It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Kaldheim

Kaldhem spoilers have started to hit the Internet.

What we’ve seen so far is all over the place. Following are some of our favorites from the first few looks at Kaldheim…

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Kaldheim is giving us A LOT of options with just this two drop.

Not for nothing, but in Historic, first turn Toolcraft Exemplar into second turn Magda, Brazen Outlaw is pretty awesome. Magda gives Toolcraft Exemplar the artifact it needs to get bigger, not to mention giving it +1/+0 to begin with.

You can play a narrow number of “otherwise un-cast-able” artifacts in your deck just to get with Magda’s five Treasures ability.

Pyre of Heroes

Pyre of Heroes

Patrick — once a notable deck designer of Birthing Pod decks — thinks this card might not be as dangerous as it seems on its face.

Being a “Tribal” sort of card, Pyre of Heroes from Kaldheim will unlikely be abused with something like a Deceiver Exarch.

Counterpoint: The return of the Changeling mechanic might make designs less stringent than we’re currently imagining. For instance, if you just play the card Realmwalker (which is every creature type), you can ramp any two into it… And then ramp Realmwalker into any four.

Being every creature type, Realmwalker can add some variability to Pyre of Heroes

So, silly for sake of illutration, you might go Magda (Dwarf) into Realmwalker (Shapeshifter) into Wicked Wolf (Wolf).

Toski, Bearer of Secrets


Sooooo much going on with this card.

Given it can’t be countered and it’s indestructible… Toski is theoretically a Jayemdae Tome on legs.

Opponents without specialized removal are (again theoretically) going to fall behind.

It’s also very powerful in combination with certain strategies. For example: Tokens. Most removal is already not good against Tokens; and sweepers don’t kill Toski. Hilarious!

The problem is that it is very easy to beat Toski with value. For instance, almost any 2/2 completely shuts it down. Heck, a 0/2 largely does. Still? It will see play and bedevil opponents for the next two years.

And lots more Kaldheim!

  • The Phyrexian Praetor
  • A heck of a Gnarled Mass
  • Which Saga is best (Spoiler: They’re both quite good)
  • … and more!

Check it out now:

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The Rest of the Historic Decks

These Historic Decks Make Mike’s Favorite Kind of Format

Historic right now is “Mike’s favorite kind of format.”

That is, a format with a generally agreed-upon and relatively dominant best strategy… But still some room. The best of the Historic decks give you something to aim at.

The dominant Historic decks of course revolve around:

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

And to a lesser extent…

Yasharn, Implacable Earth

In the past, we might talk about Rock-Paper-Scissors.

When Rock is dominant… Can you be Paper that sideboards into Scissors?

What about Paper that wins the Paper mirror?

How might you prepare for the current Historic, knowing what we know?

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath (again)

Cynically, both Mike and Patrick would err on the side of making the best Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath deck.

Uro is card advantage, beatdown resistance, and a way to win all at once!

It makes grinding difficult; and has inherent resilience against both permission and removal. Fair decks? No thanks! (probably)

Here’s something they respect, though:

Commit // Memory

Commit can interact with cards like Uro without actually putting them into the graveyard (where they can set up card advantage). But more than that, the Memory back-side can actually zero out the opponent’s graveyard, blunting future Escape shenanigans.

Don’t forget the sweet interaction with Torrential Gearhulk!

Don’t Sleep on…

  • Simic (or Sultai) Paradox Engine – Super high ceiling on this archetype, which has a Kethis, the Hidden Hand feel. None other than GOAT Kai Budde is an advocate!
  • Forsaken Monument – A powerhouse colorless deck with a Mirari’s Wake feel. Like many, it may just be better with Uro, though.
  • Gruul Aggro – Or “Main Phase Collected Company dot dec” according to Patrick. Probably the sweetest deck outside of the Uro archetypes, it can lean on Klothys, God of Destiny or the awesome power of Embercleave.
  • Golgari StOmPy – Great internal plans and synergies; though it might just not be the right time.
  • Dimir Control – Another Hall of Famer favorite! For those who want to re-run Commit // Memory at instant speed. With Narset, Parter of Veils in play, natch.

