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Kaldheim Commander Spotlight: Riding the Lightning with Toralf

Hear me out – what if your non-combat damage had trample? One step further, what if it had trample that could be turned toward other creatures before finally finding your opponent’s face? What if the card that could let you do this was also the Magic version of Thor, complete with a hammer that references some awesome burn spells of days past? With Kaldheim, Toralf answers all those questions with one simple reply: it would be awesome! As well as mildly explosive and potentially hazardous for the life totals of all at the table, but really, that just makes it all better. Today’s deck really pushes how far overkilling your opponents’ creatures can take you, and the answer is shocking (no pun intended).

 

Header - Saint Anger

Ways to add trample to non-combat damage have floated around here and there for a while, from Unstable’s Super-Duper Death Ray that simply had the ability on the burn spell to Ikoria’s Flame Spill, where the wording was made to fit within Magic’s actual rules.

While it’s not exactly the same, Toralf’s more deific side deals damage equal to any excess noncombat damage that would be dealt to opposing creatures to any other target. That could be another creature or planeswalker, their controller, a different player, something of yours, anything. One Lightning Bolt can clear out three X/1s, and that’s a very low-tier case in this list. His hammer mode is a decent fallback as well, a repeatable, if expensive, source of damage that can close out a game if truly necessary.

 

Header - Toralf's Thunder and Fury

1 Toralf, God of Fury/Toralf's Hammer
1 Acorn Catapult
1 Darksteel Plate
1 Dowsing Dagger
1 Fire Diamond
1 Genesis Chamber
1 Hammer of Nazahn
1 Hedron Archive
1 Lavabrink Floodgates
1 Magebane Armor
1 Mind Stone
1 Pyromancer's Goggles
1 Sol Ring
1 Akroan Horse
1 Angrath's Marauders
1 Ashling the Pilgrim
1 Ben-Ben, Akki Hermit
1 Brash Taunter
1 Cyclops Gladiator
1 Drakuseth, Maw of Flames
1 Flametongue Kavu
1 Goblin Cadets
1 Goblin Chirurgeon
1 Goblin Spymaster
1 Godo, Bandit Warlord
1 Humble Defector
1 Hunted Dragon
1 Ib Halfheart, Goblin Tactician
1 Neheb, the Eternal
1 Relic Robber
1 Stuffy Doll
1 Torbran, Thane of Red Fell
1 Varchild, Betrayer of Kjeldor
1 Varchild's War-Riders
1 Alpha Brawl
1 Blasphemous Act
1 Bonfire of the Damned
1 Breath of Darigaaz
1 Chain Reaction
1 Chandra's Ignition
1 Descent of the Dragons
1 Fight with Fire
1 Flamebreak
1 Hour of Devastation
1 Into the Maw of Hell
1 Mizzium Mortars
1 Mogg Infestation
1 Shatterskull Smashing/Shatterskull, the Hammer Pass
1 Slagstorm
1 Star of Extinction
1 Sweltering Suns
1 Volcanic Vision
1 Ancient Tomb
1 Arch of Orazca
1 Desert of the Fervent
1 Dwarven Mine
1 Field of Ruin
1 Flamekin Village
1 Forbidden Orchard
1 Forgotten Cave
1 Ghost Quarter
1 Hall of the Bandit Lord
1 Hanweir Battlements
23 Mountain
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Scavenger Grounds
1 Spinerock Knoll
1 War Room
1 Chaos Warp
1 Comet Storm
1 Lightning Bolt
1 Magmaquake
1 Magmatic Sinkhole
1 Starstorm
1 Tibalt's Trickery
1 Valakut Awakening/Valakut Stoneforge
1 Court of Ire
1 Fiery Emancipation

 

This list focuses most heavily on Toralf’s front side, packed full of ways to deal large single instances of burn damage to opposing creatures that can chain around the board. Red’s damage based board wipes are supplemented by as many reasonable ways to give your opponent’s more bodies as possible – the smaller, the better. After all, you can clear them up fairly easily if your plan goes awry, but this is a deck that actually wants the other players to have more board presence. A ramp suite that might actually be on the light side helps push you into your expensive spells more quickly, and then a package of cards to keep Toralf around to see the other side of the bigger board wipes rounds it all out.

 

 

Header - Friends on the Other Side

Varchild's War-RidersVarchild, Betrayer of KjeldorGoblin SpymasterAcorn Catapult

In a game of Commander, there are sure to be plenty of creatures spread around the other players’ boards to make some satisfying kabooms when you set off some of your larger explosives, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them along a little bit. After all, each body that they have to hit with massive damage results in more going elsewhere. Varchild’s War-Riders, as well as Varchild herself, hand out plenty of 1/1 Survivors, especially when they come down early. Goblin Spymaster doesn’t give away too many friends – just one per player per turn – but the ability to disrupt utility creatures that would be left back and out of combat makes up for that. Mogg Infestation pulls double duty, removing powerful opposing threats and preparing a board for impending doom. Even Acorn Catapult makes the cut, partly for usefulness, and partly because I just think it’s hilarious. Add in a few others, from Goblin Cadets to Humble Defector and even Genesis Chamber, and you can be sure there are plenty of creatures right where you want them when the time comes.

