(Credit to Noah Bradley for that awesome art!)
While a Magic set release is always exciting, it’s typically not as big a deal for me as it is for those who play Standard. For Kaladesh specifically, I’m excited for the new fastlands (especially the Blue-Red one!) and what they mean for Modern, as well as a couple of other cards here and there. But nothing else from the set is going to shake up my Commander or Modern decks.
However, now that I’m playing Standard Pauper, I can join the ranks of people who get excited for/despondent about rotation, and start considering how rotation will affect what I play!
Currently, I’m playing a really awesome Blue-Red Spells deck, but I don’t think that deck can survive rotation. The deck loses Fiery Impulse, which could get replaced by Chandra’s Pyrohelix without too much trouble, but more importantly it loses two of its best creatures. (Goodbye friends from Dragons of Tarkir!)
Zephyr Scribe‘s looting ability is essential to making the deck hum, and there’s not any sort of replacement for him. Ingenious Skaab could probably take Elusive Spellfist‘s spot, but it lacks the unblockability that allows Spellfist to break through board stalls.
Frankly, the deck just gets much worse, and there’s nothing coming in Kaladesh to replace these wonderful monks.
So what’s a guy to play? Glad you asked. Here are five of the individual cards I’m looking to build around as Kaladesh enters the Standard Pauper arena:
Prophetic Prism: This card might single-handedly make a three or even four color deck viable in the format. It’s a great mana fixer that, when used in combination with Holdout Settlement and Evolving Wilds, will mean that a control deck can play the absolute best removal and card advantage spells, no matter what color they’re in.
Spontaneous Mutation/Clutch of Currents: Including both of these cards here is kind of a cheat, but they serve the same purpose, which is cheaply removing a creature from the battlefield. I see these as another part of the control deck I mentioned above, or, in Mutation’s case, as a potential build-around in its own right (as part of a more graveyard-dependent deck). These spells are a couple of the most efficient removal spells in the format, making them a good starting point for a deck.
Pulse of Murasa: Pulse is just a super cool card, and one of the more powerful commons in the Battle for Zendikar block. Six life is a lot in a format of all Commons, and returning your best creature or a used Evolving Wilds from the graveyard is great. This is a great inclusion in any sort of midrange or control deck.
Reckless Fireweaver: Creatures whose ability starts with the word “Whenever” are usually pretty powerful, and I also just love them. While Blue-Red Spells seems like it’s a no go, maybe Red-X artifacts could take its place? It seems like a longshot currently, but there might be enough Fabricate and Investigate in the format to make it work…
Self-Assembler: I love this card. I love the flavor; I love the mini-Squadron Hawk ability. I love how the first assembler seems to be considering what it’s doing as it builds its brother/sister. I also think the card is good enough for Standard Pauper. A 4/4 body is pretty big, and guaranteeing that you’ll add another 4/4 body to the board the next turn is pretty good. I could see this alongside Eldrazi Skyspawner, so that you can ramp from three mana to five and just start slamming down beaters.
I’ve grown pretty attached to my Blue-Red Spells deck, so I’m going to be pretty sad when those Ojutai Monks head off into the Standard sunset on September 30th. But I’m hoping that the ability to play Thermo-Alchemist will come back around before he rotates, and in the meantime, there are a bunch of other sweet commons to try out, in a format where brewing is cheap and the card pool is deeper than it seems. I know that I’ll be placing an order for some new commons right after Kaladesh makes the scene.
I’ll be back next week with another Commander deck tech, this one focused on the first Commander that really caught my eye. Until then, may you find interesting things to do with Kaladesh cards, and good luck at the Prerelease this weekend!