A Review of Magic: The Gathering’s Kaldheim Expansion, Part 1 of 2: WUBRG

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With the imminent release of the new Kaldheim set, Phillip York and FromTheShire are reviewing the avalanche of new cards sweeping downhill into all formats. Note that as our typical coverage is focused on Commander, we’ll be primarily examining the set’s cards through that lens, though where we think something might have use in another format we’ll make a note. For more on how the set will shake out in Modern, consider checking out The Dive Down Podcast, who do some pretty great analysis of Modern. 

 

White

Phillip: Continually there’s a problem with white, in that it can’t draw cards effectively, and Kaldheim doesn’t solve that problem. One of the better white card draw effects in Kaldheim… lets you go fetch a card in another color that draws cards. Nonetheless there are a few interesting cards here.

Axgard Braggart

For standard this could potentially do something I suppose, and 4 cost 3/3 that can pay 2 to untap itself and get a +1/+1 on it isn’t horrible but doesn’t really advance any white game plan that I’m aware of.

FromTheShire: Even in tribal decks this is a skip in EDH, and it doesn’t jump out at me as a piece for standard either. Vigilance is a nearly criminally underrated ability but I’m not in a hurry to pay 2 per turn for it.

 

Battershield Warrior

So it’s a Warrior which is nice, and 3 for a 2/2 with an anthem ability isn’t horrible. But I don’t see this finding much of a home.

This is closer to making the cut for a tribal deck, or possibly as a decent mana sink for a white weenie deck. No way it sneaks in until Lurrus rotates out at least though.

 

Battlefield Raptor

Stat block and keywords make no sense and have no synergy.

On the other hand this badass Raptor looks like it just bombed everything, and it’s so dynamic yet focused on this stupid raptor, that I’m gonna say either this art deserves a better card or this card deserves worse art.

Continuing to push the power level of 1 mana Birds I guess. It’s a good rate but it’s not exciting to me, and I have like 3 Bird tribal decks. I could definitely see this being A Thing in standard or draft to carry Equipment.

 

Beskir Shieldmate

Eh, this could live in limited environments.

2 bodies on one card is never a bad effect to have, and this is at least more Skullclamp-able than many, which is good in white.

Bound in Gold

This is a better “arrest” type spell because they can’t do vehicles or activate any abilities aside from mana, so it’s potentially a way to safely remove a commander, assuming it either needs to attack or has non-triggered abilities, but doesn’t allow its controller to simply recast it.

It’s not bad as far as the effect goes, but there’s a reason the effect sees little to no play. So many extremely powerful commanders will simply laugh at you in triggered abilities as they bury you in card advantage while you stare sadly at this wishing it was a Swords to Plowshares or a Wrath of God.

 

Clarion Sprit

Whenever you cast your second spell each turn, (X) is a huge ability in this set, and I think you could potentially make a deck around it in Jeskai colors. There are quite a number of cards now triggering off first spells, second spells, spells on other players’ turn…. I’m still not sure this would make the cut. In particular Kykar, Winds Fury‘s sacrifice ability uses Spirits, and this usefully enough generates a Spirit at least.

Too small and incremental of an effect for EDH or Modern.

 

Codespell Cleric

This sucks.

Yeah. In a running theme in every card review, I love tribal decks to a probably problematic degree, and even in a tribal deck this is way too ineffective and situational.

 

Divine Gambit

This is potentially kind of useful, if maybe it was at instant speed. In some kinds of lock decks it could be used, combo-d with something like Containment Priest and you could potentially build a deck around effects like these but it’s a tough sell.

The gambit is appropriately named, you’re taking a real risk to cast this with the kinds of threats that float around. Maaaaaybe as an emergency button because of the versatility if it was instant speed, but at sorcery I’m passing.

 

Doomskar

Really strong card, a basic wrath but with Foretell, so pay 2 to get it out of your hand and then you can wrath later for only 1WW, which could be used in combination with various exile until end of turn effects or just to discard your hand.

Great wrath effect, even in the worst case where you’re hard-casting this for 5 it’s perfectly solid.

 

Doomskar Oracle

Yeah this is not… not good. Not playable.

Dedicated life gain decks are bad, situational effects are worse. Moving on.

 

Giant Ox

If this had defender it would actually be better, in my opinion, since there are plenty of ways to animate walls, like Animate Wall. I guess the point of it is to crew the big plow and that’s okay. Why isn’t the art a diptych?

Interesting effect for a standard Vehicle deck if that turns out to be a thing. It would likely be an issue for aggro decks if that happened too, 6 toughness on turn 2 can slow things down a whole bunch.

 

Glorious Protector

Really solid 3/4 flyer with flash who can let you exile cards in response to something or else be used in combination with other ETB effects. Has foretell as well, so just strong utility card all around with combo potential.

Reasonable casting cost (or cheap for an Angel), boardwipe protection, combo potential….. what’s not to like?

 

Gods’ Hall Guardian

This is… this is bad. This is kind of insulting to white. Neat picture anyway.

Again, not even in a tribal deck.

 

Goldmaw Champion

Well it’s another Dwarf Warrior which is a tribe/tribes they are apparently pushing. Warrior for party mechanic I assume.

Not interesting in most formats, but in limited tap effects are sneaky good, and this one lets you actually attack with the creature doing the tapping.

 

Invoke the Divine

Overly expensive compared to Disenchant. Maybe if it had foretell?

I’ve played worse artifact and enchantment hate in limited. Not exciting outside of that.

 

Iron Verdict

Yeah this is what passes for creature removal in white in this set.

Kind of weird that this does damage as a mono white card, usually this is just a straight up destroy. Still not the most questionable color pie decision in the set.

 

Kaya’s Onslaught

Potentially you could use this with one-punch commanders or infect.

Might be interesting in Boros or Jeskai commander damage decks since you can Foretell early in the game in order to get double strike for cheap later. There’s a lot of variations of this card floating around.

 

Master Skald

Another Dwarf Warrior (a skald is a bard so I dunno wtf) but you can get back an enchantment or artifact by exiling a creature in your graveyard for… 5 mana.  Still you could use this with Animate Dead, Dance of the Dead, and Necromancy to reanimate some huge fatties.

I mean skalds are like in your face warrior-poets, so I can see it. Offers some rare recursion, but let’s be honest, this is EDH. You’re probably playing green because, c’mon, so you’re running Eternal Witness over this.

 

Rally the Ranks

I think this is one of the better Anthem effects so, definitely playable in your tribal deck, maybe Angel or Rebel tribal, also possibly in something like Najeela, the Blade Blossom.

Yeah this is an extremely solid rate for an anthem. Trying to get there with anthems is tough in EDH, but if you’re in the specific decks it works for this is a good one.

 

Resplendent Marshal

A very aggressively costed Angel, which makes sense because this is way better in a lower costed Warrior deck. A little bit conditional, but a great pseudo-Lord that leaves its buff behind if it gets killed, on a very solid body.

