Kaldheim Preview: Top 5 Over and Under Rated Cards
Kaldheim is fully released and with that, there’s a huge amount of speculation around how good all of the cards are. Well, I’m here to personally tell you that all of your opinions are wrong and mine are right. Ok, maybe not, but I’m feeling confident in my card evaluations! This article, by nature, is going against the grain of what seems to be the prevailing opinion about a lot of cards. Let’s talk today about what I think are the top 10 misevaluated cards in Kaldheim so far!
OVERRATED: Eradicator Valkyrie
Whenever there’s a creature that has a million keywords slapped onto it, players generally assume that the card is powerful. That’s not an unfair judgement as cards like Questing Beast and Elder Gargaroth are both extremely powerful cards that are a bundle of abilities; however, Eradicator Valkyrie is not in the same caliber. The first issue with Valkyrie is the 3 toughness, likely what’s going to be the ultimate killer of this card. Investing 4 mana to lose it to common removal spells like Fire Prophecy or Scorching Dragonfire is a very brutal exchange. Secondly, this doesn’t do anything the turn it comes in. Without an ETB ability, haste, or an ability that can be used immediately, Valkyrie will likely be a liability more often than it will be an asset. “But Bob, Elder Gargaroth doesn’t do anything the turn it comes in either!” Not a bad argument Strawman, but that’s misguided. One, Gargaroth triggers on blocks as well. Two, it’s much harder to kill than Valkyrie. Three, you will very likely win the game when you untap with Gargaroth. Eradicator Valkyrie doesn’t have the power to reward you for untapping with it for all the potential risks associated with casting it.
UNDERRATED: Cosmos Charger
I don’t blame many players for sleeping on this card, but I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t be. I’ll admit, most creatures that synergize with a set’s flagship mechanic do tend to be on the bad side unless they are obviously powerful. Cosmos Charger isn’t obviously powerful, but I think it’s way better than most are giving it credit for. Let’s go through the abilities. 4 mana for a 3/3 Flash Flier isn’t too bad of a statline, not Standard playable, but definitely solid. However, that’s just gravy compared to the real reason we’re playing the card. The biggest issue I see with Foretell is that it’s a sorcery speed ability and there will be a lot of times you will want to Foretell, but have to do something else. A few turns pass, then you’re stuck in the awkward scenario of whether to foretell a spell or just cast it outright, completely missing out on the mana advantage of foretelling a spell. Cosmos Charger takes that restriction and laughs in its face. Not only can you now Foretell cards at Instant speed, but they also cost 1 less to Foretell! Furthermore, Cosmos Charger works well in multiples as you can get the Foretell cost to zero. To wrap it all up, Cosmos Charger has Foretell itself so if you Foretell a spell on 2, your opponent likely won’t expect a 3/3 on 3! I don’t believe this card is broken or anything, but if Foretell is going to be a playable archetype rather than just utilized in existing decks, this is the card that will make it happen.
OVERRATED: Tundra Fumarole
I know the prospect of free mana can definitely work people into a frenzy, thus Tundra Fumarole can look insane on first viewing. 3 mana deals 4 to a Creature or Walker, then you get 3 colorless to use again until the end of the turn? Amazing! Well, there’s a few issues with this. One, you need to spend all snow mana to get the maximum return on this, which likely limits this to Monored decks or extremely heavy red decks to play a high density of Snow Covered Mountain, the same goes for it’s 1RR casting cost. Two, you need a way to actually utilize the colorless mana afterwards. If you can’t get at least 2 usable mana off this card, a 3 mana deal 4 is way below par for what’s acceptable in Standard, and you have to build your deck around it! Compare this to Thundering Rebuke which functionally sees zero play in Standard right now and that should give you a good indication of what’s likely to happen here. I will say though, if there manages to be a Monored Midrange deck that is somehow good, I could see this being a part of that.
UNDERRATED: Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
I think the fact that people are so excited that Phyrexians are on Kaldheim it completely overshadows how powerful this card actually is. So like any good 6 drop, this card does something the turn it comes in with it having both Trample and Haste. Second, the Doubling Season effect on a body is incredible. Since this doubles all counters, you can hypothetically play this, untap, play a Planeswalker and Ultimate the same turn! If the card stopped there, this would already be constructed playable, but it somehow has more text. The last effect which is likely the most overlooked, may be the best ability on it. If your opponent can’t put counters on permanents, all Sagas they could play are blank cardboard until this is off the board. As a downside, your Sagas are also awkward, but you can just build your deck to not include Sagas need be. This card is amazing and will likely be the premiere 6 mana threat in the format.
OVERRATED: Niko Aris
Let me start off saying that I do think this card is decent, but it has gotten way more attention then it deserved. This card is ok, but it’s not amazing in any real capacity. The +1 on it is pretty close to blank text for most creatures, the first -1 is ok, but extremely situational. The last -1 is also fine, but rather mediocre. It being an X spell does give Niko some reasonable utility as Shards are functionally better clues, but I have a major contention with them being hailed as super powerful. Niko is super similar to Gadwick, a card that draws cards on entering rather than making shards, and Gadwick sees zero play. Now they aren’t directly comparable, but I think they’re close enough to be able to tell how much play Niko will actually see compared to the amount people think it will see.
