Well hello readers, welcome to MTGCasualPlay.com and my Top 10 Kaladesh Cards for EDH! As always, my rankings take into account new cards (no reprints) and playability with regards to fitting into a wide range of decks as opposed to niche, corner-case goodness. With that being said, I can’t overlook sheer power either, so I’ll try to stay as balanced as I can. For each card I will include a FOR ME… section to indicate how I would personally use the card in my existing or future decklists.
I find that top 10 lists are opinion based and you, my friends, are about to read my opinions for the next few minutes. At the end of the article is the comment section. I would be happier than a Pod Racing Dwarf in a Flying Vehicle if you would leave a comment with your thoughts on the list and any opinions on cards that you consider top 10. Let’s discuss!
Aetherworks Marvel: This card could very well be top 10. Since this triggers on permanents we control going to the graveyard our energy counters could juice up several times a game and land us some nifty free spells. Clue Tokens and Eldrazi Spawn seem a good place to start.
Aetherflux Reservoir: This card will finish games. Well, er, finish at least someone’s game. While I feel it is narrow and intended for lifegain decks there is no denying we haven’t seen this much life draining power since Hatred.
Authority of the Consuls: The one mana casting cost will have it played in Enchantment heavy decks. It also provides a cheap and efficient speed bump in hasty environments although it still finishes second place in a gunslinging duel with Blind Obedience.
Torrential Gearhulk: Fatcaster Mage as some have called it, provides a nice surprise and a giant, rusty 5/6 robot to boot. The glaring eyesore that keeps it from the Top 10, however, is that it only casts instants, not sorceries. We should still be able to agree, however, that a second use of Evacuation or Counterspell is enough of a reason to give this guy a try.
Enough of the “honorables”. You came here for a Top 10 List, so let’s get to it!
Top 10 Kaladesh Cards for Commander EDH
#10 – Fumigate
Honestly, I passed on Fumigate a few times while evaluating Kaladesh for my top 10 cards. I was definitely going to include it in my Honorable Mentions as just another white wrath effect. Well, yes, it is another white wrath effect, but in my humble opinion, the life gain will be more relevant than we think. Sure this is no Wrath of God or Austere Command but it can definitely be included in a wrath heavy Commander deck that can benefit from a nice dose of life gain to help stay relevant in a Free for All.
Immediate thoughts go out to lifegain decks, obviously, but I am sure the control player wouldn’t mind crop dusting the gremlins while padding their life total a smidge. Boros and Mardu decks that have some group slug components could use a few extra hit points in addition to any other aggressive deck that finds itself bloodied from a steel cage match with other aggro strategies.
FOR ME… Definitely slotting into Zurgo who is a bit group sluggish and into Oloro and Uncle Karl for the life gain.
#9 – Saheeli’s Artistry
Looking through my archives of Top 10 list reviews (going all the way back to my very first one in 2013) I found that I included both Stolen Identity (Gatecrash) and Supplant Form (Fate Reforged) in my Top 10 set reviews. With that tidbit of information revealed, it is absolutely no surprise that a similar card, Saheeli’s Artistry, makes the Top 10 for Kaladesh.
Saheeli’s Artistry is a sorcery that allows us to make a token copy of target creature AND/OR make a token copy of target artifact. Geez-Louise, this is good. Copy a creature, collect the enters the battlefield effect or have a big fatty join your platoon AND add a resource like Gilded Lotus at the same time. Hoo-rah. You know what though? There are a couple of facts that make the Artistry an even better win-win scenario than it already is. Numero Uno. “Target Creature” can be a copy of our creature or one of our opponent’s creatures. Yep, some spells just say “creature you control” and those cards make me a sad panda (looking at you Cackling Counterpart). Second reason? Our first option does not say “non-creature artifact”. With the restrictions loosened up we are able to exploit this spell to copy two creatures as long as one of them is an artifact (like Steel Hellkite).
Saheeli’s Artistry may fly under the radar for a while, but I have no doubts about it’s abilities to level out a game or extend the lead of intense Commander matchups.
FOR ME… It’s a copy spell (and a damn good one at that) so it immediately slates into my Silumgar Copy/Steal deck. Also, this spell is taylor-made for my Muzzio artifact deck. Since the creature token is also an artifact, both tokens will be protected under the Darksteel Forge umbrella of protection. Booyah.
