Hello, Magic fans. 2020 was a good year for magic. Theros Beyond Death, Ikoria Lair of Behemoths, and Zendikar Rising, Double Masters, and Commander Legends all proved popular. 2021 is looking like a better year, with some awesome releases scheduled. First up, Kaldheim!
Kaldheim - a world steeped in prophecy and legend, where gods move amongst mortals. At its centre, the World Tree, from which all life springs, shelters the ten realms. Each realm is home to a unique race: Elves, Dwarfs, Giants, Trolls, and Valkyrie, as well as Demons, Zombies, Spirits, Shapeshifters and Humans. The realms exist in a state of constant movement, occasionally colliding. These collisions (Doomskar) are violent events, causing widespread devastation and war between the colliding realms.
New to magic? Here's a quick rundown:
Magic the Gathering (MtG) is a collectable card game for two or more players. Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards, known as Planeswalkers, who have the ability to travel a multi-verse. You’ll discover countless worlds inhabited by species as varied as the fantastic lands they live in.
Players will cast spells, summon creatures, and deploy artefacts to overcome their opponents. Typically, a player will win by reducing their opponent’s starting life points to zero, but there are other paths to victory.
Wizards of the Coast release expansion sets, like Kaldheim, regularly. Expansions add hundreds of cards to the available pool. Players now have thousands of cards from which to collect and play within customised decks.
The new Set
Kaldheim is the 86th expansion set for Magic the Gathering, released on 5 February 2021. The set is made up of 285 cards: 121 commons, 80 uncommons, 64 rares, 20 mythic rares, and 10 basic lands. This set includes a combination of reprinted and new cards. Collectors can chase an additional 121 cards, comprising of various promo cards, and cards with alternative art treatments.
The product range for Kaldheim includes the Bundle, two Commander Decks, Draft, Theme, and Collector Boosters. In addition, Set Boosters (first introduced with Zendikar Rising) are available under the Kaldheim banner.
Thematically Kaldheim draws heavily on Norse Mythology for its design and gives us the MtG take on Vikings (finally!). The set has strong tribal themes. Each of the ten realms of Kaldheim is closely associated with a two-colour combination, paired with a creature type. Each pairing has a particular strategy for players to explore.
Examples include Dwarfs (Red/White), and Zombies (Blue/Black). Dwarves have synergies with Vehicle and Equipment Artifact subtypes. Zombies favour midrange strategies and have synergies with cards sharing the Snow supertype.
Kaldheim is the second expansion to feature Modal double-faced cards (MDFCs), which will reappear in the Strixhaven: School of Mages expansion. An MDFC is a versatile card that can be played for either of its sides. Kaldheim includes three MDFC cycles of note.
The first cycle is four Pathway cards. Pathways feature a basic land on both faces. The four Kaldheim Pathways complete the set started in Zendikar Rising. The second is a series of seven rare cards. Each features a creature with the God subtype on one face and an Artifact on the other. The third cycle also features Gods. This five-card series includes a mythic rare in each colour.
During your turn, you may pay 2 mana to play a card with Foretell face down. The card can later be cast for its Foretell cost.
Boast is an activated ability appearing on some Creatures. When a creature with Boast attacks, the controlling player can activate the Boast ability.
Returning Mechanics & Card Types
This mechanic is tied to the Shapeshifter creature type. It is a characteristic defining ability, giving the permanent it's on every creature type.
The supertype Snow returns, after a lengthy absence. In Kaldheim the Snow supertype appears on non-permanent cards for the first time. Each Kaldheim booster pack includes one Basic Snow Land.
The enchantment subtype Saga appears for the third time, following its introduction in Dominaria, and appearance in Theros Beyond Death.
Poison Counters return but in a limited fashion. One card from the Kaldheim expansion can enable the creature of counters: Fynn, the Fangbearer.
I really like this expansion. Thematically it hits the spot for me, the Norse inspired mythos the team have developed translates well into Kaldheim. The artwork is fantastic too, bringing the world to life in epic fashion.
In terms of play, the lean toward Tribal synergies suits my playing preferences. I also like the strategies opened up with the new use of Snow and the Foretell mechanic. Kaldhiem is packing serious heat with cards like Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider and Goldspan Dragon that are seeing plenty of play. Commander players have a bunch of new cards to experiment with. Cards like Orvar, the All-Form, Valki, God of Lies and Toski, Bearer of Secrets. Esika, God of the Tree feels like a must for Commanders who play green.
I've drafted Kaldheim half a dozen times on Arena, with varying success. It's fun to draft. I'm looking forward to a time my group and I can meet and draft Kaldheim in person. I highly recommend checking out Kaldheim