Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Kaladesh EDH Set Review - Artifacts & Lands

Today we will conclude our Kaladesh EDH set review by taking a look at the Artifacts and Lands. For this review series I’ve tried to reduce generic, repetitive comments like “Probably great in Limited, but bad in EDH” that used to come up over and over when I was following my old format of reviewing every single mythic, rare, and uncommon. Going forward I think I will adopt this new format, but we’ll see. Something better may occur to me.

Anyway, my expectation, should I stick to this format, is that I will always cover every mythic, most rares, and only touch on the uncommons and commons that really warrant a mention (by whatever metric I happen to choose – sometimes I might throw in a shout out to a crap common just because the art is terrific – but I’ll try to stick to cards one might conceivably play in EDH). That said, just because I don’t talk about a card doesn’t mean I necessarily think it’s garbage or unplayable in EDH.

For example, in the last segment, I skipped over Veteran Motorist. I skipped this not because it’s bad, but because it’s painfully obvious. Are you playing a Depala, Pilot Exemplar deck with lots of Dwarves and Vehicles? If so, you probably don’t need me to tell you to run this. If you’re not running that exact deck, you probably don’t need me to tell you not to run it. Simply put, if I can’t think of anything to say beyond “Good in R/W Vehicles, bad elsewhere” then I’m probably going to skip it. But, recognizing my own biases for a moment, I still might mention the occasional card that is only good in one archetype if that’s an archetype I happen to play, or is an archetype that I happen to know is widely played.

Narrow cards that only fit in one or two decks are still going to be widely played if those decks are super popular. I don’t expect R/W vehicles to be a format-defining deck. So if they print a card that just happens to be a perfect fit for your favorite oddball deck, don’t be offended, but do feel free to let me know in the comments if I overlooked something you think deserves more credit. I am more likely to write off a common or uncommon at a glance, so occasionally I underestimate lower-rarity cards.

Moving on, then…


Aetherworks Marvel
Well, let’s kick this off with a bit of a bang, then. True, this isn’t the kind of card you just smash into any ol’ deck and have it be amazing. But it should be well worth a slot in almost any deck where you see a ton of your own permanents die. Even just a tokens deck that frequently sees its battlefield of 100+ saprolings go bye-bye might consider using this as a hedge against sweepers. Also seems good in many sac-for-value decks like Ghave, Prossh or Meren. This is also almost certainly the easiest way to get absurd amounts of Energy, if you’re looking to really build around that mechanic.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
I’m just not a fan of Vehicles. It’s just corny and feels very un-Magic-y to me. That said, there are one or two of them I might consider playing, and this is one of them. It does a reasonable impression of a flying Inferno Titan, and has fairly discounted casting and crew costs. This might just be one of those things where I have to get used to playing them. I hated the double-faced cards when they debuted in Innistrad, and while I still mostly avoid them, I will play them if they’re good enough (Origins flip-walkers, Lord of Lineage, maybe one or two others).

Aetherflux Reservoir
I’m not sure if this is a good card, per se, but it’s certainly flashy and attention-grabbing. I am sure there are a lot of Karlov and Oloro player out there who are quite pleased to see this. It could also be a win-condition for U/R spells decks that aren’t looking to just combo off. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out in multiplayer games, though. Paying 50 life to just kill a player is powerful, sure, but if that player is not your last opponent standing, you’re probably going to be in a bit of trouble. Oh, sure you can do “cute” things like combo this with Exquisite Blood or Sydri and just kill everyone, but that’s a bit easy-mode. I think in general the tension this creates will keep it safe and help regulate it. You can probably take out one player alarmingly quickly with this thing, but that leaves you at a very low life total against two other opponents who are likely to want to kill you before you can recharge your laser beam of doom. So I’m thinking it’s best to slow-roll this thing, until you can safely use it to just take out the last opponent and end the game. I love it, but I also fear it.

Bomat Courier
This is one of those cards like I mentioned above, where I’d probably have just skipped this except there is a small chance this sees nice play in Feldon, maybe Daretti. The big obstacle to even that niche playability is that this is likely to be a dead draw if you don’t drop it early, T1 or T2. Of course if Daretti draws it late, he can just loot it away, no big deal. All told, this is not an EDH card, plain and simple, but maybe it sees a tiny bit of play here and there.

Cultivator’s Caravan
Not bad, for a vehicle, but not great for a rare, three-drop mana rock. I can see playing this in a Boros beatdown deck that wants more ramp but doesn’t want to dilute its offensive power. I might throw this in Aurelia just to see how it plays. Here’s one thing I’m wondering about Vehicles – and I really don’t have a clue – but would a deck like, say, King Macar want Vehicles, not as a way to temporarily buff an attacker, but as a way to safely tap your creatures without needing to attack with them? I’ve never used King Macar, and only barely played anything else with Inspired, but outside of Theros block there are lots of cards in Magic that do things when they become tapped or become untapped. Like, how sweet would it be to use Fallowsage to crew a vehicle every turn? Somewhat sweet, I reckon.

