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Kaya's Onslaught Art by Daarken

Kaldheim Draft Guide

Our in-depth guide to Kaldheim Draft, with the most important information you need to know about the format.

Hey everyone! There’s a biting chill in the air that I can feel in my bones and that can mean only one thing. That’s right, Disney Universes Beyond with Elsa dominating the metagame… What?!? I’m being told that hasn’t happened yet and we’re going back to Kaldheim instead. I guess that’s a suitable replacement as Kaldheim is a great limited set for both the flashback Premier Draft and a surprise Arena Open.

Key Ideas of Kaldheim Draft

To start off, snow makes this set very interesting to draft as it creates a tension between drafting snow lands and snow payoffs. No matter how high you think you should be taking the snow lands, there’s a good chance you are still too low on them. That might sound insane to some of you, but you need a critical mass of snow lands to be effective and the payoffs mean nothing if you don’t get the lands.

If you have enough snow lands, you’ll be able to pick up the payoffs if they are opened in later packs. Icebind Pillar is great in a format with giant creatures and equipment floating around, but it can’t be easily splashed if they don’t have enough snow lands to activate it consistently.

What snow payoffs do you want to be taking over the snow lands early? Avalanche Caller and Spirit of the Aldergard are some that immediately pop into my head. There are obviously plenty of other amazing cards that you should take over the lands as well. Just as far as snow payoffs go, these are both top tier.

Five color snow is indeed a thing, especially if you manage to pick up a copy or two of Path to the World Tree. In most cases it is going to be focused in the Temur colors with splashes to either activate path or splash bombs. Having a couple Priest of the Haunted Edge is a fine reason to add black to your snow deck as an annoying early blocker that can act as a removal spell.

Svella, Ice Shaper manages to perform many duties at once by both providing snow mana ramp and then dropping bombs from your deck directly onto the battlefield at instant speed. Your poor opponent’s creature is casually wandering over to attack and BAM 6/6 wurm appears out of nowhere.

Two of the key commons for the snow decks are Ravenous Lindwurm and Berg Strideras they help you stabilize against aggressive plans. That said, don’t do something insane like take them above Sarulf's Packmate which is straight up the best common and should be taken over almost every uncommon as well. It’s egregiously good and should be adopted by one of the first people who see the adorable little puppers.

An archetype that didn’t develop until later in the format was the Selesnya boggles deck. It drops cheap, efficient creatures like Battlefield Raptorand Story Seeker before piling Arachnoforms on them to make gigantic monsters way ahead of curve.

While that seems like an easily countered plan, Snakeskin Veil quickly becomes the boogeyman of bad beat stories. “I had removal, but…” Yeah, yeah buddy, we know they had Snakeskin Veil. Properly playing with and around it is one of the biggest keys to the format.

Boros equipment-based decks are another great way to go underneath “big snow”. They want to play similar creatures as the Selesnya decks, but with Tormentor's Helm, tricks, and removal like Demon Bolt to help force through the damage. Personally, I take great joy in smashing in someone’s face with Dwarven Hammer.

Izzet giants is somewhere in between as a midrange deck that can still sometimes go over the top of the snow decks. Aegar, the Freezing Flame is busto as it can let you bury your opponent in card advantage. Just don’t forget to turn off auto assign damage so you can deal excess on a double block.

Mistwalker is really good here as a common “giant” that can help bridge you to the point you take over against the aggressive decks. Changelings fit right in with the rest of the giant clan to allow you to Squash on the cheap.

Black is the worst color by a decent margin and I tend to avoid it all together unless I get some power cards to pull me into it. The only archetype I like with black as a main color is Golgari Elves. It’s at least synergistic and can snow ball with the right cards.

Even something like the Orzhov double spell deck isn’t quite up to snuff with some pretty bad commons. Most decks want to be double spelling anyway so I tend to just play the better cards like Clarion Spirit in other combinations like Boros or Selesnya.

Don’t even look at the stats for Dimir. It’s a straight up horror show. Not where you want to be.

Tips and Tricks

Read the freaking card. There are plenty of cards on both sides of the counts all snow permanents or just counts snow lands divide. Be really careful you take that extra couple seconds to double check it before disaster strikes.

Divine Gambit is one of the most controversial cards of the set. I am firmly on the side of it being good as long as you wait until later in the game to use it. Ignore the data because bad players do stuff like play it on turn two. You want to be using it to remove Ravenous Lindwurm, not letting them drop it early.

