In the storm of utter madness that we call the Walking Dead Secret Lair and all the backlash that comes with it, I find it necessary to keep myself busy in other parts of the Wotc engine. Especially since I’m not giving up MTG very soon, I have to find things that actually make me excited and cast a blind eye to parts of the business that I wouldn’t ever have been interested in, in the first place. That’s why I have found myself drawn to the Zendikar Rising Lore and Stories and had a great time speculating.
But, now that that’s over, I find myself drawn ever onward as I look forward to the next actual set coming from Wotc, Kaldheim.
Kaldheim looks to be a viking (aka Warrior) infested land of snow and blood. Not much has been released about it. I mean, it is a ways off. But, if you know me, you know I can’t help but wonder on the finer points of what we have to look forward to in the set.
As I mentioned, it’s the first Viking themed MTG set and the fan base couldn’t be more excited. There’s so much that can be done with a setting like this and I will do a bit of speculation on the themes they could visit next week.
But, let’s look at what we have.
Besides invoking the Vikings, this set will, no doubt, touch upon many of the races found in the old Norse myths. Frost Giants, elves, dark elves, and even dwarves can be expected. I mean, Rosewater, you promised us Dwarves on Blogatog and we’re holding you to it.
Also, my sources say that Kaldheim translates to ‘COLD LAND’ or ‘COLD HOME’. And, from what little we’ve seen from it, it is named proper. This brings up the question of whether we will see the snow lands and/or permanents in this set. With the reprint of DARK DEPTHS in Double Masters, it may well be a good time to revisit the snow type. I’m sure we will, at least, get snow, ice and frost themed cards, if not the mechanic as well.
You may want to look up a video by The Magic Historian concerning Kaldheim in connection with a certain leaked card back over a month ago that since has become reality in the now infamous TWD Secret Lair. A reddit user had been playing on MTGO and through glitch or mistake ended up with a card named Daryl, Hunter of Walkers. Now, at this time, he wasn’t sure it was actually going to be reality, but he did remark about it being a unique and risky card set. Absolutely, were his fears realized.
But that’s not what I want to point out. The comment in question is when he speculated that this particular card could easily be produced later into a Viking zombie hunter with relative ease. Couple that with Wotc’s announcement that they reserved the right to reprint these unique cards as actual MTG cards down the road and things just might make sense. Was the unique Secret Lair cards Wotc’s clunky way of playtesting the waters, as it was, trying new things as shades of what’s to come in Kaldheim? If it is, it’s a bit of a clumsy and chancy endeavor that has proven to be a lynchpin subject.
Besides, if it is true, why do walkers aka zombies factor so heavily in Kaldheim? If they do, you end up with a Viking themed set with the cold, harsh land with people struggling against the elements AND the undead to survive. Maybe they build a wall…hmm.
Ok, hold onto that one for a minute.
As we look back to what little we have gotten of Kaldheim in the past, we venture through some dark and unsure vorthos.
The first appearance came in the form of a card in the Planeschase. It was one picture of a mountainous, snow beaten land with figures with weapons at ready standing at the mountain peak. SKYBREEN was a location on this plane and we’ll definitely be hearing of it again.
The next and most informative piece of lore is from the game, DUEL OF THE PLANESWALKERS. The story included a sequence where Chandra was influenced to steal the Dragon Scrolls so she could access the Ghost Fire. The influencer was a dark, little known planeswalker named RAMAZ. Ramaz may or may not have been from Kaldheim, but he knew how to get there and factored heavily in that part of the story.
RAMAZ may be a planeswalker we will be getting a card for in Kaldheim. Not much is known about him other than he had a thing for dragons and ended up being a thrall for none other than Nicol Bolas himself. He and Sarkon were luring Chandra into a senerio where she would access the ghost fire and, along with the presence of their three sparks, would release the Eldrazi Titans. How any of this factors into Kaldheim is unclear. But, if it does, what does Kaldheim have to do with Nicol Bolas and will it have anything to do with the final destruction of the tyrant dragon god?
Whatever it means, we have a good chance of getting another Chandra card along with Ramaz and possibly, Angrath. YES, ANGRATH.
In the Ixilan story ‘Glimpsing the far side of the Sun’, Angrath takes Hualti there briefly. Now, the powers that be have determined that he is NOT from Kaldheim. But he could show up (OF course, to be honest, any of the planeswalkers could logistically show up).
“It was cold there in a way she had never felt before. Mountains reached for the churning clouds, and bits of white fell quietly from a heavy sky.“
Now we have gotten a Chandra card in Coreset 2021. But, of all the Gatewatch, Chandra seems most likely to show. Garruk is a crowd favorite to show because he lends best of all the planeswalkers to this terrain and theme. But besides that, I have no indication that he will be a part of this. If the zombie theme persists, Liliana Vess is a must. But that’s all conjecture.
So, we’ll end on the note of zombie hordes. I’m doing some serious research into the themes of Norse/Viking related material for a future article, so I’m not sure this is to theme at all. But, as mentioned before, a STARK rugged land covered in ice and cold over run by … WALKERS? Is this a creative attempt to transition us from one Secret Lair to another featuring Game of Thrones? If it is, it seems ill timed and may go further to rubbing salt into the already deep wound the Magic community has suffered at the hands of the TWD lair.
But Wotc plans these things years ahead and both The Walking Dead AND Game of Thrones was at its peak in popularity when they put these together. So, it may have made sense when they planned it, but now, after hearing the anger of the masses, it may be the wrong thing at the wrong time. But the cards are probably already printed and packed and ready for distribution. Too late to pull out now, probably. So, it’s probably Wotc doubling down on a bad hand.
Either way, Kaldheim is going to be a good move in theory, after all. Most are ready and excited for this set, including us at THE MAGIC TAVERN. Next I will be peering into the themes given us by history, legend and myth and see what we may be expecting in this much anticipated set.