Kaladesh: Playing to Your Weaknesses – White

NOTE: “Playing to your Weaknesses” is a series of articles I have been doing on my own blog since Avacyn Restored that cover all of the uncommons and commons in a new expansion and which ones I would choose to use as one of the 23 cards in a 40 card limited deck. For those of you uninitiated to limited, it simply means sealed and booster draft, where you open packs and then proceed to make a deck out of them. I’ve purposely left out the rare cards because it is much more likely that you’ll see multiples of uncommon and commons in your packs/pools.)

As for my rating system, I’ll be using a new format this time around. After a lot of feedback, I’ve decided to abandon my 3 tier scoring system of Low-Medium-High and I will instead be moving onto a 5 star ranking system. The system is as follows:

  • 1 star = a card that is barely playable, even as filler for your deck
  • 2 stars = this card could be a strong sideboard card, but is highly conditional and not always effective
  • 3 stars = a 3 star card is a solid role-player. These cards could be less than amazing removal effects, or a creature that is a glass cannon (high power, low defense). They could be good except for a few flaws.
  • 4 stars = Here’s where we get into the powerhouses. 4 Stars could be good finishers, or cards that can end a game if left unchecked. They also have multiple effects, and are all around good value for you. The only thing holding them back is restrictive costs or some small drawback.
  • 5 stars = you won’t see a lot of these at common and uncommon. These will usually be your rares and mythics because they are incredibly bonkers. Planeswalkers, massive creatures, etc., these are the cards you could build a deck around.

 

I’m starting my articles a little bit later than usual thanks to a 3 day vacation that took my wife and I mountain climbing in Nagano, pokemon hunting in Tokyo with an MTG friend, and trying to get home during the start of a typhoon. I was absolutely exhausted by the end of the weekend but I did have a time to go through the spoiler list and evaluate all of the cards for limited, and now I’m ready to go over my picks in white.

From first glance, it seems as though Kaladesh continues in the same limited vein of the SOI block. Removal isn’t as strong as it has been in the past, but the value of good combat tricks has become more apparent. Shadows Over Innistrad block limited seemed to have some really good enchantments, but Kaladesh is more artifact focused and therefore I think the removal is hampered somewhat and the selection of good creatures in limited becomes more important. Let’s take a look what my picks.

 

aerial-responder

Flying is always good in limited. Flying with vigilance is even better. But flying, vigilance, AND lifelink on an UNCOMMON? Come on Wizards. This card is pushed. It won’t see standard play, but in limited it’s really powerful. There are bigger creatures out there in the air that can block it, but it can trade or block more than half of the flying creatures in the set and survive to fight again. The double white in the cost forces you to be playing white though. If you’re playing a RW vehicles, GW Energy, or any other white based deck you’ll want to grab this as early in draft as you can. It will be a strong addition to your team on both offense and defense. It’s not a huge bomb that will finish a game, but it will do a lot of work for you.

RATING: 3.5 Stars

 

gearshift-ace

There are enough vehicles in this limited format at various rarities to make cards that affect their stats worth playing in limited. Gearshift Ace is already playable as a 2 drop since he has first strike, but being able to give first strike to a card like Ovalchase Dragster which has both trample and haste is huge. I expect you’ll be able to get 2-3 vehicles on average from triple Kaladesh draft and more in sealed, so grabbing a card like the Ace without having one already is a safe bet. I wouldn’t put as high as the Responder, but it’s still a high pick for anybody playing white. Not first pick worthy, but If I saw this as my 4th or 5th choice I wouldn’t hesitate.

RATING: 3 stars

 

ninth-bridge-patrol

I see Ninth Bridge Patrol like Unruly Mob from SOI, but better. Instead of just giving you counters when a creature dies, now you get a counter whenever a creature is “blinked” or bounced as well. Cards like Aviary Mechanic that are borderline playable suddenly become useful with this synergy. If I was playing an ETB (enter the battlefield) deck that maxed out on bounce/blink effects I would definitely have Ninth Bridge Patrol in there. At common it shouldn’t be too hard to get a hold of, but I think in limited you really only want 2 of them at max. I don’t expect it to be too hard to get in draft, but I would grab them around pick 5 or 6 cause they’d become scarce later on. Also pretty strong if you plan on playing a lot of Fabricate abilities.

