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September 6, 2016

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Kaladesh: New Cards And Abilities For Commander

Welcome back all! This week in ‘Musing’s of a Madman’ we will be taking a quick look at some new abilities and cards from Kaladesh and their impact on Commander.

As we head forward in the work week we have new, shiny, energy-producing baubles to admire. Kaladesh, in full steampunk glory, will be here in a matter of weeks and will no doubt spell huge relief to those who are tired of the tentacle-driven apocalypse of Emrakul’s return.

To begin, Kaladesh itself borrows from the steampunk genre, from Indian appellations, and from previous sets as well with the Gatewatch’s omnipresent help arriving on Chandra’s home plane. We know the new Chandra will be called Chandra, Torch of Defiance and she’s been recently spoiled at PAX. We also know a few new mechanics, and we’ll be examining them through some neat preview cards, as well as an artifact that might see some Commander play…

Before we get to all those goodies though, a welcome cycle of lands (the fastlands, requiring two or less other lands to enter untapped) is being completed. For those in need of reminders, Razorverge Thicket is the basis and here’s the BIG one, which will be sliding into my Glissa, the Traitor deck swiftly:

Blooming Marsh
Blooming Marsh

Also making a reappearance is an old favourite, Chandra Nalaar. We met her parents, Pia and Kiran Nalaar, in Magic Origins, and Chandra has seen play in a few formats but has been begging to be pushed to the next level. That next level has arrived:

Chandra, Torch of Defiance
Chandra Torch of Defiance

Three relevant abilities including one ability that speeds up your play, one ability that gives you dual-purpose action in clearing your top card and using it or choosing to deal damage, and lastly, the ultimate ability can end the game in a turn or two. I’ll be looking at the new Chandra a bit more in the next weeks, for now we need to look at creating things.

Create, the mechanic, replaces the clunky “put an X/X token onto the battlefield” with a keyword. It’s that simple. Now, up the scale from Create we have Fabricate, which gives you all sorts of sweet options in limited play, and perhaps even constructed play too. Simply put, a creature with Fabricate either puts a +1/+1 counter on itself or creates a 1/1 colourless Servo artifact creature token. More blockers or more finish, the choice is yours!

Artifacts are central to the plane of Kaladesh, so Vehicles will drive your play for some while. Simply put, they are creatures in a dormant state. If you tap a creature (or creatures) with enough power, they activate vehicles which can attack and engage in combat. Needless to say that Deadeye Navigator and this little puppy will cause many an opponent to grit their teeth:

Skysovereign, Consul Flagship
SkySovereign Consul Flagship

Skysovereign blows up stuff entering the battlefield, while Deadeye Navigator has more than enough power to drive it and to blink it, or himself, to cause more havoc. Even without those shenanigans, it’s reminiscent of Flametongue Kavu or even the more casual Predator, Flagship of yore.

Kaladesh‘s fun levels look to be unprecedented and I’m sure we’ll see our last card at many a table. The question is, how many creatures do you need to “break” it?

Panharmonicon
Panharmonicon

Until next week, may you never see the above artifact used in conjunction with Terastodon or blink shenanigans.