Remember to check out Introduction and White first, for all the background and specifics of this review!
I’ve been enthralled by Limited ever since I began playing Magic, almost ten years ago now. With a particular fondness for flashback and cube drafts, I’ve drafted more sets than I can count on every platform through wildly different eras. On Arena I draft infinitely, having profited 40k or so gems from it at this point, and have made top 100 mythic many times. Self-reflection and forming good habits are paramount to Limited improvement, and those themes feature in many of my articles and in each session of the Limited coaching service I provide; consider booking a session today if you’d like feedback tailored to you that you can really put into practice!
Ever since my first draft in New Phyrexia, I’ve been hooked on Limited – there’s no feeling quite like cracking, even virtually, those first packs of a new set to see what deck you can put together. Since then, scarcely a day has passed by in which the game hasn’t been on my mind. Most of my experience has been in paper, where I drafted every set extensively on release, and entered as many competitive events of it as were available, often doing rather well for myself! Online, I’ve scaled the climb to Mythic in Limited and Constructed alike, and earned a fair few trophies over on MTGO. Limited is one of the hardest things to pick up in Magic, given the innumerable deck combinations and the sub-game that is draft itself, but learning it has been the most rewarding experience I’ve had playing the game.
- S: Ridiculous bomb: has a huge immediate impact on the game and threatens to dominate it if unanswered. (Emeria’s Call, Elder Gargaroth, Luminous Broodmoth)
- A: Very powerful card: approaches bomb status, pulls you strongly into its colour. (A+: Maul of the Skyclaves, A: Scute Swarm, A-: Jace, Mirror Mage)
- B: Great playable: happy to pick early, pulls you into its colour. (B+: Journey to Oblivion, B: Deadly Alliance B-: Kargan Intimidator)
- C+: Good playable that rarely gets cut. (Sea Gate Restoration, Deathbloom Thallid, Dead Weight)
- C: Fine playable, sometimes gets cut. (Farsight Adept, Alpine Watchdog, Honey Mammoth)
- C-: Mediocre playable or decent filler, gets cut around half the time. (Living Tempest, Legion's Judgment, Raugrin Crystal)
- D: Medium to bad filler, gets cut a lot. (D+: Inordinate Rage, D: Utility Knife, D-: Sizzling Barrage)
- F: Mostly to totally unplayable cards. (Forsaken Monument, Miscast, Blazing Volley since it’s a sideboard card)
Grades are based on maindeck power level; if a card is good in the sideboard, we will mention it in the review. Every grade can have a sub-grade, but the differences are most pronounced in the C-Category, so they have their own description. Beyond that, a B+ means it’s almost an A, but not quite.
Gold cards are worse picks early on, since they commit you to things immediately and leave you less open to other strategies. Our rating system doesn’t purely reflect pick order, so each Gold card takes a knock as an early pick as a result. In most of pack 1, these cards are about 1-2 grades lower than we rate them (so C+ becomes C), especially if they’re not splashable, while in packs 2 and 3, they conform more to their grades if you’re in that colour pair or strategy already.
Aegar, the Freezing Flame
With the common Red burn spells, I think you should be able to get enough to trigger this reliably, and it’s a great rate as soon as it draws you one card. Still those burn spells are going to be high picks, especially since Red will be splashing them a lot, and this card isn’t a godo splash itself, so I’m not inclined to start it too highly.
This requires you to have Red burn spells in abundance to actively control the effect, and has no relation to Blue beyond the word ‘draw a card’. Your opponent will have control of when they let you draw cards as it only counts excess damage, but if you get to Squash or Demon Bolt something and draw a card, it’s going to pull you ahead steadily. This isn’t really a reason to go into Izzet but it’s a good rate for the body and the ability can draw a few cards without much issue – if you’re already on track to be Izzet the giant is nice to see – or even splash given Red’s got a few treasures floating around.
Arni Slays the Troll
This is a powerful combination of effects, but I do think this card will play more awkwardly than it looks – it might well be turn 4 or 5 before you’re able to set a good fight up, and the counters will be less relevant by that point in the game. The lifegain is a nice add-on, as long as you can live long enough. I’m a bit concerned that neither Red nor Green has amazing early creatures for fighting purposes this set – neither colour has great 2 and 3 drops for that purpose; there’s a lot of top-heavy statlines, and this will be a lot less exciting if your creature has to die to set it up. Still it’s cheap enough to slot well into a late game turn, even if this second ability isn’t as good there.
This card is a mediocre splash, unless you really have tons of sources (and at that point, you’re more like three-colour), so this is a purely in-colour grade. These effects just don’t scale as well into the late game – a saga almost always has to have a really strong immediate effect to be worth splashing.
I’d much rather the counters first but at this rate I’m not complaining. Fighting into card advantage then following up with a mana boost and two counters for just two mana is…well if you have emotes turned on you might get a slightly aggressive ‘well played.’ And lifegain is a fine little bonus.
Ascent of the Worthy
So you essentially sacrifice a creature to get your other creatures through/set up a good block, you do that potentially twice (you usually want to put it on your smallest creature to protect the bigger ones), and then the payoff is you get your best creature back with flying two turns from now. The trouble with this is that you won’t always have a good creature to bring back, and it’s pretty bad to sacrifice one to these first two abilities unless you’re getting good value in protecting your other creatures, which I think is very situational at best. Still, it can be really good if you have a creature locked down by an enchantment or that’s especially disposable, since at that point they may not want to block or attack into you!
This is a Saga where the third mode is great, but it takes ages to get that and the first two modes don’t do all that much, and it has the further requirement of needing you to have a good creature in your graveyard, because again it’s card disadvantage if you sacrifice something to the first abilities… it’s a really weird card and I suspect it’s too many hoops to jump through for a lot of decks – you can just do better for high end/recursion mostly.
Is this good? I don’t think so. It’s certainly a unique effect but less powerful when your opponent knows about it, although it could let you get some good attacks in. The flying counter is nice for whatever you end up reanimating, but waiting two turns to get it with a mediocre effect beforehand isn’t a rate I’m excited about initially.
However this is a card we haven’t really seen the like of before and I will be picking one up where I can to try and see for myself. This effect could end up being deceptively good in practice, in a way that means reading the card doesn’t completely explain the card. I’ll be curious where this ends up in two months.
Battle for Bretagard
Four 1/1s over three turns is solid, and if you do get some more exciting tokens to copy (which is mostly just off other Sagas this set), then great. This is another Saga that’s good in colour but pretty much no deck should splash – even if you can make better tokens, it takes too long to do that late in the game, and often when you’re splashing, that’ll be the first opportunity for you to cast this.
Four 1/1s for 3 mana over three turns is a good rate and is one of the few ways to go wide in this set, and although there isn’t any direct warrior synergy, a few cards do offer a direct bonus towards amassing multiple of any creature type, and that critical mass may come in useful. If you do have any other tokens in your deck, this becomes a lot more exciting, but given that that isn’t a theme of the set, I’m expecting two 1/1s most of the time – and if your opponent happens to pick one off, it’ll be a lot less impressive.
