Pyre of Heroes – Kaldheim
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2021
Commander [EDH]: 4.00
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
So, Kaldheim is a tribal set. I probably should have seen that coming. After all, the Aesir and the Vanir started off as two tribes who became one; and many of the stories we know center on their conflicts with a third tribe, the Jotnar. What I didn’t expect was the return of the changeling mechanic – I’m serious, look it up, and be surprised because they’ve spent over a decade telling us how playing with Lorwyn cards snares us into a troll-fog. I also didn’t expect a card that basically has Birthing Pod’s exact text.
True, it’s not quite the same because of that shared type clause. But there are plenty of tribal decks in competitive Magic: Humans and occasionally Faeries in Modern, Merfolk and Goblins in Legacy. I expect there will soon be Warrior and Angel tribal decks in Standard, too. For a tribal deck, the effect is actually cheaper to cast and activate than Birthing Pod itself. In larger card pools, you may need to work to fit it in amongst the other abundant rule-twisters, but the effect is more than powerful enough to work with. It also provides interesting play patterns to the more obscure or casual tribes, allowing even Noggles and Scouts to trigger flame-farewell effects at will.
There’s no way this ends poorly, right?
Pyre of Heroes calls to mind a notorious card from yesteryear: New Phyrexia‘s Birthing Pod, a card obnoxious and oppressive enough to get banned out of Modern. Pyre of Heroes does come with one wrinkle of its own, though: you need to find a creature that shares a type with it. Tribal decks have always been a Thing to some degree (and Changeling, spoiled to return in Kaldheim, does help things a bit that way), but it is a limitation that needs to be worked with and worked around.
For those who can, this is Birthing Pod 2.0. It doesn’t fit in all decks, as you need to have a good idea of what types can chain into what creatures, but it’s definitely got a lot of promise, and I could well see it doing plenty of damage in many formats.
Limited: 3 (effects like this are harder to make work with thinner card pools)
Commander: 4 (make sure you can make this work, but this opens a lot of decks up to Birthing Pod shenanigans that might not normally benefit from such things)
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