It’s been a while since we’ve had a new Magic expansion to talk about, but Kaldheim has been well worth the wait! Magic’s newest expansion looks to be one of the most exciting releases in quite some time that captures the essence of the nostalgic, old-time brand of flavor that I’ve always loved and appreciated about the game. It’s a set that I’ve been excited to watch spoiled and look forward to playing with in the coming weeks.
From the perspective of a long-time player and fan, I’m extremely enthused and optimistic about the direction of the two latest Magic sets (Commander Legends and now Kaldheim) and what they signify to me about the future of the game going forward. These sets feel like they were designed for paper play more so than other sets from the past year that feel like they translate better to the Arena style of play where entire formats are defined by a handful of absurdly broken cards:
“Defining game pieces of the Magic Arena era”
Oko, Companions, and Uro, for instance, are all fairly recent designs that exemplify the dynamic I’m describing where entire metagames and formats were upended by the power vacuum of absurdly broken designs.
One of the things I love about playing Cube, Battle Box and specifically my Danger Room stack is that it provides some relief from these dominant designs and opens up space where other cards and more traditional play patterns can be enjoyed.
I’ve played for a long time and I enjoy nostalgic old cards, as well as interesting new ones, and a Battle Box is a format where the best of both worlds are able to intersect and be enjoyed.
At this point in my life, as a Magic enthusiast, the most important characteristics I look for in a set are the feel and flavor. I no longer play the game with any competitive goals or agendas in mind, so whenever and wherever I sit down to sling cards, the number one thing I’m concerned with is enjoying the games.
When I do a Battle Box review the primary thing I’m looking for are cards that have excellent feel and flavor that improve the balance and fluidity of play in my stack. I’m also looking for cards that are unique and/or have exciting flavor.
What makes Kaldheim so special? Aside from that fact there are clearly a lot of sweet cards for Battle Box, I’m a sucker for the neo-Ice Age vibe the set is touting. Unfortunately, most of the actual cards from the actual Ice Age block are weak to line up against modern designs, but Kaldheim brings that Ice Age vibe as well as a more consistent power level and design.
I love the harshness of the environment and seeing the people and monsters that dwell in hostile fantasy climates such as Dominaria’s Ice Age or now Kaldheim.
The first thing we need to talk about in terms of Danger Room is the critical role that the snow mechanic plays in Kaldheim and how that’ll be incorporated into my stack. I’ve always gone out of my way to keep the rules of Danger Room simple and straightforward and not to make special rules to make specific cards work.
A lot of people have suggested: Why not just add Path to Exile and say players can’t search?
My thinking has always been: why should I make special exceptions to make specific cards work when there are so many options that don’t require special considerations? Also, there are plenty of opportunities to cast a Path to Exile in other formats, so why do I need to shoehorn it into my format?
Snow mana has fallen into similar territory in the past. The biggest downside of using snow lands in a Battle Box is cosmetic. The cost is you have less sweet options in regards to which vintage basics you can play.
In the past, this was an easy “no sir” for me because I didn’t think any of the “snow matters” cards I was excluding were so interesting that I wouldn’t rather play with a Beta Swamp instead. Kaldehim shakes that up quite a bit because there are a lot of snow-matters cards that are not only good, but also flavorful and unique. So, it felt like a good time to be less rigid and experiment with some new concepts in my stack.
“What’s cooler than being cool? Ice Cold!”
It’s also of note that there’s a brand new set of common ETB tapped snow duals (as well as basics) which makes it an ideal time for Battle Boxers to pick these ups for their collections. The uncommon ETB Coldsnap snow duals have actually gotten quite expensive and these will provide the exact same functionality at a fraction of the cost.
Perhaps the most interesting innovation to Battle Boxing in the past 365 has been the release of the Thriving land cycle.
Personally, I think the Thriving lands create a more interesting and superior play pattern than ETB tapped duals like a traditional Salt Marsh because they allow you to be more flexible with your mana development. It’s never a bad thing to give players more choices and flexibility in terms of how to sequence their plays. It’s kind of cool that now there are lots of potential ways to construct mana bases for a Battle Box to choose from.
I don’t think there’s an objective right or wrong choice here, but rather it comes down to what kind of game you’re looking to foster with your stack and what types of dynamics you’d like to emphasize.
I’m finally ready to fudge the rules a little bit in order to create space in my stack for something that I think is worth making an exception for: FLAVOR!
I really don’t have an issue with just using Thriving lands and Beta Basics, APAC or 7th Edition basics (whatever you enjoy) and creating a blanket rule that says “all lands have snow typing.”
Essentially, I’d like to have the snow mechanic function like:
More or less, Snow has two primary functions. 1. It’s something that is checked to see if you have it for the purposes of enabling an ability. 2 It’s something you count to see how many you have in order to establish how much of an effect you get.
Again, you could just use snow basics and duals and none of this even matters, but I personally like the Thriving lands and want to continue using them. In fact, once the pandemic ends, I’ll likely have a few sets of Thriving duals altered to be snow Thriving lands for my box (assuming I end up liking how snow plays in the stack).
