Aether Revolt Set Review: Black

Every day a different color! Today it’s Black as we continue our descent into Aether Revolt spoilers. Black had some powerful cards but other than that they weren’t really . . .  Well, you’ll see! Before we get into it, let’s go over my grading scale for good measure.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.
Each card will be given a rating of 1-5.

0 — Will never see play in Standard (Rating not used for Standard)
1 — Unlikely to see play (Hedron Alignment)
2 — Could see fringe play, or occasional SB card (Negate)
3 — Commonly played. Staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Tireless Tracker)
4 — Format Staple, sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Aether Hub)
5 — Format warping. Every deck plays this, or is built with this card in mind. (Gideon, Ally of Zendikar)

And that being said, let’s get into the meat of the article!

Aether Poisoner — 2

I don't see a Black energy deck really popping up but if one was to, this is a good card for that deck, mostly because of the Deathtouch which obviously allows it to block very well but it also lets it attack well and go unblocked most of the time. If that is happening, you can get a decent number of servos.

Alley Strangler — 1

The only thing this small creature is going to strangle is itself. I'm sorry, I couldn't think of anything funny to say for this little Aetherborn. We've just come a long way from 3 mana for a 2/3.

Battle at the Bridge — 2.5

For whatever reason, I think about Dark Salvation when I see this card. Dark Salvation wasn't as good as some thought it would be. This is similar but has way more upside since it can be reduced via playing artifacts and it gains you life which is great for any removal spell that control decks plays. Without artifacts, however, it's just not good enough. So, if there is a good Blue/X control deck, I can see this card being a part of that deck. Otherwise, I don't expect it to see any play.

Cruel Finality — 1

Scry 1 is cool and all but we really need to be able to kill creatures, Heart of Kiran, and creature lands. No thank you, too much mana for a conditional removal spell.

Daring Demolition — 1

This was a card I was wishing for in Aether Revolt. I wished for a 3 mana one that was instant. 4 mana for a sorcery speed removal spell isn't nearly good enough when Languish sometimes wasn't good enough against the Vehicle decks. Leave this one alone.

Defiant Salvager — 1.5

You could potentially grow this creature to be huge. While I doubt it will see play in a tier one deck, I could see it in some sort of fringe Black artifact deck.

Fatal Push — 5

You know how good you think this card is? Well, it's better than that. Fatal Push is what control decks needed so desperately. Hopefully it's enough. People must build decks with this in mind, it will make 5-drop creatures more valuable than 4-drop creatures or at least make you consider the 5-drop over the 4-drop, just like Spell Queller did when it was first released. This card is obviously one of the best removal spells ever for Eternal formats since it works with fetchlands. As if fetchlands weren't good enough.

Fen Hauler — 1.5

Don't confuse Improvise with Delve. This is insect is no Gurmag Angler.

Foundry Hornet — 1

Too much mana, too much work, too much everything for such a small payoff. Not worth.

Fourth Bridge Prowler — 2

Might see some play in sideboards to battle against small creature decks.

Gifted Aetherborn — 2.5

Easily a very solid sideboard card, and if the vampire deck ever takes off, it could find a home there. I like it more in midrange / control deck then aggressive decks. This card is even better now that Smuggler’s Copter is out of the format. It’s very hard to get through.

Glint-Sleeve Siphoner — 3.5

Now this card is very good! If you are generating energy in other ways you don't even have to attack with it, just untap with it. It's also a very good sideboard card for control decks if the control mirror ever becomes a thing. Menace is a great keyword to have on this thing. This could easily slide into a B/R aggro deck that has spells like Harnessed Lightning and the such. Turning your Harnessed Lightnings into "draw a card and lose one life" is nothing to scuff at, especially when they aren't doing anything in the matchup you're in. Keep an eye on this one, I have a feeling it might make some Black/x aggro deck good.

Gonti's Machinations — 1.5

That's a lot of work to just drain someone. You'd have to really take advantage of the energy part to make it worth it, even then I don't think it's worth it . . . 

Herald of Anguish — 3

A lot of good text on this card, but again the question to ask is how easy will it be to cheapen this thing by three or 4 mana? If you can do that without making your deck bad, then this creature basically becomes a crazy Tombstalker. You like sacrificing cues to draw cards? Well you'll love what this demon can do with your extra clues.

Ironclad Revolutionary — 1

Limited card. We have a lot better options for 6 mana in Constructed, one of them being Noxious Gearhulk.

Midnight Entourage — 1.5

If the vampire tribe still hasn’t taken off in Standard, then don't hold your breath for the Aetherborn one. Just not nearly enough good Aetherborn to make this creature worth it. Stick to Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.

Night Market Aeronaut — 1

I don't like to keep saying this, but this is just another card that's good in Limited and not Constructed. 4 mana for maybe a 3/3 flier? No thanks! Stay away from this Night Market.

Perilous Predicament — 2

Instant is the only reason I'm giving this thing a two. You could technically see Black Torrential Gearhulk decks play one or two of these if there is a tier one deck where Perilous Predicament is very good against.

Renegade's Getaway — 1

I have no idea where this would be good. Maybe in the sideboard of some aggressive deck where you want to protect your creatures from a board wipe? Even then that makes the servo useless? Limited.

Resourceful Return — 3

I can easily see this in the sideboard of Black aggressive decks to out attrition opponents by re-buying a creature with a Heart of Kiran or Scrapheap Scrounger in play. Could even see it in some emerge decks with clue tokens. This card is pretty good, two cards for 2 mana usually is.

Secret Salvage — 2

U/B Hedron Alignment anyone? This card is more a combo card then an attrition card. Can do more in eternal formats then in Standard. Still, if you can get Hedron Alignment to work with it I'll give you a high five and a hug.

Sly Requisitioner — 2

Interesting. An Improvise creature that rewards you for playing artifacts not only via Improvise but also when an artifact goes to the graveyard. I can't think of anything right now, but I'm sure this card can combo with some card in Standard to generate some insane amount of value, maybe Scrap Trawler?

Vengeful Rebel — 2

If fetchlands were a thing this card would be really good. The value is going to really depend on how easily you can trigger revolt. The easier it is for you to turn on, the better this rebel will be.

Yahenni, Undying Partisan — 2

Speaking of Revolt, Yahenni turns on Revolt cards easily. You can also keep them alive by sacrificing your Scrapheap Scroungers or whatever other creatures you have laying around. They work well with Fumigate and Gideon, Ally of Zendikar. You could build a B/W Midrange deck with Yahenni and the aforementioned cards. I'm just not sure you even need or want Yahenni in that deck. Only testing will tell!

Yahenni’s Expertise — 4

Yahenni's Expertise

Not quite Languish but that's okay. It will sometimes be better than Languish and other times it will be slightly worse. It really depends on what you're playing against and what three or less converted mana cost card you’re casting after it. There are so many things you can do with this card. I like the idea of clearing the board and then dropping a Lunar Force or any card draw spell after it. Even a Liliana, the Last Hope is a good thing to cast to either get rid of that 4 toughness creature or to just have a Planeswalker on an empty board.

Top 5 best Black cards in Aether Revolt

  1. Fatal Push
  2. Yahenni’s Expertise
  3. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner
  4. Gifted Aetherborn
  5. Battle at the Bridge

This puts the Black top 5 cards point average to 3.5. Black doesn’t have many great cards but the ones it does are extremely good, most notably, Fatal Push. Well everyone, that’s all I got for today. Tune in tomorrow for when we go over the Red cards in Aether Revolt.

As always, thanks for reading,
Ali Aintrazi
Follow me @Alieldrazi

Take a look at the other entries in the Set Review!


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