It's great when you get a creature with aggressive power that you can cast on the first or second turn. That Savannah Lions (or even better, a Wild Nacatl or Kird Ape) means you can get started with a plan of taking your opponent out from the earliest turn.
We appreciate that power at two mana as well, but hopefully we can get some bonus for the extra mana. Sylvan Advocate beats most other "bears" (vanilla two-mana 2/2 creatures, named after Grizzly Bears), as it gains vigilance and gets to become a 4/5 creature later in the game! That's a pretty good deal for two mana and sets a high bar.
Grim Flayer starts out as a bear, but with one swing can often become a 4/4 with trample by the end of the third turn.
All of this is to say that you don't commonly want a 3/1 with no abilities in your Constructed deck unless you are particularly hard up on creatures. The 3 power is a bit above rate and puts an opponent on a clock for little mana. It also trades with the Thraben Inspector your opponent cast on turn one.
But what if you got a 3/1 that could protect itself and produce energy?
Aethergeode Miner is an aggressive but fragile creature at first, but the second you have a little energy, it starts being able to protect itself from targeted removal.
Aethergeode Miner stands proudly in the intersect of aggro, energy, and revolution.
The Miner's Revolt
Let's take a second to review the revolt mechanic, which Matt Tabak explained in the Aether Revolt mechanics article yesterday:
As the people see their ingenuity, hard work, and even loved ones disappearing under the oppression of the Consulate, tensions are rising. Revolt is a new ability word that appears in front of abilities that depend on a permanent you control leaving the battlefield.
Revolt can take several different forms. Sometimes it appears as a bonus on an instant or sorcery spell. Some creatures have revolt abilities that let them enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters or produce different effects when they enter the battlefield
Revolt is a really cool mechanic, and it also calls back to many cards already in Standard:
Mileage may vary since you'll have to spend mana to trigger many of these effects.
Note that while Clue tokens are permanents, +1/+1 counters, loyalty counters, and energy counters are not. Clue tokens are great because you get to trigger revolt and replace the card you just cast.
We've already seen Greenwheel Liberator and Silkweaver Elite. They have great effects, but when you need to cast something that makes a permanent leave the battlefield, the extra value these cards provides can be diminished. But what if you can make something leave the battlefield for no mana? Better yet, what if it comes back?
The Aethergeode Miner does leave the battlefield; it goes to the mines and comes back angry and ready for the revolution.
Casting Aethergeode Miner on turn two and attacking with it on turn three for energy then blinking it means being able to drop a Greenwheel Liberator and untapping with 7 power between a pair of two-mana creatures!
If there are any one-drop revolt cards, Aethergeode Miner could create truly explosive turns from a single attack phase.
So it's clear that Aethergeode Miner is part of the revolution...who else is in?
Deck Concept: Green-White Revolt
We don't have all the cards in Aether Revolt yet, but we know we've got the start of a shell. This deck takes a motley crew of one- and two-drop creatures with revolt and creatures that easily trigger that mechanic. Aethergeode Miner, Selfless Spirit, and Aviary Mechanic are key ways to trigger revolt with small mana requirements.
What I don't think we should ignore is the energy production capabilities of the Miner. What if you want to keep the energy for other purposes? The Miner has to attack to fuel itself, so it wants to live in an aggressive environment. There are many solid cards that produce energy early in the game to help the Miner out:
These cards have varying strengths and see varying amounts of Standard play, but each can feed or be fed by the Miner in the first few turns.
When you keep this Dwarf alive, it will just keep amassing energy for you to use for other spells or to keep it standing on its own two feet!
While I wonder whether this card might give white enough of an energy curve to maybe use Aetherstorm Roc, I am really more curious to see what it does when you mix it with red and green energy cards...
Deck Concept: Naya Pummeler
This is a version of the red-green energy deck that adds white for some more removal and Aethergeode Miner. The Miner in this deck can produce or use energy, and becomes another hard-to-remove card in the deck to strain your opponent's removal. As a result, the deck doesn't have to depend so heavily on the Pummeler because it is overall harder to stop. The Naya energy deck might not even need the Pummeler and could use the energy generation to fuel something else.
Back to the Mines
Ultimately, we don't yet know everything that the Miner will interact with until all of Aether Revolt is revealed. Be sure to keep checking the Card Image Gallery to see what else might work well with it! Even then, I am excited about the interactions we can already see and what interactions are soon to emerge.
Until the revolution starts in full though, it's back to the mines we go.