Tag Archives: Kaladesh

Cube Watch: Kaladesh Edition

Kaladesh is fully spoiled, and that means it’s time for another Cube Watch. As always, the approach I take here is:

  1. I’m looking to expand my cube for the lowest price possible while still getting all the great cards I want. This means I’m not looking at foils, or in this set, masterpieces. If you’re in to pimping your cube, this stuff may be of interest to you, but it’s not the focus today.
  2. I’m aiming to pick up cards at close to their lowest price. New cards are usually overpriced due to lack of supply and increased hype, but they almost always go down. As such, I’ll be naming a rough price target—or indicating my willingness to pick up a card at its preorder price (though this is rare).
  3. I’ll mention commons and uncommons where applicable, but we’re not too worried about prices here: we’re talking a maximum difference between high and low of a few dollars, and usually only a few cents.

Enough intro; let’s look at the cards.


Lots of white cards of interest here, but very few slam-dunks.

Aerial Responder

It’s like Vampire Nighthawk but not. I don’t think this is really going to get a slot alongside identically costed cards like Brimaz, King of Oreskos, but it will probably be plenty good enough for C/Ubes.

Aetherstorm Roc

I’m not especially driven to put cards that use energy into my cube, although a few appear to be good standalone cards. This one is on the borderline of this status, but I don’t feel comfortable fully writing it off until playing with it. At bulk pricing already, if you’re interested, there’s no reason to not pull the trigger now, just in case this actually sees Standard play.

Angel of Invention

This card isn’t bad at all, but can it replace Baneslayer Angel or Cloudgoat Ranger? What about Wingmate Roc, Revillark, or Karmic Guide? It’s extremely close on all of these, in my opinion. This is another card that will need testing. At just under $4, this could go either way, though I always lean toward the idea that cards will go down. Keep a close eye if you like the looks of this one.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

Definitely a cool card, but the question of whether it is worth cutting another of the excellent five-drops in white remains. I’d be much more inspired if lands were among the permanent types in the card text. As is, I’m again saying that I’m going to need to see this one in action. At $6 for mythic, this could see a big price increase if white-based control is good in Standard, but again, I’m leaning bearish. There are infinite good high-drops in the world and only so many slots. For this reason, I’m aiming to get the Gearhulk cycle in the $2 to $3 range.

Fairgrounds Warden

Unless you’re running shenanigans related to the template change, this is strictly better than Fiend Hunter, which sees play in many cubes.


Maybe? Five-mana wraths are bad, but you will sometimes get that extra turn back in life. I’m leaning toward no, but it’s worth a mention. The $2 price is fine, but you should be able to get it for $1 eventually.

Master Trinketeer

This isn’t bad in control or aggro. But again, we’re comparing this to the likes of Brimaz and Monastery Mentor. At bulk pricing already, you can’t go wrong getting one for your on-deck binder at least.


Four-mana reanimates aren’t usually played, but this one is in an unusual color and could be of interest. Then again, I’ve never seen Resurrection in a cube.


The threshold to make it into the blue section is extremely high. Let’s see what we’ve got.

Glint-Nest Crane

If you’re running Augur of Bolas or Omenspeaker, you can (and should!) replace one of them with this guy.

Metallurgic Summonings

This strikes me as way too slow for cube—it’s a five-mana enchantment that does nothing upon casting—but I can’t deny how sweet it would be to go off with this thing. Ultimately, though, this is more likely to be an EDH card than Cube. This is a future bulk mythic, so the $2 it’s at right now seems high.

Torrential Gearhulk

I think this is the first card covered today that I’m more or less guaranteeing will get a spot in my cube. Think about how this compares to Snapcaster Mage and the total cost of flashing back something from your graveyard with Snapcaster—I have a lot to cover today, so while I’d love to wax poetic about how good this card is, I’m going to let you go through that thought process yourself. This card is great, and $5 could be a bargain if it is adopted in competitive play, which I expect to some level. (There is a small chance that not having access to sorceries will make this worse than I think, so keep that in mind as you observe the card in play.)


