By Jason Parker
November 1, 2019
Despite being many months away, the next expansion for Magic: The Gathering has been leaking like crazy Theros Beyond Death card spoilers can come from almost anywhere, and our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to get detailed information on them all!
We recently saw the new look of the lands for Theros: Beyond Death! I have to say, these are gorgeous and unique among any land ever featured in MTG Arena (or MTG in general). Normally a land features that color’s archetypical geographical art.
Except for Islands, apparently. These new lands have the color of the mana, set in a breathtaking starscape. They look like they could almost be constellations. These. Lands. Are. Stellar. Pun definitely intended.
So without further ado, feel free to jump on in!
To keep you in the loop we’ll be updating this page with each of the Theros Beyond Death spoilers as they are revealed, so be sure to check back in!
The upcoming expansion to Magic: the Gathering will be releasing in the traditional area reserved for the first expansion of each year. The pre-release weekend is scheduled for January 17-19 with the final release for table top scheduled for January 24, 2020. There has been no official announcement of the release date for the digital versions of the new set, however we expect them to release roughly around the same time (as has been the case with previous sets).
This is an extraordinary leak for several reasons before we dig deeper into the actual cards that were shown off. For one, it isn’t too surprising for retailers to sell copies of cards earlier than supposed to, but we are quite literally more than two months away from the release of the set.
Despite this, we are going to dive deep into just a handful of the 30-plus new MTG Theros Beyond Death card spoilers that were potentially leaked via the Reddit user. The user posted pictures of the cards that they found in their potential booster packs at Walgreens, and we can see many of the new cards.
It all begins with The Akroan War enchantment card. This is a unique one that is bringing back a type of enchantment card that we haven’t seen in a good bit, and that is the saga enchantment type. This type works well for the Greek theme of the upcoming set, so we expect more like this.
For starters, The Akroan War is a red color saga enchantment card that costs four mana to summon, one of which must be red color mana. This unusual-looking card has three different abilities that occur when certain conditions are met.
When the card enters the field, it will proceed to the first step in the saga of sorts, and it will continue going through the saga with each of your draw steps in the match. Once it reaches the third and final step in the saga, it will activate that ability and then be sacrificed.
What’s also cool about this card is that it takes up the full length of the card with three separate illustrations telling the three different points of the saga. It all begins with the first part of the saga that begins when the player plays the card from their hand.
You will gain control of a target creature of your choosing for as long as this card is on the battlefield so, basically, for about three turns or so. On your next turn when your draw step happens, the second part will activate, and every single one of your opponents’ creatures will attack, if able.
This may seem like a detrimental move since it forces the opponent to attack until your next turn, but there is a purpose behind this. And those creatures were likely going to attack anyways. Then on the third turn, the card is out. It will activate the third and final ability.
Every single tapped creature will deal damage to itself that is equal to its current power stat. So, if it has a power of five, it will deal five damage to itself, which may be enough to kill most creatures whose health is equal to or less than its power stat.
What makes this ability so great is that you can force your opponent to tap their creatures in the previous turn to attack you, and then they will be damaged on the next turn. It is a risky but rewarding move in the right situation, especially against those aggro and creature control decks.
Another possibly leaked card is the Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders legendary card. Dalakos is a legendary Merfolk artificer creature card that is a hybrid. It is a hybrid between the blue and red color decks, cost three mana to summon. Of that mana, one must be blue, and another must be red.
It arrives on the field with the stats of two and four, which are pretty good considering the mana cost involved. While on the field, you can tap this card to add two mana to your mana pool. The catch is, though, that you must use that mana only on artifact spells or to activate the abilities of artifacts.
The other ability that Dalakos has will grant the equipped creatures that you control with flying and haste. Overall, this is a decent legendary card, but there certainly have been many better ones in recent card sets. This could be a great asset in decks that use a lot of artifacts and equipment, but it won’t be too useful to anyone else.
Next up is the special land card Labyrinth of Skophos that is a bit interesting. It fulfills the Greek theme nicely, starting out as a simple colorless land that can add you one mana. At the same time, though, there is a mana ability that allows you to spend four mana to remove a target attacking or blocking creature from combat.
