Welcome back to another edition of What’s the Pick? Pack 1 Pick 1 with Kaladesh. Writing these articles really helps me to learn the cards and begin to intuit how to approach the format. I hope that you feel similarly, especially if you’re heading to a release event soon! Let’s get to the packs:
While this card is a rare, it’s probably not a bomb rare. It is not common to have good 1-drops in Limited, though, and Oviya certainly is one. The ability to use it as a late-game mana sink is very strong, and although it probably won’t happen, Oviya is certainly capable of winning a game on its own. In your best draws, Oviya will start making 4/4 or 5/5 creatures starting on the 5th turn and never look back.
Honorable Mention: Wispweaver Angel.
The other two best cards are both gold—Empyreal Voyager and Hazardous Conditions. Neither are enough stronger than Wispweaver Angel that I’d take them here. (It’s possible that they aren’t better, anyway.) Wispweaver Angel will be strong in this format because there are so many creatures with fabricate. When you draw one with your Angel, you can simply make Servos the first time you play your fabricate card, and then reuse the fabricate for even more Servos or the +1/+1 counters after you cast your Angel. There are also quite a few creatures that give you energy when you play them—generating extra energy with some of those cards could also prove to be strong.
What a great card to open. Dovin Baan is a Limited bomb. The plus ability can be used to protect itself, and the minus is extremely strong to press a lead. Life gain is really strong in Limited, and drawing cards is strong in every Magic format ever. This is a card that I’d expect to never pass in a Kaladesh draft. Likely even if U/W is a poor archetype, this card is strong enough that I’d still take it first and be happy to draft a deck to play it.
Honorable Mention: Die Young.
A pretty good removal spell, but not the best. Worst case scenario is 1B for a card that gives -2/-2 to a creature. That’s a good Limited card and one you’d always expect to play. This is a bit more versatile—if you’ve got extra energy you can kill a bigger creature, and if you only need to kill a 1-toughness creature, you have some energy left over. It’s also worth noting that once in a blue moon when you simply need some energy for a huge effect and don’t need to remove a creature, you can simply cast the card and not use any of the energy.
A solid creature removal spell. Similar to Sleep Paralysis, but in this case Malfunction is also able to enchant artifacts. This is particularly relevant because most of the sorcery speed “creature” removal spells are unable to remove pesky opposing Vehicles. Not the best card in the set, but a reasonable removal spell, and a decent first pick, though not great.
Honorable Mention: Glimmer of Genius.
This could be a mistake, but I think this card is actually better than it looks. Inspiration has been around for a long time and although it was never a great Limited card, it could certainly make its way into a deck. The addition of scry 2 and 2 energy is huge, and puts this card over the top. Getting energy at instant speed might allow you to surprise your opponent. Overall the power level of this card seems reasonable to take here. My third choice would have been Hazardous Conditions.
This card is a bargain—a 5/3 haste for 4 mana with trample that only requires a 2 power creature to keep attacking beyond the fourth turn. Will often trade in combat, but if not, it will require a trade eventually and do something like 7 damage in the process. The fact that it’s an artifact also keeps you flexible in the Draft going forward.
Honorable Mention: Whirler Virtuoso.
Worst-case scenario, this is a 2/3 and a 1/1 flyer for 3 mana (okay, that’s not quite true, as your opponent can remove Whirler Virtuoso with the energy trigger on the stack, preventing you from gaining the energy in time to make a Thopter.) Best-case scenario, you have energy lying around to make multiple Thopters, or have other energy cards that let you spend energy even more profitably than on 1/1 flyers. This is a really strong card that I’d be happy to first pick it. I’d lean toward a U/R energy deck from here.
This card looks pretty strong. 4 energy as an enters-the-battlefield trigger is above the 3 that most cards provide, which is convenient because it allows Aetherborn Renegade to use the ping ability twice. With so many Servos and Thopters around, the ping will prove quite useful. In a deck where you’re able to generate a lot of energy, the second ability of dealing 6 damage to your opponent is insanely powerful. A single activation of that will often be enough to swing a game.
Honorable Mention: Visionary Augmenter.
The versatility of the creatures with fabricate seems to be what makes them the strongest. A 4-mana 4/3 is decent, and 4-mana for a 2/1 and two 1/1s is also decent. Depending on the situation, you get to choose what is best for you. This doesn’t look like a card that I’d be hoping to first pick very often, but this is a pretty weak pack, and I have a feeling this card might play better than it looks.
Thanks everyone for reading! Hopefully these choices will help if you’re planning to draft at the prerelease. Let me know what you thought of my decisions by letting me know in the comments. Thanks, and see you next time!