 

Revitalize

This sucks, and this is what white gets for card draw.

This is a trap in limited even. Avoid.

 

Righteous Valkyrie

I think this is a cool card and I like the idea of making a deck where life matters. I don’t think it will be a good deck, at best it’s a bad version of mono-white Heliod/Ballista. Still, it’d be neat.

I’m definitely digging the number of cheap, playable Angels in this set, which is great for a tribe that usually starts at like 6 CMC. Dedicated life gain decks are bad, but incidental life gain that happens as part of your game plan is surprisingly solid. More likely this goes in a Cleric deck which have a larger number of life gain and drain synergies

 

Rune of Sustenance

Okay the runes are cantrips but I’m really disappointed they don’t get some synergy from other runes, in my head runes are still keyed up like Diablo so if I get 2 runes I should get some double effect.

I like how the Runes work but this one isn’t terribly interesting to me.

 

Runeforge Champion

This is probably white’s best “card draw” in the set because you can grab a rune and the rune is a cantrip and runes cost 1 and you could combo this with non-white actual card draw like enchantress effects so….

Being able to recur Runes from your graveyard is very nice. One of the biggest problems with mechanics like this is that frequently they are only supported in one set, so they are too parasitic to put into a normal EDH deck. The champion at least should always have a target if there are Runes good enough to include in your deck.

 

Search for Glory

Wow a new tutor, grab a snow (permanent only) so mostly lands but still, could be a Legendary, or a Saga.  Oh and you gain life for each Snow you spent so that’s basically meaningless but even so fetching legendary cards can be really useful in the 99 of an EDH deck.  And if you’re land screwed cool, and I like to think sagas are semi-playable in EDH.

Honestly I’m probably running this for the Legendary search 99% of the time, with the occasional emergency land tutor. That’s still extremely good, don’t get me wrong. Love this card, it’s going in a ton of my decks.

 

Shepherd of the Cosmos

Okay so it’s 6 for a 3/3 flier but hear me out.  When you ETB it (not cast) you get to return a permanent.  Not a creature.  Returning permanents is unusual, you could return the aforementioned reanimators (and in fact you can generate infinite mana with this and a sacrifice and and two enchantments) but you can also returns seals or rocks or eggs or various other things.

Not exciting to me personally, but it has some classic “this goes infinite with things” text. I don’t know if there are decks that want another Reveillark style effect, but if so, here it is.

 

Sigrid, God-Favored

A flash 2/2 with First strike and pro-God, and exile target attacking or blocking creature until Sigrid leaves the battlefield.  This card is so good I’m confused as to why it’s white and not blue.  Oh and it’s a Human Warrior, both tribes with huge upsides.

Very solid. A bunch of relevant abilities and creature types, and while I don’t think it’s quite good enough to make it into Modern Humans, I wouldn’t be particularly surprised if I was proven wrong.

 

Spectral Steel

I guess this lets you use it to return a real card to your hand.

Getting a better Aura or Equipment back is nice, but I don’t know that this does enough on its own to justify the inclusion.

 

Stalwart Valkyrie

It’s a 3/2 flier for 4 with an alternate cast of 1W and exile a creature, it’s okay in tribal decks.

Tribal decks in standard maybe, generally I wouldn’t consider this worth recurring.

 

Starnheim Courser

2/2 Flyer and Artifact and Enchantment spells cost 1 less to cast is amazing, and will be all over in Jeskai decks, cost reduction is huge.

You’re definitely here for the cost reduction. There are a bunch of ways to make your artifacts either free or nearly so, and that usually can be parlayed into swift death for your opponents.

 

Starnheim Unleashed

I guess you can grab a bunch of Angels with this… if you foretell it you 2 4/4 flyers with vigilance for 3, that’s pretty playable, especially in some kind of Angel tribal deck.

This strikes me as more of a control finisher than an EDH tribal inclusion, but with that being said, there are ABSOLUTELY going to be a ton of people who do the latter because it’s fun, and I am ABSOLUTELY going to get run over by it from time to time.

 

Story Seeker

Fine for standard.

Fine is maybe a slight overstatement even.

 

Usher of the Fallen

This is okay, creating Warriors is okay, sort of wish boast was once for each time a creature attacks instead of once per turn.

Not horrendous or anything. As a personal side note, as the owner of a dedicated Soldier deck and several with Soldier synergies, I continue to be salty about the shift towards Warriors lately.

 

Valkyrie’s Sword

Okay create an angel cool, but for 7?  Too much.  And 2 and then 3 equip, for +2/+1?  Too much.

Yeah no thank you. Not even in my bad tribal decks.

 

Valor of the Worthy

Nope.

Hard pass.

 

Warhorn Blast

Um, this is bad.

Will occasionally kill you in limited because you forgot this card existed because nobody plays it.

 

Wings of the Cosmos

I think we’re back to this being White’s “creature removal”.

Definitely not using a deck slot on the off chance you can get someone with this combat trick.

 

Blue

Alrun’s Epiphany

Wow cool so the first blue card gets you another turn and some Bird tokens which is, well Bird tokens, that’s neat I guess. Thematically it is pretty cool but hardly relevant to casting 7 cost spells, or 6 if you foretell it but, I do still like the idea of foretelling out your hand and then dropping a Windfall or a Timetwister or one of those type of spells.

This is where I demonstrate how different of an EDH player I am, I’m here for the tokens for my Bird tribal deck with the side benefit of getting an extra turn. For real though, it’s an extra turn spell for a reasonable rate, those are extremely good, full stop.

 

Annul

Well this is a reprint but a useful one.

Some solid art here.

 

Ascendant Spirit

I think this is a neat card, and it’s worth nothing that the 4 Snow ability (or any of them) can be used over and over, meaning you’d draw multiple cards each time you do combat damage.  But B, Snow,Snow ; Snow,Snow,Snow ; Snow,Snow,Snow,Snow, that’s 10 mana for a 6/6 flier with draw on combat damage and flying.  However you can pay it over turns, during end steps, and that is useful.

Being able to do it at instant speed is a huge boon – I’ve played with level up cards before and those are straight terrible. I think this might get there because you’re in blue so you can protect it with the mana you’re holding up playing draw-go anyways.

 

Augury Raven

This seems like it should do something with the foretelling.  Or to be honest, like it shouldn’t have foretell, it should make foretelling cheaper.  Or let you do it during other players turns or something.  Oh well it’s a 3/3 flier that you can foretell 2 and then pay 1U to get on a later turn, so you can turbo out your flier on turn 3 in standard then annul something.

Based solely on the name it should at least let you scry.

 

Avalanche Caller

Well it gives your land hexproof and it becomes a 4/4.  I don’t understand this card at all, why doesn’t it cost snow mana, I guess you can pay it with artifact mana so that’s good.

It’s not bad, and it’s a cool nod to Coldsnap, but animating lands isn’t something blue is set up to take full advantage of.

