Kaldheim Set Review — Artifacts and Lands
With Rime or Reason
Welcome to the Kaldheim set review for artifacts and lands. With a major influx of lands, there's a lot of ground to cover (heh), so we'll be looking at a few of the artifacts in depth and making sure we try and do our due diligence to the vast snowy landscapes that await us on Kaldheim. Grab your snow shoes and rucksacks, as I be youron this journey!
This thing has potential, but I think only in very specific builds. Lifegain is a long-standing archetype, coming in as the third most popular theme on EDHREC, comprising just north of 11,000 decks. Commanders like , , and might want to give this a try, as they are often poised to increase their life totals well above the starting 40, and the incidental lifegain along the way will only help their other lifegain synergies.
Outside of a dedicated lifegain deck, though, I think this card can be a trap. You should ask yourself: is paying four mana to incidentally gain two life a turn worth it, assuming it sticks around? Even if it is the same rate as paying for twos, I'm not sure it's worth it unless you have a means of mobilizing that life in some fashion. Frankly, I'm surprised it doesn't have a white casting cost to begin with.
I'm convinced this card is a
skeleton key . Turning all of your creatures into already opens up lots of quirky doors, let alone having a cheaper activation tacked onto it.
Some are obvious:'lord' tribal decks will likely have a ball with it, as it can shore up the 'other half' problem. decks often struggle to run efficient Scarecrows, and this allows them to just make any creature they want — not just Changelings — into a . will happily turn a board of s into pseudo- s, and can start tutoring for non-Allies, since, well, they're now also Allies. can double up any creature she plays, since they'd all be Wizards now.
But it goes much deeper.
suddenly makes all your creature spells free. Cards like and allow you to untap all of your creatures. , and give sizeable boosts to your board. brings back everything in your graveyard, no matter the phylogenic hodgepodge in their text boxes. , and can become blowouts.
Overall, I'm excited for this card, as it has the potential to help shore up under-supported tribes as well as expand into further possibilities for other weird tribal synergies.
Pyre of Heroes
is a notorious card, being banned in Modern, and seeing play in almost 12,000 decks on EDHREC. This one has a very similar effect, but unlike the Build-a-Bionicle workshop, it can slot into any EDH deck thanks to it being colorless. The drawback: it's tribal-restricted. Still, I think this card has potency. It will likely see play in tribal Aristocrat-ish decks, like Goblins, Clerics, or some tribal-leaning lists. I can also see it in toolbox-y, enter-the-battlefield-based tribal decks like Allies or Wizards. It also works really well with Changelings, though my money is seeing it in something wonky like Golems or Constructs.
Seasoned players will note the extreme similarities to the rare. Both and often pose a serious impediment to many graveyard-centric decks. Graveyards are frequently used as a conduit — an extension of one's hand and options — and these cards do well to keep the dead nice and tucked in. Both also prevent people from casting from their libraries, shutting down cards like , , , or .
So where doesdiffer from ? The Runestone's lack of creature restriction means it hits cards like , 's ultimate, , , , etc. Overall, the differences are relatively minor, and will do most of what the runestone will do at one mana cheaper. However, the uncommon aspect of this card can't be overlooked, and I for one am glad to see more graveyard hate being printed at lower rarities.
With an influx of new Vehicles, lead-foots can rejoice putting their pedal to the metal. While a Crew cost of 6 means you practically need an entire village's worth ofs to figure this thing out, at the end of the day it produces mana in white, which is great. My excitement for this card isn't so much the card itself, but what it could possibly foreshadow. White as a color often evokes a sense of agropastoral connection, emphasizing the importance of tilling the land, elbow grease, and community, and I genuinely hope this humble plow sows the seeds for similar cards to come. Seeing as how we got (with plow in hand!) in the Phantom Premonition precon, hopes are high!
This card feels like a mini-game. I don't envision it will turn up too much, but it may make an appearance in yourkind of lists or in other decks that want to Proliferate counters like . I can also see it being a bit of fun in Shrine-centric decks (e.g. ) since they tend to emphasize multiple upkeeps via or . Being a snow artifact also doesn't hurt it, incidentally synergizing with your snow synergies or building towards .
There's not much to say about these, other than it's great to have the cycle finished so soon. The six pathways were introduced in Zendikar Rising, and it's nice to see these being finished quickly, and with some art featuring a different plane. Two-color decks, rejoice!
Turns out, if you espouse "Winter is Coming" long enough, someday you'll be right. The Stark's brooding premonition has come to fruition, as now-covered basics have returned to Standard - the first time since Coldsnap (2006). That's despite Magic R&D lead designer Mark Rosewater saying as recently as 2017 "I'll never say never, but I'm highly skeptical we'd reprint them in a Standard-legal set." Never say never, indeed!
Whether EDH or another format, the issue is: there is little downside to not run snow-covered lands instead of just basic lands.