Dynavolt Tower
Triggers of you casting Instants and Sorceries, so clearly the first thing that jumps to mind is the typical Izzet deck, i.e. Melek or Mizzix or whatever. But once you get all that Energy, what, you get a free Bolt once per turn, at best? Seems… mediocre. Mediocre cards can get better through synergy with other cards, so if you have other ways to generate energy and ways to untap artifacts, this might get some work done. Maybe it helps mono-Red burn decks get just a little more reach/card advantage? Buy three burn spells, get the forth one free? Nah, if this does get played, it’s probably as a way to generate buttloads of Energy to be spent on something more impactful, and in that respect it seems serviceable.

Ghirapur Orrery
Seems like a group-hug kind of card and in many respect it is just that. But, there are probably some cases where you dump your hand way faster than anyone else and get that draw three trigger to work for you. Might be a bit optimistic but I can see this being a real boon for, like, White Weenie EDH decks or something like that. As a cheap, colorless source of card draw, it’s got to be good somewhere, right? Just saying, if you have that one deck where you’ve noticed that you almost always run out of cards, while everyone else has full hands? Might wanna give this a shot. (Again, looking at you, mono-White decks…)

Key to the City
Not sure where or if this will be good, but it is yet another colorless way to (sort of) draw cards. I am actually considering this for Olivia because at least then  I can occasionally pitch a Madness card and then cast it for Madness, so it’s not actually losing me a card. Making one of my Vampires unblockable is a sweet perk, too, as it is an aggressive deck. But that seems like one of the most ideal spots for this card, and even there I’m not certain this will pan out. Even in the right deck, it still might just be “okay”.

Metalwork Colossus
If only this thing had Trample or Indestructible or something else to make it a little less generically-big... I mean, it should be easy to get this out at a ridiculously-discounted cost, and it has built-in recursion so it’s kinda hard to get rid of permanently. In light of that, I think this is an acceptable EDH card, but I’m not over the moon about it. I liked it a little more when it was first spoiled but my enthusiasm has since dimmed. I’ll almost certainly run it in Feldon, because, duh, but I’m not real high on this card elsewhere.

Well, that’s just stupid. And I love it! So, yes, the main thing this does is double those Enter the Battlefield triggers. So you draw four cards off a Mulldrifter and regrow two cards with Eternal Witness. But it also doubles the triggers on things like Wild Pair, Aura Shards, Flameshadow Conjuring, or Purphoros (!). However, one should note that it doesn’t double “cast” triggers… so Panharmonicon will give you twice as many squirrels when you play Deranged Hermit, but it won’t double your Kobold pleasure when you cast Prossh. It also does nothing for “dies” triggers.
So, this card is pretty redonkulous but it’s not going to be great everywhere. You really need to have a critical mass of triggers that this will actually double, or have a commander that it interacts with (Sharuum seems pretty good for one, Purphoros for another). If the best thing you can hope for is to occasionally draw a couple of extra cards, or kill and extra artifact with an Indrik Stomphowler, this will probably be too low-impact and situational. But there are plenty of decks where this will just consistently give you value and in those decks it should be very powerful.

Filigree Familiar
            Solemn Simulacrum has a pet fox! Cute.

Perpetual Timepiece
So, as a Sidisi player, I can think of many times I’ve self-milled and then said, “NO! I didn’t want to mill THAT!”, and in that context I appreciate this card. I also really enjoy how, on the surface, this card is very confusing, weird and doesn’t appear to do anything. What, you just mill yourself a bunch, then undo it all later? WHY? I mention this more for the WTF factor than anything, but I suppose if Mesmeric Orb is just too hardcore for your Sidisi deck you could consider this as an option.


There are only a few non-basic lands in Kaladesh and most of them are the enemy-pair continuation of the “fast lands” originally seen in Scars of Mirrodin. I’m not a big fan of these lands in EDH as they will simply be Guildgates a high % of the time, and I try to avoid running Guildgates where possible.

That said, enemy-colored duals tend to be a bit better than their allied counterparts simply because the allied pairs have more dual land choices available. For enemy-color decks, you sometimes have to make do with “meh” duals. I have a few two-color decks that are running guildgates currently, and I’m pretty sure they’re all enemy-pairs. So in cases where I’m actually stooping to run the actual guildgates, I’ll happily upgrade them to these lands, which will just be better than a guildgate oh, what, 3% of the time?

Anyway, it’s great that they finally completed this cycle, and I hope to see them complete other unfinished land cycles in the near future, but this one isn’t a huge boon to EDH players. They’re nice to have, but something you’ll only run when you have to.

Aether Hub
Eh, maybe some 3+ color Proliferate decks or Energy decks will want this? Overall, pretty lackluster for EDH. One-shot mana fixing is pretty terrible in most cases. I don’t even like the Vivid lands much, though that also has to do with them coming into play tapped. But if you have ways to keep fueling this with more Energy it’d be fine.

Inventor’s Fair
A pretty solid land for Artifact decks, though obviously only useful in Artifact decks. The life gain is nice, but incidental. The ability to play Fabricate in an land slot is better.

Sequestered Stash
And a worse version of Inventor’s Fair, but still playable in most of the same decks. It’s kind of bad, but can be useful for setting up Feldon or Sharuum reanimations. 

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