Is Mono-White Aggro A Top-Tier Deck In Kaldheim Draft?

Can a low-curve aggro deck hold its own against the haymakers all over Kaldheim Draft? Ryan Saxe puts the idea to the test.

Battlefield Raptor, illustrated by Mike Bierek

All anybody is talking about is how awesome the five-color snow archetype is in Kaldheim Draft. Sam Black did a wonderful job outlining how to draft the archetype on his podcast. He describes how draft navigation very naturally leads to this deck because you start by taking the most powerful cards in multiple colors, and when an obvious archetypal lane doesn’t present itself, you open the door for this multicolor path by taking snow lands.

It’s extremely powerful, and it’s a good deck, but the self-correcting nature of Draft is starting to take its toll on snow. It simply cannot support more than two drafters at a table and I have had multiple drafts this week where I had to pivot out completely. Luckily, given the nature of the archetype, pivoting out likely leaves you with some good cards in an open archetype, but it still isn’t ideal. I’m currently biasing away from snow thanks to the over-saturation of players attempting to draft it.

Right now I’m loving the aggressive decks. Both white aggressive decks focusing on double-spelling and red aggressive decks killing with Run Amok. Clarion Spirit is the obvious pick to support those strategies, but there’s a solid rare and other good uncommons in the following pack too. Do you think they give Clarion Spirit a run for its money?

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

Grizzled Outrider Depart the Realm Scorn Effigy Clarion Spirit Revitalize Axgard Braggart Gods' Hall Guardian Weigh Down Fearless Pup Ravenform Immersturm Skullcairn Draugr's Helm Boreal Outrider Calamity Bearer Arctic Treeline

The Pick:

I started very high on uncommon Equipment like Draugr’s Helm, but have since come down on them. They’re still good, and better than many commons, but Helm doesn’t compete with the other cards in this pack.

Boreal Outrider is a scary card for the snow deck. Being a lord for all creatures cast afterwards, given the right manabase, is extremely powerful. This card is better than most commons, but I honestly think I would rather start my draft off with Sarulf’s Packmate (one of the three best commons in the set). Given that I think the other two cards in this pack are better than the Packmate, I can safely pass on Boreal Outrider.

Calamity Bearer is more than simply a 6/4 for four mana, which is already a fantastic rate. Doubling the power of all Giants in a format with not only Giants but changelings is much better than it looks. When you add Axgard Cavalry at common to give the Bearer haste on-curve, this rare becomes incredibly potent.

That being said, Clarion Spirit is just too good to pass. In my opinion, Clarion Spirit is one of the best uncommons in the entire format. Unanswered, very few decks will be able to beat this card. And proper sequencing yields casting Clarion Spirit and a spell in the same turn to guarantee value even in the face of removal.

Pack 1, Pick 4

The Picks So Far:

Clarion Spirit Rune of Sustenance Funeral Longboat

The Pack:

Duskwielder Axgard Braggart Battlefield Raptor Snakeskin Veil Gnottvold Recluse Story Seeker Augury Raven Breakneck Berserker Dwarven Hammer Port of Karfell Kaya's Onslaught Snow-Covered Mountain

The Pick:

Augury Raven is a good card, but I’ve gone down on it lately. A 3/3 flyer for four isn’t what it used to be. It’s still a good card, but I’m just not in the market to take French vanilla creatures until I’m certainly in those colors.

Dwarven Hammer is the Equipment in the uncommon cycle that has performed the best for me. I’m still not taking it here, because like the Raven, it’s not good enough to get me to speculate on a second color. However, it provides some serious inevitability to red decks and I am happy to have multiples. Turning even a measly 2/1 into a 5/1 with trample is good, and it’s better than all the common white cards in this pack, but it’s not as good as Kaya’s Onslaught.

Kaya’s Onslaught is one of the most underrated uncommons in the set, and in my opinion it’s the clear pick from this pack. We have seen Uncaged Fury in multiple Draft formats, and it has never been all that great, so why is Kaya’s Onslaught an early pick? Foretell changes the way this card plays by an unbelievable amount. The reason that Uncaged Fury isn’t an early pick is because, at three mana, it’s difficult to set up the proper turn with another combat trick to deal surprise-lethal damage. Furthermore, having five or six lands often means that an aggressive deck has flooded and may not have the right battlefield presence to even leverage the Uncaged Fury.

With the ability to foretell Kaya’s Onslaught and cast it for one mana later, it’s easy to set up that one-two punch with another combat trick. All it takes is three mana and Run Amok with Kaya’s Onslaught is likely to end the game from most scenarios. And Selesnya even has Mammoth Growth and King Harald’s Revenge to provide support as well.

Pack 1, Pick 6

The Picks So Far:

Clarion Spirit Rune of Sustenance Funeral Longboat Kaya's Onslaught Usher of the Fallen

The Pack:

Mammoth Growth Grizzled Outrider Starnheim Courser Pilfering Hawk Codespell Cleric Masked Vandal Hagi Mob Shimmerdrift Vale Stalwart Valkyrie Koll, the Forgemaster

The Pick:

Shimmerdrift Vale is one of the best first picks in the entire format and I’m incredibly surprised to see it this late. I legitimately believe that, Pack 1, Pick 1, it is correct to take Shimmerdrift Vale over Feed the Serpent. However, given that this deck is shaping up as an incredibly aggressive white deck, I’m not in the market for lands that enter the battlefield tapped and will not take it here.

Koll, the Forgemaster is a powerful gold uncommon and maybe Boros is the place to be this draft. But it’s only a powerful card in the kind of deck with a good number of Equipment and/or Auras. In my opinion, the best Boros deck is one that leverages the combination of Kaya’s Onslaught and Run Amok, and that deck can’t afford to play enough Auras and Equipment to properly take advantage of Koll. Given that I already have a Kaya’s Onslaught in my pool and no red cards, I would rather take one of the solid white cards in this pack.

Starnheim Courser is much better than I initially thought. I generally hate Wind Drake variants, but generating two to three mana over the course of a game is a significant advantage. While Stalwart Valkyrie looks like a better card, this mana advantage offsets that and gives the Courser the edge.

But I’m not taking the Wind Drake. I’m taking Codespell Cleric, a card that many think is quite poor. Look at the last pack from this article, I can be fairly confident that Battlefield Raptor wheels out of this pack given that the other white drafter is way more likely to take Story Seeker. With Clarion Spirit and another one-drop already in my pool, I see this pick as an opportunity to draft a bunch of one-drops and stay mono-white. Clarion Spirit and Funeral Longboat will help cards like Codespell Cleric and Battlefield Raptor maintain relevance in the late-game. It may look like an odd pick, but I think it gives me the best chance to capitalize on a powerful strategy that I want to explore.

And wow did this strategy deliver! This yielded one of the best decks I will ever draft in this format. Thirteen lands plus eleven one-drops has a special place in my heart. While I went 2-1, the loss was to Valkmira, Protector’s Shield, which is a rare that I can’t interact with that singlehandedly nullifies my entire deck. Outside of that card, the deck felt particularly insane!