This is the final piece in my card-by-card series on Kaladesh Limited. I originally went through the card list before GP Atlanta, which you can find here and updated those ideas last week from A-L here. I’ll be following the same structure from last time. Let’s get to the cards!
Similar to Sleep Paralysis, this is just a bit too expensive to be legitimately good, though it is a nice way to proactively answer big Vehicles.
I still want access to one of these in almost all my blue decks as a fail-safe, but I still think it’s an expensive card that you don’t want too many copies of.
The Master looks pretty unassuming but takes over a game quickly. Usually you want the full power boost on her so that she deals a ton of damage when your artifacts do die. You get to just chump attack with any Servos you have lying around once you have her in play, as your opponent cannot simply take 4 over and over again, making this incredibly frustrating to play against and worth first picking.
Expensive, but still takes over the game all by himself. Particularly powerful in games that go long in this format, since you’ll have a great mana sink while your opponent does not.
This card is great. It hits hard while racing, crews most Vehicles, and provides energy. I’ve taken this relatively early before and been happy (3rd-5th range).
Worse than I had rated last time simply because this attacks so poorly into multiple small creatures. I still really like it in aggressive decks because it forces awkward blocks and really favors you while racing, but isn’t quite the breaker I thought it was. I do really like its synergy with Spontaneous Artist, though. Curving Artist into this turns 4 and 5 is sometimes just GG. Or 6RR depending how you think about things.
The default mode on this is a Servo token, since a 4/2 usually dies to the same things a 3/1 does, though you’ll pick 4/2 from time to time when you need to attack into an opposing board with an X/4 creature.
It’s pretty hard to make this work in Limited, though you do have a much better chance of activating the trinket text on the bottom of the card. If you do somehow have 10+ instants and sorceries I’d say give this a go, but I’d want more to fit it into a deck headed in that direction rather than pick it early and build around it.
You actually want to build around this just like you would in Constructed. Grab some Vehicles and discount it until you can get it to 6 or 7 mana, then dominate the board with a 10/10. It’s not an incredible rare, but some decks can make use of it while others can never play it. I don’t think I’d ever really want to first pick this in pack 1, but I could see doing so in pack 3 if my deck was already a good fit for it.
Good to medium in every deck, though I have certainly killed myself with it before. Aggressive decks really want this as a personal Howling Mine, and that’s just absurd. Flavor-wise this could totally have been a delirium enchantment from Innistrad where the mad professor invents until he goes crazy. Not sure what that would do, but now I want to brew around it.
Minister of Inquiries
Just a good card that either provides energy or inevitability. My good friend Ben Weitz 3-0’d his PT draft with 3 of these and Paradoxical Outcome, which is just the dream if you ask me.
Ranges from good to a bomb rare depending on whether you can fuel it consistently. Regardless, I can’t imagine passing this very often.
Night Market Lookout
Yes! This is actually my favorite card to build decks around when I draft KLD now. Sky Skiff and the Lookout are just a match made in heaven and I love drafting decks that contain many copies of each. Often this gal will drain for 5 or more during a game if you draw her turn 1, which is an incredible deal, and sometimes she even attacks unopposed on the first couple turns. This is the card I was farthest off on when I first read through the set, though it doesn’t just go in any deck, and needs Vehicular support.
Pretty expensive for the body and effect, so most decks won’t want it, but it’s fine if you want to hit extra land drops for big spells or if you can combine it in U/W with Aether-Tradewinds-type cards for added value after blocking while attacking in the air.
Just a pretty fine card to play 1 or 2 copies of and is better if your opponent has good X/2s like Dhund Operative to trade with. If you have 1-2 Inventor’s Goggles, the Innovator becomes much more impressive.
Ninth Bridge Patrol
Had higher hopes for a better Unruly Mob, but it’s just too much work to get going generally. Not sure if I’d be ever happy to play this. Maybe with enough Servos it becomes worth it. Notably, you can combine this with bounce and flicker effects in white for more counters so if it does make your deck, it will probably over-perform, but my expectation is that I’ll usually leave it in the sideboard.
Good in a deck with lots of Servos or a low-to-the-ground aggro deck where you can drop this before a key combat with lots of trades. In addition, you sometimes get the dream of this plus 2 Aviary Mechanics and just grab all the +1/+1 counters.
Nissa, Vital Force
Deals tons of damage, stabilizes the board, and provides inevitability. Sounds good to me.
