In Magic the Gathering’s Kaldheim set, fans of Giant Tribal decks received a powerful new ally in Calamity Bearer. This four-mana Giant Berserker creature doubles the damage which any Giant you control deals to a permanent or player. While it doesn’t double the damage on the Adventure half of the most popular Giant out there in Bonecrusher Giant, the Bearer does indeed make every Giant you control twice as powerful when he’s in play.
While he’s a 3 / 4 Giant Berserker on paper, Calamity Bearer is functionally 6 power when he deals damage to creatures, planeswalkers, or players. That’s already a ton of power on a 4-drop. So, the floor for Calamity Bearer’s power level makes him already playable, even if you only play one other Giant like Bonecrusher Giant, who suddenly grows from 4 power to functionally 8 power when he deals damage.
The first people to be most excited by Calamity Bearer were players of Brion Stoutarm in Commander. Yes, Brion is a Giant, and his ability to fling creatures at players is legendary, not to mention he has lifelink, as well, so he gains you life with each fling. The beauty of the Brion Stoutarm combo is that the sacrificed creature doesn’t need to be a Giant, since the source of damage is Brion himself.
In the Kaldheim set itself, there’s Surtland Flinger, who serves a similar function to Brion Stoutarm. The difference with Surtland Flinger is that if he flings a Giant creature, he deals twice that creature’s base power. With Calamity Bearer in play, you then double that doubled damage, essentially dealing 4 times the sacrificed creature’s base power. Realistically, Calamity Bearer and Surtland Flinger could finish off a game between one another and one other Giant creature, such as Bonecrusher Giant or even Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger (who’s an Elder Giant).
Would Giants be a Standard playable deck thanks to Kaldheim? Considering that the deck doesn’t get down its best creatures often until turn four, it would take some sort of Izzet Midrange deck to get the job done. However, in early 2021, there were several Izzet Midrange decks playing a number of Giant creatures, and one copy of Calamity Bearer would often appear for its ability to make every giant source you control deal double damage.
Points go to this Giant Berserker for even appearing in a Legacy deck, a Giants Stompy deck piloted by Chicco Roversi in a 36-player online tournament.
Unfortunately, while Calamity Bearer has such a powerful ability, the Giant Stompy deck wasn’t consistent enough to be competitive past the release of Strixhaven. However, Commander decks certainly found homes for Calamity Bearer. Besides Brion Stoutarm, the most popular Giant Tribal deck became Aegar, the Freezing Flame, followed by Ruhan of the Fomori and Kalemne, Disciple of Iroas. The Giant Berserker appears often in lists led by all four of these Commanders, and understandably so, considering who doesn’t like a card that allows your Giants to deal double damage to a permanent or player?
How would you play Calamity Bearer?
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