 

Behold the Multiverse

Yeah I think this is decent, Scry 2 then draw 2 is fine, lets you select, 4 is a lot but it’s instant speed and of course you can foretell it.

It’s not going to wow you, but it’s a common that will be a solid playable in draft. There’s something close to this in a ton of sets.

 

Berg Strider

Tap target thing when this thing comes in and it doesn’t untap if… is an old ability and its boring, and it’s okay for standard games but meaningless in EDH generally.

Probably doesn’t do enough to make the deck even if Giants is a thing.

 

Bind the Monster

Kind of interesting creature removal.

Seems ok in limited, in other play you’re better off preventing the creature from resolving in the first place.

 

Brinebarrow Intruder

Yeah it’s a 1/2 rogue for U, that gives a creature -2/-0 so that’s fairly on point and will see play possibly in rogue decks due to flash/rogue.

A combat trick on a body isn’t a bad thing to have access to.

 

Cosmos Charger

So this is what the raven should be. But even so, foretelling on any turn is quite big, and doing it for 1 less is also pretty utilitarian. I’m sad that WotC will probably drop foretell after this set, I’d love to see these abilities in commander sets (aka this is what commander legends sets should be full of).

Yeah much like Runeforge Champion, how good this is long term depends almost entirely on if they print more foretell cards. If it becomes a deciduous mechanic, this is great. If it’s confined to this set, it’s not worth playing.

 

Cyclone Summoner

This is weird, and costs 7, but they’re definitely pushing a Wizard/Giant tribal type thing, and it’s a fairly big effect.  Overloaded Cyclonic Rift is a common occurrence in games, though the big difference is that is an instant, so you can cast it in prep before your turn to try to win.

A much more fair Rift that is still pretty great if you’re built around it, but the whole reason Rift is as good as it is is because it’s not a fair card.

 

 

Depart the Realm

This is definitely a playable card in my opinion, and there’s a weird playable loop for it, and you can just get it out of your hand and then use it when you need it.

Gone are the days when you could Unsummon a creature with damage on the stack to get your opponent, but bounce effects are still useful.

 

Disdainful Stroke

A card that’s better in EDH when you are playing against worse decks.  In battlecruiser-ville this is a hugely cheap counterspell vs big creatures, but those kind of games are generally full of people who hate counterspells.

As someone who plays a lot of battlecruiser magic I haven’t experienced much counterspell hate, but yeah this card is great. A huge amount of the time this just has the same text as Counterspell.

 

Draugr Thought-Thief

Um this is okay in the sense it can be used to be a dick to people who have tutored using one of the instant 1 mana tutors, but that’s uncommon enough you’d get to interfere that it doesn’t seem relevant to me.

Funny, but there’s a reason Thought Scour isn’t played in EDH.

 

Frost Augur

I think this is one of the playable snow cards, it’s essentially a second Scrying Sheets, except blue, and cheaper.

Agreed, there’s a bunch of mono blue control decks with Sheets and Extraplanar Lense already out there running snow lands to break the symmetry, and this slots right in as a little value engine.

 

Frostpeak Yeti

Too expensive

Annoying in limited, a skip elsewhere.

 

Frostpyre Arcanist

Well this is part of the whole Giant Wizard subtheme, neat, meaningless in commander.

This is weirdly kind of a nice ‘throwback’ to the days when cards were actually printed without being tweaked with EDH in mind. That means it’s useless for us, but still, neat!

 

Giant’s Amulet

Well this is the blue version of “artifact that you can pay to get a token creature when it enters the battlefield” but you’ll note that this one is basically playable, equip 2 giving hexproof while untapped is possibly in the zone for certain creatures.

I just can’t see myself playing this when Swiftfoot Boots and Lightning Greaves already exist.

 

 

Glimpse the Cosmos

This is definitely playable, full stop. There are good giants, and it’s a typical blue look at top and reshuffle type effect. A bit on the weak side as it costs 2 and is sorcery speed, but the ability to recast it from your grave makes it useable.

Goes in a specific deck but yeah this is perfectly fine.

 

Graven Lore

Yeah, it’s important that blue have great card draw, because blue is good at having good cards, easily the best ability in the color pie.

Weirdly nice to see blue get some more good card draw, green has been so pushed in that regard recently that it has kind of felt like blue stopped being the best card draw color.

 

Icebind Pillar

Um so I guess Icy Manipulator needed a slightly stronger reprint.  For all that I think it’s kind of neat, but not very relevant to EDH.

Neat but not relevant is exactly correct for me also.

 

Icebreaker Kraken

Too expensive; in theory you could drop it with 6 snow lands on the board for 6 but not for EDH.  Maybe if it was all opponents, you could generate a weird lock with it.

There are Thassa and Arixmethes sea monster decks that will love this, but outside of those narrow windows this won’t see play.

 

Inga Rune-Eyes

Oh wow more card draw for blue. Well it’s on death, and a lot of creatures have to have died, so not that great, though it has scry 3 on ETB, which is nice, but 3/3 for 4 isn’t going to cut it in many decks.

I actually like this for Wizard tribal lists where you’re likely to have flicker shenanigans already to get repeated scry 3, and then when the board eventually gets wiped you get to draw 3.

 

Karfell Harbinger

Conditional mana dorks for blue is a long running theme, and this is yet another example of “a card that exists” and won’t see much, if any, play.

Too conditional.

 

Littjara Kinseekers

Changelings can be quite strong, but this one is going to end up a 3/5 for 4 at best with a scry, so probably not going to cut it.

Being a changeling is not enough to offset how little the rest of this card does.

 

Mists of Littjara

This is space left blank intentionally.

Nooooope.

 

Mistwalker

This is a shapeshifter that does something, though 3 for a 1/4 that’s slightly pumpable doesn’t seem all that appealing.

Again, the rest of the text just doesn’t do enough for me.

 

Mystic Reflection

This card is potentially huge, in EDH getting multiple copies of something is often key to creating a loop or something.  I love the foretell effect for a combo piece like this so you can fetch it then hide it in exile.

This card is absolutely bonkers good. Opponent is getting a massive creature OR planeswalker, even if they are cheating it into play so you can’t counter it? Hey how would you like an Elvish Mystic instead? Yeah my Avenger of Zendikar is pretty great with 10 lands, but what if instead each of those plant tokens was another Avenger? That’s just barely scraping the surface of the uses of the card. Absolutely one of the best cards in the set to me.

 

 

Orvar, the All-Form

This is potentially hugely abusable. I’m sure you can build a deck around this and pure ETBs, but in combination with enters battlefield effects and flickers, this gets you tokens that generate more ETBs when you flicker. The weird “when discarded” effect is really useful too, and will come up from time to time.

Extremely good build around ability. There’s not a ton to say about it really, it’s powerful but linear, so do the thing it tells you to do.

