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Kaladesh: The Overrated and Underrated

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Well, the prerelease honeymoon is over and it is time to get down to the serious business of putting these exciting new cards into real constructed decks. Leading up to this point, there has been excitement about nearly everything. What can we do with this? Can we put that card into a deck? Is this color combination going to be good? Can we cast counterspells again? It doesn't take long before most of these riddles have been fairly accurately solved and we get a taste of which cards are going to be good and which ones were preorder fool's gold.

There is always an obvious amount of "hyped pricing" when it comes to preorder prices. Being that everybody needs, well, everything, it is hard to imagine a moment in time when demand for these cards will be much higher. The situation at hand makes it hard to "win" when buying cards right when a new set comes out. Often, the best strategy is just to buy a couple of boxes and trade of the majority of the highly coveted new cards for more stable older staples.

With that being said, I'm going to go through the Kaladesh list and comment on all of the cards that I believe are relevant. I'll weigh in on whether the card is overrated or underrated and give my speculative advice as a pro player on each card.

Mythics

Aetherworks Marvel

aetherworksmarvel

The entire value of this card is tied to the premise of a constructed energy combo/ramp deck. I've seen these decks toyed with in playtesting but nobody has come up with one that can consistently make the magic happen.

The versions of the deck that I've seen so far are typical RG Ramp and do have some very explosive draws. The problem is that there are a lot of moving pieces that all need to come together in order for you to win. Whiffing is a thing even when you have the nut draw.

The upside is that somebody makes a good version of the deck and it spikes up into the $10+ range. The downside is that the card is mediocre and becomes a $1 card. Marvel is one of the most potentially volatile cards in the set because it's either going to be broken or complete trash and there is no middle ground.

Even if the deck is great and tier one I don't see this card being able to sustain much more that $8-$10 price for very long. There will be a lot of the set opened and it is really only useful in Standard.

Verdict: Potential contender. Sell.

Angel of Invention

angelofinvention

Three years ago this card would have been absolutely absurd in Standard, but now it is a very "meh" offering. The Angel is an undoubtedly powerful Magic card but in a world of Archangel Avacyn // Avacyn, the Purifier this card picked the wrong time to be a 3WW-costed threat. Given the alternatives this card is unlikely to matter too much.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

cataclysmicgearhulk

In many ways the Gearhulks are the eye candy of the set (well, aside from Masterpieces) and I think they are all pretty amazing cards. I love the way that Wizards gave them the drawback of being artifacts but then curtailed all of the artifact removal in Standard to specifically not kill them...

Cataclysmic Gearhulk is one of the best ones in the cycle and it will see a ton of play in the coming months.

Verdict: Contender. Hold. Presale prices are always on the high side and I expect some decline. But Cataclysmic Gearhulk should maintain a solid chunk of value compared to the average.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

chandratorchofdefiance

Chandra is obviously good. It does a bunch of things and appears to have powerful applications. My issue with the card is that it keeps underwhelming me in nearly every deck that I try it in. It is never bad, but there are so many great cards in Magic now that a deck needs to have strong synergy. Without a doubt the card will be constructed-playable---but it is not all that and a bag of potato chips.

Verdict: Overrated contender. Sell. The card is real but not $50 real. I would avoid this card for a month or so unless you absolutely need it for a deck you want to play in a tournament.

Combustible Gearhulk

combustiblegearhulk

I already mentioned that the Gearhulk cycle is a centerpiece of the set, just like the core set Titans. With that being said, I highly doubt that Wizards would make any that turn out straight unplayable.

People have been hating on this card but I think it actually looks pretty powerful. I've cast it quite a few times (albeit in highly flawed and experimental decks) and it always felt really good despite the fact that it was in decks that were kind of zany. I think this card will find a home and be good.

Verdict: Contender. Hold. I think this could be a card that ends up making money based on the current low price and the fact that I think it is a lot better than people realize. Obviously, prices are high now and it is hard to advise buying things when 90% will lose value, but this is a card that could have legs. I wouldn't part with these easily.

Demon of Dark Schemes

demonofdarkschemes1

I don't like to be dismissive of new cards because anything can have potential, but this doesn't feel like a great card to me. If anything it is another cog in the Aetherworks Marvel deck so that if you miss on Emrakul you can at least have energy to shoot again next turn.

The joke is that an energy deck could easily cut black entirely, so there is a chance that my Aetherworks Marvel deck wouldn't even play Demon. Even if it is in the Marvel deck it still settles in at a couple of bucks.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell. If I have this card and somebody wants to trade for it I'm going to be happy to let it go.

