Aetherworks Marvel is here to stay and has completely warped the Standard environment around itself. It's done so because it's a very powerful card supported by a wealth of strong role-players from the energy mechanic. But no matter how powerful, any deck is exploitable, and thus so is any metagame that revolves around a single deck.
At Pro Tour Kaladesh, the answer to Aetherworks Marvel was either Torrential Gearhulk or Spell Queller. The former already exists in a few powerful Standard shells, but the latter has struggled to find a home since the banning of Smuggler's Copter and Reflector Mage. Most attempts at W/U Flash were forced to play underpowered cards like Selfless Spirit and Rattlechains, and that lack of power has kept the deck on the fringe of the metagame.
Today's list, from a name you'll likely recognize, has found an elegant way around that problem, limiting the flash element of the deck to only Spell Queller and Archangel Avacyn in order to incorporate more powerful cards early in the curve. We see Glory-Bound Initiate as a solid two-drop and then a small artifact theme.
Walking Ballista needs little introduction, and while there are no counter synergies to be found in the deck, you do have Archangel Avacyn that Ballista flips easily, giving the deck a mini-sweeper against Zombies, Vehicles, or even a horde of Thopter tokens. Thraben Inspector, which was already in the deck, naturally aids the theme, and the body plays nicely with the last artifact in the deck, Aethersphere Harvester, another card that's high on rate, even if it mainly excels in aggressive matchups.
The artifact theme here supports two copies of Metallic Rebuke, giving the deck a generic counterspell for a single blue mana, which the deck very much wants. You could play Spell Shrivel, but the ability to improvise Rebuke is very relevant for a tempo deck that desperately wants to maximize mana efficiency.
Do these innovations do enough to make the deck viable? I don't know, but this variant comes much closer than any other I've seen, and that's enough to be hopeful. Aetherworks Marvel, do your worst. Unless your worst is casting Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger on turn 4. Don't do that.
- 3 Walking Ballista
- 1 Eldrazi Skyspawner
- 4 Glory-Bound Initiate
- 4 Spell Queller
- 4 Thraben Inspector
- 4 Archangel Avacyn