Collecting Kaldheim

Posted in Feature on January 7, 2021

By Mike Turian

Before joining Magic Online as its digital product manager, Mike worked as a producer for Wizards's technology department, a product manager for organized play, and as an R&D lead developer. He has played Magic Online since it came out in 2002 and Magic since The Dark.

Note: This article has been updated to include newly revealed content as of January 7, 2021.

One of our main guiding tenets when creating Kaldheim was to go big! We have more of everything—more places, more epic creatures, and four Planeswalkers! I'm Mike Turian, principal product designer for Magic and lead architect for Kaldheim. I have a first look at just some of the coolest cards in Kaldheim to show you today, so let's get to it!

This article gives you a first look at all the sweet Booster Fun cards in Kaldheim and where you can get them—with even more to show off on January 7. For all the MTG Arena fans out there, we've added information around the treatments and how you can find them on Arena as well!

Showcase Viking Legends

Kaldheim is a world that has been inspired by Norse legends and mythology. For each Magic set, we try to capture the essence of the world we are building and showcase the cards with both a main set version and an alternate-art custom showcase frame version. For Kaldheim, we knew this meant we would be highlighting the legendary cards in the set with the metal-inspired Viking showcase treatment. Kaldheim is filled with legendary cards, including modal double-faced Gods. I've been excited to share the showcase Viking legends since the moment I first saw them. Let's take a look!

Showcase Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Wow! You will find these showcase frames available for each legendary card in the set. To break it down further, I spoke with James Arnold, senior graphic designer for Magic, and the creator of this showcase frame. He talks of the inspiration that went into their creation: "I went to the National Nordic Museum and spent time looking at incredibly ancient Viking artifacts for inspiration. I remember running my hand along the side of a centuries-old Viking ship and feeling the wood grain worn smooth by lifetimes of adventure; that was the feeling I was looking to capture with this frame.

With the rough, powerful feel of the frames, it only made sense that the artwork would follow suit. Tom Jenkot secured the talents of some truly incredible artists to breathe life (and unlife) into these illustrations."

This, of course, led me to talk with principal art director and lead art director for the showcase cards in Kaldheim. Tom shared, "We worked on the frames first. They came together perfectly thanks to James Arnold. We had some placeholder art in the frame that we thought fit perfectly. Luckily, I convinced that artist, GodMachine, to do a couple pieces for us!

GodMachine couldn't do all the illustrations, so I had to find some others who could do this normally black and white style with some color. We found some of the best out there to lend a hand, and they showed up in a big way. Of note, I was happy to have Ian Miller lend a hand. Ian's been doing Magic art forever. He's also been doing Death Metal style before Death Metal was a thing!"

There are 12 showcase Viking uncommons, 14 rares, and 8 mythic rares. You can find showcase legendary cards in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters as well as within products that contain those boosters. Additionally, select showcase uncommons can be found within Theme Boosters.

Borderless Planeswalkers

Kaldheim features four mythic rare planeswalkers, including the debut of two new Planeswalkers! With each set, these planeswalker cards are given an alternate-art borderless treatment. This gives us the opportunity to show off more of these fabulous characters.

Kaya the InexorableBorderless Kaya the Inexorable

You can find borderless planeswalker cards in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters as well as within products that contain those boosters.

Borderless Pathways and Foretell Mythic Rares

The lands you have been waiting for are finally here! The remaining four rare Pathways are being introduced in Kaldheim. These four Pathway lands are quite striking and show off the backdrop of the new world of Kaldheim.

Barkchannel Pathway
Tidechannel Pathway
Variant Barkchannel Pathway
Variant Tidechannel Pathway

In addition to the borderless Pathways and planeswalkers, we wanted to show off the cycle of five mythic rare foretell cards in the set with new art and the borderless frame. The idea of foretell being a prophecy that you tell within a game of Magic makes it my favorite new mechanic in Kaldheim. I get giddy each time I foretell a card, as I now have a secret surprise up my sleeve! We also created a foretell helper token that you can optionally use to assist during gameplay. While we aren't ready to show off the mythic rare foretell cards quite yet, you can consider them prophesized!

Foretell Helper Token

Upon talking with our user experience designer and the designer for the foretell helper token, Daniel Holt had this to say: "We landed on the raven as a way to give a nod to Alrund, our Odin parallel, and included the Light of Starnheim shape (the diamond) in the center and along the edges of the bird's silhouette."

You can find the finished raven design on each main set card in Kaldheim with the foretell mechanic and on the foretell helper token.

You can find borderless Pathway and borderless foretell mythic rare cards in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters as well as within products that contain those boosters. Additionally, Ultimate Edition 2 will have all ten of the Pathways with new borderless art featuring four new Zendikar Rising settings and six new Kaldheim settings. You can read full information on Ultimate Edition 2 here.

Extended Art

Extended art will be on each main set, non-Saga rare and mythic rare card that didn't get one of the treatments listed above. This gives us a chance to show off the entire world of Kaldheim. With Kaldheim having ten realms to represent, we wanted to be able to show off each in all of their beauty. Let's take a look at a couple examples.

Extended-art Pyre of HeroesBuy-a-Box Realmwalker

Extended-art cards are only available to be opened in Collector Boosters. In Kaldheim, there will be 36 extended-art rares and 4 extended-art mythic rares. The Buy-a-Box card for Kaldheim is a foil Realmwalker featuring unique artwork and the extended-art frame. You can get this treatment at select game stores with purchase of a box of Draft, Set, or Collector Boosters (while supplies last).