That is a pretty useful feature, and it is just a land card. This would undoubtedly be a great addition to a few decks that we can think of, especially if you prefer having lands with different names.
Then there is another enchantment card in the form of Ashiok’s Erasure that is a blue card. It costs four mana to summon, two of which must be blue mana. It has the flash mechanic so using it will be quite easy at any point during the match.
It is used as a counter because when it enters the field, you can exile a target spell of your choosing. Also, your opponents can’t cast spells with the same name as that exiled card. And when this card leaves the battlefield for whatever reason, you must return the exiled spell card to its owner’s hand.
This is an interesting counter-spell card that we could see get some use in Commander and/or Brawl for sure, but we aren’t too sure how useful it will be in Standard. This is one that we will have to wait and see on to get our full verdict for it.
Speaking of enchantment cards next up is Treacherous Blessing: A black color enchantment card that costs three mana, one of which must be black mana. Whenever this card enters the battlefield, you can draw three cards right then.
However, whenever you cast a spell, you lose one life point while this card is on the field. And whenever Treacherous Blessing becomes the target of a spell or ability, you can sacrifice it. Another interesting card that could be useful, but the card draw might not be worth the cost, depending on the deck.
Phalanx Tactics is the next card to be revealed in this leak, and it is a white instant spell card. It costs two mana to use, one of which must be white mana. It allows you to boost a target creature that you control with plus two and plus one to stats until the end of the turn.
And every other creature that you control other than that one will get plus one/plus one to stats until the end of the turn. This is an okay card that is good for defense when you are getting attacked, but the limited nature of the stats only lasting for that turn is a little lame.
Banishing Light is another white color card that is an enchantment card that costs three mana to summon, one of which must be white mana. Whenever Banishing Light enters the battlefield, exile the target nonland permanents that an opponent controls until Banishing Light leaves the field.
This is an exciting and potentially overpowered card that we aren’t quite sure where to begin with. The overpowered nature of banishing nonland permanents is amazing, even if it is temporary. This is a dangerous card that players will want to watch out for.
Next up is another legendary creature card, this time a human blue card. Alirios, Enraptured is a blue card that costs three mana to summon, one of which must be blue mana. It has the okay stats of two and three, and it enters the battlefield tapped.
Alirios will not untap during your untap phase if you control a Reflection card. Also, when Alirios enters the battlefield, it creates a three/two blue Reflection creature token. This is an interesting card that is immobilized while its token is also there. But its token is powerful so there is that at least.
Finally, we are going to cover in this first set of leaked spoilers for the upcoming MTG Theros Beyond Death cards is Threnody Singer. It is a blue siren creature card that costs two mana to summon, one of which must be blue mana. It has the flash and flying keywords attached to it with the stats of one and three.
Whenever it enters the battlefield, you can pick a target enemy creature and give it minus X and minus zero stats until the end of the turn. X is represented by your devotion to the blue mana pool. Each blue mana in your mana costs of permanents counts towards this.
So, it could be high if you happen to have a lot of MTG Theros Beyond Death cards like Threnody Singer that require you to have a blue mana or two to summon it. This could easily render a creature useless for that turn if used correctly. This makes it a good counter for those powerful beasts and buy you some time.
What is interesting about this potential leak is that the cards do indeed look rather legit, but the method of the leak is strange. According to the user, these new cards from the upcoming expansion Theros Beyond Death come from some leaked booster packs for sale.
The user purchased them at a Walgreens store in North Carolina, where they were allegedly on sale months ahead of the actual release date. This is a bizarre situation that we already covered in greater detail in a previous post, but the leaks are continuing with more cards being revealed.
There are well over 30 cards that the user was able to secure from around five booster packs that they were able to purchase supposedly at their local Walgreens store. We’ve already covered some of the many cards leaked from the expansion, and they continue to keep coming.
It all starts with the second saga enchantment to leak for this upcoming expansion. It is called Medomai’s Prophecy and follows the first saga card to be revealed for the set. These unique cards are enchantment ones that play out like a story of sorts over multiple turns.