Deals tons of damage, stabilizes the board, and provides inevitability. Sounds good to me.
I’ve already mentioned my disdain for slower strategies but this card gives them real legs. Trade, artifact, repeat is a good way to win. Notably the card is much better at blocking than attacking because it always trades down when it attacks. Yet, it can eventually grind through defenses so it’s still pretty good at attacking and the threat of recursion often forces your opponent to take 4 anyways.
The key here is to get more than one attack in. This isn’t actually all that hard since you can just deploy other threats waiting for the right window. In addition, your opponents will sometimes tap all their creatures to aggressively crew and that’s the perfect moment to hit right back with the Dragster. There’s actually some interesting play with Vehicles since they can help you get ahead and stay ahead, but if the beatdown shifts to the other player, then they become more ineffective versions while on the back foot. Dragster helps shift that momentum, and can both change a race in your favor but also make you the beatdown.
I still think this card is awesome, but want to mention how much higher I want to pick Gearshift Ace when I have one.
Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter
Takes over the game all by herself. Not a complete bomb rare but pretty close, and is worth P1p1 over all the commons and uncommons.
Padeem, Consul of Innovation
It doesn’t take too many extra cards to start winning the game and Padeem doesn’t ask that much from you. It is a build-around card, so you’ll need to alter your picks, but it shouldn’t be anything too drastic. One way I like to make Padeem better is to try and be the Self-Assembler deck at the table and just pick them higher than I would without a Padeem.
This card can be good, but won’t always be. It won’t even be good in some decks where most of your cards trigger it. It needs to combine with enough cards that provide ways to get back the tempo loss you suffer from casting the card. This means cards like Cloudblazer that provide a life buffer plus the extra draw, a bunch of fabricate creatures that can deploy extra Servos to the board, or super busted triggers like Gearhulks are the ways you want to abuse Panharmonicon. Simply getting a bunch of extra energy is usually not enough.
Just a role-player card, but there are enough ETB effects in the format that this can go in most blue decks, and it’s a good card to have when you chump-block a couple big creatures then draw some extra cards. Overall, just a fine card you should often play but pick reasonably late.
I honestly don’t know what Wizards was thinking on this one. I’ve found the default mode to be +1/+1 counter because 4/4 just attacks through everything while 3/3 doesn’t, but if you need an artifact, Servo away. I remember when I was excited about Fangren Hunter back on Mirrodin… oh, how times change.
I often complain about getting too many 4-drops, but I’ll actually prioritize the Outrider because it’s so good.
I’ve actually seen Pia get passed a lot in early packs and I don’t really understand why. Her stats are just good as is and she completely warps combat in your favor while also Faltering in the late game for lethal out of nowhere. I’m a big Pia fan.
The sizing on this guy isn’t particularly impressive but the lifelink really sells me on it. Additionally, any ways to pump the Bug make it into a giant life-point swing and it also helps you gain back life on blocking while deterring smaller threats from making a wide attack. All those little things that the Bug does well make me appreciate this innocuous little critter.
This card is also a little better than it looks because black wants an artifact. Curving this after a Dhund Operative is a nice way to start a game.
Fine filler you can play 1-of. The best case is tapping a Vehicle after it has crewed for a huge tempo swing. While actual artifact removal is better to bring in from the board if you see multiple Vehicles, this can be a fine substitute.
I just don’t find room often enough for Pressure Point because there’s so little room for noncreatures. Can be good in the 15-16 land super aggro decks or as a sideboard card.
I think some people pick this card too highly. It’s certainly never bad, but it does come at the opportunity cost of taking another card out of the pack. If you need artifacts it does work, but in black decks that care about artifact beatdown, do you really want to spend turn-2 on a Prism? If so, you can also pick up a late Metalspinner’s Puzzleknot. The places you do want Prism are in some combination of Temur, or to splash good gold uncommons/rares. Sometimes you should aim to pick it up if you really need artifacts in blue-based decks since they can have difficulty getting a high enough artifact count as well, but it’s not an every deck kind of card even though it looks that way.
I’m on the early Prophetic Prism train now. Many decks just want the artifact/fixing and it does that better than any other card. Green decks often want this and Attune with Aether, and will just play as many as they can reasonably get. You have to pick up Prisms early because they just don’t get passed all that much and the decks that want them really want them.
Not particularly good, though it notably is an Artificer. I just find I don’t trigger it very much and it also isn’t very good at fighting in combat since 2 toughness is so little.
