Figuring Out The Best Way To Build A Giants Deck In Kaldheim Standard

Building a Giants deck for Kaldheim Standard is no small feat. How would World Champion PVDDR approach the puzzle?

Invasion of the Giants, illustrated by Jason Felix

Giants, much like Angels and Dragons, are a challenging tribe to make work because a lot of the creatures occupy the same space in a deck — that of a big finisher. If you play something like Elves, Goblins, Humans, or Merfolk, you can fill your deck with 30 creatures of the right type and never worry about your mana curve because these creatures exist at all reasonable points in the curve, but if you ever play 30 Giants in a deck, then the average converted mana cost will be five and you will lose most games without ever casting a spell.

Because of this, the prospects for a Giant deck can be a bit bleak. Luckily, the tribe has two things going for it. The first thing is that most of the Giant-themed cards don’t require a lot of Giants.

Take, for example, these staple tribal cards:

Lord of Atlantis Thalia's Lieutenant Muxus, Goblin Grandee

These cards really reward an “all-in” approach that benefits from you adding a lot more creatures of their respective creature types. If you have these cards in your deck, each card you add that does not make them better is a liability. You could not add 30 Giants to your deck, but you don’t have to, because the Giants cards aren’t like that — they mostly ask that you have one extra Giant or give you some benefit if you do.

The second thing Giants as a tribe have going for them is multi-format all-star Bonecrusher Giant.

Bonecrusher Giant

Because it works both as a two-drop and a three-drop, Bonecrusher Giant solves most of your curve considerations and makes almost any opening hand playable by itself. It is because Bonecrusher Giant exists and is so strong that we can entertain the idea of playing a Giants-themed deck.

So, other than Bonecrusher Giant, what cards can we include in our Giants deck?

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger is obviously a very strong card, but not one that you can just throw in a regular deck; unlike Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath, it does require at least some setup. It’s also the only black Giant on the list, so it might not fit with what we’re trying to do, but it’s certainly good enough to warrant consideration.

Crystalline Giant

I doubt we’ll include Crystalline Giant unless we’re really looking for a creature with the creature type Giant. Is there enough tribal support to justify playing the suboptimal three-drop? We’ll get there.

Shatterskull Charger

Shatterskull Charger hasn’t seen a lot of play, but it’s not a bad card — if we’re looking for aggressive Giants, we could do a lot worse. I especially like the combo of Shatterskull Charger plus Luminarch Aspirant, as the Charger will then stay on the battlefield forever.

Realm-Cloaked Giant

This is a very reasonable Giant payoff for a control deck. We’re already looking to play more Giants, so we can make sure this will be closer to a Plague Wind than a Wrath of God (unless, of course, our opponents are also playing Giants). 

Thryx, the Sudden Storm

Another card that hasn’t seen much play but that’s not far off on power level. Still, playing Thryx, the Sudden Storm instead of Yorion, Sky Nomad is going to be a tall order — we’re really going to need some extra synergy to justify it. 

Beanstalk Giant

Another playable Giant if we’re looking for a more ramp-based build. 

Tectonic Giant

Another card that’s not that far off on power level. Again, we’ll mostly only want it if we have enough cards that reward us for playing Giants. 

Calamity Bearer

Calamity Bearer is our first Giant payoff from the new set. If most of your damage dealers are Giants, this card can be quite powerful — it’s similar to Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, except easier to cast and more powerful on its own. Plus, it survives Elspeth’s Nightmare! Definitely one of the cards to look towards for an aggressive Giants deck. 


Quakebringer is another Giant payoff for aggressive decks. Unlike Calamity Bearer, it doesn’t scale with Giants — it’s the same whether you have one or five on the battlefield — but the fact that it works from the graveyard can be quite strong. Perhaps we should look to put it in the same deck as Kroxa since they’re both interested in self-milling.

Aegar, the Freezing Flame

This is probably a better 3/3 for three than Crystalline Giant if your deck can easily cast it. The ability is not going to come up every game, but every time that it does come up, it’ll be great. For example, if you ever use Stomp on a 1/1 creature, that’s going to feel incredible. It also works as a sort of trample-like effect to punish chump blockers.

Frostpyre Arcanist

This counts as a five-drop (there are some cards that care about that), but will often cost just four mana. The ability can be better or worse than drawing a card, depending on what is in your graveyard, but the fail case of hitting nothing is very real and very dangerous. 

Cyclone Summoner

Cyclone Summoner looks like a Commander card, but I think it might actually be quite good in Standard. Bouncing every one of your opponent’s permanents can be extremely valuable depending on what you’re playing against (such as, for example, Mono-Green Food or Gruul Adventures), and bouncing your own permanents can also be quite good, especially since some of the Giants-centric cards are Sagas (or potentially Yorion, though unfortunately that’s not an infinite combo). 

