Who is stoked for the Kaladesh Pre-releases, I know I am and can’t wait to open Mana Crypt and Soul Ring for the win! But realistically the set does look like a lot of fun and each color looks to be well balanced within the set. For Limited events I feel like this set has more than enough removal and bombs for most people to be able to build a decent deck, there are also a lot of synergies within the set between various cards that should lead to some interesting interactions. As a hole there are very few rares and mythics that seem unplayable to me in limited, which is nice but there are still a few duds for sure. I have gone over all the removal in the set like I typically do before going into a pre release to see what direction I want to try and go or what I could potentially make depending on what I open in my sealed pool. I also check the rarities of each and any other requirements the removal spells might need to determine there play-ability. Kaladesh seems to have a pretty good amount of various removal spells in each color as long as you take artifact destruction and combat tricks as well as pump spells into account for green. I also try to evaluate the Bombs for each color to see which seem dominating and which colors seem to have more, I also then look for synergies and deck styles to try and put together. For those of you who have not checked out the complete spoiler list but are intending to go to a Pre-release I strongly recommend you go and do that now, this article will probably work best in conjunction with a complete spoiler.
Whites looks to be one of the better positioned colors for the set where it can adapt to various arch types while holding some of Kaladesh’s best removal spells. Revoke Privileges and Impeccable Timing are the removal printed at common so these will be the most commonly seen but are both pretty exceptional. We also get a fiend Hunter reprint in Fairgrounds Warden, and also at uncommon we have Skywhaler’s shot which destroys a creature with power 3 or greater then Scrys. Then we have Fumigate as the wrath effect for Kaladesh, and also at rare Captured by the Consulate which is a more powerful version of Revoke Privileges. White also has some pretty good bombs in Cataclysmic Gearhulk and Angel of Invention both of which play very differently and counteract one another but each one in the limited format could be game wining.
The synergies of a lot of the blue cards seems really good especially if going with the new Energy mechanic to try and win the game, as we have Aether Trade Winds and Disappearing Act which work really well with energy producing permanents or enter the battlefield triggers. Aether meltdown and Select for Inspection seem like other great utility removal for blue, as both give us more then the usual form of these cards, Aether Meltdown giving us 2 Energy Counters and Select for Inspections Scry trigger which will be no small thing in Limited. The big game winners for blue would have to be Torrential Gearhulk which feels incredibly powerful especially with the right removal cards in Limited to put yourself in a 2 for 1 situation by blocking and killing an additional creature. The other super strong blue bomb would have to be AetherSquall Ancient, with the ability to make 3 Energy Counters every turn and bounce all other creatures and then attack for 6, I really don’t want to be on the receiving end of this guy. Overall blue feels like a control heavy color which is appropriate for blue, and I feel with the right combination of cards could be really strong.
In my opinion black has one of the most powerful bomb/ removal spells in the set also known as Noxious Gearhulk, the ability to kill a creature gain life and have a serious win condition all rolled into one couldn’t get much better. The rest of the removal for black feels pretty good depending on how you build the rest of your deck, that is or if you open cards that work with cards like Eliminate the Competition or Underhanded Designs. Both Eliminate the Competition and Underhanded Designs are better with the ability to make a bunch of creature tokens or have artifacts and this set is full of cards that do both. Demon of Dark Schemes also feels like an incredibly powerful bomb, killing all small creatures while giving you energy counters for each creature that dies. Also the Demon can reanimate creatures from both graveyards which in Limited will probably feel completely broken if allowed to go unattested. Black feels like one of those support colors in Kaladesh and will depend on what you build, as black has good control cards but a lot of those cards would also be good in a aggressive or mid range strategy.
Chandra, Torch of Defiance is probably the biggest chase rare in Kaladesh outside of the Masterpiece Inventions and there is a reason for that, she looks nuts! With 4 abilities that can all be relevant is a pretty big deal, I feel Chandra will shine in constructed decks more but she is nothing to laugh at in Limited either as she is a kill spell while also having a win condition built in. Chandra’s Pyrohelix and Furious Reprisal I am sure will see play in the limited format as they can potentially be 2 for ones. Harnessed Lightning feels like one of those interesting cards that has the ability to do different things depending on the situation, it can be used to create Energy Counters or to kill a 3 toughness creature or kill a larger creature if we have additional Energy Counters from other effects. As for bombs outside of Chandra, Combustible Gearhulk is a pretty decent body with the ability to probably deal some damage, but my verdict is still out if this Gearhulk pulls its weight or not compared to the other Gearhulks.
Nissa, Vital Force and Verdurous Gearhulk are going to be absolute houses! Both Nissa and the Gearhulk are going to be fairly difficult to deal with in the Limited format, at worst Verdurous Gearhulk is an 8/8 Trample for 5 converted mana cost. While Nissa turning lands into 5/5’s every turn or returning that Gearhulk from your graveyard to your hand to smash some more is just quickly going to run away with games if given the chance. Green also has one of my favorite removal spells in the Kaladesh, Nature’s Way is going to ruin a few peoples days I am sure, Killing one creature and turning my fatty into a Vigilance Trample fatty is going to hurt a lot! This set is giving us a good number of combat tricks and pump spells, life Blossoming Defense which is going to be a complete blow out when an opponent uses there only removal spell and you effectively counter it by giving that creature +2/+2 and Hexproof. Larger Than Life is another good pump spell in green that gives +4/+4 and Trample for 2 mana, giving us the option of going through our opponents defenses to finish them off. Green feels like a very strong color if you can manage to get removal in another color to support the heavy hitters.
Kaladesh is supposed to be an Artifact themed set, and in my opinion it doesn’t disappoint. Skysovreign, Consul Flagship is probably one of the most powerful Limited cards in the set with the option of dealing 3 damage a turn to a creature or Planeswalker when it attacks or enters the battlefield. Skysovereign is going to be a compete blow out for people not prepared for it, at least its Mythic so if you don’t open one there shouldn’t be that many copies of it floating around. The rest of the Vehicles all seem playable for Limited and am sure there will be a few decks utilizing them this coming weekend.
All of the gold or Multicolored cards in Kaladesh are pretty insane and there isn’t one I wouldn’t play if on color for whatever deck I play. My favorites outside of the 2 Planeswalkers would have to be Unlicensed Disintegration and Cloudblazer one being an amazing removal spell especially if we have an artifact, and the other that is effectively Mull Drifter with upside by gaining 2 life. Dovin Baan will be a pretty good card for limited as he can deal with most creatures as long as our opponents only have one anyways. Saheeli is difficult to evaluate as it will seriously depend on what creatures and Artifacts we have in our pool to go along with her to Utilize her copy effect. Another card that feels potentially powerful and game winning could be our new version of Stampede, Engineered Might another pump spell that can either give one creature +5/+5 and Trample or give your team +2/+2 and Vigilance. Either way if and when Engineered Might gets played someone is probably shuffling up there cards and getting ready for the next game.
All in all I feel that this is a fairly well balanced and interesting set for Limited and suspect that all kinds of interesting things will happen as we get the first opportunity to play with cards from Kaladesh. I also feel that for the most part a decent deck should be able to be built by just about everybody with the number of playable cards for Sealed. Hope to see you all this weekend for the Pre-releases at the Comic Hunter…. Sadly I wont be able to attend Saturday but I might attempt the Friday Night event at Midnight, and am planning on attending the Sunday event for sure.