The Mechanics of Kaladesh
Kaladesh brings us a few new mechanics, and I figured this would be a good time to share my opinions on them.
For starters, those that haven’t seen what the new mechanics are like should go read the article. I’m assuming that anybody reading this has a basic understanding of them.
I really like the flavor of vehicles, I am just hesitant to really try them out. My gut tells me that you will run into the same problem with them as you do with equipment, and for the most part equipment is not playable in constructed. It’s too easy to lose a ton of resources and tempo when you spend a turn casting it, then a turn equipping it, and your opponent responds by spending a small amount of mana to kill your guy. I expect vehicles to run into the same problem, in that your opponent can either use artifact removal after you’ve crewed it to force you to lose tempo, or if they can keep your creatures off of the battlefield. I almost wonder just how many Matter Reshapers we’ll see crewing vehicles? Or other Eldrazi, as you can have scions crew up a vehicle and then utilize them for mana towards something else. Strange how these horrific things are some of the best pilots around….
But what about pilots? I imagine that most pilots will not be worth it, and the only exception is probably Depala. The reason for that is simply because you don’t need a vehicle to make it so you can start digging, though it’s yet to be seen if there are other worthwhile dwarves to benefit from the lord effect.
Tokens also seem like they would make great crews, so long as your able to get them consistently. Gideon, Ally of Zendikar can keep a steady influx of new crew coming for certain vehicles, and then you can simply add your other knight allies to the attack.
Energy is another mechanic that I love the flavor of, but has the potential to be a big miss in constructed play. Sometimes you need energy for a spell to be any good. Other times you’re paying an inflated price for a spell just to get some energy tacked on. The obvious problem here is if you get them in the wrong order, you have some very lackluster spells that don’t become good until a bit later in the game then you may want them. Then there are some others that scale with the amount of energy you use, which sometimes will be fine (2 mana for 2 energy and killing an x/1 is fine), but other times will be horrid (when said same spell cannot kill Thought-Knot Seer without that energy generating spell that got exiled by it).
The best energy cards I think will be ones that not only generate a consistent stream of energy, but also give you a powerful effect. There are a few cards we’ve seen so far that are fairly easy to get energy out of. Plus Marvel will maybe be reminiscent enough of Collected Company to get some players to love it, and others to hate it.
There are also a host of creatures that come with energy attached, and a decent way to utilize it if you don’t have something better. While Brawler is likely the best of these (at least that we’ve seen), there are others that may be constructed playable just in the “thriving” cycle of creatures (grubs mainly). Many of these creatures will certainly be great in limited
I don’t want to touch on the sadness that they couldn’t include a number and then the energy symbol, especially for things that are 6 or 8 energy to activate. Would have made for a much quicker read for people who are unfamiliar with the cards, rather than having to look at it and count, possibly multiple times in a game (I see this being more of a problem in limited).
Fabricate is the easiest mechanic here to evaluate, much like Unleashed back in the day. The easiest way to look at it is: would you play this creature if you took the +1/+1 counters? There are certainly some advantages to taking the extra creature, such as any time you want the extra bodies as additional blockers or if you can benefit from them (such as with global pump effects or effects like Overrun). Many of the ones that I’ve seen so far are simply decent rates for a creature, such as with the counter getting a 3/3 for 3 mana. They are fine for limited, but I don’t see many breaking into constructed play. Take that with a grain of salt, however, as so far we’ve only seen 3 cards with this mechanic.