Welcome to another Aether Revolt draft breakdown. If you are new, join me as I run through the draft pick by pick, building the deck as we go, then read a quick rundown of the matches played.
We are a fair way into the format now, and I feel I have a decent handle on the cards and archetypes, although I wouldn't call myself an expert on it by any means. Still, I am enjoying the format. Let's get into it.
Pack 1 pick 1:
Always the most exciting of picks, pick 1 for me was pretty easy, with Daring Demolition being the best card in the pack by far. Unconditional removal is hard to go passed, even if it is sorcery speed and 4 mana. Prey Upon was a slight consideration, as green is better than black in this format, but by taking the black card and leaving a single, very mediocre black spell in the pack, the player to my left was less likely to go into black.
Other than those two, I like Aetherstream Leopard, Hinterland Drake and Outland Boar, but they are all worse than Daring Demolition.
Pack 1 pick 2:
After first picking a black card, there was no way I was passing Fatal Push here. Again, the other black cards are average, so it sends a signal to the left players to stay out of black.
What else is in the pack? Caught in the Brights is good, as is Dawnfeather Eagle. There is a good chance the players to my left will go into white with those being passed. There is also Scrapper Champion, a good, solid creature.
Pack 1 pick 3:
There is no decent black card here, so I need to look at something else. Luckily, we have a very good card in Chandra's Revolution. Although I am only 3 picks in, I'm going to assume this is a bit of signal from my right that red may be open. There is also a Scrounging Bandar here, which is an excellent creature. I like black/green as a colour combo, but in the end decided the red spell was probably the better option.
Pack 1 pick 4:
To get passed a second Chandra's Revolution is surely a sign, so I snapped it up. I almost took Maverick Thopterist, mainly because I wasn't seeing much come through in black and figured it might be cut off and I may need to abandon it. Blue/red could certainly be a possibility, but in the end I stuck with the single-colour card.
Pack 1 pick 5:
Yet another Chandra's Revolution, and yet another Maverick Thopterist. This pick, in my mind, was the turning point of the draft, and was going to decide which direction to go in. Do I move into blue/red, which certainly seems to be a good plan, or stick with my first two picks and commit to black by picking Aether Poisoner? At this point, I hadn't passed much in blue apart from the last pack. I took up my whole allotted time in the end, but decided to stay true to the black cards and took the Poisoner, hoping I would get paid off in pack 2 if the players to my left had read the signals.
Pack 1 pick 6:
I'm a big fan of Aether Chaser, and now I am certain red is open to my right. I snapped it up.
Pack 1 pick 7:
Here I get the gold uncommon that nudges you in the direction you should go for that colour pair. Weldfast Engineer is the poster boy of black/red decks, pushing you into an artifact theme, something that was already happening with my last two picks. I took it, but wouldn't have been unhappy with Sweatworks Brawler or Welder Automaton either.
Pack 1 pick 8:
Here I have a choice of Wrangle, which I'm not a fan of, or Mobile Garrison. I don't mind this card (I seem to like it more than others, though I know it isn't great), but in this build - which will probably involve a lot of artifacts - it goes up in value.
Pack 1 pick 9:
Back to the first pack, and there is an Embraal Gear-Smasher or a Night Market Guard for me. While the Guard works better with the Weldfast Engineer, it's very fragile, and works better as a defensive card. I would be looking to get aggressive in this colour pair, so I went with the Gear-Smasher. It also has synergy with sacrificing random servos created by two of our other cards.
Pack 1 pick 10:
Precise Strike is a fine, cheap combat trick, so I took it. Foundry Hornet really has no synergy with what I am trying to accomplish, and Renegade's Getaway is not great (even if it does create a Servo).
Pack 1 pick 11:
I'm unlikely to play Universal Solvent with all the better removal I've got, but it is a 1 mana artifact if I manage to pick up a bunch of red improvise cards.
Pack 1 pick 12:
Foundry Assembler has underperformed for me so far, so I am unlikely to play it, even though it fits the theme of the deck.