Black doesn’t offer a lot for Cube in this set, which is sad, because unlike blue, black needs all the help it can get.

Demon of Dark Schemes

This requires way too much energy to be a good standalone card, and Massacre Wurm just seems more appealing for a similar effect at the same cost. Pass. I didn’t look up its price, but I predict it is a future bulk mythic.

Harsh Scrutiny

One-mana discard is always worth a look, and this one comes with a scry attached. I’m not sure it will make the cut in my cube—it is powered and tries to do broken, often non-creature-related things—but I think this will be a fine inclusion in more creature-focused lists.

Noxious Gearhulk

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a list that includes Dark Hatchling. Gearhulk is better that that in several ways, but how does it compare to cards like Grave Titan, Massacre Wurm, and Sheoldred? This is powerful, no doubt, but I’m not sure it outranks anything else black is doing at its top end. I’m definitely waiting to purchase at the current $5 price tag.


Red has stuff.

Cathartic Reunion

I’ve never seen Tormenting Voice in a cube, and this nets you the same number of cards, but it digs deeper. I don’t expect it to make it into most lists, but it’s worth knowing about.

Chandra, Torch of Defiance

Yeah, this card is nuts. I’ll never buy a Standard planeswalker at its Standard-staple price, so I’m expecting to wait until rotation for this one to make it into my list. That said, if this starts seeing play in Modern, Legacy, or Vintage (each of which is less likely than the last), we could be looking at a Liliana of the Veil- or Jace, the Mind Sculptor-style always-going-to-expensive planeswalker. Keep an eye out for your opportunity to get yours at the best price, but it’s going to be a few weeks before you really need to start thinking about that.

Combustible Gearhulk

Letting your opponent have choices is never great, but this might truly be a no-win situation for them. Red doesn’t usually include a lot of high-drops, so you’ll have decide whether you want to make space for this. I think it’s definitely comparable in power level to Inferno Titan, though, so I’m willing to give it a shot. All these Gearhulks are around $5, and again, I’m bearish and aiming at $2ish, but I’m also aware of the possibility that any of them could be good and go up.

Madcap Experiment

This might be a fun card to have in your cube, but I’m not convinced it’s a powerful one. I’d like to see it played more than I would actually like to play with it. Bulk pricing is appropriate for a pickup here.

Pia Nalaar

Mono-red aggro used to hurt for three-drops, but the last few years has really changed that. This is no Goblin Rabblemaster, but it’s plenty playable. I don’t see any reason not to snap one up at 36 cents, where it is right now on TCGplayer. This card does a lot and if RDW is good in Standard, this should be a part of its success.

Skyship Stalker

I bring this up just so I can point out power creep. This would have been the money card of the set fifteen years ago or so, but today, it’s not even good enough for Cube. What are you going to take out? Hellrider? Koth of the Hammer? New Chandra? Avalanche Riders? Fiery Combustion? No, there’s no four-drop in red worth removing for this. Not unless you’re already digging deep for that slot.


Green is as green as always.

Arborback Stomper

It’s like Thragtusk but for C/Ubes! (It is not good enough for higher-power-level lists.)

Longtusk Cub

This may be the best standalone energy card in the set. It’s only good if your cube supports green aggro (mine does not), but it seems like it could snowball pretty well in such a list.

Nature’s Way

Fight cards (although this technically isn’t one) generally aren’t good enough to make cube lists, but this is one of the more pushed ones we’ve seen. It’s worth keeping in mind if you’re looking for removal in your green section.

Nissa, Vital Force

I’m not really excited by this card, but I have to imagine the power level is high enough to make the cut in most cubes. If anything, my concern with planeswalkers is that there are so many playable ones at this point. Before long, we’re all going to be drafting Super Friends. I’m not willing to pay more than $10 for this, and I’d really like to get it for $5.

