Kaldhiem has to be one of the coolest sets in recent history. I mean, how many Magic: The Gathering sets get their own accompanying metal album? And the showcase cards? Beautiful. From the Dwarves and Gods, to the Runes and Changelings, so much of the set seemed to just work on a thematic level, and it was glorious. Among the various homages to Norse mythology, though, was one quality that I thoroughly enjoyed above the rest. This quality was the inevitable support for one of Magic's most forgotten tribes: Giants!
Izzet Giants| Casual | James Heslip
- Creatures (20)
- 1 Thryx, the Sudden Storm
- 1 Aegar, the Freezing Flame
- 1 Cyclone Summoner
- 1 Sunrise Sovereign
- 1 Thundercloud Shaman
- 3 Giant Harbinger
- 4 Bonecrusher Giant
- 4 Prophetic Titan
- 4 Stinkdrinker Daredevil
- Instants (4)
- 4 Crush Underfoot
- Sorceries (4)
- 4 Glimpse the Cosmos
- Enchantments (4)
- 4 Invasion of the Giants
- Artifacts (4)
- 4 Pyrite Spellbomb
Cost: $17 at the time of publication
Though not the product of Kaldheim, the risky dentistry of Stinkdrinker Daredevil is a mainstay of any Giant deck. Most giants have extremely high mana values, and it's difficult to play a large number of them without having to play draw-go for the first five or six turns of the game while you build up your mana. Daredevil prevents this, allowing us to yell "Fee-fi-fo-fum" much earlier than normal. Of course, things get a little crazy when you're able to get multiple copies of the goblins into play.
Pulling from Kaldheim, Invasion of the Giants is our second core card. This Saga not only gives us early game draw manipulation and burn, but also acts as a single-turn Daredevil, reducing the casting cost of any giant we might want to play. Together, they make the rest of the deck playable in a world where players actually do things in the opening turns of the game.
Glimpse the Cosmos is an on-theme cantrip with a powerful pseudo-flashback that actually reduces its mana value the second time around. This gives us insane levels of filtering and draw power, especially when combined with the scry and draw of Invasion. Another thematic spell is Crush Underfoot, the deck's tribal kill spell of choice. It answers most threats with ease once we get a Giant into play. If we need to kill anything before this, Pyrite Spellbomb does the job well. It can also draw us more cards if there's nothing biting at our ankles in the early game.
A savvy player might notice the large variety of card types that make an appearance in our list. An enchantment that's also a saga, a burn spell that's also an artifact, and an instant removal spell that's also tribal. Of course, this is to enable what is arguably the most powerful giant in the list: Prophetic Titan. With delirium active this already impactful creature grows to new heights of brokenness. The enormous wizard provides even more draw filtering, plus burns away any threat with 4 toughness or less. Should there be nothing standing in his way, a nice four-damage punch to the face of your opponent is also possible.
Rounding out the list, Giant Harbinger searches out any of the singleton giants we play. Of these, Thryx, the Sudden Storm flashes in to reduce the casting cost of our colossal creatures. Aegar, the Freezing Flame adds even more draw power, especially when Sunrise Sovereign is in play. Finally, Cyclone Summoner and Thundercloud Shaman are able to wipe the board of threats if things get too out of hand.
Playing the Deck
Early turns will be spent killing off the opponent's opening threats with Bonecrusher Giant's Stomp and Pyrite Spellbomb explosions. Meanwhile, Glimpse the Cosmos and Invasion of the Giants filter our draws to ensure land drops and a decent threat density in the following turns. Our primary goal is to start casting cost-reduced giants around turn four, and to keep the pressure going through the many cantrips and draw effects available to us.
The best opening hands are those that can make use of our fetch lands, saga, artifacts, etc in the early game to enable Prophetic Titan's delirium as soon as we're able to summon him. A turn two Invasion followed by a turn three Daredevil means a full four mana cost reduction on any giant during our fourth turn of the game, and is a common set of plays which follow our curve nicely. I also enjoy Stomping with Bonecrusher on turn two, and following up with Daredevil on turn three. This makes every Bonecrusher a 1-drop by the fourth turn, and we still get to have relevant plays in the early game.
Despite the many singleton giants that can be found, it's often correct for Giant Harbinger to search out Prophetic Titan or Bonecrusher Giant simply to use as removal. Thundercloud Shaman is likely your next most common target; just be aware that it's very easy to accidentally kill your own Daredevils with him.
Additional Options | Casual | James Heslip
- Creatures (13)
- 1 Basalt Ravager
- 1 Blind-Spot Giant
- 1 Borderland Behemoth
- 1 Crystalline Giant
- 1 Frost Titan
- 1 Frostpyre Arcanist
- 1 Inferno Titan
- 1 Kuldotha Ringleader
- 1 Quakebringer
- 1 Rimeshield Frost Giant
- 1 Surtland Elementalist
- 1 Surtland Flinger
- 1 Tectonic Giant
Blind-Spot Giant is a strictly worse Bonecrusher, but playing a full set of both makes for some easy field swarming once Daredevil hits play. Playing eight copies of a one-cost 4/3 is certainly respectable. This just makes you even more reliant on the goblin Rogue. Another 3-drop worth considering is Crystalline Giant, who helps to curb problems that may arise from playing two colors on a budget and can easily grow into a powerful threat that demands an answer, lest he take over the game.
Basalt Ravager is basically this tribe's Flametongue Kavu. I can easily see him played as a Harbinger target, though I'm not sure he's needed considering all of the other removal effects already in the deck. Still looking at four mana threats, Tectonic Giant is worth a mention. Though his burn cannot target creatures, it creates a decent clock, and the additional "draw" effect isn't bad either.
Battle of Frost and Fire is an additional Kaldhiem Saga which clears the board of early threats and manipulates our draws. It was originally included in the list, but after testing I decided that by the time I was ever able to cast it, I was always choosing to cast a threat instead. Thanks to all the other burn spells played, I rarely needed the board wipe effect. So, it just sat in my hand doing nothing. This being said, I wouldn't fault anything for trying it out, and in the right playgroup the additional burn might be needed.
Squash is likely a better removal option for the deck than Crush Underfoot, but the tribal classification of Crush makes it much easier to reach delirium for Titan. Still, one might be able to find room for it. Another option is Unholy Heat, which also benefits from delirium. Both pair well with Aegar, as six damage is usually more than enough to kill most creatures.
Overall, of the Red and Blue giants not included in our list, Frost Titan and Inferno Titan are likely the strongest. I feel that of those giants that did make the cut into the main list, each has its purpose, and I'd be hard-pressed to remove any of them. However, both M11 Titans are inarguably powerful, and if one is willing to spend a couple extra dollars for a copy or two of each, they would definitely show their worth.