MTG Arena’s Best Decks of the Kaldheim Expansion
As with any good MTG Arena expansion, we spend the pre-release days trying to figure out what is going to be the most powerful deck in the meta. There’s always going to be a few, so I’ve done some digging. These are, for my money, the most potentially powerful decks, in no particular order. What works for some may not work for others, after all. This isn’t going to be a tier list, because we still need more time for that to come into existence. So, we have to ask: What are the best decks in MTG Arena in Kaldheim?
This list is probably going to wind up changing in the next few weeks, so I may revisit it, and add some more content to it, but right now, I’m very interested in how Kaldheim has shaken up. Some decks didn’t even receive anything new but managed to stick around. Decks like Rogues for example. Rogues changed but didn’t receive anything new. Instead of being Dimir Rogues, now it’s Esper Rogues, and it’s absolutely disgusting. However, for you Best-of-Three fans, it has some useful sideboard options that could easily make their way into the mainboard, like Weathered Runestone.
It’s going to be very interesting, that’s for sure. There is a lot to love in the game, with such a nice variety of decks. So I’m going to talk about the ones that are the most interesting, and potentially the most damaging. That’s always nice, right?
So, without further ado, let’s talk some cards!
Green/White Cats – Esika’s Chariot Shenanigans (Green/White Aggro)
This is a deck I’m hearing a lot of chatter about. It’s doing quite well on the ladder. It’s fast, and we can do some really truly unpleasant things with our vehicles and cats. I’m a sucker for obnoxious Green/White decks, and this one combines a few fun things! We’ve got token swarm (not as fast as normal), really painful Enchantment Shenanigans (™) (All That Glitters), and a few of the newer Kaldheim cards. This could stick around as a potential Tier 1 or 2 deck for Kaldheim, being one of the best decks in MTG Arena.
A deck where we can just keep adding creatures to the board every single turn? You’ve gotta love it. Unless you’re going against it, that is. It also features one of the most interesting cards in Kaldheim: Esika’s Chariot. It’s a 4-cost Legendary Artifact (Vehicle), that creates creature tokens (2/2 cats – 2 of them). When it attacks, you create a token that’s a copy of a target token you control. Sadly, it doesn’t create copies of your real cards. It makes sense – that would be horrifyingly busted.
This isn’t a “Cat” deck per se’, but WG Cats does exist. This version runs Almighty Brushwagg instead, which is a 1/1 Trample that can gain +3/+3 until the end of turn. We can use this as our win condition when combined with All That Glitters if we so chose. We’re also going to use Giant Ox as a sneaky beater card. Sure, it’s a 0/6 for 2 (1 white), but it crews Vehicles using that Toughness instead of power. If we pair that with, say, Colossal Plow, we can get a free 3 life and 3 white mana each turn.
Now, I want to say “Put All That Glitters on Colossal Plow”, but there’s a sad catch – when it stops being a creature, and returns to being a Vehicle, that enchantment falls off. So we could hold one in hand until it’s time to win the game, and that would work. This is a pretty fast, frustrating deck though. How does it go down?
How Does It Work?
Esika’s Chariot can do so many fun things in this deck, but we really get going via Giant Ox/Colossal Plow. They both cost 2 mana – Colossal Plow is 2 colorless, and Giant Ox costs 1 white, 1 colorless. The Plow requires 6 Crew, and the Giant Ox is a 0/6. That means on turn 3 we can get this thing going. Colossal Plow, when it attacks, is a 6/3. It also grants you 3 white mana (that doesn’t go away as phases end) and 3 life.
If your opponent isn’t ready, you can batter someone for 6 damage really fast. I’m worried about that 3 health though. It does help build towards our alternate win (or probably the easiest win condition) – All That Glitters. But first, we’ll talk about the two Vehicles. For 4 mana, we can summon Esika’s Chariot, which has a Crew Cost of 4. It creates two 2/2 green Cat creature tokens when it comes into play. T hen, when it attacks, we create a token that’s a copy of a target token we control.
As far as Colossal Plow goes, that three extra mana means we can do a lot. Hopefully, we can use it to cast The Birth of Meletis or Banishing Light to get something else off the board. Banishing Light exiles a nonland permanent until Banishing Light leaves play, so it can remove almost anything we desire.
The Birth of Meletis is something you’re probably familiar with. Part 1 of the Saga pulls a Plains from your deck, Part 2 creates a 0/4 colorless Wall artifact creature, and Part 3 gives you 2 life. The artifacts also pair neatly with All That Glitters. We want as many artifacts and enchantments in play as we can. It’s a solid amount of damage and makes players respond to it/block it or take 6 damage again – on turn 2 potentially.
The ability to just spam tokens is really underestimated. In theory, we can use the Plow to play this (if we have at least one green mana). Since it makes extra tokens, and is a 4/4, it’s incredible. Sure, we could just make more cats, but there are other options. For example, you could make more Pegasus Tokens (from Archon of Sun’s Grace) or consider this: More 0/4 Wall Tokens. If your opponent has no flyers, consider this. That means we have more artifacts for All That Glitters. That’s what I would (and will) do.
Speaking of which, All That Glitters is nutty powerful! Who will we give it to though? Either Almighty Brushwagg or Archon of Sun’s Grace, depending on the situation. Archon of Sun’s Grace gives our Pegasus creatures/tokens lifelink, so that’s a key for survival if needed. Plus it has Constellation: Create a 2/2 white Pegasus creature token with flying, anytime we play an enchantment. Just something to think about as a choice to win the game.
If they have no flyers, Archon’s great. Otherwise, putting it on Almighty Brushwagg is even better – It’s a 1/1 Trample for 1, after all. For those of you that don’t remember, All That Glitters provides +1/+1 for each Enchantment and Artifact you control. The more that opponents block your Esika’s Chariot, the more copies of those 0/4 Wall Tokens we can make. We can double up the All That Glitters onto one creature too, or put them on others (on an Archon, or on Setessan Champion, for example). Setessan Champion will keep growing whenever you play an Enchantment anyway, gaining +1/+1. Oh, and we also draw a card for that, so it’s lovely to see.
That’s the strategy. We duplicate those 0/4 Wall Tokens, while also making lots of frustrating pressure on the opponent. If things aren’t going so hot, we can slow down, keep playing those enchantments/vehicles, and swing someone down with Almighty Brushwagg. We make it as big as possible with All That Glitters, and if we need to, we can pay 4 mana (1 green) to give the weird little monster +3/+3 on top of everything else.
We just have to slow people down with Banishing Light and make them worried about our strong vehicles. Hopefully, we have so many tokens that the other player just can’t attack us. We, in a perfect world, will swing once, and get the victory off of it, but we can nickel and dime if needed. Not something to stress over.
4 Almighty Brushwagg
4 Colossal Plow
4 Giant Ox
4 Archon of Sun’s Grace
4 All That Glitters
4 The Birth of Meletis
4 Elspeth Conquers Death
4 Setessan Champion
4 Banishing Light
2 Esika’s Chariot
4 Branchloft Pathway
2 Castle Ardenvale
2 Alseid of Life’s Bounty
We even have a sneaky little Alseid of Life’s Bounty to make our game-winning creature protected from whatever color is necessary (whether from removal or to make it unblockable). If you’re worried, we also have Elspeth Conquers Death to bring them or whichever creature back. I love the concept of this deck. It’s aggro and can move very fast. Depending on how many of the Plows you get into play and swinging a turn, there is so much you can cast in one turn. I’m not certain if it’s going to remain as one of the best MTG Arena Kaldheim decks, but I really love the potential.