Battle of Frost and Fire
Fantastic board wipe, and then scry 3 to set up a great third ability if you can find anything (not that you always will) is enough that I’m happy to call this a low-end bomb. Sometimes, it’ll be awkward to have to wait around with your 5-cost spells, but the payoff is well worth waiting just one turn and you might be able to scry into a second one anyway.
The first uptick will functionally board wipe in most circumstances, while potentially leaving you a giant or two of your own, although changelings can also linger around so you can’t rely on this quite as much. But considering it has two extra great abilities, this is worth keeping in, even against an opponent who is high on changelings and giants, so long as the first ability doesn’t actively hinder your deck – Scry three goes deep and helps you find that CMC 5 spell towards the final ability. This card is weird, but foretell makes reaching the last chapter of the saga easier, any Izzet deck will snap this up, and I’d actively like to splash this in any Green deck.
The Bears of Littjara
I think this is another Saga that suffers from taking a long time to have a good effect, but there are enough other Shapeshifters in the set that I’m willing to take that risk. Ideally, you have another one in play already, and Green/Blue have enough to make that realistic. This is a saga I might splash if I had 6+ Shapeshifters.
If your opponent kills your 2/2, the results of this card can be quite disappointing, but given Simic are the colours of Shapeshifters this set, you will often have one or two others lying around, and all of them are smaller than a 4/4. Upgrading your creatures and killing something may not always happen, but given this is only 3 mana, the downside of them using a removal spell on your 2/2 isn’t terribly high and the upside paints a board state that can’t be defeated.
Binding the Old Gods
An absurd first effect, coupled with two additional good ones (including one that produces card advantage) makes me very happy. This final deathtouch mode can enable some really good attacks, or combine great with the red pinger Hagi Mob. I think both of these effects are fantastic to get for free on an already good card.
Now, this is a splashable saga! It’s a bit worse if you’re splashing it in Black, since you might not have a Forest left to go get, but the snow duals having basic land types helps a lot.
About as good as removal gets in limited, only held back by being two colour – but being Green means you’ll probably find a way to splash Black if you see the Binding in your packs. Destroying anything is 90% of the value of this card, considering the ramp is a lot less useful going into turn 5, but the snow lands in this set all have a basic land sub-type so Binding can search out dual lands, which is a nice bonus. Deathtouch is unlikely to be terribly relevant in your timing when casting this card, but it’s better than nothing when you’re already excited to play it.
The Bloodsky Massacre
This will be a 2/3 Menace for 3 that draws a card enough of the time that I’m happy with it, and Red has a ton of Berserkers at common to help it out. I don’t think the ramp mode will be a massive deal since it only happens two turns after you play this card, but it’s certainly solid upside and can lead to some really devastating turn 5s.
This is another Saga I would very rarely splash, since it’s a lot worse in the late game.
There’s only really one card that cares about berserkers in the set and this is it, but boy does this encourage you to pile them on. I’d be taking Immersturm Raider a little higher after picking this, as that curveout is going to be hard to stop from an aggressive deck. However, you don’t need any others berserkers (any Rakdos isn’t like to have any changelings) for this to be good.
There is an interesting decision point on deciding if you need card draw this turn or mana next turn if your attack would result in the trade – I imagine card draw wins the day most of the time, but you have an incentive to plan through your next few turns before you create a massacre, especially if you get a few berserkers down before the second saga – but whatever you end up doing, it’ll be worthwhile.
Like The Bears of Littjara – in fact many of the rare sages so far – if they kill one of your tokens, the rest of the saga doesn’t really come together, but the risk to mana cost ratio is very low.
Fall of the Impostor
This takes a long time to have the real effect you’re playing it for, but getting a couple of counters in the short-term is definitely nice. Altogether, this adds up to a really solid package, and the last ability will usually kill whatever you most want to kill anyway.
This is another Saga I wouldn’t splash – it takes too long to get the exile, and the counters matter a lot less in the late game.
Needing to wait two turns to remove a creature is going to feel painfully slow at times, but getting two counters in exchange is a fair cost at three mana. 99% of the time, you’ll need these on your own creatures but on the odd chance you really need to kill something without much power, you can give it counters and I like that utility, although be absolutely sure before you put the counters on an opposing creature. Most of the time, you’d probably kill the highest power anyway, but this might not kill what you want especially when your opponent has two turns to prepare – it does get past creatures with hexproof though, which is nice.
Firja, Judge of Valor
This is a gamewinning card if it stays in play for very long, since you can start holding spells to cast your second one, and you’ll know this is coming out – the dream is to flip up a one-mana Foretell alongside this on turn 6. It also has a fantastic body, holding off your opponent’s entire squad a lot of the time – they won’t want to mess around with those lifelink double blocks, and presenting a very real clock.
I would splash this card in Golgari a lot of the time, but it’ll happen elsewhere too – this set just has very good fixing, between the snow duals and Shimmerdrift Vale, and this is a great card even in the late game.
The gold cards so far really are hitting it off well and this makes up for the mediocre orzhov saga. The body itself is great as Seraph of Dawn ended its format as a great first pick, and while the cost is restrictive, it has just about the best ability for the two spells theme you could ask for – with three cards, you will find something to cast next turn, giving you a good chance to keep the train going.
That first mode is totally nuts by itself. Your Angel will often die, preventing you from using the other modes, but hey your Changelings will still work – not that they’re in Black or White, but you’ll often be splashing this card in a White deck anyway. If you can pull off that second mode, it’s totally absurd: I can confirm that Angels make the best Ravenous Chupacabras. The last mode is some nice little gravy, since it’ll deal an extra 4 damage if your Angel is still alive by then, and can enable some Changeling attacks.
It is nice that most aura removal spells don’t stop this second ability, at least the White and Black ones (though Witherform will get the job done too, unless you’re able to buff the Angel!).
Strange that Firja’s Retribution is rarer and more powerful than herself, but I’m not one to judge. It follows the trend of rare sagas that do nothing if the first creature gets destroyed – especially so, as there are less angels around than berserkers – but this time around you’re paying literally zero extra mana, as 4 mana for the token is well above rate for limited. If you manage to kill something, you’ll feel quite disgusting, as you prepare to hit for at least 8 the following turn. A little tighter on the mana cost than previous rares we’ve seen, but worth the cost.
Forging the Tyrite Sword
This card sucks – even if you have a couple of reasonable Equipment, having to spend this long waiting around in your Boros deck, by far the most aggressive colour combo, is a really bad idea. Play it if you have Halvar (note that the other creature/equipment Gods don’t work with this, since they count as creatures in your deck and hand) and stay away otherwise. I’m kind of shocked that this doesn’t at least put the Equipment into play – it would’ve been nice to search up Valkyrie's Sword and immediately be able to pay for it on turn 5, but alas.
Any Saga that takes absolutely ages to have a reasonable effect is going to get a big knock from me.
Finally a sub-par gold card again! While I don’t typically like tutors for 3 mana in limited (see the White review), getting the mana back a few turns later allows you to equip the card you get instantly. This does somewhat make up for a lot of that effort, especially if you can enable a splash with the treasure. I wouldn’t be looking to play an off-colour equipment for this though.
However it still gets a low grade as you really need at least two good equipment targets before I want to play this – which in these colours, basically limits your choice to Halvar himself and Valkyrie's Sword that are worth searching for. If you only have one, you’ll be just as likely to draw it before the Sword, and have a terrible card.
