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Kaldheim Set Review – Blue
Winter is Coming
Gods, winter, Shapeshifters, Giants, and even more make their way to Commander with the release of Kaldheim. Honestly, blue has some of the strongest and strangest cards in the set, and I’m excited to hear what other people think about the set. Without waiting in the cold any longer, let’s get to the review!
As one of the first gods of Kaldheim previewed, Alrund immediately set the tone for what I wanted to see from the set. Pulling from the Norse myths, Alrund is our Odin analog complete with Huginn & Munnin combined into the singular. On the front, Alrund joins the ranks of card-advantage engine commanders in mono-blue that passively draw. I love having sub-games in my decks, and building around scrying is both fun and effective.
Otherwise, Alrund is your standard Esper commander precon page for ideas on how to get value from manipulating your top-deck. Overall, Alrund is one of the most thematic legends in the set, and I’m sure people will flock to him for it.with no keywords. I adore Hakka as a way for Alrund “dodge” the commander tax; the additional costs exist, but Hakka’s low converted mana cost ensure that Alrund is never too far from battle. Hakka doesn’t offer much outside of a flying body as a game goes on, but being able to Scry 2 after dealing combat damage is useful for smoothing out your draws early. If you want to dive deep into the divination game, check out the
Following the patterns of the past,is our obligatory set-mechanic extra turn spell. If you want more ways to take turns, congratulations, you have another option! If not, there’s likely little reason to play this over other options that are available if you have the choice. While I’m a fan of Foretell overall, I start to push back at higher mana costs. Epiphany is priced fairly, which hurts it in the long run.
While the focus of Kaldheim is pointed towards the modal double-faced Gods,might be one of the most powerful and intriguing legends in the set. Turning every targeted spell or targeted ability you own into an additional copy of any permanent you control is powerful.
However, the aspect of Orvar that intrigues me most is the amount of cards that are played nowhere: some immediate enablers that wind up in the brew pile include, , and . Will they make the final cut? Who knows, but Orvar encouraging the use of these cards is a win by itself. Not only that, but as a Changeling, Orvar can lean thematically into clones such as . Even if Orvar limits you to copying your own permanents, clones open up the entire field.
Additionally, apologies go out to MTGMuddstah, I don’t have the emotional attachment to overlook Orvar now.and the ‘tribal tribal’ decks it leads, but there’s a new commander in town. Unlike
and get a new sibling! However, if they are what to go off of, the Spirit’s chances are dreary as Warden and Figure are in a combined 600 decks. Snow by itself is it’s own hurdle, but it should be a low enough hurdle as snow is an all-or-nothing affair for mana. Typical of its brand, Ascendant’s first two abilities scale its size into a formidable 4/4 Angel. The last ability sets the spirit apart; gets two +1/+1 counters and gains the ability to draw a card off of combat damage. However, you can continuously stack this ability to gain multiple instances of this trigger. Combined with the newly printed or the recently reprinted , this can accelerate quickly into a glacier of card advantage on a monstrous flyer.
Fellow writer Doug Young asked recently about its interaction with , and I’m sure fellow Lazav players may be intrigued by being able to carry over this ability across multiple transformations.
There are few legends that match Cosima’s blend of theme and mechanical identity. As Cosima voyages to distant lands, you have the choice to return home with rewards or to continue exploring. It’s so perfect.
However, how does this legend fare as a commander or in the 99? Cosima is slow; she requires surviving until your next upkeep to even use her ability. Afterwards it turns every Landfall into the ability to draw a card, and return Cosima hardened by her voyage. As a commander, this narrows your deckbuilding to mono-blue ramp which is an incredible challenge with solid and surprising inclusions such asand .
Beyond the command zone, she can likely find a home within any Landfall deck with blue, such asor . Even saying all that, we haven’t discussed the back!
Fire up your sea shanties:is a boat as a commander! We don’t often see Vehicle tribal, but this is it. Turning our , , or into card advantage is just fun. Vehicles don’t have too much support as a whole, so this strategy already has a turbulent start. However, I’m sure we can invoke to guide our passage.
We’re going to see a healthy mix of decks that focus on either a single side or both, and I’m excited to see how people build her. My only wish is the ability to play both of these at the same time which is a sentiment I’ve seen expressed about many of the new Gods.
