Exploring The Possibilities Of Realmwalker In Kaldheim Standard

Realmwalker offers many tantalizing possibilities for Kaldheim Standard and beyond. Patrick Chapin offers brews based on the curious changeling.

Realmwalker, illustrated by Zack Stella

The return of the changeling mechanic is one of the biggest outstanding question marks surrounding Kaldheim that could mean radically different things depending on the rest of the set.

Gladewalker Ritualist

Changelings could potentially mean a big increase in range of options for tribes, whether granting well-supported tribes new types of abilities they don’t usually have access to, or as added options for niche creature types that have one strong reward but limited options for creatures of that type.

Pack Leader

Take Pack leader, for instance. Generally “Dog” isn’t exactly going to give us the widest range of potential options for types of creatures. Depending on what kinds of changelings get printed in Kaldheim, I could easily imagine flying Dogs, Dogs with enormous stats, all sorts of types of creatures that, because they’re changelings, count as “Dogs.”

While any random changeling might be relevant, Realmwalker is a particularly interesting new one, since it’s a tribal lord itself.


Realmwalker isn’t just another copy of whatever tribe you want; it’s another tribal reward for that tribe. If we continue with the Dog example, we now have another payoff for playing so many Dogs, giving us the Dog version of Conspicuous Snoop.

Conspicuous Snoop

We get to just name “Dog,” and now we can cast Dog creature spells off the top of our deck, letting us rip through our deck and functionally “draw” a lot of extra cards (since every Dog we cast off the top is effectively an “extra card”).

While Realmwalker gives us extra incentive to play as many of our key tribal type as possible, it doesn’t require us to be all-in or anything.

Alpine Houndmaster

In the case of the Dog tribe, it’s great to be able to play Alpine Houndmaster, which really works with our theme, despite not actually being a Dog itself.

Bonecrusher Giant

It also means we still have access to top cards like Bonecrusher Giant. It might not be “on-theme,” but it has an incredible rate and does something we’re kind of interested in anyway, so we could easily want it and just be okay with not being able to cast it off the top when we have Realmwalker going.

I’m skeptical that Realmwalker adds enough to Dogs specifically, at least with what’s been revealed thus far; however, there’s a pretty passable shell here. One more tribal reward could go a long way. That said, we’re not likely to see an actual “Dog” tribal reward, so if there is further tribal support, it’s most likely to take the form of another changeling with a tribal ability or some other open-ended tribal card that just cares about a chosen key tribe (or how many of a given tribe you have at one time).

Fabled Passage

Shuffle effects have added value in a Realmwalker deck. Sometimes, we can line it up so that we wait to use the Fabled Passage at a spot where the top card of our deck isn’t a Dog, resetting the top and giving us another chance at finding one on top to “keep going.”

Like Dogs, Knights are unlikely to receive more explicit support in Kaldheim; however, they do have the advantage of caring about Equipment, which Kaldheim previews have already indicated some new support for. Knights also have the advantage of more tribal support than Dogs in the first place.

Tournament Grounds Venerable Knight Fervent Champion

Worthy Knight Acclaimed Contender

While Knights have been focused on red, white, and black, in recent years, Realmwalker probably forces us to trim one of those colors (or at at least do some unusual gymnastics with our manabase), since running three colors is just so much easier than four at the moment.

While there are several incentives to play Knights, one big question is if the dimension Realmwalker adds is enough. After all, it’s a supply of extra cards as the game stretches on. Embercleave-centric Knight decks aren’t exactly known for wanting to play games that “stretch.”

Another interesting lens to view Realmwalker through is a strategy that isn’t explicitly tribal-centric, yet happens to have so many creatures of the same type that Realmwalker could work well for it anyway.

Edgewall Innkeeper Giant Killer

Shepherd of the Flock Silverflame Squire

Selesnya Adventures, for instance, happens to have a lot of incidental Humans, despite not having involved anything explicitly tribal-rewarding for Humans.

For instance:

While Seasoned Hallowblade is a strong enough Human that we were probably interested anyway, it remains to be seen if Realmwalker gives us enough extra incentive to play Flaxen Intruder over another generally stronger thematic option like Faerie Guidemother or a somewhat off-theme card with more rate, like Selfless Savior.

Flaxen Intruder Faerie Guidemother Selfless Savior

The Human tribe is interesting at least partially because of just how many cards in the new set (and most sets) are likely to be Humans. If there are enough quality Humans, it’s not at all out of the question to actually become more of a dedicated Humans deck, whether keeping the Adventure theme as a major part of the deck or not.

Order of Midnight General Kudro of Drannith

This approach to Realmwalker isn’t reserved for explicitly linear themes, of course. For instance, mono-green creature decks aren’t always the most thematic (or perhaps their theme is “mono-green creatures”). There are a variety of little synergies, but there isn’t really a top-level throughline. However, an awful lot of them happen to be Beasts. 