Verdurous Gearhulk

This is like Wolfir Silverheart, except potentially better. Its design is so boring compared to the other Gearhulks, but this card is pushed. As such, it is about twice as much as the others, and not such a unique ability that I feel rushed to buy. I’m aiming for $2 to $3, just like the other Gearhulks, no matter how pushed.

Wildest Dreams

A three-mana Regrowth that can scale up seems worth a look. I wouldn’t pay anything more than bulk-rare pricing for it, but I like the card well enough.



I’ve first-picked Mulldrifter enough to know that this card is great. Azorius has a lot of very good choices for Cube, so some owners will have trouble making space, but this is clearly good enough based on power level.

Dovin Baan

Ugh, another Azorius card to make space for? This is a planeswalker that draws cards and protects itself. What more could we want? A better price, that’s what. I’m looking at $10 or less.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation

This is cute disruption for WB aggro to play against spell-focused decks (did anyone say Storm?). I’ve found Orzhov to be pretty shallow compared to other color combinations, so while I’m not super convinced this will be good enough, it’s worth more of a look than it might otherwise be. Definitely a card to pick up for bulk pricing and not a penny more, though.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter

This card is awesome and it gets a slot. The end. At around $4 right now, I’m not opposed to picking it up right away, but I could see it as a $2 card if Standard players eschew it.

Saheeli Rai

I don’t think this is a very good card, but at three mana, it could be a lot better than it looks. Izzet is the deepest color combination for Cube, so clearing a slot could be a serious issue. I don’t consider this planeswalker to be worth buying for anything more than $5.


Aetherflux Reservoir

Forget Tendrils of Agony; this is the future of Storm. (Not really, but I find this care subjectively awesome and feel unreasonably drawn to it.)

Bomat Courier

This card is weird. I don’t think it will make the cut, but it’s weirdness appeals to me. Look at all the cards an RDW deck can “draw”! (Buy for bulk pricing if you want a copy. It’s a 1/1.)

Chief of the Foundry

I don’t have enough artifact creatures in my list to make this good, but maybe you do?

Cultivator’s Caravan

I don’t think vehicles look especially desirable for Cube, but there are a few with decent payoffs. Three-mana rocks usually have to offer something a little extra to be playable in Cube (think Coalition Relic, Worn Powerstone, and Pristine Talisman), and this might be enough to fit that category. At less than $1, it’s certainly not finances that should keep it out of your list.

Filigree Familiar

It’s like a less-good Solemn Simulacrum, which is still quite excellent. This is getting a slot.

Fleetwheel Cruiser

Having trample just might make this good enough to include for aggro. The crew cost is pretty low. I don’t know. Having not played with vehicles yet, it’s hard to say whether they have any hope of being good enough for Cube. This will definitely be an area of focus for the prerelease.

Foundry Inspector

Maybe? Certainly if you’re supporting any type of metalcraft or affinity archetypes.

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

This pays you off for playing it and for paying the crew cost, so I suspect it is the most playable of the vehicles for Cube. Again, I’m not convinced on vehicles at all, but this is the closest. I can’t say if $5 feels like a good deal until I play with it, or at least vehicles in general.


Spirebluff Canal

These lands are great and I’m thrilled to complete the cycle. I think they’re better than the M10 lands, which are currently in my list, so there’s a future upgrade to look forward to. The Scars lands all got to the $5 to $8 range during Standard, with Seachrome Coast hitting $20 as UW Delver dominated. Lands these days seem to settle in at a lower price, though. Maybe that’s power level, maybe it’s player interest, maybe it has to do with commonality. In any case, I’m aiming for around $3 each for these, but I’ll pay $5 if I have to.

Inventors’ Fair

This seems like a reasonable inclusion, especially if you’re trying to support some of the colorless mana cards from Oath of the Gatewatch. Lands that do things are great to include if you can find a slot for them, which will be the real trick for something so marginally okay.