That said if I did see my second Valkyrie’s Sword pass by, forging it does make the 7 mana cost a lot more achievable and worthwhile. That’s just enough to eke it just out of F range, but the circumstances in which you actually want to play this are remarkably slim.
Harald, King of Skemfar
There are enough Elves, Warriors, and Changelings in Black and Green that I’m happy to take this card highly – 3/2 Menace for 3 with the potential to draw you a good card is a good rate, whether that happens 70% of the time (in a deck with 8 hits – learn how to calculate this here) or 58% (6 hits).
I like the 3 mana 3/2 with menace enough, even if you don’t have a ton of Elves and Warriors, and it certainly helps even if it isn’t necessarily suited to Golgari’s gameplay. And if you do find yourself amassing a few Elves, he starts to consistently draw a reasonable card, so really I want as many copies as I can get. Tyvar is in fact not a creature type, but if you happen to get the planeswalker, an extra way to find him is nice.
Harald Unites the Elves
There are enough Elves and Changelings in the set that getting something back with this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, even if you do have to wait a bit, but I think it’s worth it because this second and third abilities are so powerful with even a few. Elderleaf Mentor is a combo with this at common, after all – that card dies easily and reanimating it is good when you get these other two effects.
Harald can only unite the elves if you find enough in your packs. There are a few and this is a good reward for going all in on the archetype, as each saga is a worthwhile spell in an Elf deck – put all three chapters together and this is a lot of value…if you have the elves. Without at least 10 elves, this has a good chance of being a 4 mana do nothing, and gold cards are already restrictive enough on your deckbuilding.
If you get there, this will play out as an A, but I’m just a little cautious on how often that will be. Harald, King of Skemfar has a good fail-case of a good body, but the fail case of Mill 3 for 4 mana is a little too risky, unless you can start your draft with this and then get lucky enough to see Golgari open. There are a few rares that encourage you to play elves, and if you end up fighting for the archetype, you won’t get there.
Ah, unkillable, growing Dragon bomb that rewards you for just playing the game, and gives you free graveyard hate. Even Auras aren’t that good an answer, since then you have a sac outlet and graveyard hate in play, and if you’re splashing this card in Green, then you might well have some way to get rid of the aura later on and one-shot them. Even if they can block you, they can’t stop the Dragon from growing if you have a disposable creature you don’t mind getting rid of, and Rakdos is the colour combination for those, with several Red token generators.
Play this card, splash this card, do unreasonable things to your opponents, whatever the Vampire Dragon compels you to do.
Most cards in your deck are worse than a 4/4 flyer, so you’ll likely sacrifice whatever you happen to have to keep this card around, and then your opponent won’t be for much longer. Big dumb dragons are generally good, and when at only four mana it keeps growing and is hard to kill, I can see this amounting to quite the groan test in this set, if you don’t have access to the blue or white enchantment-based answers.
Invasion of the Giants
Omen of the Sea was a reasonable card in Limited, and this has a lot of potential upside if you do have Giants, but this has one major downside – it doesn’t draw the turn you play it, so it’s a horrible topdeck. There aren’t tons of good 6-drop giants to ramp out on turn 4, but I would be happy to play this card in any deck with 6 or 7 (Changelings definitely still help), and it’d be fine filler otherwise.
There are only 3 Giants (one of which isn’t very good) and 2 Changelings that work with this (so don’t cost 7) at Common, so I don’t think getting the count will be trivial, and just casting random 3 or 4 drops with this isn’t as exciting (though double-spelling is still great). This seems like a slow format, so a lot of games will be attritiony, and being a bad topdeck is just too much I think.
Having Giants in your deck can raise this to a C+, if you can take advantage of the mana production, but on average it’s going to be a medium draw spell. Should you be able to take advantage of the mana reduction, it ends up being very efficient, but at worst it’s a very slow 2 mana preordain and that’s just fine.
Kardur will be able to eat 1-2 small things enough of the time that I’m high on the card – the first ability will work even if they kill him. His second ability works well with the first, and will add up to a lot of pings if he sticks around – he’s a pretty annoying card to have in play, or to enchant with an aura.
Sticking random multiplayer cards into main sets has happened for a while, but it’s never been quite so obvious. Yet this is still a powerful effect in limited, as any creature with only two power is at risk of just suiciding into the Doomscourge and losing your opponent a life for the privilege. If you have some other blockers set aside, you can get even more advantage from it but I wouldn’t count on it – if you kill one thing, that’s a bonus.
I like how its second line of text is good whoever is attacking, so you can maybe gain a few life in a trade when you play him and then any subsequent attacks are ekeing out a little extra value. It’s a bit of an awkward ability on a 4/3, as it makes me want to hold it back but its body wants to attack. However either way it’s all upside so Kardur will give you good value with even the smallest amount of setup.
Kardur’s Vicious Return
So you trade your worst creature for a slightly better creature, you get a slightly net positive effect or you (since you know before your opponent that you’ll both be discarding and can set it up better), and then you get your worst creature back at worst, but more likely a better creature? Sounds good to me! This takes a lot of time to get going, but I’d be happy to splash it in some decks since it does have a good immediate effect.
Reanimation spells in limited often end up stuck being dead in your hand without a target, and it’s a really sweet design that both of Kardur’s first chapters give you the opportunity to set one up with haste, and an extra counter to bolster your selected target. You might want to get rid of a weak creature to the first ability or discard a land to the second ability most of the time, but choosing where to get the reanimation target is synergy that just makes me smile.
If you already have a good target in the graveyard, all the better. However, the discard isn’t optional to yourself, so if you cast this as the last card in your hand, next turn you will draw your card before having to immediately discard it, which might feel rough, so try to hold a land in your hand beforehand, if your hand is empty.
Kaya the Inexorable
Kaya is nigh unbeatable, the best Limited card in the set.
She starts at 5 loyalty, ults two turns after you play her, and then just brings herself back with her own ability – I think that sequence will be something you go for on any board where you have parity or are ahead because it gives them a very short window before they lose the game. Her first ability protects herself well, because it’s pretty much always awful to remove whatever blocker you put it on, and her second ability is absurd if you do happen to be behind. Did you have a problem? Not anymore!
This protects itself in a roundabout way, with the first ability preventing a single removal spell from letting your opponent get through, and going up to six loyalty means even an attacker or two might not be enough. If that initial attack isn’t enough, the blocker will be back and ready for more next turn, really only giving them a one turn window to kill her before it becomes nigh impossible. Coupled with exiling anything when it comes down, Kaya is going to take over the game and leave you little recourse when it’s on the other side of the table.
King Narfi’s Betrayal
This card is kind of like a very weird Divination – it allows you to pick the best cards from among you and your opponents’ graveyards and gives you a couple of turns to play them.
That restricts your turns a lot whereas drawing normally gives you more options, and can be really awkward when you miss a creature, but I think the power is here nonetheless since, as with a normal Soul Salvage effect, you can wait till there are targets present already. It’ll be especially great when you do manage to snag a bomb or whatever, but I think it’s enough better than Soul Salvage for you to want to take the first kind of this effect highly, and lower if you already have late game recursive cards.
