Kaladesh Limited Analysis (Part 2)

We’ll continue the draft archetypes analysis, talking about the enemy colors pairs.

U/R: Energy

Key Cards: 

thriving-turtlespontaneous-artistaethertorch-renegadewhirler-virtuoso

U/R is in a strange spot, because it actually has quite a few cards that care about artifacts, but yet it’s the only color combination that lacks access to fabricate, so you won’t ever incidentally have artifacts, and will have to go out of your way to draft them. In fact, even if you do prioritize artifacts in U/R, you probably aren’t going to get a ton of great ones because they’re colorless and every other player at the table is looking to draft them. So while it’s technically possible to end up in U/R Artifacts, I think U/R Energy will be the focus far more often. Many of the U/R energy cards provide energy but don’t necessarily require using that energy as frequently as some other colors with more sinks. Examples include spells like Glimmer of Genius and Aether Meltdown, which just provide extra energy, and Aether Theorist and Hightide Hermit, which provide energy sinks but will often be worse than stronger energy sinks. Your main pay-off energy cards will be Aethertorch Renegade and Whirler Virtuoso. Your main goal is to build up a fast board presence and at the same time generate an energy pool. U/R is once again conflicted here because it has access to some pretty beefy blockers, but the red cards favor aggression. I think a major pitfall when drafting U/R is being too split down the middle and ending up with a deck that really doesn’t do any particular thing very well.

R/W: Aggro Vehicles

Key Cards: 

motoristbuilt-to-smashrenegade-frightergearshift-ace

I want immediatly say that despite the “Vehicle” name in the archetype that doesn’t mean you should draft tons of Vehicles. They’re a key component to the deck, but are there only to augment an overall aggressive game plan. R/W is the best color combination to play Vehicles since it has access to the most pilots and the Vehicles provide big bodies once the smaller creatures can no longer attack. This leads to a very streamlined game plan where curve is of the utmost importance. The main goal of  the deck is to pressure your opponent from the start, forcing earlier blocks, which makes your red and white combat tricks, like Built to Last and Built to Smash excellent and also ensures that Vehicles do their job of closing out the game. A tricky aspect of W/R is that the color combination doesn’t actually want to trade very much, because it is trying to crew Vehicles more often than other color pairs and yet has to attack early if it is to succeed. Often as the aggressive player you want to attack early if it means letting a better creature attack the next turn, even if you have to trade to do so. This prevents easier double-blocking down the line, which is how more defensive-oriented decks fight back against aggressive starts.

W/B: Artifacts Go-Wide

Key Cards: 

underhanded-designweaponcraft-enthusiastvisionary-augmenterinspired-charge

This deck wants to dump more Servo tokens into play with all of its fabricate creatures. This allows it to turn on its cheap, efficient creatures like Dhund Operative and Foundry Screecher at the same time it builds out a board. Of course, all the creatures I’ve mentioned are very tiny, but the key is getting a bunch of them onto the battlefield at once. W/B lets you peck away for some early damage but deal tons of damage out of nowhere with a well positioned Inspired Charge. If that’s your plan, you really do have to dedicate to going wide. W/B also has access to a bunch of premium removal and a decent number of evasive threats. But W/B is also somewhat forced into this aggressive style of play because its creatures are small compared to those of other colors until it hits the top of its curve. You can’t exactly build a deck around its more expensive cards or you’ll just get run over. The exception of course is when you have an abundance of good cheap removal, and I think W/B is also capable of being a control deck under the right circumstances. It even has access to some decent card advantage to help it out in that department. That deck will come together less often than a W/B attack deck simply because many drafters are interested in taking good removal early.

B/G: +1/+1 Counters

Key Cards: 

hazardous-conditionsarmorcraft-judgehunt-the-weakaetherborn-marauder

B/G has always been a good stuff archetype that plays black removal spells and big green monsters. That’s still true this time around, but B/G also gains some interesting synergies built around the multitude of +1/+1 counters. Hazardous Conditions is interesting because, against some decks, it really isn’t going to do a whole lot, in fact, many of the creatures in the format are quite large. Against other decks, however, it will be just a completely blowout for them. It can also help to sweep away smaller evasive creatures and it is a perfectly fine play post combat. If you do care about +1/+1 counters, then you are likely getting the bulk of them attached to your fabricate creatures. This is important because many of the good black commons care about having artifacts and if you’re relying on your fabricate creatures for both artifact count and +1/+1 counters then you’re going to have a lot of friction in game. I think the main solution will be to stay away from some of those black artifacts-matter cards that are super aggressive. The other black color pairs will likely be taking them early anyways, and you don’t want to be fighting over a subtheme for your deck when you won’t be able to get any good cards for it with your mid to late picks during the draft.

U/G: Energy

Key Cards: 

aether-theoristriparian-tigerlongtusk-cubempyreal voyager.jpg

This deck looks pretty similar to U/R, but its delineation of defense and offense, as well as energy sinks and payoffs, are much more easily defined. Blue has a bunch of good early defensive plays and this deck is much more interested in them than U/R. The reasoning is that the green creatures are simply huge. The Tiger is a 6/6 trampling attacker for 5 and it’s a common! That’s a great place to use your excess energy. I also can’t really imagine losing when you curve Cub into Theorist and immediately pump, unless the Cub eats a removal spell. It quickly self fuels and your opponent might quickly find themself in the abyss. The blue artifacts-matter cards are once again a little out of place in this archetype. Although  I do like U/G’s “colored” artifacts, Dukhara Peafowl and Narnam Cobra, because they help aid what U/G is trying to do anyways, in fact they bridge the midgame and are impactful in later turns. U/G is the deck that’s less interested in Vehicles. Instead, I’d just look to play solid creatures and spells in the color pair and build up energy for the green sinks that want it.

For our Limited Analysis that is all I have, as always thanks for reading.

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