Kaldheim previews are upon us and the set looks like it will continue to push up the overall power level of standard. Thursday’s preview stream introduced the mechanics of the set. Sagas and module double faced cards are returning mechanics. Boast and foretell are the new mechanics.

In addition to the new mechanics, we have seen a clear focus of the set on tribal cards. Kaldheim has ten realms. Each has its own people and unique characteristics. How many of these realms will develop tribal decks is unknown at this point, but I expect that we will see attempts to create decks around these realms. Angels and giants look like the most likely candidates for tribal builds.

Now let’s look at the new mechanics and a few cards to see how these mechanics will impact the game.

BOAST

Boast is the sets aggressive new mechanic. The previewed boast cards are designed to accelerate a player’s game plan. Each Boast ability can be used only when the creature with the boast ability on it attacks and you can only use the ability once each turn. This limitation will make some of the cards with boast difficult to play, but those that are playable will create difficult decisions for players.

We have two previews cards so far with the mechanic: Dragon-Nest Berserker and Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire.

Varragoth looks like an ideal addition to the Dimir Rogues deck. For two colorless and a black mana you get a 2/3 demon rogue with deathtouch. Those stats alone make the card something that rogue players would want to consider. Varragoth’s boast ability makes it a must for the deck. For a colorless mana and a black mana you can have a target player search their deck for a card.

This is Demonic Tutor on a body. Being able to search your deck for any card you want is always a good effect. Two mana for this effect is incredibly cheap. Most of the cards that do this today cost at least three mana to cast. When you can activate the ability multiple times in a game it can be back breaking.

Including Varragoth in a Dimir Rogues deck means you can’t have Lurrus as your companion, but the tradeoff is probably worth it. I see three copies of the card going into the Dimir Rogues deck. Being able to go get a Ruin Crab or Thieves’ Guild Enforcer when you don’t have one will improve the consistency of the deck. This makes Varragoth, Bloodsky Sire a good fix for rogues.

Dragon-Nest Berserker is a 2/2 human berserker with first strike for a colorless mana and a red mana. Without its boast ability the card is probably playable in the right deck because first strike gives the card an advantage over other small creatures. Dragon-Nest Berserker’s boast ability gives you the ability to create a 5/5 red dragon creature token with flying for five mana. Also, the cost of creating the token goes down by one mana for each dragon you control. There are several potentially playable dragons in standard that should help Dragon-Nest Berserker crank out dragon tokens.

One of the difficulties that Mono Red decks have experienced over the last few years is getting stuck with mana in the late game and having nothing to do with it. Boast solves this problem. Getting to creature a 5/5 dragon token late in the game can break a stalled board open. I look forward to trying the card.

I expect to see boast cards finding a home in aggressive decks. We will need to see other boast abilities cards to decide what other types of decks will benefit from the mechanic.

FORETELL

Foretell allows you to exile a card for two mana and then play it for the foretell cost later in the game. This is an ideal mechanic for control and midrange decks that don’t have much to do in the early game. Based on the cards that have been previewed so far, we can expect to see foretell on most card types. The foretell cost of most cards will be two less than the combined casting cost of the card. For some of the more powerful foretell cards it will be only one less mana. Below are a few examples.
Our first look at foretell is Kaya’s Onslaught.

Kaya’s Onslaught gives a creature +1/+1 and it gains double strike until the end of the turn. This is a temporary effect that is like an Embercleave, but without trample. The Foretell cost of Kaya’s Onslaught is one white mana. This makes it very playable in the mid to late game when you have extra mana. Kaya’s Onslaught could be a finishing effect or because it is an instant could be used on a blocking creature to take down a large threat. It is certainly worth considering in any white creature deck.

Our second foretell card is Saw It Coming.

This is a classic three mana counter spell that can become a Counterspell when it has been sent to exile with foretell. Saw It Coming’s foretell cost is only two mana, so it is playable either as a regular counter spell or for the foretell cost. I can see Saw It Coming being sent into exile on turn four then used later in the game.

Another foretell card is Cosmos Charger.

Cosmos Charger is a 3/3 horse spirit with flying and flash for four mana. When it is in exile it can be cast for three mana. Sending it to exile on turn two and playing it on turn three looks like a quick way to accelerate a decks game plan.

What makes Cosmos Charger very interesting is that other cards with foretell cost one less and can be sent to exile on any player’s turn. Should a foretell based deck develop, Cosmos Charger looks like a must include to reduce the casting cost of the cards in the deck.

Both new mechanics will add new complexity and strategy to the game. How many good foretell cards there are in the set will determine if a deck can develop around the mechanic or if they are only support pieces. As for Boast, expect to see boast cards in a wide variety of decks.

What do you think of the new mechanics? Good? Bad?

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!