December 18, 2020

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Daily Dose of Kaldheim #2 – Exiling with Kaya and Friends

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Kaldheim! Today I’ll be talking about a couple of cards looking to exile some permanents to help you on your way to victory. Removal cards have always been measured on their power of destroying vs exiling. Exiling is often better, but come at a price of a higher cost or having to pay additional costs. Exiling permanents has become more important in Standard recently, so much so that cards like Soul-Guide Lantern and Cling to Dust is being played in main decks. Today I’m going to be talking about two new exile focused cards from Kaldheim. One of those cards is the return of a planeswalker we’ve seen exile some permanents before, Kaya.

Before we talk about Kaya though, I want to talk about a new Golgari creature that wants to exile all the smaller nonland permanents on the battlefield. Here is Sarulf, Realm Eater.

Sarulf, Realm Eater

To start off you get a solid 3/3 for three mana which is solid. In looking at it’s first ability, there are ways to get +1/+1 counters without using removal yourself. If your opponent is playing Fabled Passage, that’s a +1/+1 counter if they sacrifice it to get a land. Imagine playing Goblins in Historic and your opponent is sacrificing Goblins to get mana, well each one means your Sarulf, Realm Eater is getting larger. Now you start getting into your own removal and you can start seeing Sarulf, Realm Eater becoming a huge threat. If the battlefield becomes too much, you can remove all those counters you’ve placed on Sarulf, Realm Eater to exile all other nonland permanents with casting cost less than or equal to the number of counters you removed. One thing to be careful of is that it does exile your own permanents other than Sarulf, Realm Eater as well. This also can get protection from cards like Heartless Act once it gets a counter. You can combine this with Field of Ruin to gain a counter as well.

Now that I’ve talked about the Legendary Wolf, it’s time for the return of Kaya. Here is Kaya the Inexorable.

Kaya the Inexorable

This is a five-mana, five-loyalty planeswalker that is going to make a difference in the upcoming Standard season. Let’s break down the abilities of this planeswalker:

[+1]: Put a ghostform counter on up to one target nontoken creature. It gains "When this creature dies or is put into exile, return it to its owner's hand and create a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying." – This is an ability that might get overlooked and I believe can be quite powerful. Picture a Yorion, Sky Nomad being returned to your hand for extra value. Not only do they have to deal with a 4/5 Flying creature, but the worry of it being cast again for extra value the following turn after they kill or exile it. This also allows you to be protected from sweepers, including your own Shatter the Sky or Extinction Event. I could even see this being used on a Crawling Barrens to protect it for the late game win as well.

[-3]: Exile target nonland permanent. – This is just simply one of the best abilities you can have on a planeswalker. Gideon Blackblade had this ability, but it cost six loyalty and you couldn’t use it until a couple of turns after you cast it. Kaya, Orzhov Usurper has this ability, but could only hit permanents with casting cost of one or less. The fact that you can use this ability so soon makes this a potent planeswalker. This gives it two ways to protect itself and makes it hard to get off the battlefield.

[-7]: You get an emblem with "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may cast a legendary spell from your hand, from your graveyard, or from among cards you own in exile without paying its mana cost." – Two turns after you cast it, you can use this ultimate ability to gain an emblem that allows you to recast Legendary spells you’ve lost earlier in the game or from your hand without paying its mana cost. This even includes Kaya the Inexorable.

As you can see, exiling cards is so much better than destroying and these two cards prove that. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Kaldheim. Join me for more adventures in Kaldheim over the coming months leading up to the release on February 5th!