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Angel of Invention Art by Volkan Baga - Kaladesh

Kaladesh Remastered Draft Guide – August 2022 Update

MTG Arena is bringing back the Kaladesh Remastered Premier Draft event from August 22 to August 27, 2022! Here is our fully updated in-depth guide to the format, a curated amalgamation of both Kaladesh and Aether Revolt.

MTG Arena is bringing back the Kaladesh Remastered Premier Draft event from August 22 to August 27, 2022! Here is our fully updated in-depth guide to the format, a curated amalgamation of both Kaladesh and Aether Revolt.

Hey everyone! Guess who’s back, back again, Kal is back, tell a friend. That’s right, our next stop on the throwback draft tour is Kaladesh Remastered. It is an exquisitely cultivated drafting experience that will leave you begging for more than the five days we get it for. So, let’s not waste any more time and get into that sweet, sweet info you need to come off the top rope with an elbow drop to the competition.

Key Ideas of Kaladesh Remastered

I cannot stress enough how much synergy matters in this format. When you build a Kaladesh deck right, it will just hum like a well-oiled machine. It can get repetitive hearing “Build a deck, not a pile of good cards”, but this format is where that approach really pays off.

My buddy Sierkovitz is not going to be happy about this one, but the data means very little about this set besides the very basic “good cards are good”. That’s because of how synergistic many of the cards are so even if you break it down into color combinations, their actual performance still depends on the other cards in your deck. Even a god-awful card like Consulate Turret can fill a role in a deck that just needs a source of energy.

My personal favorite archetype is Izzet artifacts. I had a ridiculous amount of success with it the first time Kaladesh Remastered was around because the key pieces were all heavily underdrafted.

Aether Swooper and Aether Chaser are great ways to kick off a game and I have no problem taking them in the first couple picks, but both of their ALSAs (average last seen at) were around 4. The main reason is that they don’t look the same as classically great draft cards so sometimes you end up getting them even later than that.

The other card that is severely underrated for this archetype is Inventor's Goggles. The auto equip to artificers lets you pull ahead on tempo and it even provides a basically free way to improvise since tapping it does literal nothing. Besides being great with the previously discussed Aether twins, it makes Sweatworks Brawler put in some serious work. That’s not even getting into the absurd draws where you just blow up with Maverick Thopterist.

Another benefit of this archetype is that Welding Sparks basically turns into Dark Banishing (I know you all wanted me to say Doom Blade, but the mana cost lines up better with this analogy). I’ve lit things up for over ten damage before so don’t underestimate it here.

The other huge advantage of playing so many cheap artifacts is being able to drop Gearseeker Serpent for only a few mana. An early 5/6 is a massive body that pretty much brick walls everything else in the format. The fun little unblockable ability puts an incredible amount of pressure on your opponent to throw multiple blockers in front of it letting you blow them out with a removal.

Green is probably the best overall color, but it really depends on each individual draft whether it is open enough to take advantage of it.

I’m a big fan of going into the Temur energy piles that can really pop off with some crazy starts that just snowball on your opponent before they even know what’s coming. You can easily fuel them with Attune with Aether providing both mana fixing and energy to keep the machine running for the low cost of one green mana. Longtusk Cub and Whirler Virtuoso are both sweet payoffs for accumulating all that energy.

Meanwhile Golgari takes advantage of piling +1+1 counters on your creatures to build unstoppable monsters. If you haven’t gone off with Winding Constrictor and Ridgescale Tusker then you haven’t truly lived. You can start games off with some solid threats between Thriving Rhino and Peema Outrider backed up by removal like Daring Demolition to clear anything too bothersome out of the way.

Rakdos is all about destroying everything in sight with an ungodly amount of removal. It comes in all shapes and sizes so your main decisions are based around maximizing the value you get out of each removal spell.

Just make sure you take ways to win as just massacring everything they play isn’t going to win the long game. A bunch of artifact dorks backed up by Weldfast Engineer can provide a surprisingly fast clock to get under anything they are trying to pull off.

While the Rakdos removal of choice is Unlicensed Disintegration, unfortunately it’s so good that it often gets snatched up by someone looking to splash it into any deck with one of the colors.

VROOM VROOM… Boros loves piloting vehicles. This is a great example of the options in building your deck because if you don’t see any good vehicles, you can fall back into a more traditional Boros go wide aggro deck. Don’t dive head first into the trap trying to force it with bad vehicles just because you’re getting quality cards in these colors.

While it’s great in any white deck, I’ll bring up Dawnfeather Eagle here because you can put the trigger on the stack and then crew a vehicle with the Eagle to still give the pump and vigilance to the crewed vehicle. Just the kind of trick that you can use to push that precious last damage through.

If you’re into attending Grindfest 2022 then Orzhov is where you want to be. This was back when Gravedigger effects were still really good so Restoration Gearsmith is an overperformer here. Hidden Stockpile is another underappreciated star here especially if you end up with multiples which isn’t too hard since you are the only deck that wants them.

An easy source of a Revolt trigger is Renegade Map which even provides the benefit of fixing your mana too. Cracking map on turn three, followed by Vengeful Rebel can be a back breaking sequence. It’s fine to replace a land with the first copy of map, but I wouldn’t cut two lands for two maps.

