Kaldheim: An Elves All The Way Down Review – Part Two

Welcome back to the Elves All The Way Down review of Kaldheim – Magic the Gathering’s Norse mythology-themed expansion. Last time, we went over all of the Elves in the set and discussed their application in formats ranging from Standard to Modern. This time, we’re covering the cards with Changeling and other supporting cards.

I’d recommend having a look over Part One before reading this article if you haven’t already. Remember, all of this is from the point of an Elves player. If a card would be great in your Goblins or Homarids deck, that’s great and all, but we want to know how good it will be for Elves.

I’ll be going through the cards in Collector’s Number order again and giving every card a rating out of five trees (because who doesn’t like the Green mana symbol?)

Part Two


Doomskar

Doomskar {3}{W}{W}  Sorcery  Destroy all creatures.  Foretell {1}{W}{W} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

What’s this, a three-mana wrath? That’s really not what I wanted to hear. As a player who loves tribal decks and playing to the board, Doomskar terifies me. I’m including it in this review because it’s just such bad news for Elves. In fact, it almost removes points from all our other cards just by being in the same set.

The problem here is that a lot of Elves lists I’ve played can go under a normal four-mana wrath effect. When we can’t, we can often have a counter ready in time – like Heroic Intervention or Selfless Spirit. When our opponent uses turn two to foretell Doomskar and then turn three to cast it, we’re probably doom(skar)ed.

I don’t have a graphic for negative Trees, but this card earned them.


Glorious Protector

Glorious Protector {2}{W}{W}  Creature — Angel Cleric 3/4  Flash  Flying  When Glorious Protector enters the battlefield, you may exile any number of non-Angel creatures you control until Glorious Protector leaves the battlefield.  Foretell {2}{W}

Now here’s a card that can help us beat a boardwipe. While I’m most likely to be playing Green-Black Elves in Standard, I have dabbled with White in other formats. If a Green-White list does pop up, I can see this Angel making it into the sideboard for the Control match-up. The double White cost is a bit difficult, but foretelling it removes this hurdle.

The way Glorious Protector can help is by casting it in response to a boardwipe. We can effectively hide all of our (non-changeling) creatures under the Angel so that when it’s destroyed by the wrath, we get our creatures back.


Rally the Ranks

Rally the Ranks {1}{W}  Enchantment  As Rally the Ranks enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.  Creatures you control of the chosen type get +1/+1.

I’m including Rally the Ranks for completeness’ sake, but I’m not going to be running it in my Green-White Elves lists. We really need a critical mass of creatures for a lot of our other payoffs. As a result, a non-creature anthem effect isn’t what we’re looking for.


Reidane, God of the Worthy // Valkmira, Protector’s Shield

Reidane, God of the Worthy {2}{W}  Legendary Creature — God 2/3  Flying, vigilance  Snow lands your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped.  Noncreature spells your opponents cast with converted mana cost 4 or greater cost {2} more to cast.

Another potential sideboard option if we’re playing White, Reidane has a multitude of applications. On her front side, she can preemptively slow down boardwipes and decks with a snow manabase. Her ability to slow down big spells is worse against boardwipes than Glorious Protector, but having access to a mix of these two cards in the sideboard could be interesting.

Valkmira, Protector's Shield {3}{W}  Legendary Artifact  If a source an opponent controls would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent 1 of that damage.  Whenever you or another permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter that spell or ability unless its controller pays {1}.

Valkmira, on the other hand, provides utility against some damage-based sweepers and slows down targeted removal. As a bonus, it also messes up combat maths for our opponent.

All told, the two faces of this card aren’t the best at what they do. However, using a single sideboard slot to have access to both faces might still be worth it.


Littjara Kinseekers

 Littjara Kinseekers {3}{U}  Creature — Shapeshifter 2/4  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  When Littjara Kinseekers enters the battlefield, if you control three or more creatures that share a creature type, put a +1/+1 counter on Littjara Kinseekers, then scry 1.

Getting to Blue means we’ve hit our first Shapeshifter. Now, Kinseekers are a card intended purely for limited, I realise. However, I’m contractually obliged to cover every Elf in the set and these Shapeshifters have Changeling – making them Elves.

I don’t see Littjara Kinseekers making a splash outside limited, but I do enjoy drafting it, so that’s a plus.


Mistwalker

Mistwalker {2}{U}  Creature — Shapeshifter  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  Flying  {1}{U}: Mistwalker gets +1/-1 until end of turn.

