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Kaladesh Spoilers: Limited Review for September 5


Welcome to the first day of limited spoiler discussions for Kaladesh! We have a large number of cards to review from PAX last weekend in addition to the cards revealed today so let's get started!

I'll be reviewing these cards from the standpoint of how well I expect them to perform in Limited. We can't rate the cards completely accurately without knowing the entire set, but we can evaluate the cards in an "average" limited format. You can find all the latest spoilers on the Kaladesh page. Please note that if I haven't yet reviewed a card, it's probably because the official spoiler for it has not been released yet.

Grading scale

A: This card will often be the best card in one's deck. I'd consider splashing it where possible. (Tireless Tracker, Gisela, the Broken Blade)
B: This card is rarely cut from a deck that can cast it. In draft, it signals that a color or archetype is open. (Forgotten Creation, Murder)
C: Cards like this make up the majority of limited decks. You're neither excited nor embarrassed to have them in your deck. (Moorland Drifter, Thraben Foulbloods)
D: I'm not putting this in my main deck unless I have a specific reason or I'm low on playables. (Merciless Resolve, Prophetic Ravings)
F: This card will have little or no impact on the game if I draw it or is strictly sideboard-material. If I cast this card, please stage an intervention for me. (Harness the Storm, Deploy the Gatewatch)

White

Aerial Responder

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

This callback to Vampire Nighthawk is hyper-efficient and will dominate any Limited game in which it is left uncontested. Make sure to skew your mana base towards white to be able to cast Aerial Responder on turn three as often as possible.

Aetherstorm Roc

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

Aetherstorm Roc starts as a relatively typical flyer but accumulates tons of value as the game goes on. Whether you're saving up energy for another purpose, or powering up Aetherstorm Roc and pushing through damage, this card is brutally efficient.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

Translation:

Artifact Creature - Construct 
Vigilance 
When Cataclysmic Gearhulk enters the battlefield, each player chooses from among the nonland permanents he or she controls an artifact, a creature, an enchantment, and a planeswalker, then sacrifices the rest. 

You can't really cast Cataclysmic Gearhulk when you're ahead, but it approximates a board wipe when you're behind and that makes it great. Keeping a 4/5 with vigilance and your best nonartifact creature against your opponent's best creature is generally going to give you a large advantage.

Glint-Sleeve Artisan

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

Nessian Courser with upside is great creature stats for Limited, and I expect this to always be a high pick among Kaladesh commons. 

Propeller Pioneer

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C+

Propeller Pioneer looks like an overcosted Eldrazi Skyspawner, but the option to put all three power into the flying body is a useful one. I really like the way the fabricate mechanic forces you to decide how you want to your board state to look. Either you assemble bigger creatures than your opponent and try to beat down, or you make Servo tokens for crewing Vehicles and chump blocking.

Tasseled Dromedary

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D-

Tasseled Dromedary is Limited filler, but it does get style points for being a Camel.

Blue

Aether Tradewinds

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C

If Aether Tradewinds didn't target something of your own, it would be good at three mana. Taking the large tempo bit of returning your own permanent is a big deal, and you need to find a way to turn this drawback into upside before Aether Tradewinds becomes very good. One way is by using it during your opponent's combat step, returning one of their unblocked attackers and one of your chump blockers. Another way is to bounce and reuse a creature with fabricate to get more 1/1 Servo tokens.

Ceremonious Rejection

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D

Even with a large number of artifact spells in the block, Ceremonious Rejection will probably still end up as a sideboard card in Limited.

Curio Vendor

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D+

Roses are red. 
Vedalken are blue.
If your curve is too high,
Play this. It costs 2.

Saheeli's Artistry

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

There's a large power level discrepancy between using this sorcery to copy one permanent or two, but Saheeli's Artistry will find two targets often enough that it will be a very strong card. 

Black

Demon of Dark Schemes

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

Without the energy clause, this Demon is a great flying beater that can potentially turn the board state greatly in your favor. Add in the energy gain and cheap reanimation, and it becomes a legitimate bomb. As long as you can pay the triple black cost, this Demon belongs in any deck, not just one centered around energy. 

Die Young

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Sorcery speed, two mana Disfigure is paying a lot for removal, even in Limited, but Die Young's versatility pushes it into high pick consideration. You can also use it just to gain two energy and store it up for a future play, kill a 1 toughness creature and have energy left over, or deplete your energy reserves to kill something big.

