Afraid of Koth of the Hammer


Koth of the Hammer :: Jace, the Mind Sculptor :: Mana Acceleration
Banned Cards :: Speculation :: … and Koth of the Hammer

Koth of the Hammer

This morning I considered speculating on Koth of the Hammer.

I figured maybe buy all of the copies I could around $20. I figured Koth of the Hammer would more than double in value, in much the same vein as Jace, the Mind Sculptor.

You see, it is my current belief that Koth of the Hammer is the most powerful Planeswalker we have seen.

It is kind of a shame. I was not thinking big enough when I wrote the Koth of the Hammer preview for the mother ship. The biggest thing I could think of at the time was jumping an Inferno Titan into play with Koth’s [-2] ability. Have you got any idea how powerful this card is?

If you play a fifth land on the fifth turn, with Koth in play on the fourth, you have literally 10 mana available! How about this one?

  • Turn two Everflowing Chalice.
  • Turn three Koth of the Hammer, untap a Mountain, go.
  • Opponent makes and sends with a Vengevine.
  • You answer the Vengevine with the Lightning Bolt you didn’t bluff with your untapped Mountain (which in fact powered up Koth of the Hammer).
  • Turn four add RRR to pool, tap your four “real” mana to make RRRRRRR1.
  • Destructive Force?


You blow up the world, including basically all of the opponent’s mana and any stray animals, you still have arguably the most powerful Planeswalker in play… and then you play a land.

Koth is so crazy powerful it blows my mind. I liked Jace, the Mind Sculptor from the get-go but Koth seems a few millimeters from too good. You see a card like Jace might go in many different decks, but that doesn’t make it the most powerful Planeswalker. Going in lots of different decks has nothing to do with who is the most powerful. Look at the average banned list entry…

… Which one goes in lots of different decks, again? Cards are banned because they are too good. Being too good usually means providing too much mana in value relative to how much it actually costs. You know, like giving a return of 10+ mana for an investment of only four (not to mention getting additional value out of a card).

Here is something BDM pointed out to me while we were podcasting tonight…

What happens when Jace and Koth fight? All other things held equal, doesn’t Koth just kill Jace? … And then make a bajillion mana and crush you with some super awesome jimmy jazz? Mountain to the jaw? Hi-yah?

yes, Yes, and YES again.

Okay then… What’s the damage? Why am I afraid of Koth of the Hammer? At the beginning of this article, wasn’t I talking about wanting to speculate on him?

Sure, speculation might be a bit dicey with Koth already at a pre-order price of $50 at many stores. That’s not the only problem (he could easily see Primeval Titan or Jace, the Mind Sculptor prices).

… I’m afraid he might get banned.

I own a binder full of Time Spirals, no lies. Well maybe not a whole binder, but you get the picture.

Yeah, TDG.


facebook comments:


#1 Alfrebaut on 09.09.10 at 10:56 pm

I like Koth, I do. The other red planeswalkers, aside from Vengeant, have been pretty weak, so it’s not hard to get excited about one that’s actually good. Problem is, I can’t see a deck for him right now. Now granted, we haven’t really seen that much of Scars. But, between M11 and Zendikar, big red isn’t exactly in its prime. Not without green, at least. I suppose he could find a home in the GR Primeval/Valakut/D-Force decks, but I’m not sure he’d really shine there. I feel like I’d almost rather just have Garruk there. Personally, I’m hoping Scars will bring back some old Mirrodin-era classic red cards like Arc-Slogger and Molten Rain, and give red most of the good artifact removal. That way, big red might have a fighting chance again. Koth is undeniably good, but I feel like he may just be too mono-mountains to be great… right now.

#2 ProdigalT on 09.09.10 at 11:31 pm

Please Hammer don’t hurt ’em.

#3 canman87 on 09.10.10 at 12:16 am

I still don’t see this guy as being too powerful. He’s pretty good, yes, but purge still wrecks his day, firewalker waltzes right through and keeps him off ultimate, and four mana spells don’t exactly resolve like they used to. I think he’ll be kept in check just fine, personally. UW on the play can send colonnade his way on the turn after and take him out (after condemning the land he tried to send at you). Granted, that won’t always be the case and sometimes Koth will break the game open, but I can’t see that happening enough to be worried.

#4 Theiss on 09.10.10 at 1:11 am

Also, that is just seeing and using what is currently available! We have to also keep in mind that this new block is mostly centered around Artifacts…that means colorless mana costs!

#5 browndr on 09.10.10 at 6:59 am

How do you see Koth interacting with Chandra in either form? I can see a turn five where you tap 4 Mountains for Koth, play your fifth, Use the -2 ability and then drop Chandra Nalaar into play. Worth it, or pipe dream?

#6 Kain_Xavier on 09.10.10 at 8:25 am

I’m with Mikey. This guy is uber-strong. The most common comment I’ve seen that’s negative is “this guy doesn’t have a home”. How about you build him one?? Obviously mono-red is going to be where he’s most useful – “big red control” such as the Destructive Force example, “big red aggro” with possibly Lord of Shatterskull Pass/Red Titan, or even RDW is more than viable.

I’m interested to see your thoughts on Venser, and the new Masticore Mike. I find it odd that they printed Venser in the set over a U/B or U/R version of Tezz considering the amount of push that U/W has gotten lately, and Venser is in my opinion, no slouch (bounce wall of omens, white titan, Sea Gate Oracle, Trinket Mage, etc). Masticore is a absolute house being able to target an opponent now. Any creature heavy deck is going to eat this thing up.