If you didn’t play much Kaldheim, let me tell you about our lord and savior Goldvein Pick. It started off the format as a late pick that quickly climbed the ranks. It completely changes the equation on blocking early since just taking the damage lets them ramp and fix.

You know what makes Goldvein Pick even better? Runes. They are an overall great card design that can make equipment bonkers. Even the fail case of draw a card and give your dude lifelink (or assorted other ability) isn’t bad for two mana.

Another very underrated card is Jaspera Sentinel. It offers acceleration, mana fixing, and even secret reach to hold off those pesky flyers.

If you think a bug has occurred, there’s a good chance that Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider is on the field. It prevents sagas from advancing or single counters form being added. It also lets them double so they get two stages of a saga at once.

Call Mr. Plow. That’s my name. That name again is Mr. Plow. While it might seem like a complete meme, Giant Ox and Colossal Plow are a real combo that can apply a ton of early pressure. They’re also pretty worthless outside of the combo so you should be able to get them if they are opened.

Sweepers

They like to keep the fire burning hot in Kaldheim as there are a lot of damage-based sweepers floating around. Battle of Frost and Fireis usually the worst one to run into unless you happen to be in the process of beating down with a bunch of giants yourself. You can see Surtland Frostpyre coming from a mile away, but be careful about walking right into a Crush the Weak if you’re going low and wide.

Crippling Fear can be backbreaking as a one-sided board wipe if you aren’t careful, but at least it’s a rare and can’t hit changelings. If you are just using it to hit everything, Brushwagg is the refined gentlemen’s choice of creature type.

The two big KABOOMs of the set are Blood on the Snowand Doomskar. I’m much more worried about Blood because it can bring something back when it blows up the world.

Tricks

Iron Verdict is an interesting one to consider because similar to Deadly Riposte in BRO you can play around it by not attacking with useful utility creatures when you have a “free” attack. If they have white, there’s a good chance that Avalanche Caller should be staying home instead of getting in for one.

Kaya's Onslaught and Run Amok are both tricks you have to worry about out of the Boros deck. Sometimes they cast both on the same creature and it doesn’t matter how you blocked because you just took a one-way trip to Cleaveland.

Snakeskin Veil is such a huge deal in this set as it enables an entire archetype while providing what is essentially a one mana counter spell against removal. A 6/6 is pretty hard to take down on its own, but it’s so much worse when they can pay one mana and Dikembe Mutombo (No, no, no. Not today) you in the middle of nowhere.

Counterspells

Annul is not that good in this format and should be relegated to the sideboard.

Disdainful Stroke is actually good in a set where the weather forecast is bombs raining from the sky. It doesn’t deal with Koma, Cosmos Serpent, but not much does. It does counter a whole lot of spells that you don’t want to be dealing with for only two mana.

In sealed, a couple of Disdainful Stroke are actively a draw into blue. In draft, you usually want to be packing at least one, but there are enough matchups where it can be a dead card that you usually don’t want more in the main deck. Do grab some more for the board if you’re in the Bo3 portion of the open though.

Saw It Coming is the Cancel variant and comes in as totally fine in this format. It’s a bit harder to cast than Disdainful Stroke, but still good for the same reasons. Plus, everyone just assumes you foretold Behold the Multiverseso they don’t play around it even if it’s staring them in the face.

Bombs

These are the Pack One Pick One (p1p1) no doubt, windmill slam, just take them rares of the set. These are not in rank order, just take these over any non-mythic uncommon or common. There are actually a lot more in this set, but these are the big ones.

Mythic Uncommons

These might be uncommons, but they sure don’t play like they are.

Do Not Draft List

These are the ones that some people talk themselves into, but you should always pass.

Wrap Up

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for some hot cocoa and chill after spending this much time in Kaldheim. Hopefully with all this info you can leave the opposition frozen in their tracks while stacking that cash from the open. I’ll be back soon with some more limited goodies for you focusing on Phyrexia: All Will Be One. Until then, stay classy people!

I’m always open to feedback, let me know what you loved, what you hated, or just send dog pics. You can contact me at:

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j2sjosh
j2sjosh

Josh is a member of the elite limited team The Draft Lab as well as the host of The Draft Lab Podcast. He was qualifying for Pro Tours, Nationals, and Worlds literally before some of you were born. After a Magic hiatus to play poker and go to medical school, he has been dominating Arena with over an 80% win percentage in Bo3 as well as making #1 rank in Mythic.

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