The Great Kaldheim Deck Update

Sheldon Menery is adding Kaldheim cards to his Commander decks by the dozen. See what made the cut and where.

Reflections of Littjara, illustrated by Aaron Miller

You know, I keep promising to quit doing these, but our friends at Wizards of the Coast keep making really saucy cards to put into my deck suite.  What’s a brother to do?  Get to work, that’s what!

For those of you who aren’t familiar with my process, my self-restriction is that I’ll only put one copy of a new card into the whole suite of 55 existing decks (and counting!).  Generally, if I’ve built any new decks (like I did with two last week), I won’t use those cards for this update, either.  In the future, all the Kaldheim cards are fair game for new decks, but for now it’s one copy only. 

For example, the following Kaldheim cards went into my Jorn, God of Winter build:

Boreal Outrider Draugr Necromancer Icebreaker Kraken Sculptor of Winter Spirit of the Aldergard Moritte of the Frost Narfi, Betrayer King Replicating Ring Graven Lore Blood on the Snow Ice Tunnel Rimewood Falls Woodland Chasm

Looking at the list, I now wonder why I didn’t also put Ascendant Spirit in, which is something I’ll rectify right away.  I’m also brewing a Giants deck, likely led by Aegar, the Freezing Flame, so cards like Cyclone Summoner, Sage of the Beyond, and Calamity Bearer will wait on the bench for now.  Even thought it’s not a Giant, Toralf, God of Fury is likely to go into that deck for the excess damage part.


Cosmic Intervention

Into:  Halloween with Karador

This is the kind of card which immediately challenges my resolve in putting only a single copy of a card into the deck suite.  It goes into Karador, Ghost Chieftain because of its inherent protection against on-battlefield exile effects, like Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet.  Also, the deck has a fair number of battlefield sweepers, so getting all my stuff back at a relatively cheap cost (only 1W if it’s been foretold) is possible and full of win.


Into:  Halloween with Karador

One of the best things about foretell is that it gets the card out of your hand.  Not only is it safe from discard effects, you don’t need to make the choice to pitch it if your hand size gets too big.  Karador doesn’t mind killing creatures, so having this round chambered and ready to cast for only 1WW means rebuilding afterward is that much easier.

Glorious Protector

Into:  Lavinia Blinks

Glorious Protector is great protection from battlefield sweepers for your team—sort of like a creature version of Faith’s Reward.  Cast in response to Wrath of God, Glorious Protector will sacrifice itself for the good of the rest of the team.  In my Lavinia deck, that means I’ll get another instance of all those tasty enters-the-battlefield effects.

Hero of Bretagard

Into:  Aminatou’s Demons

In a deck that’s full of blink effects (which exile permanents), Hero of Bretagard is a natural.  It could certainly also go into a +1/+1 counters deck, like my Karador Do Over, but I like it in Aminatou, since I can give it away and then get it back. 

Righteous Valkyrie

Into:  Trostani’s Angels

The Trostani deck is about lifegain, so Righteous Valkyrie fits right in.  It’s especially nice since it’s inexpensive and will be one of the earliest Angels cast.  There aren’t took many cases when the team won’t be getting the +2/+2, so it might be a win-more card, but we’ll see. 

Sigrid, God-Favored

Into:  Ruhan Do-Over

A one-card Fog that might be a two-for-one if you flash it into a destructible God.  Certainly, you’ll then be preventing two creatures’ worth of damage. 


Mystic Reflection

Into:  Dreaming of Intet

This certainly has to go into a deck with Avenger of Zendikar in it, right?  The Intet, the Dreamer deck has a strong copy and Clone theme, so Mystic Reflection will fit right in.  It would also be amusing with any number of other cards that put large numbers of creatures onto the battlefield at the same time, like Living Death or Rise of the Dark Realms.  You might even be able to use it defensively against such cards, turning everything that enters the battlefield into something less deadly for you.  How about playing Storm Herd, only turning them into something way spicier than 1/1 Pegasuses? 

