Kaladesh!!! The set is fully spoiled and while the prerelease is still a few days away, that doesn't stop us from exploring the wonderful inventions of Kaladesh. This set is very interesting with a lot of unique stuff going on which should lead to a rather exciting limited environment as well as Standard format. That said, Kaladesh is technically an artifact based set, so you would also expect it to make waves in Modern and maybe even Legacy/Vintage.
The last few artifact blocks, both centered around Mirrodin, did just this. Scars of Mirrodin block gave us cards like Mox Opal, Batterskull, and Wurmcoil Engine while the original Mirrodin has its fingerprints everywhere. In fact, original Mirrodin might impact old formats more than any individual set since 4th edition (or maybe ever).In that tradition, we can hope to find something spicy along the streets of Kaladesh.
In particular, I have found myself drawn to a certain artifact-based strategy in Modern that could easily be gaining some new tools. Today, I wanted to explore Kaladesh looking for cards that might work in Modern Eggs lists. For our purposes, I will be focusing on Krark-Clan Ironworks versions of the deck as that is my preference, but I will note if a card works elsewhere.
Because Kaladesh is not out yet, neither in paper nor online, testing with these cards is going to come a little later, but combing the set in search of new toys is an important step to take anyway. We learn more about our deck in this manner than you might expect. So with that, let's throw up my latest KCI Eggs list so people can have an idea of what we are working with with.
I won't get into too much detail as most are familiar with the deck, but the quick tldr goes something like this:
We don't need to name many specific cards in that list because the actual concept is rather flexible. Yes, KCI is pretty essential as it is unique in what it does. The same thing holds true for Faith's Reward and Open the Vaults, although it is easier to find replacements there. But as for all of the mana and baubles that make up the majority of the deck, we simply want the best cards for the job and some of those could be found in Kaladesh. So let's start looking for them!!!
While I think this is too expensive, I wanted to note it here as this is the kind of card we can look to do stuff with. Retract does this for a single blue mana, but does not come with built in card advantage. We could, theoretically use a card like this to draw a bunch of cards while avoiding the likes of Stony Silence or Rest in Peace.
Because of this, I like the idea of maybe having this in the sideboard (or in low numbers in the main), to maybe give us some diversity in how we go off. This is worse than Faith's Reward and Open the Vaults as it doesn't synergize with KCI, but has a very different set of strengths and weaknesses, so consider it.
This is essentially a mass Regrowth that works because of the amount of mana KCI generates. If you have KCI out though, you probably don't need this over any of our other enablers like Faith's Reward/ Factor in that this would be our first green card and I am off it.
Three mana for the initial body is kind of lame, but this does give you triggers without any further mana investment. When we start going off, we tend to stockpile extra lands and other dead cards in our hand which this could filter. I think that at one or two mana we could take this more serious, but resolving a 3 cost 3/2 and having it live in Modern is asking quite a lot.
Again, likely too expensive and Buried Ruin already gives us this effect without costing us a card slot. That said, this card seems remarkable in terms of rate and any slower artifact based deck can probably use this to great effect. I ran Trash for Treasure at my first every Grand Prix and while it is a mana cheaper, it asks you to sacrifice an artifact which is a big cost. We would probably only use it to rebuy KCI in our current list, but maybe by the end of these new cards, we will have another use here.
Theoretically this acts as a new win condition for us as we have artifacts coming in and out nonstop. This issue, of course, is that this would be our first target for removal, it doesn't get rebought by Open the Vaults, and we have no way to tutor it up, making it pretty much strictly worse than Banefire for our purposes.
Obviously this is sideboard material only, but it is pretty remarkable for our purposes. Essentially every artifact or enchantment that our deck is going to care about is going to cost 4 or less. So we need to weigh the one-mana cost that this has versus its loss of instant-speed. That is a reasonable tradeoff and isn't clear which side we want when comparing to Disenchant, for example.
Being an instant means you can walk the opponent into a false sense of confidence as they pass the turn with their Stony Silence or Rest in Peace up and you EOT Disenchant only to combo off on your turn. But, Disenchant costs 2 which means if you want to take our Stony Silence, you need two mana up that does not include Mox Opal, Lotus Bloom, or Darksteel Citadel as none of those cards are going to work. Fragmentize asks only for one mana, which is easier in this regard.
But while we discuss mana, take a look at our deck. If Mox Opal and all of our Stars and Spheres are off the table, we realistically only have seven sources of white mana. Only Plains, Adarkar Wastes, and Ghost Quarter can get us white, which is exactly why we have run Kiora's Dismissal, upping our non-artifact sources that can cast it to 10.
Of course, Kiora's Dismissal is not really helping us against Affinity or other common artifacts though, so Fragmentize teases us with versatility. Ultimately, I need to test this card, but I suspect that it will end up making the sideboard as one or two copies and the mana base might be reworked in the process to prepare us with more white sources.
Primarily a sideboard option, but a really interesting one. First of all, this passes the Bolt test, which is crucial in Modern for our purposes (again, because we have no other creatures and therefore no Lightning Rods). The important function of this card is to be a defensive guard against aggro, even providing lifelink, while also enabling our deck and acting almost like a tutor of sorts.
Two-thirds of our deck are cheap artifacts, many of which draw a card. If I play an Ichor Wellspring with Kingpin out, that scry is absolutely huge. I am holding off aggressive creatures, gaining life, and finding out combo pieces all at the same time and only for two mana!
