Magic the Gathering: The Top Ten Cards of Kaladesh
After what felt like an eternity of a standard environment polluted with slow, underpowered cards, Kaladesh arrives to inject a much needed dose of excitement into the “Two Block Paradigm” era of Magic. While cheap burn and conditional removal are likely relics of a era long gone, efficient creatures and spells are slowly returning to the standard meta.
Kaladesh's impact on Standard will be immediate. However, depending on which side of the fence you find yourself, the announcement of the Masterpiece series as a permanent feature in each booster set is either a blessing or a curse. Bottom line: Many packs will be opened, prices will be deflated but there will still be chase cards needed for a competitive deck. But for the foreseeable future, the days of multiple $50 cards in standard are over.
Despite this, when you do open that booster box (purchased at your local game store of course) here are the cards you'll be happy to see at the back of that foil pack.
10. Aradara Express
Five mana for an 8/6 creature with Menace that you need to tap creatures to attack with isn't that great... but it's a goddamned train. Was there ever a time in Magic that you thought you'd be attacking your player with a train?
UX or USA (Jeskai... blech) control decks have been largely ineffective since the nightmare that was Sphinx's Revelation. Magic lead designer Mark Rosewater has gone on record as saying “Draw-go” in Standard isn't coming back anytime soon. While four mana to simply counter a spell isn't groundbreaking by any stretch, the versatility offered by and upgraded Swerve with Twincast and Counterspell all in one can't be ignored. It's very unfortunate the two block system exists as there is likely a USA control deck to be made from Kaladesh. Thanks to the two block system, this deck will potentially only be legal as built today for another few months.
8. Lost Legacy
Perhaps not as much a powerhouse in Standard as in Modern, Lost Legacy is the upgrade to Surgical Extraction or Extirpate that we've been waiting for. Gaining the ability to remove a Scapeshift or other precious combo piece from a deck without having to have to dealt with it prior is a pretty big deal. Though in Standard, Lost Legacy will likely find a home as removing an Emrakul from a deck can have a impact post board.
The Titans are back! Much like the Core Set Titans, all of them are playable, but a few stand out as all stars. Each of the creatures features an ability and a single evergreen keywork to go along with their decent power and toughness stats. However, far and away the Red Gearhulk is the best of the bunch. Featuring an effective and unique enter the battlefield effect, Combustable Gearhulk will likely find it's way into Standard.
6. The Basic Lands
The art on these lands is absolutely stunning. Enough said. Quite honestly, these are the lands that should have have been featured on a full art frame. Play wise, they're decent at mana fixing and I expect them to see fringe play in Modern.
Despite it's terrible name and sub-par artwork, no card in the set illustrates the uptick in power than this card. With Murder also in the format, Black gains access many tools to control the board and clear out threats without condition. Couple this with the current artifact subtheme and you have a very optimal situation where cards like this can decide games on their own.
I'd be willing to bet, at sometime during this standard season you will see one or more players using this card as the lynchpin of their deck. Cards with alternate win conditions always catch the eye of the more casual players among us and Aetherflux is one of the most fun we've seen in some time. If you find yourself on the receiving end of fifty damage to the face, you'll likely groan and shuffle your cards in anger, but losing to innovation should never be a bad thing.
Cards that let you recycle your hand are always among some of my favorite in the game and this one shoots right to the top of the list. Not only do you get to swap out your had at instant speed, but you get to hit your opponent in the process. Punishing your opponent for your own poor card draws hardly seems fair, but I'm glad to get up on life while dumping a hand of dead cards.
An excellent commander for those sick of playing Momar Vig, Rashmi is the answer to our prayers. Drawing extra cards and casting free spells is always a good thing. At three toughness, she does fail the “bolt” test, but even after experiencing her ability once, she arguably can pay for herself. Her home is clearly meant for commander, but in limited or Standard, she will also dictate the flow of most games.
Wizards finally pulled the lever and decided to print a version of Chandra that's actually playable. Starting at four loyalty and possessing four strong abilities, Chandra is the right amount of agression and protection. Perhaps it's because we've never seen a Chandra this powerful before, but this iteration of the face of Red is one of the more exciting walkers we've had in standard in some time.