Izzet Tempo is Great, But . . . (Red/Blue Tempo)
Izzet Tempo is really strong right now. I feel like if you can’t find your win condition early, you could very easily have the tables turned on you. The various decks feature Goldspan Dragon, but they don’t include cards that create the Treasure Tokens it abuses – other than itself. So why include it? Because it’s a 4/4 Dragon with Flying/Haste for 5 mana, and that’s fantastic. It’s a deck that wins off of one or two cards, and we must see them quickly to put games away.
Personally, I think this deck is good, but it’s not one I’d hitch my wagon to. It’s not fun for me, and it’s not interesting in the least. That having been said, it’s powerful, it wins games, especially if you start off strong, slowing people down with counters, and not missing land drops. It’s neat, it’s strong, but it’s not for me. Thankfully, it’s got a ton of useful cards, and several of these are surprise! From Throne of Eldraine! Huzzah! I can’t wait for that set to rotate out.
How do we win with this deck though? Goldspan Dragon and Shark Typhoon. It will give us flying Sharks whenever we cast a non-creature spell, or we can just Cycle it down to create one huge Shark. There are times when you’re going to want to do that instead (probably with the first instance of Shark Typhoon for immediate threats). So, what are we doing here with Izzet Tempo? Is it really one of the best Kaldheim decks for MTG Arena? Yes! All the way yes! I wish it were a Giant deck, but that will come soon I think.
How Does It Work?
The early game is pretty much all set up by putting your opponent off their game. Lots of low-cost, high-efficiency spells to do exactly that. Our end-game is again, Goldspan Dragon and Shark Typhoon. Whichever we get going first is probably fine, but it’s likely going to be the Dragon. We also have Bonecrusher Giant to be aggressive with, but you’ll almost always cast it as a spell first. Two damage to a target and damage can’t be prevented this turn? Always a fun time. Plus he’s a 4/3, and whenever it’s the target of a spell, the caster takes two damage.
I’ve won more than one game just by swinging with Bonecrusher Giant. But one of the important things is to try and set up our Foretell cards if possible. That way, we can pop them off later, for cheap. We don’t want to counter just everything, after all. Behold the Multiverse is normally a 4-cost (1 blue) but we can Foretell it for 2 (1 blue). As we’ve said before, Foretell cards can be exiled facedown for 2 colorless mana. We can cast them later for the new cost, anytime we could normally cast them.
Behold the Multiverse has you Scry 2, then Draw 2. This is so great to cast on your opponent’s turn. If your opponent thinks it’s a counter instead (Saw It Coming), they may play hesitantly. Right at the end of said player’s turn, you can Scry 2, draw 2, and then get your next card to draw when your turn comes up. Saw It Coming is another of our Foretell cards. Normally, it counters a spell for 3 mana (2 blue), we can also Foretell it for 2 (1 blue). As far as counters go, we also have the classic Negate, which counters a target noncreature spell. We also have Brazen Borrower which can be cast as a spell (2 mana) to return a nonland permanent an opponent controls back to their hand.
We don’t always have to cast counters though. Red packs a wallop, after all. Frostbite is a 1-cost Red Snow Instant for example. It normally deals 2 damage to a creature or planeswalker, but if we control three or more Snow Permanents, it deals 3 instead. Almost all of our lands are Snow Lands, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Scorching Dragonfire also deals 3 to a creature or planeswalker for 2 mana (1 red). If that target would die this turn, you exile it instead. Bye, game-winning creature!
We have to use these tools wisely, sparingly, to make sure we can drop Goldspan Dragon on time. A 4/4 with Flying/Haste, whenever it attacks or is the target of a spell, you create a Treasure Token. The treasures he creates tap and sacrifice for two mana of any one color. Get a few of these into play, and you have a pretty awesome response, should it die. If you have a Shark Typhoon in hand, you can pitch your artifacts to tap as much mana as possible (though maybe hold some for a counter), and cycle down the Typhoon to make a huge Flying Shark.
If Shark Typhoon is in play, whenever we cast a noncreature spell, we make an X/X Shark Token with Flying. The X is the CMC of the original spell. As a point of fact, Shatterskull Smashing is 2 Red+X. The way I understand it, the X would count. So if we cast Shatterskull Smashing and use like…10 mana, we make a 10/10 Shark, while also doing 10 (now 20) damage to two targets that we choose – damage divided between them as we choose.
From there, we just keep swinging with Goldspan Dragons and Sharks until we win. That’s the play. We stick to the skies and obliterate the other player. We can use the few spells we have to make sure our Goldspan Dragon wins as many trades as possible. Bounce blockers back to their owner’s hand, kill them with spells if we have the opportunity.
4 Riverglide Pathway
3 Scorching Dragonfire
2 Faceless Haven
4 Behold the Multiverse
4 Fabled Passage
7 Snow-Covered Island
4 Bonecrusher Giant
2 Shatterskull Smashing
3 Snow-Covered Mountain
4 Frost Bite
4 Saw It Coming
4 Shark Typhoon
4 Brazen Borrower
4 Goldspan Dragon
4 Volatile Fjord
I’m still not sold on this deck, but it’s getting results, so I can’t deny that. I do like Shark Typhoon decks, but this one just doesn’t ring for me. I do love Goldspan though. The more times we attack with it, the better. If the opponent can’t answer it, we get free damage and a treasure token. If we attack, they block/cast a spell to target it, we get another treasure token. Then we counter that spell, get the damage anyway, and keep both Treasure Tokens. He just has to be the target of a spell. That would help us get another Dragon in play potentially, or our host of growing Shark Pals. It’s lots of damage that can always come back, since Shark Typhoon is an enchantment. As long as it’s in play, we can cast noncreature spells and build our numbers. While I’m not the biggest fan, I respect the hustle of this deck.
Yes, Virginia, Mono-White Still Exists (Mono-White Aggro)
Mono-White Aggro is getting some play again, and it’s not really a shock. Frankly, Seasoned Hallowblade + Maul of the Skyclaves is already an excellent combo. Even better when you drop Sentinel’s Eyes on it to give it Vigilance. But could a fast, efficient deck be made more so somehow? Why Kaldheim has the answer! I have a feeling that out of the aggro decks in MTG Arena’s Kaldheim expansion, this is going to be one of the meanest.
Like any good Mono-White deck, we’re running low-cost, high-efficiency cards that all synergize well together. But what are our new options? There aren’t a ton of them, but just enough. Faceless Haven, Halvar, God of Battle, and Reidane, God of the Worthy all make appearances, and ultimately help our goal of dealing as much damage as humanly possible at once. What are the creatures we’re going to win with though? Seasoned Hallowblade, Legion Angel, and Faceless Haven are all excellent choices. But depending on how long the game has gone on, Luminarch Aspirant can make anything a giant, damage-dealing monster.
This is a deck that goes in fast and hard, and I immediately regret typing that sentence. I stand by the sentiment though. We can make our creature indestructible in a couple of ways and can make sure he drops a game-winning bomb in one go. It’s even better if our foe has no flying creatures. Either way, we’ll smash through them with Double Strike, and put them to sleep. I love this deck for the unrealistic power it has. It’s way more fun, way more interactive than other aggro decks I have played in the past.
