For any deckbuilder in Magic, this is your Christmas. Spoiler season is very exciting as it adds new cards and a new flavor to the game, allowing people who love deckbuilding some valuable time to solve the puzzle of the format.
Kaladesh brings in 3 new mechanics to the game: crew, fabricate, and, probably the most exciting one, energy. Fabricate is an ability on creatures that reads:
“When this creature enters the battlefield, put X +1/+1 counters on it or create X 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.”
This ability can serve in multiple strategies. Firstly, being able to make one creature a little bit bigger when you aren’t concerned with spreading the damage is great and can help you beat down. The other option is to help with another mechanic: crew. Crew is an ability on artifacts with the subtype of vehicle. They will have a number such as crew 3, which represents the amount of total power in creatures you need to tap to “animate” the artifact. The official wording is:
“Tap any number of creatures you control with total power X or more: This Vehicle becomes an artifact creature until end of turn.”
Crew is a good way to keep your most valuable creature alive against sorcery speed removal while being able to hit hard at the same time. If mass removal is ever as good as it was before this Standard format, crew will be a big player.
The last mechanic joining the game is energy. It is a type of resource that you can use such as mana for the abilities on cards. They are a resource that cannot be dealt with, which is similar to emblems.
I really think that this Nissa will be a major player in Standard while she’s legal. This card passes all the tests you want in a walker; she protects herself with the +1 ability, which also puts her to 6 loyalty counters, which itself is hard to answer, but it threatens to make an emblem immediately, which gives you a massive advantage. She also gives you value over time and helps you maintain card advantage by being able to -3 and essentially Eternal Witness a permanent. Her ultimate (which, mind you, happens the turn after she comes out) will probably win the game in the long run, especially when you are at parity with your opponent. I think I would rate her a 4 out 5.
Another 4 mana planeswalker with 4 abilities. The last time we had this was Jace, The Mind Sculptor and, admittedly, he was the best planeswalker ever, but I don’t think Chandra is far behind. Her first +1 ability has 2 abilities built in. You can either cast the card she hits, which helps you break parity, or not play it and be able to kill a planeswalker or deal 2 damage to your opponent. Her second +1 ability helps you get ahead by adding 2 red mana to your pool which can allow you to cast multiple spells in a turn. Her minus helps a lot as well, by protect herself by dealing 4 damage to any creature, which is a premium number. Her ultimate is very similar to Jace, Telepath Unbound, where you get an emblem that rewards you massively every time you cast a spell. Chandra gets a 5 out of 5.
This one I think will be hard to evaluate until we play with her. Most 3 mana planeswalkers are very good, but yet again most of them have some sort of protection to keep them around. Her plus one helps her gain card advantage by scrying one and dealing 1 damage. Her minus is a “Splinter Twin” effect on an artifact and/or creature and it gets exiled at the end of turn. Her ultimate is tutoring for 3 different artifacts and putting them onto the battlefield. I don’t foresee her seeing a lot of play in Standard but in decks like Blue Moon in modern she may be a powerhouse. (Read this article for a closer view at this archetype.) Overall, I would give her a 3 out of 5.
The rare land cycle in this set is the enemy fast lands (continued from Scars of Mirrodin). These lands have been heavily sought after since the originals were printed. They will be a fantastic help to the manabases in Standard now. These cards will be played in Modern for sure, as well. The Abzan decks would love to play Blooming Marsh over Razorverge Thicket. I would recommend picking up your playsets as fast as possible and hold them for a while.
I think this set will bring a lot to Magic as a whole, but especially Standard. As this set rotates in, Collected Company and all of Magic Origins and Dragons of Tarkir will rotate out, which will create a lot of freedom when it comes to deckbuilding. Stop by next week to see some new decks featuring some brand new Kaladesh cards that I think will thrive in Standard.
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