Welcome back for another edition of What’s the Pick? Pack 1 Pick 1 with Kaladesh. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend the prerelease due to other obligations. Soon after that though, I look forward to starting to Draft the set for real. Until then, I’ll continue to evaluate some packs. Here is this set:

Pack #1

My Pick

 Gonti, Lord of Luxury.

I think this is a very powerful card. A 4-mana 2/3 deathtouch will be difficult for your opponent to attack through on the ground. The ability to look at the top 4 cards of your opponent’s deck and pick one to play for the rest of the game is a tough one to evaluate. Certainly, you will occasionally end up with something like a 2/2 vanilla creature that will have very little impact on the game. (For what it’s worth, a 4-mana 2/3 deathtouch that allows you to cast a 2-mana 2/2 later is still a very strong card.) On the other hand, occasionally you’ll hit a great creature or removal spell, and Gonti will feel like a bomb rare. I’d expect to first pick this card quite a bit.

Honorable Mention: Welding Sparks.

The pick here is between Welding Sparks and Nature’s Way. Nature’s Way looks to be a very strong card. The fact that the card doesn’t cause a fight means you can use Nature’s Way with your 3/3s to remove your opponent’s 3/3s and other similar situations. Welding Sparks, though, is worst-case 3 mana for 3 damage to a creature and best-case scenario an all-purpose creature removal spell for only 3 mana. Welding Sparks is also an instant, which makes it extremely valuable.

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Pack #2

My Pick

Brazen Scourge.

This doesn’t seem like a great pack. I find it difficult to evaluate Vehicles individually, and as a concept. They seem strong, but also they don’t really add any immediate impact to the board. Brazen Scourge, however, is a very strong creature—a 3/3 haste for only 3 mana. Brazen Scourge isn’t a card that I’d be expecting to first pick a ton, but in this instance, I’d take it and look draft an aggressive red deck.

Honorable Mention: Fragmentize.

I can see arguments for Fragmentize, Bomat Bazaar Barge, Sky Skiff, and Thriving Grubs, depending on things like speed of the format, color preference, and power of Vehicles. Of the Vehicles, my inclination here would’ve been to take the Bomat Bazaar Barge. Fragmentize will take care of a lot of cards in the format—including many Vehicles—for only 1 mana, which, though somewhat situational, makes it a reasonable first pick here.

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Pack #3

My Pick

Essence Extraction.

3 mana for 3 damage is already a reasonable rate, and gaining 3 life makes this card great. I’d expect to first pick this card a lot, as life gain can be crucial in many gains of Limited, and instant removal is also a key component of any great black control deck.

Honorable Mention: Aethertorch Renegade.

This card looks very strong. When you cast it, you gain 4 energy, which you can stockpile to try to get to 8 and do 6 damage to your opponent, or you can use it to deal 1 damage to creatures. Pingers have always been strong in Limited. Aethertorch Renegade will also be very powerful if you’re able to get other cards that are energy hungry, as 4 is the most passive energy granted by a card that I can remember.

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Pack #4

My Pick

 Cataclysmic Gearhulk.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that if you ever open a Gearhulk in your first pack you should just go ahead and take it. This Gearhulk is strong—when it comes into play, it effectively casts the card Cataclysm (without effecting lands). It’s worth noting that one of the perks of this card is that it is an artifact itself. If you have another nonartifact creature in play when you play it, you can choose that creature as your creature and Cataclysmic Gearhulk as your artifact, leaving you with 2 creatures, hopefully against your opponent’s one.

Honorable Mention: Welding Sparks.

Welding Sparks is probably going to make a lot of appearances in this series. It’s just such a strong and efficient common—it will be one of the best cards in the pack very often.

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Pack #5

My Pick

 Skyship Stalker.

Wow, this is a card—3/3 flying, firebreathing, first strike, haste. The quality of this card is somewhat self-explanatory. Your opponents will be unable to profitably block it, attack into it, or race it. Basically, if Skyship Stalker remains in play, you should be able to win the game with it easily, unless you were already far behind when you played it. Of course, it is vulnerable to removal spells, but we’ll live with that. I would look to be a heavy red deck to maximize the power of this card.

Honorable Mention: Cloudblazer.

I mentioned before that I may have a bias toward taking Cloudblazer too highly at the start of this format. The effect is just so strong. The next best card in the pack is probably Die Young, which is a good card, but I don’t think it’s as strong as Cloudblazer. Drawing 2 cards, gaining 2 life, and getting a 2/2 flyer for 5 mana is a really strong rate. The biggest downside of the card is that it is a gold card. It remains to be seen how strong U/W is as an archetype in Kaladesh draft, but if it’s good, I’ll be continuing to take Cloudblazers.

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Thanks everyone for reading. What cards are you most excited about for Kaladesh, both Limited and Constructed? What did you think of my choices this time? Let me know in the comments. Thanks again, and I’ll be back soon!