Battle of Frost and Fire

Battle of Frost and Fire is a huge Giants card. It doesn’t require Giants per se, but it does work well with them — though it works well with any five-toughness creature. It’s annoying that Bonecrusher Giant, one of the best aggro creatures in the format, is immune to it, as is Lovestruck Beast, but it does kill a lot of different things — Questing Beast, Kazandu Mammoth, all the Rogues, all the Angel tokens, and so on. Then you get the other two chapters, which are mostly bonuses, but scry 3 and then a potential draw two-discard one can dig very far. 

This card is also excellent if you can recast it, whether that’s with Yorion or Cyclone Summoner — you get to sweep the battlefield, scry 3, and then sweep the battlefield again. Obviously whether this is good or not will depend on what threats are actually played, but it’s the kind of card that can dictate what can and what cannot be played, so it has the potential to shape the metagame if the right deck for it emerges. 

Glimpse the Cosmos

Glimpse the Cosmos is another Giant payoff and quite a good one at that. The first cast is similar to Omen of the Sea — it’s a sorcery, so it’s worse, but it digs three cards deep just the same. While you cannot keep two (or three) cards if you like them, you can also choose the best of the three instead of having to settle for the third one if you don’t like any of them. 

Then, if you have a Giant, you can cast it from the graveyard for one blue mana. That’s huge! If this card cost three mana and just did the effect twice, it would be very strong, but instead you get to cast it on Turn 2 to fix your early draws and then cast it again for basically free later in the game to find action. 

The true beauty of this card is that, even though it does count as a Giant payoff, it doesn’t require a lot of Giants, because if at any point later in the game you draw one, you can cast the Glimpse the Cosmos from the graveyard. Given that the first part of the spell is already a playable card, I think it’s totally reasonable to play Glimpse the Cosmos if you only have four Bonecrusher Giants to enable it — at some point you will get one on the battlefield and that’s enough. Definitely one of my favorite cards in the set.

Invasion of the Giants

Invasion of the Giants is another powerful payoff that doesn’t require a completely dedicated deck, but rather just some small amount of Giants. If you manage to get every chapter to work, you’re getting scry 2, draw a card, two damage to a player or planeswalker, and a two-mana discount on a future turn — which more than makes up for the two mana you spent, since accelerating an expensive card can have a bigger impact than spending the mana on Turn 2. So, if everything is working, you’re getting back your card and your mana at a point in the game where both are theoretically more valuable, and you’re also getting scry 2 and two damage on top of it. That’s a bargain!

The best possible situation for Invasion of the Giants is when you actually care about the two damage from Chapter 2. Since you cannot kill creatures with it and few people play planeswalkers, you might find yourself playing it in a control deck where the two damage is mostly irrelevant, whereas if you play it in an aggro deck, then the two damage becomes an important part of the card, which makes the card even better.

Personally, I think the card is good enough to see play whether you care about the two damage or not; even control decks will use it to kill someone from time to time or to shorten their clock by a couple of turns, and the rest of the card is potentially doing enough for you to justify playing anyway even if the two damage clause simply didn’t exist. 

One thing to keep in mind with Invasion of the Giants is that there are simply no good six-mana Giants, so the natural curve of casting this on Turn 2 and a six-drop on Turn 4 does not exist. Instead, you can cast a five-drop ahead of schedule (plenty of those), use it to cast multiple spells in a turn (for example a Bonecrusher Giant and another three-mana play), or delay it by a turn to cast seven-drops on Turn 5. If you want to blink it with Yorion to get more cards and scrying, you need to cast this on Turn 4.


Two mana for six damage at instant speed is quite good, but five mana for the same effect is awful. My inclination is that the Giants are expensive enough as a whole that this is not reliable — you can’t cast a Giant and Squash in the same turn very easily, which leaves you more vulnerable to removal spells. It is a very easy way to trigger Aegar, the Freezing Flame, though. 

Fire Giant's Fury

The effect is super-powerful, but I don’t think it’s worth exposing yourself to a two-for-one. Still, if basically any Giant connects, this becomes the world’s best Light Up the Stage, so it might be worth consideration if your deck is cheap enough to make full use of multiple cards in a one-and-a-half-turn span. 

Giant Ox

Not a Giant. :sheds tear: 

Okay, so this is pretty much about it for Giants. Where does this take us? I think there are many possible directions, ranging from very aggressive to very controlling.

