Welcome back to another edition of What’s the Pick? Pack 1 Pick 1 with Kaladesh. I still haven’t been able to play the format yet, but it should only be a day or two now, and I’m really excited. Let’s see what the boosters have in store for us this time:
Pingers—creatures that can tap to do 1 damage—are always very strong in Limited. Aethertorch Renegade isn’t your run-of-the-mill pinger, though. It has a downside as well as an upside. It can only ping twice based on the energy it generates by itself. But there are a lot of other energy producing cards in the format, and Aethertorch Renegade has the upside of being able to use 8 energy to deal 6 damage to your opponent. Also, occasionally you’ll have another really strong card that uses energy, and getting 4 energy from the Renegade will allow you to power up your other powerful card.
Honorable Mention: Tidy Conclusion.
This is a 5-mana instant-speed removal spell, which is usually going to be a pretty good card in Limited, albeit not always great. The fact that this card can also gain a few life is definitely nice, as that’s exactly what you want if you’re forced to use 5 mana to remove a single creature.
A 3-mana instant that deals at least 3 damage to a creature of your choice is a premium card. Think back to Battle for Zendikar, when Touch of the Void was a card that you’d often first pick. Now you have Welding Sparks, which is an instant and will sometimes deal even more than 3 damage. Of course, the downside is that Welding Sparks can’t target a player. While it’s relevant, in Limited you’re targeting a creature the vast majority of the time. Welding Sparks will likely prove to be one of the best commons in the set.
Honorable Mention: Revoke Privileges.
A 3-casting-cost pseudo-removal spell. Like most pacifism effects, it is likely the best white common in the set. Revoke Privileges has the upside of not allowing the enchanted creature to crew Vehicles, which definitely helps. The biggest downside is that this card won’t help at all against opposing creatures with activated abilities, like the Aethertorch Renegade that we drafted earlier. Also, because this is an Aura, it won’t help against some of the Vehicles. This will make enchantment- and sorcery-based removal even weaker that usual relative to instant-speed removal.
This card is great. A 4-mana 4/3 you can effectively classify as a 4-mana 5/4, the Hydra itself provides you with enough energy to use it. If you get an energy card this early in the draft, I would certainly prioritize cards based on energy and try to maximize their value. If you can acquire a bunch of energy, it becomes basically impossible to block or kill the Hydra at all thanks to hexproof and the +1/+1 counters.
Honorable Mention: Long-Finned Skywhale.
A 4-power flyer for 4 mana is a really strong rate, but the Skywhale does have a big drawback. Typically when you have cards that can’t block, you want to make sure your deck is as aggressive as possible. If your creature doesn’t want to block anyway, you mitigate the drawback. Of course, even if you mitigate it, the drawback is still relevant and real, but I would still veer toward an aggressive deck after first picking this card.
Honorable Mention: Visionary Augmenter.
A 4-mana 4/3 is usually a fine card, but the added versatility of Visionary Augmenter makes it even better. It’s worth pointing out the way fabricate works. When you play Visionary Augmenter, you put the fabricate trigger on the stack. When it resolves, you choose whether to make Servos or give your creature +1/+1 counters. That means that if your opponent has something that does 1 or 2 damage to the Augmenter, you’ll be able to either get your Servos or get a 4/3, and not be blown out by choosing to get counters and your opponent only to have your opponent remove your creature in response.
This is a really strong version of this effect. Smite the Monstrous was never great, but look at how much better Skywhaler’s Shot is—instant-speed removal that kills a creature with power 3 or greater and scry 1. This is sure to be a premium uncommon, a very good first pick, and will see play in all of your white decks.
Honorable Mention: Malfunction.
This is similar to the white common, Revoke Privileges, that we took earlier in the article. The difference here is that Malfunction has all of the upside of Revoke Privileges and additional benefits. First of all, Malfunction can target Vehicles, which is huge. It’s also able to tap noncreature artifacts like Deadlock Trap. Malfunction can also serve as an effective answer to a creature with a tap-to-activate ability. Overall, it’s a really strong card that should prove to be a good first pick and make it into all of your blue decks.
Thanks, as always, for reading. Please let me know what you think in the comments. Have you been able to play much of the format so far? What do you think of it? See you soon!