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By: olaw, Oliver Law
Sep 20 2016 12:00pm
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Hello!

Welcome to another Modern Musings!  In this article I am taking a look at the cards from the full Kaladesh spoiler and look for potential Modern playables.

Contents

1. Themes, Mechanics & Keywords
a. Fabricate
b. Vehicles
c. Energy
2. Cards for Modern
a. White
b. Blue
c. Black
d. Red
e. Green
f. Multi-Coloured
g. Colourless
h. Lands
i. Masterpiece Series
3. Top 8 Cards for Modern
4. Reader's Poll
5. Conclusions

Themes, Mechanics & Keywords
After a bit of an Eldrazi oversaturation it is nice to see us going to a new plane with new faces.  The plane of Kaladesh actually looks like a really cool world of inventions and artifice and I think the art and themes of the world are well done.

Mechanics


Fabricate

This mechanic reminds me of Cloudgoat Ranger.  Essentially you can put X amount of +1/+1 counters on your creature or create X 1/1 Servo artifact tokens.  This is quite a cool mechanic as it makes you choose between going big or going wide.  It also works nicely with Vehicles as discussed below.


Vehicles/Crew

Mark Rosewater advised that vehicles are something people have been asking about for a long time.  He said they finally solved the vehicle problem and the result is a series of very interesting cards.  Each vehicle is an artifact that become a creature when activated by a crew.  The vehicles have Crew X which means you can tap any number of creatures whose power adds up to X.  This works well with Fabricate above as you can use excess 1/1 Servo tokens to crew your vehicle.

There are other cards that interact with the vehicles.  Of note are the Pilot creatures that give bonuses to a vehicle when they crew that vehicle.


Energy

There are numerous cards in the set that allow you to gain energy counters which can then be spent in various ways.  It's an interesting mechanic that obviously promotes playing energy generating cards together.

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Cards for Modern

White


Authority of the Consulate
Quite a powerful card for just one-mana but I'm not sure if there is a deck that makes it really worth the investment.  You could run it in Bogles/Hexproof or Soul Sisters but I don't think there is quite enough value in it.


Cataclysmic Gearhulk
A powerful member of this titan-esque cycle.  A pseudo-Cataclysm on a powerful 4/5 vigilance body can certainly whittle down a board.  Potentially a powerful silver bullet for a Chord of Calling or Eldritch Evolution deck.


Fragmentise
Interesting Disenchant effect for just one-mana.  In Modern this hits pretty much everything you would want to hit.  I could see this seeing sideboard play but it really depends on how hurtful not being able to use this at instant speed is.  Great value but the lack of instant speed definitely works against it.


Toolcraft Exemplar
A 1-drop that can be a 3/2 first striker during your combat is pretty powerful.  There are plenty of ways to support the Dwarf in Modern but is it really worth fitting into your Affinity deck?  I am not sold but it could provide a budget alternative to some of Affinity's more expensive cards.

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Blue


Ceremonious Rejection
A card that feels like it should exist.  A really nice sideboard card for blue decks against Affinity, Tron or Eldrazi-based decks. The influx of powerful colourless spells in recent times makes this feel right.


Dramatic Reversal
Interesting card that could have some applications in Modern though none that spring immediately to my mind.


Metallurgic Summonings
This is a very powerful card if one that is very expensive.  You can create a small army of tokens very quickly and then can let you buyback your graveyard.  It would be amazing in Modern Storm but there are far cheaper and better options.


Select for Inspection
Vapor Snag is a very playable card even in Modern and this has a bit more upside with a Scry 1.  That said limiting the bounce to tapped creatures does make it more restricted.


Torrential Gearhulk
Snapcaster Mage's bigger brother is a huge threat and an excitingly powerful.  At 6-mana it is possibly a bit costly for Modern but I could see running this in an appropriate control deck.  A 5/6 is still very big even in Modern, it can be cast at instant speed and gives you a free instant spell on top of that.  That's not to mention the possibilities if you blink the Gearhulk or combine it with Restoration Angel. Feels like blue finally got a Titan it can be proud of...sorry Frost Titan.

