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.
Kaldheim is the 86th expansion set for Magic the Gathering, released on 5 February 2021. 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.
I took a high-level look at the set in my Kaldheim Review. My purpose here is to delve deeper into the two Commander Deck products released as part of the Kaldheim product range.
A quick note on Commander
Commander, also known as Elder Dragon Highlander (EDH), is a hugely popular casual format. It is a multiplayer format in which players start with 40 life, and compete with a deck of exactly 100 cards.
One of the 100 is the Commander, a legendary creature or Planeswalker with the ability to be a Commander. The Commander begins gameplay in the Command Zone and can be cast at any time. The rest of the deck ("the 99") must only contain cards that share a colour identity with the Commander. With the exception of basic lands, the deck cannot contain more than one copy of a card.
Players created and popularised the Commander Format, but it supported by Wizards of the Coast. Commander specific products are now released regularly.
The two Kaldheim Commander decks are the Black & Green Elven Empire, and the Blue & White Phantom Premonition. Both contain:
- 1 Foil Commander
- A ready-to-play 99 card deck
- 10 double-sided tokens.
- A cardboard deck box.
- A life wheel.
Each deck contains eight newly designed cards, including the Commander.
Commander: Lathril, Blade of the Elves.
- Bounty of Skemfar
- Crown of Skemfar
- Elderfang Venom
- Ruthless Winnower
- Pact of the Serpent
- Serpent's Soul-Jar
- Wolver Riders.
Elven Empire is a Tribal deck. Tribal deck strategies rely on synergies between cards of the chosen tribe, in this case, Elves. The more Elves you get into play, the stronger your battlefield position becomes.
Cards like Wolverine Riders, Lys Alana Huntmaster, Imperious Prefect (as well as Lathril) generate 1/1 Elf creature tokens. Helping you to go wide, and around your opponent's blockers.
Imperious Prefect also provides a +1/+1 buff to other Elves, as does Elvish Archdruid, Dwynen Gilf-Lead Daen, and Canopy Tactician. These enable your growing Elven horde to punch harder and survive combat damage from blockers.
Attacking triggers life gain abilities on Dwynen Gilt-Lead Dean and Rhys the Exiled. Thus helping you recover damage quickly. Losing creatures in combat isn't a problem for this deck. Abomination of Llanowar gets stronger as more Elves pile up in your Graveyard. Many creatures have abilities that trigger when they or another creature dies. When you have battlefield dominance, trigger Lathril's ability to wipe out 10 life from each opponent!
The deck also utilises the self-mill mechanic, and interacts with the Graveyard, enabling to you retrieve the cards you need. Play aggressively with this deck. Don't be afraid to pay life and sacrifice creatures in combat, you will regain both easily!
Commander: Ranar the Ever-Watchful.
- Cosmic Intervention
- Ethereal Valkyrie
- Hero of Bretagard
- Sage of the Beyond
- Spectral Deluge
- Stoic Farmer
- Tales of the Ancestors.
Phantom Premonition showcases the Foretell mechanic, introduced with Kaldheim. The deck leans heavily into creatures with powerful 'enter the battlefield' effects, effects that focus on exiling cards.
Exiling cards makes creatures like Soulherder and Hero of Breatgard stronger. It also triggers the commander's ability. When Ranar is on the battlefield, every card exiled from hand or the battlefield produces a 1/1 Flying creature.
Flying creatures feature heavily in this deck. Flying creatures are evasive, and provide greater opportunities to chip away at your opponent's life total. More so when cards like Thunderclap Wyvern and Empyrean Eagle are in play. Both provide buffs to other flying creatures, increasing your capacity to deal damage in the air.
With this deck, your aim is to control play by exiling cards, and working gaps into your opponent's defence. Utilise cards exiled with Foretell to seize upon opportunities as they arise. In addition, make use of the many cards in this deck that provide card draw. Card draw is vitally important in magic. It gives you an advantage over your opponents and raises the possibility of having answers to hand when you need them.
With Phantom Premonition, keep your opponents guessing by utilising the foretell mechanic, and chip away from the air. Or drop Sun Titan and hit hard, retrieving a low cost permanent from your graveyard with each attack.