All I see is red in Kaladesh

All I see is red in Kaladesh

Ahh standard rotation. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so excited to say goodbye to a format as I am now. Collected Company and Dromoka’s Command were quite the dynamic duo, but I think I speak for everyone in saying good riddance. With Kaladesh fast approaching I’ve begun to work on some day one decks and I continually find myself slanting toward the aggressive end of the spectrum. The lack of 4 mana sweepers, and mid-range decks looking clunky as ever, may mean it is aggros time to shine.

Smuggler's Copter - Kaladesh

Smuggler’s Copter – Kaladesh

The card that continually draws me to these strategies is Smuggler’s Copter. I find myself including it as a 4 of in every deck I begin to work on, and for good reason. It does everything you would want out of a 2 drop, and then some. Its evasive, hits hard, gives you card selection, and dodges a decent amount of removal with its modal nature. The only downside is the fact you have to crew it each turn, but in a creature heavy aggro deck, I don’t think this will be a huge problem. The first shell that came to mind was a mono red beat down deck:

I think this deck has a lot of good things going for it, but the lack of hard removal and no direct damage made me want to examine some other variations. Red/Black was my next idea. Unlicensed disintegration drew me in, as it seems like the perfect card to clear the way and deal with more robust threats while potentially bolting our opponent.

Some numbers here are a bit experimental and will be refined once the format fleshes out, but I’m a big fan of what this deck is doing. It has the same aggressive nature as the mono red version, but goes a bit bigger and has more synergies built in. Some of these (IE syndicate trafficker with scrapheap scrounger) may prove to be too cute, but I think they are worth exploring.

Speaking of cute synergies, we can’t talk about Kaladesh without mentioning the new resource, energy. Seeing as none of us have gotten to play with these cards yet, its tough to say how good these energy based cards will be, and how to quantify what exactly 1 energy counter is worth. Personally, I think only a few cards using this mechanic will make the cut in constructed, but Voltaic Brawler is one of them, which makes Green/Red seem like a good place to start the brewing.

This deck is by no means all in on energy, but has some great uses for it. Smugglers Copter may not be the most at home in this shell, but as I mentioned earlier, I just can’t bring myself to build an aggro deck without them. Galvanic Bombardment is another card I’m not 100% sure on due to the unknown nature of the metagame. Typically formats begin with an aggressive slant, however, and having some efficient removal will be key. The choice of Arlinn over Chandra may also be surprising, but in a beat down deck like this I believe Arlinn’s modes will be more beneficial than Chandra’s. We’re not in the market to play a long card advantagey game, we want to beat down and get ya dead. Arlinn Kord being able to pump out her own threats, haste out our creatures, bolt you, and even give a mini overrun seems like exactly what this deck is in the market for.

While all I’m seeing is red in Kaladesh, I’m sure the new cards will shake up the format quite a bit. Collected Company leaving may also allow some existing cards and/or archetypes to get their time to shine as well. Temur Emerge, G/W walkers, and G/B Delirium don’t suffer crippling blows with rotation and I would expect them each to find a niche in the format. I’m sure people will revisit B/W control, Spirits, White weenie, U/R Spells and even a company-less bant deck as well. The possibilities seem endless right now and I encourage everyone reading to get your brewing hats on and take a crack at breaking the format before it gets “solved.” I would love to hear about your lists or critiques upon my own in the comments.

Until next time.

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Max Mitchell

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