 

Header - Precision Targeting

Flametongue KavuMagmatic SinkholeInto the Maw of HellDrakuseth, Maw of Flames

Now, while the key turns with this list revolve around some big sweepers, getting there safely takes a little more than crossing your fingers and hoping for the best. While you nestle down in the bunker setting up your fuses and making sure there’s enough fuel for the eventual big boom, you have single-target options to keep your foes from sending too much heat your way. Toralf even turns them into miniature wipes in their own right. Flametongue Kavu knocks out a creature or two and can block just fine as well. Magmatic Sinkhole and Into the Maw of Hell hang out with their efficient little buddy Lightning Bolt as options to bring overwhelming force to bear on one unfortunate permanent. Cyclops Gladiator, Drakuseth and more up the options for interaction until you’re ready to push the detonator.

 

Header - Widespread Destruction

Blasphemous ActStar of ExtinctionChain ReactionAlpha Brawl

The small spells are cool and all when paired with Toralf, but the board wipes are what make this deck sing. When one spell deals excess damage to every single one of your opponents creatures, and occasionally planeswalkers, the results are nothing short of magical. Toralf’s four toughness lends itself to a nice suite of three-damage sweepers, and even those can add a Shock pointed wherever you’d like per one toughness creature controlled by another player. As fun as that is though, it’s the big hitters that make for some laughs. Blasphemous Act is utterly brutal. Chain Reaction is a lethal cascade. Alpha Brawl makes sure that players’ faces aren’t left out when bedlam breaks out on one opponent’s battlefield. Star of Extinction will end the game, not just the dinosaurs. The possibilities are endless. The only hoop to jump through is keeping Toralf alive through the initial firestorm to see all the excess damage so that he can deal his own.

 

Header - Force Multipliers

Torbran, Thane of Red FellFiery EmancipationAngrath's Marauders

Toralf’s ability creates a pretty good functional approximation of trample for your noncombat damage, but it isn’t trample, and there’s some fun to be had in the spaces between the two. The biggest key is that Toralf creates a new instance of damage each time excess is dealt, rather than changing where that excess goes. As such, effects that modify the amount of damage dealt are applied each time, rather than once upfront. Starting small, Torbran adds two damage each time, so if you’re chaining through all the 1/1s you’ve handed out with an initial instance of targeted damage, each step adds one point of damage rather than reducing the amount left in the pool. Once you step up to Angrath’s Marauders or Fiery Emancipation, it really goes wild. With the Marauder’s, the excess damage from a simple Lightning Bolt becomes lethal at 66 after chaining through just four X/1s. Emancipation is even faster, becoming 69 damage after just two one toughness critters bite the dust!

 

Header - Protective Plating

Hammer of NazahnDarksteel PlateMagebane ArmorGoblin Chirurgeon

Like I said before, Toralf needs a little help weathering your own storms so that he can stick around and deal all that excess damage the other creatures took to enemy faces. Hammer of Nazahn and Darksteel Plate both make him a truly unkillable God, with Magebane Armor serving just as well in a pinch. Serving alongside the three, Godo, Bandit Warlord can hunt them all up and toss them in play for you. Hammer of Nazahn also has a bit of synergy with Toralf’s Hammer in a pinch, cutting two mana off each loop with the Mjolnir lookalike. Outside of equipment, Goblin Chirurgeon can save Toralf once, which is likely all you’ll need. There’s a bit of Goblin synergy in the deck, though, so the Chirurgeon can even get multiple uses out now and then.

 

Header - Support Structures

Fire DiamondHedron ArchiveLavabrink FloodgatesNeheb, the Eternal

Tying it all together is a healthy dose of ramp to make sure you can drop Toralf a few times if necessary and cast your expensive spells on time. Sol Ring says hello, as is tradition. Fire Diamond and Mind Stone fill in at the two drop slot, while Mind Stone’s bigger brother Hedron Archive jumps mana and can turn into some more cards too. Lavabrink Floodgates is a bit risky, since your opponents can team up to make sure it pops at a time you’d rather it not break, but more often than not, you’re fine with it exploding and I just can’t resist fun political minigames like this one. Of course, with all this damage flying around dropping opposing life totals, Neheb, the Eternal is exactly the undead Minotaur you want on your side, pumping out lethal levels of mana quite easily.

 

Header - A Fiery Conclusion

Now, this is the type of deck where all the pieces necessary need to come together to achieve your maximum explosive potential. It’s very possible that the proportions are a bit off on this, needing some more ramp or ways to draw through your deck, but this should be a fantastic place to start out once you get your hands on Toralf and his new Hammer. If you’re wanting him as soon as possible, preorders are open here on ChannelFireball.com. Grab him and whatever other new Gods you’re looking to add to your collection, then pop in the comments or over to Twitter and let me know at @TheLeoRiser what you think of the list!

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