How Does It Work?
Maul of the Skyclaves is a great win condition. It gives a creature +2/+2, Flying, and First Strike. When it comes into play, it equips to a creature directly, which is neat. But that’s not always going to be the creature you win with. In fact, it’s very likely your opponent is going to respond by killing that creature outright. Then you have to pay 4 mana (2 white) to re-equip it. What if there was a better way?
Kaldheim has made that dream come true, thanks to Halvar, God of Battle! Creatures we control that are enchanted or equipped have Double Strike. On top of that, at the beginning of each combat, you can take an Aura or Equipment card you control, and attach it to another target creature you control. It doesn’t have to be equipped, it just has to be in play. It’s a great way to shuffle around Sentinel’s Eyes or Maul of the Skyclaves, depending on what you’ve got on offer. Those are our two big cards to see victory.
Sentinel’s Eyes isn’t a game-breaker or world ender, but having an aggressive creature gain +1/+1 and Vigilance is amazing. Now it can just swing over and over! Plus we can escape it back into play very easily – 1 mana and exiling two cards from our graveyard. It’s very easy to get back. Our goal is to get Maul of the Skyclaves and Sentinel’s Eyes on a card and swing for big damage. With Halvar, God of Battle out, now say, Seasoned Hallowblade is a 6/4 Double Strike, Flying, Vigilance, and can also make itself Indestructible for a turn. So that’s at least 12 damage. On top of that, we can set it up to be a monster through Luminarch Aspirant. A two-drop, Luminarch Aspirant puts a +1/+1 counter on a target creature you control at the beginning of your combat phase. You can use it on itself to keep it from being killed so easily, or you can constantly drop them on Seasoned Hallowblade. As long as we have cards to discard, he can’t be killed. Exiled, sure. But not destroyed.
If you’re worried about blockers, we’ve got Giant Killer to tap a target creature. Do it before combat, if they’ve only got one or two blockers. Or just tap the thing you fear, and make sure we go soaring in. If possible, we want to get Halvar, God of Battle, and his sword form (Sword of the Realms) in play. It gives a creature +2/+0 and Vigilance for 2 mana (equip cost – 2 mana), and when the equipped creature dies, return it to its owner’s hand.
What would we possibly want to put that on? How about Selfless Savior? That good boy will just keep coming back! It’s a 1-cost dog that can be sacrificed to make another creature indestructible! So we sac him to protect someone (like Luminarch Aspirant) and just re-cast, re-equip him! Easy peasy! For 3 measly mana, we can just keep defending our creatures.
Usher of the Fallen is here too, as a 2/1 for 1 with Boast (2 mana). Its Boast makes a 1/1 white Human Warrior creature token. He just needs First Strike, to be honest. Or, swing when the other player has no way to block/we want it to be a sacrificial pawn.
This deck even has a few control options. Giant Killer’s Adventure Spell, Chop Down destroys a creature with 4 power or greater, for 3 mana. Always useful. Reidane, God of the Worthy exists in this deck to slow down any Snow Deck or non-Creature spell our opponent uses. Snow Lands your opponents control come into play tapped, and noncreature spells they cast with a 4 or higher cost require 2 more colorless mana. I absolutely love Reidane. They have another form, a legendary artifact – Valkmira, Protector’s Shield. It reduces damage to a source we control (or us) by 1, and whenever you or a permanent you control is the target of a spell of an opponent, counter it unless they pay 1 colorless.
This incredibly slows down opponents, especially when you have Reidane and Valkmira in play! We also have Skyclave Apparition to exile a nonland, nontoken permanent an opponent control that costs 4 or less.
If none of those creatures do it for you, Legion Angel can let us go get another Legion Angel from the sideboard, and is a 4/3 Flyer for 4. So it’s another amazing target. If we need a sneaky win, we can turn Faceless Haven into another 4/3 with Vigilance for the turn, slap a Skyclave on it, buff it, and swing someone down. That would make it a 7/6 with Vigilance/Double Strike/Flying. There are so many choices! The 7/6 assumes Luminarch Aspirant, though.
4 Maul of the Skyclaves
20 Snow-Covered Plains
3 Faceless Haven
2 Sentinel’s Eyes
2 Kabira Takedown
4 Giant Killer
4 Selfless Savior
4 Usher of the Fallen
4 Luminarch Aspirant
4 Seasoned Hallowblade
4 Skyclave Apparition
2 Reidane, God of the Worthy
2 Halvar, God of Battle
1 Legion Angel
2 Soul-Guide Lantern
2 Banishing Light
2 Glorious Protector
2 Sejiri Shelter
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
3 Glass Casket
3 Legion Angel
The only thing that would make this deck better is a reliable way to fetch equipment from our deck. We lack that, but that’s okay. Everything in this deck belongs – zero filler. It’s very likely that we can drop someone on turn 4 or 5 if we play aggressively. Almost any creature in this deck, with the right time, can be a game-winner. We can buff them with several Aspirants, or simply wait for a decent-sized creature, and swing lethal. You really can’t go wrong. My choice is Seasoned Hallowblade or Halvar, God of Battle personally. As long as we have a Maul of the Skyclaves on them, victory will be ours.
Sultai Ultimatum Still Breaks Faces (Green/Black/Blue Control/Combo)
Okay, full disclosure: I like the idea of this deck a lot. It’s ramp-heavy, control-heavy, and has a really obnoxious combo. I’m not as big a fan of the deck though, as I am others. It feels very clunky, and complicated. It works, and it’s powerful. Definitely a top-tier deck right now, but I’m not likely to use it compared to say Rakdos Midrange, or Esper Rogues, something like that. But this deck is all about abusing Emergent Ultimatum and putting it to heavy work.
Emergent Ultimatum lets you search your library for three monocolored cards with different names, and exile them. Your opponent picks one of them to shuffle back into your deck. The other two can be cast without paying their mana costs, then we exile them. What would we possibly pick in this huge, Yorion-themed deck? There are plenty of choices, for any situation, but my top three, to most reliably pick are:
- Valki, God of Lies
- Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
- Kiora Bests the Sea God
We pick the most expensive, powerful cards in the deck and want our opponent to pick one to not cast. If we can get Vorinclex/Valki, I’m going to be very happy. This is because we don’t have to cast Valki, God of Lies as Valki this way. We can, as far as I’m aware, instead cast him as Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter without paying the mana cost. If we play both of them at the same time, we can start Tibalt with 10 Loyalty and immediately pop his ultimate.
Don’t do that until there are plenty of cards in graves though. This is a deck where we do a lot with a little, and also steal our opponent’s cards as much as humanly possible. We’re using a few of the new cards too. Valki, Vorinclex, Binding the Old Gods, and Alrund’s Epiphany. So we can also get an extra turn!
We slow the game down, control it, and make huge plays that our opponent possibly be prepared for. It’s beautiful.
How Does It Work?
Out of all of the new cards, I think Binding the Old Gods is the most powerful in this deck. We can pull a “Forest” from our deck and put it into play tapped. It’s 4 mana (1 black, 1 green). The first part of this saga destroys a nonland permanent an opponent controls! So we destroy something, and the following turn, we search our library for a Forest card and put it into play tapped. It’s important to look at that wording.
