Kaladesh 75% Review

Usually I like to go more than a few weeks between these but sets are coming out quickly and stacking up. I hope you feel like you had ample time to jam any cards from Conspiracy 2: Conspire Harder you liked into your decks because it’s time for a brand new swath of cards to worry about. If it helps, none of the cards from Conspiracy: Take the Crown are listed as legal in Commander on Gatherer, so clearly they’re not legal in the format and you don’t have to worry about any of them. That came as a big relief to me. Instead of testing cards like Queen Marchesa, Leovold, Emissary of Trest, and Adriana, Captain of the Guard, we can skip the entire set, which saves us a lot of time. If someone shows up at your LGS with a sick Leovold deck that locks everyone out of the game and you get sick of losing to it, just point out that Leovold isn’t listed as legal in Commander on Gatherer. Problem solved!

Sarcasm aside, I am very excited to see how Kaladesh will impact our favorite format. I think there is a lot to love from this set and I expect Aether Revolt to be equally compelling. It seems doubtful that we’re going to get the U/R artifact commander that players have made it clear they want, but after seeing Ulrich, maybe that’s a good thing. You know what else is a good thing? This entire set, and while players may not have gotten what they said they wanted, they’re about to learn they got what they needed and 75% builders are no exception. Let’s take a look at the Kaladesh cards just waiting for slots in 75% decks.

Acrobatic Maneuver

Literally the first card in the set is one we want and that’s encouraging! This is a blink effect and it’s one that draws us a card. These are all things we like in a 75% deck! Abusing ETB effects is a great way to get card advantage and this does it in spades, even replacing itself. Kaladesh is off to a good start.

Angel of Invention

Do you ever wish your copy of Glorious Anthem could be a pseudo-Baneslayer Angel if you needed that instead? Anthems are fine in 75% decks and this is an anthem with upside. What’s not to love?

Authority of the Consuls

This seems like a sideboard all-star for a format like Modern, but I think the fact that this does two things that will always be advantageous for you warrants at least testing it. This is great for decks that have lifegain triggers because your opponents can help you get them for 0 of your own mana and this also slows them down and makes it hard for them to block. This is a card you might overlook at first, but I think a 75% build can use these effects.

Captured by the Consulate

I think this needs testing because I am not sure I wouldn’t just rather have Prison Term or Arrest. This still lets the creature block meaning it’s way worse in commander where any number of players can attack that player and they can block with the enchanted creature, re-activating their removal. It will be interesting to see how this plays, and interesting is perfect for 75% builds. I’d test this.

Cataclysmic Gearhulk

A Cataclysm that doesn’t mess with lands is very 75%. It is the living embodiment of punish them for doing something (over-extending) rather than prevent them from doing anything by blowing up their lands, too. This paired with Eldrazi Displacer can be very good at locking the board down so you can win.

Fairgrounds Warden

We have no shortage of creatures like this, but it’s useful to have this effect on a creature, so don’t overlook this just because it’s non-rare and a little redundant. Redundancy can be good in a 1-of format.


I think this is worth testing, but I think we may prefer the flexibility of Disenchant, the power of Return to Dust or the instant speed of Nature’s Claim. That said, nuking their first-turn Sol Ring before they can get out of control may be all the impetus this card needs to see play.


Paying 5 mana for a wrath is less punishing in a 40 life format where the real action gets started around 6 mana. You can afford to pay the extra mana or two or 4 to get some upside on your wrath. I like this a lot and it’s going to gain you a lot of life in a 4-person+ game.

Skywhaler’s Shot

This card does two things White doesn’t do particularly well, and I’d play it over Reprisal. I feel like seeing this exceed expectations in Limited will turn some people on to how good this is outside of Limited.

Wispweaver Angel

This does a very poor impression of Restoration Angel indeed, but sometimes you just want more copies of that effect if not copies of the creature. Blink decks can run this happily.

Aethersquall Ancient

Even if nothing else in your deck gives you energy, this can potentially wipe some boards down and being attached to a big body in the bargain makes this worth exploring.

