Welcome to Off the Deep End, a new segment in two parts where I analyze my favourite cards from the newest set and throw together some truly outrageous brews for you to try for yourself; come take a dive off the deep end!
Previews for Kaldheim have me the most excited I’ve been since New Phyrexia and ironically it’s not because the cards are ludicrously broken (Looking at you, Throne of Eldraine). Kaldheim seems like a welcome shift back to a more balanced set where interaction feels meaningful. With that in mind, lets take a look at my top 10 cards of Kaldheim!
#10: Koma, Cosmos Serpent
When I first saw “can’t be countered” and 6/6 I immediately thought about Carnage Tyrant and how it terrorized Standard for quite a while. Koma, Cosmos Serpent is more cost restrictive, but with arguably much larger up side: it generates another 3/3 body on each upkeep that can nullify an opposing threat, give Koma indestructible, or just help end a game quickly. I’m not sure how viable our serpent friend is outside of Commander, but the valuable upside it provides makes me believe there may be a home for it in Standard and possibly in Historic Sultai.
#9: Jorn, God of Winter // Kaldring, the Rimestaff
Personally, I’m super, super excited for Jorn, God of Winter. Some might say it’s because I’m a degenerate that misses Arcum’s Astrolabe and Oko, Thief of Crowns in modern, but they’re just 3/3 elks. A 3/3 for 3 is decent value and tacking on an attack trigger Sword of Feast & Famine for all snow permanents is certainly powerful. Is it worth it to try to find a home for Jorn, God of Winter in modern? Probably not, but I’ll give it a shot because I miss casting Ice-Fang Coatl. As for Standard or Historic, there’s some good Snow support that you’ll see higher on my list and I think that gives Jorn, God of Winter a good chance of seeing play. Commander is where Jorn will shine, however. Specifically, he’s the perfect Commander for a stax shell which you know I'm going to try out.
#8: Binding the Old Gods
As Guy Fieri once said, welcome to Value Town, or something like that. This Saga is one of my favourites yet and is exactly what you want in a midrange strategy. Destroying any nonland permanent is a great first chapter that provides immediate value, presumably getting rid of your opponents best card. The second chapter gets you any Forest card, which means it also fixes mana by grabbing a Triome. I don’t think the last chapter will matter much in the decks that want to run Binding of the Old Gods, but it could make your Elder Gargaroth even less fun to block I guess.
#7: Kaya the Inexorable
Kaya is a strong Planeswalker. 5 mana and 5 starting loyalty mean she will be hard to kill in one shot, and her +1 ability means you’ll get your creature back plus a replacement body, which is nice value. Her -3 exiles a non-land permanent which will definitely be relevant wherever she’s played. She has one of the more powerful emblems we’ve seen in a while and it only being a -7 means I’m sure it’ll happen more frequently than people think. If you -7 to ultimate Kaya, you get to recast her on your next turn for free. I’m confident Kaya will see a lot of play in Standard, Historic and Pioneer but I think her cost and relative lack of high impact abilities like Teferi, Hero of Dominaria or Jace, the Mind Sculptor might keep her out of Modern.
#6: King Narfi’s Betrayal
If you play this card in Commander I guarantee you’ll be the first one out at your table. That being said, I’ll be playing this in every deck that can support it because I do enjoy taking all the fun for myself. In regular constructed, King Narfi’s Betrayal is still a very good card that has the potential to steal your opponents best creature or planeswalker and re-cast it yourself. I think this card is at its best in midrange strategies like Doom Foretold across the formats they see play; Standard, Historic & Pioneer.
#5: Cosima, God of the Voyage // The Omenkeel
I’ll start off by saying I have no idea how to properly evaluate this card, but I had to include it because it’s fantastic card design & perfect flavour. Cosima exiles herself on upkeep and stays there as long as you’d like her to, potentially returning to play when you’ve emptied your hand and want to re-fill while having a large creature. However, I feel like most of the real potential for this card comes from her vehicle portion; The Omenkeel. We’ve all been victimized by Smuggler’s Copter at one time or another and The Omenkeel gives me strong Copter vibes. While not drawing you cards, it ensures you’re hitting lands when you need to and is on a good body. The lack of evasion is my only concern. I’m not sure where Cosima slots into but I feel she’s powerful enough to lend herself to many strategies. Personally, I’ll be looking to give her a try in Historic Sultai.
#4: Immersturm Predator
Free sacrifice outlet? Check. Conditional indestructible? Check. Graveyard hate that ties into the previous two effects? Check. Immersturm Predator does a lot of really, really good things for an archetype that already sees significant play in Standard and Historic. Conditional indestructibility makes it an extremely difficult card to deal with, realistically speaking only Extinction Event will be able to remove it from play assuming you always have another creature handy. Sacrifice strategies beyond the scope of Standard and Historic may also want this, especially in Commander where there are various infinite combos involving Viscera Seer, so adding more redundancy is always nice. Personally, I think a more traditional Jund Sacrifice deck will make a comeback and Immersturm Predator + Korvold, Fae Cursed King will be the all-stars.
#3: Esika, God of the Tree // The Prismatic Bridge
Esika, God of the Tree reminds me of Golos, Tireless Pilgrim and the Bant Lands deck that existed in Historic before Field of the Dead got banned. I think she & Golos coexist quite well in a shell together once Kaldheim releases. With the addition of the World Tree, which Golos can fetch upon entering, The Prismatic Bridge is easy to cast. There’s a lot of potential there, whether it’s God Tribal in Standard, or superfriends in Commander, Esika, God of the Tree should be quite a powerful card.
#2: Glorious Protector
Is this an upgrade over Restoration Angel? Conditionally. Glorious Protector is definitely a Modern playable card and I think Bant Ephemerate in particular will want this card as board wipe protection and also repeatable ETB triggers. In Standard and Historic I think it’s less clear because the card pool is so much smaller. But regardless, flashing this in for 4 mana in response to a board wipe has to feel pretty back breaking for the opponent no matter the format you’re playing. Watch out for this as one of the strongest multi-format playable cards in the set.
#1: Narfi, Betrayer King
Looks like Dredge got a new toy. But seriously, did Dredge get a new toy? 3 snow mana to return Narfi, Betrayer King from your graveyard to the battlefield tapped with no timing restrictions and it enables Prized Amalgam? This is my favourite card since Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite way back in New Phyrexia. I can’t wait to play Narfi across formats. Specifically, I think there’s great synergies with Doom Foretold, as you’ll consistently have something to sacrifice to it as long as you’re willing to spend 3 snow mana to do so. I might be overshooting how good Narfi, Betrayer King really is, but to me, it seems like Narfi slots into the same style of decks that Hogaak, Arisen Necropolis did.
And that’s my list! Next week I’ll have a few Kaldheim brews to try out for Standard and Historic so check back next week for some sweet and spicy decklists!
Owen Huisman is a new face in the world of competitive Magic. Devoted to all things Phyrexian & Stax related, he lives by the words “There is a finite amount of fun to be had while playing Magic, and I’ll have all of it.” Follow him @Ch0senLegacy on Twitter. He also happens to be part cyborg.