Quote from KonfusiusThis is all true and the reason why many in this thread are excited to play with AEtherling. Others, like me for example, are a bit more skeptical. The reason is this:
Consider a game where you play dedicated control. You develop your mana and in the process you take a couple of hits. Say you play a wrath, your opponent plays a new threat and attacks you to 5. Now you play AEtherling and keep U open to save it from removal. You are now dead to Zealous Conscripts, Chandra's Phoenix + Reckless Charge, Thundermaw Hellkite, haste creature + removal spell or removal spell + burn spell.
In other words, the value of AEtherling vs. Sphinx of Jwar Isle for example depends on whether closing out games or staying alive long enough are the more pressing matter for your typical dedicated control deck. I know for us it often is the latter, and there AEtherling is not as good as other options.
Quote from LordOfTexasLeatherback Baloth is "huge". Palinchron without flying is not. Mana cost matters when evaluating P/T. Also, any removal spell on the 'Ling means he has to flicker or die, something that is not true for a creature with actual Shroud/Hexproof. Not to mention that you can't "always" pump him, especially on the turn he comes down.
Defense matters most on the first turn you drop this guy, when you are unlikely to have mana to pump him. And again, you have to compare him against other 7 drops in terms of defense, which I already did above, and he's the worst of any commonly run 7-drop in terms of defensive board presence. "Bashes for 8 each cycle" is not part of defense, I already stated that he is good on offense.