two removal spells (plus [card]Fairgrounds Warden[/card]) and one vehicle.  Just 17 guys, albeit a lot of very high quality ones with some good energy payoffs.



Record: 4-0

Notable: Rightly splashing [card]Dovin Baan[/card] and [card]Master Trinketeer[/card] for some finishing power, the deck takes advantage of U/B artifact synergies and black removal.



Record: 3-0

Notable: [card]Night Market Lookout[/card], [card]Morbid Curiosity[/card], and off-color [card]Weldfast Monitor[/card] all seem questionable; the deck has three mana accelerants to power out a turn four [card]Verdurous Gearhulk[/card], which is just insane.



Record: 4-0

Notable: This deck is nicely set up in that it has a ton of ways to stall the game to buy time for deploying Rashmi, Nissa, or [card]Metalwork Colossus[/card].  It’s unfortunate there are so many great energy producers but no powerful way in the deck to utilize all the energy.



Record: 4-0

Notable: I’m actually a little surprised that this is an undefeated deck.  Yes, it has a planeswalker, but a bunch of [card]Wind Drake[/card]s and 2/3 prowess guys are not exciting at all.  I get the splash for [card]Furious Reprisal[/card] but it’s not like it just wins you the game if you play it.  But with the lands it’s virtually free.



Record: 4-0

Notable: Some insane vehicles here.  I would probably play Apprentice too if it meant I could get my [card]Smuggler’s Copter[/card] online.  The creature count seems dangerously low, though.



Record: 4-0

Notable: In his tweet he calls it a “pile,” however the deck has four fantastic rares in it in Caravan, Bristling Hydra, Gonti, and [card]Demon of Dark Schemes[/card]…



Record: 4-0

Notable:  A lot of value going on here — and it’s not just [card]Cloudblazer[/card].  So many two and 1.5 for ones, and the bounce/flicker effects for rebuys.



Record: 4-0

Notable: So far I’ve seen a lot more of [card]Built to Last[/card] in these decks than I thought I would.  Although the indestructible (which is a nice effect to have in sealed) is conditional, all his highest-value creatures are artifacts, so it is even better to protect them.



Record: 5-0

Notable: [card]Deadlock Trap[/card] looks about as good here as it will ever be — there are 10 other sources of energy (plus [card]Aether Tradewinds[/card], more than enough to keep it going for the remainder of the game.  Three [card]Aether Theorist[/card] to find your gamebreaking bombs, plus all the four drops are amazing.



Record: 5-0

Notable: Wow there are so many mediocre creatures in this deck!  But the sheer quantity of fliers is quite high.



Record: 5-0

Notable: Nothing helps keep up that early pressure like a [card]Chandra, Flamecaller[/card] into [card]Verdurous Gearhulk[/card]…



Record: 5-0

Notable: What a really cool, powerful and synergistic deck.  Ample removal, with a ton of fabricate creatures and +1/+1 counter synergies.  The [card]Dukhara Scavenger[/card], is interesting given the wealth of other options.  I didn’t get a chance to play with/against this card… is it actually good in sealed?



Record: 5-0

Notable: This is as close to a “Green White energy” deck as you’re going to see.  [card]Eddytrail Hawk[/card] has so many giant monster options to launch into the air. Maybe W/G is the best use for the card?



Record: 5-0

Notable: This looks like a draft deck, with the curve topping out at four.  It also is only 16 lands — why not?



Record: 5-0

Notable: Our friend [card]Fumigate[/card] seems to be appearing a whole lot, isn’t it?  Maindeck [card]Fragmentize[/card] along with [card]Appetite for the Unnatural[/card] seems to have paid off for quite a few people.  I think this is actually our first appearance of [card]Prakhata Club Security[/card].



Record: 6-0

Notable: 6-0, sweet!  Another version of the “nuts R/W aggro” deck, this time without the Chandra but still with 16 lands.  Trinketeer, Copter, and Deepala keep the gas coming if the game starts to drag out — you need some effects like this if you’re going to play this type of deck.



Record: Undefeated

Notable: If we only all could be so lucky to get double [card]Cloudblazer[/card]! This appears to have quite the ambitious manabase, and I’m not sure splashing the [card]Sage of Shaila’s Claim[/card] is worth it, among other things.




Record: 4-0

Notable: I can’t say I really understand how these piles are organized… that notwithstanding, we have an 18 land deck here.  This seems a bit dangerous because the curve is not that high, and with the small exception of the artifact creatures with activated abilities there aren’t any mana syncs to be found.  Plus the extra land to hit on your [card]Combustible Gearhulk[/card] — tragic!

Thanks for reading.  I hope you feel a little better informed going into your next sealed Kaladesh event.  If you like this article please like Limited Master on Facebook or follow LM on Twitter!

Take Inventory Card Art

Ben Stark: EMN is Great, You Should Draw in Sealed

In a rare recent draft video over on CFB, limited guru Ben Stark drafted an unusual (and cool) black/red spells based control deck.  Throughout the video he dropped a few format-specific gems of knowledge between rounds.  Namely:

You Should Be Drawing in Sealed

We’ve all heard this a million times, but it is great to reinforce the point — if a format is a) low pressure and b) you have tons of cheap removal, you should be on the draw.  Both Eldritch Moon draft and sealed happen to be fairly low pressure environments, so this is something to be looking for when you evaluate your match against your opponent’s deck.

If he or she is not going to run you over by curving out on you, then having that extra card is imperative.  One other interesting comment that Stark had was if a pro Magic player chooses to draw against you in game 2 of a GP, you should think long and hard before not drawing in game 3 yourself if you get the choice.  That person, being a pro, is likely to have a more sophisticated understanding of the matchup than you.

Eldritch Moon is Ben’s Type of Format

Because the format is so low pressure, it allows you to spend more time gaining value through card advantage.  As opposed to dying with a card rotting in your hand that you were unable to cast, you can afford to hold on to an expensive, yet powerful, card a bit longer and at a lower opportunity cost.  This is similar to the first Modern Masters set, which had quite a high power level.
[cardimg align=right]Drownyard Behemoth[/cardimg]
I don’t think this is to say that Eldritch Moon is glacially slow – anything but.  There are aggressive archetypes that are capable of applying a lot of early pressure if they get the right cards, especially at uncommon or higher (eg R/B vampires). You just have a little more time than usual to deploy powerful, gamebreaking sources of card advantage like emerge creatures.