Here are the last few picks of pack 1:
Pack 1 pick 13:
Pack 1 pick 14:
Pack 1 pick 15:
Here are all the pack 1 picks:
I have a lot of good removal, so will be focusing on getting some quality creatures in the next pack.
Pack 2 pick 1:
I had three good cards to pick from here, with Aether Poisoner and Embraal Gear-Smasher being fine choices. However, it's hard to go past another Aether Chaser, as it is just one of the best commons in the set.
Pack 2 pick 2:
There were two cards that I looked at in this pack: Augmenting Automaton and Sweatworks Brawler. Both are good in the type of a deck I was looking to build. In the end I went with the Brawler, as I thought I could probably pick up some Automatons later.
Pack 2 pick 3:
Speaking of, here as another Automaton. I took it here over another Chandra's Revolution, mainly because I didn't want to overload on 4 mana removal spells. The Automaton can help get the Sweatworks Brawler out and is also a target for Weldfast Engineer, so it's a fine choice here.
Pack 2 pick 4:
For this pick I went back and forth on Cruel Finality and Frontline Rebel, though ultimately chose another removal spell. My reasoning was it might be helpful to have some cheaper removal, and the scry can help fix draws. Plus, even though I was likely to be getting my aggro on, the drawback on the Brawler is real.
Pack 2 pick 5:
I'm wondering whether the correct pick here was Destructive Tampering in hindsight. Still, I'm not unhappy with getting another Cruel Finality; while I am unlikely to play all the removal (though it could be possible), it never hurts.
Pack 2 pick 6:
Another Augmenting Automaton here. I will probably only play the 2nd one if I get a bunch of improvise, which is not looking likely now.
Pack 2 pick 7:
The first three cards in this pack were all considerations. I had plenty of removal already, so that was a mark against Aether Poisoner; the Embraal Gear-Smasher was a possibility though more than one can cause redundancy issues; which left Welder Automaton. This is much better than I originally gave it credit for and slots in very nicely in this deck.
Pack 2 pick 8:
A second Welder Automaton over a third Cruel Finality. The removal is certainly flowing, though I have enough, and the Automaton further plays into the theme I am going for.
Pack 2 pick 9:
An Implement doesn't hurt, though I would have preferred the red one over the black. I doubt I will play it, but it gives me options.
Pack 2 pick 10:
Frontline Rebel is more playable for me at this point than another Implement or Automaton, so it was the pick here.
Pack 2 pick 11:
Alley Strangler is an okay card, more as a curve filler than anything though.
The rest of the picks for pack 2 were:
Pack 2 pick 12:
Pack 2 pick 13:
Pack 2 pick 14:
Pack 2 pick 15:
So, here are the cards I would consider playing so far:
I still think I need more creatures, and maybe something at the high end as well in order to have some sort of end game. Let's see how I go with Kaladesh.
Pack 3 pick 1:
Know what's good in an artifact aggro deck? Smuggler's Copter, that's what. In combination with Weldfast Engineer, this thing could be insane. This was an easy pick. Foundry Screecher could also go well, but I might be able to pick them up later.
Pack 3 pick 2:
This was an interesting choice. There was another Foundry Screecher, but I ruled it out as I still think I can pick them up later. Wayward Giant is kind of that end-game I was looking for, but is not a fantastic card. Finally, there was also Essence Extraction, which is probably the strongest off all the cards. However, I had a ton of removal already, so went with the Giant.
Pack 3 pick 3:
This pack was far less exciting. I didn't really want any of the red or black cards, so took Eager Construct. This will actually perform well in the deck, I think.
Pack 3 pick 4:
I really only considered Dhund Operative here; it will be a 3/2 deathtouch for 2 mana most of the time in this deck, which is just value. Spireside Infiltrator would have been okay as well, though Die Young is just worse than any other removal spell I already have.