This type of card hasn’t been seen in a bit, but it fits the overall Greek theme of the upcoming expansion in 2020 perfectly. It is like the card is telling you a little story, complete with artwork and multiple acts to bolster this. Medomai’s Prophecy is a blue saga card that costs two mana, one of which must be blue.
That is relatively cheap, and it is longer than its red color counterpart that was only three acts. This particular card has four acts and will last through there. When the card first enters the field, it receives a lore counter, and this continues with each draw step that you have.
At the fourth and final act of this card, it will be sacrificed from the field. It all begins, though, with the first step that happens when you first play the card. It will allow you to scry for two cards. This is an important step since it lets you start out by checking out some of your cards.
Scry is a mechanic where, in this case, the player can look at the top two cards in their deck. When you see them, you can put them at the top or bottom of your deck in any order you like. This even means that you can put one at the bottom and leave the other at the top if you want.
The scry mechanic is a great one for starting out a match. On your next turn, though, you will have the saga card move to the next step where it will have you choose a card name. While this may seem rather strange since that is all there is to this act, it will make sense in the next step.
On your third turn, if you cast a spell for only the first time that turn that has the same name as the one that you chose previously, you will get to draw two cards right then. You want to select a card name that you can guarantee that you will cast on this turn.
So, you will always want to pick the name of a card that you saw when you used the scry in the first turn of the saga card or one that you already had in your hand. However, it doesn’t end there as one final ability is available on the fourth turn, and it allows you to look at the top two cards of each player’s deck.
Overall, a much more solid saga card than its red counterpart and one that will likely be a worthy addition if this leak is to be believed.
The next card up is the Underworld Dreams card. Underworld Dreams is yet another enchantment card, of which there are already way too many in this upcoming card set. It does make the legitimacy of this leak seem rather strange, but it is something that we will have to wait and see about.
Underworld Dreams is a black enchantment card that costs three mana, and what’s interesting about this is that all three mana must be black mana. That is something that you don’t see too often for cards. It has a simple enough fairly effective ability, though.
Whenever an opponent draws a card, Underworld Dreams will deal one damage to that player. It doesn’t matter who the player is as the card will deal that damage to them, including yourself. This is an interesting card that will be great against those decks with good card draw. We also anticipate that this will be an excellent card in Commander and Brawl.
Next up is Minion’s Return. This is yet another black enchantment card but an aura one this time around. It costs three mana to summon this card, one of which must be black color mana. It has the flash mechanic so it can cast at any point that an instant spell would as well.
It also requires the player to enchant a certain creature of your choosing with this card. When that enchanted creature of your choosing dies, you will return that creature card to the battlefield under your control. This is interesting because it doesn’t say that you have to use one of your creatures.
So, essentially, you could target an enemy creature that is annoying or powerful and then destroy it. This would then allow it to return to the field as part of your army. A solid card that we could see make its way into some Standard decks.
Heroes of the Revel is next up and is the first creature card that we have to cover in this particular post. It is a red Satyr soldier card that costs five mana to summon, one of which must be red mana. It has the okay stats of four and four plus a couple of extra abilities.
The first ability is that whenever Heroes of the Revel enters the battlefield, you can create a one/one red Satyr creature token that has the requirement that it isn’t able to block. This does mean, though, that it is still able to attack.
This played into the second ability a bit where anytime you cast a spell on Heroes of the Revel, the creatures that you control will gain plus one to their attack until the end of the turn. That is a highly specific requirement, but there look to be so many enchantments and equipment cards in this set that will make that easier. Overall, an alright creature card.
Speaking of enchantments, though, we have another one but this time for red color players. Furious Rise is a red enchantment card that costs three mana to summon, one of which must be red mana.
At the beginning of the end step, if you control a creature with a power four or greater, exile the top card of your deck. You can play that exiled card until exile another card with Furious Rise. Honestly, this is a strange one that isn’t too useful to us and will be a pass if it is indeed real.
Next up is yet another red card in the form of the Dreamstalker Manticore enchantment creature card. This red card costs three mana to summon, one of which must be red mana. It has the stats of four and two and is interesting for being an enchantment creature rather than a normal one.
