Runeforge Champion is a Dwarf Warrior creature card from Magic the Gathering’s Kaldheim set. As a creature whose utility depends greatly on a specific type of card, in this case Runes, I decided to pass judgment on Runeforge Champion until we knew what Runes actually were. With the reveal of Rune of Ascension, we discovered that Runes are Aura Enchantments which can attach to any permanent.
So, how does Runeforge Champion, a 2 / 3 for 3 mana – 2 generic and 1 White to cast – interact with Runes?
“When Runeforge Champion enters the battlefield, you may search your library and/or graveyard for a Rune card, reveal it, and put it into your hand. If you search your library this way, shuffle it.
You may pay 1 rather than pay the mana cost for Rune spells you cast.”
Notably, Runeforge Champion retrieves Runes from the graveyard, which is pretty handy. Considering that Rune of Ascension costs one generic mana and a Blue mana to cast, it’s already clear how the Champion can provide a significant amount of value.
Here’s what Rune of Ascension does, for example:
When Rune of Ascension enters the battlefield, draw a card.
As long as enchanted permanent is a creature, it has flying.
As long as enchanted permanent is an Equipment, it has ‘Equipped creature has flying.’”
Obviously, Runes give the permanents they enchant particular keyword abilities. Notably, these Runes can enchant lands, as well. So, say you have a creature land such as Crawling Barrens, if it’s enchanted by a Rune of Ascension, it gains flying. These are pretty neat Auras, especially as Runeforge Champion allows you to grab them back when he enters the battlefield.
Being that Dwarf Tribal is loaded with Enchantment and Equipment synergies, it makes sense that you’d want to play Runes to give your equipped and enchanted creatures additional abilities. Also, by removing the color requirement from casting a Rune, you greatly speed up and increase the consistency of any deck that plays them.
One strategy that’s been very popular over the years, and sometimes even highly competitive is the Bogles strategy. Named after Slippery Bogle, a creature that was the first “hexproof” one-mana creature in Magic, the deck revolves around loading up a single creature with a bunch of cheap Auras. The Bogle would later be followed by Gladecover Scout. Since hexproof creatures can’t be targeted by an opponent’s spells or abilities, that creature becomes difficult to get rid of on many occasions. Unfortunately in the Standard environment Runeforge Champion is entering, the only creature that can reliably gain hexproof is Crystalline Giant. Even in Magic Arena’s popular Historic format, the only other creature without conditional hexproof is Vine Mare.
So, are Runes good enough to play in Modern? Considering that Rune of Ascension draws you a card, they may well be. However, it’s doubtful that Runeforge Champion sees much play in Modern. As a creature to push the Runes in Standard, however, especially in a Dwarf tribe that’s been incredibly pushed – along with the subtype of Warriors, by the way – I think we see this guy seeing play. The Runes seem like decent enough cards, and being able to get them back from the graveyard or the library reliably seems worthy of giving the Champion a shot.
How would you play Runeforge Champion?
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