All the Cards Fit to Cube

That’s it, I’m done. Comments, questions: you know what to do.

PROTRADER: Kaladesh Standard Set Review

Standard is the most popular format in competitive Magic, but it has never really been very popular. Maybe it’s better to say that it is the most ‘populous’ format. Either way, Standard has the de facto largest market share of Magic formats, and is the face of competitive Magic’s brand.

I have heard people complain about every Standard format for the last 12+ years- sometimes justified and other times not. As we take our first steps into the Masterpiece Era, it’s important to understand that Standard is going to be the primary factor for pricing on any new1 cards, as well as potentially creating a very distinct life cycle pattern. As we review Kaladesh from the perspective of a Standard player, we are going to simultaneously hit on a few key points in this new post-Masterpiece economy.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk: I want to go over the Gearhulks individually, because they are being broadcast early on as a pretty significant element in the set. This isn’t a flavor statement, since I’m not sure what their role is there, but as the latest cycle of “titans”, these fill a pretty big role as marquee single-color threats. Despite the longevity of Primeval Titan in other formats, which often overshadows his (?) siblings, its important to remember that all five of the M11 Titans saw action in Standard. The Gearhulks are not as pushed as the Titans as a whole, but they do represent an evolution of the cycle that is understated yet significant. The Titans were all 6/6s for 4CC, whereas the Gearhulks cost EITHER 3CC or 4CC (and each with unique P/Ts). Cataclysmic Gearhulk coming down on turn 5 is significant because it saves you an additional turn against opposing strategies that are trying to go wide with threats. Although this isn’t templated the same as Tragic Arrogance (your opponent can pick which of their cards stay), it’s still an extremely strong effect that comes with a very defensive 4/5 Vigilance. If Kaladesh Standard shakes out to rely heavily on board presence, it’s likely that this is one of the best of the cycle. I don’t think its coincidence that these are all five Masterpieces.

Tragically Arrogant Robot.
Tragically Arrogant Robot.

Torrential Gearhulk: Okay, so this is probably the worst of the cycle, at least early on. Because Torrential Gearhulk is unable to target sorceries, there are no enticing combinations currently in Standard (the only mythic Instant is Kozilek’s Return, a card that is actually WORSE OFF being cast off of Gearhulk rather than staying in the graveyard). As things currently stand, this is going to very often just re-buy a removal spell and serve as a clean, if underwhelming, tempo play. It’s possible that WotC is holding back on the big splashy options until Gearhulk is closer to rotation, or that it proved too risky and we see all of the game-changing spells as sorceries for the next year and a half. This is going to be objectively better in formats with more high-impact instants, but those formats simultaneously become less forgiving for six mana creatures.

Noxious Gearhulk: Like its white counterpart, Noxious Gearhulk is a card that I expect to be better in practice than on paper. In fact, the two represent the varying extremes of threat dimensions, Noxious serving as an answer to a single opposing creature, Cataclysmic excelling against several individually weak creatures. Given that one of the set’s main mechanics (Fabricate) allows players to decide in game how they want their board to develop, it’s possible that these two ultimately work fairly well together. Menace is huge, especially in environments where Noxious Gearhulk is already otherwise a playable card. This is the least impressive of the three so far (and probably of the whole set) outside of Standard, but I don’t know that any of these are going to get serious play anywhere else.

Shriekmaw Robot!
Shriekmaw Robot.

Combustible Gearhulk: Just like the blue one, this Gearhulk is better in a combo shell than a traditional midrange battlecruiser strategy. Fortunately, we have the cards to “enable” Combustible in Emrakul, Ulamog, and uh… Emrakul. It’s possible that you will cast this card and LITERALLY win the game. Once. I don’t know that this deck exists outside of the realm of theory, but unless we also get Congregate at Dawn, expect this deck to be… swingy, at best. A strategy that rewards you for playing a critical mass of expensive spells is going to naturally suffer in the early stages of the game, meaning the fast decks can go to town, let you draw 3, and then just attack around the Gearhulk and win, while the control strategies are given sufficient time to find an answer (or just counter your guy). The “best” Combustible Gearhulk deck will have to fundamentally restructure Magic deck-building and theory if it’s going to attain respectable ‘Tier 1’ status. I’ll buy in on this card when the Angels win the pennant.