Whenever you cast your first spell during each opponent’s turn, Dreamstalker Manticore can deal one damage to any target of your choosing. This is another highly specific requirement as it will mean that you will need a lot of flash or instant spells, which is odd for a red deck — good card but strange one nonetheless that might be best for Commander and Brawl.
Then there is another enchantment creature for red in the form of Dreamshaper Shaman. It costs six mana, one of which must be red, to summon Dreamshaper Shaman, who is a Minotaur shaman card. It has the okay stats of five and four plus an exciting ability.
At the beginning of your end step, you have the opportunity to pay three mana (one of which must be red) and sacrifice a nonland permanent. If you choose to do this, you will be able to reveal the top cards of your deck until you find a nonland permanent card.
You will be able to put that card directly onto the battlefield and the rest of the cards on the bottom of your deck in random order. This is a pretty useful ability that could help you find the card you’re looking for in those mid to late game moments.
Finally, we have some green color cards for players to check out from the upcoming expansion. However, that might not be so bad since green is doing quite well for itself right now in the Standard. The first of these is Hydra’s Growth, which is a green aura enchantment card.
It costs three mana to summon Hydra’s Growth, one of which must be green mana. It allows you to pick a creature to enchant, and you will put a plus one/plus one counter on that creature when this card is summoned.
Then at the beginning of your upkeep each turn, you will be able to double the number of plus one/plus one counters on that creature. It would go to basically plus two/plus two on the second turn it is on the field and then four/four, and so on.
This is an extremely useful and dangerous card for making almost any creature into a powerful one within just a few turns. The best part is that this has a surprisingly cheap cost associated with it that will ensure you get ahead of your opponent and control the field early on.
Last but certainly not least for this post, we have another green aura enchantment card in the form of Wolfwillow Haven. This green color card costs two mana, one of which must be green. Interestingly enough, this card allows you to enchant a land card you have rather than a creature.
Whenever the enchanted land of your choosing is tapped for mana, the controller of that land (i.e. you) will get additional green mana to use. It’s basically like giving the player two mana for the price of one. There is one other ability, though, that this card has.
You can spend five mana, one of which must be green mana, to sacrifice Wolfwillow Haven and create a two/two green wolf creature token. This is a strange ability that isn’t worth the mana cost and losing this enchantment card.
As such, it is hard to understand at this time what the purpose of that ability is. Perhaps there will be cards in the set that will take advantage of the wolf creature token, or it could be used in combination with Hydra’s Growth, but it still seems weird to us.
Regardless, though, Wolfwillow Haven is a useful card that will pay for itself over time in allowing you to get to use an extra mana point each turn it is on the field.
These potentially leaked new card spoilers come from the Theros Beyond Death expansion that is set to come out in January and be the first of several new card sets for 2020. With over two months to go until the release of this set, it is quite surprising that we are seeing leaks for it now, and this many, too.
Even crazier is the fact of how and what the leak is. The user supposedly found five booster packs for the upcoming card set being sold at their local Walgreens in North Carolina. While it isn’t uncommon for players to find stores selling sets before the official street date, this early is unprecedented.
Regardless, the cards themselves are interesting and could very well end up being real. We’ve been going over all the cards that have leaked thus far due to the booster packs. Now, we have the final batch of these Walgreen leaks.
This set, though, is going to be perhaps the most interesting batch of leaks because we get our possible first look at one of the legendary planeswalkers that will be introduced in the set plus more. Without further ado, let’s look at the planeswalker Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis, and many more.
It all starts with the Chainweb Aracnir creature card. It is a green spider creature card that costs only one green mana to summon to the field, allowing it to be used on the very first turn. It has reach, so there is that great counter to those flying cards that are in Standard right now.
Its stats are standard for a turn-one creature at one and two. Whenever Chainweb Aracnir enters the battlefield, it deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying that an opponent controls. This is a rather interesting ability that might not be too useful on turn one or two.
However, it comes more into play with the rather interesting keyword that it has with escape. If the card is sent to the graveyard, you can pay five mana (two of which must be green mana) and exile four other cards from the graveyard to bring this card back to the battlefield.
