It is nearly Aether Revolt time and the set looks spicy. I figure if the plane of Kaladesh is steampunk themed, it might as well align with the Izzet guild, because they’d have home court advantage.
The strongest reason to play a U/R tempo deck is Fevered Visions:
“There isn’t enough cowbell in the world to cure this fever…”
Visions is a lynchpin that allows you to fight on an axis where mana efficiency and damage output are the only factors that matter. The endless supply of extra cards and extra damage output make decks that are trying to grind value extremely inefficient.
Aether Revolt also adds a few fantastic supporting cards to the mix.
Shock Is Great
Is it weird that I’m excited for Shock? It has been hard times for the red mage in Standard lately.
Shock may not seem exciting at first glance, but it is going to be a major player in Standard in the coming months. It is great against opposing aggressive decks, picks off Grim Flayers, and breaks up the infinite “copycat” combo.
For those of you who haven’t seen the combo yet, it is pretty simple: Guardian blinks out Saheeli Rai, Saheeli Rai returns with full loyalty and makes a copy of Guardian, Guardian token enters the battlefield and blinks Saheeli Rai, et cetera. The end result is an infinite number of hasty Felidar Guardians.
Shock is great because in response you can just Shock their face and redirect to Saheeli Rai and disrupt the combo.
More Fun Than a Baral Full of Monkeys
“Baral. Not to be mistaken with Barl of ‘Barl’s Cage’ fame."
If I were Barl, I’d be mad about a new character with such a similar name taking over my territory.
“But then Barl realized that despite all his rage he was still just a rat in his own cage… irony.”
Baral > Barl.
Baral’s Expertise stood out to me as a potential sleeper card from Aether Revolt. I love the way it clears an opponent’s board and allows you to continue to progress yours at the same time. It also plays nicely with Fevered Visions since it adds up to 3 cards to their hand and/or gives you a chance to slip Visions into play for free.
It is also worth noting that Baral’s Expertise hits creatures and artifacts, which means that not even opposing Vehicles are safe.
One last note: I also really like how Expertise plays with Chandra, Torch of Defiance.
“What’s next? Katniss Aberdeen, Girl on Fire planeswalker?”
One of the strongest plays is to clear the board of opposing creatures and deploy Chandra all in the same turn. It’s one heck of a tempo swing.
Full Metal Thermo-Alchemist
Aether Revolt is a small set. Most of the innovation comes from upgrading and enhancing existing strategies. U/R Alchemist seems like the natural fit for some of these new Izzet cards.
The basic strategy of the deck is simple: Interact with the board and burn them out.
U/R Fevered Visions
Fevered Visions was already a good fringe deck before Aether Revolt and the new cards fill out the roster nicely.
Disallow is obviously a good card, but I don’t love it in the main deck of a more tempo-oriented Izzet strategy. I love it as a sideboard option against possible surviving versions of Marvel, or against plodding Ishkanah decks.
Who is Kari Zev and am I supposed to Kare?
The whole cycle of spells that allow you to play a second spell without paying its mana cost seem really busted to me. Don’t even get me started on casting Ancestral Vision in Modern!
As far as sideboard cards go, the potential to steal a blocker and cast another spell seems great for the 3 mana.
The majority of the cards overlap between the 2 Fevered Visions decks, but another approach is to utilize Thing in the Ice.
Thing in the Ice is extremely powerful and combos nicely with Fevered Visions. The downside is that both sides are vulnerable to Fatal Push, a card that will be seeing serious play in Delirium and R/B decks.
Castigator is another cool piece of tech that can bring a lot of beats very quickly. I love the interaction between using Baral’s Expertise to bounce the opponent’s team and dropping a Goldnight Castigator to pound face.
Fevered Visionshas been on the edge of Standard for a while and perhaps new printings will help it emerge as a contender. I like that the deck is both fast and proactive. I love that it has permission and thus has great game against Aetherworks Marvel.
Week 1 of a new Standard tends to have that “durdle factor” at play where players get too cute with their brews. U/R Fevered Visions seems particularly well suited to punish unfocused or clunky strategies.