The multicolor cards of Kaldheim pack a disproportionate amount of the power… and demand for deckbuilding finesse. Today, I’d like to take a look at the top 10 multicolor cards of the set; but first be sure to check out my top 10 white cards, top 10 blue cards, top 10 black cards, top 10 red cards, and top 10 green cards if you missed them.
And now, an honorable mention.
Honorable Mention: Battle For Bretagard
There are so many interesting multicolor build arounds in this set, it’s hard to narrow the list to anywhere close to ten. One such card that was narrowly pushed out of the list is Battle For Bretagard, a pretty clearly straight-up token enabler with the added twist of encouraging as great a variety of tokens as you can muster.
When building and playing such a strategy, it’s important to understand and keep track of which cards make which tokens. For instance, Angelic Ascension’s 4/4 Angel and Starnheim Unleashed’s 4/4 Angel are not the same token; and the 2/2 Cat Beasts of Felidar Retreat are not the same as the 2/2 Cats that ride Esika’s Chariot.
On its own, Battle for Bretagard is kind of a time delayed Hordeling Outburst, except instead of getting all three tokens up front, you get one now, one next turn, and if you take care of them and keep them out of harm’s way, you get two more on the turn after that.
This is slow enough and unreliable enough to be less powerful than Hordeling Outburst; however, if you have any other tokens on the battlefield, you can quickly set up a spot where you’re getting a massive amount of material from the doubling effect, while also building towards your primary plan on the turns leading up to it.
When trying to build a Standard deck around this sort of thing, however, a glaring weakness at one and two mana comes into focus. Instead of powerful one-drop token rewards, token-makers, or independently strong token-connected cards, we get Lovestruck Beast and then beyond that can play Garrison Cat, if we want to.
What quality options exist, just don’t line up thematically, like Gilded Goose, Swarm Shambler, and Usher of the Fallen (which makes a token we don’t need and relies on removal or other help getting it able to attack turn after turn). Maybe we’re still supposed to just play stuff like that, since that’s where the rate is; but it doesn’t really draw me to the archetype, if that makes sense.
Likewise, we’ve got Clarion Spirit at the two-drop slot, but even that’s somewhat dubious with most of our card quality coming from 3s and 4s. Even without more one-drops, a couple more high tier two-drops could make all the difference; so this is definitely an archetype to reevaluate when the next set drops.
Jolrael, Mwonvuli Recluse is quite good; but I’m not sure what the Selesyna deck looks like that can reliably trigger it.
Maybe we’re supposed to look at some cycling stuff, but losing even more tempo just doesn’t resonate with me on this one. Of course, there’s also the option of opening up the door to a third color. Blue is a great way to draw cards, of course, but it’s also got some interesting token-making, like The Bears of Littjara.
Of course, I just want to build a deck with The Bears of Littjara, Masked Vandal, Guardian Gladewalker, Realmwalker, and Glasspool Mimic that capitalizes on the best of the best tribal rewards, across every tribe.
10. Invasion of the Giants
Speaking of tribal rewards, Invasion of the Giants could be a key part of such a deck, particularly since we’re likely already going to be interested in Glimpse the Cosmos, and by extension, Bonecrusher Giant.
The Giant tribe is in this interesting spot of having a lot of potential rewards, but not being a tribe that is inherently good to spam. Some of the tribal rewards are absolutely fantastic, but there’s just so few Giants (aside from the Bonecrusher) and they’re kind of all over the place.
Invasion of the Giants, itself, offers some library manipulation in the form of an immediate scry 2, followed by an extra draw on the following turn. This makes it kind of an Omen of the Sea, albeit one where you have to play it main phase and wait a turn for the draw.
Obviously it needs red mana and doesn’t have the sacrifice ability; however, it does offer two additional advantages. The first is the two extra damage to a player or planeswalker (assuming you have a Giant). Maybe the extra face damage matters, maybe it doesn’t, but it all adds up. What’s more, the ability to do a little bit of damage to planeswalkers really helps and can stack with cards like Frost Bite to deal with them relatively mana efficiently.