With that said, today’s update will include “snow matters” cards with the understanding that I’m not giving up my Thriving lands nor my favorite basic land artwork cards. So, by far the biggest innovation Kaldheim will bring to my Danger Room stack is that for the first time, snow will be a supported subtheme and I’m straight-up willing to bend my own rules in order to make it happen.
I’ve never been willing to bend overarching rules of my sample of the format to make cards work, but I’m okay with bending the rules to enhance flavor.
The sheer magnitude of cards in the stack has typically led to some mistakes in the list. I’m going to try my best to get everything as exactly correct as possible this time around. If you notice 3 cards being added, and only two cards coming out, it’s because the list from the previous article was one card short, etc.
ARTIFACTS & COLORLESS (60 CARDS)
Kaldheim didn’t have a ton of artifacts to choose from and the ones that felt close all fell a little short of breaking into my 60 artifacts for one reason or another. Simply put, nothing felt better or more interesting than what I already had!
1 Aether Spellbomb 1 Awakened Amalgam 1 Basilisk Collar 1 Bloodforged Battle-Axe 1 Bonesplitter 1 Chamber Sentry 1 Cliffhaven Kitesail 1 Clockwork Servant 1 Conqueror's Flail 1 Contagion Clasp 1 Crystal Shard 1 Crystalline Giant 1 Duplicant 1 Endless One 1 Engineered Explosives 1 Epochrasite 1 Etched Oracle 1 Filigree Familiar 1 Flayer Husk 1 Fleetwheel Cruiser 1 Fountain of Renewal 1 Gingerbrute 1 Hangarback Walker 1 It of the Horrid Swarm 1 Kitesail 1 Leonin Bola 1 Lightning Greaves 1 Loxodon Warhammer 1 Maelstrom Colossus 1 Mask of Memory 1 Meteor Golem 1 Myriad Construct 1 Nevinyrral's Disk 1 Nihil Spellbomb 1 Sai of the Shinobi 1 Peace Strider 1 Pentavus 1 Perilous Myr 1 Perilous Vault 1 Pierce Strider 1 Power Matrix 1 Pyrite Spellbomb 1 Runechanter's Pike 1 Scrapheap Scrounger 1 Serrated Arrows 1 Shadowspear 1 Signal Pest 1 Skyscanner 1 Smuggler's Copter 1 Soul-Guide Lantern 1 Spellskite 1 Stitcher's Graft 1 Stonecoil Serpent 1 Sylvok Lifestaff 1 Treasure Keeper 1 Trip Noose 1 Triskelavus 1 Triskelion 1 Voyager Staff 1 Walking Ballista
Multicolor (280 Cards)
I wasn’t super impressed with the multicolored designs from Kaldheim and left most of them out of my stack. I did add a Golgari, Orzhov and Dimir card that I liked. In general, I find most of these multicolor spells to inform specific types of micro synergies that I simply can infuse deeply enough into my stack to make them work! There are a lot of tedious designs where at least one of the modes feels like a dud that’ll brick and won’t work properly in too many games.
So, there’s not many changes to multicolor spells, but the true trove of awesome cards in this set are the mono colored spells. Kaldheim is not a multicolor themed set, it’s a snow set, and that’s the pool of cards I’m going to be drawing most actively from in today’s update.
Three Color Shards and Wedges (30 CARDS)
1 Abzan Charm 1 Anafenza, the Foremost 1 Arcades, the Strategist 1 Bant Charm 1 Crackling Doom 1 Darigaaz's Charm 1 Doran, the Siege Tower 1 Dromar's Charm 1 Fiery Justice 1 Gwendlyn Di Corci 1 Jund Charm 1 Lightning Angel 1 Mantis Rider 1 Marath, Will of the Wild 1 Mardu Charm 1 Mathas, Fiend Seeker 1 Punish Ignorance 1 Rhox War Monk 1 Rise/Fall 1 Savage Knuckleblade 1 Sidisi, Brood Tyrant 1 Slave of Bolas 1 Sprouting Thrinax 1 Sultai Charm 1 Temur Ascendancy 1 Temur Charm 1 The Mimeoplasm 1 Trial/Error 1 Vadrok, Apex of Thunder 1 Woolly Thoctar
Guild (Two Color) Multicolored Spells (250, 25 of Each Combination)
AZORIUS (25 CARDS)
1 Absorb 1 Azorius Guildmage 1 Cloudblazer 1 Depose/Deploy 1 Dovin's Acuity 1 Dovin's Veto 1 Elite Guardmage 1 Hindering Light 1 Judge's Familiar 1 Niambi, Esteemed Speaker 1 Ojutai's Command 1 Ordered Migration 1 Overrule 1 Reflector Mage 1 Render Silent 1 Senate Guildmage 1 Skycat Sovereign 1 Spell Queller 1 Sphinx's Insight 1 Staggering Insight 1 Supreme Verdict 1 Sygg, River Guide 1 Unsettled Mariner 1 Wall of Denial 1 Watcher of the Spheres
BOROS (25 CARDS)
1 Akiri, Fearless Voyager 1 Basandra, Battle Seraph 1 Boros Challenger 1 Boros Charm 1 Boros Guildmage 1 Boros Reckoner 1 Deafening Clarion 1 Foundry Champion 1 Goblin Legionnaire 1 Hero of the Nyxborn 1 Heroic Reinforcements 1 Honored Crop-Captain 1 Integrity/Intervention 1 Intimidation Bolt 1 Justice Strike 1 Lightning Helix 1 Relentless Raptor 1 Reyav, Master Smith 1 Savai Thundermane 1 Sky Terror 1 Skyknight Vanguard 1 Spitemare 1 Thundersong Trumpeter 1 Warleader's Helix 1 Weapons Trainer
DIMIR (25 CARDS)
“Looooooooong live this thing.”
