Kaldheim Is a Mess

Just feels like it.

Looking at the timeline of corona and releases, it’s possible that Kaldheim was mostly tested remotely, which might have slowed down the process, which in general has tight deadlines. This probably lead to some of the awkwarness of the set.

Vikings = Berserkers?

This is what they told us, but no. Definitely not. No way. This feels like a complete misunderstanding of vikings. Sure, the norse sources do mention berserkers, but it doesn’t mean all Vikings were that. Vikings were so much more. They were explorers, merchants and invaders. Not simple raiders ruled by bloodlust. In this case demonic, but in reality probably drugs of some sort.

The thing is, Kaldheim is a norse set, which in the minds of most of the audience reads as Vikings, but they don’t really capture that at all. They capture the norse mythology pretty well, but the people who formed those myths have been pretty much forgotten. Vikings might not have been what we think of as “civilized”, but in many ways they were much more sophisticated than most of Europe. This was the reason they were so successful in their endeavors. For example, there’s a quote from around some Viking invasion of England (I forget the details), which says in essence that the English men have a hard time competing for women with the Vikings around, because the grooming habits of the invaders were just so superior. Does that sound like a violent druggie?


At least they made many of the giants wizards, but they seem to have lost the nature of giants from the norse myths. They weren’t just big. They were rivals to the gods. Also, is Cinderheart Giant supposed to be their version of Surtr? If so, why isn’t it a demon and why isn’t it a mythic?

Norse Words

Do you know what’s a jarl? WotC apparently doesn’t. Last year they introduced the noble type, but apparently jarl doesn’t qualify, even if jarl is exactly that: it’s a scandinavian title, which was the basis for the word earl. So, basically exactly a noble. But it’s a cleric. There’s also a skald, who is a warrior. Why? The two cards with ‘bard’ in their name are rogues. Why wouldn’t skald be as well, because that’s pretty much the same thing. There can’t be white rogues? That’s not exactly true, as there are three (in blackboard).

Tribal or Not

There seems to be some tension on whether the set is a tribal set or not. There’s plenty of tribes here, but… they just don’t really work. In some cases this is actually done pretty well. Like these:

Littjara KinseekersRaise the Draugr

Well, that might be it. These two work with any of the tribes, but it seems that the set would have needed more cards like this. There are some uncommon tribe synergy cards as well, but not for all the tribes. There’s supposed to be a tribe for each two-color pair: we have zombies (UB), giants (UR), shapeshifters (UG) which also enables other tribal synergies, demons (BR), elves (BG), angels (BW), trolls (GR), dwarves (RW) and humans (GW), but what’s UW? Spirit? Bird? Neither is very well represented at common (with no spirits in these colors), nor is there any kind of synergy besides flying, but since we also have a pegasus at common as well as bunch of angels, that doesn’t really work.

Also, there’s more occupational types as well, which often overlap with the racial types. We have rogues, clerics, wizards, berserkers and warriors, but while they seem to fall into two colors the same way as the racial types, this doesn’t really hold up on further inspection. There’s rogues in four colors. It just seems like a mess.

Also, while it seems that the tribes have some importance, the synergies are often hard to find, because most of them have been hidden in rare. This does help with variance in decks somewhat, but we’ll get back to that soon enough.

Lack of Variance in Decks

… and here we are.

There’s basically just two decks: Red or white based aggro and snow. There are other decks, but as the snow decks often steal the key cards for those decks, they just don’t usually work out and you can’t really force them, because they are so dependent on you getting the exact cards you need.

How does snow work exactly?

Frost BiteBlizzard BrawlPriest of the Haunted EdgeSpirit of the Aldergard

Couldn’t they have just standardized these in some way? It just feels like they didn’t really test these out.

There’s also these:

Berg StriderBoreal Outrider

Why do they function differently? And while these next four function similarly to each other, they work very differently to any of the other ones:

Graven LoreTundra FumaroleBlood on the SnowBlessing of Frost

And there’s Moritte of the Frost, which just seems to be snow just because. Each other card with the supertype snow has something to do with snow in some way, but Moritte doesn’t (except that you can make it a mana source, but that’s it). On the other hand, there’s The Three Seasons, which references snow, but isn’t a snow card. I guess you could say that it’s only a third of a snow card, which isn’t enough… (there’s also the problem that you could possibly form an endless cycle with just two of these, which they clearly want to avoid based on a number of Regrowth variants).


I guess no one really thought through either Tibalt’s Trickery or Valki, God of Lies. These are a mess and will be a problem going forward.

All the problems caused by the first one could have been easily avoided by just adding that the spells countered needs to be controlled by an opponent. How is it possible that no-one in development thought of this? I’m not one for calling for firings, but come on. Somethings just not working here.

The second one on the other hand has just shown us that they can’t keep on making spells like this without major changes to the rules regarding double-faced spells. First there was the cascade problem, but turns out that there’s also a problem with Release to the Wind. Because that spell exists, they need to be very careful with all the DFMCs going forward. They can’t just print anything with a big powerlevel difference between the two sides.

How many more similar problems will there be? Is this some sort of a joke? They let Tibalt run wild in their game for flavor reasons?

Also, Valki is supposed to be Loki, right? But Loki isn’t a god. Loki is a giant. I guess we can let that go…

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