It’s time for Magic: The Gathering to get metal. That’s part of the inspiration behind their upcoming Kaldheim expansion, a new set that pitches gods, demons, giants and more against one another as everyone races to save the World Tree from strife. Let’s tap some Vikings people, and let’s start with a really, really OP boat.
No, I’m not kidding. Today I’ve got two cards to show off: a beast of a Legendary god, Cosima, and what I presume is their favoured Viking ship of choice, The Omenkeel.
And they’re actually the same card. Let me explain.
Let’s start with The Big Boat side. It’s designated as a Vehicle and as a Legendary Artifact, as well as having the “Crew” ability at the bottom.
Crew’s easy to miss, so here’s how it works. To use Crew, all you have to do is “tap any number of creatures you control with total power equal to or greater than the crew number”. Generally, it lets vehicles all become artifact creatures until their end of turn — and any creature can be tapped, including those that just entered the battlefield (as crew doesn’t use the actual tap symbol or text).
But what’s more interesting is everything else:
Whenever a Vehicle you control deals combat damage to a player, that player exiles that many cards from the top of their library. You may play lands from among those cards for as long as they remain exiled.
That’s … supremely annoying. I would love the hell out of this card in any kind of blue control deck. It’s certainly not a hark back to the Esper Control days where you just mill someone to death, but it’s certainly fun to grind someone down with.
But perhaps not quite as annoying as Cosima, God of the Voyage. Here’s what the front of the card looks like.
Cosima‘s the kind of creature you’d want to get out of the gate pretty soon so you can start building up voyage counters. The benefit is pretty obvious: every turn Cosima hangs out in exile, they gets stronger, gaining the ability to draw a bigger stack of cards. But you’ll need to actually be drawing (or holding) lands every turn, as Cosima and their dolphin won’t be getting ripped on protein powder without a regular drop of Islands/whatever else your deck is built around.
For those who haven’t played with dual-faced cards before, it’s up to the player to decide what face is played. These cards — officially called modal double-faced cards — were brought into Magic with Zendikar Rising. There’s some extensive rules if you feel like reading them, but the key thing to note is whether the card says it’s capable of transforming.
So in short: Cosima and The Omenkeel can’t transform. You pick which side you bring into play, but once it’s in play, that’s it.
Both sides of the card have a ton of power, and I can see Cosima being particularly useful in the Commander format. Omenkeel can be handy if you can build around the Crew mechanic. Maxing out the number of creatures that qualify as “Crew” can help burn through an opponent’s deck very, very quickly. There’s also new blue counterspells — Ravenform at 2B — that creature 1/1 blue flying creature tokens, which you could then use to quietly chip away at your opponent’s deck until they can’t respond.
What could be really interesting is a combination with another dual modal card: Esika, God of the Tree, a 1GG mythic legendary creature that can add one mana of any colour by tapping. Esika also gives every other legendary creature you control the ability to generate one mana of any colour, which is … uhh, slightly nuts?
And if that wasn’t bad enough, consider Mystic Reflection. It’s a 1B instant that targets any nonlegendary creature. You can foretell it for 2 mana, which means you can exile the card face down and cast it later for one blue mana and then just … make the next creature or planeswalker enter the battlefield as a copy of a garbage token/nonthreatening 1/1 creature instead.
It all makes for a wild and chaotic ride. The World Tree will be lucky if it survives the battle, although on the flipside, The World Tree itself has a nice bit of bullshit up its own sleeve.
If you’re looking to mess around with the Kaldheim cards in person, you’ll have to wait a couple of weeks. The set launches on MTG Arena from January 28, with pre-release events kicking off from January 29. The set’s full release will launch afterwards on February 5, although with concerns around COVID still pretty rife, I imagine most people are going to be playing digitally for a little while longer. That’s especially true since MTG Arena‘s Android port goes live on January 28 as well, with iOS users getting added in later in the year.
Correction 11:25am AEDT: As pointed out by @hexbomb27, the legendary Cosima god is female, not male. Sincere apologies, and I’ve corrected the text to reflect that.