Today I’d like to try an experiment and just stick to blue and red, and see if we can’t make an Izzet Giants deck that doesn’t try to hard to play a ton of Giants, and just relies on the fact that Glimpse the Cosmos, Invasion of the Giants, and Battle of Frost and Fire are all fine even if you don’t draw any Giants (not to mention all three helping you find whichever ones you do play).
Battle of Frost and Fire is kind of a five-cost deal four sweeper for creatures and planeswalkers alike that doesn’t hit our Bonecrusher Giant. The following turn, it gives us a pretty solid amount of selection (that admittedly doesn’t help us on that turn). It does, however, help us set up our following turn, where we’re hopefully playing at least one card card that costs five or more, for even more card flow and selection.
I’m not sure how many cards that cost five or more we really want to play, but Shatterskull Smashing helps and we can always just play another Battle. There is one five-drop Giant that has kind of piqued my curiosity. It’s not the strongest five-drop in the format, or anything, but it sure does line up well against it.
When everyone else is playing Goldspan Dragon with Negate to protect it, Thryx the Sudden Storm is the perfect card for a total blowout. The stats line up perfectly to eat the Dragon for free, and not needing to target the Dragon can leave them without the ability to even finish off Thryx with a Frost Bite or whatever.
We don’t necessarily get that much out of Thryx’s other abilities; but it is kind of nice to be able to untap and play Graven Lore with two mana open. The Graven Lore is uncounterable in this circumstance, of course, but getting to leave up any of our two-mana permission for our opponent’s turn is real solid.
Grave Lore is also just sweet with Thryx anyway, since we can keep the mana open on our opponent’s turn and they won’t know which way we’re coming at them on their endstep.
Is this better than just playing Izzet Midrange❄ ? I’m not sure. It might be better in the head-to-head, and maybe we could actually just play Goldspan Dragon ourselves instead of Graven Lore and Battle of Frost and Fire?
9. Kaya the Inexorable
Kaya the Inexorable is a lot about that -3 ability to exile a nonland permanent. Beyond that, she kind of sets up some implied eventual conditional card advantage and has an ultimate that is deceptively deadly for how little time it takes to tick up.
She’s kind of the poster child for just a random one-off planeswalker you can add to a deck that adds a lot of versatility, some extra dimensions, that can have lots of good moments, but is not so strong as to be an automatic three or four-of in decks that can cast her.
For instance, here she is in an Abzan Adventures deck:
- 1 Lotus Cobra
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 4 Lovestruck Beast
- 4 Murderous Rider
- 3 Giant Killer
- 4 Edgewall Innkeeper
- 2 Shepherd of the Flock
- 1 Polukranos, Unchained
- 3 Kazandu Mammoth
Why Abzan? Well, as we’re going to see again and again, Binding the Old Gods is just incredible.
Besides, there’s kind of a selection effect. We’re literally talking about Kaya, a black card. Give it a few paragraphs and we’ll be back in red.
8. Harald, King of Skemfar
While the most obvious way to use Harald, King of Skemfar is in an Elf deck like we discussed earlier in the week, alongside Harald Unites the Elves, it’s not the only way.
Unlike his Saga, Harald himself is also a Warrior enabler; and while Golgari Elves forces us to make some concessions to get enough Elves to fill out our roster, adding white for Warriors can really bring our overall power level up. We’ve even got Jaspera Sentinel to help smooth out our mana!
I’m not sure if it’s so smooth that we can really go all the way to Old-Growth Troll; but here’s an attempt at a slightly more modest build:
- 4 Seasoned Hallowblade
- 2 Legion Angel
- 2 Skyclave Apparition
- 1 Sigrid, God-Favored
- 4 Resplendent Marshal
- 4 Harald, King of Skemfar
- 4 Jaspera Sentinel
- 4 Skemfar Avenger
- 4 Usher of the Fallen
7. Niko Aris
Niko Aris is a really cool design that plays out a little differently than most planeswalkers. They are the epitome of versatility, options, and choosing your own destiny. That -1 ability can be so strong in the right spots early; and if the game stretches, getting to sink a bunch of mana into that X can be huge. The +1 ability isn’t the most reliable, but if you can bring it all together, you can use it for some really awesome combos, such as replaying Skyclave Apparition turn after turn.