Confiscation Coup

I’m just kidding, I hope you’re never so hard-up for Control Magic effects that you resort to playing this card. This is included on this list not to endorse the card, but to remind you that even though we love Treachery effects in 75% decks, we needn’t play all of them because 75% doesn’t mean terrible.

Insidious Will

Wow. Normally, a counterspell has to be pretty special for me not to be bored with the idea of jamming it in a 75% deck. This is more Commander-flavored than Cryptic Command, even! This does a lot of things, all of which are things that win games of Commander and it only takes up one deck slot. I love this card.

Padeem, Consul of Innovation

This could be a commander since almost every single legendary creature has been used as one with few exceptions, but I think this is better off being in the 99 of quite a few decks. Keeping your stuff from getting removed and drawing you some cards more than justifies this card’s inclusion.

Paradoxical Outcome

Even if competitive players aren’t looking for a way to break this card in commander, 75% players should be. With a lot of ways to remove the maximum hand size restriction, this could end up being a powerful combo enabler, especially in some manner of eggs deck. Remember, doing something weird and off-theme is a good way to build 75% deck and people who build Mishra, Artificer Prodigy combo decks or some of the other builds I could see running this are doing it right. This has a lot of potential and I think 75% decks are the perfect place to showcase some goofball combo with this powerful but suspicious card. If you’re not sure where to start, maybe this will help — Metalworker was recently unbanned.

Saheeli’s Artistry

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and it’s also a great way to scale the power level of our deck to theirs. Use this to copy your stuff or theirs or both. It’s good how flexible this is and it’s good commander is slow enough that a 6 mana spell doesn’t need to win the game on the spot like it does in 60-card decks. I can’t wait to copy this spell with Riku of Two Reflections.

Shrewd Negotiation

This could end up a big advantage for you. Stealing stuff is cool and if you can donate something pernicious to them, even better. You’d have to play with pernicious artifacts in your deck, though, but with Donate, Juxtapose and a few other effects like it, you could end up making really good plays with this. Try trading your Platinum Emperion to an Oloro, Ageless Ascetic player in exchange for their Consecrated Sphinx.

Torrential Gearhulk

This is in Deadeye Navigator’s colors. I can’t wait to start Snapcasting everything. Ironically, this mythic rare is a great budget alternative to the non-mythic Snapcaster Mage and its hulking body is a non-trivial upside as well as not having to pay the spell’s full mana cost.

Aetherborn Marauder

I love the idea of moving a bunch of counters around and doubling them each time. Ghave, Guru of Spores or Daghatar the Adamant seem like good decks to try this card coupled with those shenanigans.

Demon of Dark Schemes

I feel like this card may get overlooked a bit at first, and while this doesn’t have the raw power of Massacre Wurm, it has additional flexibility. A common theme in my assessment of this set is that I really like cards with multiple modes that can get out of different types of jams in 75% decks.

Gonti, Lord of Luxury

I have already made my love for this aetherborn creature well known.

Marionette Master

Yep, this is a card. Shattergang Brothers, meet your new puppet master.

Midnight Oil

This is very interesting. Do we want to do the work to not make this punishing in a world where Phyrexian Arena exists? Maybe we do. Reliquary Tower and friends say hello.

Noxious Gearhulk

I can’t wait to flicker this monster. This is no Grave Titan, but that also includes all of the times it ends up better than Grave Titan.

Underhanded Designs

This is two cards in one, both of them playable. I like this in decks like Sharuum the Hegemon where looping artifact creatures means lots of triggers, but other decks can make good use of this as well.

Combustible Gearhulk

Commander is the perfect place for a card that scales off of the average CMC of your deck. In Standard, I can see this being a “Would you like to have me draw 3 cards or would you like to take 2 damage?” card, but in commander, they may not want to get domed when you flip over Bosh, Iron Golem, Draco, and Emrakul.


We love us some Threaten effects in 75% decks and this may be the best one ever printed.

Madcap Experiment

This card is chaotic, I’ll give it that. Sometimes you want a Polymorph that punishes you.

Pia Nalaar

Don’t underrate this card, there are a lot of decks who can make great use of this card and its many useful effects. I am not excited to build around this, but this is ready to go in decks like Alesha, Who Smiles at Death.

