Kaldheim Limited Set review:
In this set we are transported to the snowy shores of Kaldheim where Vikings and Valkyries rule.
On the Wizards of the Coast website, we can read the different stories told by the legends of the heroes of this 86th expansion. The setting in which it takes place is none other than that of the world tree and its ten kingdoms, as we have seen in video games such as Assassin’s Creed Valhalla or God of war. In the legends of this mythology, the tree of life or Yggdrasil held the ten kingdoms together; each could be defined as the home of a race: elves and dwarves, giants, Vanir, elves of light, gods, humans. There were also the home of the dead and the home of shadows and terrors. We will all find them on the gaming tables represented in creatures, spells, or lands of different colors.
The artwork on this set is fantastic. With the Viking theme, we get the knotwork borders and extended art versions of them. The theme is very consistent and carries across them well. The ravens and Pegasus are some of the prettiest cards that I’ve ever had the joy of playing. Even the tokens that are presented in this set are a sight to behold.
Kaldheim mechanics review:
The Vikings have come crashing in! Kaldheim brings us new mechanics and some old ones. It presents us with some of the complexity of sets past.
Boast: If you’re getting the Boast ability as a benefit on a card that isn’t awful to play anyway, it’s a fine mana sink, though I wonder how much extra mana you’ll have if Foretell lets you optimize your mana each turn.
Sagas: They aren’t doing much new here, I worry that between Sagas and Foretell, there might be too much-delayed payoff and super slow games.
Tribal/Changeling: Each of the ten realms of Kaldheim corresponds to a different color pair, and each color pair corresponds to an other creature type. So much tribal means we need the Changeling glue to hold it together. They’re mainly in the Simic, but that’s mostly where the heavy tribal stuff is, so it works.
Foretell: This is featured throughout, and it results in one of the most interesting mechanics in a while. Most of the “average” cards don’t cost anything to foretell (other than a turn), and being able to split the cost over multiple turns is a huge benefit, as it lets you use your mana more efficiently.
Snow: This is a surprise return. While the snow cards aren’t nearly as powerful here (except for the new duals), it’s a more significant part of the whole, especially in its primary colors of green and blue (with a secondary theme in black). The payoffs seem relatively weak given the number of picks you need to spend on snow lands.
Three starting loyalty isn’t a lot, making the planeswalker fragile. The +1 is a decent way to get a creature in for damage. It could be useful in a blink deck, providing another avenue to get enter the battlefield triggers. The removal part of Niko Aris is fine. Two damage to a tapped creature isn’t excellent, but with a big card draw turn, it’ll be nice in a pinch. The final -1 ability will be the most used part of Niko Aris. Creating more Shard tokens allows for more late-game card advantage.
Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter
If this card succeeds in Standard, it’ll be off the back of Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter. At seven mana, Tibalt is an investment, especially in Rakdos. A hefty five starting loyalty helps protect the investment, and its core abilities can provide game-winning card advantage and removal. The -3 will be Tibalt’s best knowledge for the time being. The exile-based removal deals with recursive threats like Feasting Troll King and troublesome Throne of Eldraine mythic rare artifacts. Once the board is stabilized, the ability to exile cards off the top and play them fit right in with the gritty, value-based strategy that Rakdos thrives.
The New Commanders:
The first deck, Phantom Premonition, white and blue.
This deck is centered on the new Foretell mechanic and involves a ton of Flicker. Decreased casting cost and lots of flying.
The second, Elven Empire, is black and green. This deck focuses on beefing up your elves and creating tokens. Simple and effective play with a ton of power.
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