Here’s another faux-Elf for our Elf review: changeling strikes again. I’m definitely more excited for some of the Shapeshifters that we’ll cover in Green, but the Blue ones really aren’t cutting it.


Mystic Reflection

Mystic Reflection {1}{U}  Instant  Choose target nonlegendary creature. The next time one or more creatures or planeswalkers enter the battlefield this turn, they enter as copies of the chosen creature.  Foretell {U} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

Now this is an interesting card. Most of the cool applications I can think of for it will never be good enough for a serious constructed deck. However, I enjoy some of the theorycrafting I’ve seen around this card. You can cast Mystic Reflection on a Shaman of the Pack and then cast Collected Company and guarantee two more Shamans.

This is probably worse than just having another Elf in your hand to play, but it’s definitely cool. I kind of want to try and live that dream at least once, just so I can say I have.


Orvar, the All-Form

Orvar, the All-Form {3}{U}  Legendary Creature — Shapeshifter 3/3  Changeling  Whenever you cast an instant or sorcery spell, if it targets one or more other permanents you control, create a token that’s a copy of one of those permanents.  When a spell or ability an opponent controls causes you to discard this card, create a token that’s a copy of target permanent.

Orvar is another cool card, but this time I’ve got no cool applications in Elves decks to talk about. I guess if some weird Blue-Green list turned up, we could use bounce spells and protection spells to both save our Elves and make additional copies. The best thing I can think of is having Orvar in hand when our opponent casts Kroxa and discarding it to make another Lord.


Reflections of Littjara

Reflections of Littjara {4}{U}  Enchantment  As Reflections of Littjara enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.  Whenever you cast a spell of the chosen type, copy that spell. (A copy of a permanent spell becomes a token.)

Here’s a card I intend to do fun stuff with in EDH Elves. Doubling all of our Elves sounds really powerful, especially with enters-the-battlefield effects and Lords. Five mana is probably too much for this in 60-card formats. That said, I might throw it in the silly Mystic Reflection version I’ve got half brewed.


Crippling Fear

Crippling Fear {2}{B}{B}  Sorcery  Choose a creature type. Creatures that aren’t of the chosen type get -3/-3 until end of turn.

Crippling Fear is a really interesting sideboard option. If we’re struggling with aggressive creature-based decks, we can play our early turns as normal and accelerate into this rather than a Lord. I considered playing Eyeblight Massacre when Origins was in standard, but -2/-2 was never enough. Maybe -3/-3 is what the effect needed to be good enough?

Interestingly, we could even use it in Elves mirror-matches when we’re behind on board, by naming a different creature type. I expect pinpoint removal is better in that situation though.


Haunting Voyage

Haunting Voyage {4}{B}{B}  Sorcery  Choose a creature type. Return up to two creature cards of that type from your graveyard to the battlefield. If this spell was foretold, return all creature cards of that type from your graveyard to the battlefield instead.  Foretell {5}{B}{B} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

This is the kind of card that I really want to be a good answer to boardwipes. However, getting to seven mana after all our Elves are killed is a tough ask. Costing two more mana than Patriarch’s Bidding is a lot, even if it is one sided. I’ll still be trying it for the grindy/controlling matchups because getting all of our creatures back is really appealing. I just think we’re better served by other ways of beating wraths.


Raise the Draugr

Raise the Draugr {1}{B}  Instant  Choose one —  • Return target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.  • Return two target creature cards that share a creature type from your graveyard to your hand.

When Modern Horizons came out, I took note of Return from Extinction. While that card was never going to make the cut in Modern, it was worth remembering for formats like EDH. In the late game, drawing your best two dead Elves is nothing to sniff at; and if you’re ever trying to assemble a two card combo, this gets it back all at once.

Still, I don’t think Raise the Draugr will make the cut in any of the formats we’re looking at. It is a common though, which is worth remembering for Pauper.


Return Upon the Tide

Return Upon the Tide {4}{B}  Sorcery  Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield. If it’s an Elf, create two 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature tokens.  Foretell {3}{B} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

I’m mostly bringing up this card because it makes some Elf tokens. We don’t really have any big Elves we want to bring back in Standard; nor can we afford the space for a slow card like this in our deck just to bring back a Canopy Tactician or Skemfar Shadowsage in the late game. If we had Craterhoof in Standard and could mill it with Harald Unites the Elves to bring back with this, that might be interesting. Still not worth the slot though.