That means we can pick those Triomes (Zagoth Triome, Ketria Triome), as they count as Forests. We can also get those Modal Dual-Faced Lands that are Forest Cards also! It doesn’t specify Basic Lands, so we can easily ramp through it. On top of that, if we play Yorion, Sky Nomad before it goes away, we can exile Binding the Old Gods and play it again, and destroy another permanent, and get another land! So we can turn 3 pull Yorion into hand, turn 4, play Binding, turn 5, play Yorion.
That’s not our only move though, just one of the neat things this deck can do. Cultivate is our other mana ramp card, and it’s very important. We can pull two basic lands from our deck, put one into play and the other into your hand. One of the downsides of this deck is it’s kind of on the slow side. We do have cards to slow the other player down though.
If you’re worried about dealing with low-cost jerks, be they planeswalker or creature, we have Shadows’ Verdict. It exiles all creatures and planeswalkers with a mana cost 3 or less from the battlefield, and all creature and planeswalker cards with a converted mana cost 3 or less from all graveyards too. This won’t affect us at all, but Rogues? Mono-Red/White? It’s going to eat them up. It’s a 5-cost Sorcery though, so make it count.
We also have the ever-popular Extinction Event to exile all Even or Odd creatures from the board. Elspeth’s Nightmare is another popular Saga, as it destroys a creature with a power 2 or less an opponent controls, makes them discard a noncreature, nonland, and then also exiles their graveyard. Very potent, that. We can also use Shark Typhoon if we can get our copy into play (through Emergent or otherwise). The constant flood of Shark tokens can certainly help us start playing aggressively, and not have to wait on Vorinclex/Tibalt to really get going.
There are so many useful instants in the deck too. Common removal spells for our color spread (Eliminate, Heartless Act) are here, alongside forced sacrifice from Soul Shatter – each opponent sacrifices a creature or planeswalker with the highest CMC among creatures and planeswalkers they control. We have some counters too, with Negate and Jwari Disruption.
Emergent Ultimatum is the card that sets us up for victory. The power to cast two of our big cards that are mono-colored is very powerful. Personally, I’m probably going to reach for Valki/Vorinclex first, and one of these other cards.
A very powerful card we can cast with Emergent Ultimatum is Sea Gate Restoration. It draws cards equal to the number of cards in our hand plus one and removes the hand size cap for the rest of the game for us. This just makes it that much easier for me to access cards.
Kiora Bests the Sea God gives us an 8/8 Kraken, then taps all nonland permanents an opponent controls and they don’t untap during their controller’s next untap step. We also, finally, gain control of target permanent an opponent controls and untap it. It means any permanent, so we can steal a land! But likely a huge, game-winning creature.
Finally, Shark Typhoon. Whenever we cast a noncreature spell, we get an X/X Flying Shark creature token, based on that cards casting cost. As we only have a tiny amount of creatures, we can just cast ridiculous nonsense and bombard the other player. Ideally, we can drop a Sea Gate Restoration again (or after the initial Shark Typhoon for Emergent Ultimatum), and get a 7/7.
We’re likely going to play more than one Emergent Ultimatum, which appeals to this nicely. We can cast Alrund’s Epiphany through it hopefully (or just cast it from our hand; either way). It gives us, for 7 mana, two bird creature tokens with flying (1/1), and gives us an extra turn. We can also Foretell this for less mana. We get all these huge creatures, takes another turn, and just swing lethal!
But what about Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider/Valki God of Lies (Tibalt, Cosmic Impersonator)? Vorinclex, as we’ve already said, cuts our opponent’s counters in half, and doubles any we put into play. We want Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor, because he’s amazing. Any cards that Tibalt exiles can be cast by us, and we can use mana of any color to do this. This goes for both player’s exiled cards. This comes in the form of an Emblem when he’s cast.
His +2 exiles the top two of both player’s decks, his -3 exiles an artifact or creature (targeted), and his -8 exiles all cards from all graveyards, and gives us 3 red mana to spend for the turn. There’s just so much we can do.
1 Yorion, Sky Nomad
1 Alrund’s Epiphany
4 Barkchannel Pathway
2 Behold the Multiverse
4 Binding the Old Gods
4 Clearwater Pathway
1 Cragcrown Pathway
4 Darkbore Pathway
3 Elspeth’s Nightmare
4 Emergent Ultimatum
1 Extinction Event
4 Fabled Passage
4 Heartless Act
1 Jwari Disruption
2 Ketria Triome
1 Kiora Bests the Sea God
2 Mazemind Tome
4 Omen of the Sea
3 Sea Gate Restoration
3 Shadows’ Verdict
1 Shark Typhoon
1 Soul Shatter
2 Valki, God of Lies
1 Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
4 Zagoth Triome
2 Bloodchief’s Thirst
2 Cling to Dust
2 Erebos’s Intervention
3 Shark Typhoon
1 Yorion, Sky Nomad
While yes, this deck is complex, it works delightfully. With smart use of Tibalt and Vorinclex, you can take everything from your opponent, and make it work for you. That’s what is so powerful about the deck, in my estimation. How you use Tibalt, and how you manage your control resources determines victory or defeat. We have a lot of useful tools, and at first, you won’t be able to do a whole lot. It’s all in how you use what’s on offer, and removing/using the right cards thanks to Tibalt. I love the deck, even if I don’t think it’s for me.
Mono-Red Aggro is Evergreen (Mono-Red Dwarves & Dragons Aggro)
Is anyone surprised, anyone at all? Of course, Mono-Red is still one of the best decks on the block for MTG Arena, Kaldheim or not. At least it, unlike Rogues has a new card or two in it! It almost hurts me to write about Rogues again when all they did was add Lurrus of the Dream-Den, and many of those decks had it anyway pre-Kaldheim. So I wanted to pick up Mono-Red Aggro instead because at least it has some new ways to dole out the harshness. They won’t be new if you’ve read through this blog so far though. Why?
Goldspan Dragon has become the card to add to your deck if it has Red in it. While it’s not cheap to play (5 mana), its effects more than makeup for any shortcomings you have from its cost. The addition of 2-mana generating treasures is brilliant, and we can put those to work casting literally any card of our deck. Keep them to surprise flash in Embercleave, or use them to make sure Torbran, Thane of Red Fell hits the board.
If you were looking for a deck that requires very little in the way of effort to pilot, and you just want to stomp people silly, you better pick Red. However, this build is a little different. We’re also running Magda, Brazen Outlaw to help us produce Treasures. It will make certain we get more Goldspan Dragon cards, or an Embercleave if needed. We’re still going to be hype aggressive, and push out as much damage as humanly possible.
But we’re going to also have extra mana sitting around potentially. It’s important to note Magda’s text too. She creatures Treasures when a “Dwarf is tapped”, but they don’t have to attack. That’s important if we just want to flood the board with treasures.
How Does It Work?
Oh, Mono-Red Aggro. You never really change, and that’s okay. It’s an evergreen concept: Play lands, swing with really annoying, hard-hitting creatures. This is a deck that has some Dwarves & Dragons in it, but there are other things too. We’d not want to keep important cards like Bonecrusher Giant or Phoenix of Ash out, because they’re key. Phoenix of Ash is just frustrating, as it can inflate and escape. Bonecrusher Giant is a 4/3 that may wind up dealing extra damage to opponents if they target it with spells. Most people won’t do it unless he’s a serious threat.
