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Brewing Kaladesh II: Madcap Reservoir, Car Zoo, and Budget Options for Week One

Kaladesh is officially here, at least in prerelease form, and the set will officially become part of Standard (and other formats) on Friday. Unfortunately, the set is still two weeks away from prerelease on Magic Online, which means we have to wait a while before we can start exploring the new set on Budget Magic, Against the Odds, and Much Abrew About Nothing. While waiting for Against the Odds and Much Abrew is fine, having to wait multiple weeks before publishing budget-friendly lists for the new Standard format is problematic. I mean, there are Friday Night Magics and SCG Opens happening over the next couple of weeks, and people need new post-rotation decks to play!

As a result, I figured the right thing to do would be get some decks out there early, and then we can always play them on video after Kaladesh releases on Magic Online. So, today, we are going to be looking at five new decks. First, we have a spicy but non-budget combo deck for Modern built around not one but two of my favorite cards in the set: Madcap Experiment and Aetherflux Reservoir. Then, for the rest of the article, we'll be exploring budget options for Standard. My goal was to have a deck for pretty much every play style (except control—that will have to wait until we see what threats need answering), so we have an extremely aggressive deck that plays a lot like Modern Zoo, a full-on infinite combo deck that can generate either infinite life or infinite 6/6s, a midrange take on the GR Energy archetype, and a deck that walks the line between Turbo Turns and Mono-Blue Brains that is half ramp and half combo! As a result, no matter what style you like to play, there should be a budget option that will work for you so that you can hit the ground running in Kaladesh Standard!

Madcap Reservoir Combo—Modern

For some reason, I'm unreasonably excited about Madcap Experiment in Modern, but probably not for the reason you think. Sure, getting a quick Blightsteel Colossus is sweet, and preventing the life loss with Platinum Emperion is a nice synergy, but what I really want to do with Madcap Experiment is turn it into into a two-card, instant-win combo piece that, for some reason, reminds me of Goblin Charbelcher in Legacy. Before breaking down the deck, I wanted to take a quick second to thank Scott Murry, who sent me a list that contained some of these ideas on Twitter.

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Anyway, here's the idea of our deck. We playing four copies of Madcap Experiment but have only one artifact in our deck: a single copy of Aetherflux Reservoir. The idea is that we can cast Madcap Experiment on Turn 3 (with the help of Simian Spirit Guide) or 4, and then with Madcap Experiment on the stack, we cast a copy of Intervention Pact or Hallow targeting (or choosing) Madcap Experiment. Then, we simply hope that our one copy of Aetherflux Reservoir is near the bottom of our library, allowing us to gain enough life to get our life total over 50. If it's in the bottom 20 cards of our library, we just win the game on the spot by sacrificing Aetherflux Reservoir to deal 50 damage. If we're not quite as lucky, our life total should jump up into the mid 40s, and then we simply cast a couple more cheap spells to gain enough life from Aetherflux Reservoir to allow us to win the game. 

The beauty of the deck is that, apart from some questionable combo pieces, we get to play a lot of good cards. Tolaria West lets us tutor up our copies of Intervention Pact. Vendilion Clique can disrupt our opponent but can also be used to target ourselves, in case we happen to draw our Aetherflux Reservoir and put it directly on the bottom of the library to make sure our Madcap Experiment is lethal. Snapcaster Mage lets us double up on all of our removal or recast our combo pieces if they get countered, and our creaturelands give us a backup plan for winning the game if our opponent can somehow deal with our combo. 