Verdurous Gearhulk: Of the four ACTUAL Gearhulks, this one is likely the worst. That is not to say that this is a bad card. Verdurous Gearhulk has the most flexibility of any card in the cycle, ranging from a 3GG 8/8 Trampler (something that would have taken 1996 by storm), to a 3GG 4/4 that can change combat math in any manner of permutations. If there is a G/x strategy similar to the GW token decks of the recent past, it is very likely that some number of green Gearhulks find their way into the 75. This card is kept in the conversation by virtue of costing [5] and not [6].

Wears green, spreads it around, has a brother that makes it look bad- Aaron Rodgers Robot?
Wears green, spreads it around, has a brother that makes it look bad- Aaron Rodgers Robot?

GEARHULK BREAKDOWN: The white and black ones are good, and are probably worth snagging sometime soon if you plan on playing a lot of constructed Magic (despite the usual new set tax). The blue and red ones are not quite ready for prime time, and at $6 each have plenty of room to fall after underwhelming out of the gate. Verdurous Gearhulk is the most situational, but surprisingly the most expensive. I don’t see a clear Day 1 strategy that I like for Greenhulk, so I’ll pass until supply forces a price cut.

Fumigate: Remember when we talked about Languish and Planar Outburst a few weeks back? Essentially the sentiment was that Planar Outburst was set to be the best Wrath of God effect after the rotation of Languish short of a playable alternative in Kaladesh. Fumigate is most certainly playable. Although Fumigate is priced at [5], the life gain addition does a good job of partially recouping the life lost from waiting an additional turn. In token-heavy strategies (a phrase I have typed quite a bit so far), this is likely to get you “back” roughly a turn, especially as creature power trends closer to 1. I think this makes a very strong case for control decks to have access to white mana and becomes one of the marquee anti-aggro spells in the format. If threat density becomes an issue for UW/x, I could see some number of Planar Outbursts serving as extra copies of the effect, but I think there are enough ways to win otherwise. At $3, just buy them now if you plan to play them.

Fumigate could lead to a Silent Spring for aggro decks.
Fumigate could lead to a Silent Spring for aggro decks.

The Kaladesh Fast-Lands: Lumping these together because they are coming into an environment where I expect their play will be very uniform. We are losing the Apocalypse pain lands at a time where enemy-pair strategies are still very popular. I expect most decks just play 3-4 copies of these, most specifically WR (a pair that plays fewer lands on average, but needs lots of double colors) and BG (a slower pair traditionally, but the one with the two most mana-specific colors). Slower colors will max out on creature lands first, but I still think these will be fairly uniform 4x in Standard. The price fluctuations are likely just due to some being “better” in Modern than others.

Smuggler’s Copter: This is starting to get some love going into the Prerelease Weekend as possibly the “best” vehicle for constructed. Testing results are still anecdotal at best, and likely to skew towards linear aggro decks, which tend to overperform in the early stages of a format’s life cycle. I’m not as impressed as other people seem to be, but I also think I like Fleetwheel Cruiser more. Vehicles are definitely going to take a while to figure out, at least beyond the semi-obvious RW Vehicle aggro deck. The upside here is that if you can otherwise animate a vehicle (Ensoul Artifact is sometimes played in Modern Affinity), you still get the combat abilities. Cool, but possibly not good enough.

I'm less impressed than most of you.
I’m less impressed than most of you.