We’ve already talked about Goldspan Dragon once today. Whenever it attacks or is the target of a spell, you create a Treasure Token. Those can be sacrificed to tap for 2 mana of any color. So if we attack with Goldspan Dragon, and hit it with a pair of Boulder Rush spells (1 red each), which are built on Rimrock Knight, we can hit a player for 8 damage, and have create 3 treasure tokens. Honestly, we can then turn those around immediately, and throw Embercleave onto Goldspan Dragon. With that, we now have Double Strike, and 9 damage (18 damage, really if unblocked).
To do that, we need a Treasure Token already, or to wait until turn 6. On Turn 6, we can hit someone for 18 damage easily. Could we win before that by just using Robber of the Rich and Rimrock Knight? Of course! Our early game is probably going to be spamming Robber of the Rich, and hopefully Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. If he’s in play, that Goldspan combo will likely win the game, because now it’s 9+2 per swing (so 22 damage).
Magda, Brazen Outlaw is the other key to that big damage puzzle. She gives other Dwarves you control +1/+0, and whenever a Dwarf we control becomes tapped, create a treasure token. We can use early Rimrock Knights to swing and make tokens, or our Faceless Haven. It’s a land that can be tapped for 3 snow lands to make it into a 4/3 that’s all creature types for the turn. It’s also still a land, so we can just tap it for mana. If it’s safe, we can just swing with it too though!
Magda also lets you sacrifice 5 treasure tokens to search your deck for a Dragon or Artifact, and put it into play! So we can just slap that down and put Embercleave into play. Tap 3 colorless, equip it, and shoot for the moon!
There frankly isn’t a whole lot more to this deck. Our early game is probably going to consist of Robber of the Rich, dumping those as fast as possible. If we can steal some great cards from our opponent, we can use those to enhance our strategy as well. Since I haven’t talked about this 2/2 with Reach/Haste in a while, it costs 2 mana. Whenever it attacks, if our opponent has more cards than us, exile the top card of their deck. Any turn we attacked with a Rogue, we can cast that card, and spend mana of any color to do so.
I’ve had some amazing cards come my way through Robber of the Rich, and vice versa. I’ve had entire games lost because the other player dropped 2 or 3 in a row, constantly fetching the top of my deck. We’ve got Frostbite again, to deal 2 damage to a creature/planeswalker, unless we have 3 Snow Permanents. Then it becomes 3 damage. Very useful, that. The above is our biggest combo though. Goldspan Dragon into Rimrock Knight’s adventure? We can smash someone to bits with that, and there isn’t a whole lot they can do but take it (except counters and removal, I guess).
Timing that sort of thing when the opponent taps out, that just makes it a bit safer. You may not ever hit that though, and that’s fine. Instead, you can just start dropping Robbers, Giants, and Phoenixes, and follow them with Torbran to make everyone do +2 damage (as long as it’s a Red source). Then you can sneak an Embercleave onto someone. As it has Flash and costs 1 less for each attacker you control, you can do a lot with that. It also gives +1/+1 and Double Strike. Embercleave is the go-to equipment until it cycles out this year.
Flashing it in for 2 red is very satisfying. This is a deck where we play creatures and tend to bully people hard. We want them to be forced into situations where they lose creatures or take lots of damage.
4 Frost Bite
4 Goldspan Dragon
4 Rimrock Knight
4 Bonecrusher Giant
4 Phoenix of Ash
4 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
4 Faceless Haven
4 Robber of the Rich
2 Shatterskull Smashing
4 Magda, Brazen Outlaw
18 Snow-Covered Mountain
Oh, Mono-Red. I hate you so much, but you’re so good. I cannot deny the power of Mono-Red. Much like Mono-Red Muxxus is about to overtake Historic (again), Mono-Red is in a terrific place, thanks to just a few cards. It would have been fine otherwise, but this just seals the deal. Those Treasure Tokens allow us to drop a bunch of cards when normally we wouldn’t be able to. We can spend our mana, and then use those to bring in Embercleave when the opponent is unawares, usually in combat. Swing big, make them sad. That’s the name of the game.
Rakdos Midrange Has Changed, But Still Viable (Red/Black Midrange/Combo)
Remember back when Rakdos Sac was all about sacrificing constantly to deal free damage? Well, those days are gone, unfortunately. Does that mean the deck is done for? Of course not! It adapted and grew stronger than ever. We have a new goal, and have lots of tactical decisions to make in the deck. We can again, steal cards with Valki, God of Lies // Tibalt, Cosmic Imposter, and Liliana, Waker of the Dead. We’re going to make sure our grave constantly has cards to use, so we can fuel our big numbers/strategies.
Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger is never a bad thing for us, either. We want to cast it as often as possible to keep forcing discard/damage dealing to the other player. Liliana, Waker of the Dead’s ultimate lets us put a creature from the graveyard into play every turn. So if we just keep bringing Kroxa back, the opponent never has to stop discarding. We also use the valuable new Rakdos creature, Immersturm Predator. We only have one of him in the deck, but he’s a great bomb for damage. Anytime this 3/3 Flyer is tapped, you can exile a card from a graveyard, and give him a +1/+1 counter.
We can also sacrifice creatures to give him indestructible until the end of turn and tap him. So we get Liliana out, get her ultimate, and instead of the constant Kroxa, we can keep bringing something like Woe Strider back, sacrifice his goat/him to give 2 +1/+1 counters to Immersturm Predator. Eventually, he’ll be big enough to just swipe someone down in a couple of hits.
Since Valki is in the deck, we can have both him and the reverse side (Tibalt) in play, and thus, make the opponents very upset on a near cosmic level. In two turns of Tibalt, we can exile an opponent’s graveyard, and start casting from it. If we pair this with Liliana/Kroxa, we can discard all their good cards down, put them into exile, and use them for ourselves. Our win condition? Frustration, or outright damage. Whichever comes first, I’m not all that picky.
How Does It Work?
What an interesting deck, Rakdos Midrange is. We’re still basically built around our graveyard, but now we aren’t required to make people sacrifice or sacrifice ourselves every turn (but it helps). The big card in the deck is still Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger. It comes into play for 2 (1 red, 1 black), and if you didn’t pay its escape cost from the grave (2 black, 2 red, exile 5 from the grave), you sacrifice it. But not before making each opponent discard a card. If they didn’t discard a nonland, they lose 3 life. This also triggers when he attacks.
So playing him turn 2 is incredible. Sure, he’s in the grave, but that’s fine! We can Escape him back into play on turn 4 if everything goes our way. We just need some cards in the graveyard. Tymaret Calls the Dead can help you out there, by putting three cards of your library into the grave for its first two turns of being in play. You can also exile a creature this way (from the grave) to create a 2/2 black Zombie token. Part 3 of this Saga gives you X life and scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control. Decks with more than one strategy are among my favorites, to be honest. We can turn 4 Kroxa, and if he stays in, we’ll win just with raw damage. A 6/6 that makes someone discard a nonland or lose 3 (making it a potential 9 life in one turn)? You love to see it. While that’s fun, I prefer to use Liliana.
Her Ultimate (-7) gives you an Emblem that allows you to put a creature from a graveyard into play at the beginning of combat. It also has haste. If you pick Kroxa, it goes away again, but still triggers its ability. Or you can use it to steal your opponent’s creatures, that works too. Whatever is the most essential play. For example, your opponent may have had to discard gods or legendary creatures that would make life much better for you.
