Aether Revolt is finally here! The Prerelease is coming up this weekend, and with the full spoiler out, it's time to start exploring the format. The first week or so can be quite difficult. New cards, let alone new mechanics, can be difficult to evaluate prior to playing with them. But this is my favorite part of any season: a new Limited format, a new puzzle to solve. Without further ado, let's take a look at a pack of the new set!
Pack 1, Pick 1
This pack is quite powerful. We have a great defensive card and energy sink, a premium black removal spell, a very efficient Aetherborn, and a sweet rare. In the first couple weeks of a format, I tend to take rares when I can in order to try them out, as it's harder to get data on their performance. I believe Quicksmith Rebel is an extremely powerful Magic card and likely is the best card in this pack anyway. A repeatable Shock effect is nothing to scoff at, and if you can draft enough artifacts, Quicksmith Rebel will take over the entire game.
I could see Quicksmith Rebel not performing well after we have more information about the format as a whole. It requires a good number of artifacts, so if red decks don't need or want artifacts in this format, the Rebel won't be nearly as good as I think. With this as the case, the card I would take is Gifted Aetherborn. A two-mana 2/3 with lifelink and deathtouch is about as efficient as an uncommon can get.
Pack 1, Pick 4
Picks So Far:
Thopter Arrest is obviously the most powerful card in this pack, but given that I am not necessarily in white, I am faced with the question, "Is the power worth the chance that I might not play it?" In these scenarios, it often depends on the power level of the other options.
Given the cards that I have so far, it looks like I will be playing a red deck with a reasonable number of artifacts in order to optimize for Quicksmith Rebel. Both Aether Chaser and Mobile Garrison fit the bill for that style of deck! But Vehicles do have diminishing returns, and I already have one this early in the draft, so I am inclined not to take Mobile Garrison.
I believe that Aether Chaser is going to be quite good in the format. First strike is a quality ability and two-drops are always premium. Since I will certainly be happy to play the Aether Chaser in my deck, I would rather take that than the Thopter Arrest.