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Kaladesh Remastered Crafting Tier List


One thing we've learned over the past couple of years is that Magic Arena can be an extremely expensive way to play Magic. And this is doubly true when it comes to supplemental sets since you generally don't get packs or cards from these sets as rewards like you do with Standard sets. As such, when sets like Kaladesh Remastered are released on the client, figuring out which cards you actually need for the set (primarily to play Historic) and which cards really don't matter is extremely important. I spend a lot of money on Magic Arena, and even I can't normally complete a full set when it comes to supplemental products.

Today is release day for Kaladesh Remastered, so we're going to take a minute to talk about how to prioritize your wildcard spending. We'll be going color by color and putting cards into three tiers:

  • Tier 1: Pretty much everyone will want these cards in their collection. Tier 1 cards are cards that are either extremely important to one or more top-tier Historic decks or cards that are so powerful they have the potential to show up in multiple decks.
  • Tier 2: Many people will want these cards in their collection. Tier 2 cards are cards that are clearly powerful enough to see play in Historic but might be missing an obvious top-tier home. These cards are a bit more speculative than Tier 1 cards since they need to have a support shell develop to see play (while Tier 1 cards already have ready-built homes).
  • Tier 3: Some people may need these cards. Tier 3 cards are cards that are worth keeping in mind for Historic, and if the right conditions (support cards, metagame) emerge, they can become legitimate cards in the Historic format, but this is far from guaranteed. 

White

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White has a single Tier 1 card in Sram, Senior Edificer. Various white-based Bogles-style decks have already shown themselves to be very good in the format ever since Kor Spiritdancer was printed in Jumpstart. And while Sram, Senior Edificer isn't quite as good as Kor Spiritdancer, it is close enough that various Bogles / Aura decks will likely want some number as additional copies of Kor Spiritdancer, giving it a ready-built top-tier home in the Historic format.

Meanwhile, Angel of Invention and Refurbish are on our list for one reason: God-Pharaoh's Gift. Both saw heavy play in Standard alongside the artifact, with Angel of Invention being one of the best targets to sneak into play thanks to fabricate and Refurbish offering a way to sneak God-Pharaoh's Gift into play on Turn 3 or 4. We already know that God-Pharaoh's Gift is a legitimate Historic card based on the success of Mono-Black GPG. The only question is whether a Wx God-Pharaoh's Gift shell will emerge. It seems possible, at the very least, and if it does emerge, Refurbish and Angel of Invention will probably be the reasons why. As for Authority of the Consuls, it seems like a very solid sideboard card in a format where decks built around winning with hasty threats (Mono-Red, Gruul, and Goblins) are top-tier options. While Authority of the Consuls won't beat these decks by themselves, it will slow them down by a turn or two, hopefully allowing you to get your other removal or sweepers online, which is a solid deal for one mana.

Finally, in Tier 3, we have Sram's Expertise and Toolcraft Exemplar. Both cards are powerful in specific shells (Sram's Expertise in a token decks, and Toolcraft Exemplar in artifact-based aggro), but neither of these shells is truly competitive in Historic at the moment, which means a few things will need to go right for either card to develop into a legitimate playable in the format.

Blue

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Blue doesn't have any Tier 1 cards in Kaladesh Remastered, so let's jump right into the second tier of Whir of Invention, Metallic Rebuke, and Disallow. Whir of Invention and Metallic Rebuke both are clearly powerful enough for Historic, with heavy play in Modern being a good sign of both cards' power. However, both need an artifact-based deck to work, and we don't really have a blue-based artifact deck in Historic at the moment. That said, Kaladesh Remastered has a heavy artifact theme, with payoffs like Aetherflux Reservoir and Paradox Engine, which could lead to such a deck developing. Meanwhile, Disallow has one big problem: Absorb. In general, the decks that would want Disallow (UW / Esper-style control decks) play Absorb as their three-mana counterspell of choice, which makes sense considering how aggressive the Historic metagame can be. Gaining three life is more valuable than a Stifle. However, if the metagame shifts toward control and midrange in the future, it's possible that Disallow will be better than Absorb. Plus, Disallow might see some play right away in decks like Grixis Control that don't have access to white mana for Absorb

As for Glint-Nest Crane, everything I said about Whir of Invention and Metallic Rebuke remains true: it can be very strong in a blue-based artifact deck, but that deck doesn't currently exist. So why is the Crane in Tier 3 while the other two blue artifact cards are Tier 2? The answer is that not every blue-artifact deck will want Glint-Nest Crane, while most of them will want Whir of Invention and Disallow, giving Glint-Nest Crane an extra hurdle to jump to playability. 