Liliana, Waker of the Dead enters play with 4 Loyalty at 4 mana (2 black). Her +1 has each player discard a card and any opponent who can’t lose 3 life. We easily nickel and dime people down with this deck. Her -3 gives a creature -X/-X until the end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your grave. I avoid using this unless it’s an emergency because I want that -7 proc bad. I’m also willing to drop her as soon as she hits 7 because we can always bring her back with Tibalt, Cosmic Impostor.
We’ve talked about both sides of that card in this blog so far. The long and short of their use is pretty clear. Tibalt can exile cards from each player’s library, a target artifact or creature, and simply exile all cards from all graveyards. When he comes into play, you get an emblem that lets you cast any card exiled by him, and you can use any mana to do so.
If not, you can just keep discarding them down (or making them take a 3 life loss) each turn. Rankle, Master of Pranks synergizes well here too and is a bargain at 4 mana (2 black). A 3/3 flyer/haste, whenever he deals combat damage, he can make each player do one or more of the following:
- Discard a card
- Lose 1 life and draw a card
- Sacrifice a creature
Anything they have to do, you do too though. Keep that in mind. We do have creatures that are worth sacrificing, like Mire Triton and Woe Strider. Mire Triton is a solid blocker (2/1, Deathtouch), but when it enters play, you mill 2 cards and gain 2 life. Just another way to help you get cards in the grave for Kroxa.
Sadly, we only run one copy of Immersturm Predator. It is, as we said above, an amazing card. If we’re looking to play it and sacrifice creatures, we don’t necessarily have to use ours. The Akroan War helps there. It’s a 4-cost Red Saga. Part 1 steals a creature, and we control it as long as The Akroan War is in play. Until our next turn, for part 2, creatures our opponents control attack each turn if able. Part 3, each tapped creature deals damage to itself equal to its power. So we can use this to wipe our opponent’s field.
If we have Tibalt in play, this is an excellent time to use his -8 – Exile all cards in all graveyards. So with part 1 of this, we can sacrifice the stolen creature to Immersturm Predator. We can also use this with Village Rites! That’s a 1-cost spell (instant) that has an additional cost of “Sacrifice a creature”, to draw 2 cards. We have other cards to steal enemy creatures though: Claim the Firstborn is a very popular red card. It gains control of a 3-or-less cost creature for a turn and gives it haste (and untapped). We can swing with it, then sacrifice it to one of our other engines.
These are the ways we win. We either make the player constantly lose life/discard through Liliana/Kroxas, or we can set up a victory with the opponent’s creatures/spells, or win with a gigantic Immersturm Predator. It’s so ridiculous.
4 Blightstep Pathway
2 Bloodchief’s Thirst
3 Bonecrusher Giant
3 Castle Locthwain
4 Claim the Firstborn
4 Fabled Passage
1 Immersturm Predator
3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
1 Liliana, Waker of the Dead
3 Mire Triton
1 Ox of Agonas
2 Rankle, Master of Pranks
4 Savai Triome
2 Shredded Sails
2 Temple of Malice
3 The Akroan War
2 Tymaret Calls the Dead
2 Valki, God of Lies
3 Village Rites
4 Woe Strider
1 Cling to Dust
2 Elspeth’s Nightmare
2 Heartless Act
1 Ox of Agonas
2 Roiling Vortex
3 Skyclave Shade
1 The Akroan War
This is a pretty safe, efficient deck too. I’d say it’s probably Tier 2 right now, but an argument could be made for Tier 1. We’ve got lots of control options (Bloodchief’s Thirst, Shredded Sails, Bonecrusher Giant), powerful creatures, two incredible planeswalkers that synergize well together, and more. A solid land base, lots of combos. Kroxa is going to stick around for the near future, friends. That’s a fact. There are likely other ways to build this deck, too. There’s an alternate I saw that runs 4x Immersturm Predator/Egon, God of Death, to set up kills with the Predator or through Kazuul’s Fury. I’ll include this one below. They aren’t totally different, just built more around the Predator’s growth, and a Jegantha, the Wellspring for more mana to cast spells.
1 Jegantha, the Wellspring
3 Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger
3 Valki, God of Lies
4 Fabled Passage
4 Temple of Malice
4 Blightstep Pathway
4 Claim the Firstborn
4 Tymaret Calls the Dead
4 Woe Strider
4 Village Rites
4 Egon, God of Death
3 The Akroan War
4 Immersturm Predator
1 Kazuul’s Fury
1 Jegantha, the Wellspring
Mono-Green Stompy Has Several Flavors, All Excellent (Mono-Green Aggro/Mid-Range)
Mono-Colored decks are still very much a thing. Like Mono-Red before it, Mono-Green’s an ever-green concept that’s very easy to grasp: Big Creatures, dropped fast, hitting hard. In this case, we also have small creatures, that grow virtually every turn. This deck puts Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider in the Sideboard, but I’m not convinced. I think he belongs in the mainboard. I’d consider even replacing Old-Growth Troll with him.
There are still so many mono-Green cards (or colorless artifacts) that merge together well and bombard someone with a quickness. I mean, Questing Beast is still one of the best creatures in the game and will be until August/September 2021. A 4/4 for 4 (2 green) that has Vigilance, Deathtouch, Haste, can’t be blocked by 2 or less power creatures, prevents combat damage, and when it deals combat damage to a player, that damage is visited upon a target planeswalker that player controls?!
I have a rule: If you can’t fit lore/flavor text on a card, it is too powerful. But, as long as it’s in the game, and isn’t banned, we may as well put it to use. This deck brings a lot of fun Mono-Green concepts together into one place. For example, we’ve got Nessian Hornbeetle, which grows every turn if you have a creature that is 4 or higher power. Since almost every creature in this deck meets that requirement (or can through Gemrazer), our damage output is going to get very outrageous.
Stonecoil Serpent, Nessian Hornbeetle, Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig and more are all reasons that this deck needs Vorinclex in the mid-game. We have so many cards that get +1/+1 counters, so why not double those? That’s the way I look at it, anyway. So by the time I get to the decklist, don’t be surprised if those Old-Growth Trolls numbers have shrank.
How Does It Work?
Mono-Green Stompy is just satisfying to play. The only downside to this version is we really aren’t running any Mana Ramp, other than The Great Henge. That’s not really ramping as we’ll virtually never cast it early. We need a big creature to drop it for cheap. Most of our creatures are pretty cheap and strong though. Gemrazer makes a return though! For 3 mana, we can mutate a creature, and give it Reach/Trample, and make its base stats into 4/4. If it has +X/+X counters on it, those stick around (so Stonecoil Serpent, Yorvo, etc).
However, Stonecoil Serpent can be cast at any point of the game, and already has Reach and Trample. On top of that, it has Protection from Multicolored cards. A 0/0 for X, it gains X +1/+1 counters, depending on how much mana you have. You can drop it for 1, and then Mutate it into a 4/4 (now 5/5), while also destroying an enchantment/artifact an opponent controls, thanks to the final power of Gemrazer.
Our early game is strong because of cards like Stonecoil Serpent and Swarm Shambler. That’s a 0/0 for 1, that comes into play with a +1/+1 counter. We can tap it and 1 colorless to give it another +1/+1 counter. With Vorinclex in play later, that becomes 2 +1/+1 counters. We also make 1/1 green Insects whenever our creatures with +1/+1 counters on them get targeted by enemy spells. So in theory, we can flood the board if the opponent gets too aggressive. Those insects also make great Gemrazer targets!