 

Pilfering Hawk

Oh good more blue card draw / card selection, in a 1/2 flying package. Yeah. Color pie. Balance. Right. Though in truth given that there isn’t exactly a dearth of strong card draw in EDH it’s doubtful you’ll see much of this though it’s also snow that doesn’t cost snow, and racking up snow permanents may help in some scenarios.

This effect is fine when it’s a damage trigger, having to chose between attacking with your flyer or looting is a nonstarter for me.

 

Ravenform

Exiling creature and artifact removal that gives a bird with foretell seems quite on point to me, and potentially really useful in EDH, though sorcery speed is quite slow.

Sorcery speed isn’t perfect, but it’s another way added to the very short list of ways to exile a creature with blue, and now you can hit artifacts too, something blue typically struggles with, so this is great.

 

Reflections of Littjara

Well obviously making copies of spells is potentially enormous, and thankfully this only requires 1 colored mana, which makes it much more tenable in multicolor decks.  I think giant wizard is the default option here, but there’s other tribes as well, rogues, for example.

Fantastic card. Is your deck one of the many that is already running Kindred Discovery? Slot this right in for fun and profit. Even better if you can get a Doubling Season effect for extra tokens.

 

Run Ashore

Too expensive to see much play, though this does have potential recursion and loops with it.

Way too much mana.

 

Rune of Flight

Okay, this feels like the generic ability you’d expect on a blue rune so, good job.

Yeah this took about 1 second to design.

 

 

Saw it Coming

A 3 cost unconditional counterspell that you can foretell for 2 and then cast later for 1U seems really strong to me.

I think this is probably great in like standard, but for EDH there’s so many good options that cost 2, or cost 3 but exile the spell, or are straight up free, that I am doubtful this makes the cut. Maybe sitting down with it the play pattern will change my mind but I’m not feeling it.

 

Strategic Planning

This is a useful card, lets you get rid of something or stash it in the yard for recursion and you know exactly what’s on top of your library, or can shuffle it away with crack lands.

Fine, with putting things in your graveyard being an upside.

 

Undersea Invader

Um… Okay well it’s a 5/6 with flash for 6, okay it enters tapped I guess that’s a thing.

It sure is a Giant.

 

 

Black

Blood on the Snow

Yeah, this is a cool card, I like it, 6 mana is a lot but you can clear all creatures and then return a creature.  Actually this will fit right into my Atraxa deck, except I don’t think I have enough snow lands.  Though I do think it’s kind of sad that Wrath effects are no longer confined to white, but I guess the color pie really only exists to remind us to play blue.

Love it. Black has a ton of great wraths already, and this fits right in to mid to high tier I think.

 

Bloodsky Berserker

1B for a 1/1 that can get +2/+2 anytime you cast your second spell in a turn is potentially quite the beater.  Menace is icing on the cake, but sadly it’s a berserker, which is not typically a strong tribe.

This is one of those cards that is dangerous enough that your opponent has to get rid of it, but annoying to have to spend removal on a 2 drop. Not great for EDH but solid in standard and limited.

 

Burning-Rune Demon

This is a strong tutor for more cards effect that forces your opponent to figure out what you want and lets you stash something in the yard.

Let’s be real, you’re playing black in EDH, so this really reads as tutor 2 cards to your hand. One of the most fun things in Magic is making your opponent make Fact or Fiction piles, and this is almost equally great because you know they’re screwed either way.

 

Crippling Fear

I think this is a really really strong card for black, 2BB is a manageable cost and you can choose something really obscure (like obsianius) though you probably have to choose a “real” made up creature type, but even so you can definitely find one that is rarely played (when is the last time you saw a homarid?)

You do have to choose a type that actually exists in the game, but yes it’s trivially easy to pick something your opponent doesn’t have. Languish was great in standard and sees no play in EDH and I expect this to be similar, though the one sided potential will surely make some people slot it into tribal decks.

 

Deathknell Berserker

Yawn, pass.

Way too much work for a zombie token.

 

Demonic Gifts

Well this is potentially a recursion effect and is even potentially loopable with cards that return cards, but such effects make for tempting targets for a 2:1, and don’t do anything when a creature gets exiled, given the prevalence of Path to Exile and Swords to Plowshares and Reality Shift I don’t expect this to get much mileage.

Not the worst combat trick but not playable outside of limited.

 

Dogged Pursuit

If you did some kind of stax effect, this still wouldn’t do enough, and it really seems like you ought to gain life equal to the amount lost.

Perfect for annoying a table enough to form a temporary truce to kill you while not doing nearly enough to kill them.

 

 

Draugr Necormancer

This is an interesting effect, and obviously is potentially powerful, though generally black decks want creatures to die and sit in graveyards.

I absolutely love this. Extremely on theme and gives you some degree of graveyard hate, though there will absolutely be times this is a nonbo with other effects in your deck. Still worth it.

 

Draugr Recruiter

Okay this definitely is a playable boast ability, but 4 for a 3/3 and then return creatures screams limited to me.

Absolutely limited fodder.

 

Draugr’s Helm

Oh here is the ETB make a token creature for way to much in black in the set and it gives menace.  Yawn.  Deathtouch is a much better equip ability, and would be potentially meaningful.

Way too expensive for the effect.

 

Dread Rider

6 for a 3/7 that lets you exile creature cards, from your graveyard, then someone loses 3 life and .. yawn.

Pass.

 

Dream Devourer

I do like the idea of foretelling your hand out then discarding due to an effect, and this would let you achieve that, but depending on a 0/3 creature in a 99 card deck is not really tenable.

I’m sure there’s some fun stuff you can do with this but other than breaking the symmetry on discard effects nothing is immediately leaping to mind.

 

Duskwielder

Okay well it’s a 1/2 elf for B, that lets you steal life when you attack so that’s not terrible but not really much impact.

Not bad, but also not for EDH.

 

 

Elderfang Disciple

1B to force everyone else to discard whenever it enters the battlefield is nothing to sneeze at.  Helpfully it’s an elf, as they have been pushing elves in black and B/G elves for a bit now.

Asymmetrical discard on a body that can be flickered or recurred, I’m here for it.

 

Eradicator Valkyrie

2BB for a 4/3 flier with lifelink and hexproof from planeswalkers, and boast that can force everyone to sacrifice a creature is pretty big.  Repeatable sacrificing is pretty rare, and can force a sort of soft lock on people, so I think this is definitely potentially playable, also in angel tribal its pretty good.

Very good. It’s solid on rate alone, and then the boast ability is both perfect for what black, Orzhov, or Jund decks want to be doing, and strapped to a flyer so you actually have an extremely good chance of being able to activate it more than once.

 

Feed the Serpent

Well this just costs too much, even for the flexibility of taking out a planeswalker as well.

Vraska’s Contempt saw a ton of standard play and I expect this will do the same, even without the life gain.

 

Grim Draugr

Too expensive

No thanks.

 

Hailstorm Valkyrie

In limited this could be playable, otherwise too expensive, even in angel tribal.

In EDH you absolutely have much better ways to be spending your mana.