UNDERRATED: Showdown of the Skalds
Am I the only one to see this card previewed? Maybe it got swept under the rug because it was released way earlier than most of the set, but this is one of the best top end cards for Aggro I have seen in a long time. You get a draw 4 on the first end that gives you that turn and the next to cast those spells, then the next two turns every spell you cast can buff a creature of your choice. If we’re talking about power level, this card rivals that of Experimental Frenzy, upside that there isn’t the downside, downside being that Frenzy is better in a prolonged game. Although I think this is exactly what aggro was looking for, you could also use this alongside Yorion, Sky Nomad to get extra value off of Showdown. My only concern with this card right now is that Bonecrusher Giant and Lovestruck Beast are so good at shutting down aggro strategies that it may take them rotating for this card to shine, but it definitely will at some point in its life cycle.
OVERRATED: Mystic Reflection
Let’s get this out of the way, this card is super cool, no denying that. It’s a weird value card or a super weird counterspell like effect, nothing like that we’ve seen before. That being said, how cool a card is doesn’t translate into how good a card is. I’ve seen a lot of posts thinking of the possibilities by copying Terror of the Peaks with a lot of tokens on the stack, but there’s multiple issues with this prospect. One, Mystic Reflection would then just be useless until you draw one of your Token creators. Two, this requires a lot of set up that can easily be stopped by a removal spell. Three, is enabling some sort of combo like that really better than any other threat you could likely just play? I know players won’t be able to stop themselves from trying to play tokens into Mystic Reflection, but then they’ll just play Extinction Event or Ugin, the Spirit Dragon and make you look foolish. Try it because it’s cool, but not because it’s good.
UNDERRATED: Esika, God of the Tree
I’ll admit this is where my judgement may be off, but I think Esika is a lot better than it looks. I’ll say, the Esika half of the card isn’t the most impressive, but a 1/4 mana producer can be acceptable. When is it acceptable? When you’re trying to cast the second half of the card, The Prismatic Bridge. Back when Niv-Mizzet Reborn was in Standard, many tried to make it work as it was a powerful payoff, but there were a lot of issues. For one, you had to build your entire deck in such a way that you can hit multiple cards off of Niv. The other, was that there was a real fail rate on Niv-Mizzet. Can you imagine building your entire deck around Niv, resolving it, then you draw one card? Yeah, not great. Although the Prismatic Bridge doesn’t do anything the turn it comes in, it will start accruing advantage every single turn by getting a creature or planeswalker randomly from your deck for free. If you get one trigger, you can likely get most of your investment back if not more. Twice? You definitely got your money’s worth. The mana in Standard right now can be a tad shaky, but with the introduction of The World Tree as well, there’s a real chance that some sort of midrange strategy utilizing this would be possible.
OVERRATED: In Search of Greatness
In Search of Greatness is the epitome of the trap card in Magic’s spoiler season: it’s unique, it’s free mana, and it’s cool as hell. With all of that said, it’s going to be insanely hard to ever make this card really good. You need to get this out early, get a permanent down, and also have a permanent that’s exactly +1 CMC of your highest cmc permanent. This isn’t impossible to get off, but this is a lot of hoops to jump through to make one of your cards work. Lastly, if you play out your highest CMC card, now In Search of Greatness is nearly a dead card. I can envision this seeing play in the sideboard of something like Monogreen Food, but it’s so niche I feel like it’s going to see widespread play, then fade to obscurity when people realize the conditions are simply too stringent.
UNDERRATED: Cosima, God of the Voyage
The fact that this card design is so confusing and weird likely didn’t help player’s perception of it, but I’m very excited for playing with this card. On the front half, you have a really interesting engine card that accrues more and more value every time you play a land. If you play this turn 3, play 3 lands, then return it, you have a 5/6 that draws 3 cards on entry, for 3 mana! The best way to view this card is kind of like a Suspend card. 3 mana is a lot for Suspend and it can be killed before it goes on the voyage, but then it’s still trading 1 for 1 and the payoff is definitely real. Furthermore, by the time you can have a huge Cosima, you can’t counter it anymore so if your opponent wants it gone, they have one turn to stop you from sending it on a Voyage. That’s a lot to say, and that’s only the first side of the card! The flip side, The Omenkeel, is quite a powerful card by its own right as well. A 2 mana 3/3 Crew 1 is a solid vehicle, but when it (or any vehicle for that manner) connects with the opponent, the real value starts. For each point of damage you deal, you force the opponent to exile that many cards and, as long as you have The Overkeel, you can play lands from those exiled cards. Every land you get off of this is functionally a card drawn so one hit with this could hypothetically draw you multiple cards per attack, even if it takes a few turns to take advantage of it. I’m not positive what decks are going to want to use either side or both, but the power level is hard to deny.
That’s all that I have today! Thank you for reading!