Kaladesh Limited evokes conflicting opinions among the game’s professional players. Ben Stark and Paulo Vitor offered the respective takes from their two teams—today I will share my thoughts after PT Kaladesh and GP Rotterdam, and rank the top commons among the colors and rate the colors.
Green is the consensus best color in Kaladesh. Thriving Rhino, Peema Outrider, and Hunt the Weak are the three best commons in this order, followed by Kujar Seedsculptor and Riparian Tiger. The power-level of these cards is similar, so you’ll pick the Tiger if you need some 5-drops and you’ll pick the Seedsculptor if you need 2s or if it’s early in the draft.
It’s worth nothing that there are a bunch of replaceable 5-drops in the format so I don’t take Tiger that highly, whereas Seedsculptor is a great 2-drop. I like to pair green with red, and I don’t mind playing Wayward Giant over Tiger, whereas I really want five-six 2-drops in my aggressive deck. Ornamental Courage is a great trick that I always play, and that I pick quite highly. For just 1 mana it does a lot, and I feel that in this format tricks are very important. Appetite for the Unnatural is a must-play and another high pick—I wouldn’t mind even playing 2 main deck if you are short on playable cards.
Some teams think that this is the worst color. I think it’s fine—it is best paired with green or white, and I really don’t like it when is paired with blue or black. Welding Sparks is by far the top common. Tied for second place are Chandra’s Pyrohelix, Spontaneous Artist, Thriving Grubs, and Built to Smash. At PT Kaladesh my team was very high on Salivating Gremlins, which is great in U/R and R/B, but since those archetypes are quite weak, I’ve never liked the card overall.
I love Wayward Giant, but it can easily wheel and you won’t want to play more than 2 per draft. Creatures are small in this format and a big 4/5 is hard to deal with in a format so low on removal.
Spontaneous Artist is one of my favorite cards in R/G Energy. It makes it so that your deck is much more aggressive, and also so that your opponent can’t race you since he doesn’t know what to expect.
I’ve found Built to Smash to be worse over time. Lately, people have begun to recognize that the format is slow and are attacking a lot more than at the PT, where control was a very popular archetype. This card loses a lot of potential if your opponent is racing instead of blocking, and it isn’t as versatile as Ornamental Courage.
Just like red, the gap between the best card and the rest of the color is pretty hug. Tidy Conclusion is one of the few unconditional removals in the format, with a bonus that is often relevant.
Dhund Operative is a great 2-drop. With fabricate around, it isn’t hard to find an artifact to make it relevant in the late game as well. Black commons really dry up after that, and I prioritize the 2 tricks: Subtle Strike and Rush of Vitality. I love tricks in Limited and those two are big.
Subtle Strike is not only a fine removal spell for the many X/1s, it also puts a permanent +1/+1 counter that is useful when you are playing green. Rush of Vitality is great against aggro decks as it wins every trick fight and it gives you life back—it’s also protection from removal.
Paulo Vitor was very high on Die Young, a card that is very archetype dependent. It’s better in B/G than it is in B/W, because in the second it will only be 2-mana -2/-2 100% of the time, so you have to find the right place for it. Black’s creatures are unimpressive—you have Foundry Screecher and Maulfist Squad, but you aren’t in a hurry to pick those since they are very replaceable, especially from white.
The more I play Kaladesh Limited the more I hate cards like Revoke Privileges and Malfunction. White has a lot of ways to blink creatures (Aviary Mechanic, Acrobatic Maneuver, and Wispweaver Angel), and they always maindeck removal spells like Appetite for the Unnatural that can blow you out when you attack into their creature with Revoke Privileges.
Fragmentize is another card that easily deals with it, when it otherwise might have trouble finding a target against B/W. It’s definitely a good card, but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it, and I will definitely take Glint-Sleeve Artisan instead—it’s a fine Nessian Courser and a good fabricate enabler. It’s also an artificer for the Inventor’s Goggles deck.
Impeccable Timing is another bread-and-butter card—you pick it, you play it, but you’re never too excited about it. It is a fine answer to the best card in the format, Renegade Freighter, which is important.
Propeller Pioneer is a respectable flyer. There aren’t many flyers around and most of the time they are Thopters. Being a 3/2 can be relevant, even if it’s too pricey. Aviary Mechanic is a very good 2-drop, fine on 2, and can provide card advantage in the midgame. It can sometimes fix your mana base or help you when you are mana screwed.
My relationship with blue has been a roller-coaster. I went from hating blue, to loving blue, to despising blue. Right now I’m in the last category and I really hate the color. It’s so slow that you really don’t have much time to deploy your game plan. Playing a Gearseeker Serpent on turn 4 or 5 is nice, but that means you haven’t done anything early—Prophetic Prism being the first card to blame.
Consulate Skygate might be one of the top blue commons, just below Gearseeker Serpent and Aether Theorist, because you need to stop the bleeding and stall the board. Aether Tradewinds is another very slow card that is good in the late game but awful in the early game. Overall, I dislike blue and would stay away from it, but it has a good matchup against slower decks.
Kaladesh Limited is a great format, so enjoy it before it changes!
This weekend I’ll compete in the World Magic Cup, representing Italy as the reigning champion. The team is very solid, so I have high hopes!