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Black


Gonri, Lord of Luxury
Really interesting design here.  Probably too expensive for Modern but stealing a card from your opponent's deck and being able to cast it is pretty interesting. The power of it heavily depends on your opponent's deck though so I don't think there is quite enough incentive to play this.


Lost Legacy
A bad Memoricide as far as I can tell.  There are some interesting possibilities to draw cards if you use it on yourself but not sure if this would work effectively - and you can only draw for cards in your hand.  Look out for the Lost Legacy/Relentless Rats combo deck coming soon.


Night Market Lookout
There isn't an easy way of achieving it that I can think of but it's funny to think that tapping and untapping this guy repeatedly will win you the game.  A card that could be an important combo piece someday.

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Red


Cathartic Reunion

This is a very interesting bigger version of Tormenting Voice.  Obviously you need three cards in hand to cast it which can be a disadvantage but early on you're getting to pitch a good amount of cards and draw 3 cards in return.  A potential option for Dredge decks as you can dredge 3 times off this card as well as Goryo's Vengeance decks.


Chandra, Torch of Defiance

The new Chandra is a very exciting card and is already being lauded as the best red planeswalker ever printed (which is hard to argue really).

    • Her first +1 is the ability I see being most used on Chandra. Getting an extra card every turn is great and the downside of hitting something unplayable is mitigated by the 2 damage to your opponent if you don't cast the card.
    • The second +1 is ok. Certainly in Modern an extra two mana can go quite far and is a decent mana boost if she survives beyond the turn you cast her.
    • Her -3 is decent removal if at quite a steep cost. I would be hesitant to use this mode if not absolutely necessary but at worst she comes down kills a creature and forces your opponent to finish her off at 1 loyalty.
    • Chandra's ultimate is pretty awesome and will end the game in a hurry. It's also reasonably achievable as if you can tick her up three turns in a row then you can get your emblem and the game should be over shortly after. Three turns untouched is a long time but it's not hard to imagine being able to protect her with the right deck setup.

The real question is where will Chandra find a home. Chandra, Pyromaster saw some play in Jund some time ago so that could be a potential home.  Outside of that I think it is probably best suited to Control style decks where you can press the incremental advantage Chandra provides.


Fateful Showdown
An interesting card that can serve as removal as well as substantial instant-speed draw card.  Probably a bit expensive for Modern purposes but it could be a very impactful card in the right deck or even a win condition.


Inventor's Apprentice
A cross between Kird Ape and Court HomunculusKird Ape is a card that still sees play in Modern Zoo but it's a lot easier to achieve than the Apprentice's requirement.  Still a solid card though.


Lathnu Hellion
An exciting speedy beater that can last at least two turns.  Probably a bit too big and expensive for Modern but an interesting options.


Madcap Experiment
A very interesting Polymorph variation for artifacts but with a dangerous setback.  There are some interesting options such as Platinum Angel and Platinum Emperion that negate the setback and give you powerful options.


Reckless Fireweaver
The Fireweaver is another potential win condition for an Eggs deck that doesn't target and so gets past Leyline of Sanctity.  Potentially very powerful in any deck that can play a lot or an infinite amount of artifacts.

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Green


Blossoming Defense
There are a lot of very good pump spells in Modern.  Blossoming Defense provides another strong option in this category and one that provides protection for your creature.  I don't think it's as good as Vines of Vastwood but provides a different option.  Infect decks have run Ranger's Guile in the past and this is pretty much a strict upgrade on Guile.

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Multi-Coloured


Dovin Baan
The new Vedalken planeswalker, Dovin Baan, is a blue-white walker from Kaladesh.

  • The +1 is a pretty solid protective ability doing a good job of shutting down an opposing creature.
  • The -1 is decent but I feel like ticking down Baan is likely to lead to his demise and the value doesn't seem high enough.
  • Dovin's ultimate is a one-sided Static Orb, which is quite weird honestly.  Though that will hurt the opponent it will not win you the game and it takes some serious time to get to - it will be Turn 8 before you get it activated.