I’m a bit higher on this card because if you work for artifacts in red you can get more looting, and the combination with Cogworker’s Puzzleknot is so awesome.
Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Rashmi just takes over the game and is one of the few gold cards I’m happy to first pick.
The card isn’t truly aggressive but actually deals quite a bit of damage over the course of the game. It’s notably an Artificer, and a 2/5 is both a reasonable attacker and blocker in the early game when paired with Inventor’s Goggles. On top of that this card just kills extremely quickly with Whirler Virtuoso.
I don’t mind playing Refurbish if I have some great top-end artifact like a Gearhulk to return, but even then I like sideboarding it because a lot of the removal in the format is Aura-based and really puts a damper on how effective this card can be.
I mentioned my slight disappointment with Malfunction given its high mana cost. Another issue is that Auras are quite answerable in the format and that makes Revoke much worse than it would be in a different format. I think it’s a 3rd-4th pick here when this effect is normally a good 1st pick. Fragmentize, Appetite for the Unnatural, Aether Tradewinds, and Aviary Mechanic are all commons that easily stop it. I will note it’s better in aggressive shells since you get rid of a blocker for a turn at the very least.
This is a good 5-drop but nothing more. It really does need the energy boost to attack well because otherwise it’ll just get double-blocked. Thus, I like it less than Skyswirl Harrier in G/W where I don’t have tons of energy, but more than Wayward Giant in R/G when I have ample energy (and less when I don’t).
Sometimes you just don’t have enough energy payoffs by the end of the Draft and for that reason I’ve been picking the Tiger higher than my previous analysis. 6/6 trample is just huge and you want some number of beefy 5-drops in your green decks.
Sage of Shaila’s Claim
Here’s a good example of the garbage 2-drops. It just doesn’t do combat well and 3 energy is fine but nothing special. I really don’t want this unless I’m trying to block 2/2s and can use the energy well (think actual incentives like Aetherworks Marvel).
I actually think the 3 energy this card provides makes it good enough. You just have to care a lot about the energy it makes because without it the card is indeed quite bad.
I like this better in Limited than Constructed because it’s much easier to protect in a land without Copters. In addition, it’s pretty easy to get value off the Heat Shimmers you make. I’ve been blown out by a Torrential Gearhulk in combat into a Saheeli minus to just completely lose a game I thought I could never lose. Sure, the Gearhulk was a big part of the equation, but Saheeli does enough even when it’s not quite that backbreaking. I do like Freighter over Saheeli, for what it’s worth.
A card worth first picking thanks to its power matched with its flexibility. If you couldn’t target your opponent’s permanents I’d be a lot lower on it, but as is it’s quite impressive. There’s usually some permutation that puts you way ahead on board, often from a losing position.
This is a cool card because it gets to the players who care about artifacts, which is notably not every red deck (and again, not U/R—I feel like a broken record). I have curved this into Weaponcraft Enthusiast before and you can also somewhat time when you want to get a bonus to attack when you otherwise couldn’t, thus informing your curve decisions.
I actually haven’t played this as much as I used to, mostly because my red decks tend to be more aggressive/energy-based or focused on Vehicles. Both of those can use the Gremlins but it’s never particularly good there. I do still like it in R/B because you care about artifacts already, but this certainly isn’t a high pick because you have more important artifacts-matters cards and the artifacts themselves.
Great in black decks and medium elsewhere. It’s also pretty matchup dependent, as some decks have 4-toughness creatures that don’t care about this, and others that can’t really stop it.
Select for Inspection
I live in constant fear of this card. Every time I’m attacking I fear a huge blowout due to this and then getting attacked back for tons while my threat is in my hand. It works especially well versus Vehicles in that it can bounce creatures crewing them, but more importantly can bounce a big creature, leaving your opponent unable to recast it, since they played a creature in their main phase to crew their Vehicle. You do need to be interested in racing with the card since it only stems the bleeding in a slower deck. Racing also incentivizes your opponent to go more all-in and make riskier attacks, and then Select really shines.
I still like Inspect, but it’s a little awkward because blue isn’t a particularly aggressive color and I like Inspect much more in racing situations. It’s so cheap though that it’s an incredible re-trick and helps you regain lost tempo when you’re a slower deck. I’m fine playing one in almost all my blue decks, though it can be cut.
