Monday, 25 January 2016
Card Spotlight: Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
Upon seeing this dork on the spoiler I was pretty ambivalent about it generally thinking that it would just be tedious trying to play it in a format with Karakas. Then I decided to cut Karakas so guys like this could get a look in. I still didn't have high hopes for Kalitas but figured he would be fine enough midrange filler. Somewhat like Polukranos or Huntsmaster of the Fells slightly tuned down. My findings in testing however tell quite a different story. I have a tendency to underestimate the good cards that cost 4 or more mana and it turns out that Kalitas is one such good card.
His first outing involved him arriving to the battlefield on turn three courtesy of a turn one elf. Due to a lack of removal or trickery he shut down attacks that turn which was a saving or at least seven life, a little more I think. To my disgust I then immediately ripped a Wretched Confluence which I flopped out three times on the -2/-2 mode targetting a Voice of Resurgence, a Kitchen Finks and a Strangleroot Geist. Each was exiled thus failing to return any value to my opponent and each then gave me a 2/2. It was one of the largest turn four swings I have seen, the largest in a midrange cube. Getting three 2/2s and denying three significant "dies" triggers eseentially undoing three two for one plays for your opponent is a rather brutal six for nothing kicker to the already 3 for 1 Confluence! I don't ever expect to see Kalitas dominate so hard again but he really doesn't need to to earn himself a cube slot.
After playing with Kalitas a few times I have come to view him differently. Rather than midrange filler that will get some value and be a bit annoying like Polukranos or Huntsmaster of the Fells that I initially pegged him as he is much more like the show stopping Linvala, Keeper of Silence. For just four mana Kalitas comes down and shuts down all "dies" triggers, hamstrings creatures with graveyard effects and makes any sort of chump or trade in combat really unfavourable. This it transpires is quite a lot more immediate value than anticipated, and indeed than most other four drop dorks. Linvala only shuts down a couple of dorks and tends to be more of a green hoser than anything else. Kalitas has an effect against all decks playing dorks. He isn't even the nutlow against creatureless decks, rather outperforming cards like Skinrender in such situations!
Linvala is essentially just a 3/4 flier for 4 that nerfs some of your opponents stuff. If the latter part isn't doing anything you have a useful card but none the less a card that is significantly below the curve in power level for cube. Kalitas is all round more significant even thought he is the same size and has the weaker lifelink instead of flying. His various other abilities result in a card that offers broader and more reliable disruption on top of utility and potential synergy with your own cards. Kalitas has a much higher low end performance than Linvala it would seem making him a not at all insignificant addition to blacks arsenal. Black has previously struggled to keep pace with sticky creatures like Kitchen Finks and was struggling a bit in the more midrange meta. Kalitas should really help solve this problem.