Insider: Under- and Overrated in Aether Revolt

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I don't know about you but I'm pretty amped up to play some Magic over the course of the next few weeks. Aether Revolt looks to be a pretty decent set and the recent bannings will dramatically change the landscape of both Standard and Modern.

There is a direct correlation between excited tournament players and happy finance people. When the tournament folks are enthusiastic it means they are willing to buy or trade for new cards, which is great news for dedicated sellers and traders.

Aether Revolt isn't the hottest tamale I've ever seen personally, but when five significant cards get banned it really doesn't need to be. The bannings are going to significantly shake up Constructed, and that alone will bring out the crowds.

New sets create a lot of chatter about various cards and strategies that people believe have potential. It goes without saying that many of these initial assessments will be off. Being ahead of the curve lets you make financial decisions with a better idea of where card prices will move in the near term.

In today's article I'm going to weigh in my picks for the most overrated and underrated cards from the new set. Want to know which cards I suggest selling off or buying in on? Well, read on!

Top 8 Overrated

8. Heart of Kiran


The card has obvious stats but it also feels super narrow with regard to the kind of deck you can put it into. I believe the card has a chance to find a place in Standard, but even if it does it cannot command such a high price tag. The current price is almost certainly the ceiling which makes it an excellent card to move immediately to anybody looking to build around it.

It is cute that Heart of Kiran gets vigilance which makes it able to attack while still protecting a walker on their turn. However, it is also legendary which sucks. Even if the card is better than I'm giving it credit for, I feel confident that a $20 price tag is not even close to sustainable.

7. Aethersphere Harvester


I'm not a believer. Smuggler's Copter and Fleetwheel Cruiser I understand. These new vehicles are clunky, awkward, and not the kind of cards that impress me. My impression is that we need to work much too hard in order to make these cards above average. When it comes to constructed staples I expect my cards to be always be above average when I cast them (that is the point of selecting the best cards for one's deck) and if I have to work for something I expect it to win games.

I just don't see these cards living up to that level of awesome. I would have expected this to be a bulk rare and was very surprised to see it preselling around $6.

6. Disallow


Disallow is going to be a Constructed card but I think the price tag is over the top. I'd sell and buy back in later when the card settles down, likely at less than half of the current cost. I would be shocked if there was any room for the card to grow, which makes it a good one to chuck early.

5. Walking Ballista


Don't get me wrong, I love this card. I will certainly play it in a Mishra's Workshop deck at some point in my lifetime. However, cards that DeMars would jam in Workshops does not a money-rare make. If it quacks like a bulk rare, it's a duck. Quack. Quack.

People will play with Walking Ballista but it is not the kind of card that ever holds value. Sell.

4. Paradox Engine


I don't understand the price on the card. I get that it is a zany combo card but it costs five. Perhaps the presale price is aimed at Commander combo players? I have no idea, but nonetheless I smell a rat. Send these rats packing. I'd suggesting selling while the price is high.

On the other hand, foil and Masterpiece copies seem like solid acquisitions since there will be lots of players looking to ditch them and they should hold or gain decent value in the long run.

3. Baral, Chief of Compliance


Sometimes I feel comfortable being smug about saying a card sucks because I just know. Baral is not one of those cards. I don't like the card but I recognize that it has some practical applications. My issue with it is that the secondary ability is linked to countering spells which is not an ability I'd typically want on a legendary 1/3 creature.

Speaking of reasons I don't like the card... It is legendary which means you can't have multiples in play at the same time and thus reduce the cost of instants and sorceries by two. It is better than a bulk rare but I'm a very firm sell on this card with a $10 price tag.

2. Tezzeret the Schemer


I look at a card like Tezzeret the Schemer and think, "I would probably play this in a blue-black artifacts matter deck." The key word in that sentence is "probably." I think the plus-one ability to make a Lotus Petal is pretty decent. It gains some additional value by casting artifacts with inspire.

I wouldn't risk holding onto Tezzeret in hopes of a spike that likely won't come. I'd be looking to avoid trading for these and hoping to trade off any that I open ASAP.

1. Ajani Unyielding


Remember how I said that sometimes I don't feel comfortable being smug about saying a card sucks? Well, this isn't one of those times. Ajani sucks. It takes a lot for a six-cost walker to make an impact in Constructed, and Ajani just doesn't have the right stuff. Think about Elspeth, Sun's Champion or Chandra, Flamecaller. The card has to immediately impact and dominate the game for that investment cost.