RATING: 2.5 stars

 

wispweaver-angel

Speaking of ETB effects, Wispweaver Angel has one of the better abilities for an uncommon creature. A 4/4 flyer is already going to be a problem for most players, but being able to activate an ETB again or to use Fabricate one more time to get more tokens or pump a creature up can also be dangerous. There are a number of synergies that Wispweaver works well with, and I think it will be highly sought after in draft. I could see some people first picking it quite often, so don’t expect to see it get passed around a table if you see it passed to you. Very good limited card.

RATING: 4 stars

 

fairgrounds-warden

People are already comparing this card to Fiend Hunter from ISD, and it is except that it’s a functional reprint that fixes the wording. It’s also easier to cast with one white mana, and I expect some people to splash it as it’s a strong effect that acts as removal if your pool doesn’t have a lot of it. Limited roleplayer, most likely won’t make it around the table if you decide to pass it.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

herald-of-the-fair

Nothing too exciting but it has a good attack power and fits well on your curve. I expect 2 and 3 drops to be just as important in Kaladesh limited as they were in SOI limited. The big difference is that we’re not hoping for them to be sacrificed to help emerge an Eldrazi, but instead we will need a good amount of early drops to help “crew” vehicles. If you’re playing a turn 4 or 5 vehicle that have a crew of 3 on average, Herald of the Fair is just what you need. That, or his ability lets you pump another creature so you can pilot two vehicles at once. Worst case scenario is that you get a slightly stronger Guardian of Pilgrims (EMN)

RATING: 2.5 stars

 

aviary-mechanic

When you look at it in a vacuum, Aviary Mechanic doesn’t seem that great. It’s a 2/2 that bounces one of your own creatures. In the past some people might have asked “why would we want to do that?”. Well, aside from helping a creature escape a card like Pacifism, there wouldn’t be a reason. In this set however, there are an insane amount of ETB effects. For starters, you can get extra energy counters from some creatures and use a Fabricate effect again on others. If there were only a few targets I’d say the artificer would be relegated to the unplayable pile, but there are more than enough to make this Dwarf’s ability worthwhile. Don’t overlook this card when building your decks that have a lot of those effects in them.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

visionary-augmeter

I’ve talked about how this set is full of good ETB abilities, and I think the strongest has to be the Fabricate effect. Being able to choose between making one strong creature or few small ones will add a lot of depth to the limited experience and make cards that have any kind of anthem effect highly sought after. The Augmenter isn’t that impressive as a 4/3 for 4 mana, but I definitely think it’s worth making 3 creatures for the same cost. It won’t win you any games, but in a format where everybody will be able to either beat you by making a big creature or going wide to get around you, having Visionary Augmenter will be an asset.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

propeller-pioneer

Propeller Pioneer is one of the creatures where I would say you want it to be a 3/2 flyer most of the time instead of making a token. The option to make the token is nice though, especially if you’re looking at a board state where a 3/2 creature would die easily or if you want to have a chump blocker while still being able to attack with a flyer. It’s a common which means you should see a lot of it, and this is one of those cards that I think you’d want to have in multiples. Four mana might be a little high, but I think it’s worth it.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

consuls-shieldguard

The other big ability from this block is energy. It’s another ETB effect and I think most decks in limited will have energy effects to some extent. Whether or not they’ll be built around this effect (so they can harvest large amounts of it whenever they want) or if it will just be a “one shot” effect that disappears after being used will be up to the player. Consistently getting energy counters could prove difficult in some scenarios so putting too much weight behind that strategy could end up hurting you. Consul’s Shieldguard is a solid card regardless of whether you have energy or not. At 3/4 it has a body that isn’t easy to kill, and this makes it just the card you want to be attacking with while giving another creature such as a crewed Ovalchase Dragster indestructible. Once you use up the energy, you still have a decent creature so I rank it as a roleplayer in Kaladesh limited.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

eddytrail-hawk

Watch out Stormcrow, you have a rival. Eddytrail Hawk isn’t too exciting and won’t be able to trade with much in battle, but his energy counter ability makes him a useful combat trick. Just like the Shieldguard, Stormcrow 2.0 (or is it 3.0 – Hovermyr?) gives another creature flying when it attacks. This will be most effective early on when there aren’t many other flying creatures in the air to block it, but otherwise it’s good in a all in attack to give you some extra evasion. I wouldn’t draft it highly, but it feels good in that 22nd or 23rd slot to fill out your curve and add to the energy counters.