Rise of the Dread Marn

Rise of the Dread Marn {2}{B}  Instant  Create X 2/2 black Zombie Berserker creature tokens, where X is the number of nontoken creatures that died this turn.  Foretell {B} (During your turn, you may pay {2} and exile this card from your hand face down. Cast it on a later turn for its foretell cost.)

I’ve always liked Caller of the Claw effects for beating boardwipes in more casual environments. While something like Skemfar Avenger can draw us a bunch of cards when all our Elves die, cards like this give us an immediate board presence to end the game. Both Caller and Rise of the Dread Marn might not make Elves, but the fact that we can probably swing for lethal the turn after a wrath is very interesting to me.

What adds to this card’s utility is the fact that it only needs one mana on the turn when it’s relevant. Caller of the Claw and Fresh Meat need you to leave up so much mana, so it can be really hard to do while also advancing our boardstate. Rise of the Dread Marn, on the other hand, can be foretold and then cast for a single Black mana. If Doomskar becomes prevalent, this is a card I’m sure to turn to.


Basalt Ravager

Basalt Ravager {3}{R}  Creature — Giant Wizard  When Basalt Ravager enters the battlefield, it deals X damage to any target, where X is the greatest number of creatures you control that have a creature type in common.

This FTK call-back is the only Red card I’ll be covering in the review. Ravager does a similar thing to Skemfar Shadowsage (killing an opponent) or Thornmantle Striker (killing a creature or planeswalker). I won’t be running it over Shadowmage in any deck that’s running Black. I just wonder if there will ever be a Red version of Elves in Standard in which this could be a weird off-tribe include.


Blessing of Frost

Blessing of Frost {3}{G}  Snow Sorcery  Distribute X +1/+1 counters among any number of creatures you control, where X is the amount of {S} spent to cast this spell. Then draw a card for each creature you control with power 4 or greater.

I’m always looking for more ways to draw cards in Elves decks to keep us going after we dump our hand onto the battlefield. In Snow-based versions of the deck, Blessing of Frost could provide that kind of utility.

I’m just worried that our Elves won’t be big enough to make this draw more than two cards. If we had more Lord effects, it could be interesting. However, Lead the Stampede was in Ikoria and is much more reliable than this.


Blizzard Brawl

Blizzard Brawl {G}  Snow Sorcery  Choose target creature you control and target creature you don’t control. If you control three or more snow permanents, the creature you control gets +1/+0 and gains indestructible until end of turn. Then those creatures fight each other. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)

Fight spells are handy when you need to kill off a utility creature. While our Elves don’t tend to get big enough to kill midrange threats, the indestrucible bonus on Blizzard Brawl allows us to kill other small creatures without losing our Elf. This gives it way more utility than previous cards like Prey Upon. It only really fits into the dedicated Snow versions of Elves as a sideboard card, although I do wonder how often Primal Might will just do more in that slot.


Elven Bow

Elven Bow {G}  Artifact — Equipment  When Elven Bow enters the battlefield, you may pay {2}. If you do, create a 1/1 green Elf Warrior creature token, then attach Elven Bow to it.  Equipped creature gets +1/+2 and has reach.  Equip {3}

I probably should have mentioned Elven Bow last week because it’s effectively a three-mana Elf in the set. I’ll be honest, I kind of overlooked it because it’s an equipment. If anything, it’s limited filler at best. Our Jaspera Sentinels already have reach for when we need to block things in the air, so an equipment that provides this utility is not going to make it.


Guardian Gladewalker

Guardian Gladewalker {1}{G}  Creature — Shapeshifter 1/1  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  When Guardian Gladewalker enters the battlefield, put a +1/+1 counter on target creature.

Our first Green Shapeshifter is a bit of a miss. I’ve played weird Green-White builds of Elves in Standard before with Pollenbright Druid. However, that card was mostly used for the Proliferate mode. Our two-drop slot isn’t really lacking at the moment. Even it it were, two power for two mana with no other abilities isn’t really what we’re looking for.


Jorn, God of Winter // Kaldring, the Rimestaff

Jorn, God of Winter {2}{G}  Legendary Snow Creature — God 3/3  Whenever Jorn attacks, untap each snow permanent you control.