Essence Extraction

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C+

While harder to cast than the common Die Young, Essence Extraction still kills creatures at an efficient rate and will be desired by all black Limited decks.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

Deathtouch ensures Gonti, Lord of Luxury will always trade for a creature, and the ETB (enter the battlefield) ability effectively draws you a card. This creature will virtually always be a 2-for-1 and thus, always strong.

Ovalchase Daredevil

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

While a 4/2 will trade down a good portion of the time, Ovalchase Daredevil's recursion ability is relatively easy to trigger, and it works well in an aggressive or defensive deck.

Red

Furious Reprisal

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Removal is always a premium in Limited and Furious Reprisal is a good removal spell. It will be a 2-for-1 enough of the time that it could end up in first-pick contention in an average pack.

Pia Nalaar

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

Say hello to the legendary version of Ghirapur Gearcrafter. Pia Nalaar is an efficient creature to drop on turn three and can also force through extra damage in the late game. She won't generally win you the game by herself, but she is a very good card in any artifact-based deck.

Skyship Stalker

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

Assuming you have the red mana to invest, Skyship Stalker is a very quick clock in the air. Given the combination of first strike and firebreathing, almost nothing can profitably block it. The evasion granted by flying means double blocks aren't that likely either. Oh, and it can get haste too because why not?

Speedway Fanatic

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Speedway Fanatic is a fine pickup for any aggressive deck that gets incredible when used to crew larger Vehicles. Since Vehicles are generally undercosted for their stats, granting them haste will be a huge tempo swing and can result in lots of free damage.

Start Your Engines

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C+

Without Vehicles, this is a twice worse version of Trumpet Blast. Getting Vehicles in motion for free is a fairly big deal though, and Start Your Engines seems like a card I'd want in red decks with two or more Vehicles.

Territorial Gorger

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C+

You'll need a few good repeatable ways to gain energy before Territorial Devourer becomes a real beater, but if it has 4-6 power consistently on your turns then it's obviously worth inclusion. Defensive decks will not want this Gremlin unless their energy acquisition is mostly at instant speed. 

Terror of the Fairgrounds

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D+

Hulking Devil was our most recent reminder that 5/2 isn't a strong stat line. The high power could be good for the crew mechanic but do you really want a Gremlin driving your $200,000 sports car?

Green

Architect of the Untamed

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Architect of the Untamed is more reliable as an energy producer than outlet, but I do like that it helps with any energy "flood" situations when you have a lot lying around and nothing better to do with it.

Cultivator of Blades

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

Cultivator of Blades has a mediocre body but an incredible ability. The only problem lies in attacking with Cultivator of Blades as a 3/3. Unless you find a way to protect it, you probably won't get its ability more than once. Combine this Elf with pre-combat pump spells such as Larger Than Life to buff your creatures to even more incredible sizes.

Ghirapur Guide

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

Translation:

Creature - Elf 
2G: Target creature you control can't be blocked by creatures with power 2 or less this turn. 
3/2

This monocolor take on Agent of Horizons is a decent creature when played on curve and offers late game value when you can threaten to activate it multiple times per turn. I can't imagine cutting Ghirapur Guide from any green deck.

Larger Than Life

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C-

Sorcery speed combat tricks are rarely good but this is large enough of a buff to be a real threat to the opponent's life total.

Verdurous Gearhulk

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

Incremental Growth is already a great Limited card, and Verdurous Gearhulk offers much more versatility and much more power. Any reasonable curve of average creatures into this card is going to be very, very difficult to beat in Limited. 

Multicolor

Depala, Pilot Exemplar

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B+

Depala, Pilot Exemplar is clearly optimized for Commander, but it's still efficient in Limited. Buffing Vehicles and other Dwarves is a nice bonus, and if you have nothing else to do on your turn, spending mana to dig toward more spells is a good option to have.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

A four mana 2/3 is underwhelming but drawing an extra card (and sometimes casting it for free) once a turn is incredible value. If you play Rashmi, Eternities Crafter early and she isn't removed, the value will quickly snowball out of control.

Saheeli Rai

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A-

Saheeli Rai is an interesting planeswalker, but she has a large handicap in that none of her abilities work well defensively. If you're winning, the combination of her +1 and -2 abilities can push extra damage through which is great, but her ultimate is likely to be underwhelming in Limited. She's still a planeswalker though, and that means she's still going to be an above average pick if your deck can cast her.

Colorless

Aetherworks Marvel

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D+

Four mana is a ton to pay for an energy producer as inconsistent as Aetherworks Marvel, and six mana is a ton to pay for a free spell that probably only costs a little more than this artifact itself. I might occasionally play this artifact in a deck with a lot of late game bombs and a lot of other energy producers, but I see this primarily as a Constructed card.

