With Kaladesh in full swing, it’s important to be looking at the different color combination archetypes and figuring out which cards will make the cut into certain strategies and which will not. Recently, Wizards of the Coast released a limited article on the mothership basically explaining each color pair’s specific archetype.
To reiterate the color pairs’ of Kaladesh basic strategy:
- W/U: Bounce and Flicker
- W/B: Value
- W/R: Aggro/Vehicles
- W/G: Fabricate/+1/+1 Counter Synergy
- U/B: Artifact Synergy
- U/R: Energy Aggro
- U/G: Energy Midrange
- B/R: Artifact Aggro
- B/G: +1/+1 Counter Synergy
- R/G: Energy Aggro
With that, let’s look at some of the commons and uncommon of Kaladesh and see whether in certain archetypes they shine or rust.
A Mind Control-esque effect at uncommon, Shrewd Negotiation is definitely one of blue’s most powerful spells. Although this card will most always make the cut into your deck, it plays much better if your deck is playing white, green, or black compared to red. In white, green, and black you have access to multiple fabricate cards at common, while there are none at common in red and blue. Since an artifact is required to swap for an opposing artifact or creature, you want to be able to turn on this spell as conveniently as possible. That being said, if you’re in U/R, you can avoid picking up this card in draft for a more relevant card for your deck. Sometimes you’ll be able to swap an Eager Construct or Puzzleknot for a much more valuable card, but more often than not, you won’t need to pick up a Shrewd Negotiation for your Blue-Red deck.
I’ve played with and against this card a couple of times, and I have mixed feelings about it. A 2/3 for 3 mana isn’t exactly exciting and the effect of being able to tap or untap a creature or vehicle can be powerful, but only if repeatable. Janjeet Sentry works best in a U/G shell, since many of the energy producers appear at common in those colors. Tapper effects have always been powerful in limited, cards such as Gideon’s Lawkeeper or Sigardian Priest, and adding the ability to untap as well is a major plus, but without consistent energy to have this effect be repeatable, Janjeet Sentry is passable, except in a deck where you have 4+ energy available to you at a given time.
Bomat Bazaar Bridge
After playing with the majority of the vehicles at common and uncommon the last two weeks I’ve been impressed by Renegade Freighter and Sky Skiff the most. Renegade Freighter is a powerful body great for attacking, easy to crew, and fits perfectly into an aggressive curve. Sky Skiff doesn’t fit as smoothly into your aggressive curve as Freighter but is very strong at attacking through or blocking Wind Drakes (2/2 flyers) and thopter tokens. At uncommon, Bomat Bazaar Bridge is interesting because it’s one of the vehicles that has an enter the battlefield ability, allowing you to draw a card while providing a powerful 5/5 body at just 4 mana. However, Crew 3 is significantly to reach than Crew 2. Looking at the color combinations, the Bazaar Bridge fits best into Red-White.
If we take a look at the W/R deck skeleton from Ryan Saxe’s article yesterday (found here, I highly suggest you read it), we can see how at uncommon, W/R contains many creatures at 3 and 4-mana, that have 3 power, such as Glint-Sleeve Artisan, Herald of the Fair, Spireside Infiltrator and Spontaneous Artist. Bomat Bazaar Bridge, although not my favorite vehicle, is a fine addition to a Red-White deck.
Ninth Bridge Patrol
Although Unruly Mob wasn’t spectacular by any means in Eldritch Moon limited, Ninth Bridge Patrol is an interesting card to evaluate, the important line of text on this card being “whenever another creature you control leaves the battlefield” rather than a simple “whenever another creature you control dies” ability. I think this card’s playability depends a lot on the number of fabricate cards and “flicker” effects you have in your deck. This card fits best in a W/U strategy with cards such as Aether Tradewinds and Aviary Mechanic. I’m more skeptical of this card in a W/G or W/B shell depending on the number of fabricate cards you have available to you. It’s important to note this card is underwhelming as your 2-drop when an opponent has an aggressive curve – this card can make the cut often, but be mindful of the number of fabricate cards and “flicker” effects you have available to you when deciding on including this card in your deck.
I previously talked about this card as being one of the premium black uncommons, and although while I still think that statement is true, it’s important to know when to pick up this card for your deck. Aetherborn Marauder fits best in W/B or B/G, since many of the common fabricate cards reside in those two other colors. You can play this card in your B/R or U/B decks, but you’ll find yourself lacking other creatures with +1/+1 counters to make Marauder a real threat. Black only has two fabricate cards at common, Maulfist Squad and Ambitious Aetherborn, and blue has none. You really want to be pairing this card with your Servo makers in white and the +1/+1 synergy cards in green.
Aethertorch Renegade and Harnessed Lightning In Blue-Green
In U/G, you might often find yourself splashing powerful cards from another color. In this color combination, you have access to mana fixers such as Wild Wanderer, Attune with Aether, and Prophetic Prism at common and Servant of the Conduit and Aether Hub at uncommon. Aethertorch Renegade and Harnessed Lightning are both great energy sinks to splash in this archetype.
Harnessed Lightning stands out as one of the premium removal spells of the set – being able to use energy to kill a majority of the creatures in the format at instant speed. Aethertorch Renegade packs a powerful effect, being able to deal 1 damage to creatures at instant speed, which lines up great against the thopters, servos, and X/1 creatures of the format. In a color combination such as U/G, where there are a lot of inherent energy makers at common and uncommon, these two cards make great additions to this strategy.
This is one of the less exciting fabricate cards, either becoming a 2/3 for 3 mana or a 0/1 that creates two servo tokens. Although unexciting, this card stands out as a valuable uncommon for your black decks. Two important commons of black decks Dhund Operative and Foundry Screecher, two mediocre creatures that get a great bonus for controlling an artifact. With very little fabricate cards available at common, Weaponcraft Enthusiast is a solid pickup for any B/R or U/B deck looking to get a nice bonus for controlling an artifact.
As we start to understand the goals of each color pair in Kaladesh limited, it’s important to know which commons and uncommons will make the cut of certain strategies and which will not. Unlike Eldritch Moon, Kaladesh is proving to be a faster, m0re streamlined format. Be wary when drafting or building your sealed pool of the uncommons and commons which fit into some strategies better than others. Some cards are definitely powerful on the surface but can get cut if they don’t line up well with the rest of the cards in your deck.
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