As the spoilers roll out for Magic’s newest set, Kaladesh, we can start to get an idea of how the limited format will play out. Although there’s still half the set to be spoiled at this point, we can still take a first look at the new mechanics we’ll be playing with for the next couple of months.
Before I begin, I won’t be explaining what each mechanic does at its core level, but rather I’ll be talking about how they will shape the limited environment come Kaladesh. For an explanation of Kaladesh mechanics and how they will play out in competitive formats, read this article by Zack Kanner.
Energy is a very interesting and exciting mechanic. In Magic, you rely on a few major resources, most importantly your life and the mana you have available to you. You want to use these resources to your advantage but you have to make sure you’re using them as efficiently as you can. For example, on turn 3 of a limited game, if you have a 3-mana creature card in your hand and a 2-mana creature card that’s better than your 3-mana creature, you want to play the 3-mana creature to use your mana more efficiently, so that in the future you can play the 2-mana creature and another card in one turn.
Energy is a new resource that can be spent in a variety of ways. But to first understand energy, we have to think of the phrase “energy economy” or the what the expected value is of an amount of energy.
At PAX, R&D member Ian Duke showed us a chart of what different amounts of energy equate to. Here is the chart they showed:
It’s important to keep this in mind when evaluating your energy creating cards. Let’s look at the card Woodweaver’s Puzzleknot.
On the surface, 2-mana for 3 energy and 3 life isn’t very exciting. However, when you factor in the card’s second ability to acquire 3 more energy and 3 more life you’ve now spent a total of 5-mana for 6-energy, which going by the energy economy chart, translates to a card in a half. A total investment of 5 mana for 6 life and a card and a half isn’t a bad deal. This card almost reminds me of Think Twice. But in the end, to make this card impactful, it’s vital to spend your energy in a efficient way to make sure you’re getting the most out of your 5 mana investment.
I think energy provides an unique new resource for limited Magic. When Mark Rosewater first introduced the mechanic at PAX, he said somewhere along the line that
“sometimes you’ll be using energy in a game for Card A, but in the next game it could be for Card B and Card C!”
Energy provides an unique play experience by adding this resource that can be used for a variety of cards, and I know it’ll always keep me thinking in Kaladesh limited of how I should be using it to my benefit.
On the surface, vehicles seem hard to evaluate this early in the spoiler season, but they seem powerful nonetheless. At their most basic, we have Sky Skiff. 2-mana for a 2/3 body that flies is no joke, even though it requires an investment of keeping a creature you control tapped to bash in for 2 each turn. Crew 1 is a very easy cost to fill, and in a format with creatures that have Fabricate (see next mechanic, a little further down the page), being able to create 1/1 creature tokens to “crew” vehicles seems very powerful. Curving Sky Skiff turn 2 into a Glint-Sleeve Artisan turn 3 and making a Servo token to crew your flier seems very ideal here.
It’s important to note that you can crew a Vehicle whenever you want, which can make it difficult for your opponent to make ideal attacks or blocks with their own creatures. I’m curious as to how many vehicles you can include in your deck before it becomes too many – you want enough creatures to play and attack or block on curve and too many vehicles in a limited deck can muddle those numbers.
Fabricate seems like a powerful mechanic. On the surface you’ll always have the option to put a +1/+1 counter on the creature you’re playing, which adds a nice little buff to it. However, there will probably be multiple instances when you’d rather create one or more 1/1 creatures instead. What’s nice about Fabricate is that you can evaluate the situation you’re in when you cast a creature with Fabricate, and choose for yourself whether or not the +1/1 counter or the 1/1 creature is more important.
As we see more and more spoilers for Kaladesh, it seems likely that artifacts will matter in limited, and creating the servo token will be useful in benefiting off of your “artifacts matter” cards, such as Welding Sparks and Shrewd Negotiation. Most importantly, the servo token can be used in addition to the creature you cast with Fabricate to crew your more expensive and powerful vehicles that require creatures to crew it, as I mentioned above.
Kaladesh will be here before you know it, and I’m looking to playing tons of limited games with thopters, vehicles, and energy! I’ll be back next week to talk initial draft archetypes with the whole set spoiled.
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