Jorn, God of Winter – Kaldheim
Date Reviewed: January 20, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.75
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Much have I fared, much have I found,
Much have I got of the gods;
What shall live of mankind when at last there comes
The mighty winter to men?
— from Vafþrúðnismál
Winter gets a bad rap sometimes. I actually prefer it to summer, though that might be because I live in Australia. For us, summer is often characterized by wildfires, dusty winds, and sunlight that seems to reach right through brick walls. Regardless, snow is back in Kaldheim (though in hindsight, how could it not be?) and it is going places that it never did before. I remember thinking that snow had been pushed in Coldsnap, and being disappointed when it didn’t quite become a top deck at FNM, much less higher-level Standard. I doubt that will happen this time around.
For one thing, Jorn’s creature side is a powerful combat trick – all your creatures might have vigilance, and leave no opening for your opponent to use as a vengeance-road. He’s even a mana-doubling effect, albeit one who your opponent will try to block and kill on sight. But sometimes you only need to double your mana once.
Of course, you can also use this card as Kaldring (a name that means exactly what it sounds like, which makes it funny that it’s a staff). Kaldring is a massive threat to opponents over multiple turns, as it will make many of their answers stop functioning and overwhelm them with mounting advantage (from re-using cards, in this case). And I must say, it also feels kind of good to be saying those things about a non-planeswalker card this time around!
snow no: the re-snowening
Kaldheim has a lot of gods packed into one set, and Jorn has a really intriguing effect. Untapping every snow permanent (including himself) on attack can make for some massive turns if your mana base is snow-inclined, and while Jorn is not a great body on his own, a 3/3 isn’t unreasonable for as powerful as his effect is. His flipside, Kaldring, is also not half bad: recursion of things from your graveyard is nice (which does allow for lands to be played), and it amusingly works well with Jorn himself.
There’s a lot of intrigue going on with this card, and I definitely think it’s quite powerful in spite of being simple on the surface. Multiple copies play decently with each other, and it’s definitely a creature that can get a literal snowball going with time. His main downside is a need to attack to maximize his value, and it’s not terribly hard for most decks to dispose of a 3/3 with no combat abilities.
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