Typically, I would post these pick order list articles after the Pro Tour. This time, however, I’m providing one earlier, right in time for Grand Prix London, Grand Prix Atlanta, and the first Magic Online drafts.
The list I’m about to provide ranks all cards in Kaladesh from high to low for the first-pick, first-pack decision. It is informed by almost 20 years of experience with drafts in general and one day of Kaladesh Limited in particular, as well as several Set Review articles that I read.
Chronologically, I made this first-pick, first-pack pick order list last week based on my first impressions. By the time this article gets posted, I will have done a lot of extra drafts and will have discussed the cards and the format with my testing team, but I can’t freely share that information because it would hurt my team’s chances at the Pro Tour. That is the nature of the information embargo before a Pro Tour. After the Pro Tour, I’ll tell you which cards I assessed incorrectly—inevitably, there will be some—and what my team’s Limited findings were, but right now I have a list for you that offers my own honest initial ideas.
As always, the ranking is all in the context of the first-pick, first-pack decision. This means that multicolored cards are ranked relatively low (because they leave you with less flexibility to maneuver during the draft) and artifacts cards are ranked relatively high (because they go into every deck and keep your options more open).
For instance, if it was pack 2 and I knew I was drafting blue/white, then I would typically pick Dovin Baan over Revoke Privileges, and I’d pick both over Bomat Bazaar Barge. My list, however, has the complete reverse order because it’s meant to aid the first-pick, first-pack decision. It’s like a “What’s the Pick? Kaladesh Pack 1 Pick 1” article by Huey, except it provides my answer for every possible pack you could open.
I broke the list down into separate categories to make it easier to read and to allow me to intersperse some comments, but you can think of it as one continuous list if you like.
If you’d like the visual list, click the spoiler drop down below.
The Best Rares/Mythics
I would take all of these cards over any common or uncommon. Skysovereign, Consul Flagship is the best card to open in my opinion, and the rares/mythics are roughly ranked in order of how good they appear to me.
I didn’t include the masterpieces because this list doesn’t take monetary value into account (I only consider the quality of a card during gameplay), but let’s be real—if you open a masterpiece and you’re not drafting at a premier event like the Pro Tour, then you’ll be glad to take it over everything in the pack. Most of the time, it’s an insane addition to your deck, too!
The Best Uncommons to First-Pick
As I mentioned, I like starting a draft with an artifact, and these 4 uncommon ones all seem great to me, with Bomat Bazaar Barge being the best one. It can always make my deck and it leaves me open to take whatever colors are flowing my way. In this set, artifacts matter even more because there are plenty of cards that get better when you play artifacts or have artifacts on the battlefield.
Other Cards That Are Better Than Any Common
These are impactful creatures and removal spells. To clarify how to read this list: If I opened a booster with all of them, then I would pick Master Trinketeer over Harnessed Lightning, which in turn I would take over Fairgrounds Warden.
I see lots of good white and red uncommons here, and the best white and red commons are great too. So if my assessments are correct, drafters may start with a white or red card a disproportionate amount of time.
The Best Commons to First-Pick
These look like the best 3 commons to first-pick. Renegade Freighter is mainly in here because it’s an artifact, but it’s one of the better Vehicles, and I would be fine starting my draft with it.
Great Non-Common Cards That I’d First-Pick Just Behind the Best Commons
Here you see more situational or restrictive removal spells that all come with some kind of drawback, as well as the first gold cards. I don’t love starting my draft with a gold card, but I’ll do it if it is much better than the next-best card. My ranking reflects this.
The Next 10 Best Commons and Cards of Similar Power
In terms of commons, you see expensive removal spells and the best 2-drops, 3-drops, and 4-drops here. Spontaneous Artist isn’t actually super great, but the alternative 4-drop common in red (Terror of the Fairgrounds) is so bad that I want to prioritize the only playable red 4-drop for curve purposes.
The best blue commons are ranked decidedly lower than the best commons of the other four colors. As a result, blue is probably the worst color.
Good Gold Cards
I may have moved 1 or 2 cards around in my original ranking in order to come up with category names that made sense. At least it makes it easier to remember my ranking. One way or another, these are all great cards, except that they’re gold.
Two other gold uncommons (Unlicensed Disintegration and Cloudblazer) were ranked higher because they seemed much better than the rest. The final 2 gold uncommons (Engineered Might and Hazardous Conditions) don’t feel as powerful to me, so they are ranked lower.
Situational Removal Spells and Artifacts
The artifacts probably don’t fit everywhere, but could be powerful in the right deck. The removal spells don’t always kill the creatures that matter.
The Bread and Butter of Your Creature Base
I think it will be rare for me to first-pick any of these creatures, but I also think that they will make my main deck the majority of the time.
The white 4-drops (Propeller Pioneer and Thriving Ibex) are kind of the opposite of the red 4-drops—both white creatures are very good, so there is less need to put a premium on them if you want to end up with a good mana curve.
Self-Assembler seems great if you can get your hands on 3 copies, but it’s playable if you have 2. A priori, an average 8 person Kaladesh draft will contain 2.4 copies of any given common, 0.9 copies of any given uncommon, and 0.4 copies of any given rare. If, say, your first 3 packs don’t contain Self-Assembler and then you see one in the 4th pack, then there will be 2.0 Self-Assemblers in expectation in the remaining 20 packs. I would be tempted to take it at that point.
Good Tricks and Naturalize Effects
In my initial estimation, it’s fine to play 1 Naturalize effect in your main deck. Looking at the number of playable common artifacts and enchantments, I would expect that most decks will contain around 4 targets (not counting Servos).
The combat tricks and pump effects fill Vehicle slots, so you can’t play too many of them. I generally don’t like playing more than 3 cards in my Limited deck that don’t do anything without a creature on the battlefield.
As a final note: When you play Kaladesh Limited, you should remember all of these tricks, as well as 3 others (Select for Inspection, Built to Smash, and Inspired Charge) that I ranked a little lower.
Good Filler Cards
Almost all creatures here are 2/1 or 3/2. Because most 4-drops (such as Thriving Ibex) trump 3/2s, I don’t like that size in this format. If your 3-drop trades down for your opponent’s 2-drop and doesn’t trade up for their 4-drop, then you are bringing the wrong size to the table.
Congruently, I don’t like most 2/1s. They can’t even attack into Servo tokens on the other side of the battlefield.
Situational Build-Arounds or Weak Filler
There’s a place for everything, but all of these cards feel below the curve to me—not a great cost for their size and/or too situational to work in most decks.
Very Weak Cards, Sideboard Material, and Unplayables
Well, that’s my initial ranking.
Which cards would you rank higher, and which ones would you rank lower? Let me know in the comments below!
I may not be able to answer your questions in a timely fashion because I’ll be flying to Atlanta for coverage—be sure to tune into twitch.tv/magic this weekend!—but I’ll certainly read all of your comments and suggestions, and I’ll provide some replies after the Pro Tour.