Alrund, God of the Cosmos – Kaldheim
Date Reviewed: January 12, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I ween that I hung on the windy tree,
Hung there for nights full nine;
With the spear I was wounded, and offered I was
To Odin, myself to myself . . .
— from Hávamál
It’s tempting to look at creatures like Alrund (and Hakka, for that matter) and see “just” a showpiece for a new set’s eye-snare gimmick (foretell, in this case). It’s tempting to note that Alrund doesn’t have an evasive ability, because we’re often used to trying to bypass the spear-din altogether when we make decks. But this would be ignoring the fact that he can gain absolutely enormous stats just from you doing things blue likes to do anyway. It’d be ignoring the fact that his two sides play together really well – it can get expensive to re-cast Alrund in time to benefit from a Hakka attack, though Commander decks might be able to mitigate this issue with their mana rocks. It’d be ignoring the fact that both of his sides can be dominant in limited, and built around in constructed.
Scrying, knowledge, shapeshifting, and slaying – it really is the Hávi in card form. I have to give them credit for that!
It wouldn’t be Norse mythology without Odin, right? Turns out that the Gods of the set don’t just turn into stabby swords; they have many forms to them, like being BIRDs or other fun options.
Alrund is Kaldheim‘s answer to Odin, the god of wisdom. He’s even in the “wisdom” color and rewards “wisdom”, here represented by use of the foretell mechanic on top of hand size. His body is definitely not the main attraction of the card, as the triggered ability on his end step does a lot more for his prospects. Particularly when you couple it with his other side; as an avian perversion, Alrund (known here as Hakka) will let you potentially set-up for casting Alrund properly that turn. An evasive body that triggers scry on hit is nice for getting lots and lots of extra card advantage, potentially, and Alrund can do a lot if he has time to get the value engine going.
I’ll say that Alrund is probably one of those cards that plays better than he looks; he’s poor as offensive pressure unless you’re grossly ahead, but he’s not just a “win more” card, and he’s a serviceable enough topdeck unless you’re facing down a barrage of removal. Hakka is a good early option, if nothing else; a 2/3 with flying for just two mana is excellent, even if it can’t swoop often.
Constructed: 4 (this is maybe a bit high, but I think Alrund has decent abilities for an already-strong color)
Limited: 4.75 (Hakka can probably swoop to victory all on its own)
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