Kaladesh has proven to be a fun and rewarding draft format. The various archetypes are well balanced, which means that you can do just about anything and win. The format is powerful, however, which means you have to execute your plan well to win.

You can tell Kaladesh is a deep, complex draft environment because prominent players disagree about the power of different cards. Both aggressive and controlling decks have their champions. If you prefer one set of strategies to the other, that will color your card evaluations. I think it is important to master both types of draft decks in Kaladesh—aggro and control—to have consistent success. Because of that, your card evaluation needs to include a card’s power in both macro-archetypes in addition to more specific decks. A card that excels in both aggro and control is a true powerhouse. And a card that demands narrow deckbuilding constraints may not be as good as it looks.

With that in mind, I offer my lists of the five most overrated and underrated cards in Kaladesh draft. These are cards that I believe people misevaluate in some way, taking them earlier or later than they should, or with the wrong enthusiasm level.

My top five overrated Kaladesh draft cards:


Fabrication Module is a pretty good card, but it’s too slow to be great. A card that helps you take over a stalled board is not the sort of card you want to build your strategy around. I’d rather build a deck that avoids board stalls—either by winning quickly or going over the top—than hope to get stuck in one then climb out of it. Fabrication Module plays well with big beaters like Riparian Tiger, but taking off turn three or four to set that up is worse than curving out and applying pressure. I prefer to pick up a Fabrication Module late if it fits my plan. There are better cards to draft early.


Longtusk Cub is a solid card and a reasonable first pick. But it’s not a card I’m excited to first pick. Plenty seem to disagree, so I consider it overrated. The problem with Longtusk Cub is that it relies on a heavy energy theme to be a powerful card. On its own merits, the cub is a solid Whirling Dervish style card, but it needs help to connect and get the energy chain rolling. Cards that provide extra early energy, like Attune with Aether, or get a small cub past blockers, like Key to the City, make the cub very powerful. But that’s because those other cards are powerful. I want my powerhouse first pick to be great even if I don’t get any Attunes!

In the end, Longtusk Cub is a Grizzly Bears with upside. The upside is high, but it doesn’t come for free. If you play cub on turn two and your opponent can’t block it on turn three, it can run away with the game. But that’s true when you play almost any aggressive two drop and it goes uncontested. If you use cub as an energy engine to power other cards, you have to devote other resources to clear a path for the cub. If you put all the energy back into the cub to make it bigger, it’s still a vanilla creature that dies to Tidy Conclusion or Revoke Privileges. If you draw Longtusk Cub late with a pile of useless energy, it’s like you drew a two mana Cowl Prowler. That’s nice. Versatile two drops are great cards. But Longtusk Cub is no Pack Rat. Pick them up when you can, but don’t treat it like a mythic uncommon and slam it first pick no matter what else you see in the pack.


Bomat Bazaar Barge reminds me of Nimble Innovator, and that’s not a good place to be. The barge is usually better, but it requires three power on board to do anything more than cycle. Kaladesh draft is too fast and powerful to give you time to rely on this clunky vehicle to take over a game. The effect is good in general, but so is Nimble Innovator. Neither quite meet the grade in Kaladesh.

The barge is also overrated because it is a marginal card that requires other cards in play to do anything. I prefer my marginal cards to at least stand on their own. Herald of the Fair, for example, will always be a 3/2 body even if every other card you draw is a land. It won’t give you much, but you know what it will give. Marginal and situational cards need to be in your sideboard to come in when they are good. The barge is nice in attrition battles and board stalls between small or midsize creatures. Play it in those situations, but don’t pick it highly in the draft.


I am continually underwhelmed by Die Young. If it is the only energy card in your deck, it is not very good, and black is the color that cares the least about energy. Something like blue-black control can make good use of this spell, but it fits better as a splash in a green energy deck than it does in most black decks. Being a sorcery really hurts the card, and there aren’t many reasons in the set to care about shrinking toughness rather than dealing damage. I want to love this card, but it pales in comparison to the other removal spells in the set.


Thriving Grubs are a lot closer in power to Sage of Shaila’s Claim that most people will admit. Sure, you can make it a 3/2, but those don’t attack very well against many decks, even on turn three. So many creatures have high power or toughness at efficient rates. Thriving Grubs can get big too, but it has a hard time doing much if your opponent puts up a respectable defense. Blocking is not the best strategy in Kaladesh, but the grubs make it a little too easy for your opponent to block. And if you’re just playing it as a 2/1 and two energy, you’re probably doing something wrong. The low toughness makes this card too easy to block or kill, even after you sink a bunch of energy into it. Two drops with upside are good, but I’m not in a rush to grub up my deck.

