Is Kaldheim Draft A Format Where We Can First-Pick A Gold Card?

Ryan Saxe returns with more Kaldheim Draft picks. Today’s big question: when going for the gold, is it right to take a gold card Pack 1, Pick 1?

Funeral Longboat, illustrated by Donato Giancola

Kaldheim is finally here! Earlier this week I discussed drafting snow, and there are some pretty enticing snow cards in this starting pack. But starting with a gold card can be a bit risky. What would you take?

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

Reckless Crew Replicating Ring Invasion of the Giants Svella, Ice Shaper Jaspera Sentinel Jarl of the Forsaken Raiders' Karve Dread Rider Karfell Harbinger Seize the Spoils Strategic Planning Augury Raven Ravenous Lindwurm Port of Karfell Snow-Covered Island

The Pick:

Reckless Crew is a rare I have my eye on, but it’s not one I’m ready to speculate with just yet. It might read as completely unplayable, because how many Equipment and Vehicles can a single Limited deck play? Not many, at least not historically. Kaldheim may be a new world where decks can actually get value from this card. There a lot more Equipment at common and uncommon than in most sets. I’m sure I’ll give this card a spin later in the format, but it’s a bit too finicky of a build-around for me to try it out Week 1.

This pick boils down to Svella, Ice Shaper and Augury Raven. There’s no doubt in my mind that Svella is a more powerful card, and while it’s optimal in Gruul, it’s probably a solid splash for a Simic snow deck (hence it’s not as narrow as your average gold card). That being said, I don’t expect it to be a bomb-tier uncommon and would rather take what I believe to be one of blue’s best commons out of this pack.

Augury Raven is an incredibly good common. Phantom Monster is already a reasonable card by today’s standards and foretell turns it up quite a few notches. It may not be flashy, but I’ll play an unlimited number of Augury Ravens in my deck and it’s very rare that I say that about a four-drop.

Pack 1, Pick 2

The Picks So Far:

Augury Raven

The Pack:

Pyre of Heroes Draugr's Helm The Three Seasons Axgard Braggart Pilfering Hawk Mammoth Growth Giant Ox Duskwielder Open the Omenpaths Dread Rider Draugr Recruiter Craven Hulk Invoke the Divine Ice Tunnel

The Pick:

The Three Seasons, Ice Tunnel, and Pilfering Hawk are all reasonable blue snow cards that can potentially pair well with my first pick.

The Three Seasons is powerful, but commital. Pilfering Hawk is less commital, but would still require getting enough on-color snow basics to justify. The land is always a reasonable choice. That said, none of these cards really stand out.

I’m picking Draugr’s Helm. The cycle of Equipment that can create tokens for an additional cost is better than people are giving credit. They just do so many things. A five-mana 4/4 with menace is a reasonable creature, and then basically for the rest of the game, for four mana, any creature can become an evasive monster. That is some serious battlefield-presence inevitability. All it asks is for you to put creatures in your deck!

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Augury Raven Draugr's Helm

The Pack:

Blightstep Pathway Elven Bow Rune of Flight Warhorn Blast Run Ashore Snakeskin Veil Funeral Longboat Seize the Spoils Scorn Effigy Arachnoform Struggle for Skemfar Beskir Shieldmate Glacial Floodplain

The Pick:

Between Elven Bow and Struggle for Skemfar, I’m honestly not sure which card is better. Struggle is the best Hunt the Weak variant we have ever seen at common, but there’s a surprising amount of cheap instant-speed interaction. With Demon Bolt at common, can you really ever cast this card unless your opponent is tapped out? I guess that’s maybe the idea behind the foretell cost being so cheap, to help offset the rest of the removal quality? I still expect it to be good, but it’s possible the texture of the format leaves a bit to be desired from Struggle for Skemfar.

Elven Bow, however, is quite the opposite. Just like Draugr’s Helm, the card is unassumingly powerful. A 2/3 reach for three is playable yet unexciting. But I really expect these Equipment left on the battlefield will actually amount to card advantage. Elven Bow isn’t as good as the others, but I’m going to start the format taking it above Struggle for Skemfar.

Rune of Flight is in the same color as Augury Raven, but I currently don’t expect the Runes to be huge priorities. They kind of remind me of Cartouches from Amonkhet, and the blue one in that format was similar and was the best blue common. These being bumped up to uncommon either signify an importance to Limited or that the cards just have a bit too much complexity to be commons. Still, I don’t think Rune of Flight competes with the rest of the pack.

Funeral Longboat is an interesting one. A 3/3 with vigilance for two mana is incredibly above rate, and it’s colorless! With crew 1, this card is effectively a creature and I’m going to treat it as such. You can’t jam too many in your deck, but taking the Longboat here keeps me open, and it can support either an assertive black deck or a blue deck packed with evasion.

I’m really not sure where to rate this card, but I’m excited to play with it and find out!