While I love evaluating cards for top 10 lists, occasionally there is that little booger that I bounce back and forth on. Demon of Dark Schemes is the before mentioned “booger”. A lot of folks like the Dark Demon and have him pegged as one of the best cards in Kaladesh. So Let’s take a look at the Good and the Meh real quick shall we?
The Good: Demon of Dark Schemes enters the battlefield and gives all creatures -2/-2 until end of turn. Depending on the board state, this ability alone could wipe the board of tokens or troublesome creatures with toughness two or less. Ok, nice little board control. What else? Whenever a creature dies we collect one point of “Energy” e. In Kaladesh, energy is a resource that never goes away unless we spend it. So what can we do with that energy? Well, we can spend 4 Energy eeee PLUS two and one black mana to put a creature card from any graveyard into play under our control. The Kaladesh demon now has my undivided attention.
The Meh: Unfortunately, ALL Creatures get -2/-2 until end of turn, not just opponents. Say goodbye to Crypt Ghast and the zombie tokens that Grave Titan brought with him to the after hours party. This is where Massacre Wurm supersedes Demon of the Dark Schemes. However, it should only be a minor setback, and if we get enough creatures hitting the graveyard, well then, the energy will pile up enough to outweigh the “meh”. So, worst case scenario it kills some of our stuff too. Hey, demons are supposed to have drawbacks, that’s what makes them demons.
While deckbuilding, if I could only have one creature in the six slot chances are I am going to incorporate Massacre Wurm instead of Demon of Dark Schemes. With that being said, if I could include two six drops, and the triple black mana costs are not an issue, then I would definitely give the Energy Demon it’s chance.
FOR ME… I just recently pulled a foil Demon of Dark Schemes from a random booster pack and now feel intrigued enough to give this guy a shot. My deckspace in Chainer is quite full (and includes Massacre Wurm), but I could try to make room for it. Otherwise, a better home may be in my Vhati il-Dal EDH deck. It runs heavier on black mana and creatures die all the time, so it may come in handy to recur some big nasties to my side of the table. Of course, in opposing views, no way in hell will Demon of Dark Schemes make it into my Kaalia of the Vast deck. The downside of his ETB effect on Kaalia is a bit disastrous.
After reading and watching Commander set reviews from other websites and podcasts I realize that I have Gonti, Lord of Luxury a bit higher in my rankings. With that said, I feel I may need to try a little harder than usual to convince readers that this Aetherborn deserves a spot in the top 10. Here we go!
Gonti enters the battlefield and exiles the top four cards of an opponent’s library. We may choose one, exile it, and we may cast it using mana as if it were mana of any color for as long as it remains exiled. First and foremost it is important to point out that Gonti does not need to stick around for us to cast the exiled card. Gonti can take a 3 day cruise of the graveyard or venture into the land of exile. It doesn’t matter, we can still cast the card we set off to the side. With that being said I do realize that the chances of nabbing a game changer in the top four are fairly slim, but circumstances do provide better opportunities throughout the game.
Our best opportunity to nab something is right after an opponent manipulates the top of their library. Casting Gonti after a Lim-Dul’s Vault, Sensei’s Divining Top, Long-Term Plans or Liliana Vess activation are good examples. We could also stack our opponent’s deck ourselves by running blue cards such as Hinder, Memory Lapse or Spin into Myth.
It is important to note, however, that even if we are unable to find a way to manipulate the top four cards of an opponent’s library, just the raw power of Gonti’s ability to exile a card is potent. Obviously if we can use Gonti’s ability more than once we could really start to add to the virtual spells we have waiting for us in limbo. Let’s put Gonti onto a Mimic Vat, team it up with Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, introduce Gonti to the Eldrazi Displacer or get that Nim Deathmantle sac outlet going. Heck, I think there may even be an infinite combo to exile libraries. I believe proper shenanigans of Ashnod’s Altar + Dark Mike + Deathmantle + Gonti would work. Or there is that Karmic Guide + Reveillark combo, but alas, I forget how that one works.
Now, I do like Gonti more as one of the 99 than I do as a commander. Regardless, when casting, my primary target will be the control player. Can you imagine if we are playing monoblack and exile a counterspell or a piece of enchantment/artifact removal. Those types of cards are a no-no to mono-black decks but the Aetherborn Rogue hooks us up with the impossible!