RATING: 2.5 Stars

 

thriving-ibex

I like Thriving Ibex. When it comes into play it’s a nice blocker, but after 2 attacks it becomes a formidable 4/6 creature. The more energy you have the better. I’d like to have 1-2 in my deck if possible, so you can load up on energy and just swing away with them and make them almost impossible to kill. They could really get out of control in a GW energy deck with Architect of the Untamed or with a Fabrication Module. I guess if you have steady access to energy, pretty much any of these type of cards could be a threat. The Ibex just becomes hard to get rid of.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

skywhalers-shotThis removal is okay but not great. You always run into the problem of a target getting hit with a combat trick to save it and then wasting the card, but at least you get to scry. Against slower midrange decks it’s good, and I would go as far as to say that it’s better than similar cards in the the past few sets that would kill a target that’s 4 power or greater. What it’s not great against is tokens, but it should do well against energy counter and vehicle decks.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

revoke-privileges

A Kaladesh specific Pacifism that stops your opponent from getting any kind of benefit from their enchanted creature. Decent removal for white.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

impeccable-timing

I like Impeccable Timing the most out of white’s removal this time around because it does actual damage for once. It doesn’t kill only creatures under or over a certain power or toughness, it straight up does 3 damage to them. This should be enough to handle most creatures in this set, and works well both on offense and defense. It’s also a 2 mana instant which means you’ll have no difficulty casting it. It’s not the best kind of removal, but it’s decent.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

servo-exhibition

I’m actually more excited for this card in standard than I am for it in limited. Don’t get me wrong, 2 creatures for 2 mana and 2 total power on one card is value, but this card also means that I’ll be able to continue playing my RW Tokens deck in standard even though Dragon Fodder is rotating out. Creatures with Fabricate should probably go in your decks first, but if you’re planning on going wide with your attacks and want to max out your token makers Servo Exhibition is a good choice. I think it’s worth a spot in your 23 cards, but probably won’t be a super high pick in draft.

RATING: 3 Stars

 

inspired-charge

With all of these tokens being made with either Aether or Fabrication, I think cards like Inspired Charge will be good combat tricks in limited. Four mana might be a little pricey, but it’s instant speed and it can totally turn a game around no matter if you’re playing offense or defense. The more tokens or token effects you’re playing in your deck the better this card becomes. Even with only 2 creatures this card is worth playing.

RATING: 3.0 Stars

 

Other Cards that Will See Play

  • Acrobatic Maneuver – good if you’re playing with a lot of ETB effects and want to take advantage of them.
  • Fragmentize – good SB card against regular artifacts and artifact creatures, but not against vehicles.
  • Glint-Sleeve Artisan – another solid Fabricate card. Good on the curve, and has value both as a 3/3 or as 2 creatures.
  • Skyswirl Harrier – Good body and it doesn’t cost too much to cast. Just nothing special other than flying to make it stand out. Limited roleplayer.
  • Trusty Companion – It’s a great blocker early on and will deter many opponents from attacking, but not being able to attack also hurts you sometimes. Not something you’d want to draw late game.

 

Coming Up Next

 

That wraps up white for Kaladesh. Fabricate seems like the best ability for white, but it also gets a few more options for this strategy in black and green as well. If you’re going to build a deck around energy counters, white is good but will play more a supporting role to green, blue, or red in most cases. The ETB effects are all around good, so make sure you play 1-2 “blink” effects that will let you use some of these abilities again in case the need arises.

I’ll get to work on blue as soon as possible and while there is a possibility I’ll have it done Wednesday night, Thursday morning is looking more like since I have to be somewhere with family tomorrow. Be sure to check back just in case though. There seems to be a lot less chaff in white’s cards in this set, but I think a large part it will depend on what kind of synergies you can put together. Some cards just won’t be able to function well if they aren’t in the right deck (like Aviary Mechanic), so keep that in mind. Thanks for reading and post any comments or suggestions down below!