Giving you the choice of eight or more cards to be able to cast is going to be powerful late in the game, but this misses one of the best aspects of draw spells in being able to hit your land drops. This does represent a large amount of power once you get far enough into the game, but it forces you to spend your second and third turns casting something you exiled, so it doesn’t leave much flexibility unless you give up on a card to cast something else you need. This is the type of card I’m going to enjoy casting a lot and I hope it ends up higher than a C, but I can’t help but be apprehensive.
Koll, the Forgemaster
This is a set with enough equipment and auras that I’m pretty excited for this card. The creature token buff isn’t going to matter too much, but your opponent is absolutely going to want to kill this before anything else if you do have an equipment or aura – so you’re protecting your naturally high value creatures.
The first ability is rarely going to happen, as your opponent isn’t going to let an important creature die without killing Koll first. If they do, it isn’t going to go well for them, and the power bonus is very niche in a set with so few token producers, but doesn’t hurt. If you have an equipment (and seeing this makes me want one, even if I have to settle for the worst ones), becoming a must answer 2-drop that still works under most of blue and white’s removal might win some of those games single-handedly. However, it does require a good card to pair with, which you might just not draw – but the fail case of a 2/2 means I can’t be too harsh on it. Don’t be afraid to treat it like a regular runeclaw bear on the battlefield, if there isn’t an equipment in sight.
Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Ah, another entrant into the Questing Beast school of design – if you give a card enough abilities, it’s probably going to be pretty good. In this case, the second ability coupled with the third ability make this card pretty much unbeatable – you must exile it immediately to have any hope of continuing the game.
This is just one of those annoying Kiora Bests the Sea God level of mythics which make the game entirely about them as soon as they’re played, but this one at least costs 7 unlike Kaya. Still, Green is full of ramp and fixing so I don’t foresee that being too much of a problem. For some reason, it’s uncounterable too, just in case you were silly enough to try one of the few axes of interaction that would actually have been good against it! Just be relieved that you won’t see this card very often.
Just to make sure you read that right – because I couldn’t believe my eyes at first – yes, you do get the first Serpent on your opponent’s upkeep, and from then on, Koma can make themselves indestructible every turn and be nigh-on unkillable. To top it off, changelings are indeed serpents, so if you have one of those before Koma comes down, even the narrow window of the rest of your turn is lost to kill it. This gives your opponent exactly between when he resolves and their upkeep to avoid losing the game – even aerial superiority won’t get over his tap ability. 7 mana is high in limited but there is literally nothing better to do with your mana than this. Most powerful limited card in the set.
Maja, Bretagard Protector
A creature that buffs all your other guys is great, oftentimes enabling immediate and powerful attacks, and this has a fantastic late game effect. It’s a bit expensive and vulnerable, and I kind of want to wait till t6 and play a land immediately, but well worth it.
Anthem effects are strong in limited. They are worrisome on a creature where it can spell disaster if removed mid-combat, but just make sure you bear this in mind before attacking and it’s all upside. Then getting a free 1/1 or 2/2 while Maja is around is enough to make me very excited to be in Selensya. I’ve commented so far in this review about a lack of tokens, and that is true for single colours as the majority of the tokens are found in multicolour. Nab some of those and Maja gets even better.
Moritte of the Frost
Moritte only copying your own stuff can be a bit awkward, but whatever you copy will become a much more real threat. Any flier is a real problem for them, and it being snow and a Changeling is definitely some nice gravy. Being able to copy powerful other permanents is solid upside.
Only copying creatures you control limits the grade to below an A, but add two counters to your worst creature and it’ll probably fare well against your opponent’s best – and it’s not even limited to creatures in the rare case where you have a powerful saga to copy or whatever.
Narfi, Betrayer King
There are enough snow creatures that this buff will matter, but I’m even more excited about the recursion ability. This has a good enough statline that you can trade it off early and then bring it back over and over and win the late game.
It gets a lot worse if you’re not a snow deck, but I think you’re happy with this even if you only have 5-6 snow sources, since it always does something even in the games where it doesn’t crush them – every blue deck is likely to have some snow creatures. This is a good splash card too, since you want the lands with it anyway!
Narfi gives you extra incentive for all that snow mana – a 4/3 lord is already going to score a B and this makes it worth going as far out as your way as possible for that third snow source, making him unstoppable to most threats. 4 power is going to trade with something most of the time and eventually – or rather quickly – whittle down your opponent’s defences.
Niko offers a range of powerful versatile options – paying X to make shard tokens is fantastic and will win late game scenarios, it can immediately come down and shoot a creature (one with up to 4 toughness if you already have 6 mana no less), and then it makes his own and provides incremental value.
It’s not hyper-efficient in anything it does, it starts at a low loyalty, and its + isn’t amazing, but it does more than enough anyway.
Niko offers a very interesting set of choices when you look to cast it. It only protects yourself against tapped creatures and even then, two damage isn’t enough to kill most things that would threaten Niko, but once you’re at 6 mana you can choose to cast them for 4, break a card and deal 4, which will probably be enough. But is that better than just making another three shards and leaving Niko to fend for themself? And with the plus bouncing whatever you boost up, what if you want to cast it again? Or do you just want to stock up on even more shards if the board looks clear? Having no ultimate and an X casting cost gives Niko a lot of flexibility in how you use them, but none of the abilities are overpowered by themselves, and regardless of how much mana you pay, the starting loyalty is still three which is a little low. I’m confident Niko will be good whatever mode you end up choosing, but knowing which is right in the moment will prove quite testing.
Niko Defies Destiny
This card has two pretty mediocre starting effects, and takes far too much time to get the one good one. Having spent 3 mana on this, getting 2 mana back isn’t that exciting unless you have a really big foretell card you can ramp to, and gaining a few life isn’t enough of a first ability.
I’m not super fond on this for 3 mana until I have at least 8 foretell cards. Once you do, it rises in the ranks when the mana ability becomes playable, but using this on curve will only gain you two life. However, it does give the potential for a big play the turn afterwards. This pairs better with foretell instant and sorceries as well, so you can guarantee use of the last ability, as without it the card is essentially unplayable. If you don’t have a foretell card ready in the graveyard when you cast this, you better plan on casting one before the third chapter comes up or you’ll have found a way to make a D+ into an F.
The Raven’s Warning
This is often a 1/1 flier that draws a card, but the times when it gets stopped by another flier or reach creature are going to be really rough, and even Blue doesn’t have really tons of fliers in the set to get much of an extra advantage from this second ability. The payoff of 1/1 flier that draws a card is good but Skyscanner wasn’t breaking any formats.
This final ability is pretty weird because it doesn’t produce card advantage, and merely lets you get the best card from your sideboard – you probably weren’t playing those cards main for a reason, so that’s not necessarily an upgrade. Where it’s nice is when you’re playing dual lands that give you access to other colours or have good sideboard cards for the specific spot, but it’s rarely going to be a massive deal and it takes ages to get there.
I’m not happy with this card if your Raven can’t get through the next turn to draw that card, so I’d try to have some interaction ready in hand to make sure you can get through if required, as the 1/1 and 2 life isn’t worth a card. If you do hit, it’s a strong rate and the last ability is…weird. In Limited, this means whatever cards you didn’t draft, which often won’t leave you with a large selection of cards you’d want to draw over what you chose to put in your deck.