Check out “The Rest of the Historic Decks” now!

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What’s So Exciting About Yasharn, Implacable Earth?

Yasharn, Implacable Earch

Yasharn, Implacable Earth: Not Just for Standard Any More

The last time we saw Yasharn, it was a novel 4/4 for four mana… A little bit of card advantage, but a lot of resistance specifically for the toys surroundings Doom Foretold.

We liked it back when we first saw it in Standard… But it turns out this Legendary Elemental Boar might have more value in Historic!

Let’s Break Down Yasharn’s Rate of Return

  • Yasharn, Implacable earth is a 4/4 creature for four mana – “I’m listening.” Noting to write home about, though.
  • Search your library for a basic Forest and a basic Plains… Mages various have been paying four mana for two cards since Inspiration. In Standard, Hieroglyphic Illumination, Glimmer of Genius, and countless other variations have all been Staple. At sorcery speed (and only ever getting two basics) Yasharn is in a weaker pure card drawer than any and all of those cards. Counterpoint: This ability is attached to what’s already a 4/4 for four mana.
  • And then there’s that last line. How do you evaluate the rate of return on that sacrifice hating ability? It’s a bonus against some of the cards in a Doom Foretold deck in Standard… But what if people aren’t trying to get you by sacrificing permanents?

Yasharn, Implacable Earth in Context

Mike seems kind of fixated on getting down a body to block. And we suppose you could do worse than four toughness to defend yourself. But as potentially effective against creatures Yasharn is… It seems like the card in Historic has a more specific enemy:

We like Yasharn great; and the versions with extra copies of Yasharn in the sideboard even better.

The white splash for the Historic Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath decks seems justified, if only for a single spell; this one is so good.


  • Tons of Standard
  • Azorius in Historic
  • The uncommon artifact that made Autumn’s Goblins deck so advantageously exciting.

Listen now!

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More Innovations in Modern Decks

This week Top Level Podcast returns to examine the weird and even “disrespectful” world of Modern decks. The newest sets have helped breathe life into older cards, and have even given way to a new engine or three!

Goblin Charbelcher is Our Modern Deck of the Week

“It’s like the ‘Oops, No Lands’ deck… that doesn’t lose to graveyard hate.”

So let’s talk about Goblin Charbelcher.

Back in the day, Pro Tour Champions like Gabriel Nassif had to take the time to cast Mana Severence before tapping a Goblin Charbelcher.

These days, thanks to Modal Double-Faced cards, you don’t have to play any “lands”-lands at all! So… Goblin Charbelcher will never naturally hit a land.

Interesting technology: Blood Moon!

Blood Moon is relevant in general due to the popularity of Tron decks. But! It also subtly fixes your own mana. Don’t forget, this deck has cards like Irencrag Feat with RRRR in the casting cost. Blood Moon actually helps make that cast-able.

Goblin Charbelcher is only the first place we’ll see Recross the Paths

Recross the Paths

In a deck with no actual lands, Recross the Paths lets you stack your Modern deck!

You can do all different kinds of things with this old-card-given-new-life, like…

  • You can give yourself several copies of Pact of Negation in a row, which will help you to resolve your Charbelcher
  • What about every copy of Manamorphose? They are remarkably “free” after your first two mana investment, and can help you make lots of Goblins with your sideboarded Empty the Warrens
  • Reforge the Soul seems like an awesome Miracle to topdeck! This is especially synergistic given you can be down a card (or more) from just playing Recross the Paths

Even More Modern Decks…

  • 80 cards in the Modern deck? Winota, Joiner of Forces is just showing off now.
  • Making your Death’s Shadow difficult to block
  • Boros or Mono-White Colossus Hammer?

Find out about “More Innovation in Modern Decks” now!

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