Aetherflux Reservoir

Discussion in 'Single Card Strategies' started by Oversoul, Sep 27, 2016.

  1. Oversoul The Tentacled One

    Upcoming "fixed storm" card in Kaladesh that might be fun for a casual deck...

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    This costs the same amount of mana as Tendrils of Agony, but to actually kill an opponent with it requires the chain of spells to work in reverse, with Aetherflux Reservoir already on the board before a bunch of spells are played. Also, they have to be your spells, not opponents' spells (or teammates', for that matter) Notably, it has some utility from the lifegain even spells are spread out over multiple turns or the life doesn't reach a point at which the activated ability can be used. Also, it can be used to kill a creature, which would be a highly unlikely scenario but technically not useless.

    The most likely chain starts with one Reservoir already on the battlefield, and progresses with cumulative life gains as follows:
    1st spell: 1 life.
    2nd spell: 3 life.
    3rd spell: 6 life.
    4th spell: 10 life.
    5th spell: 15 life.
    6th spell: 21 life.
    7th spell: 28 life.
    8th spell: 36 life.
    9th spell: 45 life.
    10th spell: 55 life.

    In the event that a chain of spells is used on the same turn that Aetherflux Reservoir is cast, then with it being the first spell, the totals are:
    1st spell (Reservoir): 0 life.
    2nd spell: 2 life.
    3rd spell: 5 life.
    4th spell: 9 life.
    5th spell: 14 life.
    6th spell: 20 life.
    7th spell: 27 life.
    8th spell: 35 life.
    9th spell: 44 life.
    10th spell: 54 life.

    So that's one point behind the case in which the turn starts fresh with Reservoir already on the battlefield. A very minor difference, but I'd suspect that it would be more practical not to try to "go off" on the same turn that Reservoir is cast. Now let's say I have two copies of Aetherflux Reservoir...
    1st spell: 2 life.
    2nd spell: 6 life.
    3rd spell: 12 life.
    4th spell: 20 life.
    5th spell: 30 life.
    6th spell: 42 life.
    7th spell: 56 life.
    8th spell: 72 life.
    9th spell: 90 life.
    10th spell: 110 life.

    Doubling makes it a lot faster. Now, I doubt that a deck could be built around reliably dropping multiple copies of Aetherflux Reservoir, but it's still worth noting how powerful the effect is in multiples.

    All the math so far is pretty simple, but instants make this a bit messier. If one saves instants for the end of a chain, the life gained can be boosted by playing new spells before the old triggers resolve. So, let's say that I cast Aetherflux Reservoir. First spell of the turn, and it wasn't on the battlefield yet, so I've gained no life. But then, with Aetherflux Reservoir now out and one spell played so far, I cast and instant. Ordinarily I'd gain 2 life, but instead, I cast another instant with the first trigger on the stack. And then I follow it up with more instants, casting another before the Reservoir triggers leave the stack...
    1st spell (Reservoir): 0 life.
    2nd spell: 1 trigger.
    3rd spelll: 2 triggers.
    4th spell: 3 triggers.
    5th spell: 4 triggers.
    6th spell: 5 triggers.
    7th spell: 6 triggers.
    8th spell: 7 triggers.
    9th spell: 8 triggers.
    10th spell: 9 triggers.
    Each trigger yields 10 life (I've played 10 spells this turn). 9 * 10 = 90 total life gained.

    Unfortunately, stacking instants over triggered abilities isn't particularly easy to pull off in a deck dedicated to chaining spells together. Storm decks, the closest analog, let their spells resolve because those spells do things for them, like drawing cards or generating mana, which allow the chain to continue. So this model is probably even less likely than model in which I have two Aetherflux Reservoirs (and it's not even as good). Still, it could be used to gain a bit more life here and there.

    I've seen speculation regarding the use of this card in competitive formats all the way from Vintage to Standard, but it's all been with a farfetched air. If the stars align, this is a card that just might almost be viable as a build-around in tournament decks. Seems dubious, though.

    Ah, but a casual deck? Yeah, I totally think we can make it work...

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