Speaking of the early game, if your opponent relies heavily on the graveyard to win the game, Scavenging Ooze is there to put a stop to it. A 2-cost Ooze, you can tap one green mana to exile a card from a graveyard. If it’s a creature, it gains a +1/+1 counter, and we gain 1 life. Beautiful. No more Kroxa, not if we can have a say so in it (and we do).
Our early game also likely hinges on us dropping the spell version of Lovestruck Beast, so we can have a 1/1 on the board. That’s important to make sure we can attack with the Beast itself. It’s a 5/5 for 3, but cannot attack unless we have a 1/1 in play. We can also Gemrazer this, but keep the Beast on top. That way it remains a 5/5, but still gains Reach/Trample.
Then there’s the Nessian Hornbeetle, which grows by +1/+1 every turn, if we have a 4 or greater power creature. Turn 3, we can make that start happening. I’ve had more than one game where I had no spot removal, so the enemy Nessian wound up swinging for 12, 13, 14, each turn. God help them if it gets Trample.
As turn three rolls around, we have a pair of excellent offerings. Lovestruck Beast is great, but Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig is better, in my opinion (and far more worthy of the Reach/Trample buffs). He’s a 0/0 for 3 green, that comes into play with 4 +1/+1 counters. Whenever another green creature enters play for us, he gains a +1/+1 counter. If that creature’s power is greater than Yorvo’s, he gains another. He just keeps growing, so giving him a Gemrazer mutate is one of our best moves.
Turn 4 means Questing Beast hopefully. He’s so strong, and so useful. I know I talk about Trample a lot in this, but it’s important. One of green’s biggest weaknesses right now is that while the creatures are big, the trample is lacking. That way, we give our big creatures access to it, and extra damage will go through on block. We need that to deal as much damage as possible.
Garruk, Unleashed is great in this deck too for that reason. HIs +1 Loyalty gives +3/+3 and Trample for a turn. His -2 makes a 3/3 green Beast creature token, and if your opponent controls more creatures than you, put a loyalty counter on Garruk (making it only a -1). I wouldn’t use that, because his -7 (baseline loyalty: 4) is: “
“You get an emblem with ‘At the beginning of your end step, you may search your library for a creature card, put it on the battlefield, then shuffle your library”.
We’ll never lack useful creatures with that. Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate is in a similar boat. She lets us look at the top card of our deck and cast creature spells from that position. Her +1 makes a 3/3 beast creature token, and you can give it vigilance, reach, or trample. Her -2 (baseline loyalty: 3) has you search your library for a creature card with a lesser CMC cost, and put it into play when you cast your next creature spell. So we summon Questing Beast, and then drag another Nessian Hornbeetle out! Huzzah!
I know I haven’t talked about Vorinclex much, but I’ve done that enough in this blog I think. Sure, he’s a 6-cost, but if we do manage an early The Great Henge, he’ll be dropped a tiny bit faster, and also come into play as an 8/8. The Great Henge is an artifact that costs 9 mana (2 green). But the colorless cost goes down based on the highest power creature we have. So if our Nessian Beetle is, say, a 7/7, we can drop The Great Henge for 2 mana. It can be tapped to give us 2 green mana and gain 2 life. Also, when a nontoken creature we control comes into play, it gains a +1/+1 counter and we draw a card (2 +1/+1s with Vorinclex).
That’s why those two are key to the deck. It makes our creatures suddenly bigger threats, no matter what the situation is. We swing as hard and fast as possible. Give your key creatures Trample/Reach with Gemrazer, and swing for the bleachers. Finally, our Sorceries. We have Blizzard Brawl, which is new. It costs 1 mana, and we target a creature we do and don’t control. If we have 3 Snow Permanents, ours gets +1/+0 and becomes Indestructible for the turn. Then the two fight! An excellent way to destroy something with Questing Beast (which has deathtouch).
We have another fight card with Primal Might. Another 1-cost Sorcery, it also has an X cost. That X is key. However much mana we tap, give that creature +X/+X for the turn, then it fights a target creature we don’t control. This is amazing on something with trample. We eliminate a threat and then swing big numbers.
3 Blizzard Brawl
4 Castle Garenbrig
1 Garruk, Unleashed
4 Lovestruck Beast
2 Nessian Hornbeetle
2 Vorinclex, Monstrous Raider
2 Primal Might
4 Questing Beast
3 Scavenging Ooze
19 Snow-Covered Forest
4 Stonecoil Serpent
3 Swarm Shambler
2 The Great Henge
1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
2 Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig
1 Blizzard Brawl
3 Chainweb Aracnir
2 Kogla, the Titan Ape
2 Ram Through
1 Scavenging Ooze
2 Snakeskin Veil
1 The Great Henge
1 Vivien, Monsters’ Advocate
2 Old-Growth Troll
Mono-Green’s so good, friends. It’s probably Tier 2 instead of Tier 1, but that’s totally fine. It has so much damage that it’s hard to deal with. The longer the game goes on, the worse it gets for your opponent, too. Almost every creature in this deck is a major threat, so that’s where it gets hard to handle. If your opponent doesn’t have a board wipe and doesn’t know what to stop, we can just keep abusing them with heavy strikes. Instead of Primal Might, you might want to consider Ram Through. It’s a 2-cost Instant that has a creature you control deal damage to a creature you don’t. Any extra damage goes through if your creature has Trample.
Just some food for thought for an additional win-con for your bigger creatures.
Dimir Rogues Do It Better (Black/Blue Rogues/Mill)
The hard part about Dimir Rogues is that it’s virtually unchanged since the original deck concept. We don’t truly have any new cards in the deck. The major change since last time is the inclusion of the Companion – Lurrus of the Dream-Den! It becomes an immediate, must-answer threat. If you don’t, we’re going to keep recurring threats from the grave. Since he lets us cast permanents from our grave once per turn, nothing truly goes away. You can afford to play aggressively with one or two Rogues a turn. If they die, we re-cast them and continue milling the other player down.
It’s part mill, part aggro. If you’d like a more in-depth look at Rogues, click here, where we talked about it back in December. I’ll be keeping this chat brief since it really hasn’t changed all that much. We got rid of some clunkier cards, in favor of cheaper ones. We had to drop Brazen Borrower for example, because it’s a 3-drop (Our companion condition requires permanents that are 2-or-lower). We want to get those Ruin Crabs and Thieves’ Guild Enforcers in play as fast as possible. If we get a few Crabs out, we can win simply win via land drops. We have 23 lands in the deck, and an extra two with Agadeem, the Undercrypt.
We’re running counters to wisely use, a few card draw cards, but mostly it’s built around laughing and milling the other player down while nickel-and-diming them. We hit quickly and often, but keep dropping Rogues and milling the other player down. The main reason this deck works at all, if you ask me, is Ruin Crab. A turn-1 Ruin Crab (hopefully followed by a turn 2 one also) is the worst thing a player can see. If they can’t remove it, they’re going to be milling cards every single turn. More if we can drop Fabled Passage. Making someone mill 3 cards anytime we play a land is a tough thing to experience.
Then we use the Rogues to help that go down (by casting Rogues and making them mill) and also forcing the other player to take damage. Then, with Lurrus, it becomes a dangerous game. The other player has to blocking the incoming damage, and mill more, or simply have their health total lowered. If the Rogue in question dies, we can just re-cast it with Lurrus.
