Kaladesh is a plane full of cool shiny stuff. One of the things I've been on the lookout for this weekend are cool stories based around the brand new cards. Unfortunately, hidden away from all light in a dark cave as we coverage writers are, it's not always easy to tear ourselves away from our keyboards to see what's going on in the shiny surface world.
Thankfully we have a great judging team and they've been feeding me the odd tidbit of a story every now and again. Here's a selection of some of the things that were brought to my desk over the weekend.
We knew the masterpieces would be impactful. We've had turn two Verdurous Gearhulks cast off Mana Vault, and Sol Rings powering out anything from Chandra and Skysovereign, Consul Flagship far earlier than is decent. I heard a few debates over which was more powerful—the Sol Ring-type cards or the Swords.
One of the players who benefited from the power of the Swords was level one judge Ruth Woodrow. On Day 1 she had a blast equipping Sword of Feast and Famine onto the most sought after ‘normal' rare from Kaladesh, Smuggler's Copter. She was down with a team from Murphy's Vault in Edinburgh and overall they had a pretty successful Saturday.
“We didn't open any masterpieces in the prereleases, or anything in the product we opened afterwards. I thought, it's okay, I'm going to open a sword at Grand Prix London and it's going to take me into Day 2.”
And she did just that, making her first ever GP Day 2 and she could barely contain her excitement.
It might not have been the intended purpose of the masterpieces, but it was still great to see.
While Kaladesh is all about the shiny and crazy steampunk gadgets, there are opportunities to play spoiler as well. With Booster Draft the options are there to go very low to the ground and smash an opponent to pieces before they even got a chance to do their cool stuff.
Mattia Rizzi showed us this with his first draft deck—a very fast black-red aggro deck he decided to go for after opening Key to the City. The deck reminded me of the superfast black-red deck one of the German teams caught everyone off guard with at the original Ravnica block draft Pro Tour back in Prague. This had a very low land count even for Kaladesh. In other draft formats sometimes you play 41 cards because 18 lands is too many and 17 lands is too few. The old 17 and a half.
Rizzi ran 14 and a half...
A strategy that actively seeks cards no-one else wants is pretty much guaranteed to come together. Who else wants those last pick Renegade Tactics after all?
But let's not talk about spoiling. This is a family-friendly fairground, full of nice things. Let's talk about some cool stuff instead.
Andrew Quinn got cool stuff. He came up to me after the second draft with a “You have to see this.”
These cards do very bad things together…
Infinite thopter combos in Limited, is that sufficiently cool… sufficiently Kaladeshi enough?
(Any combination of three Decoction Module and/or Panharmonicon will result in any creature generating 3 energy when it enters play… which is conveniently the exact price a Whirler Virtuoso needs to create a new thopter, which generates 3 energy when it comes into play…)
Quinn managed a nice 3-0 and a lot of fun with his blue-red deck, including generating infinite thopters in one game and smashing another opponent to bits with a 32/32 Electrostatic Pummeler out of nowhere.
Yes, I believe that is sufficiently Kaladeshi.
And finally, just what exactly is Pro Tour Kyoto 2009 Quarterfinalist Matteo Orsini Jones and friends doing here?
I feel there is some kind of conspiracy going on…