Gifted Aetherborn and the “Fair” Side of Aether Revolt

Gifted Aetherborn
“Fair” card Gifted Aetherborn is a huge upgrade to a longtime favorite.

Aether Revolt is busted wide open… Right?

Much of the chatter around new set Aether Revolt is around its powerful combos and mana engines. Felidar Guardian is the most visible combo option at this point (one half of a Splinter Twin-like strategy in Standard), but it is not alone.

Crackdown Construct and Wandering Fumarole together create a single infinite/infinite attacker.

Inspiring Statuary threatens to headline an abusive new mana engine.

The widest of wides…

The tallest of talls…

However much mana you can tap…

This is the Aether Revolt we are all looking at, right?

It turns out that — in addition to the mana engines and sources of infinite damage — Aether Revolt is chock full of some of the tightest, most efficient, “nuts and bolts” cards in many sets. “Fair” Magic here we come!

Gifted Aetherborn is just one of many outstanding “fair” cards in a supposedly broken set.

Let’s talk about Gifted Aetherborn for a second… This is a creature that trades Vampire Nighthawk’s flying for a single mana. Wow, what a trade-off! Flying is nice, and it certainly mattered some of the time, but Vampire Nighthawk’s reputation was never made on the basis of flying.

Vampire Nighthawk was played — at least initially — due to its mix of enough toughness (3) to survive some fights, a “must kill” status as an anti-burn tool, and a continual source of value (or even card advantage) via its combat abilities. To wit: Vampire Nighthawk was a great 3-4-5 setup man Vampire into Huntmaster of the Fells and Thragtusk… The Nighthawk was itself a great stop sign against other Huntmasters.

But cutting a mana from three to two? Sure there is a mild decrease in functionality, but that’s like transforming Incinerate into Lightning Bolt! Consequently, Gifted Aetherborn is going to be an exciting “fair” card that will see a ton of play in a ton of different strategies.

But, like Felidar Guardian, Gifted Aetherborn is not alone…

  • Kari Zev’s Expertise – Mike is already partial to Threatens; this is the best Act of Treason ever printed. Think about playing Ancestral Vision for free in Modern!
  • Kari Zev, Skyship Raider – Somewhere between “a Watchwolf with upside” and “a red Brimaz” this card will be *ahem* bananas (Mike almost wants to play it in Modern)
  • Baral, Chief of Compliance – “It’s okay to play this card in decks with no Counterspells” – Patrick. “This card is better than Omenspeaker.” -Mike
  • Metallic Rebuke – Substantial upgrade to Spell Shrivel; turn two Metallic Rebuke is going to be really good friends with turn one Thraben Inspector.

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