 

Haunting Voyage

It’s a cool picture, it costs so much though for returning two creatures, and its foretell cost comes in at 9 total mana to achieve a Patriarch’s Bidding effect.

Powerful but yeah I think you have more cost effective ways of doing this.

 

Infernal Pet

Okay so another creature that gets +1/+1 counters when you cast your second spell each turn creature, again this could turn into quite the beater but it’s a slow burn.

More limited fodder.

 

Jarl of the Forsaken

I hate these “kill a thing that you almost killed” effects; it’s only situationally good, and this costs 4 for a 3/2 so, pass. Its redeeming quality however is that it’s a Zombie Cleric, both potentially important tribes.

Definitely going to get you in limited, but I think both Zombies and Clerics have enough powerful cards that this is never going to make your 99.

 

Karfell Kennel-Master

Without flash this card is lackluster 5 for a 4/4 that gives +1/+0 and indestructible to two creatures.  But for limited, probably huge.

Agreed.

 

Koma’s Faithful

Well when it dies you mill and it has lifelink so that’s cool in elf ball.

Fine I guess.

 

 

Poison the Cup

I think this is good creature removal, you can foretell it and leave it sitting out there, then get a scry for your trouble.

Yeah this is a solid playable.

 

Priest of the Haunted Edge

Well this is, yeah, no.

So much work for so little effect.

 

Raise the Draugr

Returning two creatures that share a type to your hand doesn’t cut it.

Thematic but bad outside of limited.

 

Return Upon the Tide

For some elves this might be doable, so only really in tribal decks.

At least it puts it directly in to play.

 

Rise of the Dread Marn

I do like this spell, foretell cost is only 1 and you can wait for a wrath effect to clear the board, and then get a pile of 2/2s for your trouble.

Being able to foretell it so you only have to hold 1 mana up makes this actually pretty solid.

 

 

Rune of Mortality

Okay well, this is the source of deathtouch, and this, in my opinion, is potentially really playable.  Drop this on something like a Mayhem Devil and you have a very dangerous situation, and it’s a cantrip, and you can cantrip it onto an equipment so your opponent’s can’t so easily 2:1, however that’s a lot of moving pieces for a pinger with deathtouch.

Definitely in the running for the best of the runes.

 

Skemfar Avenger

This is good.  Playable.  Really playable, huge in elf ball and even just decks running the good mana dorks it’ll potentially draw you a lot of cards.  Notable that even if the avenger himself is on the way to the graveyard due to a Blasphemous Act you’ll still get the draws off the other cards.

Goes in a specific deck but this is very good.

 

Skemfar Shadowsage

This is hovering in tribal playable territory, especially given elf ball and recursion type abilities, you could easily use this as a finisher, as it’s basically a variant on Gray Merchant of Asphodel.

Both BG Elves and WB Clerics love drain and gain effects already, so this slots right in perfectly.

 

Skull Raid

For commander this probably isn’t good enough; a discard card that nets you draw if they don’t discard is quite nice though.

Agreed.

 

Tergrid’s Shadow

Each player sacs two creatures is potentially a huge effect, and 2 and 4 means it can come out relatively quickly, essentially generally resetting the board and will frequently clear out commanders since players will often have 1 utility creature to protect vs a single sacrifice effect, but not two, though your mileage may vary depending on your meta.

Very good, especially because you will likely be set up to gain advantage off of sacrificing your creatures as well.

 

Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire

So wow, this demon rogue has a built in, reusable tutor for 2 and you can target a player for it and it’s a 2/3 with deathtouch so if they want to block it they will lose almost whatever blocks so… this is one of the standouts of the set.

Repeatable tutor that makes your opponent make hard choices due to the deathtouch, I’m all about it.

 

 

Vengeful Reaper

So Flying, deathtouch, and haste on a 2/3 is okay, angel clerics are the thing (alongside angel berserkers) just like blue and red giant wizards and red and white dwarf warriors so, maybe in tribal.

Standard tribal or nowhere most likely.

 

Village Rites

Reprint, but really cool art.

Powerful death metal energy and I’m here for it.

 

Weigh Down

Cards like this would be really neat if it was a utility of exiling a creature from any graveyard, but it isn’t so, oh and it’s a sorcery.

Decent kill spell for limited.

 

Withercrown

Well this is awful aside from maybe with Hateful Eidolon in standard.

Just kill the creature with actual removal. Pass.

 

 

Red

Anri Brokenbrow

Okay well that’s a cool name, I guess he has a horn stuck in his face.  Arni Hornee?  No?  Get it?  Do you get it?  Do you get it?

Okay haste and 1: set his power to the greatest among other creatures.  Well that’s a medium strength beater who gets bigger, I think the ability is neat and makes sense sort of but no real impact to commander.

Gets big but that’s about it.

 

Axgard Cavalry

This is an effect red has wanted for a long time and is quite useful. Many decks run Torchbearer for the same functionality and a one shot, so probably will see some play as a utility card. Granted Torchbearer itself can come out and immediately sac to give haste, which is kind of nice, but you can use this more than once, which is also kind of nice.

Too small of an effect for battlecruiser magic where you want this on an enchantment affecting all of your creatures.

 

Basalt Ravager

Oh okay another giant wizard so, giant wizard time.  It’s an okay ability, sadly I don’t think stacking up creature types will generate more X (i.e. creatures that share both giant and wizard).  Combos okay with Naban, Dean of Iteration.

Theoretically interesting but if you have enough creatures in play to deal with EDH level threats, your gameplan is probably already working.

 

Breakneck Berserker

This card is boring and bad.

Essentially vanilla.

 

 

Calamity Bearer

This is kind of scary, you could clone this repeatedly in commander and wreak a lot of havoc or come out of nowhere with a kill card (like Basalt Ravager)

My Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas Giant tribal deck is EXTREMELY on board for this. Straightforward but powerful.

 

Cinderheart Giant

This is pretty expensive at 7 CMC but it is a 7/6 with trample that deals 7 when it dies, with various kinds of recursion and things like Calamity Bearer around I can see making a deck around it.

I’m less on board for this, there are enough decent Giants that what is basically just a beater probably doesn’t make the deck.

 

Craven Hulk

Well a 4/4 for 4 that can’t block alone is pretty meaningless.

At least it can attack alone I guess.

 

Crush the Weak

This is a pretty bog standard “deal damage to all creatures” spell in red, with of course the set mechanic spided in.  Nonetheless I think a foretell for 2 and then dumping your hand

Maybe standard playable, but not for EDH.

 

Demon Bolt

Okay I guess lightning bolt is really broken if this is how bad a card has to be to deal 4 damage.  Sure it’s a nuke with foretell, pretty predictable this would exist.

Bolt is genuinely insanely strong but yeah, this is pretty much expected.

 

Doomskar Titan

Technically not a titan, but rather a giant, but I guess all titans are actually giants. Anyways, this guy gives your creatures +1/+0 and haste, which is neat, but 6 for a 4/4, or 5 with Foretell is just too much.