Here’s an example of Niko in action, playing a valuable role in an Azorius Control deck:
- 4 Omen of the Sea
- 3 The Birth of Meletis
- 2 Elspeth Conquers Death
- 1 Emeria's Call
- 1 Sea Gate Restoration
- 1 Ondu Inversion
- 4 Behold the Multiverse
- 4 Saw It Coming
- 4 Doomskar
Of course, once you’ve got all these Omens and Apparitions, it’s hard not to be tempted to just add twenty more cards and get that sweet, sweet Yorion action.
HogPog_98’s Azorius Blink (Yorion) deck does exactly this, but also incorporates the hilarious Mystic Reflection + Reverent Hoplite combo.
Between The Birthing of Melits, Glass Casket, Banishing Light, Omen of the Sun, Skyclave Apparition, Niko Aris, Archon of Sun’s Grace, Elspeth Conquers Death, and Yorion, Sky Nomad, we’re talking about some serious white devotion. If we play Mystic Reflection, when the Hoplite’s trigger resolves, each token will instead be another Reverent Hoplite.
This scales up with your devotion pretty quickly. It’s quite literally exponentially increasing:
|White Devotion (Including the Hoplite)||Creatures You End Up With|
Heaven forbid you Yorion on the next turn!
Of course, Mystic Reflection with Yorion’s trigger can be pretty intense anyway, since that sure is a lot of creatures coming back at once. Sometimes, though, we’re just going to use Mystic Reflection to turn our Omen of the Sun into two copies of Archon of Sun’s Grace, you know?
That Mystic Reflection has foretell is kind of sweet, since setting up a six mana turn is a lot easier than a seven mana one. Besides, it helps obfuscate when we’re just about to drop Doomskar!
Here’s that list in action:
While we’re on the topic of Azorius cards that work well with Yorion (ie, “cards”), we best look out for one that’s flown under a lot of radars:
6. The Raven’s Warning
The Raven’s Warning has a lot going on. You’re getting a 1/1 flyer, two life, maybe an extra card on the next turn if things go well, and then the exciting grand finale, whatever card you want from your sideboard (on top of your deck, anyway).
This whole sideboard to the top of the deck thing is very abusable, right now. For instance, consider the possibilities with a deck built around Transmogrify and Lukka, Coppercoat Outcast.
Cheating Agent of Treachery onto the battlefield isn’t new, but what if we also have access to Resolute Archangel and Void Winnower, when there’s a good spot for them?
We can also use The Raven’s Warning to set up a Possibility Storm, both potentially letting us cheat out even more big plays, while at the same time making some combo decks basically incapable of winning.
Interestingly, we see another appearance from Esika’s Chariot, which is just a really strong token-maker for our combos, that can win the game on its own, if it needs to.
Part of the benefit, of course, is that it’s a reliable legendary artifact, ensuring our Karn’s Temporal Sundering is live (though we do have a lot of planeswalkers to help there, too).
Yorion blinking The Raven’s Warning can be pretty great, by the way… just saying…
5. Koma, Cosmos Serpent
Koma, Cosmos Serpent is an absolutely fantastic victory condition. It’s vulnerable the turn you play it (aside from permission); but with even a single Serpent, you can protect Koma quite effectively. Spawning two a turn cycle means you’re going to very quickly just run away with things. I mean, just compare Koma to Verdant Force.
They aren’t even in the same league. Koma is a two-turn clock on its own, while also protecting itself and dominating the battlefield. Depending on your list, you might even be able to sneak a little extra Koma protection in ahead of time, with a changeling or the actual best Serpent in the format…
That’s right, Yorion. It’s literally always Yorion.
Binding the Old Gods helps control the battlefield, build card advantage, ramp us into our big plays, and get the most we can out of Yorion. The latest in a long line of Uros and Omnaths, cards that do everything, Binding the Old Gods is an absolute pillar of the format.