Kambal, Consul of Allocation
Kambal is a very interesting creature.  He can be very punishing once on the board against any spell heavy deck.  He's also a must kill for Burn and Storm decks.  I like Kambal a lot as even if he is immediately hit with a Lightning Bolt you will get a Syphon Soul on your opponent and anything less than that is likely to be a much bigger impact.  Kambal could be interesting in a Hatebears style deck or a sideboard option or 1-of in a Chord of Calling/Collected Company deck.

I'm not really a Commander player but he seems like he would be greatly powerful in that environment too.


Rashmi, Eternities Crafter
Rashmi is an interesting card.  Obviously very powerful if it can stay on the board allowing you to draw/cast an extra card for the first spell you cast each turn. However, a 3-toughness creature for 4-mana is slow and a big liability in Modern.  Realistically I can't see Rashmi seeing any play in Modern.


Saheeli Rai
3-mana walkers are always of interest as this is a good cost for playability in Modern.  On first blush Saheeli isn't super exciting but she can certainly be very powerful if left unchecked.  Let's break down her abilities:

  • Her +1 is a Scry 1 and a point of damage to the opponent.  This is fairly underwhelming but gives you some card selection, though not immediately, and pushes her to 4 loyalty and out of Lightning Bolt range.
  • The -2 is quite interesting.  There are a number of potentially interesting targets to Clone, such as Snapcaster Mage for a simple example.
  • Her ultimate is good in a deck built to abuse it but it's difficult to say exactly how that deck would look.  Also, unlike Nahiri, the Harbinger who makes it worth running 1 Emrakul, the Aeons Torn main deck, I can't see it being worth forcing 3 artifacts into your deck in case you get up to a Saheeli ultimate.  If you can fit this into Lantern Control I suppose it works but that doesn't seem like the right home. A little underwhelming.


Veteran Motorist
This is a very interesting two drop.  It's aggressive as a 3/1 and gives you instant value with a Scry 2 upon entering the battlefield.  Currently there aren't really any vehicles I can see playing in Modern but even without that this is a good value creature.  In slightly interesting colours which is likely to limit its play but a cool card.


Voltaic Brawler
A pretty powerful 2-drop that becomes a 4/3 on attack at least a couple of times.  I don't think it outstrips other two-drops in the format but it is a nice addition to existing option.

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Colourless


Aetherflux Reservoir
This card is super fun and has legitimate combo kill potential in Modern.  It could be viable kill condition for Eggs that can create an infinite loop of spells to ensure you hit 50 life with ease.  There are various other ways to loop spells in Modern that could also lead to a combo win.  I find this card really enticing for brewing with.


Aetherworks Marvel
Aetherworks Marvel is a potentially powerful card if you can power up the energy quickly.  If that is done, you can possibly power out a powerful card very quickly.  At 4-mana though it is quite slow and you only get to see top 6 cards of the library.  Likely to be too slow in Modern.


Ghirapur Orrery
A very powerful artifact but a dangerously symmetrical effect.  Orrery lets you throw out extra lands and restock once you empty your hand.  Any way of drawing three new cards is always exciting but it's just too slow and symmetrical for me.


Puzzleknot Cycle
The Puzzleknots are a cycle of 2-mana artifacts with ETB effects and that can be sacrificed for three mana to recreate the ETB effect once more.  All are potentially good in Eggs - Fireforger's is a potential win condition and Metalspinner's a card draw engine but not as good as Ichor Wellspring.


Scrapheap Scrounger
Another creature of the Gravecrawler-ilk.  Very similar to Despoiler of Souls from Magic Origins but substantially better than that and a lot more versatile.  An interesting option for Dredge decks.

Lands


Enemy Fastlands
They have finished the 'fastlands' cycle that started in Scars of Mirrodin.  The fastlands are some of the best lands available in Modern after the fetchlands and the Ravnica duals.  Finishing the cycle is great and these lands will definitely see play in Modern.