Sagas

Showdown of the Skalds

Talking with Cynthia Sheppard, senior art director for Magic and lead art director for Kaldheim, she spoke on Sagas. "We continued Magic's tradition of Sagas as in-world stories from the perspective of the denizens of the plane. All are rich visual tapestries depicting unique moments from Kaldheim's history. Notably, two of the artists chose to carve their sagas from actual wood, using tools and techniques inspired by Norse woodcarving!"

Sagas already have a custom vertical frame and art and therefore won't be available in the extended-art treatment. All Sagas in Kaldheim will be available in Draft, Set, and Collector Boosters. In Collector Boosters, there is a dedicated slot to getting a non-foil card: either a rare Saga from the Kaldheim main set, one of five thematic Kaldheim rares that aren't found in Draft Boosters, or one of the Kaldheim Commander Deck rares or mythic rares. This means there is one additional rare/mythic rare you will find in each Collector Booster for a combined total of five when comparing the Kaldheim Collector Booster to Zendikar Rising, which had a combined total of four rares/mythic rares.

Collector Booster Contents

Collector Booster Contents

The Kaldheim Collector Booster features 11 traditional foil cards (and a double-sided foil token in addition), 5 special alternate-frame cards, and a combination of 5 rares/mythic rares. Let's take a closer look at the breakout of each Collector Booster in addition to the 5 foil commons/common snow dual lands and 2 foil uncommons found inside.

1 Rare Saga – A thematic Kaldheim rare that isn't found in Draft boosters, or one of the Kaldheim Commander Deck rares or mythic rares—see the section on Sagas above for more about this slot.

Foil Snow Basic Land

1 Foil snow basic land – Each Collector Booster comes with one of a snow basic land in foil. There are 10 different snow basics (2 Plains, 2 Islands, 2 Swamps, 2 Mountains, and 2 Forests) that are found here. Daniel Holt discusses the creation of this new snow frame:

"When we decided to create a set that features snow, especially a Viking-inspired world, it made sense to give snow focus. In Magic's history, we've done snow a few times before. We decided the gameplay was going to be better if you could quickly scan to count your snow permanents in the same way we distinguish artifacts and enchantment creatures. I focused on creating a concept that maintained color identity while also being flavorfully "snow."

1 Extended-art card – One of 36 extended-art rares and 4 extended-art mythic rares. Each rare shows up twice as often as each mythic rare.

1 Foil rare or mythic rare – This slot features the 64 rares and 20 mythic rares that you can find in the main set of Kaldheim (so you won't find Commander cards or the thematic Kaldheim rare cards here).

1 Non-foil and 1 foil showcase uncommon – These can be 12 different legendary cards, each featuring the showcase Viking frame.

Showcase Halvar, God of Battle
Showcase Sword of the Realms

1 Rare or mythic rare with a showcase or borderless frame and alternate art – In addition to having a cool new frame, each showcase and borderless card shows off a new piece of art that is custom designed to show off Kaldheim and pair with the showcase/borderless styles. There are 18 rares and 16 mythic rares. Two of the mythic rares in Kaldheim have both a showcase and a second Booster Fun variant frame. These cards' two treatments, combined, show up as frequently as other mythic rares in the set.

1 Foil rare or mythic rare with a showcase, borderless, or extended-art frame – The best way to finish off your Collector Booster experience is with the best of the best. Here you will find a Booster Fun treatment that captures all the awesomeness of Kaldheim in traditional foil! There are 54 rares and 20 mythic rares available in this slot, including one card with a showcase treatment that compleats what you can find.

Phyrexian Vorinclex

Booster Fun on MTG Arena

MTG Arena has brought in many of these treatments into their digital game as well. Here is an overview of the treatments available within MTG Arena.

Borderless Arena Kaya

Borderless planeswalkers, borderless Pathways, and borderless mythic rare foretell cards—each of these will have their own treatment bundle in the MTG Arena store.

Buy-a-Box card and style for Realmwalker—when you buy the 45-count pack bundle, you will get a Realmwalker card and its card style. The 90-count pack bundle gets you the card style and two copies of Realmwalker.

Showcase Arena Halvar, God of Battle
Showcase Arena Sword of the Realms

Showcase Arena Magda, Brazen Outlaw

Showcase Viking styles will be available in a variety of ways. MTG Arena will be having a Kaldheim Festival that will be making some of the card styles available. Others will be made available via bundles in the MTG Arena store.

Phyrexian Arena Vorinclex

Plus, this special card treatment will be available via entry into an upcoming Arena Open event.

Arena Snow Basic Land

Best of all, you will be granted Kaldheim snow and regular basic lands after Kaldheim releases on MTG Arena on January 28.

Realmwalker
Realmwalker | Art by: Zack Stella

I hope you enjoyed taking a closer look at the treatments and art of Kaldheim and where you can get them. If you are looking for even more information about Kaldheim products, Ari Zirulnik wrote an overview of each of the products releasing with Kaldheim with even more details about the upcoming products and cards. You can find me on Twitter at @mturian. I hope you have a happy New Year and a great time experiencing all that Kaldheim has to offer!

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