The Color Pairs of Kaladesh

Posted in How to Play Limited on October 4, 2016

By Kenji Egashira

Better known as NumotTheNummy, Kenji is a lover of all things Magic. A "legendary streamer," you can almost always find him playing Magic Online over at his Twitch channel. When he's not playing Magic, Kenji enjoys long walks on the beach, romantic comedies, and devouring the hopes and dreams of the innocent.

You've now had your chance to play the Prerelease and Release events for Kaladesh, but those are Sealed. Draft is a whole other beast, and when you sit down with those three Kaladesh packs for the first time, you might feel overloaded by all the possibilities your next 45 cards hold. I'm here to help you out.

Hello friends! Kenji here with an article to help you navigate the treacherous world of Draft and to point you in a good direction to start things off for Kaladesh. Let's jump right in and take a deep dive going over the basic color pairings for this new and wonderful set in Draft.


Want to go fast with Red-White Need for Speed? Looking to beat down with energy in Red-Green? Find a store near you and draft Kaladesh today.

Draft at a Store Near You


White-Blue: Bounce and Flicker

 
 

 
 

Flickering a permanent means to exile it and then immediately return it back to the battlefield. Bouncing is to return it back to your hand. These are your main staples of those mechanics. You can build a perfectly fine white-blue deck that doesn't utilize these cards, but they're definitely the pieces that allow this color combination to really shine. You'll notice that four of those cards are common and the last two uncommon, meaning you should not have a hard time getting at least a few of these if drafting this archetype. What are they good with? Let's take a look at some of the regular commons and uncommons that synergize with bounce and flicker.

Most frequently you'll be creating extra Servo or Thopter tokens, or perhaps giving +1/+1 counters, but often that's all the extra value you'll need when these creatures are already good by themselves. The dream is to bounce or flicker a Cloudblazer for extra cards and life, but this doesn't even take into consideration the fact that you can also blink and bounce all the creatures that produce energy to get even more value.

White-Black: Value

 

The white-black deck is more about value than anything else. The cards you'll be looking to draft have quite a bit of overlap with anyone else who is drafting either white or black. You do get access to a few interesting cards in this color pairing, such as Restoration Gearsmith, which fits right in theme of this deck: trying to get two-for-ones until you're able to out-value the opponent.

Red-White: Need for Speed

 
 

 
 
 

As the name implies, red-white is poised for speed. While any creature can crew a Vehicle, it is the white and red creatures that truly flourish with them. I've listed the Vehicles that I believe to be the most powerful commons and uncommons, along with a few creatures that really excel when they crew those Vehicles. Don't take Spireside Infiltrator for granted; its well-positioned power and toughness to cost ratio already makes it a decent threat. The fact that it pings each opponent for 1 when tapped (perhaps to crew a Vehicle) means it will be a strong creature to have in this archetype.

Green-White: Fabricate

 
 

Fabricate is an extremely powerful ability that allows creatures such versatility. In the white-green deck, you're looking to leverage the different avenues of fabricate, whether that be putting +1/+1 counters on your creatures or producing Servo tokens. There are a multitude of powerful commons that get this job done, and there are even more powerful uncommons that can really abuse the fabricate creatures once on the battlefield. This deck has the capability of going wide with a bunch of creatures, perhaps finishing things off with the devastating Engineered Might, or creating a few creatures that are very large, such as Fairgrounds Trumpeter. I imagine this will be one of the stronger Draft archetypes, and that isn't a fabrication.

Blue-Black: Artifacts

 

 
 

Looking to build upon their already decent abilities, the cards in the blue-black deck truly shine when their owners have access to artifacts. While none of the blue creatures have fabricate to help this matter, black has access to plenty of ways to produce artifacts—and that's not even counting the large number of colorless artifacts that can be found in the set. As mentioned above, you don't need to have an artifact to make this deck work, it just happens to enhance their abilities. To the surprise of some, the Blue-Black Artifact deck can be fairly aggressive.

Blue-Red: Aggro Energy

 
 

 
 

One of my favorite decks to draft in Kaladesh is Blue-Red Aggro Energy. This is an extremely aggressive archetype that can spiral out of control with energy counters. Many of the core pieces, such as Janjeet Sentry, Thriving Grubs, and Spontaneous Artist, are all common, and you should be able to pick up multiples in drafts. Oftentimes you'll be able to play multiple creatures and give them haste in the same turn to surprise your opponent. While predominantly an aggressive strategy, you can certainly build a more controlling energy deck that aims to dominate the board position until you're able to finish the opponent off.

Green-Blue: Big Energy

 

 
 

Unlike the blue-red energy archetype, green-blue looks to stabilize in the late game while building up energy early. Once it has secured board position, the "energy matters" creatures such as Hightide Hermit and Riparian Tiger can quickly end the game with the stockpiled energy.

Black-Red: Artifact Aggro

 

 

Another excellent archetype to draft in Kaladesh is Black-Red Artifact Aggro. This deck plays cheap creatures that frequently benefit from having an artifact on the battlefield. Its cheap creatures combined with its potent removal spells leave this deck well positioned versus many of the slower archetypes this format can lead to. Many of the artifacts that this deck utilizes are not creatures, and if you're able to pick up some Vehicles as well, you're going to be left in a great position.

Black-Green: Counters

 

 
 

The black-green deck focuses primarily on +1/+1 counters. While most of the core pieces listed are uncommon, there are plenty of powerful commons that are useful to this deck as well. As you can probably see, there is a ton of overlap between the black-green and the green-white archetypes. Both of these decks often focus on creating a single large creature to end the game. As with all Draft formats, you will find overlap in cards; the key is to leverage the quality and synergy of color pairs such as black-green.

Red-Green: Aggro Energy

 

My vote for fastest aggro deck in the format is Red-Green Aggro Energy. Many of the creatures in the red-green archetype start off small, but once they start attacking they outgrow everything. The key to this deck is using your energy properly. There will certainly be games where you won't know what to do because you have so much energy, but it's in the games where you must decide to allocate your shortage of energy that will matter. Because most of your important creatures use energy in some fashion, it's that much more important to decide how to use it when you do. It's an awesome archetype to try out in any case.

This has been your deep dive into the Draft archetypes from Kaladesh! Remember, this is just a look at the initial color pairings and the important commons and uncommons you can expect to see in each. Of course there are powerful rares that fit perfectly into these archetypes, but I've purposefully omitted them from this article because it will almost always be the commons and uncommons that make up the bulk of your Draft decks. I've also opted to leave out Vehicles from many of the lists, because they fit so well into most of them that it wasn't necessary to point them out in every color pair (save for red-white, where they are especially good). Hopefully you've enjoyed this article and can put it to use the next time you go out and draft this format. If perhaps you're looking to watch a draft of this live, you can always catch me streaming over at twitch.tv/numotthenummy.

Until next time,

—Kenji


Want to go fast with Red-White Need for Speed? Looking to beat down with energy in Red-Green? Find a store near you and draft Kaladesh today.

Draft at a Store Near You


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