Inventors' Fair
This is an interesting land with some good applications in Modern.  The 1 life a turn for having Metalcraft is decent for so little investment.  It's only a minor gain but would be useful against Burn or Aggro.  The second ability to tutor an artifact is pretty powerful too but expensive so doesn't really lend itself to a deck like Affinity, which is also very creatureland heavy.  The general consensus seems to be that this card is pretty exciting for Lantern Control, helping keep you alive against your opponent's aggression before the lock can be put in place.

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Masterpiece Series
Like the Expeditions in Battle for Zendikar Block, Kaladesh features a group of 'rarer than mythic' artifact cards referred to as Masterpieces.  The Masterpieces include Commander, Vintage, Legacy, Modern and future Standard staples to add to their circulation.  I love that they have extended the Expedition concept from BFZ and the fantastic new art does a great job of fitting the cards into the lore of Kaladesh.

You can find the full card list for the Masterpiece Series here.

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My Top 8 Cards for Modern
Here are my Top 8 Modern picks from Kaladesh:

  1. Enemy Fastlands
    This is a cycle rather than a single card but realistically I think these will have the biggest impact in Modern.  They do not necessarily add anything new but will definitely see play.
  2. Chandra, Torch of Defiance
    There's a lot of hype surrounding the new Chandra and she definitely looks powerful.  Whether she actually good enough to become a Modern staple has yet to be seen but she has lots of potential.
  3. Kambal, Consul of Allocation
    A nice silver bullet/hate creature that could see play in Collected Company/Chord of Calling decks and perhaps beyond.
  4. Cathartic Reunion
    This seems like a very powerful Dredge card and discard outlet.
  5. Inventors' Fair
    Seems like a dead certainty to make its way into Lantern Control decks if nowhere else.
  6. Blossoming Defense
    An upgrade on Ranger's Guile and another strong pump spell option for Infect.
  7. Torrential Gearhulk
    A giant Snapcaster Mage that you can flash in and cast a free instant.  It's a solid deal that could see some niche play.
  8. Ceremonious Rejection
    Strong blue sideboard card against Affinity, Lantern Control & Eldrazi decks.

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Reader's Poll
I've had my say now you can have yours in the Reader's Poll.  Tell me which card from Kaladesh you think will have the most impact on the Modern format.

What is your favourite Kaladesh card for Modern?
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Enemy Fastlands
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Chandra, Torch of Defiance
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Kambal, Consul of Allocation
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Cathartic Reunion
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Inventors' Fair
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Blossoming Defense
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Torrential Gearhulk
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Ceremonious Rejection
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Quiz Maker
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Conclusions
Kaladesh is an interesting new world and looks like a fun new set.  In terms of Modern impact I think there isn't too much to get overly excited about but I think the themes and setting of the set are very cool. 

The new Chandra is definitely one to watch and finishing the fastland cycle is significant to the lands available in Modern.  There are also some potential bit part players that provide some interesting ways to tweak some decks.  There is also a lot of new stuff for Eggs but without Second Sunrise I do not think there is anything to really improve the consistency of the deck.

I will be finish off my look at the Odyssey Block cycle with the Judgment story next week.  I hope you enjoyed this article and please take part in the poll to have your say.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)

Please Specify:

Quiz Maker

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

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Conclusions
Kaladesh is an interesting new world and looks like a fun new set.  In terms of Modern impact I think there isn't too much to get overly excited about but I think the themes and setting of the set are very cool. 

The new Chandra is definitely one to watch and finishing the fastland cycle is significant to the lands available in Modern.  There are also some potential bit part players that provide some interesting ways to tweak some decks.  There is also a lot of new stuff for Eggs but without Second Sunrise I do not think there is anything to really improve the consistency of the deck.

I will be finish off my look at the Odyssey Block cycle with the Judgment story next week.  I hope you enjoyed this article and please take part in the poll to have your say.

Thanks for reading,

Oliver Law (olaw on MTGO)