IN: Narfi, Betrayer King
OUT: Hibernation Sliver
Nafri, Betrayer King seems like a sweet addition to the stack. I’m always happy to find cards that enable graveyard synergies that don’t become too oppressive. I’m not sure exactly how a 4/3 that can be returned to play over and over will play out, but I really like the flavor and concept of this creature and thus am willing to give him a try.
I typically don’t like to cut cheap creatures for five drops, but this was a situation where Hibernation Sliver is clearly lacking in power level and thus not a great draw, even in the early phases of the game.
Adding snow typing to all the lands allows Narfi’s recursion ability to function in the stack, which makes the card a creature that can be recurred over and over. I imagine him becoming a bit of a subgame mechanism for grinding out long games.
1 Agony Warp 1 Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths 1 Baleful Strix 1 Connive/Concoct 1 Consult the Necrosages 1 Countersquall 1 Devourer of Memory 1 Dimir Guildmage 1 Drown in the Loch 1 Far/Away 1 Hostage Taker 1 Narfi, Betrayer King 1 Nymris, Oona's Trickster 1 Prized Amalgam 1 Psychatog 1 Shadowmage Infiltrator 1 Shipwreck Singer 1 Soul Diviner 1 Soul Manipulation 1 Spite/Malice 1 Thought Erasure 1 Tomebound Lich 1 Undermine 1 Woodlot Crawler 1 Yuriko, the Tiger's Shadow
GOLGARI (25 CARDS)
“A wolf who bought in on GME at $10. Woof.”
IN: Sarulf, Realm Eater
OUT: Savvy Hunter
I’m a big fan of a 3/3 for three in my Danger Room as it’s a good rule of thumb for allowing three drops to trump one and two drops with their combat stats. With that said, Sarulf simply seems like a much more interesting card than Savvy Hunter in terms of what it can do and how it impacts a game.
I like that Sarulf also provides a built-in mechanism for dealing with tokens, which is kinda nice. I’ve been trying to shave down on the number of Pyroclasm type cards because they feel very narrow and tailored to specific kinds of boards (and thus won’t be useful to a player who doesn’t find themselves swarmed by small critters). Sarulf, on the other hand, is a quality sized threat for the cost that can arbitrarily provide coverage against small swarms while also pressuring and blocking.
Sarulf is also a big, bad Wolf-looking creature which is neat flavor.
1 Abrupt Decay 1 Acolyte of Affliction 1 Baloth Null 1 Chevill, Bane of Monsters 1 Consume Strength 1 Deathrite Shaman 1 Dreg Mangler 1 Find/Finality 1 Gleancrawler 1 Golgari Guildmage 1 Grakmaw, Skyclave Ravager 1 Grismold, the Dreadsower 1 Korozda Guildmage 1 Lotleth Troll 1 Maelstrom Pulse 1 Obelisk Spider 1 Pernicious Deed 1 Poison-Tip Archer 1 Putrefy 1 Sarulf, Realm Eater 1 Slimefoot, the Stowaway 1 Status/Statue 1 Storrev, Devkarin Lich 1 Swarm Guildmage 1 Winding Constrictor
GRUUL (25 CARDS)
1 Assault/Battery 1 Bloodbraid Elf 1 Branching Bolt 1 Cindervines 1 Collision/Colossus 1 Dragonlair Spider 1 Fanatic of Xenagos 1 Fires of Yavimaya 1 Gallia of the Endless Dance 1 Ghor-Clan Rampager 1 Ground Assault 1 Grumgully, the Generous 1 Gruul Spellbreaker 1 Guttural Response 1 Huntmaster of the Fells 1 Khenra Charioteer 1 Rhythm of the Wild 1 Rubblebelt Rioters 1 Rumbling Slum 1 Savage Twister 1 Tahngarth, First Mate 1 Thrash/Threat 1 Vexing Shusher 1 Vithian Renegades 1 Zhur-Taa Goblin
IZZET (25 CARDS)
1 Beacon Bolt 1 Brutal Expulsion 1 Counterflux 1 Dack's Duplicate 1 Electrolyze 1 Enigma Drake 1 Etherium-Horn Sorcerer 1 Fire/Ice 1 Hypothesizzle 1 Ionize 1 Izzet Charm 1 Jori En, Ruin Diver 1 Lightning Stormkin 1 Ludevic, Necro-Alchemist 1 Mischievous Chimera 1 Prophetic Bolt 1 Ral's Outburst 1 Razorfin Hunter 1 Spellheart Chimera 1 Sprite Dragon 1 Storm Fleet Sprinter 1 Stormchaser Mage 1 Suffocating Blast 1 Swerve 1 Turn/Burn
ORZHOV (25 CARDS)
“Episode III: ROTV.”