Reflections of Littjara

Into:  Borrowing Stuff at Cutlass Point

Another project sitting on the table waiting to be completed is retooling Admiral Beckett Brass to go with all the cool Pirates we got in the last year.  Doubling up on them, especially with Coercive Recruiter on the battlefield, seems pretty baller.  What’s really nice is that it’s a cast trigger, so even if your creature gets countered, you get the token copy.

Spectral Deluge

Into:  Thassa, God of Merfolk

Spectral Deluge is a card you put into a mono-blue deck.  That I get it into Thassa, who is all about the sea, is just full of flavor win. 


Burning-Rune Demon

Into:  Kaalia’s Demons

Kaalia gives me some trouble when I’m picking a deck to play.  My build is a relatively simple Demon tribal and doesn’t really go full ham with Kaalia’s ability, but it’s the kind of card that still sends off warning claxons to the other players.  I suppose I’ll just have to pull it out on a normal rotation with everything else and see where it goes. 

Dream Devourer

Into:  Aminatou’s Demons

With some good top-of-the-library manipulation, Dream Devourer gets me the kinds of cards I want foretold in short order.  In particular in the Aminatou deck, it moves the cards I want to cast post-ultimate into a safe zone. 

Eradicator Valkyrie

Into:  The Altar of Thraximundar

In last week’s Sunday stream, Gavin Verhey, playing his new Kardur, Doomscourge deck, got a lot of mileage out of Eradicator Valkyrie and that was before he started using its boast ability.  A 4/3 flyer with lifelink for only 2BB is really strong.  Tacking on that ability, especially in a deck where you make people sacrifice stuff, will make it an MVP.

Pact of the Serpent

Into:  Jorn Snow Rogues

It wasn’t in the original build, but since I got one in my box of Collector Boosters, it feels like I should play it.  Other than Demons and Zombies (in the latter of which I might kill myself with the card), I don’t have any black decks that are strongly tribal, so into the Rogues it goes.  I also dream of some day killing someone with it, but that’s the Timmiest of reveries.

Rise of the Dread Marn

Into:  Zombies of Tresserhorn

There’s a temptation to put this into Karador, but that’s a urge I’ll resist, going for the better flavor choice.  Even without foretelling it, the card is great protection against battlefield sweepers, letting you rebuild right away. It’s that much saucier in Zombies, since it both gives you creatures and puts those Zombies where they want to be—in the graveyard, for later recursion. 

Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire

Into:  Aminatou’s Demons

Regular readers know I’m not the biggest proponent of tutoring, but doing it conditionally is fine with me.  The card I’ll most tutor for in Aminatou is Liliana’s Contract. 


Shackles of Treachery

Into:  The Threat of Yasova

It’s nice to see commons playable in Commander.  This one has some extra oomph since you can bash someone who’s used Ardenn, Intrepid Archaeologist to put Colossus Hammer onto something (probably Kediss, Emberclaw Familiar), and then make sure they can’t use it against you.  Worst case, it’s another  Threaten in your deck. 


Battle Mammoth

Into:  Pako and Haldan

Battle Mammoth is a metagame choice for the Commander RC group.  Fellow RC member Scott Larabee is overly fond of Maze of Ith effects, so I might as well get some value out of getting my attacks rebuffed.  Honestly, the card is going to pay dividends in whichever deck you want to play it.  It’s a strong choice in nearly every environment.

Esika’s Chariot

Into:  Rin and Seri

Cat and Dog tribal creating more Cats is good, and creating even more of the tokens that Rin and Seri likes to pump out is even better. 

Fynn, the Fangbearer

Into:  The Threat of Yasova

The calculus here was simple:  find a deck in which I’m playing Bow of Nylea.  One is the aforementioned Rin and Seri, which was probably the technically better choice, since there are likely to be more attackers.  I went for the style points, because giving people poison counters with their own creatures seems way cooler.