Granting your team haste for a turn would be way more impressive if this didn’t cost as much as it does. Unlikely you will ever grant a creature other than itself the ability.

 

 

Dragonkin Berserker

I think this card is eminently playable, he makes dragons, which costs 5, but  since he reduces the coast of boast abilities by 1 for every dragon you control this could easily get nuts, especially in a set with a bunch of changelings.

Slots in to Dragon or Changeling tribal decks great, where your opponents will be extremely thankful you can only activate the boast once per turn.

 

 

Dual Strike

This is sort of a weird fork effect, but it only targets the next spell you cast, and it has foretell.  So potentially a neat card, but I’m not sure what you want to copy with it.  In commander any number of powerful tutors are under 4 CMC, as well as some really strong spells, especially perhaps things that you overload, though the most commonly overloaded spell “just” returns permanents to players hands.

Great for the kind of decks where you’re Forking a Reiterate of a Ritual something something Grapeshot.

 

Dwarven Hammer

Oh right, this is the red version of “tribal weapon” when it enters pay, make a token of “tribal type” and attach it.  For all that this hammer may be one of the more playable of the attaching token type equipment.

Sadly it probably is one of the better Equipment, yeah.

 

Dwarven Reinforcements

4 to get 2 2/1 tokens, that don’t have haste or trample or anything.  There are some things that trigger off berserkers, so perhaps in conjunction with those sagas, or cards like Anointed Procession, there is something to be done.

Fine I guess, though the creature types limit the appeal.

 

Fearless Liberator

Well this seems potentially playable in standard, since you can drop it then next turn double it, but only in an aggro deck and then if you’re on curve you are not answering your opponent’s, and later game a 2/1 probably isn’t going to cut it.

Definitely not meant for EDH.

 

Fearless Pup

Cool art, but 1 for a 1/1 first strike that is pumpable probably isn’t much of anything.

Designed specifically for Space Wolf players. Awoooo!

 

Frenzied Raider

Gaining +1/+1s for boasting seems neat in a boast deck, but as per usual there is no good multicolor boast boosting commander, which I find disappointing.

Solid in not-EDH

 

Frost Bite

Oh okay this is shock but turns into lightning bolt if you have 3 snow permanents.  It seems like the target should get tapped or not untap or something but maybe that would be too much.

I think this is probably going to be extremely strong out of the gates at the very least, when mono red aggro frequently dominates a format before it gets solved. The main things balancing it are that it doesn’t fully become a Bolt until turn 3, and it can’t go to your opponent’s face, which I think was probably for the best.

 

Goldspan Dragon

Well I like the idea of dragons that have some interaction with treasures, and as easy as it is to make a lot of treasure now I think this has a lot of potential upside.  Also you drop it for 5, it has haste so you can attack turn 1 and get one of your treasure tokens, I think it’s definitely viable.

Powerful ability that is both thematically perfect and also helps you ramp out your more expensive Dragons. Love it.

 

Hagi Mob

I like the idea of pinging things, but 5 for a 5/4 that can ping once per turn when it attacks for even more mana just doesn’t seem like it pays off.

Way too expensive.

 

Immersturm Raider

I liked back when you could cheat your way through these draw + discard spells by having no cards in hand, and this raider is kind of disappointing in that regard.  The idea of dumping your hand to foretell and then getting free draws because of it doesn’t seem overly powerful to me.  Alas here we are with a 2/1 for 2 that does a discard/draw trigger.

Rummaging is fine I guess.

 

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

I wish this card had partner it seems like a dwarf/dragon via treasure deck would be neat.  Right now a fair amount of dwarves are white.  But I suppose you can slot this into the 99 in some kind of weird dwarf deck.

I think this slots in to a Depala, Pilot Exemplar 99 rather than ever being your commander. Very solid roleplayer in that deck though.

 

Open the Omenpaths

This is a weird card, either netting yourself 1 mana or else giving your creatures +1/+0

A pretty fair ritual.

 

Provoke the Trolls

Okay it’s a nuke that can also be used to give a creature +5 damage, and could have some hilarious upsides, like with Brash Taunter and Stuffy Doll, but 4 mana is probably too much.

I could see it being fun in a Zada, Hedron Grinder deck when you have your buff train rolling.

 

 

Quakebringer

I love this card. I think it’s neat, on point for red, fits into a red game plan, and does damage from the yard is really cool, and it has foretell which is, also okay. You do need a giant, but any changeling will do, and there are plenty of playable giants, like the misnomered titans, for example.

I ALSO love this card, especially in the aforementioned Kalemne deck. Stacking multiples of these in your yard in standard seems like it can get out of hand quickly.

 

Reckless Crew

This definitely seems like it could be a kind of crazy card, it’s not that hard to get equipment, and some sort of Boros deck, getting lots of dwarves which in combination with Magda, Brazen Outlaw are tapping into vehicles to create treasures which grabs dragons seems like a thing, but it’s hard to say how doable that combo is.

Also slots into Depala.

 

Run Amok

So a 2 cost giant growth with trample, and only on an attacking creature.  Well thematically this is up reds alley, though I could also see it doing damage to the creature, actually in my opinion what would’ve been really neat is a spell that does like 2 damage to the creature then gives it +3/+5 to “make up for” it but also to use it as a back up shock.  This could be used in one punch decks.

Solid for both Zada and Shu Yun type decks.

 

Rune of Speed

The runes are probably playable in the sense of being cantrips that you can then put onto equipment.  I do like the archetype and I hope that WotC does more runes, though I don’t think they will.

Haste is a powerful ability, being able to stick it on to a piece of Equipment as a rider isn’t bad.

 

 

Seize the Spoils

This is how red draws cards now, basically cycling for selection, but this nets you a treasure, and sometimes you want things in your yard.

Get that Quakebringer in your yard early.

 

Shackles of Treachery

I feel like in a weird meta this could be a strong card, but most people I know don’t use much equipment, but if you potentially get a 2 or 3 for 1 that’s quite powerful. Of course in the politically charged atmosphere of commander that is also potentially dangerous, hurting one player that badly without generating a win.

There’s a ton of theft effects, almost none of which are playable outside of narrow deck archetypes.

 

Smashing Success

Okay, this is instant land destruction, which is basically unheard of it, and if you destroy an artifact you get a treasure, I like the flexibility and the reward for destroying an artifact, but I’m not sure at 4 cmc this is really a doable spell.

I’m extremely on board for this card because playing Armageddon and Ponza are among my favorite things to do in Magic, because I’m a bad person.

 

Squash

Well this seems very on point for the wizard giant tribal deck and otherwise not so much.  Also fits well into the “excess damage” category.

Completely agree.

 

 

Tibalt’s Trickery

People who are very online about magic are very excited about this card because you could potentially cast your own spell for free with it, and if you do it correctly put out a really big permanent like omniscience, but putting a card 2 down into your deck isn’t that easy.  Blue can do it, so that’s where you’d probably see this comboed.  What it is is a red counterspell, something which I think was previously unheard of.