This is a good mana sink in the sense that it gives you a ton to do with your mana in the late game. A stream of 4/4s in the late game is very potent and 3 of these is the number you’re aiming for.
Sometimes you really need artifacts and this becomes a good card. Otherwise, I think it’s pretty far below replacement level since Servos are usually only there to block. It also gets better with Inspired Charge.
I like this card more now, similar to my analysis on Cogworker’s Puzzleknot.
This card is both absurd and sometimes hard to pull off. I’ve drafted it twice and been simply unable to play it since I didn’t have enough artifacts to include it. That feels pretty bad because man this effect is good when you pull it off. I think U/W will have trouble hitting enough critical mass though you sometimes will have enough artifacts to get there. In U/R it’s horrible again (once again blue payoffs fail in that archetype) and it’s very good in both U/B (black incentivizes more artifacts as well) and U/G (where you are focused on artifacts via Servos; or energy and are running some Puzzleknots and random modules you could give away).
I still hate taking this and cutting it from decks, but it’s not too hard to get enough bad artifacts (that are playable—mostly fabricate creatures) in U/G and U/B if you prioritize them.
This card looked really bad to me but I’m coming around. Almost anything can crew it, even lowly Servos, but it actually defends reasonably well the first couple turns it’s in play and then pecks away in the air once you have some random irrelevant creature. I think it’s actually just a pretty good card and would be fine 4th or 5th picking it now.
I’m actually happy to 2nd or 3rd pick Sky Skiff when I’m in the Night Market Lookout deck. Sky Skiff is notably quite bad in green decks since you generally don’t have tiny creatures to crew it with, though the more fabricate creatures you have the better this gets.
I’ve generally found that this either gets killed or the player who casts it wins. That’s a pretty good place to be for a rare.
Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
Ends up just having the right creature sizing to be a great attacker and blocker. The other non-rare flyers are simply smaller than it so you’ll get your 5 mana’s worth, though it’s still smaller than almost every green creature.
I continue to be impressed by this card, and I think all my white decks want 1-2 of these as a common finisher.
THPTHPTHPTHPT (First pick this.)
What has been said of Renegade Freighter is pretty true here as well. 3 damage haste flying is just so much damage, and the fact that it’s colorless makes me want to pick this much more so that I can stay flexible. It is interesting because that haste component this has can actually be applied to any Vehicle, since any following creature “hastes up” by crewing. Vehicles are part Lightning Greaves in that way.
Some 4-drops pass the 4-drop test, and this does so with flying colorless.
She’s either Speedway Fantastic or Speedway Lunatic depending on your deck. Broken Renegade Freighter starts are awesome and the 2/1 is pretty bad otherwise. Prioritize accordingly. One thing you can do is team up with the Fanatic to haste larger Vehicles. I’ve hasted Skysovereign before and it feels good.
I wasn’t bluffing when I said I’d mention all the rares.
Reasonable crew filler. Can actually slowly close games as a pinger, too.
A little better than what I said before. It’s just a reasonable 3-drop and is much better once you have 3 Vehicles in your deck. 3 power is also a lot for crewing the larger Vehicles. How are Night Market Lookout and this guy not pilots though?
Start your Engines
I’ve tried to make this good, and I thought the key was enough trampling Vehicles. The problem is it doesn’t give any evasion to the rest of your creatures and is sadly just unplayable.
The Trafficker is in the perfect colors to really take advantage of his ability and makes the game super awkward for anyone trying to block. I’ve both played with and against the card and it just makes the game about it. Without support it’s pretty mediocre but that’s just not that hard to get. It’s worse than Cub, Freighter, Aerial Responder, Skywhaler’s Shot, and Welding Sparks P1P1 and better than the rest.
I know that’s an arrow in the picture, but it really looks like Sky Skiff and I wanted to point out that this ironically misses Sky Skiff 90% of the time.
Man, Peema Outrider embarrasses this card. I did run it once though with about 7 ways to trigger it, and it was fine. That deck did have 3 Renegade Freighters though because I’m very lucky, so any warm body was going to do the trick. I would never pick this early, but I do think it could be pretty good in U/R. Wow, I just said something positive about U/R!
Terror of the Fairgrounds
We don’t have time for that. Okay, occasionally out of the board.
This can sometimes function as a pseudo mana sink/finisher for decks that otherwise lack one.
