Madcap Modules

Posted in Card Preview on September 6, 2016

By Meghan Wolff

Meghan is one half of the podcast Magic the Amateuring and an adjunct professor at Tolarian Community College. She loves Limited, likes Modern, and dips her toes into each Standard season. She's decidedly blue and is the #1 hater of Siege Rhino in the Multiverse.

An old adage tells us that necessity is the mother of invention. I doubt, however, that they have a similar saying on Kaladesh, because such audaciously elaborate creations aren't born from necessity, but from the sheer joy of discovery and creation.

The inventors of Kaladesh revel in their mechanical marvels and the combination of creativity, ingenuity, and recklessness that leads to their production. Few cards could better illustrate this than Madcap Experiment.

I'd like to say that experimentation, like life, is a balance between planning and adventure, between fear and fearlessness, between reasonable precaution and risk.

I'd like to say all that, but this card is red, so for today experimentation is about attacking a problem with gusto and without a care in the world for consequences. It's about a cut once, never measure approach to project management.

In the right deck, a Madcap Experiment is more powerful than basic card draw, and it's always more slapdash than a straightforward tutor and more reckless than any other color out there. Red's approach to finding you the artifacts you need is most like throwing a handful of darts at the drawing board and coming back with something useful, if a little random. You'll get results from your Madcap Experiment, but it's impossible to say what those results might be until the dust settles and your freshly minted artifact hits the battlefield.

While Madcap Experiment throws all caution to the wind in pursuit of results, you'll likely want to strike a better balance when building a deck around it. Kaladesh will offer a world's worth of marvelous, intricate, and deadly artifacts, and it's your choice as to how much you want to temper power with reason and mitigate risk with safeguards.

When building with Madcap Experiment, you'll have to strike a balance between making sure that your efforts yield only the most impactful and interesting results, and killing yourself to make it happen. Your deck might contain a bare minimum of artifacts, and count on the power of those artifacts to carry you through despite the hit to your life total.

Or perhaps you're assembling pieces of a delicate and elaborate puzzle, each one valuable in its own right, so that every outcome is good, no matter the specifics. With plentiful enough options on Kaladesh, your deck could be packed to the brim with artifacts to Madcap Experiment into.

Either way, be careful, because experiments are always a calculated risk—calculation optional.

But what kinds of experiments (madcap or otherwise) will you be able to conduct on Kaladesh, and what benefits will they reap?

I usually prefer to show off new cards one at a time, allowing each their moment in the spotlight. In the case of these three cards, however, they shine brightest when they're together, both here and on the battlefield.

Animation ModuleDecoction ModuleFabrication Module

I told you I didn't think Kaladesh would agree that "necessity is the mother of invention," and I think we've landed on their alternative. Just as Animation Module, Decoction Module, and Fabrication Module form a loop, so do their favor texts.

"Design leads to progress. Progress leads to inspiration. Inspiration leads to design."

It's altogether bolder and more inspiring than our drab adherence to necessity.

It would be ineffective, inelegant, and entirely un-Kaladesh for the cycle of design, progress, and inspiration to grind to a halt if just one piece goes missing. So while assembling all three modules provides exponential value, each one can power itself and create a miniature cycle of growth and gain.

Animation Module

Design leads to progress, and in the case of Animation Module, you'll be doubling up on progressing your board state every time you put a +1/+1 counter on a permanent you control. Using Animation Module, you can go both big and wide with your creatures.

Animation Module, like a cog in a great wheel, fits perfectly with both fabricate and with energy counters.

With Animation Module in play, making a choice when you cast a creature with fabricate is hardly a choice at all. For a single extra mana, you can have your counters and a Servo token too. Later in the game, a creature with a +1/+1 counter on it from fabricate can provide a target for Animation Module's second ability, which conveniently creates an opportunity to use its first ability again.

In the late game, Animation Module is a place to spend mana, whether you're fending off a big attack from an opponent with one beefy blocker, building up a swarm of creatures to overwhelm your opponent's defenses and relieve them of their remaining life total, or increasing your store of energy counters for powerful late-game outlets.

Decoction Module

Progress leads to inspiration, and on Kaladesh you'll see your inspiration manifesting itself in the form of energy counters. What you later transform this inspiration into is up to you, though with Animation and Fabrication Modules in play, you can always channel your energy into both +1/+1 counters and Servos.

Decoction Module's second ability creates value in conjunction with its first, but having a way to bounce a creature you control at will is powerful in its own right. Whether you're preventing an opponent from killing your best creature or bouncing and recasting cards with enters-the-battlefield effects—like, say, fabricate—the opportunity to return a creature to your hand and recast it multiple time offers potent flexibility.

Fabrication Module

Inspiration leads to design, and with Fabrication Module you can craft increasingly impressive creatures while simultaneously powering your next set of brilliant inventions. Fabrication Module takes energy counters, a resource that you already want, and adds value. It's also another key component in the great interconnected cog work of animation, decoction, and fabrication.

Like Animation and Decoction Module, Fabrication Module doesn't need any other modules in play to be an effective cog in production. Because energy counters don't disappear until they're used, Fabrication Module helps assemble a storage bank of potential energy, and as long as you have a creature in play, you also get the added benefit of giving your creatures a boost.

If ever you're skillful or lucky enough to have Animation, Decoction, and Fabrication Module in play—perhaps after performing a Madcap Experiment—you've created a marvelous machine that churns out Servo tokens, +1/+1 counters, and energy counters at a rate only limited by the amount of mana you have available. They're the M.C. Escher stairs of Magic.

I hope that these new artifacts provide inspiration for intriguing new deck designs. Stay tuned for more previews here at DailyMTG and around the web to see all the great inventions Kaladesh has to offer!

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