Cultivator of Blades

This card can get out of hand quickly, and that’s the way we like it.

Durable Handicraft

This is a much better card than I thought initially. This has uses in quite a few decks and doing two things in one card is the kind of thing we love in a 75% deck.

Nissa, Vital Force

This seems perfect for commander. Its ultimate is easy to achieve and easy to take advantage of, and its mana cost isn’t outrageous in commander where it’s likely coming down a turn or two early and untapping a land to boot. This is an exciting card and I hope it catches on. I mean, wow, news flash, planeswalkers are good in commander, but I think this is better in commander than the new Chandra, which is actually just an insane card, though not as exciting in commander.

Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter

I think this may not want to be your commander since we live in a world where Rhys the Redeemed exists and Cathar’s Crusade wants to be its friend, but this goes in a lot of decks and it even helps trigger effects that check when an artifact comes into play. This is 75%-ready.

Verdurous Gearhulk

Yep, this is a thing. Whether you need the best Force of Nature ever or the best Wolfir Silverheart ever, this does what you need. I like this card bunches.

Wildest Dreams

The only time this is better than Recollect or Restore is when you pump lots of mana into it. You have lots of mana in commander, luckily. Would you rather have Seasons Past? Not always.


Wow, Roon, Brago and others got a new friend. Say hello to your new friend.

Depala, Pilot Exemplar

I am not convinced a dwarves and dragsters deck is good enough to qualify as 75% but this card staying in play can get you quite a bit of filtering and at least see you put up a fight. If someone makes a 75% build with this at the helm, I’m very interested in seeing it.

Kambal, Consul of Allocation

This will be a boring-ish commander, but there are a ton of decks this is ready to slot into. We want to punish them for doing things and this does that for days. I’m all about this card.

Rashmi, Eternities Crafter

I’ve already written about how I think Rashmi is one of the best 75% commanders to come along in quite a while.

Restoration Gearsmith

This card is amazing, and it does a lot more than similar cards in these colors. That’s what we need in a 75% deck.

Aetherflux Reservoir


Aetherworks Marvel

This is a card I can get behind. It should supply you with enough energy to use it, and free spells are always a good way to get ahead.

Cultivator’s Caravan

I can see a very good case for playing this over Darksteel Ingot.

Filigree Familiar

This is Solemn Simulacrum’s new best friend. Everything dumb you do with Solemn you can also do with this. I am looking forward to saccing and bringing this back.

Foundry Inspector

Any color deck can use this and I imagine a lot of them will. This is very useful.

Ghirapur Orrery

I like when cards are very powerful with the stipulation that they be symmetrical. The best thing about cards like that is they can be made asymmetrical by sheer virtue of you being the player best equipped to take advantage. Good luck not taking advantage of a card this powerful even by accident.

Key to the City

Hey Voltron players, ever think “Rogue’s Passage sucks, it doesn’t even draw me a card”? Well now you can!

Metalwork Colossus

There has to be a way to abuse this card beyond the typical “My 10/10 is hard to make stay dead” shenanigans. If nothing else, casual players will want these as trade bait, so I’d buy some and test this out.


This card is absurdly powerful. I read it and for a second I thought it was called “Palinchron” and then I thought “Man, this would be good with Palinchron.” Of course it would be. This is good with everything.

Smuggler’s Copter

I like a lot of the vehicles just because there are cards like Pain Seer and King Macar running around. This is one of the best.

Inventor’s Fair

As much as I caution people about running tutors, this requires a lot of dedication to an archetype, tutors face-up, gains you life and gets you colorless mana and in general seems fair, balanced and powerful. This is an amazing tool in a 75% build and elsewhere.

Sequestered Stash

This is solid. You dredge greedily and get something back in the mix. Lots of decks from Sidisi to Sharuum want this card.

Anything I skipped that you’re excited to add to your 75% decks? Something on the list that you think clashes with our guidelines? I’d love to hear it. Leave it in the comments section below, and tune back in next week where we’ll have a deck to build and maybe we’ll even have some Commander 2016 spoilers — who knows? Until next week!

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