Jorn might not be an Elf, but if our Standard decks revolve around Snow-matters cards, he’s worth considering as an include. Being able to tap all of our mana in our first main phase and then getting to use it again after combat seems pretty strong. Jorn can even untap any of our Snow creatures, like Sculptor of Winter and Boreal Outrider, effectively granting them vigilance. While Jorn probably won’t be making it into many of my lists, I will probably try him as a one-of in my Snow variants.

Kaldring, the Rimestaff {1}{U}{B}  Legendary Snow Artifact  {T}: You may play target snow permanent card from your graveyard this turn. If you do, it enters the battlefield tapped.

Kaldring won’t be played very often. For starters, in the Mono-Green Snow lists, we’d need two Jaspera Sentinels to make the right colours. However, once in a blue moon it might enable us to keep replaying Sculptors and Outriders from our graveyard.


Littjara Glade-Warden

Littjara Glade-Warden {3}{G}  Creature — Shapeshifter 3/3  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  {2}{G}, {T}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put two +1/+1 counters on target creature. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Another limited card that I need to cover due to the word ‘changeling’, Glade-Warden can be a real beating in draft or sealed. It’s not going to make it in constructed though. A four-drop 3/3 that doesn’t do anything immediately and can only be used at sorcery speed (rather than in response to a burn spell) is nowhere near good enough.


Masked Vandal

Masked Vandal {1}{G}  Creature — Shapeshifter 1/3  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  When Masked Vandal enters the battlefield, you may exile a creature card from your graveyard. If you do, exile target artifact or enchantment an opponent controls.

While Masked Vandal is very much a sideboard card, it’s a pretty good one. We don’t have access to Reclamation Sage in Standard at the moment and the next best best options are at three mana. They also aren’t Elves, which is a big deal when we need a critical mass for our synergies.

There will be games where we don’t have a creature in our graveyard to power the Vandal, but with the rate my Elves are dying on turn one or two at the moment, we’ll be fine most of the time.


Realmwalker

Realmwalker {2}{G}  Creature — Shapeshifter 2/3  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  As Realmwalker enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.  You may look at the top card of your library any time.  You may cast creature spells of the chosen type from the top of your library.

We finally get to the card I’m most excited for in Kaldheim. While Elvish Warmaster might be the best card for improving Elves in multiple formats, Realmwalker has to be my favourite card from the set. I love cards that let you play with the top of the library. Oracle of Mul Daya, Courser of Kruphix and Vizier of the Menagerie have been great cards for me in the past. Realmwalker combines my love for playing with the top of the library with my love for tribal decks. Finally, an Elf that lets me play Elves from my deck!

Combined with cards in older formats like Birchlore Rangers of Heritage Druid, Realmwalker can just let us completely ‘go off’. We can build our deck with shuffle effects so that we can reset when there’s not an Elf on top. We can even name Beast on a second Realmwalker so that we can cast Craterhoof off the top (once they fix a bug to allow the second Realmwalker to work on MTGO).

To be honest, Realmwalker should probably get a lower rating than I’m giving it, but it’s my favourite Elf to be printed in a while – and it doesn’t even say Elf anywhere on the card.


Toski, Bearer of Secrets

Toski, Bearer of Secrets {3}{G}  Legendary Creature — Squirrel 1/1  This spell can’t be countered.  Indestructible  Toski, Bearer of Secrets attacks each combat if able.  Whenever a creature you control deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.

If anyone tells you they don’t love Toski, they’re lying. Toski is the best Legendary Squirrel they’ve ever printed. It might not be an Elf, but we can draw a card for every Elf that hits our opponent? Sounds great to me.

In all seriousness, I will be trying Toski out because I’m reminded of Edric, Spymaster of Trest. Drawing cards whenever we hit our opponent is good, but we might struggle to get attacks in against some decks. As a result, Toski is most likely going to end up tested in the sideboard.


Moritte of the Frost

Moritte of the Frost {2}{G}{U}{U}  Legendary Snow Creature — Shapeshifter 0/0  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  You may have Moritte of the Frost enter the battlefield as a copy of a permanent you control, except it’s legendary and snow in addition to its other types and, if it’s a creature, it enters with two additional +1/+1 counters on it and has changeling.

Moritte of the Frost is a cool card, but double Blue mana is a lot to ask. Had it been a clone that could copy any permanent – one that also counted as an Elf for our synergies -for only a single Blue, it might have been interesting. The flexibility to copy a Lord, Harald Unites the Elves or Skemfar Shadowsage based on what we needed more of at any given moment would have been handy. As it is, Moritte will just be too hard to cast and is probably too expensive at five mana anyway.


