Gods of Kaldheim: Returning Value

Well, the spoilers just keep on coming and almost every day we’re introduced to another god of Kaldheim. Now, I’m not complaining at all because I was really hoping for a good many of these types of cards. But these new gods bring both blessings and curses. On the bright side, they’re all  modal double-faced. This means you not only get a god in your deck, but another permanent type as well. This gives us options and value and I like options and value. The bad news is that they are missing the Indestructible trait that the gods before them had. Options and value vs survivability. This is the dilemma.

So, how to get the most value out of your options in the coming paradigm of Kaldheim is the question.

First of all, we must not fail to remember that there comes another down side to your MDFCs. While they are in your graveyard or library, they are front face up. This means any card that tutors from your library or returns cards from your graveyard will only do so for the ‘front face’. And that front face is always the god portion of the card. In other words, you will not be able to tutor or return these cards with spells that do so for artifacts, enchantments, or Planeswalkers. However, you will be able to use cards of this ilk that go after creature cards. Now this will allow you to go after Valki and, then, in turn play the Tibalt planeswalker and the same with any of the other gods and play their artifact side instead.

That being said, we have the double-edged sword of having the option to play either side, but being stuck with our decision once we do so. Or are we really stuck? Not totally. There are cards both in standard and in other formats that can allow us a chance to ‘replay’ these cards. For the uninitiated we call these abilities FLICKER or FLICKERING; going all the way back to the Urza’s Destiny set and the original card of the same name: Flicker.

These FLICKER type cards will exile a card you control and, then, at the end of your turn, return it to the battlefield. But even this is wrought with problems. Number one, if the artifact side of your Kaldheim god-card is in play, you are limited to the types of flicker cards you can use. Once again, it is active on the field as an artifact and a great many of these types of cards only effect creatures.

Now, while that will be useful if the god side is showing, most circumstances dictate flipping over the cheap end aka the alternate side and flickering it back to the battlefield which will ALWAYS return it front side up ie. the god creature side. This makes for an optimum use of the card with a surprise entrance of said god they weren’t expecting.

But, as I stated, most of the flicker cards in standard and otherwise effect mostly creature cards. In standard, you’re only agent for this is Yorion, Sky Nomad. Unfortunately, the creature only does this when it enters the battle field. To use Yorion to flicker your DFMC from the artifact to god creature more than once, you will need to include creature flicker cards to activate Yorion’s ability when it returns from exile. Cards like Charming Prince or Flicker of Fate will do the trick here.

You have a bit more help for a commander deck with cards like Flickerwisp, Glimmerpoint Stag and Skybind. But only having one copy of these cards will not prepare you to flicker those cards on any predictable basis.

Another way to keep your options open with the MDF god cards, is using cards that return cards to your hand from the battle field. As stated before, you can use cards that retrieve creatures to either tutor or return your god card to your hand from the graveyard or the library. But to continue to keep your options open, having cards like Into the Roil, Turn into Pumpkin and Shepherd of the Flock handy will return any permanent to your hand and allow you to rework the artifact you had played and come back with the god creature side as soon as you have mana. Barrin, Tolarian Archmage is a great engine for this in standard, but he also only does this when he enters, so use some of the aforementioned cards or maybe Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, to continue to activate this ability.

For Commander, there are a few more options, although I’m not sure the viability of the deck in play and it may be just a side possibility built into the deck. Some of the options like Rebuild, Retract and Reduce to Dreams dictate ALL artifacts be returned to owners hand. Also color may be a problem since most of these cards are built on blue mana and some on blue/white. Only Crosis’s Charm (UBR) is not.

However Master Transmuter simply taps to return an artifact you control to the owners hand and Esperzoa, one out, does this every upkeep. Once again, you must have blue in the Commander’s colors which may make it more difficult for the other mono-colored gods of Kaldheim.

Maybe build it in Jeskia colors and use Nahiri the Harbinger to search for your god card as a creature and have Teferi, Time Raveler, handy to return them to your hand if necessary. Once again, I’m not sure this is anything but a side option in Commander and I’m not sure WHO your commander would be.

No, I think this option will be stronger in Standard with Barrin and Thassa than any other. But let’s look briefly at the individual cards.

Halvar, God of Battle, was the first card I thought about using the flicker and return tactics with. If you need an early equipment or, gods forbid, you have problems getting that fourth land, you may have the Sword of the Realms out wishing you could flip it and take advantage of that double strike. Luckily, there are good many cards to aid you in this in white.