Demolition Stomper

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Demolition Stomper is incredibly difficult to evaluate. Like most Vehicles, it's difficult to use it as a blocker so it encourages attacking. But how often do you want to spend six mana and tap down five power worth of attackers to send through a single 10/7? If your opponent doesn't have a bounce spell or removal, this will probably connect for 10 damage or kill two large blockers. This Vehicle has a high risk factor, but I think it will generally be worth the mana and crew investment.

Filigree Familiar

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

Colorless Exultant Cultist with a bonus of two life will make no Limited decks unhappy. Getting an extra artifact in your deck will likely be net upside as well. 

Fleetwheel Cruiser

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B

Fleetwheel Cruiser threatens five damage immediately and forces the opponent to either trade or let you keep the Vehicle around. Crew 2 isn't a very high cost for activation on future turns, and when it's not advantageous to attack, you can just leave it unmanned for a turn.

Ghirapur Orrery

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D

Ghirapur Orrery is an interesting card. If both effects only worked for its owner, it would be a good card for most Limited decks. Unfortunately when you give your opponent equal chance at reaping the benefit it becomes much less appealing at four mana. Your opponent will either be playing a slow deck and the Exploration half will help them, or they'll be playing a fast deck that can empty its hand and get three (or more) free cards. 

Inventor's Goggles

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C

Ignoring Artificer and artifact synergies, this is a bit better than Riot Gear but still not an incredible card. If you can reasonably get four or more Artificers, this becomes an interesting pickup.

Inventors' Fair

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

How easy it is to enable metalcraft in this set remains to be seen, but obviously if you can manage it, Inventors' Fair is a good payoff. Servo tokens being artifacts makes this land an acceptable choice for any Limited deck with access to the fabricate mechanic.

Multiform Wonder

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

Multiform Wonder looks like a simple 3/3 but the number of options on it are simply staggering. My personal favorite option is to crash in as a 5/1 flyer with lifelink whenever the skies are clear.

Ovalchase Dragster

$ 0.00$ 0.00

B-

Crew 1 is a cheap cost to pay to attack for six damage with haste, and if any first strike creatures are blocking the way you can simply leave Ovalchase Dragster unattended until you're ready to attack with it again.

Panharmonicon

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D

While Wizards loves their strong ETB effects, it'd be hard to have sufficient reason to play this card in Limited. For example, if you're combining this artifact with Filigree Familiars, you'll almost never get four mana worth of value back. When you want this card you'll know it, but you won't "know it" very often.

Sky Skiff

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C-

If I'm going to tap down a "real" creature in order to pilot a Vehicle, I want the Vehicle to be impactful enough to be worth the effort. Sky Skiff doesn't meet that standard. If there are a lot of 1/1s for one mana in the format or Servo tokens are very easy to get, then Sky Skiff could be good, but my current guess is that it's a little too costly to keep running.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

$ 0.00$ 0.00

A

If you compare this to Inferno Titan, it's pretty easy to see how ridiculously strong it is. It's cheaper by one mana and can be played in any color of deck. This Vehicle's flying ability is better than the Titan's firebreathing. The three damage it deals is a little less versatile, and it requires three power worth of creatures to crew it, but these are downsides you're happy to deal with for the ability to put this Mythic into action.

Whirlermaker

$ 0.00$ 0.00

D

If your opponent's deck is ever so slow that you can make four or more tokens with Whirlermaker and win the game, there are probably a lot of other cards that would have worked just as well. You'd want to have a lot of artifact synergies in your deck before including this since it is often a three mana artifact with no text. 

Woodweaver's Puzzleknot

$ 0.00$ 0.00

C

The strength of this card will obviously depend on the energy outlets available in draft. If you only have two copies of Die Young that need energy, Woodweaver's Puzzleknot is almost useless. If your deck is full of ways to spend energy, this artifact gives you energy to spend and the life gain gives you time to spend it. I don't expect energy to ever be so valuable that'd you'd run this card without green mana available in your deck. 

Enemy Fastlands

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00$ 0.00

C

Mana fixing isn't important in a typical two-color Limited environment, but some of these may fetch a pretty penny in Constructed and are thus worth a high pick anyways.  

Conclusion

Kaladesh seems like it's going to have a really interesting Limited environment with all the energy enablers and Vehicles racing around. Please join me for more spoilers and more Limited review tomorrow as the spoilers for the new set continue. Reach out to me on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG or in the comments below with your thoughts on the new cards.


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