Originally, I tried building a red-based Aggro deck with a Giants sub-theme for Quakebringer and Calamity Bearer, but I honestly don’t think this deck can work. There’s not enough of a reason for you to play the Giants rather than other creatures, at least not enough to justify playing something like Crystalline Giant over Anax, Hardened in the Forge. I think super-aggro red decks are better off staying low for Embercleave and Torbran. So, if we want to go aggro with Giants, I think Rakdos is a better choice, so we can put Kroxa and Quakebringer in the graveyard more easily. Here’s an attempt:

Honestly, looking at this deck, it’s hard to say if Quakebringer belongs or not. Now that we have Egon, God of Death and, more importantly, Throne of Death, there are many cheap ways to fuel your graveyard, which means more reliable Kroxas and more ways to put Quakebringer there. At the same time, if you have Kroxa going, this might be enough without needing any Quakebringers.

Still, I believe it’s worth trying — I can envision scenarios where you play Throne of Death and Mire Triton early on, end up milling one or two Quakebringers, and then cast a Bonecrusher Giant on Turn 3 and threaten an extra two or four damage each turn of the game. 

Still, this deck doesn’t really maximize Giants the way I would like it to. it’s just a tiny detail in what is basically a graveyard deck. I think we can push the matter a little further by going into other colors.

The main thing I’m noticing is that, while the Giant-themed cards all have potential, the Giants themselves aren’t very good. Glimpse the Cosmos, Battle of Frost and Fire, and Invasion of the Giants all strike me as very powerful, but I really do not want to have to play Tectonic Giant to make them work. The challenge becomes to build a deck that has enough Giants to enable these cards without having to run the clunky creatures. 

The answer might just be to add a light green splash. If we can do that, there are two green cards that interest me — Beanstalk Giant and The Bears of Littjara.

Beanstalk Giant The Bears of Littjara

Beanstalk Giant curves quite well with Invasion of the Giants, as you can just go Turn 2 Saga, Turn 3 Fertile Footsteps, and Turn 4 Beanstalk Giant. The Giant will only be a 5/5 at that point, but it’s going to grow and that’s very early in the game. 

The Bears of Littjara is possibly the best three-mana Giant that we can play outside of Bonecrusher Giant, and you have enough four-power creatures to use the third chapter even if your Changeling dies. As Ari Lax wrote earlier this week, it’s basically a three-mana 4/4 Shriekmaw

I also think that the best way to go is to slow the deck down. Sure, Invasion of the Giants has aggressive components, but both Glimpse the Cosmos and Battle of Frost and Fire are better in a slower deck, and Beanstalk Giant isn’t the world’s most aggressively costed creature either. So what if we turn this into a slower deck that can make use of Yorion? The Giant synergies will be a bit harder to find with 80 cards, but we’re adding a lot more digging to the deck, so it might just be worth it. 

Now this deck I actually like! There are enough Giants in it to make the Giant synergies good, but at the same time I don’t feel I’m playing any Giants I don’t actually want to play. The deck has a lot of card selection in the early-game – Omen of the Sea, Glimpse the Cosmos, Invasion of the Giants – and a lot of ways to gain advantage in the later stages of the game with both Yorion and Cyclone Summoner resetting all your enchantments. Yorion doesn’t work with Cyclone Summoner, but Cyclone Summoner does work with Yorion, and each Summoner you cast lets you bounce the Yorion back to your hand. Given that so many of the cards you’re bouncing or blinking give you an advantage, winning the game at that point should be trivial.

You’ll also notice that this deck, as well as several of my other decks, will have four copies of Cosima, God of the Voyage. This is mostly because I think this card is extremely powerful and want to try playing it in every deck that can reasonably support it. 

If we’re willing to play a three-color Yorion deck, we should also consider playing white instead of green. White doesn’t offer any cheap Giants like The Bears of Littjara, but it does offer many potentially good sweepers and ways to kill creatures that are not toughness-based. 

Overall I think I like the green version a little bit more, but this doesn’t look bad either, and it could become a better choice if bigger creatures become the norm, especially if they happen to not get bounced by Cyclone Summoner

What if we go back to our original Kroxa build and try to incorporate blue as well? This way, you get another mill-worthy card in Glimpse the Cosmos. You don’t have to play Quakebringer at all; instead, you can rely on just Glimpse the Cosmos and Kroxa as graveyard payouts while also being able to blink your Tymaret Calls the Dead with Yorion. 

Your main Giant in this deck (Kroxa) doesn’t get a colorless discount, so I think Invasion of the Giants isn’t as good here. King Narfi’s Betrayal is an experiment. It could easily turn out to not be good enough, but it’s another Saga that fuels your graveyard and that you can blink for value, so I think it’s worth at least trying out. 

Right now, it’s still too early to tell what the best Giants build is, but I’m almost sure that it will not be an aggressive one. It’ll be midrange at the fastest and my inclination is that the slower builds that take advantage of Yorion, Sky Nomad and potentially Cyclone Summoner to go with the Sagas will be the best. In the end, I believe the way for this deck to work (at least until we get another set) will be to find ways to leverage the powerful Giants-themed cards without having to play the suboptimal Giants themselves.

If a deck manages to do that effectively, that will probably be the best Giants build.