Infinite Wispweaver—Standard

Modern isn't the only place where Kaladesh offers some sweet combo potential; in fact, the set provides an infinite combo for Standard as well. When I first read the text on Wispweaver Angel, I was shocked. Typically, creatures with the blink effect have some sort of condition to keep additional copies from blinking each other (for example, Restoration Angel, which works just like Wispweaver Angel but only blinks non-Angels), but not Wispweaver Angel. If we can get two copies of Wispweaver Angel on the battlefield at the same time, we can create an endless loop of enters/leave the battlefield triggers by having one copy blink the other. Thankfully, the ability is a "may," so it doesn't force a draw if there are no other targets on the battlefield, and so when we are done with the loop, we simply choose to stop blinking and move on with the game. So, just how to we turn the Wispweaver Angel loop into a win? We have a couple of ways. 

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First, we have Pious Evangel. Assuming we have a copy on the battlefield when we start the loop, we end up gaining an infinite amount of life, and while this technically doesn't win us the game, very few Standard decks can actually kill an opponent from 10,000 life. A random mill deck could do it, as can Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger's "exile the library" ability. Otherwise, gaining an infinite amount of life should be enough to win the game, but what about actually killing our opponent? 

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The other thing we can do in Standard with infinite enters-the-battlefield triggers is generate an infinite amount of energy with Aetherstorm Roc. With our infinite energy, we can then use Architect of the Untamed to make an infinite number of 6/6 Beast tokens whenever we choose. The nice thing about energy is that it doesn't go away at the ends of turns and phases, so we don't even need Architect of the Untamed on the battlefield when we combo off—we can simply give ourselves 10,000 energy counters and then finish the game whenever we happen to draw an Architect of the Untamed. We even have Aetherworks Marvel, which can help us put together the combo and also give us another payoff card to take advantage of all the energy we generate. 

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Another key aspect of the deck is the combo of Eldritch Evolution—which will hopefully be a little bit more playable in our upcoming Standard format without Collected Company digging around for Spell Queller—and Thought-Knot Seer. While it might seem strange to sacrifice Thought-Knot Seer to Eldritch Evolution because it allows our opponent to draw a extra card, the idea is that we can strip away whatever answer our opponent might have to the combo (like a counter or instant-speed removal), and then the random card our opponent draws is likely to be worse than the card we exiled. Plus, we really needed a four-drop to sacrifice to Eldritch Evolution to allow us to tutor up the six-mana Wispweaver Angel. Otherwise, the deck is filled with good stuff like Sylvan Advocate, Duskwatch Recruiter, and a few Declaration in Stones to deal with our opponent's creatures. 

RW Car Zoo—Standard

While aggro decks aren't really my thing, for some reason, I'm really excited to try out RW Car Zoo in Kaladesh Standard, mostly because it feels like a Standard-legal version of Modern Zoo. We have Toolcraft Exemplar as our Wild Nacatl: the three-powered one-drop. We get Inventor's Apprentice and Town Gossipmonger as our Kird Apes—2/3s for only a single mana—and Thraben Inspector to hold everything together. 

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Of course, for this plan to work, we really need an artifact on the battlefield early in the game, but thankfully this isn't a problem. Apart from our Clue token-creating Thraben Inspector, we have four copies of Smuggler's Copter, some Fleetwheel Cruisers on the top end, and even single copies of Bomat Courier and Sky Skiff. All told, we have 13 artifacts in the deck, with 10 of them coming down by Turn 2 to pump up our zoo of creatures. 

Even better, we have access to some other extremely powerful cards. All things considered, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find out that Smuggler's Copter is one of the three best cards in all of Kaladesh, and in our deck, it's doing double duty, powering up our Inventor's Apprentice and Toolcraft Exemplar while also turning into an above-the-curve, card-filtering beater. Meanwhile, Depala, Pilot Exemplar gives our deck something that most aggressive Boros lists are lacking: a way to refuel. While our list isn't optimized to fully power the "pay X" ability, we do have a total of 16 Dwarfs and Vehicles, which means that if we run out of action, we should be able to play four mana to draw a card, and that card is fairly likely to be powerful, considering Dwarfs and Vehicles are some of the best things in our deck. 

