With Kaldheim coming out in February, there is lots of be excited about in the world of Magic. Inspired by Norse mythology, Kaldheim mentions the World Tree, Valkyries, and plane shifting Gods. But what exactly do these references mean?
Let’s go over the basics so you can enjoy of the mythological splendors ahead.
In Norse myth, the World Tree (also known as Yggdrasil) is the universe, holding all of the planes of existence. It is prophesied to exist until Ragnarök, the Apocalypse, that shall end the reign of Gods, and all of humanity.
Across the World Tree, there are a total of nine realms that exist – there is Asgard, the land of the Aesir (The Gods); Alfheim, the land of the Bright Elves; Jotunheim, the land of Giants; Nidavellir, the land of Dwarves; Nilfheim, a land of ice and mist; Svartalfheim, the land of Dark Elves; and Vanaheim, the land of the Vanir (More Gods).
I know what some of you are thinking – where is Valhalla? Isn’t that the whole thing for Vikings? All I want to do is scream ‘FOR VALHALLA!’, and you’re telling me I can’t?
Have no fear my ferocious brethren – Valhalla awaits.
Valhalla is not a plane of existence, but instead a mead hall in Asgard, where slain warriors go if they die in battle. The alternative to Valhalla, dying from sickness or any other non-violent, is going to Hel.
No, not Hell. The child of Loki one.
Let me explain.
Hel is one of the three children of Loki. That’s right kids – Tom Hiddleston got it on with a giant and is actually a baby daddy.
In the movie Thor: Ragnarok, Cate Blanchett plays the Marvel interpretation Hela. However, instead of being an Australian warrior woman in black and green spandex, Hel is a giant woman, with the head and torso of her natural form, but her legs nothing but bones and rotting flesh. Being banished from Asgard by Odin, the Father of all Gods, Hel tends to those who died outside of battle. It is not the worst place to go in death, but certainly not the best.
Instead, if you want to make it to that mead hall in Asgard to drink your cares away, you have to die in battle. Only then will you be visited by a Valkyrie.
The Valkyries are, simply put, the most badass angels in mythological history. Loyal servants to Odin, these warrior maidens fly down to capture the souls of those who died in battle in full battle regalia. They are known to smite warriors that they do not favour with ease, and guard heroes and vessels that were important to them.
So, you may be wondering – who else lives in Asgard? Who would you be able to be drinking buddies with after you have your over dramatic, super cool action movie death in the midst of battle?
Norse gods are placed into two different factions – the Aesir and the Vanir. The Aesir are warriors naturally, able to strike down waves of enemies with ease. The Vanir are innate magical casters, using subtly instead of brute strength.
This distinction means little in the later myths of the Gods but is significant in the beginning. The Aesir and the Vanir began as foes, erupting into full war. Eventually, the Aesir and Vanir grew wary and called for peace. In doing so, each God spat in a cauldron, and thus the God Kvasir was born, the God of Knowledge.
The most famous Gods in Norse mythology will be familiar from the Marvel universe – Thor, Loki, and Odin, the three Gods who would find themselves in trouble the most often in Norse myth.
Some other notable figures include Freya, a witch goddess; Tyr, the god of Justice who lost his right arm to bind the demigod Fenrir; and Hoenir, who was the Odin’s loyal little screw up. He doesn’t have any real divine powers, but always gets himself pulled into Odin’s schemes or adventures. He never does anything or saves anyone – he is there to be captured, or to mess up a plan.
So, if you are ever having a rough go of it, just remember – you’re doing better than Hoenir.
There is so much left to say about Norse mythology – Ragnarok, the gods travelling to different planes, the apples of Iun – the list is endless. And from this expansive world, Kaldheim is going to give you a taste and explore this endless and beautiful tradition, reminding the world of the magic of the Norse.
So go forth, warrior – seize your weapons, your magics, and claim your seat in Valhalla!
Are there other aspects of Norse myth that I missed in the article that you have spotted in the preview cards? Make sure to comment below your thoughts!
For more articles like this in the future, make sure to follow The Bag of Loot!
Want to get a hold of your own Kaldheim pre-release set? Pre-order now with the link!
MTG Kaldheim a visit to the plane of the Vikings. Magic the Gathering is kicking off 2021 with a Norse mythology-inspired set; Magic’s take on what a world inspired by Vikings might look like. Kaldheim feels like another great set like Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths was.