Dovin Baan

dovinbaan

It is hard to say that planeswalkers are bad because they are all so powerful, but this card seems pretty unlikely to see much play for a while. I mean, why would you ever play this card when you could be casting Gideon? Niche card at best.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Metallurgic Summonings

metallurgicsummonings

Random EDH card.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell. Foil ones could be nice value down the line.

Nissa, Vital Force

nissavitalforce (1)

Nissa has the same problem as the Angel we just talked about. Fine card but competing with truly great cards. I had this card in my G/W Walkers first draft and immediately cut it for more green Gearhulks.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Noxious Gearhulk

noxiousgearhulk1

I think Noxious Gearhulk might be the worst one by a wide margin. With that being said, I still think it is an obviously good Magic card and will see play. Remember the Titans.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Saheeli Rai

saheelirai2

There is an Aetherflux Reservoir deck that will probably play a couple copies of this card to potentially copy the Reservoir. I could see this card being alright in some older-format combo decks. With that being said, $25 is a joke. I think this card is a niche player at best.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Skysovereign, Consul's Flagship

skysovereignconsulflagship

Obviously powerful card is powerful. With that being said, I think it has a ton of competition in the five-drop spot. Most of the vehicle-based decks that I've seen are lower to the ground than this.

Verdict: Borderline contender. Sell.

Torrential Gearhulk

torrentialgearhulk

If this card allowed us to get back sorcery spells it would be so busted. Time Walk Robot! Unfortunately (and by "unfortunately" I mean fortunately), that is not the case.

I think all of the Gearhulks are good, though, and this is no exception.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Verdurous Gearhulk

verdurousgearhulk

Green Gearhulk is by far the most impressive card I've seen in the set so far. It is unreal powerful and turns close games into jokes. A lot of power for five mana. This card is just unreal.

Verdict: Super contender. Buy. I preordered a Japanese playset and I never buy cards.

Rares

Aetherflux Reservoir

aetherfluxreservoir

Card is real. I'm not sure if it is any more real than Jeskai Ascendancy combo in Standard. Also, I haven't tried to combo with this card in Modern. It could be good. I've heard people talking about this for Vintage play---which is saying something.

Verdict: Contender. Buy. They are only like a buck or so online. You could do worse than to bet on random combo card.

Authority of the Consuls

authorityoftheconsuls

I respect this card. It is a good Magic card. People will cast this card. With that being said it will never have more value than it has right now.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Enemy Fastlands

bloomingmarsh

This land cycle is obviously Standard- and Modern-playable. With that being said, there are going to be so many of these floating around in a month. Just look at Shambling Vent. Poor Shambling Vent...

Verdict: Contender. Sell. This applies to all the enemy fastlands.

Bomat Courier

bomatcourier

I think this is one of the better cards in the entire set. I am excited to put this into Affinity. It is just a good card. You can't beat one mana. I could easily see this card maintaining its very modest price tag or going up in the future.

Verdict: Contender. Buy.

Confiscation Coup

confiscationcoup

If I have to hitch my horse to a wagon it might as well be this one. I think this is actually a very good Magic card. It is also pretty sweet that it steals creatures or artifacts---forever. It's basically a bulk rare but I could see it being a player somewhere. I'll trade for a bunch of these that people don't want and hold onto them with high hopes.

Verdict: Contender. Buy.

Cultivator's Caravan

cultivatorscaravan

I think this is one of the better vehicle cards. I could actually envision a world where this card sees real constructed play in tournaments.

Verdict: Contender. Hold.

Depala, Pilot Exemplar

depalapilotexemplar

This card looks powerful but I kept cutting it from all of my red-white aggro vehicle decks. That isn't a good sign. It will see some constructed play but it won't be worth squat.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Fleetwheel Cruiser

fleetwheelcruiser

I like this card a lot and think it is very good. It will probably go into Vintage Workshop Aggro decks. With that being said, it'll be selling for a buck in no time.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Fumigate

fumigate

Fumigate is probably the best 5cc wrath ever. However, the five-cost wrath effects have been pseudo bulk rares pretty consistently.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Insidious Will

insidiouswill

Great card. Not Summary Dismissal in a world of Emrakul.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Inventor's Fair

Inventor's Fair

This is a super cool card, and I think it will see tournament play. With all of that being said, I think the tag is relatively accurate.