The weirdest Thriving creature because the first activation into a 3/2 isn’t spectacular. But if you curve it into a 4/3, it can sometimes single-handedly run away with the game so it’s still quite good. For that reason, it is an interesting split of energy producer and energy sink, and its role is game-state determined rather than through deckbuilding, though you do need to draft and build in a way to set up the second activation.
This card is actually just great because red wants aggressive 2-drops, and this is what you get.
This card is actually worth the hefty mana cost because it’s relatively easy to get a 2-for-1 from it. There’s a lot of double-blocking in the format to try and stop the big creatures, and this helps win combats there like a pump spell would, while also just taking down big creatures you absolutely need to kill. I want 1-2 in all my black decks.
I found it hard to get enough artifacts consistently enough in certain archetypes mostly due to U and R’s lack of fabricate. Additionally, many of the artifacts are mediocre, which means this card really ranges in its strength. It’s best in W/B but is also good in W/G simply due to Servo production.
Still not a huge fan because it’s hard to get the artifact fast enough, not that it’s hard to get an artifact in play when you’re running white. Still, a 3/2 for 1 is fine later if you lean aggressive.
You do want some number of instants to make the Gearhulk better, but you really don’t need that many since this isn’t coming down until later in the game anyway.
Good early build-around though substantially worse in U/B than the other B color pairs (often a higher curve, leaving you less free to pay mana, no fabricate in blue, and energy tension distracting from artifact payoffs).
The main problem with Designs is it competes with all the other good black commons and uncommons. I think it takes more work than Aetherborn Marauder and thus I value it less early in the draft, but its effect is undeniably powerful in a deck that can play a long game and get a bunch of drains.
Unlicensed Disintegration/Voltaic Brawler
Of the gold uncommons these are the ones I really want to go out of my way for p1p1. I still don’t want to take them over Welding Sparks, but I think both are better than Revoke Privileges.
I like an early Cloudblazer over Voltaic Brawler and am happy to first pick it or Disintegration. To first pick a gold card, its impact needs to be high enough to warrant sidelining the card often when you aren’t that color combination. In the cases of these 2 cards it is, and when I have them I try to grab a Prophetic Prism or two whenever possible.
Don’t really think this is a build-around but more of a fine card that has good threat of activation. It’s also worse in a Vehicle format that incentivizes you to play more artifacts, though it does prowess off of Vehicles, which is nice.
I’m just off this card completely. It’s not what blue is trying to do in this format.
Originally I was a bit disappointed with this card because a 4/3 isn’t particularly impressive for 4 mana as an early pick, and going wide with the card is okay but all the creatures are tiny. That said, the go-wide strategy is very real and any card that fabricates 2 just impacts the board in a big way. I’m happy to take this card early and try to Inspire some charges.
Menace not only makes this a good attacker on its own but you can occasionally string a bunch of menace creatures together and make blocking entirely unreasonable for your opponent. I’ve enjoyed playing with this entire of cycle and think they pay you off well for being in their “color” while sometimes having a place in off color decks (reasons often are right spot on curve/right body for a deck and payoffs like Glint-Nest Crane).
Better than unplayable, which is what it looks like. It’s good in a deck looking for mana sinks, specifically those slow enough to actually get multiple uses out of it. It’s also much better when you have 7 mana since you’ll advance your board and still have enough leftover mana to do other things plus this in future turns.
This card is really quite bad unless you want to block—usually double-block in this case—and also need the ramp.
Green decks often want to splash, so this actually ends up making the cut more often than not. They also often end up as the decks playing Modules, which are great mana sinks for extra lands.
Wind Drake either does it all or a whole lot of nothing. When unopposed it just plinks away for damage and is quite powerful, but is also relatively easy to stop. It sizes poorly versus many of the flyers and reach creatures of the format. It does combine nicely with Torch Gauntlet because it can then punch through Consulate Skygate or Highspire Artisan, the natural enemies of the Wind Drake.
This card is kind of insane but also costs 6. I first picked it out of a weak pack, and was happy about it, but there are games where you’re just dead by the time this comes down, so I would lower when I would want to take it to about 3rd pick. Generally, there are two types of games in the format. The first are aggro curve-out races and this card is somewhat playable there giving vigilance and value on one of the final turns of the game, but it’s nothing special. It does shine in the second type of games where neither player can attack because of a bunch of Servos and big blockers gumming up the ground.
The flicker means a lot on this card and it’s very good high end. It’s worse than Welding Sparks but still very good and I don’t mind first picking it. You still want good finishers in this format even though games can be pretty fast at times.