Aloha! It's Pro Tour week, and I'm fresh out of my first experience playing a competitive event with Kaladesh cards at #GPAtlanta. While the following picks didn't come from my drafts on Day 2 of that event, what I learned there will be reflected in my analysis.
This is the week that that color preferences start to form among players, since they've had enough time for certain archetypes to separate themselves from the rest. As a result, I've chosen a draft where my preferences shine through, so feel free to voice where your opinions differ from mine.
A lot of players may be eager to snap up the Electrostatic Pummeler here since it's colorless and plays well with one of the main mechanics of the set, but even with six energy you only make it a 4/4 for a turn. The card requires a pump spell to jumpstart its ability and while there are a couple that offer the needed trample for a combo finish, relying on such turns is a fool's errand in Limited. I just want cards that are consistently good.
That leaves me with Janjeet Sentry, Contraband Kingpin, Die Young, and Salivating Gremlins. I don't think Contraband Kingpin is above the rest by enough to justify taking a multicolored card first. Die Young, despite being removal, is only filler since it doesn't kill 2/3s without help.
The remaining two cards are fairly close, with Janjeet Sentry offering a removal spell on a solid body in an energy deck, and Salivating Gremlins, a body that is way above the curve in an artifact-centric deck, with the potential for a mini-combo turn making it a 6/3 or bigger. I've been quite impressed by Salivating Gremlins and generally dislike the color blue, so I went with the red card.
We're spread out with our first three picks being of three different colors, but that's fine this early in the draft. More problematic is that the fourth pick doesn't have any exciting cards for us and no clear direction.
Eddytail Hawk is an overall mediocre card because its stats are poorly situated for the early game. I'm fine playing one, but it's generally not difficult to find one later in the draft. The same can really be said for all of these cards, so the question is which one you prefer.
Well, as you know by now I can't resist a two-drop, and Thriving Rats is a solid creature on turn 2, attacking as a 2/3 and potentially more if you have the energy to spare. In a slower format, the card-draw spells would be more attractive, but I highly value cards that affect the battlefield early in Kaladesh; when in doubt, I take a creature or removal spell.
Now if you'll excuse me, I have an arduous ten-step journey to the beach.