But, if you don’t fancy flickering and returning your cards around, build your deck to get that handy sword in the hands of the God it was meant for. When playing MDFC’s sometimes you miss the forest for the trees. You’re allowed four copies, so why not work toward getting that sword on Halvar? It makes him a 6/4 danger with double strike and, if Halvar dies in battle, although he doesn’t have indestructible, you can return him to your hand and keep him coming back for more!

Also, besides giving all of your armed and enchanted creatures double strike, Halvar gives a free equip at the beginning of your combats. This keeps your opponent guessing which creature will be carrying what weapon or suddenly you’ve ‘Voltroned’ onto one ramping the damage.

This badboy will most likely be the ‘God of Jank’ early on. Unfortunately, the idea of flickering Valki is not a good one because, if he entered and exiled a creature from your opponent’s hand, once it flickers into exile, that card will return. Nice wording WOTC keeping us from continuing to activate that exile ability. But, still, the ability to tutor Valki from the library or return him from the graveyard gets a planeswalker in your hand. And that’s value.

As I stated in an earlier article, this God card is built to play in a deck of legendries. Building it with blue and white will allow you to use the Ringhart Crest to have that extra mana around to summon those legendries and, later either flicker it or return it to your hand to get the value from the God creature side once you have 2-4 legendries on the field. Even without this mechanic, it would fit right in with Sisay Weatherlight Captain, in WUBRG; storming the field with Legendary Permanents!

This will not only be one of the hardest to build around and to flicker, but would make less sense. I think this one is built to work like they all should. It is intended for the God of Death to sit on his throne, therefore on every upkeep, you’re milling one card and exiling two from your graveyard to keep this three drop 6/6 with death touch on the field. You can also exile another card using the throne to draw a card. I think you will need to have more self mill cards in your deck to keep this engine purring, but also plenty of return cards to keep the God of Death out of the ….uh…graveyard?

Toralf, our resident God of Fury and Kaldheim’s answer to Thor, is the most obviously built to be equipped with his own Artifact. Not much value in flickering this card, but imagine Toralf gets his hands on his hammer. Suddenly he’s a 8/4 with the added option of ‘throwing’ his hammer for an automatic 3 damage and a return to the owners hand. That’s the only problem is it doesn’t return to Toralf; it returns to you. And you have to pay the summoning and equipping cost all over again.

Toralf and Halvar would work well together, but that’s just passing equipments between creatures. Since you are in Boros to begin with, maybe a couple of our Kor in Standard, Akiri, Fearless Voyager, and Nahiri, Heir of the Ancients, can help with the proper flow of these artifacts.

Definitely, not for flickering. But, if you stock up on those snow permanents, it could gain infinite value; doubling land and mana and readying your snow creatures to protect their God every time Jorn attacks.

Alrund is set to work with most flicker and return cards being in blue. So flipping the bird, so to speak, will be an easy option. But this God is built for card advantage and management. He ramps for each card in your hand, so an unlimited hand size is a must with cards like Seagate Restoration, Folio of Fancies and Magic Mirror.

Playing this God card in a WUBRG deck will allow you to begin the match early with the actual God showing and ramping mana of any color. ALSO it would also work well in a Sisay/Legendary deck; giving every Legendary the ability to tap for any color mana. With both blue and white available in your deck, flicker and return cards can be easily played.

Ok, I may be more excited about this one than any other. Tergrid was built to carry her own lantern for optimum results. She can become a 4/5 with Menace which is challenging enough. OR she could use her latern; tapping it to try and force her opponent to sacrifice a ‘nonland permanent’ or discard a card. This will trigger her ability as she confiscates this discarded or sacrificed card and put creature on the battlefield under her control. And, if you get the mana base rocking, you can untap her as many times as you can pay for and do it again!

Tergrid reminds me of Athreos, Shroud-Vieled, where you make use of your opponent’s creatures. I’m definitely looking into a commander deck where these two can work together along with other cards that steal the opponents creatures from the grave!

Well, I’ve went on a little long today, but the mind is reeling with possibilities. The other part of this equation that I did not have room to cover was the protection of your exposed and all too vulnerable God. Maybe soo we can do an article about all the ways to make these exposed creatures indestructable.

How would you build these decks. I really can’t wait to see some of the builds you come up with. Man, Kaldheim is on fire and I can’t wait to stoke the flames of the next Doomscar! Raise your Ax and pass the Ale!!

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