Welcome back everyone to our final lore dive for Kaldheim, Magic the Gatherings Norse themed set. With most of the cards already previewed (at the time of writing this article) it’s time to look at one of the main selling points of any mythological inspired set. The Gods.
Since the release of Theros seven years ago, Gods have become one of the most popular creature types for competitive and casual fans alike. Often very power from a gaming standpoint, they are also some of the most flavourful cards ever to be printed. Because of this, they have been the focus of many Commander decks in recent years, and the reveal of a new one gets many of us brewing away.
Now while I love the gods of Theros and Amonkhet, I have to say that the Gods of Kaldheim are probably the most flavourful one created by Wizards. Not only have they taken great care with the aesthetic of each of these Norse inspired deities, but they have also linked them very well to their mythology thanks to the double-faced mechanic.
So today we are going to have a quick look at some of these Gods and point out which deity they most resemble from Norse mythology, as well as rate how well they represent their folktale counterparts. So, let’s not waste any time and jump right in.
Alrund, God of the Cosmos
Anyone with even a passing knowledge of Norse mythology will be able to see that Alrund, God of the Cosmos is obviously inspired by the head of the gods, Odin. Not only is he missing an eye, but he has a Raven as a familiar of sorts which are both key features of Odin. But only when you look at his card do you get a sense of how well Wizards nailed his design.
You see, unlike many other Kings of the Gods like Zeus or Horus, Odin was much more of a trickster. Sure, he could battle as well as any of the other Gods, but he was far more concerned with wisdom and knowledge and would often disguise himself in order to be underestimated. In fact, the reason he has only one eye is because he sacrificed it in his eternal pursuit of knowledge. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that his counterpart, Alrund, God of the Cosmos, would be a Blue Legendary that gets better the more cards you have Foretold and in hand. Overall, some stella card design and a fitting tribute to the head of the Aesir.
Flavour Rating: Delicious.
Esika, God of the Tree
Next, we move on to Esika, God of the Tree and her association with the love and fertility Goddess, Freyja. In Norse mythology, Freyja was said to be the most beautiful of the Gods and was often sort after by the giants who wished to take her as a wife. She was also the twin sister to the God Freyr and ruler of Folkvangr, the heavenly field and resting place of the half the honoured death (the rest going to Odin hall Valhalla). But the thing that links Esika and Freyja together is not any of that, but rather it’s another card from the set.
You see, Freyja was known to be in possession of several different items, such as a cloak of feathers that allowed the bearer to fly between the realms, and the neckless Brisingamen. But the one that we are interested in for this article is her chariot that was pulled not by horses, but by two cats. That right, Esika’s Chariot is not only a sweet card for a token’s matter decks, but is a huge flavour win. All we need now is a chariot pulled by goats that you can sacrifice for food and we would be all set.
Flavour Rating: Seconded please.
Toralf, God of Fury
I think we can all agree that Toralf, God of Fury is clearly inspired by the one and only Thor. Not only does he have a Hammer that he can throw at his enemies like the true god of thunder, but he is in the prefect colour to represent such a being. You see, Thor wasn’t only a God of Battle and Strength, but he was one of the most hot-headed deities in the pantheon.
One such instants was when he was been kept awake by a giant’s snoring. Instead of passive aggressive pushing to wake the behemoth, he picked up his hammer and smashed the giants head (which was actually a mountain range, but that’s a whole different tale). Often quick to anger, as well as been known as a very passionate warrior, it is unsurprising to have the Kaldheim version of Thor as a red card, the colour most associated with those attributes. Additionally, red is also the colour know for the best spell ever printed, Lightning Bolt*. And what else is Thor known for? That’s right, fertility. Oh, and Thunder/Lightning too, I guess.
Flavour Rating: Chefs kiss.
Halvar, God of Battle
Now while most people are most familiar with Thor as a personification battle and strength, it might surprise you to know that he was not the main Norse War God. That honour goes the one-handed God Tyr. Most well-known for sacrificing a hand to contain the giant wolf Fenrir, he is also a God of law and justice.
With that in mind, is it any wonder that Tyr’s Kaldheim counterpart, Halvar, would be a White card. The colour that is most associated with Law, Order and Justice, it is a perfect fit for such a deity. The only thing that is off is that Halvar still appears to have both of his hands! Let’s just hope that he stays away from Sarulf, or he might start to look a lot more like Tyr.
Flavour Rating: Pairs well with wine.
Valki, God of Lies
Let’s round things off today with everyone favourite trickster and shapeshifter, Loki. The inspiration for Valki, God of Lies, Loki was one of the most infamous Gods in Norse mythology. The blood brother to Odin (not his adopted son as Marvel would have you believe) he was responsible for fathering the trio of Jörmungandr, Fenrir and Hel (who is possible the inspiration behind either Egon, God of Death and/or Tergrid, God of Fright). He was also responsible for the death of the God Baldur, which started off the events of Ragnarök.
However, in the story of Kaldheim we get another layer to this, as Valki himself appears to be been played by another notorious trickster from the multiverse, Tibalt. What is this devil doing in Kaldheim, and what does this mean for the story? More importantly, what happened to the real Valki? Maybe Tibalt has tide him to a rock and has a snake dipping poison into his eyes, similar to the how the Norse Gods dealt with Loki after they discovered his part in the death of Baldur. We will just have to wait and see (pun very much intended).
Flavour Rating: Couldn’t eat another bite.
And that about does it for today lore dive. What do you think about Kaldheim? Please let me know in the comments below, and while you’re there you could like and subscribe to keep up to date with all we do here at Master of Magics.
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* Look, it’s my article so if I say Lightning Bolt is the best, it’s the best.