Swarm Shambler Garruk's Harbinger Gemrazer

Lovestruck Beast Questing Beast Elder Gargaroth

Could Realmwalker be enough to get us to want to use Beasts for more of the discretionary slots?

Once we’re building around Beasts (or Cats, Dinosaurs, Elementals, or Nightmares), Kaheera, the Orphanguard becomes an attractive option. 

Kaheera, the Orphanguard

Like Realmwalker, Kaheera doesn’t require us to play all Beasts. It does ask us to round out the deck with the aforementioned four other tribes, however.

Tangled Florahedron Fiend Artisan

It’s not out of the question to think that we might want more copies of Kaheera maindeck; however, we’ve already got access to so many good three-drops, I didn’t want to start there.

Like with Conspicuous Snoop, Realmwalker does play better with strategies that have interest in going wide. After all, when cards become “cantrips” that don’t cost you a card, it tends to favor cheaper cards (since the “card” represents a higher and higher percentage of the true “cost” the cheaper a card is).

What if we used both?

Yeah, there’s not really a lot of incentive to play Goblins at the moment; however, the Snoop and Realmwalker are two big ones (even if they don’t exactly stack well).

This one doesn’t look like it has enough raw power yet; however, it does have a lot of opportunity. The “party” theme being somewhat explored, but not fully, makes changelings really interesting, since they can fill in whatever role you need.

Grotag Bug-Catcher

Another possible angle with Realmwalker is alongside Pyre of Heroes, which is also a sort of “omni-tribal reward.”

Pyre of Heroes

Pyre of Heroes is a fixed Birthing Pod that can (ostensibly) only climb tribal chains. For instance, at level one, we might try it in a deck like Historic Goblins, with all one tribe and lots of enters-the-battlefield abilities.

Pyre of Heroes does have a bit more range, however. Changelings, like Realmwalker, really alter the equation, since any two-drop can be Pyred into a Realmwalker and Realmwalker can then be Pyred into any four-drop you like.

Toski, Bearer of Secrets

This ability for changelings to serve as converter ports for Pyre of Heroes chains suggests a new series of strategies will emerge that aspire to have a changeling at each spot on the curve that might need to be searched up (at least for costs where the creatures that cost one less don’t all overlap).

Fiend Artisan

While it’s hard to flesh out such a deck until we see more of the changelings (and get confirmation that decent changelings exist at every spot on the curve), one thing we can be sure of is that Fiend Artisan is an important card to keep in mind. An awful lot of toolbox packages and chains you might build will suit the Artisan quite naturally, and by having lots of ways to get extra creatures like Realmwalker and creatures in your graveyard via multiple sacrifice outlets, Fiend Artisan is likely to overperform, or at least show up larger than life.

In more powered formats, Realmwalker has potential with tribal strategies that can fill a deck with inexpensive creatures that scale well for casting lots of them on Turns 4 and 5. The first that comes to mind is definitely Elves, especially when we can take advantage of cards like Heritage Druid.

Heritage Druid Nettle Sentinel

Heritage Druid can make new Elves we cast functionally cost G less, since the newly cast Elf can be tapped as part of the ability. Nettle Sentinel in the mix starts giving us an extra rebate every time. Glimpse of Nature might not be legal, but Realmwalker doesn’t do the worst Glimpse impression.

Glimpse of Nature

And besides, when Collected Company is the strongest green creature card draw engine, Realmwalker looks even more attractive. It’s the optimal cost, it’s a great hit, it can ensure a great hit is coming up, Company resets the top – there’s just a lot of great synergy here.

Pioneer may not have access to Heritage Druid, but there are still enough Elves to warrant exploration, assuming we’re interested in some of the more beatdown-centric ones.

Pelt Collector Dwynen's Elite Steel Leaf Champion

This kind of thing might work extra well with Shaman of the Pack anyway, so that’s not necessarily a concession. For instance:

Finally, in Historic, we may not have Shaman of the Pack either, but we do have Allosaurus Shepherd, which gets us to want to look for opportunities for extra mana producers while also prioritizing going wide.

Allosaurus Shepherd

We might still be interested in Golgari on account of Thoughtseize, graveyard hate, and black removal; however, another option that might be interesting is red. It’s got some removal and a different mix of sideboard cards. It’s also got Radha, Heart of Keld.

Radha, Heart of Keld

Radha is an Elf that works extremely well with Realmwalker (greatly reducing the frequency we ever get “stuck,” with both cards leading to the other getting to use its ability more often). She also gives us more ways to put this extra mana to use and she’s another way to build up our mana supply to be able to fuel Allosaurus Shepherd.

For example, maybe we could start with something like this:

Realmwalker is an extremely sweet design that opens up many different possible avenues of exploration, without any one of them loudly drowning out the rest. With a number of tribal themes already alluded to in Kaldheim, its stock is likely to rise as more of the set is revealed, and this is to say nothing of the possibility of a few more excellent changelings getting printed…