Aether Revolt is here, ready to usher in a new Standard metagame. Typically, this is a really exciting time, particularly given the bannings that have already promised to shake up the format. However, there’s one combination looming, potentially just as overbearing as Emrakul and company were in Kaladesh Standard. That interaction is the infinite combo between Saheeli Rai and Felidar Guardian. Sure, it’s sorcery speed, but it’s still effectively Splinter Twin, which is well above the curve for Standard power these days. Let’s take a look at one shell where this combo might fit:
Jeskai Combo - Aether Revolt Standard | Josh Silvestri
- Creatures (25)
- 3 Drowner of Hope
- 3 Pilgrim's Eye
- 3 Thought-Knot Seer
- 4 Cloudblazer
- 4 Eldrazi Displacer
- 4 Felidar Guardian
- 4 Thraben Inspector
- Planeswalkers (4)
- 4 Saheeli Rai
- Sorceries (2)
- 2 Incendiary Flow
- Enchantments (2)
- 2 Stasis Snare
- Artifacts (4)
- 4 Panharmonicon
The strength of this deck is it’s composed of lots of interlocking pieces that build into overwhelming or game-ending advantages. The real engine of the deck is the combination of Saheeli Rai, Felidar Guardian, Eldrazi Displacer, and Panharmonicon. These cards all encourage you to play creatures with powerful enters the battlefield effects, and Josh is more than happy to oblige. The fact many of these pieces combine to give you wacky infinite combos is besides the point. The ability to generate huge amounts of value means you’ve got plenty of game against control and midrange decks, assuming you can resolve your spells. The question will be whether you can race opposing combo and aggro decks effectively.
The primary combo is Saheeli Rai plus Felidar Guardian. Felidar Guardian lets you flicker Saheeli Rai, Saheeli Rai can then activate to copy Felidar Guardian, and you can repeat ad nauseam. This makes it easy to combo off as early as turn four, and there’s relatively limited instant-speed removal that can interact with this.
The second combo involves Felidar Guardian and Panharmonicon. When you get multiple Felidar Guardians, you can net infinite mana by flickering a land and the other Felidar Guardian. This is important because it lets you start generating infinite value off of Eldrazi Displacer, particularly in conjunction with Cloudblazer and Thought-Knot Seer. Cloudblazer will let you draw until you can find a Thought-Knot Seer, and Thought-Knot Seer lets you deck your opponent.
The last combo involves Eldrazi Displacer and Drowner of Hope. This, on its own, is an infinite loop. The three tokens Drowner generates give you the requisite mana to activate Eldrazi Displacer and net the mana all over again. However, with Panharmonicon in the mix, you actually net mana and creatures, and have yet another way to threaten to end the game on the spot.
If you’re looking for a robust and resilient shell to try the new Standard combo in, this seems like a good place to start. The density of cards that threaten to let you combo out is a huge draw to this shell, since you can overwhelm your opponent’s limited removal and stitch together some way to go infinite. The problem with this type of shell is it’s relatively weak in the combo mirror, given you have limited ways to interact with the opposing combo, namely Eldrazi Displacer and Stasis Snare. This also has the potential to be weak to Aetherworks Marvel, given you have no counterspells, though Eldrazi Displacer and Drowner of Hope give you plenty of ways to deal with large creatures.
Is raw speed and density enough to keep up with the rest of the new Standard format? I can’t wait to find out.