Into:  Trostani’s Angels

One of the shortcomings of the Angel tribal deck is card draw.  Being able to cast creatures off the top isn’t quite as good as just straightforward drawing, but it’s close enough for the purposes of this deck.  It also gives the mana curve, which is kind of steep, a little break.

Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider

Into:  Chulane Proliferate

This card is dumb, so I might as well put it into a deck that does other dumb things.  With nine planeswalkers in the deck, something ridiculous is bound to happen.


Immersturm Predator

Into:  Rakdos Reimagined

Vampire Dragon into Vampire tribal is the first check mark.  The second is that the deck is aggressive, so that means Immersturm Predator is either attacking or getting tapped with Captivating Vampire to bring something over to the dark side.  Either way, there’s value.

Koma, Cosmos Serpent

Into:  Kaldheim Boxing League and Snow Battles

I cracked one in my box, and it’s kind of crazy in a Limited environment, so it’s what I’m running.  It’s a bit of a single-card strategy since the rest of my box doesn’t really have any bombs, but it’s too good to pass up.  Then, after we’ve played a few weeks of Kaldheim Boxing League, the RC is embarking on a new Constructed variant called Snow Battles.  It’s Kaldheim, Coldsnap, and Ice Age Constructed with a few other snow-related cards added.  My first thought was to go with a Jorn deck, but since I’ve already made one for normal Commander, I don’t want to duplicate the effort. 


Pyre of Heroes

Into:  Gisa and Geralf Together Forever

Tribal Birthing Pod is going to be strong in a deck that likes to get creatures into the graveyard.  It hastens the ability of filling up the graveyard while still maintaining pressure on the battlefield, eventually leading to a big Patriarch’s Bidding or deadly Tombstone Stairwell.


Bretagard Stronghold

Into:  Karador Do Over

The deck is about +1/+1 counters and the colors fit.  The curve is pretty tight, so sacrificing the Stronghold won’t hurt too much mana-wise, with the added buff to the creatures likely relevant in a tight game situation.

Gates of Istfell

Into:  Lavinia Blinks

For a deck in colors that doesn’t ramp, the deck seems to perform relatively well in that regard.  Having the card draw around is a decent late-game play. 

Gnottvold Slumbermound

Into:  Ruric Thar’s Beastly Fight Club

When you don’t want to cast spells, you need activated abilities that do what some spells do.  The linchpin here is the land destruction.  Whether it’s the Maze of Ith that prevents you from attacking or the Cabal Coffers fueling some insanity, there will always be a valid target for the new card with the best name.

Modal DFCs

Halvar, God of Battle

Into:  Marchesa’s Knights

The Knights deck is the only one that has a heavy equipment flavor (at least the only one with white in it), so Halvar fits like a gauntlet.  Moving around stuff for zero mana is always great, leading me to consider whether I should add that Colossus Hammer.

Tergrid, God of Fright

Into:  The Altar of Thraximundar

Tergrid is actually chilling out in my Jorn, God of Winter deck at the moment, filling a slot until my Draugr Necromancer arrives.  After that, it’s headed into Thraximundar for maximum amounts of sacrificial tomfoolery. 

Esika, God of the Tree

Into:  Children of a Greater God

Adding a little ramp to a deck full of Gods is already good enough.  Giving them vigilance and the opportunity to help cast Child of Alara is even better.  Later in the game, casting it as The Prismatic Bridge just gets free stuff.  Wins all around.

Not counting the stuff going into new builds, that’s 30 (!) new cards going into decks.  It’s not the most ever, but it’s above the mid-20s average from normal sets.  Kaldheim walks a nice line of having some high-impact cards that are great without being broken.  Better, they’re great cards that aren’t just auto-includes in their color(s).  It’s exactly what I want out of a set for Commander — strong, but still healthy for the format.  Top marks all around. 

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