Aether Revolt Budget Aetherborn Tribal Deck [Standard] – Tales from the Fringe, by Jesse Hall
Greetings, fellow Planeswalkers, and welcome to this first edition of Tales from the Fringe. In this series, I will be taking a look at simple deck techs that are cohesive and budget friendly, and sometimes use what less discerning players write off as unplayable jank. For this first edition, I’ve decided to start off strong. Aether Revolt is here and it’s finally transformed the Aetherborn from a petty selection of utility creatures to a tribe that could potentially take Standard by storm. This is a deck that you could easily take to your local FNM and turn some heads without breaking the bank.
The Aetherborn are creatures with incredibly short life spans, but no shortage of living. For them, death is the final party, and the best one can experience. The Aetherborn have strong ties to the Energy mechanic (most black spells that give or spend energy feature Aetherborn), so the deck also toys with energy, and does a pretty damn good job of it. Most Aetherborn-based creature removal is in the form of -X/-X effects, which makes putting together a flavorful Aetherborn deck very easy.
This Aetherborn tribal deck features only two non-Aetherborn creatures: Glint-Sleeve Siphoner and Noxious Gearhulk. Siphoner is the best version of Dark Confidant that has been printed probably since the original, and this deck really makes her tick. The Gearhulk provides some decisive removal and a fine beatstick for a finisher. Let’s look at the whole list:
Gonti, Lord of Luxury: Leave a Beautiful Corpse
2x Ob Nixilis Reignited
4x Gonti’s Machinations
All said and done (including the sideboard), this deck clocks in at just under $70 for paper and 31.14 tix online. If your budget or collection allows, I definitely recommend picking up Metallic Mimic, which is holding at about $17 for a playset in paper and 12.68 tix online.
The energy mechanic is a living, breathing part of this deck. Gonti’s Machinations is a real superstar here. With two on the board, activating the ability for Glint-Sleeve Siphoner costs no energy, and if you happen to have three or more, you will actually gain energy. It’s also an easy Revolt enabler for Vengeful Rebel.
Of the -X/-X effects in this deck, Grasp of Darkness is possibly the most efficient. It hits most things in Standard at instant speed. This will let you save your energy to try to hit larger targets with Die Young, and if there is nothing bigger then it’s an easy decision to side it out. Of course, the deck also features the shiniest new toy in the removal toy box, Fatal Push as a 3-of.
Gifted Aetherborn is one of our more aggressive creatures. The combination of deathtouch and lifelink on a 2/3 body makes him especially tempting. He gets by Shock even without Midnight Entourage on the field, which is relevant. The biggest “Gotcha” of this deck, however, is Gonti, Lord of Luxury. When cast on curve, he can be especially disruptive.
You may notice that the deck doesn’t feature Yahenni, Undying Partisan. I wanted to include them, but their abilities didn’t seem to fit with what I was going for. At 3 mana, I felt that Vengeful Rebel, who can be relevant as soon as they hit the board thanks to Revolt, was a better choice. Likewise, Yahenni’s Expertise is a neat effect, but works against our gameplan. Instead, our removal suite is purely spot removal, which is diverse enough that it should work for most cases.
Ob Nixilis is the deck’s only Planeswalker. At 5 mana, he’s a tough sell, but I really think everything he does is worth it. Card advantage. Solid, unconditional removal. If he lasts long enough, his emblem is a tangible win condition, thanks to all the extra card draw in this deck.
Finally, the sideboard is pretty basic: three cards each of five different flavors of removal, from straight out Murder to hand and deck removal with Lost Legacy. To the Slaughter should be a really solid performer here. We’re drawing a lot of cards and there are five different card types in the deck. Delirium should be turned on for when it matters, making it a double-threat.
If you’re looking to upgrade this deck, Metallic Mimic is a must. Because a tribal deck like this would demand a full playset of them, its cost makes it a little prohibitive. Midnight Entourage serves the purpose and the budget well enough, but the mana cost and +1/+1 counters make the Mimic a better choice if you can get your hands on them.
Community Question: What cards would you add and take away from this deck to make it better, and why?
Thank you for reading,