Kaladesh is a brand new set coming to Magic: The Gathering later this month, and it’s one hallmarked by a gorgeous, gilded not-quite-steampunk aesthetic, themes of invention and creation, and a striking sense of optimism. One of the coolest things about Kaladesh from a design standpoint is that none of the named mechanics featured in the set are recycled from any previous expansion. Instead, all of Kaladesh’s major mechanics are brand-new, a rarity for a modern Magic set.
The set is built around three mechanics: Fabricate, a creature ability that lets you choose between a free +1/+1 token or a free 1/1 artifact creature; Energy, a new type of counter used as a persistent, special currency that can be both created and redeemed by plenty of cards in Kaladesh; and Vehicles, a new type of artifact that needs to be ‘Crewed’ by a creature in order to come to life as an artifact creature.
Today, we’ll be focusing on Vehicles and revealing three never-before-seen Vehicle cards — something I personally find super exciting, as I think it’s one of the most flavorful mechanics in this set. Let’s hop into it!
For the uninitiated, here’s a one-sentence primer on Vehicles: basically, they’re artifacts that can be brought to life as artifact creatures through the use of a new ability called Crew, which requires you to tap creatures with power equivalent to the Vehicle’s Crew number. You can tap multiple creatures to meet a Vehicle’s Crew cost: for instance, with Renegade Freighter, you could tap two 1/1 creatures, a single 2/2 creature, or any other combination you can think of — as long as the total power of those creatures is at least two.
This is a pretty neat common, I think. A hurtling train that gives itself +1/+1 and Trample when it swings is a super flavorful concept, and the opportunity to play with Trample (a traditionally green ability) in any color deck you want is always appreciated.
Would you look at that? Another train!
Contrasted with Renegade Freighter, Aradara Express is a good example of the other end of the Vehicle spectrum: a big, powerful body, with a much higher Crew cost. You’ll need to scrounge up a creature (or creatures!) with at least four power to bring Aradara Express to life, but as you’d expect, what you get for that cost is seriously powerful: an enormous 8/6 beater with Menace, meaning your opponent will have to use at least two of their creatures if they want to block it. With eight power for you to assign to their blockers however you wish, that means someone is probably gonna die.
And last, but not least:
Here’s a cool one: Ballista Charger. This thing is an uncommon Vehicle with an uncommon ability for an artifact: it’s equipped with an enormous crossbow that lets you ping a creature or player of your choice for one damage every time it attacks. That’s on top of an already-beefy 6/6 body that you can bring to life by tapping three powers’ worth of creatures. I kind of already love this card: Anyone who’s played in a Magic prerelease before knows how useful direct damage abilities are in a limited environment, and this card seems like no exception.
And with that, we conclude our three-card reveal! If you want to see more from Kaladesh, you won’t have to wait long: Wizards is expected to reveal the full set spoiler very, very soon, not to mention the prerelease itself, which is scarcely more than week away!
Your first chance to go hands-on with Kaladesh is at prerelease events all over the country next weekend, Sept. 24 and 25, a few days ahead of the set’s official launch on Sept. 30. There’s probably one near you, and if you don’t feel like calling up your local game store, Wizards’ official website even has a handy prerelease locator. See you at the prerelease, and don’t forget to bring your Kaladesh driver’s license!