Kaladesh is the type of set that gets my brewing gears turning, as it overflows with powerful build-arounds and exciting synergies. Over the weekend, I brewed up as many as 20 decks that serve to indicate the wide range of possibilities in the new Standard. This article contains the first 10.
Without further delay, let’s get to the lists!
Deck #1: Red-White Dwarven Crew
Depala is thrilled to pilot Skysovereign, and so are most of the other Dwarves for that matter. This list contains 10 Vehicles and 22 Pilots, which is a higher Vehicle concentration than I would typically recommend, but since the Dwarves are all so good at crewing, it’s worth the risk of being Vehicle-flooded. Besides, Veteran Motorist and Smuggler’s Copter offer card selection to mitigate that risk.
The deck is pretty aggressive, and the curve of Toolcraft Exemplar – Smuggler’s Copter – Fairgrounds Warden can close out games in short order. There are 15 artifacts in the deck (including Thraben Inspector and Pia Nalaar) for Toolcraft Exemplar, which is a good number to aim for. Toolcraft Exemplar is like Scythe Leopard—in the right deck, it’s a powerful 1-drop that will attack for 3 most of the time.
Given that my brewing frenzy happened two days after the full set release, I have yet to play a game with this or any other deck, and I don’t have sideboards yet. I did, however, pay attention to mana curves and mana bases when building this and my other decks. For 25-land midrange decks like these, I’m generally looking to play 13-19 cards of 2 mana or fewer, 6-12 cards of 3 mana, and 5-11 cards of 4 mana or more. Some shifts are possible depending on how aggressive a deck is, but I’ve found this range to be a good guideline, and the above deck adheres to it.
Deck #2: Blue-Red Dynavolt Summonings
Dynavolt Tower and Metallurgic Summonings both point toward a deck filled with cantrips, and this deck delivers. Between Take Inventory, Anticipate, Drag Under, and Pieces of the Puzzle, this deck can easily keep the triggers rolling.
While you’re drawing cards, you can survive thanks to your burn suite. Harnessed Lightning burns creatures, Fateful Showdown shoots down planeswalkers, and Dynavolt Tower does both. Eventually, you create a swarm of Construct tokens and either attack for the win or return a lethal Fateful Showdown.
Deck #3: Metalwork Colossus
I know an Affinity deck when I see one. Metalwork Colossus is potentially a 10/10 for zero mana that allows you to sacrifice Sanctum of Ugin and get another one. That’s just ridiculous, and in this deck it can easily happen on turn 5. With the dream draw, it’s even possible to play a 10/10 on turn 4!
Thanks to Inventor’s Fair, Glint-Nest Crane, and the Puzzleknots, you can find Metalwork Colossus with striking consistency. If opponents are planning to chump-block, then you have Deadlock Trap, Engulf the Shore, and Skysovereign to clear the way.
Deck #4: Cathartic Reanimator
The dream is as follows.
On turn 3, you bring back Haunted Dead by discarding Fiery Temper and Combustible Gearhulk. This allows you to madness Fiery Temper. Once Haunted Dead enters the battlefield, you return Prized Amalgam.
On turn 4, you cast Refurbish to bring back Combustible Gearhulk. In addition to a 6/6, you either get a free Ancestral Recall or a stocked-up graveyard—that, plus a bunch of damage (potentially redirected to a planeswalker). Your opponent gets to choose, but this is way above the curve for turn 4, so it will be hard to lose from that position.
Deck #5: Black-Red Artifact Aggro
This is the first deck featuring the new Kird Ape, Inventor’s Apprentice. With 13 artifacts that cost 2 or less, plus 3 Pia Nalaar, it will be a 2/3 consistently enough. All of these early drops are aggressive and allow for great starts: Inventor’s Apprentice – Scrapheap Scrounger is a nice aggro curve, and Bomat Courier – Smuggler’s Copter is also a good creature team.
The deck also features a minor madness theme. Bloodhall Priest in particular is pretty sweet to madness off of Bomat Courier, as you’ll get to deal 2 damage before you take the exiled cards into your hand.
Deck #6: Red-White Artificer
This deck combines the most aggressive artifact-reliant 1-drops in the new format: Inventor’s Apprentice and Toolcraft Exemplar. Since both of them are Artificers, they go well with Inventor’s Goggles, which in turn is an excellent turn-1 companion to a turn-2 Stone Haven Outfitter. It’s like building your own Tarmogoyf.
Servo Exhibition, Pia Nalaar, and Captain’s Claws provide artifacts for your 1-drops and form a token theme. Weapons Trainer, Reckless Bushwhacker, and Outnumber are the main ways to leverage tokens on the battlefield.
Although the equipment theme (Weapons Trainer, Stoneforge Acolyte, Captain’s Claws, and Stitcher’s Graft) is sweet, I’m not sure it’s powerful enough. Another approach would be to build the deck with Scrapheap Scrounger (splashed off of several Concealed Courtyard and Foreboding Ruins), Smuggler’s Copter, and Thraben Inspector instead. But for now, I’m trying to push the synergies to the max.
Deck #7: Blue-Green Storm
I wrote about this style of deck in an earlier article but that was before Glint-Nest Crane and Prophetic Prism were revealed. The above build incorporates both of those cards: compared to my original list, I cut Thraben Inspector and Reflector Mage and ended up with a straight blue-green version. Can’t wait to hit Bone Saw with Glint-Nest Crane! (And yes, I’ll have the numbers on that and other cards for you next week.)
Deck #8: Red-Green Energy Aggro
All the haste creatures in this deck will be a nightmare for opponents who rely on their planeswalkers, and there are a lot of them in the new Standard: Liliana, Nissa, Saheeli, Arlinn, Gideon, Kiora, Nahiri, Tamiyo, Chandra, Dovin, Jace, Nixilis, and Sorin. Since most 4-cost planeswalkers go up to 5 loyalty, Fleetwheel Cruiser in particular seems perfectly positioned.
Finally, I like how this deck contains a lot of cards that both use and produce energy, allowing you to choose how to spend your energy counters. Due to that interchangeable flexibility, a group of different energy cards is worth more than the sum of the parts.
Deck #9: Jund Planeswalkers
Speaking of planeswalkers: This is the best superfriends combination I could think of. It features as many as 13 planeswalkers spread out nicely over the curve. The dream is to curve Liliana into Chandra into Nissa while getting extra value from the legendary Oaths in the process.
Besides that, this deck is as midrange as it gets. There is Sylvan Advocate to protect the planeswalkers, converge spells to generate value, and likely a good sideboard with spells like Transgress the Mind against Emrakul and Ruinous Path against Gideon.
Deck #10: Red-Green Double Strike
Voltaic Brawler is an all-star in several decks, including this wacky brew. Here, his main role is to provide energy for Electrostatic Pummeler. It’s not hard to get 6 energy by turn 4, in which case you can play Larger than Life, activate the Pummeler twice, and get a 20/20 trampler. If your opponent tries to play Murder at that point, you have Blossoming Defense to say “no.”
It’s kind of a Magical Christmas land scenario, but the new Kaladesh pump spells all come at great rates. Since you have Scourge Wolf (whose delirium requirement warps the rest of the deck) and Mirrorwing Dragon as alternative ways to make the most of them, there may just be a deck here.
I hope you enjoyed these early ideas for Kaladesh Standard. Later this week, I’ll be back with lists number 11-20!