Number of Cards: 285
Prerelease Events: January 29th – 31st, 2021
Release Date: February 5th, 2021
Official Three-Letter Code KHM
The planeswalker Kaya visits a world of prophecy and legend, mortals and monsters. A world of many realms, epic sagas, bound by one truth. Viking or Valkyrie, Elf or Dwarf, all belong to the World Tree, all are supplicants to the gods. Gods who travel between the realms to their bidding for peace, for bloodshed, or for their own amusement. But what if there was a way to harness this power? A weapon with the ability to protect all. A weapon of pure strength. Forged for a god. Or … in more creative hands, a weapon of unimaginable chaos.
Jumpstart is an all-new way to play Magic: The Gathering. The elegant concept is perfect for players both new and old that can’t wait to start casting their spells. All you have to do is take two booster packs of Jumpstart, shuffle them together, and begin playing. Each 20 card pack contains 1-2 rares (33% of packs have 2 rares!), 7-8 lands, and focuses on a certain theme (goblin, dog, Garruk, etc.). One of the lands in each pack will feature new art focused on that pack’s theme. For example, a land in a dog-themed pack could have an image of a happy dog lounging in the middle of some plains. In addition to its simplicity, players that love tribal synergies and those that love being surprised by unexpected interactions will enjoy this product.
On top of a fun new way to play, Jumpstart also has plenty of cards that players of Eternal formats will love (especially Commander). Check them out below!
Wizards of the Coast has also created a new casual type of prerelease event to accompany this excellent casual product. Every prerelease player will be given a match slip and once that slip has been filled with match results, you’ll get an exclusive Jumpstart promo card. Win or lose, the most important thing is that you’ll be having fun. We hope to see you there!
These days Wizards of the Coast is putting out an amazing amount of products for each of their sets. Here at The Bag of Loot, we’ve put together a little guide to see what’s going to be available this summer in Core Set 2021. Spend some time and take a look!
Core 2021 Draft Boosters come in booster boxes of 36 packs.
Familiarize yourself with the basic rules of Magic: The Gathering and the game’s most iconic mages, the Planeswalkers! These ready-to-play Planeswalker decks are a fantastic way to start your journey into the wonderful world of Magic.
A sweet package with more value than buying the boosters individually but not as expensive as a booster box. These bundles make a great gift for those loved ones that you know are into Magic and could use a couple of cards from the latest Core Set!
You’ll get to see these during the prerelease as you compete in the Sealed format against other Magic fans. They’ll be available for preorder and purchase both before and after the prerelease as well. Everyone will be able to enjoy these special prerelease packs (including date-stamped promo rares!) even if they miss the prerelease or decide they’d rather stay at home to play a prerelease event with just a couple friends and family.
Prerelease Packs will be shipped 18 packs per case.
Made for the collectors and those that want improved access to special (foil, showcase, borderless, etc.) versions of the cards, these special Collector Booster packs will carry a higher price but will also contain more valuable content.
Core 2021 Collector Boosters come in displays of 12 packs.
Well, you won’t be able to buy these but you will surely see them if you come down to Three Kings Loot for one of our weekly events. Participation in our events will earn yourself a shiny new card from one of these promo packs. Everyone’s guaranteed to get one, with the winners of the events getting the first pick of the goodies.
A booster for new players that will include 10 cards selected by Wizards of the Coast, including some powerful rares. We will be handing these out to new players for each set (with the 10 cards being different each time) and it will give them a nice starting point for their journey into Magic.
We hope this breakdown was helpful for you and we can’t wait to enjoy this very exciting and powerful-looking Core Set with you all. Until next time!
Signature Spellbook Chandra is a collection of eight cards plus one random premium foil version of one of those eight cards. It’s the ideal way to show your love of Chandra, stylize your Commander deck, or just help the world burn—in a good way. Check out the packaging and all eight cards below!
This is the third installment of the Signature Spellbook series. In other words, its third consecutive year. The first Signature Spellbook was released in 2018 and was dedicated to the most famous blue mage Jace Beleren, known as Signature Spellbook Jace. The second Signature Spellbook was released in 2019, in dedication to Gideon Jura. Its release was right after the War of the Spark set, where he finally died versus Nicol Bolas in the epic finale to years of Magic storytelling. These Signature Spellbooks are good collectibles and are great looking singles. Signature Spellbook Chandra is a great addition to this series. “But why Chandra?” you might be asking yourself.
There are various reasons that Chandra was selected for the third Signature Spellbook. The first is that, much like the upcoming Core Set 2021 will be centered around the planeswalker Teferi, Core Set 2020 was centered around Chandra. Naturally, that makes 2020 her year and a perfect time to release her Spellbook. The second is that the Russo Brothers, famously known for directing Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, etc., are working on an animated Netflix series for Magic: The Gathering. Promotional art for the series features none other than Chandra herself, who will at least play a key role or may even be the main, hot-blooded protagonist herself. The last is that she’s one of the last early members of The Gatewatch who’s still in the organization. Liliana and Nissa Revane, while famous in their own right, have gone their separate ways from Magic’s current supergroup. However, if you ask me, I’d bet we’ll be seeing one of the two visited next year to round out the color pie of Spellbooks.