Oh yeah, and the entire list will currently set you back less than $100, so don't be surprised if we have something similar on Budget Magic once the set releases on Magic Online. That said, I didn't intentionally try to make RW Car Zoo a budget deck; my goal was to build the best version possible, and it just happened to fall into the budget price range. 

Metallurgic Ramp—Standard

One deck I get questions about all of the time is Mono-Blue Brains, and while Metallurgic Ramp may not literally contain Brain in a Jar, it does sort of feel like its successor for Kaladesh Standard. It also feels a little bit like our old Turbo Turns deck, except it doesn't get to take quite as many extra turns in a row.

Metallurgic Summonings seems like one of the most underrated cards in Kaladesh—the ability is incredibly powerful, generating a ton of value for free whenever we cast an instant or sorcery spell. In the past, we've seen cards that, for example, require two mana to make a 2/2 flier whenever we cast an instant or sorcery spell. With Metallurgic Summonings, we simply cast something that costs six mana and not only get the effect of the spell but also a 6/6 artifact creature kicker. 

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Maybe the easiest way to think of Metallurgic Summonings in this deck is to imagine that, once we get it on the battlefield, all of our instants and sorceries have "awaken X," where X is equal to the spells mana cost, except it doesn't cost us any additional mana to awaken the spell and we don't have to use one of our lands as a creature. While Metallurgic Summonings is pretty sweet with cheap spells, making counters create 3/3 Golems and card draw into 2/2 and 4/4 creatures, there are a couple of huge payoff cards that just happen to be right on curve with Metallurgic Summonings

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So, here's the plan of the deck. We spend the early turns drawing some cards, disrupting our opponent and ramping with cards like Ruin in their Wake and Natural Connection. Once we get up to five mana (hopefully on Turn 4), we resolve a copy of Metallurgic Summonings. Then, on the following turn, we cast a Nissa's Renewal, which becomes one of the greatest stabilization cards off all time by not only getting us three more lands but gaining us seven life and providing a 6/6 blocker to use on defense. Then, on the next turn (hopefully Turn 6), we have just enough mana to awaken a Part the Waterveil, which gives us two more 6/6 creatures and an extra turn. So, we attack for 12, untap, attack for 18, and theoretically win the game. If, for some reason, this isn't enough, we just keep casting card draw or possibly even a second Part the Waterveil and plan on winning the following turn. 

GR Energy—Standard

GR Energy is pretty straightforward. It plays all of the best cheap energy creatures available and backs it up with some good removal and reach to finish the game. The main reason to be excited about the deck is Voltaic Brawler, which is an extremely powerful creature in an aggressive deck. Attacking for four tramping damage with a two-drop is far above the curve, even by modern standards, where creatures tend to be pushed. 

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Otherwise, the deck is mostly about having a solid curve, and while the curve in GR Energy doesn't start on one, which is a bit annoying for a somewhat aggressive deck, it looks to be pretty solid. Initially, I had some Tireless Trackers in the deck, and that still might be correct, but I really want to give Lathnu Hellion a chance. I'm worried we'll find that the energy drain—two each turn—is just too severe for the payoff and that it simply gets chumped by Servo and Thopter tokens too often, although it doesn't take too many hits for four damage to make the three-drop worthwhile. 

All things considered, the main reason I wanted to include GR Energy in our discussion is that it provides another good budget option for Kaladesh Standard. Considering we have the very aggressive RW Car Zoo, the Infinite Wispweaver combo deck, the ramp-heavy Metallurgic Summonings list, and midrange GR Energy, no matter what your play style, there should be something budget friendly you can use to jump into your next FNM! 


Anyway, that's all for today. I'll be sitting around counting down the minutes until Kaladesh finally releases on Magic Online and we can start really brewing and testing with the next set! How about you? What are you most excited to brew around from Kaladesh? Which of the decks that we talked about today do you want to try out first? Can you think of anything else that could find a home in any of our decks? Let me know in the comments, and as always, you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive and at 

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