When it is done this way, it will arrive with three plus one/plus one counters on it, making its stats effectively four and five. That means that, this way, it will deal damage of four to a target flying creature that your opponent has. This is an extremely versatile green creature that could be worth adding to green decks.
Warden of the Chained is a hybrid Minotaur warrior creature card that is split between red and green. It costs three mana to summon to the field, one of which must be red, and another must be green. It has strong stats of four power and four toughness.
It also has the trample keyword so it will deal that awesome excess damage. However, one odd thing about Warden of the Chained is that it can’t attack unless you control another creature that also has a power of four or greater. Presumably, returning the Chainweb Aracnir to the field with stats of four and five would fulfill this requirement.
Hero of the Nyxborn is another hybrid creature card but this one is a bit different from the purpose of Warden of the Chained. It is a hybrid human soldier enchantment creature card (which we have seen many of in the leaks thus far) that you can summon for three mana, one being red and another being white.
It arrives on the field with the rather lame stats of two and two, but this is made up for in its two abilities. The first of these creates a one/one white human soldier creature token whenever Hero of the Nyxborn enters the battlefield.
Also, whenever you cast a spell that targets Hero of the Nyxborn, creatures you control will get plus one and plus zero to their stats until the end of the turn. We’ve seen a similar card already in the leaks and that last part is very specific, only really working for certain decks. Overall, we don’t see this card being used too much in Standard.
Thundering Chariot is the first vehicle artifact card that we have seen thus far in the leaks. It is a colorless vehicle artifact that costs four mana to summon, which can be any color that you want. It arrives on the field with the lesser stats of three/three that are made up for in its keywords.
It has first strike, trample, and haste that will make it stampede over the enemies. Being that it is a vehicle, you will need to make use of its crew one feature where you need to tap any number of creatures that have the power of one or more to turn it into an artifact creature capable of attacking.
In this way, it could make use of cards like the Hero of the Nyxborn who can create a one/one token that would easily fit this requirement. Thundering Chariot is an interesting card that could be a solid addition on the fourth turn but could also be a bust; we’ll have to wait and see.
Beyond the normal Theros Beyond Death enchantment and creature card spoilers that the user was able to find, they were also able to find five land cards in the five booster packs. Oddly enough, they conveniently turn out to be one of each of the five mana colors in the game so we can see what they all look like.
There’s nothing special about the five land cards except the nice full art look of them that makes them, honestly, look a whole lot like Pokémon energy trading cards. Even still, it is interesting, and they do look good. Beyond them, there is a trio of Omen cards that the user discovered.
Omen of the Sea that is yet another enchantment card that costs two mana to summon, one of which must be blue mana. This blue enchantment card has the flash keyword and whenever it enters the battlefield, you can scry for two and then draw a card.
For those who don’t know, scry is a mechanic where you can look at a certain number of cards and then put them on top or on the bottom of your deck in any order you like. In this case, you can look at the top two cards you have and order them however you like.
If there is one that you want to draw, this is great because you will be able to draw it next or you can put them both on the bottom for a chance to draw something else instead. But that isn’t all the scrying that Omen of the Sea can do.
You are also able to pay three mana (one must be blue) and sacrifice the card to scry for two again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like you will be able to draw a card this time. Omen of the Dead and Omen of the Hunt are similar cards but for black and green, respectively.
Omen of the Dead is the same except for its mana cost and initial ability. It costs one black mana to use and instead of scry when it comes to the battlefield, you can return a target creature card from your graveyard to your hand.
Omen of the Hunt, on the other hand, costs three mana to use (one of which must be green mana). What its initial ability does is let you search your deck for a basic land card, put it onto the battlefield tapped, and then shuffle your deck.
All three Omen cards also have the scry sacrifice ability. There are likely two more in the set for the white and red mana colors.
Next up is another green creature in the form of Ilysian Caryatid. The mouthful of a named green plant creature card costs two mana to summon to the field, one of which must be green mana. It has the rather lame stats of one/one, but it has an amazing ability.
