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A God and His Sword

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Amongst his many quests through the realms, Alrund - the ruler of Kaldheim's gods - chanced upon an orphaned baby in an eagle's nest on the realm of Axgard. He took this child and adopted it as his own, naming him Halvar, but due to his ongoing quest to fight every cosmos monster, left him with the dwarf king. Twenty years later, he returned to retrieve Halvar and bring him to the realm of the gods.

He played a big role in the battle between the Skoti and the Einir - the elves who were the then-ruling gods. With the aid of the dwarf-crafted axe Galdrimel, Halvar was able to cleave the elven race in two, creating the plane's wood elves and shadow elves in the process. Eventually he obtained the Sword of the Realms during the Battle of Bretagard - a sword made of the magical material tyrite and forged by the dwarven smith Koll before his death. Wielding this mighty blade, he closed the Doomskar that Tibalt had caused between the realms.

In the set Kaldheim, both Halvar and his mighty blade are on a single card, each taking up a different side. Thanks to Halvar himself being on the front side, we're actually able to craft a Commander deck with him as the commander - allowing us to cast the Sword of the Realms from our command zone if we choose. I thought he looked awesome so I put together a list. Let's have a look!

Halvar and the Sword | Commander | Kendra Smith


Upon first reading Halvar, I was really impressed and thought it could have some really cool applications in Commander. Turns out I actually misread Halvar's second ability. I thought it just put any equipment you control onto a creature of your choice. That got all kinds of thoughts brewing, like putting down cheap equipment or equipment with high equip costs to suit up critters fast. As it turns out, the actual ability is a lot less exciting because it just moves an equipment that's already attached to a creature you control and puts it onto another creature instead.

Batterskull
Scytheclaw

Aside from a few cards like Daru Spiritualist, there's not a lot of exciting things you can do with this. Living Weapon has a little bit of play here, but only a handful of them (like Batterskull and Scytheclaw) are any good. Granting everything Double Strike isn't super exciting either, though it can help once you have a big enough board state. So, that left me with the question of what to do with Halvar; but, I thought it might be more interesting to focus on the reverse side, Sword of the Realms, instead.

I went and started digging around for cards that had "enters the battlefield" abilities in both White and Colorless. As it turns out, however, the majority of them do things like making a bunch of tokens or else are something like Solemn Simulacrum. A few solid effects like Angel of Finality, Karmic Guide, and Knight of the White Orchid can show up from time to time, but they're few and far between. This doesn't exactly make for a terribly interesting deck, so I tried to just find a nice happy medium with everything.

Palace Jailer
Captain of the Watch
Angel of Finality

As a result, Halvar looks a lot like several other equipment-heavy decks, if only because you need a lot of equipment to make him decent, and a lot of the best cards that aid equipment strategies can be found in decks like Kemba, for example. Thankfully, the token generation of many of the ETB effects, planeswalkers, and so on works nicely as it allows us to continually spit out creatures to slap some equipment onto.

This can make Halvar's double strike a bit meaningful, but also limiting as your creatures all need to be equipped to get the bonus. The lack of natural evasion on many of the creatures is an extra bummer because it makes it difficult to push damage through. Some equipment, like the Swords of X and Y, get a bit of extra oomph from the double strike too, so if you feel like double dipping a bit, there you go.

Masterwork of Ingenuity
Sculpting Steel

One other thing worth mentioning in regards to equipment is the inclusion of Masterwork of Ingenuity and Sculpting Steel. Now, you might be thinking that this is to just work with a bunch of the powerful equipment in the list and you'd absolutely be right. I sure as heck would love an extra activation off a Sword of Fire and Ice or Sword of Light and Shadow, thank you very much. These two cards also have another sweet interaction with our commander! By copying the Sword of the Realms, you can send Halvar back to the command zone and recast him as a creature - only to have his trusty sword remain on the field! This can provide you with some nice synergy and even a bit of a flavor win in the process as Halvar carves a path to your victory!

As a final note, I do feel this deck is a little on the dull side at times. You could swap Halvar with Kemba, Kha Regent from the 99 and arguably have just as good of a time and possibly even a better deck simply by nature of having her spit out creatures while being suited up. But she's more of an all-in Voltron commander whereas Halvar is best when your team has gone wide. If you want to take the deck a little bit further, consider moving Halvar and his trusty blade to the 99 and finding a cool multicolored equipment commander. His good friend Koll, the Forgemaster, who even works great with token creatures, would be a wonderful way to go about things here, for example.

And that's it for this week! Next week I'll be back with some more Kaldheim Commander goodness talking about a nasty demon and his sack of goodies (read: horrors). See you there!

Kendra Smith

Twitter: @TheMaverickGal

Twitch: twitch.tv/themaverickgirl

YouTube: Kendra Smith

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