Invasion of Kaldheim / Pyre of the World Tree
– March of the Machine
Date Reviewed: April 19, 2023
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ve heard some complaints about red’s “impulsive draw” effects over the years, which I don’t really get. I think it’s mainly because the cards are lost to the yawning void if you don’t use them, unlike with self-mill effects – Magic players are nothing if not risk averse. Invasion of Kaldheim is an interesting design that does decrease the downside, even if just by giving the relevant words a bear-slap. I don’t feel it’s a particulary necessary design, because accessing more cards in any form is already good; but it’s fairly effective, particularly if you have too many lands in your hand or have otherwise hit the fog-sea. I suspect, though, that many of you are here for Pyre of the World Tree. The dream-road is obviously to discard a land and hit something to play which gives you more lands to discard, and turn your deck into a feedback loop. That’s probably not as easy as it sounds, but some of the same cards that help you do that will also be good when its sun-face is active – just be mindful of the fact that you do need to defeat the battle first, and if your deck only really wins when Pyre of the World Tree is active, you’re going to have a wolf-winter of a game.
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
Let’s start with the front half of Invasion of Kaldheim: it’s a four-mana pseudo-wheel effect. You don’t lose the cards you dump from your hand, but rather replace it with a new hand and have the ability to play them for one more turn. While this is not going to do much in a top deck scenario, if you have a hand full of underwhelming cards, this is a solid way to fuel more antics while not just binning a card you want to keep.
The backside, Pyre of the World Tree, is a cranked-up Seismic Assault, which has long been a pretty decent weapon in a lot of decks across many formats. In addition to the ability to throw Shocks around, you can also dig a bit deeper into your deck: you can only play things on that turn, but there are definitely ways to make this pop, like using spells to make sure you have cards waiting that benefit you in a pinch. This isn’t too hard to flip, either; four defense can be broken through without a ton of trouble, and if you pitch two lands, you immediately recoup that investment. The wording of Pyre of the World Tree also gets you the bonus if you discard the land to something besides itself, so there is that!
Unlike Invasion of Ikoria, I think Invasion of Kaldheim is more notable for its backside; this isn’t to say the front is useless, but it’s less the star of the show. I think it remains to be seen how quickly battles are going to flip in most formats, but this is tempting enough that I can see it seeing play. Having a less color-heavy mana cost is also nice, as Seismic Assault’s triple-red ask is sometimes a bit cumbersome for decks that might otherwise want it.
Commander [EDH]: 4
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