Between energy and artifacts, Kaladesh looks like it may spawn some completely new decks. Those won’t really add to the decks surviving rotation that I covered a few weeks ago, but there are still some nice new tools to work with. Let’s see where they fit in.
I think the biggest loss here is Nissa, Vastwood Seer, but it wasn’t that necessary and the rest is nearly intact. The new toys aren’t that impactful, yet I’m sure the deck will remain a player.
Noxious Gearhulk is the most obvious, it will definitely be a 1-of. Gilt-Leaf Winnower saw play here and there in lists from the previous format, and the Gearhulk is miles better—not to mention that it’s an artifact for Emrakul and delirium!
Demon of Dark Schemes strikes me as a sideboard card, not necessarily against aggressive decks because it costs a lot, but against low-toughness midrange creature decks like Cryptolith Rite or token strategies. I would be happy to have access to it with Traverse the Ulvenwald.
Despise basically never saw play, it was pretty much a consensus that it was never good enough, so I doubt Harsh Scrutiny will be playable. Still, we should try it and keep it in mind. The way decks were built in the previous format, they were extremely creature-heavy or based on Emrakul, making the discard spell relevant for a longer portion of the game. Who knows? Maybe the scry 1 justifies whiffing from time to time.
Cycling at the cost of 1 life and 2 mana is pretty awful, yet Metalspinner’s Puzzleknot could be a reasonable option if you’re looking to get delirium. I will have to play some games with it to see if the second activation makes it worth the card, since you’re actually netting card advantage, but at the cost of 2 life and 5 mana total.
Sequestered Stash seems pretty bad to me because it doesn’t put the artifact in your hand and you’re sacrificing a land in a deck where you’re trying to get to Emrakul. But I can imagine a build without Emrakul that plays a more aggressive version of BG, utilizing Grim Flayer. I’m not sure what that list would look like, but the land should be kept in mind.
I talked in my other article about how the departure of Dromoka’s Command is going to make red and enchantments drastically better, and I can’t stress enough how much blue/red benefits, not only from some cards rotating out, but also the following:
Blue/red will certainly be the most grateful to get its own fast-land. Usually Standard decks are built to play long games and not have many early plays, but UR has plenty of 1- and 2-mana plays. It’s a huge boost to no longer take any painland damage to cast them.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance: What more can I say? With barely any instants that need to be played on your opponent’s turn, you’ll often be able to play the card exiled with its first ability, and if it’s a land, 2 to the face isn’t too shabby in a burn deck. The 2 mana ability can also be used easily through with Wandering Fumarole, extra cards from Fevered Visions, and Collective Defiance’s escalate.
Next card, oh wait—there are two more abilities!? Flame Slash and a broken ultimate… all right, next card now.
Select for Inspection doesn’t actually fit the burn plan too well, but deals with giant creatures that red spells can’t always kill, plus helps Fevered Visions keep dealing damage. Sounds more like a sideboard card.
Flame Lash. You read right, I didn’t forget an S. This card is actually from the Planeswalker Decks introduced at the same time as Kaladesh, they are exclusive to this pre-constructed deck, but still legal in Standard. In the past, these “weirdly legal” cards were not good, like Serra Angel and Sengir Vampire, but this time they printed cards that look somewhat playable. Flame Javelin was a pretty good card back in Shadowmoor, I wonder if trading triple-red for an extra mana in the cost is good enough to see play. I wouldn’t be surprised if burn decks wanted it.
Spark of Creativity can get you 2, 3, maybe 4 damage for 1 mana, which is satisfying, but on the other hand, you might end up getting a conditional cycler, which is not good. I want to think it’s versatile, but I think it’ll end up being more random than anything.
I can’t say no to a 1-mana counterspell. I swear, it’s good for my results that Mana Tithe is not legal because I’d always do anything to play it. Ceremonious Rejection will most definitely see play in many decks as long as we have Eldrazi AND artifacts in the same Standard. I cannot wait to counter an Emrakul for 1 mana.
That’s it for today, next week I will be covering three other decks: Emrakul Ramp, Temurge, and UW Spirits!
[Editor’s Note: This article originally mentioned Creeping Mold—there is a functionally existing version of the card.]