If you’re playing a Foretell deck, this is a slam-dunk to include. Honestly, your deck would be incomplete without it. Reducing Foretell costs by one is great as it offsets the common costing pattern in Kaldheim; the combined cost of Foretell and the delayed casting cost is typically one more than the standard casting cost. You’re very likely to skip this without a Foretell focus with someone likeor as this is only a flyer with flash otherwise.
We’ve seen this template of board wipe a few times before. Having to cast it from your hand continues to be both a balancing and limiting factor.currently appears in 3200 decks, but that number is misleading. That popularity is driven by over 3,000 Dinosaur decks led by , , or . Expect this card to only find a home in Wizard or Giant tribal decks, such as , but otherwise, it’s just a very large and expensive vanilla creature.
It feels like we get a card similar to Graven Lore each set. Set-mechanic-payoff followed by ‘draw three cards’ (a la) and I’m always happy to see more of these variants. Scry X that scales with lands is nothing to scoff for decks that are two or fewer colors, but three-color decks will likely skip this. If that’s the case, you can always fall back on the reliable favorite, . Among it’s contemporaries that went through standard, and see the most play with just over 2,000 decks each. These don’t see much play, but Graven Lore has the highest upside if you’re willing to put your lands on ice. in particular will enjoy it.
What’s a Norse plane without a Kraken? Sea Creatures theme of EDHREC are one or two colors. Including this card while also choosing snow lands is a small cost to get a discounted 8/8.is the next iteration of huge blue creatures that can protect themselves for a substantial cost. However, this terror is more than . Snow’s popularity as a subtheme might determine if Icebreaker Kraken can surpass the 1,000 decks that the Ancient makes its home. Otherwise, I think I’ll leave it at home because it lacks just a little. First, expensive effects that target a single opponent are usually dismissed for those that hit each opponent. Second, while the Kraken fittingly prevents artifacts and creatures from untapping (ie, it “freezes” them), it doesn’t actually tap down those permanents which leaves it to be more situational. It has a chance though. Most of the 600 decks under the
I’m usually more conflicted for how I rank cards within a given set, but I’m confidant thatis an easy pick for my Kaldheim Top 5. The combination of versatility, power, and cost is, frankly, ridiculous. A powerful effect on an instant for one generic and a blue should already raise eyebrows by itself.
on Twitter that Reflection combined with the venerable results in a ludicrous amount of creatures. Let’s assume we have ten lands in play for simplicity. Once Avenger enters the battlefield, you target it with Reflection while its token creation ability is on the stack. If both Reflection and Avenger’s ability resolve, we have ten copies of Avenger enter the battlefield that each then create ten Plant tokens. Yes, that is a lot.is both a reactive and proactive weapon for blue decks that you should be aware of. The Spike Feeders pointed out
While that’s powerful enough to warrant play, the defensive applications of Mystic Reflection are no slouch either. Turning an opponent’s game-winning threat or commander into aor something else harmless is incredible. This effect is permanent, too! Unless your opponent has a way to sacrifice or bounce their commander, it’s stuck as a harmless bird.
Rules note: be mindful of how layers work! While it’s tempting to shut down an opponentswith this, you’ll only reflect onto it if it’s entering as a creature.
You don’t need a specific reason to include this card, but if you’re seeking to maximize it, look to. Turning a single token into a massive threat means all of your tokens become that threat. The new can double up on whatever creature you’re about to get a copy of.
What a great card! Wait… it even has Foretell too? What!?
Oh… this is a powerful card. Zendikar Rising’sintroduced the concept of copying permanent spells on the stack, and we quickly get a tribal variations. If you’re playing a tribal deck with blue, I can’t imagine not giving this card some consideration. I could see some players evaluating this as too win-more or expensive, but I think this will find more homes than not.
Additionally, the card doesn’t just care about copying creatures. For the few tribes that has access to worthwhile cards with the Tribal type, this pulls even more work. In my own decks, copying aor one of the many Merfolk lords is a powerful swing in tempo and advantage. Untapping every Merfolk twice in is substantial.
Beyond Merfolk, I think the most common tribes that will use this are Kruphix-led Eldrazi, Faeries, and Rogues. Rogues in particular are probably the most intriguing home to me asand are powerful effects to copy.
