The God Of Battle
Hey guys It’s Jordan. This is my first time writing an article for Magic so I hope everyone enjoys it. So Wizards decided to give us some pre-spoiler season cards for Kaldheim (which releases February 6, we are taking preorders now) I am really impressed and excited for how this set is shaping up. Day one Wizards gave us the remaining 4 pathway lands, which I am extremely happy that we did not have to wait two years to complete the cycle like we did with the Battlebond lands. There was also an announcement that WotC will be releasing Secret Lair Ultimate Edition 2, which will include all 10 extended art Pathways with the six from Zendikar having art set on Kaldheim and the four that will be released in Kaldheim having art set on Zendikar. As a Vorthos Commander player myself, I am ecstatic with having all the pathways match artistically.
Personally I love the mythology sets like Theros and Amonket. WotC has done a great job in the past of merging real world mythology with the lore and flavor of Magic the Gathering. I remember sitting down here at Showtime for the Theros midnight prerelease, excited to open one of the gods and just soaking in the art and the world that they set up. Kaldheim is bringing back those feelings in a new way.
The new MDF cards are a wonderful new inclusion to the game and the newly spoiled Halavar, God of Battle is amazing. Having a creature that is also an equipment got my mind going to brew a deck around him.
Both sides of this card are great on their own. A four mana 4/4 that gives your creatures double strike and that allows you to move around your aura’s and equipment for free is a good card. But throw the ability to instead give a creature +2/+0 and vigilance while also making that creature incredibly difficult to deal with by returning it to the hand when it dies and this card is amazing. He already has a spot in 3 of my decks. And I think he would be a super fun commander to build around. Obviously going with the voltron Strategy is a good way to build this deck but there are also some fun and cheeky combos you can do to hit them with the sword side and get that commander damage in.
Alright, let’s get in to the deck and talk about some of the choices I have made. Toymaker; Karn,the Great creator; and Karn Silver Golem all have the ability to animate noncreature artifacts. So if you choose to drop the sword side early you can still hit in for some commander damage since the entire card has the commander quality. I would include all three of these cards in a more casual version of Halvar. The thought of suiting up Karn with a bunch of weapons and using him as a beater going against his pacifist nature is comical. Especially if you’re in a pod with a Phyrexian commander like Atraxa or Elesh Norn.
Halvar, while being our main voltron creature, also provides a good buff if we don’t want to lose him. Being in mono white we will have a problem with ramp so trying to avoid paying unneeded commander tax is necessary. Kor Spiritdancer, Graceblade Artisan, and Loxodon Punisher are good backup options They all get +2/+2 for each aura, or equipment in Loxodon Punnisher’s case, attached to them. Additionally Kor Spiritdancer provides us with card draw whenever we cast an aura.
Heavenly Blademaster can pull all of our auras and equipment onto her when she enters the battlefield. And then she provides a +1/+1 buff to our other creatures for each aura and equipment on her. Ardenn, intrepid Archaeologist allows us to move all of our Auras and Equipment to anyone we want at the beginning of our combat every turn, a good tool to have if our main hitter gets incapacitated with a pacifism effect or a new evasive threat hits our board.
Then we have our utility cards. Sage’s Reverie is card draw when we play it and then provides an additional buff to our enchanted creatures. Umbra Mystic gives our Auras totem armor, so we can protect our creatures. And Nomad Mythmaker gives us a way to recur our auras letting them stay around like our equipment do.
White is known for its lack of card draw, but this is actually untrue in equipment focused decks. We almost have too many to choose from and some of the cards above fill different roles in the deck and also draw us cards. Sram, Senior Edificer allows us to keep up with our opponents when we play our cheap equipments and auras. Puresteel Paladin only draws us cards when we play equipment but its Metalcraft ability is key to using our equipment like the proper toolbox they are. Mangara, the Diplomat is one of the newest card WotC has printed for white card draw and it is as good as it's hyped up to be. I expect this to be an auto include in all mono-white and white-red decks moving forward in commander. Land Tax helps with some of white's inability to ramp allowing us to never miss a land drop for the first turns of the game after it triggers even once. Filling our hand with lands will also often put us over the sevenc ard hand size limit, allowing us to discard things we want to recur later in the game.
Here is my first list of Halvar. It is spread between the Aura and the equipment plan that way we aren’t as easily disrupted in our voltron plan. We have a few good back up voltron creatures and the Heliod, Walking Ballista combo for an alternative win Condition. Let me know what you think in the comments, any changes you would make or how you would build Halvar.