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By: JXClaytor, Joshua Claytor
Sep 10 2018 12:00pm
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Kaladesh has been in Standard for what feels like forever.  When it was first released, I am pretty sure I was still married and my son was sitting on my lap pointing to random cards in packs left for me to draft on MTGO. 

That is hyperbole, but the two years that Kaladesh was Standard legal felt like it lasted for nearly eight years.  We should be excited to see it, as well as Aether Revolt, Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation leave the format, but I feel like the last two sets did not get nearly enough time to shine, and well the former had to much time to shine.  I was actually surprised to see that Amonkhet and Hour of Devastation were leaving, I figured that they would get two years of the format, but Hour of Devastation is going to get just a little more than a year of Standard play. 

That's fine I reckon, but still I wonder what could have been for Amonkhet and Hour.  How many cards would have been banned if they were the oldest sets in the format?  I bet the calls to give The Scarab God the axe after the first Pro Tour it dominated would have been deafening.  Alas, it is not to be, and with the previews for Ravnica 3: The Cubening starting in earnest today, I wanted to look at cards that would be leaving the Standard and Brawl formats that I would miss playing with when rotation happens.  This week will be Kaladesh, next time will be Amonkhet, and you can find my thoughts about Aether Revolt and Hour of Devastation on Legitmtg.com 

Let's get started! 

When Apocalypse was first released, I was positive that Lay of the Land was one of the best cards in the set.  I figured a cheap way to find the mana that you needed in a heavy multi-colored format would be important, and while I never got anywhere with Lay of the Land in my main deck, I've always liked this kind of spell.  Attune with Aether is a card I've missed casting for sometime now, since it was banned, but I am still allowed to talk about it now, as it was Brawl legal.  The Lay of the Land with energy upside made it easier to cast Rogue Refiner and Whirler Virtuoso while they were both in the same deck.  It supercharged Aether Hub, giving it the ability to produce any color of mana for a longer period of time.  It made Aetherworks Marvel better, and helped out with Harnessed Lightning and Confiscation Coup.  Attune with Aether was never the best card in any of the decks that featured it, but it sure was the most important card in those decks. 

Metalwork Colossus was one of my favorite Standard cards when Eldritch Moon and Battle for Zendikar were legal in Standard.  It's been a very long time since this absolute unit saw play in the format, but when Hedron Archive, Cultivator's Caravan and Prophetic Prism were powering this out, Metalwork Colossus was an incredible game ending threat.  When the threat was answered, you could sacrifice two artifacts to bring it back to your hand from the graveyard, and games with this deck either saw the opponent overwhelmed with multiple constructs or locked out of doing anything with cheep Elder Deep-Fiends.  It was a card that checked a lot of boxes for me.  Huge creature?  Cost reduction?  Returning itself for a small drawback?  All checked.  This fatty made Wakefield's words about the last fatty your opponent couldn't deal with ending the game ring true. 

After Metalwork Colossus stopped seeing play, I needed a budget option for the format, and Electrostatic Pummeler for a time really was an entertaining deck.  It was closer to Infect than I would like to care to admit, but this little construct could do real big damage when backed up with cards like Larger Than Life or Cartouche of Knowledge.  I preferred the Red Green version to the Blue Green version.  Despite the lack of flying that Blue could provide, the creatures, mana and spells just felt better in Red Green to me.  It felt more explosive to play with Lathnu Hellion or Voltaic Brawler.  Also Red gave us Fling which could help end the game if combat was not going to get it done, of if you had a smaller amount of energy due to protecting your Bristling Hydra.  It's nice to have a cheap competitive deck in the Standard format, even though aggro is typically not my thing. 