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
2 Agadeem’s Awakening
3 Bloodchief’s Thirst
4 Clearwater Pathway
1 Didn’t Say Please
4 Drown in the Loch
4 Fabled Passage
3 Heartless Act
4 Into the Story
1 Lullmage’s Domination
3 Merfolk Windrobber
2 Mystical Dispute
1 Of One Mind
4 Ruin Crab
4 Soaring Thought-Thief
4 Temple of Deceit
4 Thieves’ Guild Enforcer
2 Zagoth Triome
4 Crippling Fear
3 Lullmage’s Domination
1 Lurrus of the Dream-Den
1 Mystical Dispute
3 Skyclave Shade
One of the strongest decks in the whole meta – that’s Dimir Rogues. It’s low cost, low-effort, and a whole lot of fun. You just get caught up in milling and making sure your opponent has no threats. If they can’t draw a good card, they can’t respond to what you’re doing. It just gets worse the longer the game goes on, too. It’s brilliant fun, and until it seems some kind of nerf (or cards rotate out), it’s not going to leave the meta.
Steal All The Permanents! (Mono-Black Control)
Tergrid, God of Fright is far and away one of my favorite cards in all of Kaldheim. The idea of taking my opponents cards and using them (putting them in play) is just brilliant. Tergrid in particular lets you take a card from any graveyard onto the battlefield under your control, whenever an opponent sacrifices a nontoken permanent or discards a permanent card. That immediately made me think of so many cards in Mono-Black that would suit this.
In particular, I looked to Peer into the Abyss, which I have used in at least one combo in this blog series. Normally, I want to cast it on myself to trigger other things to defeat my opponent. But what if. . . we make them draw half their deck? That lets them potentially do a lot of things. But they won’t successfully use all those cards, and most of them will get discarded. We combine this, Tergrid, and their artifact form, Tergrid’s Lantern to maximize our ability to punish opponents and take their cards. On top of that, we just use a ton of control cards to slow the game down as much as possible. We make them discard early, so we can borrow those cards later to use for our own victory.
We don’t really use a lot of damaging creatures in this deck. Our way to win is going to come slowly, but it’s going to happen. We can win with our Murderous Riders and Rankle, Master of Pranks. Or we can use whatever creatures the opponents have. The idea is that we have a late-game bomb with Peer into the Abyss to steal potentially 20+ permanents from our opponent and put them into plays. That is the way to win. What is yours, is also mine. You just don’t know it yet.
I don’t know that this is going to be one of the best MTG Arena Kaldheim decks going, but I know Mono-Black control is solid. This is my favorite way to play it.
How Does It Work?
This is a strange sort of deck. We want to punish players for drawing cards, and then put as many of them in the grave as possible. On turn 5, if we can drop Tergrid, God of Fright, we’re in great shape. Before that, we want to have at least one Underworld Dreams if possible. If I can have two, that’s even better. Underworld Dreams makes opponents take 1 damage every time they draw a card. It’s not a necessity if we have Tergrid, but it helps. We can drop one or two Underworld Dreams, and then turn-7, we cast Peer into the Abyss.
In case you don’t remember it, Peer into the Abyss makes a player draw cards equal to half the number of cards in their library and then lose half their life. You round up each time. With Underworld Dreams, that’s game over! Unless that player has a ton of life, they’re going to be deleted by their own card draw. That’s just one way we can win.
But personally, I like to Peer and Tergrid at the same time. At the end of that player’s turn, when they discard 20+ cards, for each one, we can take a permanent from a graveyard and put it into play. That can mean we can play our own cards, but more likely, we’re going to be taking whatever big creatures the other player has, to make our win come to life. It helps that the other player is also at half their current life, making it that much easier to win. We can actually perform Peer a little faster if we get a Nyx Lotus and have a few black permanents in play. We pick a color when we cast the 4-cost artifact. Then, when we tap it (next turn, it comes in tapped), it gives us mana of that color equal to our current devotion to it.
So with an Underworld Dreams, that’s 3 mana, and if we have a Rankle, that’s another 2 (making 5). We can, in theory, drop a turn 5 Peer into the Abyss that way! But how do we last that long in game? That’s the hard part, right? We’re packing all the tools we need to survive, thankfully. As a mono-colored deck, we aren’t stressed about not having the right color, just enough. Not missing land drops is vital. But you know, that’s just Magic.
Luckily, all the fun stuff is in this deck. Heartless Act to remove counters from creatures, or remove a creature that has none. We have Malakir Rebirth to bring back a creature that’s going to die (preferably ours), at the cost of 2 life. Murderous Rider still deletes a creature or planeswalker, though it also costs us life in addition to the casting cost. Hagra Mauling costs 1 colorless less if our opponent has no basic lands. Otherwise, it’s a 4-drop that destroys a creature.
Blood on the Snow, which is new, destroys all creatures or all planeswalkers. Then we can return a creature or planeswalker from our graveyard, and put it into play, that costs X or less (the amount of Snow Mana spent on it). Extinction Event is, of course, to make everyone exile all creatures with an Even or Odd casting cost (our choice). Duress is also in the deck so we can peek at our opponent’s hand and make them discard a noncreature, nonland. This even helps after Tergrid is in play. Sure we can’t play what they discarded, but we can pick something else.
Liliana, Waker of the Dead also helps since she can make players discard, or make a creature lose -X/-X until the end of turn. Her ultimate, ability to bring a creature back every turn is going to synergize well with the overall strategy. So we want to get Tergrid, God of Fright in play on turn 5, we don’t want to sleep on the turn-4 Legendary Artifact he can also become. If we draw a second of him, we can play this. Tergrid’s Lantern can be tapped to make a player lose 3 life, unless they sacrifice a nonland permanent, or discard a card. Perfect synergy.
We can also pay 4 mana to untap this to do it again! If we have the Nyx Lotus, and it’s high enough in Black Devotion, we could in theory do this two or three times a turn (or if we have the mana sitting around, just keep doing it). It forces the player to determine what’s most valuable to them. If we have Tergrid in play, we just steal these things for ourselves.
That’s the whole deck! We use our control cards to remove the greatest threats, punish the player for drawing, and then use Peer into the Abyss to make that player discard a ton of cards. If Tergrid’s in play, we steal them. If Underworld is in play, we probably just won! It’s a very simple deck. The hardest part is being lucky enough to get the cards we need, and smart use of control. We don’t have to kill every creature that comes into play. With time, you’ll figure out your opponent’s important cards.
1 Rankle, Master of Pranks
2 Hagra Mauling
4 Castle Locthwain
2 Liliana, Waker of the Dead
2 Murderous Rider
3 Heartless Act
1 Shadows’ Verdict
2 Extinction Event
2 Elspeth’s Nightmare
2 Malakir Rebirth
3 Bloodchief’s Thirst
1 Skull Raid
3 Underworld Dreams
3 Nyx Lotus
4 Peer into the Abyss
18 Snow-Covered Swamp
3 Tergrid, God of Fright
2 Blood on the Snowq
What a silly deck! It’s admittedly a little janky but I have faith in it, provided you don’t constantly run into tons of high-speed, high-damage aggro decks. This is a deck I have faith in to go somewhere, but if it floats around the Tier ⅔ range, I wouldn’t be shocked. I mostly wanted to include it, because it’s really fun and super disrespectful. Tergrid makes this whole thing work. Sure, you can Underworld/Peer combo to win games, but it’s far better to take the other players’ cards and use them yourself. It’s one of my favorite ways to win games, and that’s a fact.