Scrapheap Scrounger: Possibly the best crew member for vehicles outside of RW. Unlike that reckless Wesley Crusher, who got his friends killed by attempting dangerous stunts. He should have been expelled from Starfleet Academy for his unbridled hubris.

Is there any surprise that I'm high on this card?
Is there any surprise that I’m high on this card?




Okay, we are firmly off the rails at this point. Come back next week for the rest of the set!



1Not including stuff like Conspiracy or Commander decks or whatever. You know what I mean.

Rares of Kaladesh

Didn’t we just do this? We just had a new set, right? It feels like this has been a lightning-speed summer, with set after set after set. We also have the news about the Masterpiece series, a set of chase reprints that will help hold down values, as people crack boxes to get these absolutely gorgeous foils.

I love what the Inventions offer, and I want to reiterate what this means for the rest of the set: lower prices. Battle for Zendikar had very few pricey cards, because the Expeditions were in such demand and lots of product got opened. We are going to see this at work as well in Kaladesh, pushing all the rest of the set downward financially. My picks today reflect that; I don’t see a lot of value in the gold symbols. We haven’t seen it all, but so far, I like some foils and I expect a lot of cheap cards.

Kaladesh has had two more spoiled mythics, so let’s jump into those before I discuss the rares that are worth it.

Combustible Gearhulk – Big and packing a giant zap, your opponent should never let you draw three. I’ve played Browbeat, and your opponent will always take the damage. I love that this combos with Eldrazi Displacer to make someone very sad, but since no one will ever let you draw three, this will be about $4 tops.

Dovin Baan – This into Fumigate is going to be the control deck’s dream for the next eighteen months. This card does everything that deck could desire, drawing and life and delaying. It’s going to see a lot of play, but I think that the Inventions keep this under $20, but above $15. He’s not going to see as much play as Gideon, Ally of Zendikar, and that’s a best-case scenario for a big-set planeswalker.

Now, the rares!

Panharmonicon – This is likely the best long-term hold in the set, but it is also the most reprintable. Wizards keeps finding ways to reprint stuff and I think that I’m going to pick up lots of these as they approach $1 for the regular, but this is going to have a big foil multiplier, I suspect between $5 and $10. No matter, as the foils are going to be an excellent way to retain value going forward.

Animation Module – As the rare of this cycle, it’s got the most potential, especially in foil, but that’s a lot of hoops to jump through. Barely above bulk.

Aetherflux Reservoir – What’s not to love? This is a fantastic way for lifegain decks to have a plan to win the game. It’s also instant-win to get played alongside Exquisite Blood, gaining 50 each time you deal 50. This is going to have a similar trajectory as Panharmonicon, with an impressive foil multiplier and a card I want to have many of when the set is done.

Metalwork Colossus – Nonartifact creatures means mana rocks. Plan accordingly, but keep in mind this lacks trample or anything like it. Likely a bulk rare.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation – Four mana is a lot, especially to not get the extra card for a whole turn, but I think the casual appeal will keep foils well above bulk rates.

Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter – I want the regular copies to keep their price, but that won’t happen. She will be about $1, with a foil that jumps dramatically, past $5. She’s amazing in all the Doubling Season decks.

Insidious Will – I love this card in Commander and Cube. I don’t think this is good enough for Standard, at least not more than one or two for decks, but I think this will be a pretty foil and be able to ask at least $2-$3.

Fumigate – I have looked high and low and I can’t find a wrath that could gain significant life. I t suspect that it’ll see a lot of Standard use, but I’m sort of excited about the foils too. I can easily see a board wipe gaining 10 or more life, with the potential to be really disgusting. Foils should end up about $3-$4.

PROTRADER: Champions of Kaladesh

Okay, so I’m going to say something that is going to sound a little extreme and “hot take”-sy, but hear me out, okay?

Kaladesh looks to me like another Kamigawa block.