Top 8 Underrated

I wasn't sure whether or not to lead with overrated or underrated. I figured that ending with overrated is kind of a downer because it is a nonstop "card x isn't good" parade.

It's more fun to end on a positive and these are the cards that I have really nice things to say about.

8. Felidar Guardian


The Saheeli Rai plus Felidar Guardian combo is going to be real. How could it not be? It is an infinite, two-card, win-the-game combination. With that being said I think that people are sleeping on Felidar Guardian as a serious money uncommon.

There are certain uncommons that just have great value because game stores have trouble keeping them in stock. I'm going to open the singles for RIW for the release and I guarantee that after cracking several cases we'll be sold out on Guardian within a few days.

There are certain cards—Silkwrap and Wild Slash both come to mind—that sell and trade above $3 in paper and are really hard to keep in stock. I see Guardian as one of those cards where stocking up will be rewarding.

7. Baral's Expertise


I have a strong belief that the Expertise cycle will be among the highest-impact cards in Aether Revolt. They make me think of the Command cycle from Lorwyn. Cheating on mana is design space that has consistently proven to be problematic, and I don't believe this cycle will buck the trend.

Baral's Expertise is a card that can seriously swing a game on turn five. Last week I wrote about playing the card alongside Fevered Visions, which has proven really strong. The card is cheap right now and I'm going to be looking to pick up more copies just in case.

6. Lifecrafter's Bestiary


I thought this card was junk and then I played with it at the prerelease. It was so absurdly powerful and game-impacting that I went from thinking it was a cute casual card to a potential Constructed card. I've actually been happy with Bestiary in the sideboard of my BG Delirium deck against control and midrange.

Bestiary is a powerful card and water has a way of finding a level. I'd love to pick this up at a bulk-rare rate.

5. Fatal Push


I've said so before, but I think Fatal Push is underrated as a financial card. I see this as an Inquisition of Kozilek, Path to Exile, or even Mental Misstep, where the card is close to $10 while in Standard.

All things considered, Fatal Push is not a card I would be looking to sell into the "presale spike" because I feel strongly that it has room to grow.

4. Yahenni's Expertise


I've already stated that I have high expectations for the Expertise cycle. With that said, Languish was a $12 card while it was in Standard and Expertise is much, much better. I also believe that Expertise will be highly playable in Modern.

I put the black Expertise into my underrated category because I think it could very well be one of the most sought-after cards in the set from a Constructed standpoint.

It is also worth noting that in Modern you can cast Yahenni's Expertise to control the board and then cast Ancestral Vision from your hand... Ooh, la la.

3. Hope of Ghirapur


Sometimes I have a hard time understanding what people get excited about. Baral is a $10 card that has a bunch of random niche applications but likely won't see a ton of play either way. Hope of Ghirapur feels very similar in terms of the number of applications, but I believe it's just much stronger.

I love that decks that used to splash Tropical Island for Xantid Swarm can now forego the green mana and just play Hope of Ghirapur. I would also almost certainly play this card in my Affinity 75. It has a lot of abilities for one mana—expect this to grow in value over time.

2. Sram's Expertise


I've already said that I'm high on the Expertise cycle and Sram's Expertise is another really nice card. The main reason it ended up higher on my list than Yahenni's Expertise is that it currently has a significantly lower starting price than the black one.

It is clutch that you can play Sram's Expertise and then drop a Nissa, Voice of Zendikar or Chief of the Foundry to essentially anthem your team.

The only thing holding Sram's Expertise back is likely the potential of the Copy Cat combo which tends to have a big advantage over decks like this. Either way, it is still a very good card.

1. Scrap Trawler


I thought I'd go with a fairly unorthodox #1 pick. I've traditionally done pretty well with picking cards like these out of the barrel. Everything about this card tells me that it is just very good and will eventually have its day. It's a good rate for the body and the fact that it grants its ability to all artifacts is pretty insane—especially in Modern or Vintage.

It makes me excited to think about using my Ravager to sacrifice a Springleaf Drum to recur a Hangarback Walker in Modern, or sacrificing Tangle Wires for value in Vintage. Scrap Trawler is exactly the kind of card that is bound to have a breakout performance at some point and spike. Which makes picking them up as bulk rares now a potentially great investment.

Buck the Trend

Aether Revolt has some exciting new stuff, and other stuff that a lot of people are excited about but probably shouldn't be. The key is to pick up the goods before they get hot and unload the jank before it cools down.

Hopefully I've helped you to do just that. Enjoy the new set!

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