Board and Card Games

Mel’s Muses: Magic: The Gathering – Aether Revolt

Things are shaking up in the steampunk-inspired world of Kaladesh. New creatures, new mechanics to power up your decks with bigger, deadlier vehicle artifacts and even an infinite combo?!? Yup, more on that later! There’s so much to look forward to this coming Friday when the latest Magic: The Gathering expansion Aether Revolt goes on sale at collectible card game shops across Singapore and Malaysia.

“A fire has been lit in the hearts of the people. They’re rising from all corners of Ghirapur, no longer willing to stand for the Consulate’s oppression. It’s time to take back their city. It’s time to reclaim their freedom. It’s time for revolution.”

This is the second and last set for the Kaladesh block and it comes hot on the heels of a recent controversial ban on several cards in standard format. Smuggler’s Copter, Reflector Mage and Emrakul, the Promised End, three powerful cards used extensively in the ever-popular Standard format, are now banned and players are scrambling to find replacements, hopefully in the new Aether Revolt expansion.

Two new mechanics to look out for, Revolt and Improvise. Revolt is a new ability that depend on a permanent you control leaving the battlefield. Revolt can take several different forms. Sometimes it appears as a bonus on a spell. Some creatures even have Revolt that let them enter play with +1/+1 counters.

Spells with the new ability Improvise let you use or tap artifacts to lower their cost. I expect some new rush decks to make the most of this. But I think Revolt might prove to be the more popular new mechanic.

Some of the new cards worth taking note are the Planeswalkers, Ajani Unyielding and Tezzeret the Schemer although as far as Planeswalkers go, they seem a wee bit overwhelming. Green has a heavy hitter in Greenbelt Rampager, a 3/4 for only one green mana. Definitely a must-have in green-red aggro energy decks.

While Red sees the return of an old stable, 2-cost Shock. Blue has a new counterspell in Disallow. Too late in stopping that Plansewalker from being casted? Don’t fret, cos with Disallow, you can now stop its triggered ability from going off!

Just like in the last set Kaladesh, if you are lucky you might find a gorgeous shining foil Masterpiece Artifact card in your booster pack. That ought to be worth a pretty penny and there are 22 to look out for in this set.

Finally as for that infinite combo players are currently talking about, well, I believe it has been ages since we have seen something like this in Standard format. The two cards you need are Planeswalker Saheeli Rai from the last expansion and Felidar Guardian from Aether Revolt.

Planeswalker Rai comes out first, followed by the cat next turn and its ability triggers, so Rai gets exiled then returns to set off her own second ability which creates a cat token, then rinse and repeat! Plus all the cats have the Haste ability to attack on the same turn. Will this deck overrun the tournament scene? Or will another card ban in March because of it? And don’t get me started on Panharmonicon, also from the last set!

No doubt these are exciting times to be playing Magic: The Gathering (again). Artifacts usually make a pretty strong impact on the tourney scene and there are already some interesting new combos out there.

There’s more! Aether Revolt will work its online magic on Magic Duels from 18th January onwards. There’ll be 126 new cards as well as new story and skill quests. The game is available for PC via Steam, iPad and iPhone.

To find your nearest Magic: The Gathering venue or shop, visit


Melvin Yong has worked way too long in the media and advertising industry. He now spends his time with his family, writing short horror stories and playing lots of board games.

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