Black

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Energy is a tough mechanic to evaluate in the context of Historic since it is so parasitic. If an energy deck emerges in the format, it will likely be stuffed full of energy cards, making many of them playable. But if that deck fizzles, most energy cards will fizzle with it since, without the support of other energy cards, most aren't good enough on their own. Glint-Sleeve Siphoner is the exception. While it will certainly see play in an energy deck if one ends up playable in Historic, it's also a fine standalone card as a pseudo–Dark Confidant in something like Mono-Black Aggro. We'll talk about the energy mechanic more in a minute, but thanks to it being one of the only energy cards that is good in a non-energy deck, Glint-Sleeve Siphoner has enough Historic potential to be a Tier 1 black card. As for Fatal Push, I was skeptical of the card in Pioneer thanks to the lack of fetch lands, but it has proven to be one of the best and most played cards in the format, which, combined with Historic's aggro bent, should mean that it will be a staple of almost all black decks in Historic as well.

As for our lower-tier options, Herald of Anguish is basically the black Whir of Invention. It's a strong card and has seen Modern play, but it needs a black-based artifact deck to become a thing in Historic, which is far from a given. If such a deck does develop, Herald of Anguish could be a very strong finisher. Meanwhile, Essence Extraction is in the conversation for a sideboard removal spell to fight against aggro, although it remains to be seen whether it beats out the plethora of black removal options for limited sideboard slots. It's worth remembering that it exists in the Historic format, at the very least.

Red

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Red's two Tier 1 cards are on our list for opposite reasons. Chandra, Torch of Defiance is a top-tier option because it's one of the best red planeswalkers ever printed (arguably the best) and, as a result, will likely see play in a bunch of different decks, potentially ranging from Mono-Red or Gruul Aggro to Grixis Control. Meanwhile, Kari Zev's Expertise is Tier 1 because it goes in exactly one top-tier deck: Rakdos / Jund Sacrifice. The sacrifice decks in Historic often play Threaten in their sideboard, and apart from requiring one additional red mana, Kari Zev's Expertise is a strict upgrade. 

Meanwhile, in Tier 3, we have Kari Zev, Skyship Raider, which I almost left off our list altogether. Even though Kari Zev, Skyship Raider was a premiere two-drop for decks like Mono-Red Aggro while it was in Standard, in the years since Kaladesh was originally released, we've gotten some really strong two-mana plays for red decks. Right now, the three most common in Historic are Burning-Tree Emissary, Runaway Steam-Kin, and Robber of the Rich. Is Kari Zev, Skyship Raider better than any of these options? It doesn't seem likely, although it is possible that it could show up in small numbers (maybe as a one-of or two-of) as a backup two-mana threat, so it's worth keeping in mind.

Green

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Blossoming Defense is arguably the best at what it does (protecting and pumping a creature) in all of Magic. If you're playing some sort of Infect-style pump spell deck or even just want to protect your big green threats from removal, Blossoming Defense is the way to go. Meanwhile, Rishkar, Peema Renegade fits into decks like GW Counters and should be very strong in those shells, but so far, we haven't seen a +1/+1 counter deck emerge as a true top-tier option in Historic, which is why Rishkar ended up in Tier 2 rather than Tier 1. 

Energy

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  • Tier ????

Energy gets its own heading thanks to its parasitic nature. As we talked about a minute ago, in general, energy cards will either succeed or fail together. If energy is good, a big list of energy cards will be "must crafts," including Attune with Aether, Servant of the Conduit, Longtusk Cub, Bristling Hydra, Harnessed Lightning, and more. On the other hand, if energy isn't good enough to be a deck in Historic, then you don't really need any of these cards because none of them are good enough to see play as standalone cards outside of a dedicated energy deck. Basically, if you think energy is going to be a real Historic deck, get all the energy cards. If you think it will fizzle, get none of them. My personal guess is that energy will be playable, but it will likely be a second- or third-tier Historic deck rather than a true top-tier option, mostly because I'm not convinced that decks that were broken a few years ago are broken by 2020 design standards (see: The Banned Bracket). 

