Kaladesh Remastered entered the fray in Magic: The Gathering Arena last Thursday, and opened a new world of possible plays. Featuring selected reprints from Kaladesh and Aether Revolt — with each card being new to Arena — this set brings back three planeswalkers who've been on hiatus since War of the Spark, three other active members of the Gatewatch, and, of course, a litany of new mechanics and interactions.
For planeswalker chasers, Kaladesh Remastered won't disappoint. This set releases new powerful iterations of old members of the Gatewatch like Chandra, Nissa, and Ajani. Moreover, Dovin, Tezzeret, and Saheeli are back too, and if those last three characters don't imply enough about how artifact-driven this set is, let's make that clear now: Tron decks have a great niche in this set.
Not only are abilities in this set frequently triggered by artifacts, but the revived Fabricate mechanic allows players to choose if they want creatures to enter the battlefield with counters or a small artifact army of servos behind. This can set up for situations that would make titans flinch, like an early introduction of a Metalwork Colossus.
Revolt also makes its return and means an ability triggers each time a friendly creature leaves the battlefield. Hidden Stockpile can be a game-changing example and effectively turns a disappeared friendly into a 1/1 servo. Obviously, this will provide a solid back-up plan against opponents who seem to have answers to your board presence, and clever players will also realize the opportunities to manipulating their own board state with effects like bounce, token sacrifice, or temporary exile.
Speaking of artifacts, vehicles are back and seeing common play in drafts again. Offering another way to enhance or protect creatures, vehicles provide a double-whammy by increasing that artifact count, and also exploiting any and all friendly board-presence. Even a few of those servo tokens can make great pilot fodder and transform into a bigger, more serious force that needs to be dealt with. In my very first Kaladesh draft, my opponent threw down a Skysovereign, Consul Flagship on turn four that was somehow piloted by a 3/1 bat, and it was so effective that all I could do was make lousy batman jokes and question my existence.
Energy rounds off our introduction of Kaladesh Remaster's renewed mechanics by adding an extra economy to matches. Now, instead of just counting lands, players will want to keep an eye on energy counters that can pile up as a result of spell or creature effects. Failing to do so can result in a new army of robots, counters, or game-defining effects. Confiscation Coup is a perfect example, bringing in a clever-man's Agent of Treachery at a percentage of the cost if used right.
Finally, on top of all of our new mechanics and creatures, Kaladesh Remastered injects one of the most important elements that MTG can put into Arena: flavor. Aesthetically, its card art still reflects Kaladesh as Magic's India-inspired plane, and the stories around its characters come with a fusion of technology and magic that still make for one of the game's most classic strides. The bottom line: if you haven't played through Kaladesh before, or if you're ready for a fresh re-imagining in Arena, enjoy! Especially to players looking for formats outside of Standard, Kaladesh Remastered is certainly worth a few gems and wildcards — or try the freebie below.