In testing for the latest Pro Tour, we had a few brews that tried to exploit the best energy cards to make Aetherworks Marvel work with the Saheeli combo. In the end, the decks were too weak against Jeskai Control versions of Saheeli, but there was promise.
MTGO player DIESEL3 may have taken things to the next level by incorporating some of Standard’s strongest planeswalkers. There are already a ton of threats that need to be answered, but that number goes way up with this suite of planeswalkers.
Ajani Unyielding and Sorin, Grim Nemesis will bury your opponent in card advantage and win the game in short order. They’re reasonably expensive and cost multiple colors to cast, but that isn’t really an issue in this game. Not only do you have plenty of sources for all 5 colors, but these are great weapons to Marvel into.
Aetherworks Marvel is like the ultimate card drawing engine. Getting to spin the wheel and find the best spell on the top of your library is already interesting, but getting to both cast it for free and at instant speed is on another level. You’ll need energy enablers to make it happen, but you already want many of those cards even without Marvel.
Attune with Aether is a great mana fixer and energy enabler. Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso provide 3 power (or more) for 3 mana, while also adding to your energy reserve. These creatures can win the game if they aren’t dealt with quickly. Even without access to Marvel, you would likely want to play these creatures, and they combo well with both Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian.
The combo of Saheeli and Felidar Guardian will win the game with infinite Cats, but filling your deck with cards that make either half of the combo useful without the other will give you more staying power. Create another copy of Rogue Refiner to attack with, draw a card, and add energy to turn Saheeli into a real card. Guardian can blink it, or anything else you have, to get further ahead.
Oath of Nissa ties the whole deck together. It can fix your mana (especially for casting planeswalkers, but also finding lands you may need), and it can find both Saheeli and Felidar Guardian. This is another great target for a Guardian to make sure you’re always getting value out of your cards that may do next to nothing in some more controlling shells.
Harnessed Lightning is perfect as a removal spell that scales, or can serve as an “energy ritual” if you choose to not deal any damage. With Servant of the Conduit as an additional beater, mana ramp, and color fixer that can add extra energy to your reserve, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting Marvel going when you need to.
Having a plan A that may not even revolve around using the combo is a great way to approach the Saheeli deck. If they tap out to deal with your threats, you can combo or Marvel them. If they don’t—well, they’ve already lost!