What other twisted combos or devious plans are out there for Gonti, Lord of Luxury? Let’s also not forget that he is a 2/3 Deathtouch for four mana so he makes a great rattlesnake blocker on defense.
FOR ME… Ordered my FOIL copy of Gonti, Lord of Luxury to go into my Chainer, Dementia Master mono-black deck and cannot wait to manipulate it’s enters the battlefield effect and control the board with my opponent’s spells.
#6 – Nissa, Vital Force
It usually goes without saying that it is a rare spectacle to see a player activate the ultimate of a planeswalker in a game of commander. Get your Emblem tokens ready because this will not be the case with Nissa, Vital Force.
Nissa is strong right off the bat by entering the battlefield with 5 loyalty counters for only 5 mana. Without any assistance from a Doubling Season or Oath of Gideon her ultimate can be activated the next turn after she comes into play. Let’s take a quick gander at her abilities and the +1 ability that cracks the ultimate the turn after she comes into play.
+1: Untap target land we control, it becomes a 5/5 Elemental with Haste until our next turn. A 5/5 Elemental should help deter your opponents from wanting to crash into Nissa but it could also serve as a nice aggressive smack-stick for 5 damage if the situation calls for it. Of course, we could just be tickled that we get to untap a land. Gaea’s Cradle and Cabal Coffers are decent targets. On a more normal scale, Karoo lands would be okay to reuse too.
-3: Return target “permanent” card from our graveyard to our hand. While it doesn’t help us with a sorcery or instant, having a Nature’s Spiral to get back a key creature or other permanent is a nice ability to have in a dire situation.
-6: Our Emblem? Landfall: Draw a Card whenever a land enters the battlefield under our control.
Once we obtain Nissa’s emblem, we could take full advantage of it with cards like Oracle of Mul-Daya or Boundless Realms to get that sweet card draw flowing. But for style points, let’s take a look at playing lands even if we are out of gas. Janky Ghost Town could be an option or better yet, Thawing Glaciers. Hmm, Nissa’s +1 ability can be used to untap Thawing Glaciers and speed up the effectiveness of this old gem. I dig it!
Having a +1 ability that protects herself and an achievable ultimate makes Nissa, Vital Force a strong addition to mono-green, landfall, or any EDH deck that thrives on putting lands into play.
FOR ME… It’s all about that emblem. I will be shuffling her up in my Jolrael lands deck for that sweet, sweet Landfall emblem.
#5 – Noxious Gearhulk
What’s not to like about this guy? Probably one of the most straight forward cards in Kaladesh should become an immediate favorite. When Noxious Gearhulk comes into play it destroys a creature and we gain life equal to that creature’s toughness. The black gearhulk overcomes the faults of EDH casuals such as Shriekmaw that insist we only target non-black or non-artifact creatures. Of course there were others too. Cards like Shadowborn Demon that tried to impose other restrictions such as insisting the destroyed creature is non-demon.
Decks that run lifegain themes such as Ayli, Oloro or Karlov are first up on the rush list for Noxious Gearhulk as well as decks that need lifegain such as Control, Group Slug or Chainer, Dementia Master. It is quite apparent that Noxious Gearhulk’s stock increases if we are able to exploit him with reanimation, flicker or copy affects. With that being said, the simplicity of it’s ability to gain some life, destroy a creature and provide a 5/4 beatstick that can only be blocked by two or more creatures, is a solid addition to the six spot in any black EDH deck.
FOR ME… I need all the copies of this guy! He is a shoe-in for my Chainer EDH that uses life to reanimate and my Zurgo group slug that needs to recuperate some of the damage I will be dealing. I’ll be sure to add in additional copies to Oloro and Uncle Karl before evaluating Noxious Gearhulk into the rest of my black based EDH decks. Great value card!
One of the most interesting new legendaries from Kaladesh has to be Rashmi, Eternities Crafter. Whenever we cast our first spell each turn we get to reveal the top card of our library. We can cast it for free if it’s converted mana cost is less than the spell we just cast or we can just put it in our hand. Our choice. Hmph. No kidding. That sounds pretty damn good.
