Assembling the Best Draft Decks in Kaladesh

by Martin Dang on 31 December 2016, Saturday

KLD  Limited 
Martin Dang

Assembling the Best Draft Decks in Kaladesh


I have drafted my share of this format. At least twice a week in the local game stores, testing for Grand Prix, Pro Tour Kaladesh and currently having 30 undefeated trophies in the newly-introduced Kaladesh Competitive Single Elimination Draft League.


As 2016 comes to an end, it is also a great time to share my views on this format.



I generally like Kaladesh Limited.


I believe the colors are very balanced and the bombs of the format are manageable. Most colors are compatible with each other, and they each offer something that can work well in combination with the others. The format doesn't have much card advantage, so you often trade one for one until someone plays a bomb or draws too many lands, but there is a lot of combat strategy which involves you trading off creatures and playing combat tricks.

The only color combination I actively try to stay out of is Black-Red. No denying that the removal spells and combat tricks are great, but with black creatures being too defensive and red ones too small, you will lose out in the end to card draw as you are unable to close the game fast enough.





The General Direction

Which direction should you be taking?


It really depends on your first 4 - 5 picks. I usually try and pick out the most powerful card of the pack regardless which color they are in. In this strategy, I often have 3 - 4 different colors after my 5 first picks. There are plenty of fillers in this format so you'll often end up with enough to choose from but the high impact cards will assist you in winning the game.

You rarely go 3 rounds without playing against a very aggressive deck, so it is important to keep that in mind when drafting and building deck. In this format you have to commit to one end of the scale and either go aggro or control. Both have been equally successful for me.


Midrange decks easily get overrun by good aggro combat tricks and is often ourclassed by the Control Decks which have better card quality and quantity. The only midrange deck I might consider playable is White-Black, but it often also leans towards being a control deck anyway.


So how do you draft the two strategies you ask? Let us take a look!



How to Draft Control Decks in Kaladesh


My personal favorite archetypes are Blue-Black artifacts and 3-Color or 4-Color Green Energy, but there are many combinations of colors for control decks. The mana fixing is good in this format and splashing is not too hard, so feel free to play around a bit and pick you own favorites.

The recipe for control is generally the same.


Control can be very rewarding, but is a little hard to draft, because of the existence of aggressive decks out there. If you load up on too many finishers and slow card advantage cards, you will be overwhelmed during the early turns where the aggro deck deploys early threats and back them up with cheap and efficient spells.


Dhund Operative Thriving Grubs

The two and three drops in this format are easily replaceable, meaning that they mostly likely are a bunch of 2/2 and 3/2 and some 2/3 most of which generally will trade with each other. You are in need of creatures that can trade, so unless you need an artifact, cards like the Consulate Skygate are useless. All the Puzzleknots aside from the black one are equally useless in this format due to the lack of card advantage, unless you're very all in on the energy strategy, but even then they're not that great.


Glimmer of Genius Tezzeret's Ambition

You want to run one good card draw, but usually no more than that. Glimmer of Genius or Tezzeret's Ambition are very good for this archetype, and they often come by late. Keep an eye out for good finishers, so you actually have a way to win after you have stabilized the board. Gearseeker Serpent or any bomb will do. You won't win on card advantage by itself unless your opponent draw an unreasonable amount of lands or just have a bad deck, so you need 3-4 good finishers.



How to Draft Aggro Decks in Kaladesh


I usually go for an aggressive 16 lander deck and my favorites are White-Red and Red-Green. Combat tricks are very cheap in this format and vehicles are excellent in aggressive decks to play around removal like Hunt the WeakNature's Way and sweepers.


Built to Last Blossoming Defense


Most early game creatures trade 1 for 1 in this format since there is so many 3/2 and 2/2, so remember to stock up on creatures. They kind of work as a removal as well if you are the one attacking. If your opponent plays something your 3/2 can't trade with, you can save it with a combat trick and he will have invested more time and mana than you.


Renegade Freighter Self-Assembler

Now let us take a look on card quality.


First up is my favorite common in this set: Self-Assembler. I wouldn't pick the first one over Renegade Freighter, but I have been first picking them in weak packs. Should I be lucky enough to get one passed 4th to 5th pick in the first booster I will pick it and try and collect more friends for him. They fit great in both the aggressive and the control strategies as finishers.


So far, I have an undefeated record in all the decks that had three or more. I have tried playing five, but kept side boarding out the fifth because I drew too many of them and didn't have time to cast them all anyway. 4/4 is just huge in this format of 3/2s and card advantage is great in a format without too much card advantage.



Generally Underrated Cards


Minister of Inquiries


This 1 mana finisher can be a pain, ironically both for you and your opponent. Finding the right balance when to go for the mill and when to use your energy can be tough, but when you got it all worked out, the payoff is great. For a tiny 1-drop, it does not look like much, but milling 3 cards each turn is very fast clock which most deck can't race.


Built to Smash


This card is way more awesome than it looks and it is also why red is my favorite color for aggro decks. As mentioned earlier, the creatures often trade in Kaladesh, so a 1 mana combat trick that often saves your creature and leave your mana, for you to play another critter is nothing but great. The trample it sometimes gives can be relevant and is a welcome bonus.


Skyswirl Harrier


Any bird who must say, I am the king, is no true king. So I'll say it for him. With its flying 3/4 body, Skyswirl Harrier is truly the king of the skies. I love playing these guys as finishers as they also double as a card to stabilize the board from all the 3/2s and other common fliers in the format. I would not pick them too early since they are much underrated and usually comes after pick 8.


Paradoxical Outcome


3 times have I played this card in my deck, and everytime have I been pleasantly surprised. It usually substitutes my one of regular card draw spells in control decks. Playing blue, you often have Prophetic Prism and some one-costed or two-costed creatures that have "enter the battlefield" effects. The ability to return those or simply save your creature from removal and get to draw a bunch of cards as a bonus is great.




Generally Overrated Cards


Wind Drake


You need to establish control and then fly over and kill your opponent quickly to prevent him from recovering especially when you're ahead. This card is just too slow a clock when you need it to be a clock. At best it will trade your opponents 3/2, but then there are plenty of other cards for that, I consider this card unplayable.


Inventor's Goggles


In a format with little card advantage, I don't want to play an equipment with such a puny effect. In a aggro deck, 1 extra power in exchange for a card and the mana is just not efficient enough. It is best used in a slower deck, where it can make your creature big enough to block, but if your opponent has removal for that creature, you would have wasted a lot of time. Instead play another creature in its place and trade it off if required. It will buy you the same amount of time or even more time than Inventor's Goggles!

That's all from me for Kaladesh Limited and thanks for reading! I hope you all had a great Christmas holiday and I also wish you a very happy new year! I know that I enjoyed 2016 personally and I am very excited for 2017 as well. Plenty of Magic is in store for me and I hope that everyone has a great year ahead!

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