You can tap this plant creature card to add one mana of any color that you want. However, if you happen to control a creature that a power of four or greater, you will get two mana of that one color instead. While you might be tempted to use this card on your second turn, it might be best to wait to use it.
After all, you could bring back a card like Chainweb Aracnir to the battlefield from the graveyard and it will likely fulfill the requirement for getting two mana. This is rather useful for just about any deck so here’s hoping that there are similar cards for the other mana colors.
The combos aren’t amazing at this time but there is room for some solid decks to come out of this.
Finally, we have the new legendary planeswalker Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis. A great planeswalker is what many players will base whether a new card set will be good or not, so we must have the first of, hopefully, several new planeswalkers here.
Elspeth is a legendary white planeswalker that has odd artwork for sure. It costs four mana to summon this legendary planeswalker, two of which must be white color mana. It starts out with five loyalty points and is a strange planeswalker.
Most planeswalkers have three abilities, which Elspeth does, but all three of its abilities are negatives. While many have at least one or two loyalty points that let you gain a point or two, all of Elspeth’s abilities are for losing points. This means that you will not, at least normally, be able to gain points.
This also means that you are limited in selecting what Elspeth will do as you are, for instance, not able to use the ultimate ability twice. The first ability costs one loyalty point and lets you give up to two target creatures you control plus two/plus one to their stats until the end of their turn.
The second ability costs two loyalty points that create two one/one white human soldier creature tokens. Finally, you have the ultimate ability of minus three points that allows you to gain five life points, which is a fair amount.
In all honesty, Elspeth could be a good planeswalker but some issues hold it back. The first is that you have no way of gaining loyalty points. We could get this if it is an answer to keep this card limited unlike Oko who is dominating the current metagame.
However, this is way too limiting for Elspeth and the abilities are good but not great enough to make up for the limitations on it. The abilities themselves are generally good but, again, would be much better if you couldn’t use each one only once or twice.
For instance, if you use the ultimate ability, you’ll only able to use the first one twice or the second one once. You get a few more options if you ignore the ultimate ability, which we would honestly recommend, but even that is still rather lame.
Okay, this is my, so far, favorite common in Theros: Beyond Death: Mindwrack Harpy! It’s a 4-drop, 3/2 flyer (1 black)! This isn’t a creature I’d swing with though. At the beginning of combat on your turn, each player mills the top 3 cards of their library into the graveyard. If you’re running Leyline of the Void, you laugh as their deck disappears into the ether, turn by turn by turn.
All you need to do is find a way to give this indestructible, and wait them out. The opponent’s options will dwindle, and so will their sanity. This also gives you options for escape, if you should need them. But the best part is when you can exile an opponent’s graveyard. Lord knows, black has a ton of options for that in this block alone.
Here’s more fodder for your Red/White decks, if you didn’t already have enough of that already: Hero of the Games! My only complaint about Hero of the Games, is they’re a 3/2 for 3 (1 red). Whenever you have a spell that targets Hero of the Games, all of your creatures gain +1/+0 until end of turn. So, that’s great at least.
It can really do some great things in Mono-Red if you’re running those annoying 0/2 goblins. But more likely, it’s going to be in a Red/White Feather deck, so you can constantly buff this while you’re getting your other, better soldiers on board. Hero of the Games isn’t going to be a must-play, but I do like him for a common, that’s for sure. I think it will be fun in Pauper and Limited, modes like that. But Standard Ranked? We’ll have to see.
This is a nice simple counterspell for 4. Why is almost everything in this expansion so costly? It sure feels like it anyway. Though Memory Drain is a 4-cost counter that counters any target spell, it also lets you Scry 2. That’s why it’s not a 2 or 3-drop counterspell. Being able to look at the top two cards of your deck and put them on the bottom or on top of your deck?
That’s never a bad thing. It’s even better if you have an option to draw said card (Opt, et cetera). In theory, you could put that card to use right away, or on your turn, if that’s your jam. I don’t judge. Just know that this is going to be a fun counter to pack at least two of. I don’t know that I’d put more, but it all depends on the deck. If nothing else, it’s a terrific sideboard card.
