New Mechanics From Kaladesh

Updated on October 15, 2019

Kaladesh is the newest expansion set for Magic: The Gathering from Wizards of the Coast. The previous sets, Eldritch Moon and Shadows Over Innistrad, were both rather dark and focused on the darker side of magic. Kaladesh, on the other hand, is bright, inventive, and inspiring. In this article, I will discuss what kind of mechanics are being introduced for players to take advantage of.


Without a doubt, the single biggest mechanic to hit the tables is Vehicles. A Vehicle is a rather unassuming Artifact that when crewed transforms into an Artifact Creature until the end of the turn.

Crewing a Vehicle is pretty simple. Each Vehicle has a crew count, and you have to tap any number of creatures in order to meet or exceed the required crew count by way of the selected creature(s) power rating. For example, if the Ballista Charger above is to be crewed, you would have to tap a creature who has a power of at least three, or any mixture therein (two creatures of power one and power two or three creatures of power one).

Once crewed, your Vehicles becomes an Artifact Creature with power and toughness as marked on the card and may be subject to other special features. In the above example, the Ballista Charger can deal one damage to target creature or player when it attacks. Other Vehicles can gain flying, menace or any number of other features and abilities.

There are also some creatures being released in Kaladesh that can provide additional benefits to Vehicles when they are selected to crew a Vehicle. Below you'll see the Gearshift Ace, when he crews a vehicle, that Vehicle gains first strike until the end of the turn. That's pretty terrific especially for a smaller vehicle that might not pack the same punch as some other vehicles.

Sample Deck Utilizing Vehicles

Here is an example of a deck that utilizes Vehicles as a primary focus. This deck was designed by Ben Hull and was used at the Kaladesh Pro Tour in 2016. The deck did pretty well; fourth place is nothing to scoff at. But when faced against a control deck, this kind of an aggressive deck has the potential of not being very effective. Overall though, it's an incredibly exciting deck to use that can be very fast and very fun to just drive over your competition.

Creatures (20)
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Toolcraft Exemplar
3 Selfless Spirit
4 Veteran Motorist
3 Depala, Pilot Exemplar
2 Pia Nalaar

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

Spells (7)
4 Declaration in Stone
3 Harnessed Lightning

Artifacts (7)
4 Smuggler's Copter
2 Fleetwheel Cruiser
1 Skysovereign, Consul Flagship

Lands (24)
4 Inspiring Vantage
6 Mountain
4 Needle Spires
10 Plains

Sideboard (15)
2 Fragmentize
4 Galvanic Bombardment
1 Harnessed Lightning
2 Skywhaler's Shot
3 Weaver of Lightning
1 Chandra, Torch of Defiance
2 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar

What is your favorite Vehicle from Kaladesh?

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A mechanic that hasn't seen a lot of use from Kaladesh is Create. Very simply put, it allows the player to create some kind of token creature.

Creating tokens in Magic: the Gathering is not something new. The capability of doing so has been around for some time, but this is the first time it has been legitimized as an actual mechanic. You can typically find spells that create in Thopter/Servo decks.

Sample Deck Utilizing Create

Here is a budget White Weenie deck that does the trick.

Creatures (26)
4 Thraben Inspector
4 Town Gossipmonger
4 Expedition Envoy
4 Kor Bladewhirl
3 Glint-Sleeve Artisan
3 Master Trinketeer
4 Aerial Responder

Spells (12)
2 Gryff's Boon
3 Lithomancer's Focus
4 Servo Exhibition
3 Make a Stand

Lands (22)
4 Sandstone Bridge
18 plains

4 Fragmentize
1 Lithomancer's Focus
2 Felidar Cub
4 Fairgrounds Warden
1 Make a Stand
3 Retreat to Emeria


Next up is the Mechanic Energy. This is another entirely new feature that adds a fresh layer to the gameplay. Some spells will add Energy which you can use for a variety of effects. Some creatures can use it to get power and/or toughness counters, to scry your library or any number of other uses.

Energy is pretty fantastic and is being integrated into many different deck archetypes for a wide range of applications. For some, it's just a small added bonus, but for some, it is a primary feature that the deck is essential focused around using.

In terms of the story behind Kaladesh, the world itself is made up almost entirely of Aether, this is literally the energy that is used to create all of these spells and creatures. There are a wide variety of decks that can be formed around Aetherworks Marvel, for example.

Sample Deck Utilizing Energy

Here is a Black-Green deck that has some really devastating potential.

Creatures (19)
2 Deathcap Cultivator
4 Tireless Tracker
2 Catacomb Sifter
1 Architect of the Untamed
2 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Demon of Dark Schemes
1 Conduit of Ruin
3 Distended Mindbender
2 Emrakul, the Promised End
1 Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger

Artifacts (7)
3 Aetherworks Marvel
4 Woodweaver's Puzzleknot

Planeswalkers (2)
2 Liliana, the Last Hope

Spells (9)
4 Vessel of Nascency
2 Grasp of Darkness
3 Traverse the Ulvenwald

Lands (23)
4 Evolving Wilds
3 Hissing Quagmire
4 Blooming Marsh
2 Spawning Bed
2 Blighted Woodland
1 Mortuary Mire
4 Swamp
3 Forest


Last, but certainly not least, is Fabricate. The plane of Kaladesh is all about invention and creation and that theme is supported yet further by casting a spell and then additionally having the option of either boosting a creature with a +x/+x counter or creating a +x/+x token. This mechanic is really exciting because it is effectively a 2-for-1, or sometimes even a 3-for-1, or more!

Marionette Master below is just one of several cards that can Fabricate upon casting.

Sample Deck Utilizing Fabricate

Below is a really fast, White-Black deck that is literally built around Fabricate.

Creatures (28)
3 Thraben Inspector
3 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim
2 Scrapheap Scrounger
4 Syndicate Trafficker
4 Zulaport Cutthroat
2 Kambal, Consul of Allocation
4 Weaponcraft Enthusiast
4 Angel of Invention
2 Marionette Master

Spells (8)
3 Harsh Scrutiny
3 Grasp of Darkness
2 Anguished Unmaking

Lands (24)
4 Concealed Courtyard
2 Forsaken Sanctuary
5 Plains
4 Shambling Vent
6 Swamp
3 Westvale Abbey

3 Fragmentize
1 Grasp of Darkness
2 Quarantine Field
3 Transgress the Mind
1 Flaying Tendrils
3 Lost Legacy
2 Ruinous Path

Kaladesh was a fresh and exciting new set that released many new mechanics that can be integrated into nearly every game format of Magic the Gathering, most notably in Standard. Be sure to explore all these mechanics and figure out new ways to make your meta that much stronger.


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