Colorless

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Colorless cards have—by far—the most "much wildcard" cards out of any of our categories, which makes sense considering that artifacts were a theme of Kaladesh. Panharmonicon is so important to craft that it gets its own S-Tier ranking. In reality, you don't need Panharmonicon to build top-tier decks, but it is a super fun card that I'm planning to play a bunch, so if you are interested in playing some upcoming decks from various series and streams, you'll want a playset of Panharmonicon in your collection.

As for the real Tier 1 card we have three Vehicles that go in different decks—Heart of Kiran in Planeswalkers / Superfriends, Skysovereign, Consul Flagship in Karn, the Great Creator decks (where its floor is being a sideboard tutor target and its ceiling is main-deck play), and Aethersphere Harvester (which is a great sideboard card in aggro-mirrors)—along with a couple of cheap artifact creatures. Bomat Courier is almost certainly strong enough to show up in red and Rx aggro and will be a staple of artifact aggro decks like Tempered Steel, and Scrapheap Scrounger will has a home in black aggro and artifact aggro decks. 

In Tier 2, we have two powerful cards that don't currently have homes. Aetherworks Marvel is a tough card to figure out. It was broken and banned in Standard, which led to most people (myself included) expecting it to be a very good card in Pioneer, which hasn't happened. Will Aetherworks Marvel dominate Historic like it did Standard or flop in Historic like it did in Pioneer? Only time will tell, and it might take a couple more Masters / Remastered sets for the card pool to fully support the artifact. (Right now, we have Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger in Historic but not Emrakul, the Promised End, for example.) Meanwhile, Metallic Mimic is good enough to power various tribal decks, but it doesn't seem to fit into Goblins or Spirits, which are two of the most played tribal strategies in Historic at the moment. While I expect it will have a real home in the format eventually, whether that is next week or next year is anyone's guess.

Finally, in Tier 3 is Aetherflux Reservoir, which is a powerful payoff for Storm-style decks. Unfortunately for the four-drop, nothing along those lines exists in Historic, so a brand new shell would have to develop to support it. Meanwhile, both Chief of the Foundry and Foundry Inspector have potential in artifact-aggro shells featuring things like Steel Overseer and Tempered Steel, while Foundry Inspector might also have some combo potential with cards like Chromatic Sphere

Multicolor

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We have no Tier 1 multicolor options, so let's jump right into the second tier, where Winding Constrictor is the only card on our list. The Snek has potential in energy decks as well as decks like GW +1/+1 counters (if it ends up being worthwhile to splash a third color) but no obvious top-tier home at the moment. I wouldn't be surprised if it ends up being very good in the format, but based on our definition of tiers, it clearly falls into Tier 2.

Meanwhile, we have a huge group of third-tier options. Rogue Refiner is another energy card that could theoretically be good enough to play outside of an energy deck, although we've had some busted Simic three-drops printed in the last few years (Risen Reef and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath), so that Rogue Refiner just might not be good enough anymore. Unlicensed Disintegration is a great removal spell if you can consistently get the three damage, which means it needs a RBx artifact deck to beat out other removal options in the format, which may or may not develop. Kambal, Consul of Allocation is a good sideboard card to fight Storm-style combo decks, but Storm-style combo decks aren't really a thing in Historic at the moment. So keep it in mind for the future, but it's likely not worth a sideboard slot right now. Cloudblazer has potential in Panharmonicon decks and perhaps more competitively in UW Blink–style decks. Hidden Stockpile was very good in a sacrifice-token deck alongside Anointed Procession[ in Standard. While the same thing could happen in Historic, the format might be too fast for such a grindy, slow style of token deck.

Lands

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Kaladesh Remastered only has seven total lands—five fast lands and two artifact-based lands—and all of them are extremely playable. The fast lands might be the second-best land cycle in Historic behind the shock lands and should see heavy play across decks. Meanwhile, Inventors' Fair and Spire of Industry are both super powerful and have seen heavy play all the way back to Modern. But are much narrower, needing a dedicated artifact-based deck to be good, which puts them a tier behind the fast lands, even though I would be shocked if there weren't decks playing these lands in Historic. 

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today! Hopefully, this was helpful. If you have any questions, make sure to let me know in the comments. As always, leave your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions, and you can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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