Going for the Gold: Kaladesh Limited Redux
With the upcoming Grand Prix in Milwaukee, I thought it would be a good idea to revisit the Kaladesh limited format and update it now that we have a few more months of information at our fingertips.
Here are 10 things that you need to understand about the sealed format:
- This is a 16 land format. If you play more, you are most likely wrong, unless you have at least 2 cards that do something with the extra mana. For example, every module is playable in Sealed and so is Whirlermaker.
- Make sure you are playing cards at all parts of the curve. One common mistake I see from a lot of online streamers and players alike is that they try to build their sealed decks like draft decks. That’s all fine and dandy but since there are few mana sinks in the format, you cannot realistically play 16 or 17 lands with a very low curve and not expect to get flooded.
- The best colours in this format in the right order are: Green, Black, White, Red and finally Blue.
- Blue is convincingly the worst colour in the format and should still be avoided at all costs. Its commons are very weak outside of Gearseeker Serpent, however it boasts great uncommons and rares.
- One-dimensional cards are very weak in Sealed. Being flexible and able to flip from defensive to aggressive or vice versa is very important. Cards that are only good on defense or only good in aggressive decks should not be played typically. An exception to this rule is Consulate Skygate, which comes down as early as turn two and can block almost all of the early drops and evasion creatures in the format. In addition it also enables a lot of cards.
- Almost all of Red’s cards are positioned to be super aggressive and do not play two-dimensionally. Chandra’s Pyrohelix is not worthy for a maindeck inclusion in Sealed deck.
- Unlike most formats, Kaladesh does not require more than 2 - 4 removal spells in your deck. Anymore usually leads to breaking the synergy between your creatures, vehicles and tricks.
- Grindy decks which have traditionally been very good in Sealed are amazing in this format, which makes BW the best archetype in Sealed. The best BW decks do not contain cards like Thriving Rats or Eddytrail Hawk.
- The two mana black tricks are still underrated, have high blowout potential and are rarely played around. These are of course Subtle Strike and Rush of Vitality.
- Make sure that you have enough “finishers” in your deck. As you continue to win in your sealed tournament, you will run into decks with more removal which will remove your best creatures. This is another reason why you should be running up on the curve as well, so that you don’t end up having your 2 drop facing down their 5 drop. Contrary to popular belief, Fortuitous Find is a great card that allows you to refuel in the late game and give you access to “more finishers”.
- I said only 10, but here’s a bonus: Revoke Privileges is a terrible common in Sealed and will trap players since most Sealed decks will be playing maindeck Aether Tradewinds, Aviary Mechanic, Appetite for the Unnatural and Acrobatic Maneuver. All of these are two for ones depending on how your opponent times the card which is terrible for a removal spell.
Draft is a much different animal and here are some tips that you should keep in mind:
- You want to focus on building a 17 land deck within the Abzan Shard, which has the most mana sinks in the format. If you are in green, I would play 16 lands if I had an Attune with Aether.
- Ovalchase Daredevil is the best uncommon in the set, and you should be picking it over any uncommon or common and most rares. Building a deck around the card lets you easily grind out most opponents even when you draw a substantial amount of lands more than them.
- It is so easy to splash cards in this format. A lot of the cards you will play in your decks are artifacts and they should be picked up early as they allow you much more ability to maneuver. Prophetic Prism still goes around much later than it should and I would pick any of these up when I see them as it gives me even more freedom to splash for bombs or gold color uncommons such as Unlicensed Disintegration / Restoration Gearsmith / Cloudblazer.
- Similar to sealed, the grindy BW deck is the best archetype. See above for details on that.
- Combat tricks are very important in draft, especially the one mana ones since they allow you to trade a lot of tempo for such a low cost. Also, since Kaladesh is still relatively new to most players and hasn’t been that relevant, you can definitely walk your opponents into these tricks.
- Uncommons that everyone knows are very good: Aerial Responder, Aetherborn Marauder, Arborback Stomper, Chief of the Foundry, Essence Extraction, Harnessed Lightning, Longtusk Cub, Nature’s Way, Ovalchase Daredevil, Servant of the Conduit, Skywhaler’s Shot, Snare Thopter
- Uncommons that are still under the radar: Armorcraft Judge, Durable Handicraft, Era of Innovation, Foundry Inspector (especially good in combination with Self-Assembler) Fretwork Colony, Make Obsolete, Quicksmith Genius, Shrewd Negotiation
I hope that you enjoyed this re-review of the Kaladesh Limited format.
I’ll be back next week with a report from GP Milwaukee, my first event in the last 6 weeks and hopefully a trophy 🙂
Until next time,