Bloodline Pretender

Bloodline Pretender {3}  Artifact Creature — Shapeshifter 2/2  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  As Bloodline Pretender enters the battlefield, choose a creature type.  Whenever another creature of the chosen type enters the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on Bloodline Pretender.

For Elves players, this is an Elvish Vanguard that starts one power and toughness bigger, for one more mana. Unfortunately, the one place that Elvish Vanguard is relevant is Pauper and this card is an uncommon.

Also, three mana compared to two mana is a huge difference for a card you want to play before all your other Elves. All-in-all, this isn’t Elvish Vanguard and this isn’t making our decks.


Maskwood Nexus

Maskwood Nexus {4}  Artifact  Creatures you control are every creature type. The same is true for creature spells you control and creature cards you own that aren’t on the battlefield.  {3}, {T}: Create a 2/2 blue Shapeshifter creature token with changeling. (It is every creature type.)

There have been a few effects like this in the past. Conspiracy, Xenograft and Arcane Adaptation were all cards that enabled some pretty wonky combos. For us, the effect will be picking up a Wirewood Symbiote to untap a creature and then just replay the Symbiote. This allows us to get around the once per turn restriction on Symbiote. However, as fun as this interaction is, I’ll be keeping it exclusively to EDH. In other formats, a four-mana play that doesn’t do anything immediately is not good for a deck that needs to be as assertive as Elves.

I guess it lets Harald Unites the Elves reanimate a Craterhoof in Historic.


Pyre of Heroes

Pyre of Heroes {2}  Artifact  {2}, {T}, Sacrifice a creature: Search your library for a creature card that shares a creature type with the sacrificed creature and has converted mana cost equal to 1 plus that creature’s converted mana cost. Put that card onto the battlefield, then shuffle your library. Activate this ability only any time you could cast a sorcery.

Something I haven’t mentioned in these reviews is that my favourite card of all time is Birthing Pod. I was playing KikiPod decks in Standard and then Modern before I ever cast a Heritage Druid or Ezuri. Now Wizards of the Coast have given me a special Elven Birthing Pod back after banning the original years ago!

However, there’s a catch – this Pod only works for a single creature type at a time. I really want this to be good, but the power of Pod lay in gaining access to a bunch of different utility creatures. That deck was often called a toolbox because it had access to so many different effects, and I don’t think we can emulate that with just Elves. Sure, we can play Dwynen’s Elite, leave the token behind and turn the Elite into a Reclamation Sage to destroy their stuff. We can draw a card off an Elvish Visionary and turn it into an Elvish Archdruid. I just don’t think there are enough Elven tools to fill a whole toolbox.

I want it to be good, but I don’t see it getting there.


Faceless Haven

Faceless Haven  Snow Land  {T}: Add {C}.  {S}{S}{S}: Faceless Haven becomes a 4/3 creature with vigilance and all creature types until end of turn. It’s still a land. ({S} can be paid with one mana from a snow source.)

Has a face. Who commissioned this?!

Facelessness aside, this is a cool snow land that could potentially go in the Mono-Green Snow variant of Elves. However, I’ve never put Mutavault in my Elf decks, so I don’t have high hopes. Utility lands take a premium spot in Elves lists because we really need Green mana on turn one and two. Drawing two of these as our first two lands would be devastating.


Gladewalker Ritualist

Gladewalker Ritualist {2}{G}  Creature — Shapeshifter 3/3  Changeling (This card is every creature type.)  Whenever another creature named Gladewalker Ritualist enters the battlefield under your control, draw a card.

Our last card is one final Changeling. It gets a place here for technically being an Elf and having a kind-of-cool effect. A bigger, greener Faerie Miscreant is an interesting design (and this one scales if you have multiples), but I don’t think it’s going to do enough in the three-drop slot for us. I do want to Collected Company into two of these at some point. That’s more of a meme deck than anything though. I guess the joke is that you’re meant to make copies of these with the copy effects on Moritte and Mystic Reflection.


That’s all

So, we’ve covered all the Elves and Elf-adjacent cards in the set. I have a newfound respect for people who review the entire set.

I hope my insights into some of these cards have been interesting and potentially informative. I’ll be sure to cover future sets as they come out. Let’s see what they bring for fans of our little Green friends!

I’ll be back to Elves All The Way Down articles next time. For now, thanks for reading.