IN: Rampage of the Valkyries
Rampage of the Valkyries is a flavorful card that also feels pretty nicely powered for my Battle Box. I’m also a fan of the fact that it’s a fairly unique design: an enchantment with a narrow ongoing ability that brings a 4/4 Angel token when deployed. It’s kind of cool that some of the changeling themes I’ve built into the stack can bring additional play and interaction to the enchantment mode of the card.
On the other hand, I’ve decided to cut Restoration Gearsmith because I already have a lot of “Gravedigger” effects and, furthermore, the card doesn’t really feel like an Orzhov design to me (much more Golgari) whereas ROTV feels extremely Orzhov to me.
1 Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim 1 Batwing Brume 1 Blind Hunter 1 Castigate 1 Consecrate/Consume 1 Corpse Knight 1 Death Grasp 1 Despark 1 Drana's Emissary 1 General's Enforcer 1 Ghost Council of Orzhova 1 Grasping Thrull 1 Grind/Dust 1 Imperious Oligarch 1 Indulging Patrician 1 Kambal, Consul of Allocation 1 Karlov of the Ghost Council 1 Kaya's Guile 1 Merciless Eviction 1 Mortify 1 Orzhov Pontiff 1 Rampage of the Valkyries 1 Sin Collector 1 Tymna the Weaver 1 Zealous Persecution
RAKDOS (25 CARDS)
*I went back and forth on Innerstrum Predator but I couldn’t find a card that I really wanted to cut for it. I think Blazing Specter, Swift Warkite or Void are all cards that could have been swapped out but I’m a fan of all three cards in the deck and decided to hold off. I generally try to steer clear of cheap oversized monsters that are hard to kill and/or protect themselves from removal.
1 Anathemancer 1 Bituminous Blast 1 Blazing Specter 1 Blightning 1 Claim/Fame 1 Carnival/Carnage 1 Cut/Ribbons 1 Dreadbore 1 Exava, Rakdos Blood Witch 1 Fireblade Artist 1 Footlight Fiend 1 Hellhole Rats 1 Kolaghan's Command 1 Labyrinth Raptor 1 Lightning Skelemental 1 Mayhem Devil 1 Munitions Expert 1 Murderous Redcap 1 Olivia, Mobilized for War 1 Rakdos Cackler 1 Swift Warden 1 Swift Warkite 1 Terminate 1 Tymaret, the Murder King 1 Unlicensed Disintegration 1 Void
SELESNYA (25 CARDS)
1 Advent of the Wurm 1 Anurid Brushhopper 1 Armadillo Cloak 1 Bronzehide Lion 1 Call of the Conclave 1 Dauntless Escort 1 Dromoka's Command 1 Dryad Militant 1 Elderwood Scion 1 Enlisted Wurm 1 Good-Fortune Unicorn 1 Huatli's Raptor 1 Ironroot Warlord 1 Kitchen Finks 1 Knight of Autumn 1 Loxodon Hierarch 1 Loxodon Smiter 1 Mystic Enforcer 1 Qasali Pridemage 1 Renegade Rallier 1 Selesnya Charm 1 Selesnya Guildmage 1 Shanna, Sisay's Legacy 1 Voice of Resurgence 1 Watchwolf
SIMIC (25 CARDS)
1 Applied Biomancy 1 Bounding Krasis 1 Gaea's Skyfolk 1 Gor Muldrak, Amphinologist 1 Horizon Chimera 1 Icefeather Aven 1 Imoti, Celebrant of the Bounty 1 Jhessian Infiltrator 1 Jungle Barrier 1 Merfolk Skydiver 1 Mystic Genesis 1 Mystic Snake 1 Plaxcaster Frogling 1 River Hoopoe 1 Rogue Refiner 1 Shapers of Nature 1 Shardless Agent 1 Sharktocrab 1 Simic Charm 1 Skyrider Elf 1 Thrasios, Triton Hero 1 Trygon Predator 1 Verazol, the Split Current 1 Void Grafter 1 Zameck Guildmage
Monocolor Spells (500 Cards)
There’s tons of sweet monocolored cards in Kaldheim!
White (100 Cards)
My issue with Kaldheim isn’t finding really cool cards to add to my stack, it’s finding cards to cut! Keep in mind I only have room for 100 cards per monocolor and there are more than 100 Magic sets now, so adding a bunch of cards does tend to disproportionately represent newer sets in the Danger Room.
With that said, I think the white cards are going to be outstanding in here and I’m happy to dive deep to better expand out white’s grindy, aggressive early game.
