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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Aerial Formation
Image from Wizards.com

Aerial Formation
- Journey into Nyx

Reviewed May 23, 2014

Constructed: 2.30
Casual: 2.60
Limited: 3.40
Multiplayer: 2.30

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 


Aerial Formation

At one target, it's a fair combat trick, on par with Vault Skyward. Blue doesn't often get P/T boosts on its tricks, so enjoy it while it lasts. Four mana to give the same benefit to two targets isn't bad, especially if you've got two reasonably big ground pounders. Seven mana to do it to three creatures? That's pushing it, but now we're definitely to the point where you put it on the stack and ask "...for the win?"

Obviously, Heroic decks want this a lot, because it's one of the few ways to trigger Heroic on more than one creature at a time. I would counter that the decks most able to exploit a card like this are the decks running Blue Monstrous cards like the Krakens and so forth. If your opponent doesn't have flying blockers, a pair of Krakens can be a terrifying thing, and if you're already banking on getting Monstrosity mana, then the Strive cost won't look so painful. The real question is-- will the people who run this know best how to use it?

Constructed- 2.5
Casual- 3.5
Limited- 4
Muliplayer- 4

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Aerial Formation

So, this mechanic is Wizards of the Coast's concession to the fact that people may try to make decks based around the heroic mechanic and the flavor of heroes, but not have ways to target everyone equally. This mechanic also illustrates how Wizards either doesn't know or doesn't care that removal is usually stronger than creatures (especially recently - ever seen a deck 93/94 format, full as they mostly are of Juzam Djinns, Craw Giants, and Thunder Spirits?), because it costs so much more to cast a strive card with multiple targets than it does to kill one or more of the targets. Still, when your opponent doesn't see it coming, Aerial Formation can be devastating. It's basically a blue Overrun, and that is a sentence I thought I would literally never write. The fact that it's in a color that can (given enough mana) counter anything the opponent tries to use to mess with it is also worth keeping in mind.

Constructed: 3/5
Casual: 3/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 2/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Aerial Formation which is a one mana Blue instant with Strive for three that gives Flying and +1/+1 until end of turn. This is a relatively weak combat trick that can give a one turn surprise attack or defense to a creature or two, though rarely more outside of Multiplayer or Commander. The offense and defense boost doesn't compare to the higher options available from other cards, but Blue has access to low cost auras that often provide more effective benefits than this does as an instant.

In Limited this is a decisive stalemate ending card that will often allow two or three creatures an open attack and the +1/+1 is not negligible. Defensively it can work to block a Flying threat, though trading or destroying is far preferable to a two for one sacrificial block. For Sealed there is no reason not to include this when running Blue, it needs a bit to be really effective, but the potential is definitely there. With Booster it is a strong on color choice that can be an earlier pick in weak packs or ones lacking better support.

Constructed: 2.5
Casual: 2.5
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 2.5


Deck Garage

Aerial Formation

The new Strive mechanic has shown to have lots of uses. Early in the game, it can effect one creature as a combat trick, or in this case, make a creature of yours flying to be a surprise blocker for their flier. Later in the game, you can make your whole team flying and go over the top to finish off your opponent. If you're running Heroic creatures, this becomes much better, as it actually targets as many creatures as you pay for.

As good as that sounds, the application falls a little short. Making something - or a few somethings - flying for a turn is a mediocre effect. There are lots of other ways to make things flying, and most of them are more efficient. And if you want to get three or more creatures to fly, you're spending 7+ mana. How often would you be happy to draw that card, even in the late game: 7 mana, make three creatures flying until end of turn?

The only real use this might have is in a limited deck where evasion wins you games, and the game might go long enough where you can strive this multiple times for a big effect. Even then, I wouldn't feel particularly proud running this in my draft deck - was there really nothing better to pick?

Constructed: 1.5
Casual: 1.5
Limited: 2
Multiplayer: 1

Michael Sokolowski

How many ways are there to use Aerial Formation, to varying degrees of effectiveness? I've found four, surprisingly. Let's go through them.

The first and most obvious use is to trigger creatures with heroic. A nice, simple 1 mana card to trigger heroic on one guy (or 4 mana for two creatures, 7 mana for 3 creatures, etc) and give it +1/+1 and flying just for good measure. Could get in some nice early damage, establish board control, or whatever your heroic guy does. The second and also pretty obvious way to use this card is as a finisher. Sure you could use this on your Hero of Iroas early in the game... but how equally awesome would it be to throw it on a Tromokratis, or a monstrous Hydra Broodmaster and its brood, and swing in the air for the win? The third use is as a VERY weak, but still potentially useful, combat trick. Basically if normally you'd be trading say a 3/3 for an opponent's 3/3, you can surprise them and have your creature live. It's still 1 card for 1 card, but maybe your creature is more useful alive than Aerial Formation is to you at that moment. And the fourth and final use is to help trigger any "Whenever X deals combat damage to a player" abilities you might have. It's not the most efficient use of this card, but sometimes games can be won or lost depending on if Ohran Viper was able to draw you a card or not.

The card ends up being pretty versatile, useful in either the early game with it's cost of 1 or late game as a finisher for many creatures, which you could see and should prepare for in limited. But the problem is that even with all that wonderful versatility, the effect itself is still very weak. There are usually better cards to trigger heroic, although this is still decent at that. While it can be used as a combat trick, it's one of the worst ones out there. The finisher/stalemate breaker usage is probably the most fun, but I just don't really see this being worth a deck slot outside of limited. You'd usually rather draw an actual threat, rather than a very mild enhancement to a threat. Besides, if you're running blue, don't you already have access to strong creatures with flying?

It's nice to imagine the best-case-scenario situations, where this card is super awesome and does a lot to help you win. But unfortunately I do feel that most of the time, a +1/+1 and flying power-up just isn't going to be enough to turn the tide in your favour.

Constructed: 2
Casual: 2.5
Limited: 3.5
Multiplayer: 2

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