Still, if you add an island and plains to your sideboard, the option to hit your land is at least nice, and even bad cards might be useful when you get to choose to pull them out – the best example being your Invoke the Divine once a target has presented itself. If you happen to be living in any of the half-dozen countries where paper magic is still safe, remember to take it out of your deck after the game!
Sarulf, Realm Eater
This first ability will happen a lot in Limited – you can certainly make it so it’s hard for your opponent to avoid trading, and all your removal spells are great with it. After you stack up a few, you can start just Blast Zoning away whatever’s bothering you and even so that multiple times sometimes. Mainly, this card rewards you just for playing the game on top of its already decent statline, and will be very annoying for them over time.
Yeah, this is good. Any removal spell or trade you can make brings up his power and threatens to do even more damage in the process. It is a bit of a counter-intuitive set of abilities – if you put your opponent’s permanents into the graveyard, there’s less for the latter ability to hit. But you don’t need to remove the counters so turning your Wolf into a Big and Bad variety is just swell.
Showdown of the Skalds
This is a lot of card advantage, even if you only end up playing two of the cards, and getting potentially a lot of free +1/+1 counters is pretty busted. You do need to have the time to play those cards, it does limit your subsequent turns, and you do need a creature in play to get value, but this is still an amazing effect.
Four mana for four cards is superb if you can play them all, but your average Boros deck might struggle with that since you only have one untap step to cast them, unless you cast it really late. The counters make up for the tempo loss, although you can’t boost up a creature you’ve just played, although often that wouldn’t be what you want anyway. This works even better if your curve is low and I really can’t think of a much better curve topper for aggro, without being an outright bomb.
Svella, Ice Shaper
This card gives you a good way to use your mana, produces solid value especially with the cards that cares that care about snow permanents in the set, of which Green has a good few, and makes up for missing your land drops, and then just wins a late game scenario. It even has a solid statline to boot! At some point or another, they are going to end up having to kill it, and it might well already have produced some value before then. This card is a fine splash, although far better in Green splashing Red rather than in Red splashing Green, since Green has a lot of ramp to reach that second ability faster and cares far more about snow permanents.
A great body alongside a fun ability that really only costs 2 mana and synergises with itself, giving you an end-game all by itself. Protect Svella and you’ll have snow problem winning the game.
The Three Seasons
This is a late game value card that is very restrictive in the value it gives you, and that’s a pretty bad place to be. The problem is that you’re unlikely to have loads of snow permanents to get back, and they won’t necessarily be the ones you want, so you’ll spend a lot of time waiting around for this to do something. Bringing back a land late is rarely going to be an exciting use of this card.
The fact that it’s a delayed draw means in the late game, you won’t be able to use your mana that turn. All in all, the failcase of this card is really bad and the ceiling isn’t amazing, but if you can mitigate that failcase by having a lot of snow permanents in your deck, and some especially good late game ones, then this does become worth playing. If you have some of the other Green cards that want stuff in your graveyard, then you’re a little happier since the mill will be more relevant, but I suspect this won’t go well into the majority of decks.
Even in snow decks, reaching two snow permanents in the graveyard is likely to be quite hard unless you happen to mill a land. When even the snow decks have a low chance of getting the value from this, I think you’ll want to pass most of the time especially with the turn delay, but if you do reach a critical mass of snow permanents, you can raise the grade accordingly.
I feel like Snow decks will already have a bunch of removal spells and other non-snow cards they want to play, and therefore won’t have space for this.
The Trickster-God’s Heist
Creature swap effects tend to be very good in Limited, since your 2 drops that are lying around not doing much are something you’re happy to upgrade into their best creature – it’s like a 1.5 for 1, since you gain that creature and they lose it, and you lose a card that wasn’t doing much in the exchange. That doesn’t factor in truly disposable creatures, like Elderfang Disciple, even. A six point life swing at the end of this is some pretty huge value on an already good effect – it’ll take a long time for you to get it, but this will end some games and keep you in others.
The second ability is the most situational, and you won’t always have something to exchange, but you can always swap this Saga itself for another enchantment if they have the better one, and just accept that you’re going to get drained for 3! When this effect is good, this card will be utterly game-breaking. I would be happy to splash this card a lot of the time, though you do need to make sure you do have some disposable creatures and a decently high creature/2 drop count.
Tricky. Given you have a mediocre creature to swap, the first ability is all you really need and blue/black does have enough to give up in exchange. I expect the second chapter will rarely do anything, but when it does, it just brings the card further ahead and the final drain is a nice touch.
Vega, the Watcher
There’s enough Foretell in Blue and White that this is absolutely going to demand a removal spell, and drawing even one card off it is very good. It’s a bit understatted and it dies to a stiff breeze vs Red, but it also threatens to run away with the game in short order, and interacts very favourably against enchantment-based removal, of which there’s a lot in the set.
Spoilers: anywhere means your foretell cards this set. Wind Drake is once again fine and if it draws a single card, it’s great. This is likely to draw multiple cards in Azorius, where it happens to reside.
Waking the Trolls
The good case scenario with this card is fantastic – that in a few turns, you get to make 2+ 4/4 Trolls (even two is just good rather than gamebreaking on turn 8), but I also think the failcase is very real. On turn 6, destroying their land isn’t a massive deal unless they have splash colours (and to be fair splashing will be amazing this format, especially in Green), and the land you get back won’t necessarily be able to fix your spells or be worth that much to you (unless maybe you steal Shimmerdrift Vale). On average, you should be two lands ahead if you’ve stolen one of their lands, but sometimes they’ll just draw more lands than you (especially if they’ve drawn more cards overall) – you’re not guaranteed to get any Trolls, and it’s pretty bad if you just get one. This is also a complete dead card against aggro – spending 6 mana to destroy a land is a good way to die. Getting to snag an uncommon sacrifice land can be pretty big, but they can sometimes just sac it in response by turn 6, and you won’t necessarily be able to use it yourself.
Basically, the failcase is very real on this card, and it’s also just glacial – having to wait till turn 8 (if you even hit your land drop on 6) to have a decent effect is miserable. Still, what saves this card a bit for me is that it goes very well with Green’s plan, which is all about ramp this set, so I’m hoping you will be able to consistently outland your opponents, and hopefully by a lot so this is making like three trolls and actually wins the late game.
It’s a shame I won’t get to see this in foil as this art looks pretty weird flat, but with the foiling I think it’ll look gorgeous. Oh and this wins the game some amount of the time two turns after you cast it, which is nice. After destroying a land and taking it back, you’ll be likely to have two trolls all things even, which is enough to justify the cost. I like the self-balancing in this card as well – if you’re flooded, this will give you the best way to turn that mana flood against your opponent with an army of trolls, and if you’re opponent is flooded and you’re not…well this does a lot less, but then at least you have more cards and are probably coping just fine with this being a dead card. That last sentence means I can’t give it an A, but in 3/4 scenarios it takes over the game and the only one it doesn’t, you’re likely to be ahead so it’s going to do well.
Colourless cards have the opposite effect as gold cards: they’re better first picks, because they don’t commit you to anything and the good ones will be good in every deck. All of the cards below should be taken a little higher early on.