This is not a slight. The Kamigawa block had a lot of issues, but the crux of a lot of them was that the block, from a development perspective, was extremely insular. Even though Spirits became a somewhat supported tribe1, things like Arcane, Samurai, and …Fox Offering (!) have yet to be seen again. Now, with regards to Standard, this does not mean that Kaladesh will not be able to have a robust impact- R&D has gotten MUCH better since CHK, so I trust them to take big swings on new blocks. This DOES mean that we are not likely to see Kaladesh mechanics have a wide impact on larger formats. What that means is going to be our focus for today, but I want to start with a couple crucial definitions that I just made up.

The Three Degrees of New Card Impact on Existing Cards/Decks:

The First Degree: Direct Support, or ‘More of a Thing’. The best example of what I’m talking about here is “tribes”. If you like to play Elves in Modern, then any new set featuring cards with elves on them is giving you new potential options. The other most common instance here is when WotC brings back an existing mechanic.

The Second Degree: Indirect Support, or ‘Similar/Related Things’. Okay, so think about Become Immense in Infect. Technically, Become Immense (or any other Giant Growth effect) is not an “Infect card”, but any new version of that type of effect is at least a consideration in Infect. This is where we are looking for related characteristics of effects, not literal uniformity. We get more second degree impact than first degree impact.

The Third Degree: Minimal Support, or ‘Standalone Things’. So this is where things get sketchy, just because most things at least interact with something. This is where we are going to plug in Energy (the new Kaladesh mechanic), because it is a fundamentally new form of resource management that has almost no relation to anything prior in Magic’s history2. Vehicles probably also fit in here, even though they are a new innovation on a long-existing card type. This is also where plane-specific tribes wind up, like the aforementioned foxes of Kamigawa, the Cephalid of Otaria, and the Gremlins of Kaladesh.

So I think that by just laying out those definitions I somewhat made the point about Kaladesh. I don’t expect Vehicles (and their associated mechanic ‘Crew’) or Energy to become evergreen staples in the Magic vocabulary, and they have little application in the world that they are entering into. The result, as it was in Kamigawa, will be that individually powerful cards will thrive outside of Standard only in instances that maximize their essential uniqueness (Gifts Ungiven, Kiki-Jiki, the Mirror Breaker). What’s nice for us on the finance side is that artifacts still play a major role on this plane, and cool and flavorful artifacts can have appeal in formats as disparate as Commander, Cube, and Vintage. Foils of Ceremonious Rejection, for example, could be very rewarding long-term holds in Vintage circles while simultaneously hitting both Tron and Eldrazi in Modern.

Good card is good.
Good card is good.

It’s possible that some cards involving Energy Counters could be playable in Commander, but expect them to be higher rarity and essentially standalone cards. Take, as a perfect (and potentially only) example, Aetherworks Marvel:

This doesn't take any work, which is all you want.
This doesn’t take any work, which is all you want.

Because this card is able to eventually produce the effect on its own, the Es essentially operate as better Charge Counters that don’t go away when the card is destroyed. If you are able to get it back into play again later (or make a copy), then it may actually start off ahead of schedule. The checklist here is going to break down as the following:

  • The card in question can make Energy counters on its own.
  • The card in question has a desirable effect independent of Energy Counters.
  • The card in question is unique enough to warrant play over existing options.

Aetherworks Marvel is probably best compared to Temporal Aperture, although it is able to function without any additional mana investment (although it is likely much slower). Because cards like Temporal Aperture are very few and far between, it’s likely that this is worth consideration, but be wary of something with much more mainstream comps.

I’m not going to do a “traditional” set review for Kaladesh, partially because of the reasons we outlined today, and partially because I think that WotC is printing enough product now that a card REALLY needs to be a hit in Standard to maintain a good mid-term value. So come back next week for my Standard-Centric Kaladesh Set Review, starting next week.

In the meantime, FOOTBALL IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!



1Although not really outside of UW, and that was only after Innistrad.

2I think you can technically proliferate Energy Counters, but let’s not be too nit-picky.