In fact, as of yet there are really only a handful of cards that punish players for playing snow, and they see abysmally little play:
- : 3 decks | 0.001% of eligible decks
- : 6 decks | 0.003% of eligible decks
- : 3 decks | 0.001% of eligible decks
- : 5 decks | 0.002% eligible decks
These cards only work against snow-inclusive decks, so the opportunity cost can absolutely whiff, and some of them still have upkeep costs to maintain them.may help, but not by much, especially when (8,418 decks), (2,346 decks), or the new just give you such tremendous advantages for swapping your basics with snow-covered ones.
While I'm excited for new snowy synergies and the lands becoming more affordable and accessible, I don't care for them outright displacing basic lands with minimal downside. Magic's vast array of artistic renditions of basic lands is part of the game's allure, and feeling pressure to lose out on your favorite 230+ landscapes for one of the six Snow-covered ones can leave a sour taste.
Snow Dual Taplands
Dual lands are back! Well, sort of. I'll admit, I was surprised to see two basic land typings at common rarity, with the snow super-type to boot. The drawback of course is that they come in tapped. So just how big of a splash will these make? Let's start by comparing them to their snowy tapped counterparts — the allied lands of Coldsnap:
- : 814 decks | 0.7% of eligible decks
- : 594 decks | 0.5% of eligible decks
- : 420 decks | 0.4% of eligible decks
- : 744 decks | 0.7% of eligible decks
- : 493 decks | 0.5% of eligible decks
Okay, so they don't see that much play, but I venture their limited color availability and single printing (and thus, price) might factor into this. Let's compare this with your more typical tap-lands:
- : 4,995 decks | 4.4% of eligible decks
- : 5,678 decks | 4.4% of eligible decks
- : 5,149 decks | 4.6% of eligible decks
- : 2,946 decks | 2.8% of eligible decks
- : 4,260 decks | 4.0% of eligible decks
- : 6,743 decks | 5.9% of eligible decks
- : 8,057 decks | 7.0% of eligible decks
- : 6,388 decks | 5.6% of eligible decks
- : 5,944 decks | 5.4% of eligible decks
- : 7,390 decks | 6.0% of eligible decks
Overall, I see these snowy dual tap lands either supplementing budget mana bases or even replacing some other tap lands without the basic land typing, just so yourcan grab exactly what you need. I think these will shine brightest in metas where speed and tempo aren't big concerns.
The World Tree
We arrive at Kaldheim Teaser Trailer where
Loki went from meme to dream, and where made cozy. Alluding to the canonical Yggdrasil, it's no wonder this thing is splashy. It may enter tapped (there's no Miracle-Gro for World Trees, after all), but it becomes a once you've hit six lands, and it has the capability to tutor for any number of God cards directly onto the battlefield for the cost of .
Any five-color deck can run this, and may indeed be right to, given its five-color identity and ability to help with color-fixing, but I think we'll see it crop up most in five-color God tribal lists, like or . Bonus points for using this in tandem with to get every creature out of your deck, regardless of creature type!lists, since he can fetch it out to help fix the rest of the mana base in a pinch to start activating his WUBRG ability. While I don't envision the second activated ability being emphasized as much, I could see it coming up in
As for why it's not legendary, Mark Rosewater stated on Twitter that it was due to 1) play pattern and 2) mana bonds. I sympathize with play pattern issues in non-singleton formats, but I do think The World Tree evokes a sense of, well, legend.
While this is sure to help your God-led commander deck (e.g., ) or Changeling deck, I think we all know is the real winner here. followed by means the bipedal burial now has access to two indestructible counters.
It's a snowman-land! Yes! I've been waiting so long to make that joke.
sees play in over 4,000 decks, and it has some neat interactions by having all creature types, such as drawing you cards off of , pumping your team further with , or making your even bigger. has similar potential. The vigilance is neat here as well, since you might have the potential to swing in for some damage in combat, then keep it untapped for mana later.
The art is also incredible, with enough subtle shades of whites and grays that would put the Home Depot painting department to shame. It looks like the wintery season of the album cover for Blood Mountain, and the flavor text (non-showcase version) just completes it. The set for metal indeed.
Two-color Tap Utility Lands
These two-color tap lands come with some major utility offerings in a pinch. While these will always come in tapped (short of an) and sacrifice themselves, they do have some notable payoffs among them. While some are scaled more to 1-on-1 formats (e.g. ), others seem particularly potent for EDH, such as reanimating a key creature with or tutoring an Equipment and an Aura for your new deck with . They are notably focused more towards that guild's preexisting mechanics or themes, so I think they're better-suited to two-color decks.
I'll lightning-round a super quick list of each and a commander or two that may take the most interest in each where applicable.
- : or
- : +
This is interesting, as it kind of functions similar to anin terms of tempo, but you lose out on the double Landfall trigger and deck shuffling. The snow typing is nothing to ignore, but I suppose an could just get your . You could use your to rip this off the top where you couldn't with , but most of the time, I see it as a nice budget inclusion and may well see play in Pauper EDH.
And let us know what you think about the not as in Bob and Doug McKenzie 'hoser')? Sound off in the comments below!of snow synergies coming into EDH with Kaldheim. Are you excited for the return of snow? Do you wish there were more snow-hosers (and no,