This is the kind of card that I wouldn’t believe in in most sets, but Kaldheim has enough creature type homogenisation that I’m willing to be excited for it this set. It starts off pretty slow, as a 3 mana 2/2, but when it gets its first counter, it’s at a fine rate and it’ll sit there threatening to get more. Spellgorger Weird was a good card when you had minimum around 8 noncreature spells in your deck (a feat made easy because War of the Spark was a weird format), and I think enough decks this format will be able to come close to that, since other Changelings count for whatever you name with this. This strikes me as a fine card in most Blue/Green decks, and sometimes in other colours too.
Most of the tribal payoffs are at uncommon, but this being a Changeling itself will matter every so often too.
The average deck will have enough creatures of the same type that you can often get this to a 4/4 without too much effort, which even with a delay on the counter over, is worth the cost at three mana. The first power or toughness can just be whatever is in your hand to cast next but it can require a little forward planning beyond that, and rewards knowing both creatures types of all cards in your deck – which is a bit of work if you haven’t saved your limited deck elsewhere before the game. Sometimes, late game you’ll draw it and pretend to be excited at your 3 mana 2/2, but with some high tribal synergies, (such as a very nice curveout with Dwarven Reinforcements or Elderleaf Mentor since it counts tokens) it can get much bigger and fast. The balance means I’ll be happy in basically any deck to play this, and colourless does make it a safe pick in Draft.
Crew 6 is too big a restriction unless you have exactly Giant Ox, and you really need a bunch of them. When you get there, when you have 5 Oxen, this card doesn’t even attack particularly well or have abilities that are that good – on turn 3, they can still have a 3/x to block it. In the games where you draw your Oxen without this, or this without htem, you’re going to feel pretty miserable.
This card is a almost colossal failure, and I really want to like it because it reminds me of FLCL, which made changing my music for reviewing colourless to the Pillows on which is a big win. As for the card itself, the combo is Giant Ox which means you can attack for 6 on turn 3 and generate a 6 mana over the course of the turn, which is enough of a combo to be worth putting together if you happen to get multiple copies of each. However, this card is essentially unplayable otherwise at crew 6, and even then only 3 toughness means you might just die without much to say for it. You can be doing better things than this combo, but it’s certainly not bad if you do open enough of these.
I think this card has too many failcases for me to be excited. The problem is that it requires you to be at parity or ahead to do anything – I don’t want to spend my turns just gaining 2 life with it, and that’s going to happen a lot of the time. Spending 4 mana on such a small effect will put you really far behind against beatdown decks – if you’re trying to beat decks from behind, you need to be interacting with the board, not wasting so much mana just to gain 2 life a turn. Once a ton of turns have passed, and this has actually been sort of worth it – there is a point where enough life alongside this other effect is worth it – the draw ability isn’t a may, so you might be in very real danger of decking. Just because you have a few extra cards late in the game doesn’t mean you have the mana, or enough other good cards in your deck to win with.
Even if you are at parity or ahead, the situation can easily swing back before you can start drawing cards – just a flier pecking away at you will prevent this from drawing, and this card looks pretty bad against any card that scales up over time, or a card like Raven Wings, where it’s hard to prevent them hitting you. Certainly, this is a better card in Sealed and to board in against slow matchups.
This card is astronomically better on the play, making you much more likely to be healthy enough to start drawing cards and gain the real advantage. I’d go so far as to consider siding it out on the draw, as it’s unlikely to get you up to 22 there, because you’re more likely to have been attacked. 2 life a turn is still a reasonable amount however, and makes closing out the game quite hard if you manage to stabilise after spending four mana on it. I think this will generally be worth keeping in, but I’m interested to see how it plays out, and if you have a few lifegain cards then all the better. It still doesn’t justify playing Revitalise though – you’re going to lose more life through being attacked if you play that card.
There aren’t easy ways to crew this card this set, and it doesn’t do enough to persist into the late game. I really have to have 1 drops lying around, cards like Fearless Pup or Codespell Cleric, or token producers (of which there are barely any) to make good use of this card. I suspect it’s only decent if I am aggressive, and it doesn’t provide late game reach so not even that much so.
I think the window where this is a good card is just very low, especially in a format where Blue has common 1/4s running around, and there are 3 mana 3/2s everywhere. Crewing this is just a very real cost without support.
There isn’t much with one power to get an easy crew in this set, and once you’re tapping a real creature, the increase in power isn’t that high. It’s still a big body to attack with early though and vigilance doesn’t do a ton here, but it will make some attacks a little easier, especially if you do find some good 1 power creatures like Pilfering Hawk to threaten to crew or loot.
I think this is a pretty bad set for Short Sword, since the Foretell creatures coming down early means you won’t always be able to set up good attacks with just +1/+1, and Giants will laugh in the face of that.
Still, this is a pretty good card nonetheless, because the Runes really need commons like this, and most of the Foretell creatures aren’t really big at least. The Treasure token upside is pretty valuable, since it’ll help out your splashes and let you ramp into stuff sometimes, but ultimately this is a medium rate, you won’t want to take it highly, and it’s unlikely you’ll want multiples.
The most important part about equipment is the equip cost, and at 1 the price is right. If you’ve played short sword, you’ll know what to expect. The treasure token is extra incentive to try and block for your opponent, which gives you the ability to move it around more for advantage at least. I think the first copy of this will pull its weight, especially if you can grab a rune, but wouldn’t want more.
I think 7 mana to make the first 2/2 is way too rough for me to be excited about this card, when it doesn’t also do something else relevant – this first ability is not worth giving up a card for at all, so I really need to rely on the combination. It would’ve been amazing in Limited sets of old, where nothing happened for a million turns, but modern Draft is quicker and has better ways to use mana late, and I would need to make three 2/2s before I was happy about what I’d gotten (maybe two 2/2s if I had a lot of synergy).
Still, it’s not the worst card to throw into a deck that really needs something for the attrition games, and has some good ways to use the bodies – certainly anthem effects, cards like Raven Wings, and the set’s few good tribal payoffs that really want you to keep spitting out creatures would make me more likely to pay this card, but I’m still not going to be that excited. I think if the Shapeshifters weren’t Changelings, this would be worse than Whirlermaker from Kaladesh, since flying tokens devour stalls. The format does seem slow, and I think the Green decks especially may want this card since they have a lot of ramp and no high end, so I am going to give this a reasonable grade, but I could see going down or up, depending on format speed. I think you will win more games with card draw and other such tools to beat attrition though.
This is a much better card in Sealed, and a good sideboard card against some slow decks in best-of-three.
The first line of text will cause some great synergies but you don’t need them for this card – 3 mana for a 2/2 is just a good rate all around when it’s repeatable every turn. You might struggle to get the ball rolling, but being able to flood the board with 2/2s in a hard to answer fashion will threaten to win most games where your opponent gives you the time, and instantly puts them in the driver’s seat of needing to finish you ASAP – so make sure you’re prepared for that when you put this 4 mana aside.
Pyre of Heroes
I suspect there are some decks where this will do something – with multiple 2s, 3s, and 4s of the requisite type – but that the effect won’t be too impressive even in them. This is Limited, where you’re not going to have tons of enter the battlefield creatures, or cards that you actively want to sacrifice. Upgrading them isn’t worth it unless you have bombs of the right type, and at that point it’s still a lot of work and we’re talking very few decks.
