Last Wednesday and Thursday’s previews presented some interesting options for standard. Below is a look at the four cards that I think you will need to be on the lookout for during Kaldheim season.

Our first card is Battle of Frost and Fire. This is a blue and red saga for five mana. Battle of Frost and Fire was designed to go in a giant tribal deck. Five mana is a lot for a saga, but this one does several powerful things that makes the five-mana cost worth it.

Chapter 1 deals 4 damage to each non-Giant creature and planeswalker. This is a potential board wipe in a giant tribal deck that can takeout planeswalkers. This alone makes the card playable in a giant deck. Chapter 2 lets you scry 3. This is a typical blue ability that will let you filter your draw. Chapter 3 says that “Whenever you cast a spell with converted mana cost five or greater this turn, draw two cards, then discard a card. This is good value at the end of the saga, because you are likely to have a five mana cost giant in your hand ready to play by the time that you get to this chapter.

I’m not sold that a giant tribal deck will be playable in standard, but if one does develop this will be a good sideboard option for the deck and if aggro decks are prevalent in the format then I think it will be a good wrath effect that can be part of your starting 60 cards.

Our second saga of the day is The Bears of Littjara. This blue green saga costs only three mana and it has powerful abilities that will push Simic decks back into the format. Chapter 1 creates a 2/2 blue shapeshifter token with changeling. Chapter 2 allows you to target any number of target Shapeshifter creatures you control and have their base power and toughness 4/4. Based on the wording of the card, I think this is a permanent change, so you can play a few lower cost shapeshifters early in the game and then play The Bears of Littjara to transform them all into 4/4 creatures. This affect on its own is worth the three mana investment in the card. Finally, chapter 3 allows you to target one creature or planeswalker and have each of your creatures that are power 4 or great deal damage to the creature or planeswalker equal to its power. This will let you take down the biggest threat that your opponent has on the battlefield without having to send them into combat.

If shapeshifters find a home in standard, then expect The Bears of Littjara to see play. Getting to increase the power and toughness of each of your shapeshifters to 4/4 is a strong effect that will allow you to take advantage of Chapter 3’s ability to kill a creature or a planeswalker.

Angel tribal gets a saga in Firja’s Retribution. For a colorless, two white, and a black mana you get a saga that will be a must play in an Angel tribal deck. Chapter 1 creates a 4/4 white Angel Warrior token with flying and vigilance. This is a Serra Angel for only four mana. Then Chapter 2 gives each Angel you have in play tap to “Destroy target creature with power less than this creature’s power.” This will allow you to use your Angels as no cost removal spells. Finally, chapter 3 gives each Angel you control double strike until the end of the turn. My guess is that if you hit chapter 3 you will win the game on this turn because of the high amount of damage that you will be able to inflict on your opponent.

Overall, I like the power of Firja’s Retribution. Each of the abilities feels like something that fits well into a black, white Angel deck. The good news for fans of Angel tribal is that we have gotten enough good Angels in the set to make the deck at least a Tier 2 option in standard and I would not be surprised at all of the deck has some Tier 1 potential.

Our final card of the day is Reidane, God of the Worthy. I feel like Reidane should also be an Angel, but we did not get that lucky with this modal double-faced card. The front side of Reidane is a 2/3 god with flying and vigilance. Her abilities make her an interesting inclusion in a variety of decks. First, snow lands your opponents control enter the battlefield tapped. Slowing down an opponent’s ability to play the game has always been a valuable tool. Kaldheim has reintroduced snow lands to standard. Since there are good cards that want snow lands, I expect players to choose snow lands over basic lands for this upside. This will make Reidane’s ability more effect than it would otherwise be. This should be particularly valuable early in the format as players try new snow cards.

Her second ability taxes decks that want to play high mana cost spells. “Noncreature spells your opponents cast with converted mana cost 4 or greater cost 2 more to cast.” This tax on high cost artifacts, instants, planeswalkers, and sorceries will slow down an opponent’s game plan because they will need more mana than they planned for to cast these spells. Again, slowing down your opponent’s game plan for a few turns can make all the difference in a close game. Having wrath’s and other impactful cards sitting in an opponent’s hand feels good as you are finishing them off with the creatures you have on the board. I think Reidane will be very effective against control decks.

The back of Reidane is Valkmira, Protector’s Shield. This legendary artifact costs four mana. It gives you two good effects that you might want to play in the mid game to help take control of the game. First, if a source an opponent controls would deal damage to you or a permanent you control, prevent 1 of that damage. This is particularly good against aggro decks that will have a lot of creatures in play. Preventing one damage to your creatures when they block or get blocked can be the difference between that creature dying or surviving combat. Second, “Whenever you or another permanent you control becomes the target of a spell or ability an opponent controls, counter that spell or ability unless its controller pays 1.” This is another tax on your opponent. Many times, your opponent will play a card like Elspeth Conquers Death on turn five to exile the biggest threat that you have on the battlefield. With Valkmira in play, this will cost one extra mana making it harder to play other spells and slows down your opponent when he or she decides to use cards like Elspeth Conquers Death.

That’s it for today. What do you think of these cards? Will they be impactful in standard or other formats?

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!