Pack 3 pick 5:
I almost took Built to Smash with this pick, as in an artifact aggressive deck it is basically Giant Growth with upside. However, Weldfast Monitor is a hard to block artifact creature that synergizes with the rest of the deck much better, and also benefits from Weldfast Engineer.
Pack 3 pick 6:
Lawless Broker is another decent creature that gives you some value when it dies. It doesn't have any particular synergies here though, so I don't know if it will make the cut.
Pack 3 pick 7:
I actually think I mis-picked here. I believe I should have taken Metalworker's Puzzleknot over Maulfist Doorbuster. Oh well.
Pack 3 pick 8:
Another Dhund Operative is a nice pick up.
Pack 3 pick 9:
This was actually a tough pick. I like Subtle Strike a lot, but Torch Gauntlet is an artifact and can be sacrificed to Embraal Gear-Smasher, or help cast Sweatworks Brawler. In the end I went with the combat trick.
Pack 3 pick 10:
As I thought, I was able to pick up a late Foundry Screecher.
The rest of the picks, despite all being on-colour, were cards I'm likely not to play:
Pack 3 pick 11:
Pack 3 pick 12:
Pack 3 pick 13:
Pack 3 pick 14:
Pack 3 pick 15:
I'm pretty happy with this, and I think 16 land is correct (though feel free to comment if you disagree). It's certainly aggressive, so let's hope it gets there and plays well.
I thought I was going to be in all sorts of trouble in game 1, as I had to mulligan down to 5 and then couldn't find red mana. However, my opponent also seemed to stumble, and seemed to find nothing but land. Eventually I drew out of my predicament and killed my opponent with a Weldfast Engineer and a Wayward Giant.
I had a similar issue in game 2, but found red mana on my first draw step. I was able to get off to an aggressive start, though my opponent was able to shut me down by killing my two early creatures with a Prey Upon and Nature's Way. I was left facing a Narnam Renegade and an Aetherstream Leopard. Luckily, I had drawn removal, and was able to kill my opponent with Weldfast Monitor and Weldfast Engineer before they could stabilize.
I was on the play in game 1, and led off with Dhund Operative into Weldfast Engineer. Unfortunately my opponent had all the removal spells in his draft pod I think, and was able to eliminate just about every threat I played. Thankfully, they stalled, though their Shielded Aether Thief kept me from overrunning them too quickly. I eventually got out a Wayward Giant they couldn't answer and took the game.
Game 2, and my opponent was able to counter my first three creatures with three copies of Metallic Rebuke! I then flooded somewhat, while my opponent had answers for everything I played. I was able to get them down to 8 life but couldn't overcome their removal, and they were able to kill me with a Bastion Inventor and Herald of Anguish.
Back on the play for game 3, and my opponent got stuck on 2 mana. I was quickly able to overwhelm them with a horde of creatures (after sideboarding out most of my removal) and took the game and the match.
A mirror match for the final round, and I'm on the draw in game 1. This game is an absolute grind, with neither of us having good attacks, and just sitting back waiting for the opportunity to break through. I manage to get my opponent down to 3 life thanks to a Welder Automaton, but it was killed before it could finish the job. In the end, though, my opponent was able to draw enough removal to sneak their creatures past mine, and they took the game.
Game 2 was much quicker, as I curved Smuggler's Copter into Weldfast Engineer and my opponent got stuck on 2 black mana. On to game 3.
This was over almost as fast. I played Smuggler's Copter into Aether Chaser, following up with another Aether Chaser and a Dhund Operative. My opponent only played a Sweatworks Brawler before conceding in the face of my swarm.
Another 3-0 finish. Aether Revolt draft has been pretty kind to me in these articles, with three 3-0 results and one 2-1, plus the 3-4 in the friendly, single game league. I've certainly done better than I expected so far.
But for now we are leaving Aether Revolt for a time. Next week, if all goes to plan, I will be drafting Invasion block. I am looking forward to this, as it was the first set I ever played limited with. See you then!