I’m not into this in limited – it’s a little expensive and unless you have a lot of shared creature types that gain value when they enter, it won’t do enough. A deck like elves might be able to leverage this so I won’t give it an F but it’s not impressive.
Crew 3 is a huge cost, and I suspect it’s one Kaldheim decks aren’t especially good at paying – heck, Kaladesh decks weren’t good at paying for the 4 mana 6/6 Vehicle, and that set had a lot more synergy and ways to help you do so. The 40% to hit a land is nice, but I doubt you’re going to be able to get loads of attacks in with this. There are more 3 mana 3/2s this set than usual, and this does dodge a bunch of removal while outsizing most of the format, but I definitely won’t want to take this card too highly or want multiples.
Crew 3 is steep but the 40% chance of a land drop every attack does go a long way to justify it on the solid body. You need a lot of 3 power creatures but once you do this can raid your deck – with a single copy.
This card would be medium in other sets, but it’s actually the real deal with Runes and the good Boast creatures. 2 mana every time isn’t a trivial sum to have to pay, but the +1/+0 on this makes whatever you put it on a significantly scarier threat. That being said, this card will look absolutely awful when you’re being beaten down, so if the format is faster than I think right now, I could definitely see lowering it a bunch.
This card gets tons worse when you have one copy, so I wouldn’t take it highly unless I already had a lot of synergy.
Flying is the real deal, even if gaining the bird type is just a bit weird – it’ll come up once every hundred games or so. The additional power also helps raise your clock and this is the easiest thing to get value from a few of the runes. 2 mana on either side is a little rough though.
I’m not fond of this card. Manalith isn’t a good card in most Limited formats, and this just isn’t enough upside on top of that. In fact, I would never count on this splitting ability mattering because it’s a full eight turns after you play it and you’ll almost always be out of stuff to do by then – at that point, your cards that use snow mana probably get pretty absurd at least! I would play it if I really wanted to buff my snow permanent/snow mana producer count, or I had splashes to fix and didn’t have much fixing, but would never be over the moon.
The ramp and fixing look like they could be useful this set, and but tapping for snow mana is often going to be the premium for this card. It’ll be hilarious if you ever get to eight although all that mana won’t do much on turn 11 it’s a story to tell.
This is a bad card if you don’t have a Rune, and you can’t guarantee that you’ll get one when you pick it, but most of the Runes are totally absurd on equipment. The Green and White Runes are especially nuts with this, but you get your card back so you’re happy with whatever you get. I would take this really highly, and maybe even splash a Rune if I had this, because this card really is that good and it searches everywhere so I’d still be able to play it if I had put it on a creature and had it die, or had it milled, or even if it was stuck in my hand because I hadn’t drawn the right mana source.
There is substantial risk when you pick this, but I’m happy to start it high, and it’s a total slam dunk if you already have a Rune.
You need a rune to pair with this or it’s actively bad, but earning the free cantrip from the rune helps to justify this card and then any rune paired with the +1/+1 makes for a strong effect. However both are uncommon so I’d be taking a rune before this, but the ability to get it from anywhere means I’m fine playing just one. Just make sure if you’re playing this in your deck and draw your rune, you put it on a creature that’s likely to die, since this’ll be a bad card until that happens.
Be aware that “cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost” is very relevant on this card. Still, it’s close enough to a 2 drop nonetheless – you may not be able to attack with it on turn 3 or block with it on turn 2, but 2 damage or gaining 2 life (because you didn’t take 2 damage from their creature) isn’t worth a truly massive amount anyway. The important thing with 2 drops is that you get to use your mana on turn 2 to affect the board, and this does do that even if it’s a little later.
2 mana 2/3 isn’t a super exciting rate though, and I wouldn’t play it without synergy if I had other 2 drops – still, the double spell mechanic provides plenty of synergy this set. One problem is that the double spell payoffs don’t really restock your hand, and 2 drops will be invalidated faster by Foretell cards this set, so I see this as a medium card overall. Still, there are some common 3 mana 3/2s in Green and Red, and this trades for them just fine.
This is a really nice “two drop”. It essentially enters tapped if you play it turn two ready for turn three while triggering quite a few different synergies in the set, and if you draw it later you basically pay a mana to have it enter untapped. It’s nothing impressive but it plays a good roll on your curve if you have any foretell or double spell synergy – or just need the 2 mana slot.
The combination of these abilities is almost never worth a card in Limited, and actual never in this set.
Writing all these reviews has made me feel quite weathered, but not quite as much as the thought of putting this in my deck. Remember two things. One, you can play as many basic lands as you like. Two, this is going to be sideboarded once by one person in the history of the format and get there, but it probably won’t be you. (Constructed has different opinions though.)
The Pathways are actually worse than the snow duals in this set, if you’re not particularly aggressive – just having to pick 1 mode makes your splashes a lot worse, and will hamstring your ability to play some games. That’s not even considering all the snow synergies, which have the potential to push snow duals way over.
These are good fixing if you’re on colour and especially nice for splashing as entering untapped is very strong. And let’s be honest – you may well be picking them for constructed anyway (the raredrafter in me is revealed!).
Snow Dual Lands
Drifter: B- for Rimewood Falls, C+ for the rest
Snow duals are amazing – they’re the best fixers in the set, at a pretty low cost for most decks, and they enable all the Snow synergies – which will be really important in some decks. Every deck will want a couple, even if they’re not using Snow – having consistent mana is very important. Splashing is going to be amazing this set, which pushes them significantly higher – this is a mostly free way to enable your splash if you get a few, and it works even outside Green.
Raszero: Between B- & C
Snow is most important to green, blue, black, red then white, in that order. This means Rimewood Falls will be a highly desired card and you won’t see many passed. The value goes down marginally the further you get from Green and Blue, although all colours will be picking these anyway as they need the fixing. It’s particularly of note that green has several cards heavily invested into Snow so it wouldn’t be uncommon for say, a green black deck to happily play a Highland Forest just for the snow mana, so fixing in green is going to be harder to come by even if you have no interest in snow.
Uncommon Sacrifice Cycle
Drifter: Between B and C+
You’re taking these pretty highly if you’re in both colours, but I’d also be pretty happy to splash some of them – they will only tap for your splash colour, but if you were going to play an Island as an extra source in your Black deck anyway, it’s free and potentially very powerful to play Port of Karfell. Where this falls apart a bit is if you have basic land searchers, especially in Green – you’ll still need at least one splash basic then.
Some of these effects are better than others – namely Immersturm Skullcairn, Axgard Armory and Surtland Frostpyre fall a bit short, and I would only give C+ to. The Great Hall, Port of Karfell, and Bretagard Stronghold are especially good and I give B to, and the rest I’m looking at about B- for. Remember that they can only be activated as sorceries – that is very relevant, and hurts them all significantly.