IN: Battlefield Raptor
OUT: Wing Shards
I love getting one drops into the deck as they allow players to present timely pressure that keeps games from being too focused on going big to win. Cool controlling cards are not special in a stack where neither player can present meaningful offense, so I generally try to add as many passable one drops as possible.
Speaking of passable one drops…
IN: Usher of the Fallen
OUT: Imposing Sovereign
Usher of the Fallen is quite nice. I love one mana 2/1s and how they inform early deployment and blocks with two drops. I don’t have an issue with cutting a narrow two drop for a better one drop.
IN: Beskar Shieldmate
OUT: The Wanderer
A solid and versatile two drop. I’m always happy to bulk up on cheap creatures, as I think offense needs to be good in order to warrant having things like Counterspells and card draw as a significant part of the stack.
I tried to make planeswalkers a thing in here, but they’re just not the type of droids I’m looking for. Happy to move along.
IN: Clarion Spirit
OUT: Scout’s Warning
Wow, Clarion Spirit is a very interesting two drop. It’s got fine stats to throw down early, but it also has a sweet ability that adds value over the course of the game if the Spirit is allowed to live.
I like Scout’s Warning as a card, but it has clearly gotten worse in the stack as I’ve added more cheap creatures and interaction. Paying an extra mana for a timing advantage is a worse rate of exchange than it used to be and I’ve often found this is a card best cycled off just to be efficient on mana without actually gaining the benefit. It’s a cool card, but better in a stack that’s less aggressive.
OUT: End Hostilities
One of these names is way cooler and it’s for that reason an easy switch.
IN: Righteous Valkyrie
OUT: Righteous Cause
Righteous Valkyrie has a nice consistent stat line that will play nicely in my stack. I’ve now got a few “Angels matter” cards to go with changlings which is kind of a nice little synergy that can matter. Righteous Cause, on the other hand, is just too deranged. It certainly falls into the camp of being a card that a lot of draws simply cannot compete with and for that reason… I’m out.
1 Adamant Will 1 Adanto Vanguard 1 Adorned Pouncer 1 Akroma's Vengeance 1 Alseid of Life's Bounty 1 Ancestral Blade 1 Angel of Finality 1 Apostle of Purifying Light 1 Austere Command 1 Battlefield Raptor 1 Belfry Spirit 1 Beskir Shieldmate 1 Blade Splicer 1 Benevolent Blessing 1 Cavalry Drillmaster 1 Clarion Spirit 1 Cleansing Nova 1 Cloudgoat Ranger 1 Collective Effort 1 Council's Judgment 1 Dauntless Bodyguard 1 Dawn Charm 1 Day of Judgment 1 Doomskar 1 Dragon Hunter 1 Ephemerate 1 Exalted Angel 1 Faerie Guidemother 1 Felidar Guardian 1 Final Judgment 1 Flickerwisp 1 Fumigate 1 Giant Killer 1 Giver of Runes 1 Glorious Anthem 1 Glory-Bound Initiate 1 Goldmeadow Harrier 1 Hallowed Burial 1 Healer's Hawk 1 Healing Grace 1 Hidden Dragonslayer 1 History of Benalia 1 Imperial Aerosaur 1 Isamaru, Hound of Konda 1 Karmic Guide 1 Kirtar's Wrath 1 Kinjalli's Sunwing 1 Knight of Glory 1 Knight of Grace 1 Lingering Souls 1 Livio, Oathsworn Sentinel 1 Lone Missionary 1 Luminarch Aspirant 1 Mardu Woe-Reaper 1 Martyr of Dusk 1 Ministrant of Obligation 1 Mother of Runes 1 Phyrexian Rebirth 1 Prava of the Steel Legion 1 Reciprocate 1 Remorseful Cleric 1 Restoration Angel 1 Righteous Valkyrie 1 Righteous Confluence 1 Rout 1 Sacred Cat 1 Savannah Lions 1 Seeker of the Way 1 Selfless Squire 1 Selfless Spirit 1 Settle Beyond Reality 1 Shrieking Grotesque 1 Silverflame Squire 1 Skymarcher Aspirant 1 Snubhorn Sentry 1 Soldier of the Pantheon 1 Soulfire Grand Master 1 Soul's Attendant 1 Spear of Heliod 1 Spectral Lynx 1 Splendor Mare 1 Stalking Leonin 1 Standard Bearer 1 Sunlance 1 Sunscape Battlemage 1 Sunscourge Champion 1 Suture Priest 1 Swallow Whole 1 Swords to Plowshares 1 Taranika, Akroan Veteran 1 Temple Acolyte 1 Terminus 1 Thraben Inspector 1 Trueheart Duelist 1 Usher of the Fallen 1 Valorous Stance 1 Venerated Loxodon 1 Wall of Omens 1 War Priest of Thune 1 Wrath of God
BLUE (100 CARDS)
IN: Icebind Pillar
OUT: Cerulean Drake (second copy typo)
Icy Manipulator is a classic card that is simply a little too underpowered to be effective in a more aggressive Battle Box stack like mine. However, the snow mechanic allows gives access to a newer, cheaper version that I think will be a little more useful in the stack. I had two copies of Cerulean Drake in the stack as a typo last time, and so that is the obvious cut here.
