Another day, another draft. Are you sick of this format yet? Because I'm not. I have certainly gotten to the point where my win percentage is dropping, but that's because, now that I've figured out most of the format, I've started experimenting. We are talking "first-picking Efficient Construction" experimenting.
As expected, that strategy tends not to work, although it can. I have had a deck with the card and fourteen artifacts, many of which costed one mana. I even had Salvage Scuttler and Prophetic Prism as an engine. It was fun and performed well, but it's definitely not something to go out of your way for. Speaking of Efficient Construction, would you take it here? (Note: that is ill-advised).
Pack 1, Pick 1
At this point in the format, this pick might end up being more about preference.
I know plenty of players that prioritize Renegade Map very highly and would take it here. Renegade Map almost always makes the cut in your deck, and mana consistency is more important than you might realize in Limited. For example, last week I started out a draft with two copies of Gifted Aetherborn. I then took Renegade Map almost as highly as if I were splashing so that I could consistently play Gifted Aetherborn on turn 2 without playing an exorbitant amount of Swamps.
Now we have Aether Swooper, a card that looked unassuming and turned out to be the best blue common. As it happens, Aether Swooper fills the holes that blue has in Aether Revolt Limited: two-drops, energy sinks, and a need for cheap artifacts. In fact, I have come to the conclusion — alongside other reputable Limited players — that the Grixis "Aether cycle" (Aether Chaser, Aether Poisoner, and Aether Swooper) are the top three commons, ever slightly above Daring Demolition.
This evaluation is not necessarily shared by the entire Limited community, but it's not too hard to see where we are coming from. Two-drops are always premium in Limited, and these do much more than you think at first glance. I am not the end-all-be-all of Limited knowledge, but because of this outlook, I am taking Aether Swooper here.
Pack 1, Pick 4
The Picks So Far:
With two copies of Aether Swooper and a Pacification Array, I am quite happy with how this draft is going. I'm hoping to be U/B or U/R Improvise, but I'm definitely not locked into anything yet. Hopefully this pack has something to say about my second color.
We have plenty of options here. Taking Shipwreck Moray will keep you open but has the lowest potential of the three cards. And with a rare and two uncommons missing, there aren't really any signals to read yet. But the Moray really isn't good enough for me to take it and stay open here, especially since Caught in the Brights and Aether Chaser are much better cards. Foundry Hornet is also good, but I will disregard it because it really loses its punch outside of B/G.
If you have read this column regularly, you probably know what I'm going to take. I'm a huge fan of Aether Chaser and genuinely dislike the card Caught in the Brights. I look at the white Pacifism variant as a necessary evil. I'll play it in all of my white decks, but it doesn't drive me towards white. If I already have some white cards, I then start picking it up, but I'm not taking it here. Especially when we have Aether Chaser.
This red two-drop might be one of my favorites in recent printing. The card enables aggressive bluffing, is great in multiples, and can help accelerate thanks to improvise. I am happy to first-pick the card and ecstatic to grab it here to go right alongside these Aether Swoopers!