Obviously Rashmi’s best value as a commander or as part of the 99 is to be surrounded by a deck strategy that has us casting spells on our turn and on our opponent’s turns. Cheap spells such as Counterspell, Krosan Grip and Brainstorm will provide some nice card advanatage. She also works really well in tandem with Flash creatures. Flashing in a Stunt Double, Snapcaster Mage or Mystic Snake provides value by nabbing us an extra card or a free spell. Oh, and can you see her work alongside Prophet of…, er, I mean, Seedborn Muse. Now that is some sick interaction!
One more thing. Did anyone else notice that if you rearrange the letters in RASHMI you can spell MISHRA (Mishra, Artificer Prodigy). Heeeyyy, what’g going on here?! Tell me your conspiracy theories below!
FOR ME…: Rashmi has already signed up for Team Surrak Dragonclaw and I can’t wait to see her in action. Using the flash creatures and instants in my Surrak deck to further exploit Rashmi’s ability is better than a bowl of chili on NFL Sundays. My Ezuri deck will also be inquiring about Rashmi’s potential. Not only does she trigger Ezuri’s Experience counters, but she can also flop another creature (and trigger) onto the battlefield or nabs us some card draw.
#3 – Insidious Will
Folks may agree or disagree on the number of four mana counterspells we can run in our EDH deck while still being able to do other things in the early and mid game. When we cast a counterspell for four mana, most of us want our mana-dollar to stretch a little further than just denying an opponent the gratification of playing their card. Whether it’s the bonus action of bouncing or drawing from Cryptic Command, untapping four lands from Rewind, or snagging that critter for yourself with Desertion, competition for the role of counterspell in an EDH deck at that point in the curve can be a tight.
Kaladesh introduces us to a new option to consider when putting our control shell together. Insidious Will plays the role of Counterspell quite well, but can also be used in other situations to either copy a spell (Twincast) or change the target of a spell (Redirect). Being able to meld three different cards into one powerhouse is a strategic option and worth holding up four mana for.
Whether we are countering an opponent’s Omniscience, redirecting their Swords to Plowshares to someone else’s creature or copying their Demonic Tutor so we can search our own library, Insidious Will proves it’s worth through versatility.
FOR ME… In the early days of my Silumgar copy/steal deck I tried jamming all three spells (Counterspell, Redirect, Twincast) into my build just because they were on theme. Obviously my first copy of Insidious Will is going to be shuffled into Silumgar, but additional copies may find their way into Surrak, Hanna, and Muzzio.
#2 – Cataclysmic Gearhulk
Your playgroup could turn a sour eye in the wake of casting Cataclysm, but we all know that is only because it blows up lands. Players do not want a board reset when it strip mines their most precious resource. What Cataclysmic Gearhulk does, however, is replaces the word “land” in Cataclysm with “Planeswalker” for the Gearhulk. Ah, so no more sour grapes, right? We all get to keep one thing and still have our mana sources to do our thing.
While the new Cataclysm would have been fine as a sorcery, this balanced control effect has been stapled on the body of a 4/5 Construct with Vigilance. While a one time use of this hammer wielding hulk should suffice, this is EDH and decks with recursion or flicker effects could find a small opportunity to exploit it’s true power. Heck, put this guy on a Mimic Vat and keep your opponent’s board in check the entire game!
While I think Voltron strategies have the most to gain from a board wipe like Cataclysmic Gearhulk provides, I can also see a solid control shell slotting this guy in as a dream crusher. EDH decks that can recur creatures and/or artifacts will also probably take a look at including White Hulk, don’t you agree Sharuum the Hegemon? The fact that this is an Artifact Creature allows us to keep it around as either our artifact or creature should we choose to do so.
FOR ME… Cataclysm has always been one of my favorite spells and I am looking forward to playing the “nicer” version of that card. My immediate thoughts are my Voltron decks and I will be looking at including the Cataclysmic Hulk in Bruna and Zurgo.
#1 – Panharmonicon
Okay. Let me get this straight. For four mana, I get an artifact that is going to double all of my triggered abilities and ETB effects when a creature or artifact Enters the Battlefield? Excuse me for a moment.