This does ask for a black mana, which means we need to filter into it or change our mana base, but that is a possibility anyway. A very exciting option to consider going forward.
While I don't actually know if this does anything, it does a lot of things and is therefore worth looking into. We can cast this thing for free in many game states but certainly once we have begun comboing. It also provides us with another sacrifice outlet while in the graveyard to ditch our Ichor Wellsprings and extra Mox Opals. That said, I don't know how this ends up in the graveyard in the first place outside of KCI, which means we are already winning.
I really have no specific plan for this, but perhaps we should be exploring some new skeletons that use this big guy.
This could be our new win condition! This card does some excellent things and fits into the shell of what we want to do well.
Banefire does give us the ability to kill an early creature or to win in 1 turn without Faith's Reward or a graveyard (just sac a bunch of stuff to KCI and Fireball them out) but it is so clunky in many other ways and Aetherflux Reservoir may be the solution we needed.
I know we talked about three mana 3/2s not being the most reliable thing in Modern earlier, but if there is a card that makes me want to try, it is this one. If you look up at our current deck list, we have a hefty number of once-cost artifacts and a few more two-cost ones, which Foundry Inspector can fuel. In some ways it can act like a mini KCI, letting us cycle our one mana artifacts for free, but it will never do enough work to allow us to go infinite like KCI does.
Ultimately, this helps us out, but it doesn't solve a problem by itself, so I am not sure it is worth investing cards slots towards. If this were not a creature or were a bit cheaper, I think it would be worth pursuing further.
I think this is almost certainly not good enough, but it does turn 2 mana into 4 mana with KCI through each iteration. I could see some build of the deck wanting that.
Super interesting for our purposes here as it is sort of a freebie with a lot of upside, but how realistic is it? The gaining of life is very realistic of course and could help a lot against an aggro deck where two or three life over the course of a game is often a full card or attack. But what about the tutor ability?
We can almost always meet the three artifacts clause, but can we afford to spend four mana and a land to grab KCI? In theory, we need four mana for KCI anyway, so if we do this on our opponent's end step, that does work for us. We currently run Buried Ruin for similar reasons as we can recover a KCI that had been Thoughtseized or something. This grabs from your deck but for two more mana. That is still very appealing and worth testing. It might be time for Ghost Quarter to move on.
Nothing fancy to say here other than another potential win condition. You deal 1, sacrifice this, return it, over and over again like Pyrite Spellbomb. This is able to take out 1 health things early, which is cute, but probably worse than our other options.
Kaladesh offers us a new mechanic, Energy counters, that essentially act like charge counters for the player. Because these cards generally provide energy in some way but also use energy in some way, they have a lot of linear synergy and will likely want to be paired with other like-minded energy cards. Because of that, I wanted to give these cards their own little section to see if anything comes of it.
I think that the requirement of spending a mana per artifact probably makes this card unplayable, but considering how much mana and how many artifacts we run, it's worth mentioning. There isn't really room for this alongside Thoughtcast as a pure draw spell either, so this would need to win out over the sorcery.
This is a permanent card though and it sacrifices itself, meaning synergy with Open the Vaults and Faith's Reward is real. Even if you don't actually generate energy with this card alone but you simply channel the energy through this to draw cards, two mana for three cards is pretty sweet. If we have an energy heavy version of this deck, I would expect Era of Innovation to be involved. In the current list though, it probably falls short.
This card lets us convert energy into artifacts which we can sacrifice for mana. I don't think we want a card like this on its own, but it could be an important part of a combo we want to assemble.
This is the easiest way for us to generate energy and we can do so in huge chunks. The ability to cast a card for free is not the greatest reward for us, as our cards are generally cheap, but the fact that this can give us near infinite amounts of energy for cards like Era of Innovation is huge.
I should note that this is Legendary, which hurts its chances in a deck like this, but is still intriguing. Again, this card should not be considered for the above, traditional list, but rather only makes sense in a new Energy-heavy shell.
In theory, this could be our new win condition in an energy-heavy shell. While this taps to deal damage, we can sacrifice it to KCI and then loop it back into play with Faith's Reward. You basically just cast Reward, get your two energy, then with it on the stack, tap Tower to shoot for 3, sacrifice Tower to KCI, return Tower to play, loop twice to get 4 energy back and repeat.
This is much more convoluted than our other win conditions, but it does work and this gives us a way to Bolt annoying creatures like Gaddock Teeg or Eidolon of the Great Revel, so it's interesting.
With KCI out, this amounts to a free scry 2 and two energy, which is not bad assuming that energy means something to you. This doesn't actually draw you a card, so it might even come up short in an energy shell, but getting to scry 2 is pretty close to a draw assuming you have other draws to work with it. In particular, this plus Era of Innovation finds your combo pieces very quickly.
A key multicolor land for the energy version of this deck and possible even in the original version as a new Tendo Ice Bridge, which I have played in the past.
I wanted to leave you with a quick shell of how an energy version of this deck might look. I have not gotten in any real games with this outside of some goldfishing and I am sure there is work to be done here, but this list is pretty interesting to look at and think about.
Ultimately, I have a feeling that the traditional shell simply updated with new cards is going to be the way to go, but it never hurts to explore. Until next week, thanks for reading!