It seems to me that you can't talk about Aetherflux Reservoir without talking about Paradoxical Outcome as well.  These cards went together like peanut butter and chocolate, or peanut butter and jelly, or peanut butter and bananas.  I'm out of things that go well with peanut butter so I'll start talking Magic again.  While the cards saw some fringe play early in their printings, they both really came in to the own recently, with the printing of Sai, Master Thopterist in the newest core set.  Sai solved the problems that the deck had, mainly it could get ran over against aggro while it was clunky and looking to set up its storm turn, while making 1/1s to block with.  Sai's second ability allowed you to turn blocking tokens into extra cards for a cheap cost, so it could help find what you needed to go off.  Finally Sai also gave you another way to win, as a squadron of Thopters could turn into a serious air force quickly with all the cheap artifacts that the deck ran. What I liked the most about these two cards is the game states often looked like a weird version of Magic: the Puzzeling.  The deck could just win out of no where like Randy Orton delivering a devastating RKO.  With one card drawn and a few moments of thought this deck made me feel like a stable genius whenever I solved the puzzle.  The inverse of this is true as well.  If I couldn't solve the puzzle or drew the wrong cards in the wrong sequence, I felt like a drooling idiot.  However paying 50 life to deal 50 damage and still win is an awfully great feeling.  

When you look at Refurbish I think the best thought would be to look at it through its most successful deck, which of course was God-Pharaoh's Gift.  You would look to fill your graveyard yard with big creatures thanks to cards like Champion of Wits, Minister of Inquiries and Strategic Planning.  You would also put the needed artifact in the graveyard, return it to play with Refurbish and start rocking the block on turn 4 ideally.  When it was first printed though, my mind went to a weird Mardu deck featuring the Gearhulks.  They each had a sweet ability, could be abused and had a nice bit of power to go along with cheating them in to play.  Gift didn't exist yet so I wanted to play with cool cards and fill the yard with stuff like Cathartic Reunion and Tormenting Voice.  My list was never really tuned, or actually good, but other players did pretty okay with the Mardu plan.  Combustible Gearhulk was a heavy hitter with a really weird drawback.  Noxious Gearhulk was great for killing their best creature and stabilizing and Cataclysmic Gearhulk would often leave us with two Gearhulks and my opponent with a sad face.  I was happy to find people playing this deck, and it was some of the most fun I had had playing Standard.   

Conley Woods, as I have stated many times before, is one of my favorite deckbuilders.  Marionette Master has been one of his pet cards over the past few months, and watching him stream with it was a delight.  It's wonderful to watch not only a great deckbuilder create and tune a deck, but also watching what makes those decisions work in a live format is just, well, magical I guess.  I actually took great care to grind this deck out on Arena, and it has been a real blast to play.  It's a control deck with a combo finish thanks to the treasures and not treasures that Tezzeret the Schemer makes.  It's nice to tap six mana and win on the spot if everything went as well as it could!


Torrential Gearhulk.  I'm not sad that you're leaving the format.  I'm actually laughing that you're leaving Standard.  I dislike you so much.  Any deck with six open mana, at least two of them blue had the chance to blow (blue?) you out at instant speed?  Attacking for lethal?  Here's a gearhulk!  Trying to cast an important spell?  It's suddenly raining!  Looking to stabilize with a powerful creature?  Oops!  All Gearhulks!  They always had it too, and the graveyard was always well stocked to answer anything you presented, be it a small creature Fatal Push or a Planeswalker Vraska's Contempt or a key spell Disallow.  I'm glad you're gone, and I know that WotC will eventually make another creature like this, but give it super flash or hexproof, because blue decks just don't have it good enough! 

Those are the cards I am going to miss from Kaladesh.  What are you going to miss?  Let us know in the comments and join me next time as I look at Amonkhet and see what we're missing out on! 


Fantastic Article by mtgstrategist at Mon, 09/10/2018 - 13:45
mtgstrategist's picture

This really shines a light on the tools Kaladesh brought to the table. I have to say that I'm glad Aetherflux Reservoir is going away...I've lost to that deck enough. I'm ready to lose to new GOR decks. :)

it was a really strong set by JXClaytor at Tue, 09/11/2018 - 09:19
JXClaytor's picture

it was a really strong set that pushed the power level of standard, which I think is good, but it pushed too much.