Daily Dose of Kaldheim #14 – New Uncommon Sacrifice Land Cycle
Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Kaldheim. Today I’ll be talking about a cycle of uncommons lands from Kaldheim. Each of these lands enter the battlefield tapped and produce only one type of mana. That sounds bad to start but each of them has the ability by sacrificing the land and spending anywhere from three to six mana to activate it. These abilities are strong abilities for lands to have and act as an extra spell later in the game. There are ten different lands with each of the two colour combinations being represented. Let’s investigate each of the new uncommon cycle of lands from Kaldheim.
Gates of Istfell
Gates of Istfell – Welcome to the Cloudblazer of lands. This does everything an Azorius Control deck wants to do by giving you card advantage and gaining some life to help you stay alive. This can be done at instant speed which makes a huge difference in allowing you to keep your mana up on your opponents’ turn. This reminds me of Memorial to Genius that saw some play but with the bonus of life gain at the cost of having to be playing White and Blue for your deck. I think this will be a staple one to two of in Control decks going forward.
Axgard Armory – Tutoring for cards is always a powerful ability, but this is Limited to Auras and Equipment. If you can draft a good one it could be worthwhile. In Standard, searching for Embercleave is one of the best choices. It’s able to be activated at instant speed, so you can sacrifice it during your opponent’s turn and cast it immediately during your turn. Your opponent will have to be aware you have this and be careful to play around any card you can search for. You do need four mana to activate its ability which seems against the aggressive nature of Red/White decks, but this could be used to get something key to finish off your opponent later in the game.
Port of Karfell
Port of Karfell – This is one of the most expensive lands to activate due to the power of its ability. To start it mills four cards into your graveyard to provide you with more targets to return to the battlefield. Often though you will already have a target in mind for it. Since it can be activated at instant speed, it will make it hard for your opponent to attack into you. I think players will forget about this land in many cases and be surprised by it.
Littjara Mirrorlake – Five mana for a Clone that comes in with a +1/+1 counter on it is a solid ability to have in the holster for when you need it. Just be careful as it seems like most of the creatures in this set are Legendary. Note that you can only activate it as a sorcery, so you will most likely need to tap out to get the copy you want.
Immersturm Skullcairn – We have seen lands get banned before that deal two damage to your opponent (Ramunap Ruins). That also had an activation cost of four, but this land deals three damage and makes them discard a card. It must be used during your turn as a sorcery, but will be a great land to finish off your opponent.
Great Hall of Starnheim
Great Hall of Starnheim – This is one of the cheapest lands to activate and it gives you the best creature. You get a 4/4 Flying Angel with vigilance for only three mana. This can be activated on turn four to put a major threat onto the battlefield. I could also see this as a finisher in an Esper Control deck as well. It will for sure fit in well with the soon to be coming Black/White Angel deck. Just remember though, you need to activate it during your turn.
Gnottvold Slumbermound – I know that land destruction these days is expensive but spending six mana to get a 4/4 Trample instead of three mana to get a 4/4 Angel seems like a little bit of a letdown. There will be times where you want to destroy a troublesome land of your opponents’, but this might be a little too expensive to do that. The upside is that you can activate it at instant speed which adds slightly more value to the land.
Surtland Frostpyre – I do enjoy sweeper spells and abilities, but this one seems a bit out of place. It costs five mana to activate which means you will be later in the game and this will have trouble killing most of the larger creatures on the battlefield. You can only activate it as a sorcery, which means you can’t use it as a combat trick to your advantage. Don’t get me wrong, it will come in handy at certain points and the Scry two is a nice bonus added on.
Bretagard Stronghold – If during your first two turns you can get two creatures on the battlefield, this is a great use of your mana for turn four. It pumps up your creatures, allows you to block and attack thanks to Vigilance, and will gain you some life. You will have to use it during your first main phase to get the most value out of it. It gains more value in a deck that has synergies with +1/+1 counters.
Skemfar Elderhall – This land gains more value if you have some Elf synergies in your deck, but still a solid removal ability. It can’t be used during combat, so it will have to take most of your turn just to sacrifice this land. Good to have this land handy for post-combat scenarios though to finish off a creature and set up some blockers for a counterattack.
I think that all these lands will see play in Limited, but not all of them will make into Standard. Entering the battlefield tapped and only producing one type of mana might be too much of a drawback for certain decks. They are a nice land cycle to have though and I’ll be interested to see which ones make the most impact. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Kaldheim. Join me again next week as prerelease week is here and it’s almost time to start playing with the new cards.