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Surtland Flinger – A Magic the Gathering Card Review

Kaldheim may be one of the most tribal focused sets ever released for the Magic the Gathering card game. In particular, the Giants tribe gained a number of interesting cards, one of which is Surtland Flinger. Like its counterpart in Blue, Surtland Elementalist, the Flinger is available only in the Theme and Set boosters, not in the typical booster packs you’ll find in stores or regular booster boxes. He’s a 4/6 Giant Berserker that costs 5 mana (3 Colorless, 2 Red) to cast, which is on the lower end of casting costs for Giants in general.

As his name suggests, Surtland Flinger has an ability reminiscent of the spell Fling. That instant spell allows you to sacrifice a creature you control, then deal damage equal to that creature’s power to any target creature or player. This effect has been seen on numerous cards over the years, including on the modal double-faced card (MDFC) Kazuul’s Fury in Zendikar Rising.

The difference with Surtland Flinger is that firstly, the ability triggers when he declares that he’s attacking. Secondly, if the sacrificed creature is a Giant, you get to deal twice the damage. Keep in mind there are a number of powerful Changelings in Kaldheim, and since Changelings count as every creature type at once, they also count as Giants. This means sacrificing a Changeling to the Flinger’s ability would be the same as if it were a Giant.

One funny thing is that Surtland Elementalist is quite a solid target for Flinger’s ability. The Elementalist has 8 power to start with, so you’d get to Fling it for 16 damage with the Flinger. In most cases, that would be game-ending. Realm-Cloaked Giant, which often sees play thanks to its Adventure Cast Off which destroys all non-Giant creatures in play, is a 7/7 Vigilant Giant, as well. So, that would be another perfect chance for the Flinger to shine with 14 damage to someone’s face.

It’s very possible that if Giant Tribal is good enough to be a consistent deck in Standard, Surtland Flinger would be an important finisher for the deck. Whereas his Blue counterpart Surtland Elementalist needs a powerful instant or sorcery spell in hand already to have its ability pay off, the Flinger just needs a big enough creature in play. 

The only downside to Surtland Flinger is that the creature has to be sacrificed at the beginning of the declaring attack step in combat. That would, however, still allow abilities that trigger on declaring an attack, such as the Elementalist allowing its controller to cast a free instant or sorcery spell, to be placed on the stack. However, the upside to Surtland Flinger is not only can he send a bunch of damage to people’s faces, but he also fits into sacrifice-themed decks. 

In the Standard metagame going into Kaldheim, Gruul Adventures is one of the best decks. The deck plays Radha, Heart of Keld, who has an activated ability that gives her +X/+X until end of turn for each Land you control. If that’s not a target for Surtland Flinger, I don’t know what is, especially as Radha doesn’t have the ability to trample on her own and would just be chump blocked for days. Alternatively, you could fling a huge Scavenging Ooze at your opponent’s face.

Not to say that Rakdos Sacrifice is dying to play the Flinger, but that synergy is out there. Also, keep in mind that the key card of the Red/Black Sacrifice deck is Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger, who is (yes, indeed) an Elder Giant. So, sacrificing a Kroxa to deal 12 damage to someone’s face seems good.

In a Standard environment featuring Kaldheim, It may make sense for a Dwarf deck loaded up on Equipment or Auras may consider the Surtland Flinger, as well. If you get a creature at a high enough power, that additional Fling effect may be enough to finish the game. Focusing on boosting power is all you need to do for a Fling effect to be effective, after all. Of course, Giants and Dwarves are likely to join forces in one way or another, barring a Giant tribal deck making waves.

These are just a few of the ways we could see Surtland Flinger impact competitive play. Of course, that’s not even including Commander, where Surtland Flinger is sure to Fling plenty of Giants at people, especially in Brion Stoutarm decks. While I don’t see Surtland Flinger seeing much play in competitive Standard, he is a fun creature to consider.

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Amelia Desertsong is a former content marketing specialist turned essayist and creative nonfiction author. She writes articles on many niche hobbies and obscure curiosities, pretty much whatever tickles her fancy. Personal Website: https://www.thephoenixdesertsong.com

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