…Walks Outside. Screams “WTF!”. Waves to the neighbors. Apologizes, didn’t realize it was 6am. What was I doing. Oh yeah. Screams “WTF!” again. Giggles a little. Walks back inside. Sits at desk. Looks at Panharmonicon. Resumes writing article…
Now that my initial reaction is complete, I may need to clarify my opinion on Panharmonicon. Wow! What an impact card. This card is the nutz. It is gross. It is going to create explosions of effects. It is absolutely freaking awesome. Well, when I have one in play and my opponents don’t, haha. Ah, that reminds me…
Goes through collection. Makes sure Krosan Grip is in every green deck. Goes back to Computer. Sips coffee. Cracks knuckles. Here we go…
Here is a small dose of our new reality…
- Blow up two things with Reclamation Sage
- Draw Four cards with Mulldrifter
- Tutor twice with Rune-Scarred Demon
- Infinite mana with Palinchron (Shocker, I know)
- Empty the dice bag with Cathar’s Crusade
- Spicy fun with Blade of Selves
- Gray Merchant of Asphodel, Duplicant, Prime Speaker Zegana, Purphoros, God of the Forge. We can do this all day!
I realize that we could list juicy interactions with Panharmonicon all day long, but I’ve got to stop for now. It’s overwhelming. However, if you are interested in more ways to abuse this card, I highly recommend Abe Sergeant’s Article: Top 10 Ways to Abuse Panharmonicon
The ugly part of Panharmonicon? The rules. For a small dose of what this card effects and what it doesn’t check out the “rulings” for Panharmonicon on Gatherer. Nine entries to date. Oh, and did you see the blurb on Isochron Scepter? Cast either card? Are you kidding, that is gloriously good.
Speaking of rulings, Doubling Season has come up a time or two. Verdict? Doubling Season is a “replacement effect” not a triggered ability. Clone? Not a triggered effect. However, a double dose of the triggered ability is allowed if it enters the battlefield as something that has an ETB effect. Another thing I realized? Panharmonicon triggers whenever a creature or artifact enters the battlefield, not just ones that we cast. So if an opponent has a creature or artifact enter the battlefield, cards like Soul Warden will get the double trigger.
What Commander decks can use Panharmonicon? The easier question is which ones can’t. Immediate brokenness can be found in Purphoros, Brago, Maren, Roon, Animar…
FOR ME… Panharmonicon makes my Purphoros deck disgusting. I only bring it out occasionally as it is. If I get this Panharmonical thing into play I may not have any friends left. Oh yeah, and if my Brago deck wasn’t confusing enough for me. Remembering to stack all the ETB effects and what not. Now I’m gonna double all that chaos? Sweet holy musical instruments this card is good. My disbelief is starting to fade and I couldn’t be more excited to play this damn card. Give me all the copies!
So there you have it folks, my Top 10 Kaladesh Cards for EDH/Commander. What do you agree with? What didn’t you like? Please comment in the section below!
Ah, Before I go, here are a few other cards that I will be playtesting/adding to my existing EDH decks. These cards did not make the Top 10, but I thought I would note that I may give them a try.
OTHER CARDS I MAY PLAYTEST
Metalwork Colossus: Maybe a card for Muzzio… Or I may wait and see what the next set has for my artificer!
Kambal, Consul of Allocation: This card is so annoying. Drain life, gain life! I love it! Going into Zurgo, Oloro and Uncle Karl! Those are his friends in low places. 🙂
Padeem, Consul of Innovation: Giving my artifacts hexproof and drawing a card every turn makes Padeem a welcomed advisor in Muzzio.
Dovin Baan: The +1 is just pillow-forty enough. My new Bant Super Friends list is gonna love that ultimate!
Aetherflux Reservoir: Uncle Karl and Oloro will want this included as a win condition. Hooking up with Boon Reflection so I can take two opponents out at once! Evil Laugh…
Authority of the Consuls: Daxos the Returned and Sigarda will be delighted for a turn 1 pressure cooker such as this.
Torrential Gearhulk: Definitely going into my “flashy” Surrak deck to deja-vu my counterspells.
Angel of Invention: This card may get a chance in the Rith Tokens deck that I’m building.
Aethersquall Ancient: Contemplating for a big force in Jhoira.
Cloudblazer: Second Mulldrifter in my Brago deck.
Cultivator’s Caravan: Great budget mana rock with a gas tank!
Hope to see you back in a months or so when we take a look at my Top 10 Commander 2016 Cards for EDH!
On to the next!