This strategy has quickly proven itself a winner and is one of the most important strategies to prepare for. For some additional perspective on how the archetype can be build, here’s one with a lot more of a Dimir Control vibe:
- 2 Negate
- 2 Essence Scatter
- 4 Omen of the Sea
- 2 Cling to Dust
- 3 Elspeth's Nightmare
- 3 Neutralize
- 1 Shark Typhoon
- 4 Extinction Event
- 3 Heartless Act
- 3 Eliminate
- 4 Mazemind Tome
- 2 Bloodchief's Thirst
- 2 Jwari Disruption
- 3 Binding the Old Gods
4. Firja’s Retribution
Firja’s Retribution has a very power enters the battlefield ability for an enchantment, making it a prime candidate for a… yeah, you already know.
Getting a 4/4 flyer with vigilance for four is already a big game, so the prospect of potentially getting some creature kill on top of it? This card is fantastic.
If we want to go even further down the actual Angel-tribal direction, Rampage of the Valkyries has the same enters the battlefield trigger we value so much, while also giving us a very powerful way to take over the game against anyone foolish enough to not be playing extremely fast or extremely big.
This is only the beginning for Firja’s Retribution, and I think it’s got what it takes to show up in more powerful of formats than Standard.
3. Immersturm Predator
Immersturm Predator is a powerful battlefield presence that’s hard to deal with. That it flies and grows and is so hard to kill is already a big deal; however, it’s also got a lot of tactical play to it, thanks to being a zero-cost sacrifice outlet.
While the card has enough raw rate to justify in a straightforward Rakdos aggro deck or a more card advantage-y midrange deck, the most natural home for Immersturm Predator is in a Rakdos Sacrifice deck, where it has plenty of food to eat, while also giving us another powerful way to use Claim the Firstborn and The Akroan War effectively.
- 2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
- 2 Embereth Shieldbreaker
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Woe Strider
- 2 Ox of Agonas
- 2 Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
- 4 Immersturm Predator
Either one of our top two cards might be the best card in the set, and which one comes out on top can vary on any given Sunday.
2. Showdown of the Skalds
Showdown of the Skalds might be slightly more powerful on rate, but has less natural support. That said, the card is unreal and definitely a pillar of Standard with crossformat applications. It’s basically a better, more abusable Escape to the Wilds.
It’s such a powerful source of not only card advantage, but actual battlefield advantage, helping us overpower opponents and it’s very worth splashing in lots of decks. For instance, here’s a Naya Adventures deck that would be content to just stay Gruul, if not for the incredible power afforded by the Showdown splash by Brad Nelson:
- 2 Scavenging Ooze
- 2 Embereth Shieldbreaker
- 4 Lovestruck Beast
- 2 Giant Killer
- 4 Edgewall Innkeeper
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Brushfire Elemental
- 4 Kazandu Mammoth
On the other side of the coin, however, we can also use it as a red splash, such as in the following list by Game_Night, adding it to an otherwise Azorius Blink (Yorion) deck:
- 3 Charming Prince
- 3 Yorion, Sky Nomad
- 4 Skyclave Apparition
- 3 Glasspool Mimic
- 2 Alrund, God of the Cosmos
- 4 Glass Casket
- 4 Omen of the Sea
- 3 Omen of the Forge
- 2 Omen of the Sun
- 4 Elspeth Conquers Death
- 4 Emeria's Call
- 4 Showdown of the Skalds
- 4 Alrund's Epiphany
- 3 Doomskar
What is the format coming to? Is it destined to be Showdown at the Skalds vs Binding the Old Gods?
1. Binding the Old Gods
While not quite as intensely powerful as Showdown at the Skalds, Binding the Old Gods is unimaginably versatile and well positioned. We’ve already talked about so many Binding the Old God decks and Showdown at the Skalds decks, but you know…
Yeah, it do be like that sometimes.
I’ll be back tomorrow with some of the craziest edge case cards and decks we haven’t already broken down, as we examine the top 10 colorless cards of Kaldheim, including some of these lands that have a bit more to them than meets the eye…