The new toys from Kaladesh sure are fun—especially if you like playing the aggro deck.
Smuggler’s Copter—I feel like I need to hold off on how much I discuss this card because it’s going to be all we’re talking about for some time. This is the real deal, and it fits into a wide array of decks. In a Red-White Vehicles deck, it’s pretty clear why the card is an absolute MVP, but how about in a Green-White Aggro deck with no madness synergies and no real benefit for adding cards to the graveyard?
The fact that Copter is still insane here is as telling as can be. The bottom line is that it doesn’t take much work to turn this into a 3/3 flying looter for just 2 mana. That’s ridiculous. Truly and completely ridiculous.
Now, Copter isn’t free, so you do have to shade your deck just a little bit to make that work. Thraben Inspector is an easy way to stay on curve, put a small creature into play that you can pump later, and crew a Copter.
Fairgrounds Warden isn’t as obvious as a big card in Standard, but Copter really does change that. Yes, the Warden will likely die. People are going to be prepared to deal 3 damage when 3/3 flying looters are everywhere. But the Warden will add so much tempo by removing a blocker for a turn, immediately crewing up a Copter, and making your opponent use their turn to deal with it. This is all before you factor in pumping your Warden out of range of their removal.
And that brings me to the really shiny new Kaladesh toy. Have you seen Verdurous Gearhulk? Of course you have, you’re reading a column on the greatest Magic site in the world, so I’m sure you’ve seen the busted mythics from the brand new set!
This thing is unfair. With other creatures in play, you’re getting a 4/4 trampler and 4 +1/+1 counters that effectively have haste. That’s massive for 5 mana. The floor? Oh, an 8/8 trampler for 5.
We get some powerful older weapons to help complement this new selection of Kaldesh all-stars. Sylvan Advocate is still a solid creature in both the early and late game. Losing Dromoka’s Command hurts, but you gain Gearhulk, which can create a massive threat before turn 6. Tireless Tracker is still Tireless Tracker. Some value that becomes large later.
Gideon, Ally of Zendikar comes down on curve, starts making an army, and can pump the team. The token can even crew a Vehicle immediately.
One of the more important cards to come out of Kaladesh that could easily be overlooked is Servant of the Conduit. This thing facilitates turn-3 Gideons and turn-4 Gearhulks. 2 power means it will start to brawl without needing too much help. You don’t get too many activations since the energy will run out quickly, but you don’t need it. Get a little acceleration on turns 3 and 4, exactly when you need it, and then you’re good to go.
You might have overlooked the final piece of the puzzle if you had just glossed over the spoiler, but it does work on both sides of the ball. Blossoming Defense does play excellent defense. It will counter a removal spell which is pretty insane when your creatures include Verdurous Gearhulk. It also plays solid offense by pumping your creature +2/+2. This can be the reach you need for lethal or just allow you to win combat. Pump spells are pretty nice with large trample creatures.
GW Aggro uses many of the awesome new Kaladesh cards, and really is just the beginning. Each of these cards I’ve highlighted here can and will find plenty of homes in the new Standard format. Finding the best way to utilize these tools early on is exactly what you need to do to get an edge on the field!
Tom Ross, Top 16 at a Standard Open