Top Level Podcast (new cards)

Saheeli Rai (with Felidar Guardian) threatens to become the dominating strategy in Standard. Learn about some different ways to play Saheeli Rai.

Direct download: saheeli-rai.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:40am EDT

Aether Revolt is more than just broken combos and mana engines! Learn about the "fair" side, headlined by Gifted Aetherborn, here.

Direct download: gifted-aetherborn.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:59am EDT

Half on the surprising new bans to Modern and Standard; half on the crazy combos and engines from Aether Revolt (especially Felidar Guardian &co.)

Direct download: felidar-guardian.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 1:25am EDT

Winding Constrictor is just one of several cards that Pro Tour Champion Patrick Chapin and Resident Genius Michael J Flores discuss in this week's podcast:

Direct download: winding-constrictor.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 1:26am EDT

Rishkar, Peema Renegade is our exclusive preview from Aether Revolt! Check out what Patrick and Michael have to say about this powerful new Legendary Elf.

Direct download: rishkar-peema-renegade.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 11:49pm EDT

Oath of Ajani is a strategy-specific mana accelerator that might just change everything. It's great early in some decks, great late in others; just great.

Direct download: oath-of-ajani.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 11:59pm EDT

A discussion of the advantages of Dark Intimations from Aether Revolt, with points of comparison like Tidings and Cruel Ultimatum.

Direct download: dark-intimations.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 1:08am EDT

We know from Smuggler's Copter how good a two mana vehicle can be.

Aether Revolt is pushing that limit even more with Heart of Kiran. Make no mistake... This card might be bananas. Imagine playing Heart of Kiran on turn two, then following up with Liliana or Nissa on turn three. You can slam with the Heart of Kiran and still gain ground on the battlefield by destroying a threat or making a Plant.

There are two important things to take away from this card:

  1. You basically get to access Planeswalker loyalty twice per turn. The first use is the regular one; the second is a swing with Heart of Kiran.
  2. Because Heart of Kiran has vigilence, it can block. Got a spare loyalty? You can spring a 4/4 blocker on demand. The best thing? At least early in the Heart's career, you may be able to steal a body or two.

Some of the cards in Aether Revolt -- most notably Ajani Unyeilding -- imply a Planeswalker collective deck. Heart of Kiran might be great in that kind of deck, a two drop that comes down faster than any Planeswalker in Standard, and capable of thriving in a context rich with loyalty.

As explosive as the loyalty-leeching alternate crew cost may be, the regular crew cost on this card is challenging. Crew 3 is much harder to hit than Crew 1; Nissa was already struggling in a Smugger's Copter-first format, but at least Gideon could make 2/2 creatures. Now even [one of] Gideon's tokens need assistance. Not a fatal flaw to this card at all... But something, certainly, to be wary of as you select your creatures.

Direct download: heart-of-kiran.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 2:29am EDT

Yahenni's Expertise is like a Languish married a Bloodbraid Elf

It's that time again! Top Level Podcast's favorite time... Spoiler season.

Early Aether Revolt spoilers bring us three new cards to talk about: Yahenni's Expertise, Trophy Mage, and Scrap Trawler.

Yahenni's Expertise

  • -3/-3 hits a surprisingly sweet spot in the current Standard. Not only is -3/-3 for all creatures not all that bad for 2BB, tons of the best creatures in Standard have three toughness, like Reflector Mage and Spell Queller.
  • While Yahenni's Expertise doesn't give the full -4/-4 that Languish does, the additional ability to cast a card for no additional mana might make this card a powerhouse. For example, you can sweep the board and cast a card drawing spell in one move. In Modern, you might play Yahenni's Expertise and pop an Ancestral Vision!
  • The secondary ability on Yahenni's Expertise can act as a kind of color fixing. Don't be surprised if players cheat a little with this card, splashing additional colors they wouldn't easily be able to cast.


Trophy Mage

  • Trinket Mage and Treasure Mage* have a new cousin!
  • The number of cards you can find with this is huge, varied, and highly flexible. For instance you can lock some opponents out with Ensnaring Bridge... And lock others out with Crucible of Worlds. Psst... Oblivion Stone costs three mana.

Scrap Trawler

  • Four words "Even. More. Card. Advantage."

Our first stab at Aether Revolt!

* Incidentally, Patrick made Top 8 of PT Paris a few years ago packing Treasure Mage for Mindslaver and Wurmcoil Engine only!

Direct download: yahennisexpertise.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:48am EDT

There were 32 copies of Smuggler's Copter -- the maximum number -- in the first SCG Open Top 8 with Kaladesh. Play any Smuggler's Copter deck you want.

Direct download: smugglers-copter.mp3
Category:New Cards -- posted at: 12:29am EDT