Mtg Jokulhaups

Jokulhlaup is an Icelandic term that has been incorporated into the English language. It means a glacial outburst flood. This, of course, fits perfectly with the Ice Age theme of the Magic the Gathering card called Jokulhaups. This rare sorcery costs a massive four colorless mana and two red mana but has the devastating effect of destroying all artifacts, creatures and lands on the battlefield. Such permanents that are destroyed in this way do not even have the option of regenerating, making this glacial outburst particularly potent. Its popularity can be seen in the fact that it was reprinted in Fifth Edition, Classic Sixth Edition and Masters Edition despite the lack of a specific glacial theme in those sets.

Indeed, this is the preferred method of “clearing the table” for many old school games as it combines the effects of Wrath of God and Armageddon into one deadly package. In both constructed and limited formats, the player with Jokulhaups can simply hold onto valuable cards and restrain from playing them. Later on, as the opponent commits too much to the battlefield, Jokulhaups can net a natural and decisive card advantage when it resolves. You can also combine Jokulhaups with permanents that are indestructible for an unfair advantage since Jokulhaups will not be able to destroy these permanents. Bouncing, Flicker-like effects and blinking as well as the old phasing are all good options to save permanents from Jokulhaups.

In constructed formats, you can even make it a point to simply go for a more enchantment heavy deck since enchantments are not affected by Jokulhaups. Another idea would be to use cards like Land Tax to ensure that you’ve a sufficient amount of lands to bounce back from Jokulhaups. Cards like Life from the Loam can also do the trick though you’d have to find the mana to actually cast it after Jokulhaups. Alternatively, you can opt to profit from the now full graveyard. Permanents (especially lands) with a recursion or reanimation effects are especially valued here as well as creatures like Knight of the Reliquary and Lhurgoyf since they tend to become huge as a result of Jokulhaups.

There are plenty of other ways to abuse Jokulhaups in the various formats but unfortunately, Jokulhaups strength is also its weakness. The ability to destroy almost everything except enchantments is great but most of the time, you’ll want to be more focused. This is the reason why spells like the classic Wrath of God and Armageddon are often preferred. Armageddon, in particular, is extremely nasty if you can have some mana producers like Llanowar Elves or artifact mana sources that will give you a massive advantage after the mass land destruction spell is cast. As of Magic 2011, enchantments that are standalone mana producers are not quite as common and this limits the potential for abuse with Jokulhaups. Another related problem with Jokulhaups is its casting cost which makes it difficult to cast at times. Jokulhaups is also hampered by its color. Traditionally, cards that clear the table are better suited to belonging in white which is supposed to excel at controlling the battlefield. Of course, in modern play this is somewhat less of an issue with the ways in which the colors have explored themes outside their traditional strengths. The fact that there are so many dual lands and painlands to choose from helps as well.

In summary, Jokulhaups is definitely still a playable card in most formats despite power creep. Synergies and combinations aside, the ability to simply “reset” things is a great option especially when things start to go wrong and your opponent is having the advantage on the battlefield. If you’re having problems in the mid-game where those pesky Goblins are starting to ruin your day, then just return the favor with some old school Jokulhaups to flood the lands with Goblin corpses!