by Phoenix Desertsong
Dwarves fans in Magic the Gathering may be able to live the dream of playing Dwarf Tribal in Standard with Magda, Brazen Outlaw from the Kaldheim set. This Legendary Creature is just two mana to play (1 colorless, 1 Red) and gives all other Dwarves +1/+1. Also, whenever a Dwarf you control becomes tapped you create a Treasure token.
Treasure tokens are neat enough, giving you an artifact that allows you to sacrifice it for one of any color of mana. It gets better with Magda, though, as you can sacrifice five Treasure tokens in order to search your deck for any artifact or Dragon card and put it onto the battlefield!
Already, the wheels are turning for Commander players eager to brew a mono-Red Dwarf deck. The problem in Standard is that before any other Dwarves are revealed in Kaldheim, only four Dwarves exist in Standard. They are Rimrock Knight, Seven Dwarves, Staunch Shieldmate, and Torbran, Thane of Red Fell. The good news is all four of these Dwarves are playable to different degrees.
Rimrock Knight is an aggressive 3/1 two-drop that also has the Adventure Boulder Rush, which gives a target creature +2/+0 at instant speed. That seems like an auto-include in any Dwarf Tribal deck. Seven Dwarves is a card that you can play seven copies of in a deck, and each copy pumps other all other Seven Dwarves by +1/+1. Magda would be happy to have these guys in the fold.
The other two are the one-drop 1/3 Shieldmate, who becomes a heck of a lot scarier with Magda on-board, and Torbran. As we’ve seen in mono-Red Torbran is very good and his commitment to needing 3 Red mana in his 4-mana casting cost isn’t an issue here. He makes each of your red sources deal 2 additional damage, making Dwarves already a deck to be reckoned with so far.
Any additional Dwarves in Kaldheim will make Magda significantly better, and we’ll return soon to cover those Dwarves, as well. Early in the Kaldheim spoiler cycle, we did get to see a Dwarf exclusive to the Theme and Collector boosters, Warchanter Skald. He’s a three-mana White Dwarf who plays into the equipment theme. Whenever he becomes tapped, if he’s enchanted or equipped, you get a 2/1 Red Dwarf Berserker creature token. Not bad at all!
Magda is a good playable Legendary already, albeit it’s hard to say how competitive it would be. However, being able to tutor up artifacts or even a Dragon is pretty spicy, especially when it goes directly into play. Standard is full of interesting Dragons, especially Leyline Tyrant and Terror of the Peaks, but neither of them has haste. Korvold, Fae-Cursed King could technically be cheated into play with this effect, but then you couldn’t hard-cast him from hand.
Interestingly, Gadrak, the Crown-Scourge, a three-mana Dragon who can’t attack unless you have four artifacts in play, however, may actually be playable in this Treasure happy deck. He also creates Treasure tokens himself for each nontoken creature that died in a turn, including your opponents. This formerly unplayable 5/4 flier suddenly looks interesting, except he doesn’t seem worth cheating into play with Magda’s ability whatsoever.
Magda, Brazen Outlaw in Pioneer and Modern
In Pioneer, Magda, Brazen Outlaw picks up help in both Red and White, especially thanks to Kaladesh and Aether Revolt. Aerial Responder is a solid 3-drop creature with flying, lifelink, and vigilance. Depala, Pilot Exemplar gives you another Lord that’s Vehicle-friendly, playing to the artifact-theme of Magda.
Of course, the best Dwarf in Pioneer is Sram, Senior Edificer, who draws you a card each time you cast an Aura, Equipment, or Vehicle spell. Toolcraft Exemplar helps with that plan, too. While Depala is nice at pumping your Dwarves, it’s most likely that you want to look to cheap Equipment instead with that plan.
In Pioneer, though, the Dragons are strong with Glorybringer and Stormbreath Dragon probably your best options with Haste. It’s well worth sacrificing five Treasures to get either of those Dragons!
Modern doesn’t add much to the Dwarves, but it adds incredibly to the Equipment stock, plus you could even play the Mirrodin-block and Modern Horizons Swords, plus Stoneforge Mystic (who isn’t a Dwarf but who cares). You also get the option of playing Thundermaw Hellkite, which absolutely demolishes decks with lots of fliers.
The potential core already exists for Standard, Modern, and Pioneer Dwarf Tribal lists, and that’s before you ever see the rest of the Dwarves in Kaldheim!
Dwarf Tribal in Commander
The only issue with Magda, Brazen Outlaw in Commander is that many of the best Dwarf creatures exist in White. That means that Depala, Pilot Exemplar, for better or worse, is a strictly better Commander than Magda. Even Mono-Red has a better option with Torbran giving all of your Red sources of damage those extra 2 points of hurt. She’s plenty good, but pretty much doomed to be one of the 99, and one of the 59 even in Brawl!
That being said, Magda, Brazen Outlaw is a fun Dwarf Tribal card that will definitely see play in some context. Magda is hopefully just one of many fun, potentially powerful tribal synergy cards we will see in Kaldheim!
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