Venomous Hierophant has a place in a deck just by glancing at it. It’s going to be in any deck that runs Blood for Bones and/or Agent of Treachery. This 3/3 Deathtouch Gorgon puts the top three cards of your library into the grave. Any deck that’s reliant on having creatures in the grave will love this common creature.
Even better if you can get your key cards in the grave on turn 4. Then next turn, you pop your spells, sacrifice the Gorgon, and put some meaty, violent dragon on the table, or perhaps the Agent of Treachery. From there, clone your Agent a few times, and suddenly, things are significantly less fun for your opponent. I love the tactical possibilities of cards like this. It’s also very much a card you gamble on. If you don’t have intel on the next few cards, you just have to guess and hope it’s not going to lead to you losing important sorceries and instants. But when you can scry, that’s not an issue. This also makes me want to see Rakdos Phoenix start showing up with more frequency. Maybe Grixis Phoenixes. There’s a lot of fun possibilities when you can easily dump cards into the graveyard.
Revoke Existence is a reprint that we’ve seen a few times before. Scars of Mirrodin, Duel Deck: Venser vs. Koth, and Born of the Gods. This card is worth pennies, but boy is it useful in this set. This card lets you exile a target artifact or enchantment. Sadly, it is at Sorcery speed, but remember: enchantment creatures count for Revoke Existence. It’s a two-mana answer to cards like Daxos and Athreos.
Also bear in mind you can pair this with Leylines and Teferi to cast it at instant speed instead. Wait for your opponent to make a move, and send that god packing to the Shadow Realm! This may not be one of the best cards in the set, but it’s certainly worth a look. I enjoy seeing which cards get reprinted, and this one makes a lot of sense.
This is something you’re again, going to see in a lot of the upcoming Red/White decks. Indomitable Will is a common enchantment, which is no big deal. It only grants +1/+2 to the enchanted creature. But what makes this so incredible is that it has Flash. That’s right, you can throw this on someone who got blocked and is about to die. Suddenly, they make it out alive!
It’s also great to keep your blockers safe at the last minute. All around, Indomitable Will is a fun card, and I think will be great in a variety of formats. This one’s simple and easy to understand. The next enchantment’s a little more fun.
Dreadful Apathy, what an aptly named card. Pacifism enchantments aren’t a new thing for white either. Pacifism cards are spells that stop a creature from attacking or blocking. This is a 3-drop, so it costs just a bit more. But it’s extra special ability makes up for it.
You can tape 3 mana (1 white 2 colorless) to exile the enchanted creature! If they still have a power that’s really annoying, bounce that creature out of the game. If you’re sitting on a few more mana, Flicker of Fate, to re-attach your enchantment to another creature! With the right spells you can make a win-con out of making someone rage uncontrollably. Just keep returning Flicker of Fate back to your deck, draw into it, and bounce, bounce, bounce. It’s gonna look like a hot night at the club with all the work Flicker does.
White has a long history of ridiculously good one-cost instants. This is certainly one of those, and again, it’s a common. Karametra’s Blessing gives a creature +2/+2 until end of turn. That by itself is great for one mana.
But if that creature is an enchantment creature, it also gains hexproof and indestructible until end of turn. Whew! Now it can’t be hit by spells or destroyed. Karametra herself was originally a White/Green, so you can see the synergy just lining up.
Speaking of Enchantment Creatures, enter Skola Grovedancer! There are plenty of cards that work well with land cards in your graveyard. In particular, let’s look at Red and Green! Cavalier of Flame deals damage to a player equal to the number of lands in your graveyard when it dies.
Whenever a land goes to your graveyard, you gain 1 life, and he can put the top card of your deck into the grave. This has plenty of applications. You can put the important lands back in play with Crucible of Worlds, for example. The Grovedancer could have some pretty fun implications for Red/Green, or even Green/Blue decks.
Honestly, this card is kind of mediocre in my current estimation. That could change as I see more cards. But right now? Eh. Rage-Scarred Berserker is a 5-cost 5/4 Minotaur. When it enters the battlefield, target creature you control gains +1 and indestructible until end of turn.