Azorius is your typical flying beatdown deck with Aerial Responder and Spire Patrol providing some nice pressure in the air. You can also go the card advantage route with Cloudblazer backed up by blink effects like Illusionist's Stratagem. While you’re swinging away in the air, you can clog up the ground with a pile of Fabricated Myrs chump blocking away to their hearts content.

Realistically the only archetype that I tend to avoid is Dimir. It’s not awful if its open, but it’s a step down from everything else.

While it might look janky, Night Market Lookout and Sky Skiff is definitely a thing. It puts a very real clock on the opponent while providing a nice little life cushion to make sure you win the race. The best part is that you should be able to sweep them both up later in the pack to salvage a draft that went off the rails.

While artifacts are common, you still don’t really want to main deck a bunch of artifact removal. If you feel the need to go down that route, Appetite for the Unnatural or Destructive Tampering are acceptable as a one off.

I know we all make Fog jokes in twitch chat whenever someone all in attacks, but Commencement of Festivities is in this format. It’s not good and you shouldn’t be running it, but don’t forget about that when you’re attacking.

Splashing is fairly easy in this format between Attune with Aether, Prophetic Prism, and Renegade Map. If you’re replacing a land with Attune, make sure you aren’t replacing a Forest because you need that green mana to cast it.

We’ve all been down on card draw spells lately, but Glimmer of Genius is still legit.

I’ve seen lots of people write off Midnight Oil as a garbage rare. I can assure you it is not. It’s got a bunch of words on it, but it is fundamentally just a personal Howling Mine with the only drawback that you have to play your spells out on your turn starting a few turns later. It is really hard to beat in any game that goes long. I do not care what the data says, it’s been good every time I’ve played it or played against it.

All aboard the Paintrain! Please stop passing Untethered Express. It’s a colorless bomb that works well in almost any deck. Getting it late is a serious crime and I’m pretty sure it’s a violation of the Geneva Conventions.

The other card that I am baffled people are down on is Pacification Array. It’s not quite Icy Manipulator, but it comes down cheap and gives you plenty of opportunities to control the board.

Sweepers

The big kaboom of Kaladesh is Fumigate. It’s a really efficient sweeper and the life gain means they are probably going to pull out of range of any cheap kill afterwards. The best out on this is having some vehicles on board so you can make good attacks the next turn when you drop your back up critters.

The -X/-X effects in the format are Yahenni's Expertise and Make Obsolete. Obviously, one is significantly better than the other as Expertise can be a straight blow out when they wipe your board on four while getting to play a three drop. Good luck coming back from that.

Make Obsolete probably isn’t going to see much play since it is exclusively best of one draft this time, but per usual it’s a “you don’t have to worry about this card until you do” situation going on here.

While it’s not a sweeper per se, Baral's Expertise does temporarily clear three creatures with one card so it’s something to keep in mind.

Tricks

The first trick I have to discuss is Subtle Strike. Be very suspicious of anyone holding up two mana with what looks like a double trade. It’s bad enough when they get to keep a +1/+1 counter while killing a much better creature, it’s disaster level if they get to spend two mana to kill two creatures. It only takes getting wrecked by this once to remember it’s in a format, hopefully I caught you before you got got.

It might seem odd that I’m bringing up Built to Smash, but it’s cheap and the trample ain’t no joke. Look for them to suddenly gain priority when attacking as a clue from Arena. If they had priority with only one red up outside of combat it is Precise Strike. Green has a few pump tricks to watch out for too in Blossoming Defense, Highspire Infusion, and Ornamental Courage. That’s a lot of tricks so don’t single block suspicious attacks, it’s not like they are going to ninjutsu or something.

The big trick to watch out for is Inspired Charge as +2+1 to a wide board is usually going to outright kill you if you don’t block properly. It’s usually pretty clear when they are going all in for this so set up your blocks to where you don’t die, but keep your best creatures. That means don’t get greedy and do the math. You’re going to lose some things, but keep it within acceptable losses range.

Counter Spells

As far as counter spells go, Metallic Rebuke is the most common one you are going to run into. Getting mana leaked for only one blue can feel pretty bad, but its hard to play around because it’s so cheap and three is a lot of extra mana to wait for to play something around it. If you put them on this, just try to bait it out before playing your key spells.

While Disallow is a hard counter, it is a rare and much more obvious when they are holding up three mana with double blue.

Ceremonious Rejection and Revolutionary Rebuff are rarely played so not a big concern.

Bombs

These are the Pack One Pick One (p1p1) no doubt, windmill slam, just take them rares of the set. These are not in rank order, just take these over any non-mythic uncommon or common.

Mythic Uncommons

These might be uncommons, but they sure don’t play like they are.

Do Not Draft List

These are the ones that some people talk themselves into, but you should always pass.

Wrap Up

This was such a great format and I am really looking forward to running it back all week. It’s going to be a crazy adventure heading back to a format with so many viable options and powerful synergies. I hope you all crush it with this bevy of information I hooked you up with. I’ll be back later in the week with my draft guide for Amonkhet Remastered as well as the start of my Dominaria United coverage.

I’m always open to feedback, let me know what you loved, what you hated, or just send dog pics. You can contact me at:

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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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