1 Ancestral Vision 1 Angler Drake 1 Archaeomancer 1 Augur of Bolas 1 Azure Mage 1 Blue Elemental Blast 1 Bonded Fetch 1 Censor 1 Cephalid Sage 1 Cerulean Drake 1 Champion of Wits 1 Chart a Course 1 Circular Logic 1 Cloudkin Seer 1 Complicate 1 Concentrate 1 Control Magic 1 Counterspell 1 Delver of Secrets 1 Disallow 1 Dismiss 1 Dispel 1 Dive Down 1 Envelop 1 Essence Scatter 1 Evasive Action 1 Exclude 1 Faerie Duelist 1 Fact or Fiction 1 Flashfreeze 1 Force Spike 1 Forceful Denial 1 Horribly Awry 1 Hydroblast 1 Hypnotic Siren 1 Hypnotic Sprite 1 Jace's Phantasm 1 Jilt 1 Jolting Merfolk 1 Looter il-Kor 1 Lu Xun, Scholar General 1 Mana Leak 1 Man-o'-War 1 Meddle 1 Merfolk Looter 1 Merfolk Trickster 1 Miscalculation 1 Mulldrifter 1 Mystic Archaeologist 1 Nadir Kraken 1 Negate 1 Neutralizing Blast 1 Phantasmal Image 1 Plaxmanta 1 Persuasion 1 Power Sink 1 Preemptive Strike 1 Probe 1 Pteramander 1 Queen of Ice 1 Remand 1 Remove Soul 1 Repulse 1 Riddlemaster Sphinx 1 Sakashima's Student 1 Sea-Dasher Octopus 1 Secrets of the Golden City 1 Serendib Efreet 1 Shacklegeist 1 Siren Stormtamer 1 Snapcaster Mage 1 Spectral Sailor 1 Spell Pierce 1 Spell Snare 1 Spellstutter Sprite 1 Starlit Mantle 1 Stormscape Apprentice 1 Stratus Dancer 1 Summoner's Bane 1 Sun Ce, Young Conquerer 1 Supreme Will 1 Syncopate 1 Talrand's Invocation 1 Tetsuko Umezawa, Fugitive 1 Fugitive Wizard 1 Threads of Disloyalty 1 Twisted Image 1 Twisted Reflection 1 Unstable Mutation 1 Unsubstantiate 1 Unsummon 1 Vendilion Clique 1 Vesuvan Shapeshifter 1 Warkite Marauder 1 Watcher for Tomorrow 1 Whirler Rogue 1 Willbender 1 Windrider Wizard 1 Wonder 1 Zephid's Embrace
BLACK (100) CARDS
IN: Priest of the Haunted Edge
OUT: Memory Leak
Priest of the Haunted Edge is a pretty cool little removal creature that benefits from adding snow typing to the mana base. Not the most exciting card in the world, but I’m happy to cut Memory Leak. I have quite a bit of targeted discard in my stack and paying three for that effect isn’t something that’s particularly useful. Again, like Scout’s Warning, the card is more often inconvenient to cycle into a new card than it is useful in gameplay.
1 Agonizing Remorse 1 Aphemia, the Cacophony 1 Bane of the Living 1 Bastion of Remembrance 1 Big Game Hunter 1 Bloodchief's Thirst 1 Bloodsoaked Champion 1 Bone Shredder 1 Butcher Ghoul 1 Cast Down 1 Chainer's Edict 1 Changeling Outcast 1 Collective Brutality 1 Dakmor Lancer 1 Damnation 1 Dance of the Dead 1 Dark Banishing 1 Dark Hatchling 1 Despise 1 Diregraf Ghoul 1 Dismember 1 Divest 1 Doom Blade 1 Doomfall 1 Drana, Liberator of Malakir 1 Dread Wanderer 1 Duress 1 Dusk Legion Zealot 1 Endling 1 Entomber Exarch 1 Eternal Taskmaster 1 Fatal Push 1 Flesh Carver 1 Ghastly Demise 1 Gnarled Scarhide 1 Go for the Throat 1 Gonti, Lord of Luxury 1 Gravecrawler 1 Grimdancer 1 Gutterbones 1 Heartless Act 1 Inquisition of Kozilek 1 Keening Banshee 1 Knight of Infamy 1 Knight of Malice 1 Kokusho, the Evening Star 1 Lampad of Death's Vigil 1 Last Gasp 1 Lay Bare the Heart 1 Lifebane Zombie 1 Liliana's Specter 1 Malefic Scythe 1 Mire Triton 1 Moment of Craving 1 Murder 1 Murderous Cut 1 Murderous Rider 1 Mythos of Nethroi 1 Nekrataal 1 Never/Return 1 Nighthawk Scavenger 1 Night's Whisper 1 Noxious Gearhulk 1 Oathsworn Vampire 1 Ob Nixilis's Cruelty 1 Ophiomancer 1 Order of Midnight 1 Orzhov Enforcer 1 Ostracize 1 Phyrexian Gargantua 1 Phyrexian Rager 1 Priest of the Haunted Edge 1 Putrid Goblin 1 Ravenous Chupacabra 1 Rend Flesh 1 Ritual of the Machine 1 Serpent Assassin 1 Shriekmaw 1 Silumgar Assassin 1 Skeletal Vampire 1 Skinrender 1 Sling-Gang Lieutenant 1 Smiting Helix 1 Sudden Death 1 Sultai Emissary 1 The Eldest Reborn 1 Thoughtseize 1 Tragic Slip 1 Transgress the Mind 1 Trespasser's Curse 1 Tymaret, Chosen from Death 1 Ultimate Price 1 Unburial Rites 1 Undying Evil 1 Unearth 1 Vampire Nighthawk 1 Vampire Sovereign 1 Vendetta 1 Vraska's Contempt 1 Withered Wretch
