Previous AER Set Reviews
Let’s take a look at the grading scale, with the usual caveat that what I write about the card is more relevant, as there are many factors that aren’t reflected in a card’s grade.
The ratings scale is slightly different as well:
5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind Sculptor. Tarmogoyf. Snapcaster Mage.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Collected Company. Remand.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Radiant Flames. Shambling Vent.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Zulaport Cutthroat. Explosive Vegetation.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Anticipate. Transgress the Mind.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, the Living Guildpact. Naturalize. Duress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)
This isn’t quite there on the rate, but it has some good combo potential alongside Decoction Module, Saheeli Rai, and Aetherstorm Roc. Combine enough of those effects and you get infinite energy, at which point Whirler Virtuoso can go off. This also does protect itself and attack for 3, which is a moderate back-up plan if you need it.
Purely a sideboard card, Consulate Crackdown will only show up if decks with 20+ artifacts are appearing in Standard.
Another sideboard option, Decommission is barely above playable even if you assume revolt is on, so I’m not very excited about this.
The combo with Saheeli Rai where you make infinite Cats is clearly one that is worth testing for Standard. I’d be surprised if the combo wasn’t good, in either a control or combo shell, and Felidar Guardian as a card isn’t that bad either. It works with various ETB abilities, and has decent stats. You might get sick of this Cat come Standard season.
Sram, Senior Edificer
Bone Saw is ready! Sram has the ability to go off with 0-drop artifacts, and could see play in a Vehicles deck. You need to either use him as an engine if you are going full out, or draw probably 2 cards off him if you want him as a value play. Both those seem achievable, and Sram is cheap enough to see play.
Three tokens and a 3-drop is a good deal for 4 mana, though you do have to supply the 3-drop yourself. All the Expertise cards seem promising, as cheating on mana is traditionally a huge game. This could fuel some gross turns, and dropping a bunch of tokens in a beatdown deck alongside something bigger or a pump spell is dangerous.
This effect always sees play to some degree, though this being unable to hit planeswalkers or enchantments is a big drop-off from Banishing Light.
Top 3 White Cards
Besides the potentially-broken Felidar Guardian, white didn’t get anything insane. Still, one shot at a format-warping combo is nothing to complain about, even if the rest of the cards are various build-arounds that may not get there.