Kaladesh rolls into Modern

Posted in Event Coverage on November 5, 2016

By Corbin Hosler

Kaladesh has been revving up Standard, rolling out last month and taking over the format by storm as its array of vehicles transformed the Eldrazi-dominated Standard of Eldritch Moon into a bright new world dominated by copters and cruisers.

Now, Kaladesh rolls into Modern.

The biggest addition by far has been the fast lands — Blooming Marsh, Concealed Courtyard, Botanical Sanctum, Spirebluff Canal and Inspiring Vantage. Give decks across the format access to the rest of a cycle that has been influential throughout the format's history, several decks got major shots in the arm with the new lands.

It's a long list of decks that make use of the new lands, but it's one that includes major archetypes including White-Black Eldrazi Taxes, Grixis Delver (and control), Blue-Red Prowess, Abzan and more.

At the top of that list is Lantern Control, which benefits not only from Blooming Marsh, a key black-green land that doesn't cost life to use, but also reaps the benefit of Inventors' Fair. Between saving life thanks to Blooming Marsh over Llanowar Wastes and gaining life with the fair — on top of its ability to tap for colorless mana to fuel Sea Gate Wreckage and sacrifice to find a key piece of the lock — Lantern Control is on the rise in Modern once again, a fact reflected by the handful of pros who brought the deck to bear in Modern. Even Glint-Nest Crane has made appearances in the deck.

One of the scariest turn one plays in Modern is Glistener Elf. Infect has been a powerhouse since the format's inception, and it has only improved in recent months. The most-hyped additions from Kaladesh is Blossoming Defense, and the one-mana instant has taken Infect to the next level. With Vines of Vastwood also in the deck, Infect now has eight ways to protect its creatures for only a single mana, and both cards have upside of their own pump the creature for lethal damage. It's a monster addition that has solidified Infect's position in the top tier of Modern.

Of course, all of these may pale in comparison to what may be Kaladesh's most influential card: the unassuming common Cathartic Reunion.

Reunion has taken Dredge from a sometimes-contender to possibly the format's best deck. Frank Skarren, who started off the tournament 5-0 with Dredge, called it the boogeyman of Modern. Cathartic Reunion takes an already explosive deck and provides it with unmatched consistency — which in Dredge equals power. Clearing away dredgers or Prized Amalgams from hand while providing a series of draw steps to use those dredges to mill things into the graveyard from the library — bringing back Bloodghasts, Narcomoebas and Prized Amalgams in the process — Dredge can create an explosive board state as early as the second turn.

“Reunion is good, it's almost not real,” Skarren explained. “Any hand with it has the ability to mill so many cards it's so hard to not do something explosive. They could not have printed a better card for Dredge than Reunion, it just does everything.”

There is no doubt that Kaladesh has left its mark on Modern, one that will be felt for years to come. The only question remaining is: will any of these additions help a hopeful rise to the top in Dallas?

We'll find out soon enough.

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