Boy is this ever an extremely red ability, while also kind of completely breaking the color pie, or at least the modern one. Red Elemental Blast has gotten a blow up glow up and I’m all about it.

 

Tormentor’s Helm

This just seems bad.  I guess if they are blocking with that big oxen then you are kind of doing a rodeo?

Hard pass.

 

 

Tundra Fumarole

This is a really neat card, really rewards snow decks, letting you basically destroy creatures and get the mana back, and you can carry it through phases and steps.  This was previously a green ability which apparently has shifted to red recently, as there is now this and a dragon with a similar ability. To me it doesn’t seem like a big deal, but again, very magically online people are upset about power creep in snow lands.

This set is definitely not doing anything to change the ‘why would I ever run basic lands’ meta outside of the one hate Angel. Pretty powerful to kill stuff for free, outside of the possible inconvenience of the mana becoming colorless.

 

Tuskeri Firewalker

Well card advantage is card advantage, and this gives it to red, in the dangerous exiling way that red gets card draw now.  But thankfully it’s a “play” vs cast trigger so if you end up with a land and haven’t made your land drop you’re okay.

Solid if unexciting.

 

Vault Robber

Getting rid of creatures in your yard for treasures is a decent trade off, but I’m quite shocked you can’t do other peoples graveyards, or perhaps a triggered ability when it deal combat damage to a player that then lets you exile for a card or some such.

Interesting ramp in red I suppose.

 

 

Green

Arachnoform

I guess this makes you a spider. Changeling. Spider-changeling. With reach and all creature types and +2/+2. Can all changelings turn into spiders or what? Are we seeing a Marvel tie in being previewed?

Making something a changeling is potentially interesting.

 

Battle Mammoth

This ability, drawing off targeting, is definitely a powerful ability.  5 for a 6/5 with Trample is probably okay in a semi-battlecruiser type environment with that ability.  And it also has foretell, so 2 and 4 later isn’t so bad, to get it out on turn 3 possibly.  (land, elf; land, elf, foretell; mammoth).

Because god forbid something happens involving green without it drawing a card these days. Plus it’s just solid on rate alone.

 

 

Blessing of Frost

The concept of snow sorceries is pretty cool,  and this lets you put +1/+1 counters, distributing any number of counters however you want is actually a fairly powerful ability, especially with certain doubler and adding cards and some creatures that potentially allow you to take turns for adding counters, so I think this does have potential, in the right kind of deck, probably something like Atraxa.

Another effect that has existed and was pretty meh, but when you strap a bunch of card draw on it as well, turns out it’s pretty damn strong.

 

Blizzard Brawl

A fight for G is great, and if you have snow permanents it gets indestructible and +1/+0, that’s pretty awesome to be honest.  In the right deck and as removal it’s great.

This is absolutely going to be brutal removal for a lot of decks.

 

Boreal Outrider

This fits into the “giving +1/+1 counters via snow” and is a useful ability in the right scenario.

Free counters for chosing the right type of lands, what’s not to like?

 

Broken Wings

This is a more expensive more powerful disenchant, and I think green needs more cards like this, more instant speed interaction, to make mono-green commander decks less of a “please stop him I’m a helpless baby” scenarios.

Most sets have some way of doing these things at common in green, but this is the first one I can remember doing all three on one card.

 

Elderleaf Mentor

4 for a 3/1 and a 1/1, is probably a nope for me unless I really need a lot of elves or elf tokens or something.  There are a fair amount of ways to let elves tap for mana so that could be a payoff.

You can find better Elf token makers than this.

 

 

Elven Bow

Oh wow I never saw this cycle completing with another tribal equipment that you can pay for it to create a tribal token. G and 2 isn’t so bad, but +1/+2 and reach are fairly meaningless abilities.

A resounding meh.

 

Elvish Warmaster

If you find a way to get around the impediments, like Leyline of Anticipation, this could potentially be a huge elf generator for you, and it also has a built in Overrun type ability, which will combo particularly well with the elvish legend in this set.

Combined with a mana sink that makes Elves, this is fantastic.

 

Esika’s Chariot

Apparently they just flat out stole part of the art for this card from a photo, but at least it’s a cool photo.  Um well creating cat tokens is very, interesting, 2/2s with no ability is pretty boring.  But copying tokens is potentially a big deal, you could be copying Marit Lage with this.  Potentially.  Or using Orvar and then copying that token again with more tokens.  Copies!  Tokens!  this could go absolutely nuts if you could think of a way to copy Orvar by making the legend rule not apply, hopefully there haven’t been any cards that copy legendaries but turn them non-legendary, or you’d get an absolutely absurd amount of tokens very quickly.

Yeah this can get out of control extremely fast.

 

 

Fynn, the Fangbearer

So I think this card has a huge amount of potential as part of a poison and or infect deck.  There are a decent number of ways to give deathtouch and infect, and it lets you kill people straight out with only 5 creatures, which isn’t that much in the grand scheme of things.  Sadly this guy costs 2, and thankfully he has 3 toughness, but he’s an easy target once you drop him since he’s potentially game ending for someone.

As a player we have established as being The Worst, I love love love getting poison counter support, especially as it sure seems like we are about to see Phyrexia extremely shortly. Absurdly dangerous for your opponents not to kill on sight.

 

Glittering Frost

Good card all around, turns it snow, additional mana of any color, slots right into enchantress decks in a useful way.

These effects are always good in the right kind of decks.

 

Gnottvold Recluse

It’s like a big spider, but has more power than toughness, which is unusual for spiders.

Pass.

 

Grizzled Outrider

This is one of the larger elves I remember seeing, so it has that going for it.

Actually factually vanilla, no thanks.

 

Guardian Gladewalker

Okay it’s a changeling that gives a +1/+1, which could be useful for some things and fits into some decks as its, well a changeling, but nothing too exciting here.

Another changeling that doesn’t do enough.

 

 

Horizon Seeker

I think re-useable land tutoring is good, snow-lands are basic lands, so that’s neat, 3 to get out and 2 to use is a lot of mana to invest in a potential land tutor for a basic though, and it’s not an elf, but rather a human warrior, which generally tend to be white (though obviously not always).

Kind of a lot of time until you actually get your ramp, but it’s not bad overall.

 

Icehide Troll

I think this is a cool snow ability, but probably not very playable.  But you can use it when attacking for beatings.  I guess regeneration is really out of favor.

Annoying in limited.

 

In Search of Greatness

Another card that people who are extremely online are extremely excited about.  This has a lot of potential, but because it’s very exacting, you have to be quite careful with deck construction, as you need to use it to ramp into permanents ever costing +1 mana, which requires either tutors or a lot of card selection.  Still casting spells for free is often pretty nice, and I like that it has a “if you don’t, have this” sort of raincheck, which coincidentally helps you to perform the action next time.