My top five most underrated Kaladesh draft cards:


Reckless Fireweaver is a two drop that provides reach. Even in an aggressive deck, the fact it only attacks for one is offset by the extra damage you get off your artifacts. Combo-based red artifact decks make great use of an early blocker that reduces their victory math. Grindier decks are happy to have a creature that passively deals damage but opponents will be hesitant to kill with a removal spell. If it trades straight up for Harnessed Lightning, you are very happy. People tend to overlook this card while drafting. I suggest taking it more seriously.


Storm Crow returns with energy. Eddytrail Hawk is a surprisingly good card. The key that pushes it into good card territory is the value of flying in Kaladesh. Most of the creatures with flying have less power than mana cost, like the two mana 1/2 hawk. There are a few high-power fliers, and they are great cards. The ability to give other big creatures flying when they attack turns out to be very strong. Not only that, it only costs you a single energy per turn, so long as you keep Eddytrail Hawk alive. What other card lets you deal an extra four or five damage a turn for only a single energy? Aethertorch Renegade requires eight energy to deal six! Jumping your tigers and mastodons is good value, and a great plan to win games.

Eddytrail Hawk is good in slower decks too, which is why it is underrated. It’s not a great blocker, but it does trade favorably with Foundry Screecher (the most aggressive common flier) and holds off thopter tokens. Hawk plays very well with green decks that give +1/+1 counters. It’s a fantastic turn three play after Durable Handicraft. If you draw it early, you can get some energy and maybe attack in the air for a few turns. If you have it late, it’s a win condition similar to Kitesail. If your opponent can’t block fliers and you have hawk plus two 4/4s, they have to kill the hawk instead of your actual threats. Eddytrail Hawk provides many strategic lines for a slower deck, and is great a any aggressive deck with ground creatures.


Authority of the Consuls looks like a weird sideboard rare. It’s actually a lot better than that. Any slow deck should be happy to play Authority. It’s a great early spell that offsets its “do nothing” status by gaining life as your opponent develops their board. For the entire game, it shuts down haste creatures and makes vehicles more difficult to crew. Authority is the best possible complement to Fumigate, if you are lucky enough to get both white rares, but it’s fine in any white deck looking to grind late game advantage. I suggest taking it early in drafts if you are going control, and still looking to grab it for your sideboard above marginal playables even in aggressive decks. It can help swing a race and punish vehicle-heavy decks.


Long-Finned Skywhale gets dumped on by everyone. I’ve heard it called unplayable. Seriously? Obviously it’s an aggressive card, but it plays well in slower decks too. If it could block ground creatures, everyone would love the card. It would be too good. But here’s thing: you don’t want to block with it anyway. I can help hold off small fliers if necessary, but the whale’s role is to end the game quickly. It’s an evasive finisher. Most of the fliers in the format cost more mana than they provide power. The few that give equal power for mana, like Long-Finned Skywhale and Foundry Screecher, are strong cards. I’m happy to play a whale in any blue deck as a finisher that can close a game in a few turns. Kaladesh is a powerful and swingy format with tons of ground creatures. A big cheap flier wins games. Play it.


Attune with Aether is the best green common. There are a ton of great common green creatures, but they are fairly interchangeable. Is Thriving Rhino better than Peema Outrider? It depends on the balance of your curve. Attune with Aether is a unique effect: a cheap “cantrip” that makes sure you hit lands drops, can fix your mana, and provides two energy. Green decks want energy and mana fixing, and this is the best card for those decks.

In addition, Kaladesh is a swingy format that demands you hit the right number of land drops. Too few lands, or too many, and you can’t compete with most decks with a solid draw. If you have multiple Attunes, you can go down to fifteen or sixteen lands and still hit your early lands drops. No other card helps mitigate the swingy mana needs of Kaladesh the way Attune with Aether does, so cheaply and with two energy on top. I desperately want multiple Attunes in all my green decks. Take them when you get the chance.

And with that, I’m off for the year. I’ll be traveling next week and running an old favorite. Enjoy your end-of-year holidays. I’ll see you in 2017. Let’s hope it exceeds our low expectations.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.