RED (100 CARDS)
IN: Arni Brokenbrow
Anri Brokenbow puts a big smile on my face because it makes me think of Ari Lax. Back in the RIW days, we all called each other silly variations of our names; Ari was Arni, I was Dumar, Stephen Boggemes was Stoyven and Adam Yurchick was Yardstick. With that said, Arni is a very quality three drop 3/3 here. I’m fine with moving away from “Pyroclasm” sweepers that hit small creatures because there are so many small creatures in the stack now and I don’t want to punish people for playing what they drew with one sided Wraths!
IN: Frost Bite
OUT: Soul Sear
1 Abbot of Keral Keep 1 Abrade 1 Anax, Hardened in the Forge 1 Anger 1 Arc Lightning 1 Arc Trail 1 Arni Brokenbrow 1 Aurora Phoenix 1 Beetleback Chief 1 Bonecrusher Giant 1 Brimstone Volley 1 Brute Force 1 Burst Lightning 1 Carbonize 1 Chain Lightning 1 Chandra's Outrage 1 Charging Monstrosaur 1 Collective Defiance 1 Corrupt Eunuchs 1 Crimson Muckwader 1 Crystal Slipper 1 Cunning Sparkmage 1 Deem Worthy 1 Demanding Dragon 1 Desolation Giant 1 Dismissive Pyromancer 1 Dire Fleet Daredevil 1 Disintegrate 1 Dualcaster Mage 1 Earthshaker Khenra 1 Electrostatic Field 1 Faithless Looting 1 Falkenrath Gorger 1 Feldon of the Third Path 1 Fire Ambush 1 Fire Imp 1 Fire Prophecy 1 Firebolt 1 Fissure Wizard 1 Flame Slash 1 Flametongue Kavu 1 Forked Bolt 1 Frenzied Fugue 1 Frontier Warmonger 1 Frost Bite 1 Ghitu Lavarunner 1 Glint-Horn Buccaneer 1 Goblin Chirurgeon 1 Goblin Cratermaker 1 Goblin Dark-Dwellers 1 Goblin Trailblazer 1 Grim Lavamancer 1 Heartfire Immolator 1 Hordeling Outburst 1 Hungry Flames 1 Incendiary Flow 1 Incinerate 1 Kari Zev, Skyship Raider 1 Kird Ape 1 Lava Coil 1 Lightning Bolt 1 Lightning Mauler 1 Lightning Strike 1 Magmatic Channeler 1 Merchant of the Vale 1 Mogg War Marshal 1 Monastery Swiftspear 1 Opportunistic Dragon 1 Pia and Kiran Nalaar 1 Pia Nalaar 1 Pillar of Flame 1 Punishing Fire 1 Pyroblast 1 Raking Claws 1 Rampaging Ferocidon 1 Red Elemental Blast 1 Resounding Thunder 1 Roast 1 Seal of Fire 1 Searing Spear 1 Seasoned Pyromancer 1 Shock 1 Shower of Coals 1 Siege-Gang Commander 1 Skewer the Critics 1 Smoldering Werewolf 1 Soul-Scar Mage 1 Squealing Devil 1 Starstorm 1 Thrill of Possibility 1 Thunderbreak Regent 1 Thunderscape Battlemage 1 Tribal Flames 1 Veteran Brawlers 1 Viashino Pyromancer 1 Volcanic Hammer 1 Vulshok Sorcerer 1 Wild Slash 1 Young Pyromancer 1 Zurgo Bellstriker
*You may also be thinking: “If you put in Frost Bite, why not Skred?”
Great point! I’d like to try out the new snow stuff and see how I feel about it first before going back through time and overhauling my entire box looking for older snow cards to include. I assume adding snow to the stack will be well received with Battle Boxers (as it simply adds a new dynamic) but I’d like to gauge interest and experience points before going “all in.” Skred would be at the tip-top of my list of snow cards to add (assuming I keep the mechanic in the box).
GREEN (100 CARDS)
IN: Snakeskin Veil
OUT: Ranger’s Guile
Pretty easy upgrade here… Ranger’s Guile is a nice trick but not an objectively powerful spell so I don’t mind beefing up this card slot.
