Aetherflux Reservoir was kept on the fringe of Standard playability due to Aetherworks Marvel being a slightly faster and more consistent combo deck. With the banning of Emrakul, the Promised End, there may be space for various flavors of Aetherflux Reservoir to become a bigger force in the metagame. Atsushi Ito certainly thought highly enough of the archetype to bring this exciting take to Grand Prix Shizuoka:
Bant Aetherflux Reservoir- Aether Revolt Standard | Atsushi Ito, Grand Prix Shizuoka
Atsushi Ito builds on this by adding Sram, Senior Edificer to the mix. This card lets you run out your zero-drops early in the game to help you hit your land drops and assemble a gameplan. Additionally, the ability to use Sram to turn your equipment into draw spells means Baral’s Expertise is an exciting combo piece as well as tempo play. Baral’s Expertise can either reset your opponent’s board or bounce three of your equipment while allowing you to put Aetherflux Reservoir or Oath of Jace into play.
The last new piece of the combo is Inspiring Statuary, and this card changes things quite a bit. The ability to give your non-Artifact spells improvise means you can cast multiple copies of Baral’s Expertise and Paradoxical Outcome on your combo turn, since all of your cheap artifacts are effectively Moxes. Baral’s Expertise becomes particularly powerful in this context because you can use it to cast additional copies of your combo artifacts for free off of an improvised Baral’s Expertise.
This build of Aetherflux Reservoir combo adds a lot of new and interesting interactions that give this deck the ability to combo much more aggressively and consistently. The deck is also substantially less likely to fizzle, given the increased density of draw effects and free mana. Whether it has become fast enough to race the Saheeli Rai decks or gain enough life to buy time against Mardu Vehicles is a question we have yet to answer, but I can’t wait to see if someone can make it happen.