An extremely powerful effect that I probably don’t have the patience to figure out exactly how many cards of what costs I need for it.

 

Jaspera Sentinel

1 for a 1/2 with reach and tap, tap an untapped creature you control, add one mana of any color. Occasionally it’s useful to be able to tap things arbitrarily (like if you have that legendary Dwarf) and there are those few cards with the untap cost, but generally green has better mana dorks than this.

At least it only costs one to cast I guess.

 

King Harad’s Revenge

Must be blocked can be useful, and +1/+1 for each creature is okay, trample is nice, but a sorcery that does this, and for 3, seems too much to me.

Fine for breaking board stalls, especially in limited.

 

Littjara Glade-Warden

Well, alongside something like Sage of the Hours this is potentially a combo enabler, exiling creature cards as a cost is apparently a new big thing, and this slots right in as a changeling I suppose.

It’s fine if not exciting.

 

Mammoth Growth

So it’s giant growth but +4/+4 but with foretell it only costs as much as giant growth on the turn you use it, which is potentially okay.

Another card probably best left in limited.

 

Masked Vandal

2 for a 1/2 that lets you exile an artifact or enchantment opponent controls for exiling a creature card from your graveyard is very good in my opinion, and definitely playable.

Green gets a lot of destruction effects like this, but being able to exile instead is very valuable.

 

Old-Growth Troll

GGG for a 4/4 with Trample is a-okay, and this return ability is really neat lets you turn the forest into another troll, which can be quite useful when you’re late game with lots of forests and not enough trolls.

I dig it, recursive threats are great.

 

Path to the World Tree

So it’s a basic land tutor that you sac for 7 to do a lot of stuff, none of which actually involves the world tree, which is a card in this set.  I’m confused.  I can’t see any way to do anything great with this, but a card that does this many things usually has some potential.

It definitely does the things you would expect of the activated ability.

 

Ravenous Lindwurm

6 for a 6/6 that you gain 4 life. Maybe playable in standard against aggro?

Yeah I don’t see much demand for this.

 

 

Realmwalker

This is a huge card, slotting really well into say, elf decks, though also possibly some sort of weird Temur giant wizard deck, casting spells off the top is really strong, since it’s potentially unlimited card advantage, and even just looking at your top card can be quite useful.  It’s bizarre to me that green is getting this and masked vandal because usually blue gets the crazy cards like this.  I expect to see this all over in tribal decks, elves, maybe warriors, maybe druids.

Are you playing a tribal deck with green in it? Your 99 just became a 98. Unlike Garruk’s Horde, this actually comes down fast enough to get you value.

 

Rootless Yew

So when it dies you get a card, that’s neat, but 5 for a 5/4 that’s all it does is probably too much to invest in the hopes of trading up a card.

Maaaaybe in a Treefolk deck? It’s not great.

 

Roots of Wisdom

Again they are working these insurance policies into cards, so you get to mill, you get to return a land or elf, then if you can’t (not choose not to) you get to draw instead.  I didn’t know mill was particularly a green thing though.

Solid little card.

 

Rune of Might

Well +1/+1 and trample is okay on a cantrip.

This is the other rune in contention for being the best one.

 

Sarulf’s Packmate

4 for a 3/3 that lets you draw a card is pretty mediocre.  It really feels like it should be a bit more complex, maybe tap any number of wolves and draw a card for each?  Also foretell at 1G, so that’s kind of nice so you can get it out early.

It’s a common that draws you a card, fine I guess.

 

Sculptor of Winter

So untapping lands is okay, there are ways to make them generate extra mana, theres the new enchantment that makes a land tap for more mana and is snow, that’s kind of a combo, there’s also the new snow lands, which I’ll cover later, but the utility ones enter tapped and some of them have worthwhile effects.  At 2 for a 2/2 with an untap I think this is a potentially playable elf dork, though it’s competing with cards like Deathrite Shaman and Noble Hierarch, which cost G and do a lot.

Untapping lands is extremely powerful, though limiting it to snow lands makes you have to do some work if you want to do anything truly busted.

 

Snakeskin Veil

Saving a creature via hexproof or giving it more toughness can be a useful thing, though sadly the hexproof fades.  Wizards is apparently very careful with unconditional permanent hexproof, understandably so.

Countering the kill spells aimed at your big creatures for G is great, and you even get a counter as a bonus.

 

Spirit of the Aldergard

This seems possibly like it could be put together with some other pieces in standard to make a deck that never misses land drops and ramps out big snow dependent creatures or else uses it to grab the snow utility lands.  At 4 though, in commander terms, that’s probably a non-starter.

It might get big enough in EDH, but with only 4 toughness and no evasion this is nothing.

 

Struggle for Skemfar

Why does this cost 4? I don’t understand… I see it has foretell, so you can get it for 3 but why does it have to cost so much in the same set as a better card that costs only G? I just don’t get it.

There’s a better fight card in the set already, pass outside of maybe limited.

 

 

Toski, Bearer of Secrets

This guy is huge. I mean, turning everything into a Thieving Magpie or a coastal piracy.  I don’t know, flavor wise, what this has to do with Ratatosk, who was a messenger, not some kind of berserker, and in fact probably had nothing to do with squirrels whatsoever it was a bad translation but wow.  Indestructible, can’t be countered, combat damage, big time.  Coastal Piracy for green.

SQUIRREL! I absolutely love it, completely unrelated to owning a deck affectionately named “Squirrel Storm.” For sane people, you’re here for the extremely powerful card draw ability.

 

Tyvar Kell

Okay well, sure, yes, okay, elf guy.  Planeswalker, make your elves generate B, neato, untap elves give them deathtouch probably not that meaningful, but elf tokens useful, and emblems that let you draw off elves, potentially quite huge.

Very strong, especially in green where you can ultimate him directly off of a Doubling Season if you want. All of the abilities are usefull too.

 

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

I guess in flavor country this is like a big deal because it means the Phyrexian invasion is coming or something.  But even so, doubling counters on permanents is potentially huge, like say Planeswalkers, which work in a really funky way, and similarly this cuts your opponents counters to half, rounded down, which means in the case of 1 counter, that’s 0 counters, which is in fact quite huge.  And it has trample and haste.  And is a 6/6 beater.  Well that’s definitely a combo piece.  Put out a planeswalker and immediately get an emblem is huge.

GUYS. PHYREXIA. I am beyond pumped for the return of one of the Big Bads of my youth. The card itself is extremely powerful without also making your friends want to strangle you in real life, so that can probably be considered an upgrade on the original Vorinclex.

 

Next Time: Multicolored, Artifacts, and Lands (Oh My)

That wraps up part one of our look at Kaldheim but join us next week when we cover the rest the set has to offer and talk about our overall thoughts on the set and its impacts on Commander and other formats. And in the meantime if you have any questions or feedback, drop us a note in the comments below or email us at contact@goonhammer.com.

 

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