While this Giant is found only in the theme boosters of Kaldheim, they still count for this review! If you like huge spells and cheating mana costs, this Giant is for you. Just like it cheats mana costs, you’re going to want to cheat it into play. What popular archetype is known for cheating costs? Reanimator. Bringing this into play early and then casting the largest instant or sorcery in your hand is sure to swing games. Also, be wary of decks that runas this could quickly come into play out of nowhere in a deck like . While that potential is powerful, the Giant will often be left behind unless your deck balances cheating both huge creatures and huge spells like as .
Uncommons and Commons
Removal and a win-condition in a single card? If you’re playing a Shapeshifter deck that doesn’t outright copy other creatures, I can’t think of a reason to not play this. At worst, this is protection from spot removal or temporary removal in those decks. If you can’t get the tribal advantage, you’re not going to play this over, and most decks aren’t playing Unsummon anyways. copying a powerful creature or the newly released will likely get a lot of mileage out of this.
Honestly, I missed this card until I was almost finished writing this review. You’re limited to targeting snow lands sadly, so leave yourat home. That is, unless you’re playing . Otherwise, this is a great rate. Two mana for a hexproof 4/4 with haste? That’s a great way to close out a game out of nowhere on a cheap creature. For something like this makes them even more potent as each instant and sorcery can make an army of 7/7s quickly.
While most of the new “Living Weapon” Equipment in the set are lackluster, I’m incredibly excited for. Honestly, it’s fairly comparable to which is played in a staggering 118,000 decks. Amulet isn’t as good as boots by being colored, lacking haste, and having conditional hexproof, but these downsides are minuscule to me. Plenty of decks only want Boots for accessibility to hexproof on a commander that never intends to attack at all, and the Amulet will fit that purpose.
Not only is Giant’s Amulet a moderate comparison to, but it also comes with the ability to make a 4/4 Giant creature token later in the game. That flexibility gives it additional utility in other decks like token and tribal Giant decks and only improves my opinion of it.
If you’re playing Giant or Changeling tribal this is actually an incredibly strong effect for the cost. For the same cost as, you can snatch any nonland permanent vs. a creature, but this is much more fragile as its attached to your own creature. It’s more fun than good, since the grasping creature is a large target, but I love the flavor and cost-to-effect ratio.
Scrying 3 as an “enters the battlefield” effect is fairly strong. Scry’s effectiveness scales quickly with the number of cards seen. Foror even , manipulating the top-deck can result in greater advantage than just the Scry. Aminatou can even blink Inga to make this repeatable.
Whilecan play well as an injection of manipulation, she arguably has a stronger role in Aristocrats strategies. Not only is having Inga being a third sacrifice easy, it’s almost routine. Once you reach this threshold, reviving and re-sacrificing Inga will bury opponents in card advantage.
Yet anothervariant! While the rare variants will often be better if you’re in this market, this version shouldn’t disappoint you if it’s available. 3U to Foretell and cast a is a hefty price, but being able to break it up the cost makes it more palatable. I’ll often pass and wheel back to my turn with unused mana in my own spellslinger deck. Getting to use mana more effectively while also protecting a counter spell is solid. For a deck like , this is a much easier include. The most important part of this card, it turns out, isn’t even when you play it. Simply using any Foretell card now means each opponent now must account for this card, hiding in plain sight, and forcing them to be on their guard even when you’re simply putting a on layaway.
Yet another powerful “” effect in blue. This card is strong, but it has stiff competition with existing options. and are both cheaper and instants. However, we can’t dismiss it solely for that. Exiling a creature or artifact? That’s very powerful, and, personal bias aside, this card will see a lot of play.
Oh, I didn’t mention the Bird token? I’m sure I’ll forget about it in practice too as a singular 1/1 flyer in exchange for a dangerous permanent is worth the trade.
We’ve seen several iterations of this draw spell since Kaladesh, and it stands out as one of the few Foretell cards that doesn’t charge you an extra mana. I’m fairly high on Foretell as a whole, so I’ll give this a look on principle. The amount of play this will see is solid, as one of it’s peers,sees play in just over 1300 decks. Most decks outside of maybe won’t actively play it, but I don’t think decks will regret it if forced to play it.
Out of the Cold
That’s it for the blue cards of the set! Honestly, blue’s offering from this set is quite impressive.and in particular are of my favorite cards in the entire set, and is an absolute flavor home run. Let me know in the comments below if you think I overlooked or underrated any cards that you’re excited about! Until next time!