When a new set comes out, I like to take a look at the cards and mention cards that I think get better in multiplayer formats — cards that get an advantage with multiple opponents or are just better in environments where games are more likely to go long. Kaladesh offers plenty of those goodies.
After saying that I wanted to talk about the multiplayer stars, I'm going to start with a card I suspect will see play early, then fade away. I want Gonti, Lord of Luxury to be good, but without a way to flicker him, I just don't think he does enough. Gonti, Lord of Luxury gives you a card to cast from an opponent's deck, and you can choose an opponent most likely to give you a card you want. You can choose an opponent with Courser of Kruphix already on the battlefield so you know at least one of the cards you might get. That is an advantage for multiplayer, but I think Gonti, Lord of Luxury will need more help than he's worth.
Lots of white decks run Soul Warden or some other creature that gains life when creatures enter the battlefield. It tends to be a card that no one wants to waste removal on, but eventually someone does, or your tiny creature is the victim of some kind of mass removal spell like Fumigate. Authority of the Consuls takes Soul Warden's weakness and eliminates it — instead of being vulnerable to removal, it just sits there forever. If players were unwilling to spend a card to get rid of Soul Warden, are the really going to get rid of Authority of the Consuls with a precious removal spell that can target permanents other than creatures?
As an added bonus, defense planning gets a lot easier. No more haste creatures showing up and wrecking your carefully-laid plans. And for all this, you are paying only one mana? Expect to see Authority of the Consuls show up as a replacement for Soul Warden and its ilk.
I'm happy with a mass removal card for five mana. Now I get a life for every creature destroyed? The bonus from Fumigate can give 10-15 life easy, and that's assuming no one's running a token deck with 50 creatures waiting to pounce.
I hesitate to say this is a dud; a flying leviathan is awesome! A 6/6 flying creature for seven mana is pretty solid. I'm just not sure if the ability makes sense. Paying eight energy counters bounces all other creatures to their owners' hands, leaving Aethersquall Ancient open to attack anyone.
But doesn't a flying 6/6 creature already attack anyone? It has evasion and is just huge. Rather than the ability it has, something more relevant would have been nice.
As far as the ability itself, it works slowly. You are going to have to play it and keep it out for three upkeeps before you have the energy counters to use the ability. When you consider how long it will take you to get Aethersquall Ancient onto the battlefield to begin with, waiting three more turns is just too much.
Aethersquall Ancient is going to fit into decks that want leviathans and decks that use energy counters, but that's about it.
Every Talrand, Sky Summoner player is salivating over this card right now, and it is pretty obvious why. However, I see the real all-star potential of Metallurgic Summonings with the other commanders who care about sorceries and instants. Mizzix, Dralnu, Noyan Dar, and friends can now run decks that have even more sorceries and instants since Metallurgic Summonings gives you so many more creatures. These decks already haunted my nightmares, and this is not going to make things better.
So the choice is to give an opponent three cards or take damage. How much damage? When 40% of your cards are land, and if you assume your average spell costs 3.5 mana, you are looking to take, on average, seven damage. So do you take seven damage or let your opponent draw three cards?
Cards like this are generally poo-pooed since it leaves the choice of what happens to your opponent, who can be counted on to make the choice you don't want. This only changes when the game circumstances force a choice. If an opponent can't risk the possible damage, you are going to get the three cards. This kind of ability is generally not enough according to most pundits. Add in that there will be times when the damage is just two or three, and Combustible Gearhulk's ability doesn't seem so great.
However, those guys are looking at games with only one opponent. I love cards that let you pick an "opponent." There are plenty of times when you have an opponent who is happy to work with you, and will give you the cards. When you look at times when you have a friendly opponent and times when the opponent you are targeting can't risk taking the damage, and there will be plenty of times when you are going to get to draw three cards.
Even when you don't get to draw the cards, seeing three more cards in your graveyard is often not a bad thing. Recursion and delirium are just two reasons to stock up your graveyard a bit.
When you add in the fact that you are getting a 6/6 first strike creature, you can really afford to treat the card draw as a bonus. This "fixed" titan is a solid card for most of your decks.
I looked at cards that focused on noncreature spells as non-starters. My metagame was mostly creature decks slamming against each other with the occasional spell hitting the battlefield. At least that's what I believed. Then Jesse picked Ruric Thar, the Unbowed as a commander. It was during those first games with Ruric Thar out that I realized just how badly I had misjudged my metagame. I suspect your metagame has more noncreature spells than you realize as well.
While Ruric Thar, the Unbowed just stops you from casting noncreature spells since it is serious damage, with Kambal, Consul of Allocation, opponents will still play their spells and pay the tax. I expect to gain 10-20 life with Kambal, Consul of Allocation every game before an opponent gets sick of it. This means that I expect him to cost his opponents that much life.
I can see Kambal, Consul of Allocation fitting nicely into plenty of Orzhov decks, particularly ones that love to take advantage of extort. I have a personal love of these decks that kill with a thousand small cuts. I can't wait to add Kambal, Consul of Allocation to the mix and speed up the time it takes for these decks to pull out the wins!
It is rare to find a common in any set that makes you sit up and take notice for multiplayer games, but Reckless Fireweaver is impressive. It goes off for every artifact that enters the battlefield, not just yours. Between mana rocks and the occasional artifact, this card can do a lot of work for minimal investment. With recursive artifact loops, it wouldn't take much effort to pile up damage with Reckless Fireweaver. Artifacts that bring other artifacts onto the battlefield with them are great value with Reckless Fireweaver. Myr Battlesphere is an easy five extra damage.
Twitter had a different creature in mind:
@manaburned Tireless Tracker would be a cheap way to do it since Clue tokens are artifacts. Each Landfall gives you burn 1.— Michael Alber (@DarthMalber) September 14, 2016
My hype for this card does have limits. Pyrohemia does a better job than Reckless Fireweaver, hitting creatures as well, and for only one mana per round of damage. Reckless Fireweaver is going to show up in Daretti and every other artifact-themed deck with red mana. I plan to run it as a four-of with Tireless Tracker, Myr Battlesphere, and a ton of mana ramp! As long as you are running an artifact-heavy red deck, Reckless Fireweaver fits without any effort and does a great job!
Kaladesh has these great cards and many more that will be as much fun in Commander games as they are in one on one. I can't wait to get my hands on some Kaladesh and start loading my decks with these cards!