Raszero: Mostly B-
You are mainly playing these as taplands when you are in both colours – I’d be happy to play every on colour one I get up to about 6 taplands total quite happily. They give you something extra to do once the dust is settled, and while if you face a quick deck you may want to side out a few if you somehow get 6 for basics, most do powerful enough effects that I want them. If you’re also already looking to splash a colour and see one of these it’s a pretty nice way to include an extra source and just put it in a spell slot as an 18th land most of the time, giving you the fixing when you need it an a spell if you do draw another source. I’m happy giving them all a B- given your deck can use them – For example for Axgard Armory I probably want a copy of Bound in Gold. Immersturm Skullcairn probably stands out as the worst apart form this as once you play it tapped if you’re opponent has a powerful card in hand they won’t leave it as the last card so you won’t be getting the value from it and this gets a D+, although these decks will still value the 3 damage most of the time.
I think this is a little too hard to activate and low impact in the late game for me to be really excited, especially since it produces colourless mana and hurts my deck. Needing three other Snow Lands is just a huge deal even in the late games of dedicated snow decks, and the body isn’t going to break many stalls, even if it does win some attrition games by dodging sorcery speed removal.
This does generate snow mana, but often it’ll be marked the same as an off-colour snow basic for assembling quadruple snow (it won’t be any good to activate itself), which isn’t a feat many snow decks will be enabling with any consistency anyway.
This is a solid way to enable your splash cards, but remember that you’re still hurting your mana in doing so – choose 1s are rough, because sometimes you have hands where you really need to name one of your main sources. Being a snow land is great, and it’s even fetchable with some of the snow searchers, which certainly helps since you don’t then have to play off-colour basics. This is a really high pick in snow payoff colours, and still a C+ outside of those, since you don’t want to turn down free fixing and splash potential. Even aggro decks should play at least a couple of taplands in Limited – you won’t have that many 1 drops, so some of the downside is gone.
Tapping for whatever colour you need in snow will be a very desirable effect. If you need this be prepared to pick it highly.
This is playable if you get a few Legendary creatures and a few Changelings, but it stretches your mana and is terrible everywhere else. There aren’t enough Legendaries that you’re realistically going to get 3 very often, but being able to make Changelings indestructible in the late game can be very annoying, especially with Mistwalker. Beware their instant speed removal – they might well be waiting for you to activate this, to remove your creature in response.
I’m interested in this card once I get 3 or more legendaries as the counter is a very real bonus for a land, and making them indestructible can turn any creature into a real pain. Considering changelings are Gods but not legendary, they won’t get the counter but converting a creature to just never die is powerful enough to be worth an 18th land or stretching your mana.
The World Tree
I plan to play The World Tree in basically every deck if I draft it and can use Green mana – sometimes even in the late game, you don’t draw double Red or whatever, and it will save your life, allowing you to empty your whole hand. I think Green will pretty much always be splashing this set, and this card enables all of your splashes, any other weird colour requirements that your cards might have, and whatever else you want to do at a very low cost. If you have a card like Esika, God of the Tree, then you should take the World Tree over almost anything (and not because it will tutor it for 10 mana).
10, T: to get every Changeling out of my deck can be very good too, especially if you’re playing ramp sources and such which is a major part of Green’s identity this set – games do often go long in Limited, and you do flood really hard in some of them, and having that extra equity for free is nice. The cost of one extra tapland is just very small. This card doesn’t do enough to be a really early pick, but I will snap it up whenever I get the chance in a weaker pack.
This card genuinely has me stumped for the final card of the set. But in reality it’s far too easy to focus on the last line of text when everything above that is enough. It’s a low opportunity cost to enter tapped considering the fixing it provides once you get to six lands. Then if a game goes incredibly long and you do reach 11 mana (it taps itself) and you have a few Gods to fetch, well that’s worth coming in tapped for. But a very small % of games go to 10 lands, so I’m mostly looking at this as a splash tool with a sweet edge case.
Snow-Covered Basic Lands
Sometimes, if you’re very dedicated to the snow strategy, you’ll play these even when they’re producing colourless mana, but that’s sort of rare. Mostly, you’ll want a couple in a lot of different decks, and potentially a lot in your average Green or Blue deck. If you’ve read the rest of this review and just through common sense, it should be obvious when you want to take these higher or lower than their grades, so I won’t say too much else about them!
Snow Covered forest will be quite high on the list, and then the value goes down among the basics to D+ once we get to plains and mountain where there are a few on-colour cards that care but they aren’t needed above regular picks. This does raise an interesting question for the Green snow decks, as even though they won’t have any snow cards in white and only one that matters in red it might be a more natural pair due to the higher abundance of snow lands that are flowing. Whether this is more important than the higher denisity of actual snow cards in blue and black remains to be seen. I suspect blue and black are still better snow colour pairs but it’s worth considering.
Kaldheim looks like a really interesting and intricate format! I was worried during spoilers that it would be too tribal-focused, since that can sometimes make drafting decisions feel trivial, but I was totally wrong – Tribal is very limited in application this set really, and it looks to be more about building around the busted uncommons, splashing, and building up specific synergies.
I think the fixing is going to be amazing, and the payoffs for splashing really are out there more in this set than most, in fact that should be a major part of Green’s identity since it’s a bit lacking in power outside of that, but borrowing the best parts of the other colours will be a great way to go.
Kaldheim seems very uncommon-dominated compared to other sets – the card quality at uncommon is high almost across the board, and most of the colours have much weaker commons. I think Blue is likely to be the strongest colour, just because it has good common in spades, and is better able to account for its normal weaknesses in this than most sets. Playable counts may end up more of an issue than in most cases, especially for the snow decks.
I’ve reviewed with the idea that this is mostly a slow set in mind, since I don’t see the powerful common 2 drops, good tricks, late game reach, and really efficient cards that aggro needs to really take over formats, but I do think there will be good paths for beatdown decks to shine – punishing people who cut too many 2 drops for foretell cards and play too many of the slower durdlier sagas is probably going to be a good way to go, especially at the start of the set when builds will be all over the place!
If the format ends up faster or slower than I think, you’ll be able to see those changes in my tier list, which I plan to update regularly as usual.
Thanks for tuning in for my fifth review in a row, everyone. As always, they’re a lot of work but your insightful comments, great feedback, and those of you who make it clear to me that I’ve helped you in some way are a huge reward!
The multicoloured uncommons are for the most part really powerful. While Green suffered on its card quality a bit, having extra tools to be able to splash some amount of these cards definitely increases the power level, and most of them are well worth going a bit out of your way to slide into your deck. There are some good tools in colourless as well, with both equipment being serviceable without being overly exciting.
The format looks like it’ll be a bit slower than usual, with the contradictory slow boast and foretell incentivising players to have a strategy that works in the long term. Especially earlier in the format, I expect decks will be trying to take advantage of this, meaning if you get the right tools to make the fast decks work, they can get under this initial clunkiness. Slow formats do tend to be my preference so I’m hoping this prediction is right. Going into the format knowing you need to expect the game to take a few extra turns will be an important thing to bear in mind.
However I think this format, more than normal, will see a larger number of games decided in one explosive turn, as Foretell cards build up in exile, Boast activated abilities are waiting for you to empty your hand, and Snow decks reach the density of Snow mana required for many of their effects.
Overall, I look forward to trying out everything this format has to offer, and the delicate balancing act of taking snow lands in draft will be a fine line to walk that places a much higher demand on your picks than we may be used to. Be sure to leave yourself with enough playables!