The other “buzz wothy” mythic, Opal Mox, I find pretty weak in a vacuum considering the legendary status. I understand WHY it is (T1 Land Mox Mox Voltaic Key Everflowing Chalice, T2 Land Baneslayer), but it seems to really kill the idea of playing any more than one in a deck.

#7 MTGBattlefield on 09.10.10 at 9:09 am

Afraid of Koth of the Hammer…

Your story has been summoned to the battlefield – Trackback from MTGBattlefield…

#8 themandotcom on 09.10.10 at 9:48 am

I think Koth is amazing, but I’m afraid that decks that he would be best in don’t want to be mono-Mountain. As long as there’s no Rav-duals or whatever, do you really want to cast a turn 4 destructive force in Mono-Red? If you do, then you wipe yourself out as much as you do your opponent. However, if you play him in a non-monored deck, like Valakut or something, then it’s +1 is really doesn’t advance your gameplay, and it’s -2 its just a Phyretic Ritual or whatever. Also, as noted above, Celestial Purge really ruins his day. Obviously, a PChapin said on twitter, he is the best card in the decks that he’s in, I just think that there’s only gonna be a few decks that will want to run him.

#9 ProdigalT on 09.10.10 at 9:54 am

@Theiss: The fact that the block is centered around artifacts makes Kor Firewalker much less good. The fact that Koth makes colored mana is frequently unimportant. How about instead of 4th turn Destructive Force, Wurmcoil Engine? Or Contagion Clasp+activate? Steel Hellkite, Chimeric Mass. And those are only the cards that have been spoiled! There’s a cycle of colorless spellbombs too. I don’t like speculating much (btw, where are you getting Koth for $20? Playsets on ebay are at like $125) but this guy is bonkers.
If the metric for which cards are good are cards that don’t get removed by Celestial Purge, then there are no good black or red permanents. Bummer. (By the way, did you know Baneslayer Angel dies to Doom Blade? It’s unplayable!) At WORST, Koth is a 4/4 colorless haste for 4 that doesn’t cost a card. At best, he’s game over.

#10 bzander on 09.10.10 at 1:09 pm

I agree that Koth of the Hammer looks really good, probably even better than I can myself imagine by just looking at the card. But I have a hard time imagine that Koth will be “too good”. While yes, you can generate a ton of mana with Koth but I think that it balance outs when you realise that you need to run a bunch of mountains in your deck in order to do so. And running a bunch of mountains in your deck will constrict your ability of doing really silly things since most of the cards that get redicoulus (in the class of Time Warps and what nod) when you have a ton of mana aren’t red. At least it has been like that in the past…

#11 ibanez on 09.10.10 at 5:58 pm

It’s not like UW isn’t playing mana leak, flashfreeze and purges. When you deal with Koth, none of the “mindblowing stuff” happens, specially since mono red hasn’t got any way of card-drawing-advantage, and you don’t want to play basilisk collar and cunning sparkmage and just hope they come out.
You are putting the best scenarios for Koth, but what about an un-answered Jace? Venser?Elspeth?Gideon?
I would love to see a mono red deck with bigger creatures and spells thatn the usual goblin guide decks though.

#12 Alfrebaut on 09.10.10 at 8:22 pm

Holy crap, I just checked, and the prices aren’t at all like $20 per. They’re more like $30-50, and that’s presale. The card hype world is getting ridiculous. Hey Mike, next time, can you do us all a favor and downplay the sheer awesomeness of the cards you preview? Or at least give your pals here a heads up so we can preorder them before they hit the high prices we’re seeing now? Is there such a thing as insider trading in Magic? I don’t know if Koth will be ‘tournament’ good because I don’t know what the format will be like, and none of us know what the rest of Scars will be like(remember when you hyped Sun Titan before the rest of M11 was revealed?) but I do want a set… but $120-$200 isn’t anywhere near what I can afford, especially just on a set of one card. Jeez.

#13 Amarsir on 09.11.10 at 4:02 am

How about this:
T4 Koth
T5 Kozilek
T6 Destructive Force
Leaving you with 1 land, a 3-counter Koth, and a 12/12 with Annihilator 4.

#14 Five With Flores » Another Look at Venser, the Sojourner on 09.11.10 at 6:02 pm

[…] biggest issue I see is that Venser is a five mana Planeswalker. Everything I have written about Koth of the Hammer emphasizes that part of the shift that new Planeswalker represents is the step from five mana […]

#15 canman87 on 09.19.10 at 4:48 am

“If the metric for which cards are good are cards that don’t get removed by Celestial Purge, then there are no good black or red permanents.”

We’re talking about a card that is relevant and definitely something that needs to be considered when building a deck; not a card that completely invalidates one or two colors. That’s like saying that there are no good X/3 or smaller creatures because Lightning Bolt is in the format. Obviously there are plenty, but you still need to keep that card in mind, considering how frequently you will see it.

“At WORST, Koth is a 4/4 colorless haste for 4 that doesn’t cost a card. At best, he’s game over.”

Not sure where people got the idea that Koth’s first ability is a source of colorless damage. The Mountain becomes a RED elemental creature.

#16 Five Reasons Batterskull > Wurmcoil Engine — Five With Flores on 10.30.11 at 2:05 pm

[…] can do to me the turn I tap out for Batterskull, he can do the turn I tap out for Wurmcoil Engine (Koth of the Hammer or whatnot). Against [another] control deck (or six deck), most of what the opponent can do to me […]

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