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A Tale of Three Cards

Happy Tuesday MTG peeps,

Today on MTG Realm, we want to yatter about the rapid phylogenesis of the new standard constructed format.  Specifically, how three popular (or not so popular) Kaladesh cards were received by Magic: the Gathering fans, when previewed and how perception of players evolved over the course of a few short weeks.

We'll focus on the following :

• Aetherworks Marvel
A legendary artifact costing four allowing you to score an energy counter whenever a permanent you control is put into a graveyard with the second ability of paying 6 energy to look at the top 6 of your library and casting one of those spells for free.

• Smuggler's Copter
A 3/3 rare artifact vehicle costing two colourless with a crew requirement of one.  The ability to loot (draw one / discard one) provided whenever it attacks or blocks.

• Torrential Gearhulk
'Blue' Gearhulk of the mythic rare cycle costing 4UU and delivering a 5/6 flashing construct.  The ETB effect here is casting a instant in your yard on the free.

When Aetherworks Marvel was previewed, along with a mountain slide of other cards during PAX, not very much attention was paid.  Most players were simply overwhelmed with the number of other cards out at the same time.  When the dust cleared pre-order prices were set around 10 to 12 clams or so.  A rather guarded assessment, given that this was mythic rare and it was not immediately clear how well the energy mechanic given the limited number of cards previewed so far.  Fast forward to Pro Tour Kaladesh just last weekend - players have now tuned in how best to use this.  Essentially putting a lot of weight into generating as much energy early in the game to land a monster (Eldrazi are the 'go-to' creature spell) on turn four to win the game.

As for Smuggler's Copter, pretty much every MTG player knew it was either good or simply awesome.  The start of each new standard constructed season favours decklists with an aggressive profile, and this was the perfect vehicle.  When the SCG Indy tournament was in the books on the very weekend release, you were either playing Smuggler's Copter or you were wrong.  Those who pre-ordered around $10 or so saw the value pretty much triple in the course of a week.  Moving along to Pro Tour Kaladesh, new lists emerged to find a new path and although the Copter fell a bit from grace, it still appears to be a contender.

Lastly, the blue Torrential Gearhulk.  This gearhulk was certainly not received as well as the others in the cycle when it was first previewed.  At the this time, this was the odd mutant offspring if Snapcaster Mage mated with Goblin Dark-Dwellers and the pre-order pricing mirrored the general sentiment as well.   The Pro players evaluated this again and were quite satisfied to to dish out more mana for the ability to flash this in and hit more expensive (read - more powerful) spells.  Even Goblin Dark-Dwellers couldn't hit a Glimmer of Genius.

Anywhoos, in summary, the take-away message here really is that an individual card is often very difficult to evaluate in a vacuum, and even 'stand alone' cards which are powerful on their own will eventually loose some of its charm as players pack strategies for it in the sideboard.  This is an organic and ever-changing game, and we love it.

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