Why Dwarven Hammer Is A Key Piece Of Drafting Boros In Kaldheim Limited

Are you undervaluing Dwarven Hammer for Boros decks in Kaldheim Limited? Ryan Saxe equips you with essential knowledge.

Dwarven Hammer, illustrated by Raoul Vitale

Archetypes in Kaldheim Limited are not created equal. White and black are just so far behind the other colors that they no longer crack the list of top commons at all. Yes, including the white and black premium removal.

These color disparities lead to an unbalanced optimal strategy. I have a draft strategy described in the below Twitter thread that starts with a strong Izzet bias.

To break this down further, I’m not saying that I’m forcing Izzet, but rather that the blue and red cards are so much better than the white, black, and green cards that it’s in my best interest to take cards like Axgard Cavalry and Mistwalker over Bound in Gold and Feed the Serpent. Green has enough good cards, but many are contextual to snow decks and hence I would rather still start blue or red.

To be specific, the best three archetypes in Kaldheim Limited are:

  1. Izzet Giants
  2. Boros Aggro
  3. Temur Snow❄

Notice how the colors of these archetypes break: three are red, two are blue, and one is green. This is why my top commons list and strategy are structured as they are. I’m not closing the door to drafting Selesnya, Gruul, or Azorius. Rather, I’m drafting in a way that maximizes the probability that I end up in one of the best three archetypes, while leaving possible options to pivot should another lane present itself. And yes, I’m hard avoiding black decks at this point.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Showdown of the Skalds Svella, Ice Shaper

The Pack:

Raise the Draugr Broken Wings Draugr Recruiter Battlefield Raptor Goldmaw Champion Roots of Wisdom Annul Shimmerdrift Vale Run Amok Axgard Braggart Avalanche Caller Immersturm Skullcairn Snow-Covered Island

The Pick:

Avalanche Caller is one of the best win conditions for the snow decks and is an uncommon I take over every single common Pack 1, Pick 1. Unlike Priest of the Haunted Edge, Caller requires only a few snow lands on the battlefield to be quite good. Given that this start is shaping up to be a strong multicolor snow deck, I wouldn’t fault anybody for taking the Avalanche Caller. That being said, I don’t believe it’s the correct pick.

Shimmerdrift Vale leaves basically every option open. I already have two incredibly powerful cards for the multicolor snow deck and I’m not worried about lacking power if that’s where I end up. However, I would be worried about mana, especially given that that avenue likely will want to double-splash Showdown of the Skalds. Furthermore, a Boros deck can play one tapland no problem, and an Izzet deck is extremely happy to have Shimmerdrift Vale to increase the potency of Frost Bite and Berg Strider.

Basically, both picks are enticing for the non-Boros strategies and I think sacrificing access to Avalanche Caller for great mana is worth it. For context, if Shimmerdrift Vale were not a guaranteed dual land for both the Izzet archetype and the Simic Snow❄ archetype, I would take Avalanche Caller. The pick is extremely close.

Pack 2, Pick 2

The Picks So Far:

Showdown of the Skalds Svella, Ice Shaper Shimmerdrift Vale Berg Strider Snow-Covered Mountain Gnottvold Slumbermound Tuskeri Firewalker Koll, the Forgemaster Frost Bite Story Seeker Run Amok Tuskeri Firewalker Battlefield Raptor Run Amok Forging the Tyrite Sword Rune of Speed

The Pack:

Karfell Harbinger Valor of the Worthy Draugr Thought-Thief Raise the Draugr Doomskar Oracle Grim Draugr Demon Bolt Smashing Success Horizon Seeker Scorn Effigy Rune of Sustenance Dwarven Hammer Colossal Plow Woodland Chasm

The Pick:

As you can see from the pool of cards so far, Boros is the name of the game given the riches on the wheel of Pack 1. So, what’s better between Dwarven Hammer and Demon Bolt?

The classic “removal is removal” heuristic that I hate so much would lead you to take Demon Bolt. And Demon Bolt is a good card. A very good card. It’s better than Dwarven Hammer in every red deck except for Boros. However, in Boros, the Hammer is completely unreasonable. It’s not only an aggressive top-end creature that hits hard, it’s also complete and utter inevitability while also providing Equipment synergy. My Boros decks would rather use Run Amok as removal than Demon Bolt anyway!

Pack 2, Pick 5

The Picks So Far:

Showdown of the Skalds Svella, Ice Shaper Shimmerdrift Vale Berg Strider Snow-Covered Mountain Gnottvold Slumbermound Tuskeri Firewalker Koll, the Forgemaster Frost Bite Story Seeker Run Amok Tuskeri Firewalker Battlefield Raptor Run Amok Forging the Tyrite Sword Rune of Speed Dwarven Hammer Codespell Cleric Frenzied Raider

The Pack:

Funeral Longboat Masked Vandal Demonic Gifts Duskwielder Axgard Braggart Axgard Cavalry Karfell Harbinger Giant Ox Goldvein Pick Axgard Armory Glacial Floodplain

The Pick:

Axgard Armory is much better than I initially expected, and with Dwarven Hammer, it’s an extremely enticing pickup. However, given that all the good Boros cards went exceptionally late in Pack 1, I think there’s a chance the land wheels. Furthermore, the card that makes Axgard Armory so fantastic is Bound in Gold, and so without a copy of the best white common I’m less likely to pick it up here (although this comment is marginal).

I’ve stated that Axgard Cavalry is the second-best red common and in my Top 10 commons. Goldvein Pick is not. So shouldn’t Cavalry be the pick? Nope!

Axgard Cavalry is in my Top 10 commons because it exists as a pivot point between all the red archetypes. It’s not the second-best red common in any of them, but its flexibility as a great common in all of them makes it a great early pick. It’s a solid premium two-drop in Boros, but it’s less premium than cards that can make the rest of the deck tick. And Goldvein Pick accomplishes just that.

Goldvein Pick alongside Runes is one of the best things you can do in the format. I already have the red Rune and there’s a possibility that the white one wheels from an earlier pack. But even without Runes, Goldvein Pick has impressed. Making a Treasure can help accelerate out an early Dwarven Hammer, but it also makes the card function as if it had “Equip 0,” which is an incredibly enticing line of text. Creature size in this format is relatively small and that makes the additional +1/+1 tango in combat more often than usual. This is also why Tormentor’s Helm has skyrocketed in my Boros pick order. I’m happily taking Goldvein Pick here, and if you’re not high on this card yet, it’s time to adjust!

You can view the entire draft log and picture of the deck below. It was pretty awesome and I took it to a swift 3-0! As a note, the best build probably cut Frost Bite and one Battlefield Raptor for both copies of Wings of the Cosmos. That card was very impressive out of the sideboard in every match.