IN: Masked Vandal
I really like that the Vandal is a changeling and will play nicely with some of the tribal boosts that have been slowly working their way into my Danger Room. Lynx is a neat Starter card, but it’s not particularly exciting and I still have Zodiac Rooster!
IN: Blizzard Brawl
OUT: Quirion Sentinel
Blizzard Brawl is a wonderful green removal spell that we gain access to by adding snow typing to lands. I love the Savage Swipe tribute and functionality. Quirion Sentinel was really a layover from when I expanded the size of the stack and I’m happy to have adequate replacement options to cycle that card out of the stack.
1 Ana Battlemage 1 Arasta of the Endless Web 1 Arborback Stomper 1 Autumn's Veil 1 Basking Rootwalla 1 Berserk 1 Blastoderm 1 Blizzard Brawl 1 Blossoming Defense 1 Briarhorn 1 Brindle Boar 1 Call of the Herd 1 Caller of the Claw 1 Carven Caryatid 1 Chainweb Aracnir 1 Deathgorge Scavenger 1 Deathmist Raptor 1 Deep Forest Hermit 1 Den Protector 1 Dryad Sophisticate 1 Earl of Squirrel 1 Elvish Visionary 1 Eternal Witness 1 Experiment One 1 Flinthoof Boar 1 Gaea's Might 1 Garruk's Harbinger 1 Giant Growth 1 Gnarlwood Dryad 1 Gnaw to the Bone 1 Granger Guildmage 1 Great Sable Stag 1 Guardian Gladewalker 1 Harmonize 1 Hedge Troll 1 Heir of the Wilds 1 Hexdrinker 1 Hunger of the Howlpack 1 Indrik Stomphowler 1 Infuse with the Elements 1 Inscription of Abundance 1 Ishkanah, Grafwidow 1 Kavu Titan 1 Kessig Prowler 1 Kraul Harpooner 1 Loaming Shaman 1 Masked Vandal 1 Might of Alara 1 Mire Boa 1 Mistcutter Hydra 1 Moment's Peace 1 Mother Bear 1 Narnam Renegade 1 Noose Constrictor 1 Obstinate Baloth 1 Ohran Viper 1 Oviya Pashiri, Sage Lifecrafter 1 Patagia Viper 1 Pelakka Wurm 1 Phantom Centaur 1 Predator's Strike 1 Qasali Slingers 1 Rancor 1 Reclamation Sage 1 Regrowth 1 Resilient Khenra 1 Ridgescale Tusker 1 Ripjaw Raptor 1 River Boa 1 Runic Armasaur 1 Saproling Migration 1 Scavenging Ooze 1 Shifting Ceratops 1 Skyshroud Elite 1 Skyshroud War Beast 1 Snakeskin Veil 1 Spider Spawning 1 Sporeweb Weaver 1 Stingerfling Spider 1 Sunblade Elf 1 Thornscape Apprentice 1 Thorn Lieutenant 1 Thornscape Battlemage 1 Thragtusk 1 Thrashing Brontodon 1 Untamed Kavu 1 Veil of Summer 1 Vengevine 1 Vines of Vastwood 1 Wall of Blossoms 1 Wasteland Viper 1 Weather the Storm 1 Wolfir Avenger 1 Weatherseed Elf 1 Wild Mongrel 1 Wild Nacatl 1 Wildsize 1 Withstand Death 1 Young Wolf 1 Zodiac Rooster
On the whole, Kaldheim looks to be a fantastic set, not just for Battle Boxers, but in general. The flavor is on point, the designs are fun and there are a lot of cards that I’m actively looking forward to collecting and casting.
The biggest addition of Kaldheim will likely be the addition of adding snow typing to my lands in order to inform subsets of cards that synergize with snow. I’m not 100 percent sure it’s worth making a loosey-goosey rule for though… maybe it’s just easier to use snow lands and not make a special rule? I’m not exactly sure what’s ideal but I’ll listen to player feedback and use that to inform how deep into the snowdrift I go in the future by adding backlogged snow cards.
TOP 8 BATTLE BOX STAPLES
8. Frost Bite
I know white has a reputation for weaksauce designs but this was an extremely strong showing for Plains in terms of Battle Box quality designs. Many of my favorite cards, both in terms of flavor and functionality, are white. I’m also pretty stoked to have a more appropriately powered Icy Manipulator back in the stack once again.
Well, that’s my perspective on Kaldheim and how I plan to incorporate the set into my Battle Box stack. As always, I’m happy to discuss cards that I’ve included or left on the sidelines and love to hear feedback about sleeper cards I may have overlooked and dismissed. The goal is always to make the best stack possible and so I love to hear other perspectives about cards that my fellow Battle Boxers enjoy playing with and/or add something special to the mix. So, by all means feel free to drop me a comment or hit me up on social media (@briandemars1 on Twitter, Briandemars1 on Insta). I’m always down to chat about Battle Box and Danger Room and love hearing how my peers are personalizing their own custom stacks.