Kaldheim Standard is still developing ahead of the first major Magic esports event later this month. The second League Weekend of the Kaldheim split is set to take place on Feb. 27 and 28.
While there’s still plenty of questions left to be answered, early tournament results and content creators have hinted at what cards from Kaldheim are setting themselves apart from the pack. The following cards are surely going to show up at the upcoming League Weekend and in qualifier tournaments.
Here are the Kaldheim cards that are leaving their mark early in the format.
Rivals League star Luis Scott-Vargas crafted Izzet Tempo during the early access streamer event. Scott-Vargas is taking this deck into the League Weekend because of his belief in Goldspan Dragon. Magic’s newest mythic dragon caught the eyes of Magic players when it was released. A five-mana hasty threat that gives you treasure on an attack is exceptionally strong. The ability to have treasures tap for two mana helps pay for foretell costs and counterspells. The deck is centered around maximizing mana efficiency and Goldspan Dragon is the key piece.
Goldspan Dragon is also generally a solid card. Even though the card is maximized in Izzet Tempo, it’s shown up in Gruul and Temur shells.
Lands that become creatures are solid finishers in decks that need a backup win condition. These types of cards have a low deckbuilding cost compared to the value they add. Crawling Barrens from Zendikar Rising was a great card for control builds that needed an extra threat in the mirror match. For decks that can afford to run snow lands, Faceless Haven is turning out to be a better alternative win condition.
Faceless Haven is activated for one mana less than Crawling Barrens and takes advantage of any incidental tribal synergies. The 4/3 vigilant body is a decent attacker that comes online sooner than Crawling Barrens. Crawling Barrens excels in long games because it can scale infinitely but Faceless Haven might win more games due to its faster setup time.
Doomskar isn’t the format-warping board wipe people were scared of when the card was revealed. It’s still one of the best cards in Standard, though, and a staple of any control build that can cast it. Board wipes are only as good as the threats they’re able to answer. Doomskar isn’t as dominant against Gruul Adventures or Dimir Rogues as it is against more fragile creature builds like Mono-White Aggro.
What makes Doomskar an exceptional card is the Foretell mechanic. Foretell is one of the best additions Kaldheim brought to Magic. The ability to stash away spells creates a variety of play patterns. Doomskar is powerful on turn three but is still viable on turn eight. The upcoming League Weekend will answer a lot of questions about how well Doomskar answers the best decks in Standard.
Showdown of the Skalds
Showdown of the Skalds is a four-for-one. That automatically makes it one of the best cards in Standard. This rare saga is a staple in Boros Aggro decks. The ability to draw four cards for four mana keeps these low-cost aggro decks from running out of steam.
Boros Aggro is a strategy that’s been largely absent from high-level Standard for several months. The deck lacked the firepower of Gruul Aggro and couldn’t keep up against Dimir Rogues or Yorion, Sky Nomad piles. Showdown of the Skalds gives this strategy true mid-game power and the ability to match the value produced by its contemporaries.
Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor
Tibalt went from having two bad planeswalker cards to having one of the best planeswalkers released in years. Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter is representative of why modal double-faced cards are powerful. This card is useful at all stages of the game. Valki, God of Lies is an excellent two-drop creature that can snipe a key threat from your opponent’s hand. The activated ability sets Valki apart from Agonizing Remorse or Kitesail Freebooter.
Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter is an excellent late-game bomb that immediately changes the game when it hits the battlefield. Tibalt is a consistent card draw engine with removal stapled on. Tibalt’s ultimate also isn’t hard to obtain, which should drown your opponent in value. Grixis and Rakdos midrange strategies are going to show up at the upcoming League Weekend due to Valki, God of Lies/Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.