Double Masters is a new twist on the whole Masters series sets. This set doubles everything as the name implies! Two rares or mythic and two foils per pack and two non-foil Box-topper per Box. You even get two Draft first-pick per pack. Three Kings Loot will be excited to be Drafting this new product on Release Weekend. We will also have preorders for Booster boxes available. WotC also announced there will be a Collector’s edition called VIP Edition, packed with awesomeness with more information closer to release. They also announced that this will not be the 2020 set containing Enemy Fetch Lands, reprinted in Secret Lair Ultimate edition on May 29th.
Release Date: August 7, 2020
Double Masters will be available on Magic Online starting August 6 for $6.99 per booster. It will not be redeemable.
Preorders for Double Masters Booster Box available from Three Kings Loot inc.
Similar to Collector Edition, these will be Double Masters premium packs. Their content is much different from the Collector’s packs, perhaps why they are called VIP Edition instead. Each pack will be around the price of a Draft Booster Box and will contain:
Welcome back, travelers! As I mentioned last week, Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is not a set that rewards stubbornly sticking to a fixed pick order. Instead, I recommended that you reevaluate cards frequently during a draft to maximize the power level of your decks. However, Ikoria is a complex set and there are people that might need a little help to understand when a card that looks bad becomes good. Or when a card that’s already good becomes fantastic. For them, I shall outline the Ikoria draft archetypes in this article.
With some Magic sets, a breakdown for each of the 10 color pairs is good enough – but not Ikoria. Many color pairs actually have multiple themes with their own unique build-around cards. Ikoria’s variety adds nuance to every draft as you craft a synergistic two-color deck or even splash bomb rares. With the above-average fixing in the set (rare triomes, uncommon crystals, Evolving Wilds, common dual lands, Farfinder), it’s not hard to increase the power of your deck without harming its consistency. By being aware of the set’s diversity in themes, you can properly navigate the different Ikoria draft archetypes while drafting. Then, you will end up with a powerful deck that has a focused plan for victory.
For each theme below, I give a brief description of the theme’s game plan and list its synergy cards. Synergy cards are either the enablers that help you play a certain theme or the payoffs. Payoffs are the cards that reward you for playing into a theme. I list both enablers and payoffs as they all go up in value when you are in that theme. Consequently, many bomb cards and efficient removal cards from Ikoria will not be seen below. Their strength is already quite high and being in one theme vs. another has little-to-no bearing on their value. As I am just listing the cards, I’ve left it up to my audience to read each card and come to their own understanding of how it helps a particular game plan. Ultimately, I have full faith in each of you to figure this out.
Now that you can identify the many themes within the Ikoria draft archetypes, you should be able to make better decisions in your drafts. You’ll see when a certain theme might be open to you by a synergy card coming to you late in Pack 1. You’ll have the ability to understand when a card should be picked because it contributes more to your deck than it normally would. In short, you’ll win more drafts!
Thanks for listening to my words, friends, and may fortune favor you on Ikorian battlefields. If you’d like to join me and a great community of players in our explorations of the different Ikoria draft archetypes and themes, enter our Discord server at https://discord.gg/5nRhMGV. During this time of quarantine, Three Kings Loot still fires draft tournaments, using MTG Arena and 3rd party sites. Come play with us Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 19h30 Eastern Time!
-Evan, Chewer of Thoughts
Hello traveler! Ah, I see you’re going to Ikoria – the Lair of Behemoths. Yes, if I recall it’s a wild plane and full of monsters, both man and beast – all of them sure to be out for your blood. Best not let your guard down! Being a Mythical planeswalker, I have ventured there and survived its dangers time and time again. As a result, I have some advice that might just help you keep your head when exploring the depths of Ikoria Draft. So, please, listen carefully…
It’s dangerous to go alone! Companions are creatures that allow you to play them from your sideboard as long as your starting deck meets the card’s companion requirements. You should take all of them highly. First of all, they are powerful rares with hybrid mana costs. This increases their chance of remaining a relevant first pick. As long as your deck is able to play either of the hybrid colors, you can play it normally. In addition, if your 40-card deck meets their requirements, you can make them your companion. More often than not, it is worth doing this while drafting as long as you maintain an average power level. In Limited, resources are often traded fairly evenly between players and end before either player has seen most of their library. Starting a game with an extra card will end up winning you many duels on Ikoria.
Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is not a set that supports blocking. Firstly, there’s a lot of instant speed interaction that can make combat turn out bad for you. Secondly, the value of your own creatures is high. This is especially true for decks that are built around mutating, a set mechanic that demands you have a non-human creature on the battlefield. Finally, there’s an abundance of creature removal, able to take out the biggest bombs and threats of this format.
When you are faced with a choice to block, it’s important to step back and consider if you can afford to accept this damage in exchange for one of their own blockers becoming tapped to attack. You must think about your ability to win a race, given what’s in your hand and your potential draws. After all, in an Ikoria draft, there are many cards that can help you deal damage more quickly than, and ultimately defeat, your opponent.
The first prominent type of card in this set is an efficient removal spell. Blood Curdle, Ram Through, Pacifism, and Fire Prophecy are just a few examples all found at common rarity. Using efficient removal means you spent less to deal with a threat than your opponent spent to cast it, also known as mana advantage. With enough mana advantage, you are able to develop and attack with a few creatures while simultaneously removing their relevant threats. Be aware of the strength of removal in this set and use it judiciously!
The second category I want to note is cards that have the potential to deal huge damage on the turn that you play them. There are many examples in Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths. Zenith Flare, for decks that are heavily invested in cycling. Similarly, unblocked Prickly Marmosets and several Drannith Stingers also use cycling to deal so much damage that games will suddenly end in your victory. In other decks, mutating creatures effectively grant themselves haste when merging with a non-human that you already own on the battlefield. You can easily swing a race in your favor by adding significant power (Archipelagore) or evasion (Vulpikeet/Cavern Whisperer) to an important attacker. Even the humble Lava Serpent works in a pinch to deal an unexpected 5 damage.
In this set, you should highly scrutinize every block you make, even ones that seem favorable to you. It doesn’t matter if your creature seems much larger or if you might have an instant-speed interaction spell. Ultimately, not blocking means that you avoid risking your board state and you preserve your ability to swing back on future turns. Then, with the aid of the aforementioned spells, you can deal the final points of damage for an exciting victory!
You should take 1 mana cycling (1MC) cards more highly. Particularly if you’re in pack 1 of the draft and there are no above-average playables. These are likely to end up being good picks for several reasons. First, if you end up in the cycling deck, you will definitely play the card. Second, this signals to others that the cycling deck is closed off to them which will help you move into the archetype. Lastly, even if you’re not cycling or of it’s a cycling card you can’t play, they can be used as a colorless cantrip to effectively reduce your deck size. Instead of playing an average 23rd card and a 17th land, you can simply stick two 1MCs in your deck. This increases your chances of drawing powerful cards you want to play.
Keep in mind, however, you’ll need to reduce your land count proportional to the amount of 1MCs you play. Otherwise, you risk drawing too many lands and flooding. Personally, I tend to treat them as non-cards. So, for a deck with five 1MCs, I would build a mana base for a 35 card deck. Meanwhile, others use ratios such as one land removed per every three 1MCs.
No matter what, pay attention to how the deck feels while playing. There’s no exact science to the proper amount of lands when cheap cycling is available. Many factors are involved: cards that cycle for higher costs, the number and quality of your cycling payoffs, whether you’re playing Best-of-One on Arena which uses a hand smoother to improve starting hand quality, etc. All these affect the number of lands a cycling deck might require. The most important thing one can do is stay observant!
An Ikoria draft is not a place for inflexible pick orders. It’s more important to build a deck that synergizes with itself than to end a draft with a mixed bag of “strong” cards. Even some removal is hard to play in certain styles of decks. For example, Rumbling Rockslide has a lower value in streamlined cycling decks. Such decks often posses a low land count both in the library and on the battlefield. In fact, such decks usually look to defeat their opponent before Rumbling Rockslide becomes respectable removal. In those same decks, you will likely want to play Cathartic Reunion to avoid flood. Meanwhile, hardly any other archetype would want such a card. It is one of many cards in this set that may look bad but are useful – somewhere.
You must be able to recognize when a card goes from barely playable to above-average in your deck. Otherwise, you will struggle in this set. A pick order cannot tell you when such moments occur, so you’ll have to determine them for yourself.
Thanks for listening to my words, friends, and may fortune favor you on Ikorian battlefields. Check back here next Wednesday, May 6, for my next article breaking down Ikoria’s many archetypes and themes. It will be a great guideline for understanding the synergies of the set and thinking flexibly about your card evaluations. If you’d like to join me and a great community of players in our explorations of the Ikoria draft format, enter our Discord server at https://discord.gg/5nRhMGV. During this time of quarantine, Three Kings Loot still fires draft tournaments, using MTG Arena and 3rd party sites. Come play with us Monday, Friday, and Saturday at 19h30 Eastern Time!
-Evan, Chewer of Thoughts