Block: Set 1 of 2 in the Kaladesh block
Number of Cards: 264
Release Date: September 30, 2016
Languages: English, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish
Kaladesh (KLD), the first expansion of the Kaladesh block, was published September 30, 2016. Kaladesh includes 264 different cards and is the 72nd Magic expansion overall. The architecture and the objects on this plane of existence which we have seen in pictures are vaguely inspired by Indian culture. As we learned in Magic Origins, Kaladesh is the birthplace of the famous planeswalker Chandra Nalaar and her parents Pia and Kiran. Inventions and technology determine social progress here. Magicians, however, are very rare, and Fire Magic (Chandra specialty) is completely prohibited. This is due to the technology the Kaladeshians have specialized in. They have created Thopters, Servos and various other artificial creatures and machines, which are powered by aether - a magical substance that is much rarer on other worlds than on Kaladesh. However, on Kaladesh it is available in abundance and it influences not only the great inventions there, but also the shape and structure of natural objects. From cloud formations over landscapes, to cities, everywhere on Kaladesh the typical spiral vortex structures can be recognized. These aether forms reappear in every detail of all technical inventions again, marginally resembling classic Steampunk designs. This plane is ruled by consuls, whose forces and creations can be found everywhere – but that may be about to change in the second set of the block, which bears the name Aether Revolt. Chandra returns to her former home together with Liliana. Will she use her powers for the welfare of her homeland Kaladesh, or did she just come back to avenge her father's death?
Although the background stories become more sophisticated each block and are definitely worth reading, at this point we are more interested in the new options which the unique mechanics of Kaladesh offer to players:
Let's start with the magical substance that can be found throughout the multiverse indeed, but which became a formative part of the entire ecosystem only on Kaladesh. Technically purified aether is the power source for the overall progress on Kaladesh. In the game this is represented by energy counters, which are a new type of counters a player can obtain. There are several cards that provide energy counters, and other cards using these energy counters to create great effects. Many cards can even do both. The big difference to conventional Mana is that energy counters do not expire. Players can therefore accumulate them in the long term for a massive project in the future, or use them for many small advantages in the present. Energy thus provides a new strategic challenge in the form of this unusual resource management.
With so many inventors and enough energy to implement these ideas, of course, the industrial production should not be missed. As an ordinary artificer it is necessary to fabricate a lot of useful tools or small helpers.
"Fabricate X" is a new ability of creatures that provides a difficult decision, whenever these creatures come into play. Either the appropriate creature (which usually really has the subtype artificer) gets X +1/+1 counters or you create X 1/1 Servo artifact creature tokens. Whether you choose counters or tokens, you decide only when the ability resolves. This means that you can get one or more Servo tokens in any case, even if the poor artificer was removed by a nasty instant removal in the meantime. 1/1 creatures may usually be rather insignificant, but of course it can never hurt to have additional artifacts in an artifact block. In particular, the last important mechanic of the set, rewards us again for these small robots that may end up operating large devices without further help:
Vehicles are no new mechanic at all, they are a new subtype of artifacts, with a completely new card frame design! Smuggler's Copter and many other vehicles represent an important part of the wondrous inventions, for which Kaladesh is known. They start as lifeless artifacts until you use one (or more) creatures in order to "crew" them.
Each vehicle uses the keyword Crew, followed by a number. This number represents the combined strength that the creatures must have at least, which you are tapping for the vehicle to be transformed into a creature until end of turn. Between flying airships, or trample damage causing race cars, Kaladesh offers the right vehicle for every occasion. No wonder then, that there is also a new subtype among the creatures - the pilots. Pilots are particularly adept at controlling vehicles. They produce certain bonus effects each time they are crewing a vehicle.
Kaladesh uses relatively few new keywords, but since both the energy management and the use of vehicles are completely new concepts, this set delivers a unique game experience nevertheless. In addition, you have the possibility to open one of the extremely rare Kaladesh Inventions cards in Kaladesh boosters. This is a series of reprinted cards in a Premium Foil Design.