Verdict: Contender. Hold.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation

kambalconsulofallocation

Neat card. Probably sweet in Commander. Maybe neat as a sideboard card against Storm decks or something. Not a good Standard card.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Lathnu Hellion

lathnuhellion

I just realized this card existed and it seems kind of cool. It probably won't be worth anything but I could see this going into a R/G Energy deck. It can't really be worth less, so I guess it is a hold.

Verdict: Contender. Hold.

Lost Legacy

lostlegacy

It names Emrakul and is therefore playable. It won't be worth anything though.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Madcap Experiment

madcap-experiment

Cool combo: you use it to tutor up Platinum Emperion and you don't lose any life. Maybe a cool thing to do in Modern. Seems like a sweet sideboard plan for a RG Tron deck against Burn.

Verdict: Fringe contender. Sell.

Master Trinketeer

mastertrinketeer

This is a powerful Magic card. I could see this thing being very real. I think this card is underpriced.

Verdict: Contender. Buy.

Paradoxical Outcome

paradoxicaloutcome

This card is busted in half. It is the centerpiece of the Aetherflux Reservoir combo deck. Imagine what you could do with this card and moxes in Vintage? Or, zero-drop artifacts in Modern or Legacy?

This card could have legs.

Verdict: Contender. Buy.

Pia Nalaar

pianalaar

I think this card is fine. Not great, but fine. It is good enough that it will go into some decks but not at all exciting.

Verdict: Contender. Hold.

Scrapheap Scrounger

scrapheapscrounger

I have a really hard time with a card like this. It does a lot of stuff so it must be good, right? At the very least it triggers Prized Amalgam. Too much stuff not to be a good card.

Verdict: Contender. Hold.

Smuggler's Copter

smugglerscopter

Probably the best card in the set. The high price tag reflects that. It might tick up as everybody starts raving about it---but it will undoubtedly settle below $8.

Verdict: Contender. Sell.

Syndicate Trafficker

syndicatetrafficker

Good stats. Not sure what to do with it. It doesn't feel like there are enough artifacts to have dedicated artifact decks in Standard. Maybe after the next set.

Verdict: Pretender. Sell.

Toolcraft Exemplar

toolcraftexemplar

Card is great. Will be a staple of all the aggressive white decks until it rotates. The price tag is pretty low right now. It'll probably tick up a little bit before coming back down to earth. You might be able to make a few bucks if you get them quick and dump them when they peak.

Verdict: Contender. Buy.

Conclusion

Well that was a lot of cards. Here are my picks for the Top 8 best value cards in Kaladesh:

8. Cataclysmic Gearhulk
7. Bomat Courier
6. Master Trinketeer
5. Confiscation Coup
4. Paradoxical Outcome
3. Toolcraft Exemplar
2. Verdurous Gearhulk
1. Aetherflux Reservoir

Enjoy the new cards! Hope you have some sweet brews for Indianapolis this weekend, and I'll see you all there.

4 thoughts on “Kaladesh: The Overrated and Underrated

  1. Great article and I think you are on point with most calls. The only one I disagree with is Noxious Gearhulk. As you also recalled the titan cycle with these, there was a time when Frost Titan was #2 because he locked down all the others. Noxious gearhulk is the only one that cleanly kills all the others.

  2. I think Cataclysmic Gearhulk is SB material ala Tragic Arrogance, and even then he’s worse since your opponent gets the choice. He doesn’t do much against U/R/(x) Fevered Visions or control decks. As a top end in stuff like R/W aggro, Bant, or tokens he kills a bunch of your own stuff, plus there are better options in Archangel Avacyn and Verdurous Gearhulk. I’d only really want him in a control or midrange deck against stuff like Selfless Spirit and Archangel Avacyn to get around the indestructability, or against aggro decks. Even then, you are likely dead if you are banking on making it to turn 5 without any additional removal, in which case it becomes hard to gain value with him. I’ve been testing him in Mardu Reanimator and been wanting to shave copies for something else, though he could be good alongside Eldrazi Displacer.

  3. After Verdurous Gearhulk, my second favorite card in the set is Syndicate Trafficker. I’m going deep and long on this card, having 16 of them on pre-order at $1.

    In an artifact heavy environment, that sac ability granting a permanent buff while granting temporary invincibility seems busted. My current build with it is WB Servos with Servo Exhibition, Master Trinketeer, Weaponcraft Enthusiast, Animation Module, Cogworkers Puzzleknot, and Workshop Assistant. Tuning it happens tomorrow.

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