As spoiler season winds down to the end, everyone starts to think of where to use these new cards that are being printed. There have been times where I’ve been guilty of jamming cards into decks that don’t fit, just because I want to use them. So, let’s take a look into some of the new cards and see what archetypes and strategies Kaladesh brings to the formats.
In Standard, there are normally 3 different archetypes that are always around; aggro, midrange, and control. Kaladesh seems to have added cards to each of these archetypes. Let’s start with aggro.
Kaladesh features a lot of red-based aggro cards. I think you can find aggressive and competive red aggro decks with green, black and white compliments. We now get access to Thriving Grubs, Lathnu Hellion, Pia Nalaar, Skyship Stalker, Inventor’s Apprentice, and Bomat Courier. These creatures are all cheaply costed or have very good presense when they hit the board. Thriving Grubs is a 2 mana 3/2 which is low costed for an aggressive 2 drop. Skyship Stalker acts as a very aggressive mana sink with good late-game abilities. Pia Nalaar can switch from aggressive to evasion quickly, allowing you two axes to operate on.
When it comes to green in this set, we’ve been given cheap pump spells such as Blossoming Defense that can protect your aggressive creatures along side with the aggressive green creatures that we can play. I think Voltaic Brawler is excellent, as most of the time it’s another cheap, efficiently costed creature with only upside. I think the green half of the Voltaic Brawler deck could possibly give the most explosive draws, not the more conventional red cards.
We have lived with W/r Humans for a while in Standard. It has a base of white but, when white is the compliment color, it looks much different. With white, we potentially have 1 mana 3/2 in the form of Toolcraft Exemplar that just needs one artifact to grow from a measly 1/1. Aerial Responder gives us some decent white evasion that allows us to race against other aggro decks with lifelink and vigilance playing very well together. The big reason to splash white is for Depala, Pilot Exemplar. She acts as an anthem for Dwarves and Vehicles, which is important to add because most of the white aggressive creatures in this deck are dwarfs.
I feel like black is fairly weak in this set, but there are two aggro cards that could compliment the black that we already have in Standard. I strongly believe that Syndicate Trafficker will be great due to the fact its a cheap costed creature that has protection already built into it. Scrapheap Scrounger is another good black creature that is very hard to deal with permanently. I say it’s black, even though technically its an artifact because of the black activation to bring it back from the graveyard to play. After all, you’re not playing this as a plain 3/2 for 2 that can’t block. We also get good removal in this set with Unlicensed Disinegration. It kills a creature while burning your opponent, which is exactly what an aggressive deck wants.
Some of Kaladesh’s inventions are really powerful in the middle part of the game, where the term Midrange comes from. These decks like to play their powerful spells from turn 4-6. Green is the most common when it comes to Midrange decks and normally paired with Red, White, and Black. For the most part, all the Gearhulks fill the midrange role perfectly. All are powerful threats that also effect board state immediately and do something powerful.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance screams midrange all over her. She is a very powerful Planeswalker that will tear a game apart very quickly if left uncheck. Another Planewalker that has that same massive effect is Nissa, Vital Force. Black’s powerful late drop after the Gearhulks is Demon of Dark Schemes. It is a powerful creature that can really impact the game massively if you are in those colors. For white, the powerful 5 drop Angel of Invention is one of those cards that can allow you to get back into the game and also play a crucial role in defense. I think a potential major sleeper in green is Architect of the Untamed. She plays a similar roll as Tireless Tracker, but utilizes a different resource which may be useful. In these slower decks I believe these will be the best decks to utilize vehicles. There are 2 vehicles that I think will see a large amount of play. Skysoverign, Consul Flagship is the best one in my mind. It as a removal spell to a creature, then hits hard with its 6/5 flying body. Another vehicle that I like a lot is is Cultivator’s Caravan. I like the fact that it’s a ramp spell that can help you fix your mana and get to your 5 and 6 drops early. After you play out the bigger spells, it becomes a 5/5 body that can clock your opponent fast.
While the recent control decks in Standard have not been the control decks that we know and love, Wizards keeps printing ways to keep it around, if barely breathing. The control decks as of late are tap-out Planeswalker-fueled decks that will win by overpowering your opponent in the later turns of the game. The base color of these decks are usually Blue. In Kaladesh, some of the cards that help this archetype are really strong at what they do. A lot of these control decks usually doesn’t play creatures but the Blue, Black, and White Gearhulks are efficient creatures that answer problematic threats and also can end a game on their own.
One creature that I think will see play is Cloudblazer. If anyone has played during Lowryn or Modern Masters and know what the card Mulldrifter does will see how powerful this card is. It’s a 5 mana flyer with a 2/3 body but when it enters the battlefield you gain 2 life and draw 2 cards. It’s an excellent way to try and bridge the gap from the middle part of the game to the end, where your deck thrives. Some of the spells that will be added to these decks are quintessential to what this deck needs. In terms of planeswalkers, Kaladesh adds Dovin Baan to the list. It’s not flashy at all, but it’s a card that helps you stabilize a game by either gaining life or shrinking a creature and detaining it. That ability is important when you’re detaining a selfless spirit when you are trying to set up a wrath in that turn. The ultimate ability isn’t crucial to winning but it could get the job done in the control mirror. In all honesty, I think the best spell the deck gains is Fumigate. It is a white 5 mana wrath effect but when it blows up the board, you gain a life for each creature that died this way. This is a huge swing when playing control by resetting the board and buying you turns with the life gain.
Even some of Kaladesh’s inventions will make themselves useful in Modern. The first card is Blossoming Defense. This card fits the Vines of Vastwood role, but potentially better. It may not pump as much, but it is cheaper. Vines of the Vastwood could also be redirected by Spellskite but Blossoming Defense cannot be, as it only targets your creatures. I would not be surprised to see Infect adopt this card soon.
Cathartic Reunion is a card that everyone sighed a little when they saw. Dredge was already powerful, but they just received a card that may put it over the edge. I talked to my good friend Caleb Scherer who has been known to trigger Narcomoeba as of late in Modern about how he felt about this card. He believes that Shriekhorn will be cut in these lists in order to make room for this powerful dredge enabler and I can’t help but agree. They fill similar rolls but this one can potentially end the game on the spot.
Saheeli Rai is a card I think that will help Blue Moon close a game but isn’t needed in that deck. However, in Lantern Control, I think she will be an easy inclusion to the deck. It allows the deck to win the game before turn 5 of extra turns, which is critical.
The last invention in Kaladesh is the Inventor’s Fair itself. This colorless land is good fit for the Affinity decks. The one life may not seem like a lot but eventually it will add up. That is not even the best part of the card. The search aspect is what makes it really good. It counts as a 5th Cranial Plating or 5th of anything whenever you need it. Four mana may seem like a lot in a deck with so few lands. But, when 8 of the artifacts they play produce mana, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them cut a Darksteel Citadel for one of these.
There is only one card off the bat that I see being played in Legacy, which is Chandra, Torch of Defiance, and that’s only in the Painter decks to replace the Chandra, Pyromancer that it plays sometimes. Other than that, I do not see many cards in Kaladesh making a splash in Legacy.
Jeez, so many inventions and so little time to talk about them. Let me know what you guys think is the best archetype that Kaladesh helps support in the comments down below. Join me next week for Standard decklists that make use of these sweet new goodies!
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