The reason I think it’s mediocre is the cost. It’s a 5-cost, and I feel like it’s going to be something that occurs too late in the game. Unless you’re running it in a multi-colored, seriously mana-ramp intensive deck, I don’t think it’s going to make waves. At least, not yet. Sure, there are situations it would be great.
This is a creature I’d like to see a bit lower-cost, and with Flash. Of course, this is a common, so that would be a bit on the excessive side.
Target player loses 2 life. That’s all you need to know! It’s a 1-cost black sorcery with a cool new effect. One of the new keywords in this set is “Escape”. This is a graveyard-centric ability. You can exile a few cards from your graveyard (3 in this case), and pay the Escape cost (1 Black 3 Colorless). This lets you cast the spell one more time.
But what makes Escape great, is that you don’t exile the Escape spell! That’s right, as long as you have cards in the graveyard (and the mana), you can keep doing it! I’m so glad this is a Sorcery though. As long as you have a graveyard, you can use this to secure a win that you were inches away from securing. Are your opponents milling you? Or are you milling yourself? Here’s a chance to do obnoxious things from the grave. Even if your Escape spells were countered, you can keep taking shots with it. I love this new mechanic.
Oh boy, Enchantment shenanigans! That’s what white looks to be doing as a whole here in Theros: Beyond Death. Pious Wayfarer is a 1-cost white creature, that’s a ½. That on its own isn’t too shabby, but this human can grow.
It features another new keyword: Constellation. Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, target creature gains +1/+1 until end of turn. Any creature! Even your opponent’s creature (if you really wanted). As a 1-drop common, Pious Wayfarer can be played in a variety of decks. White Enchantment, Red/White, et cetera. Enchantment Creatures are coming in this set, too. One is the “Nyxborn Brute”, and it’s a 7/3 for 5. It has no powers or abilities, but it also can trigger this. You can also use the next card with Pious Wayfarer and other enchantments: Flicker of Fate!
A 2-drop instant that allows you to bounce a creature or enchantment from the game and bring it back? This common has so many possibilities. Is your creature about to die? Bounce it away when that Legion’s End comes a calling. Direct damage, or is it about to be exiled? Do it first! Make your opponent waste that targeted hate!
You can use it on creatures you control that have fun triggered abilities too. Here’s a fun example, and it’s topical: WG is fun. Nylea’s Huntmaster is a 4/3 and when it enters the battlefield, target creature you control gains +X/+0 until end of turn. X is equal to your devotion to green. Each Forest in your mana cost of permanents would be another point of damage for that turn. Sure, that’s better for mono-green, but if you run a lot of multi-colored permanents, this could be hilarious. It’s just one example, mind.
This spell is also great if you have to exile a token using Prison Realm or other exiling cards. Just pop it with Flicker of Fate, and target a second, more annoying creature! Tokens that leave play are gone forever, after all. Just some food for thought; Flicker of Fate is incredible for 2 mana.
This one’s nice and easy. I know exactly where this card belongs. Wrap in Flames will be in two decks that I can be sure of, maybe a third. Red Deck Wins as a game-winner, same with Gruul Stompy. I can also see this going into Jeskai decks. If it’s a Jeskai Cavalier deck, you get your Cavaliers on the board, cast this, and swing with impunity.
Wrap in Flames is a 4-drop red sorcery that deals 1 damage to up to three target creatures. Those creatures can’t block this turn. If you can make it castable with Flash (so at instant speed), there are some defensive options for this card, but I want to focus on the easier options. If you’re running Red Deck Wins, and your opponent puts out some chump blockers to extend the game, cast this.
Target three of them, swing, and laugh as 15-20 damage goes through all at once. It’s a bit of a high-cost spell, but it can turn 4 mana into 3-13 damage. Probably even more! If I had this in my Gruul deck, my Questing Beast would no longer fight alone. Red is getting some really fun options to make their direct damage dreams come true. Speaking of which. . .
Remember Flicker of Fate? Here’s another fun use for it in your super annoying Angel Red/White decks: Iroa’s Blessing! When this four-drop enchantment attaches to a creature, it deals 4 damage to target creature or planeswalker an opponent controls. Flicker it back out, and back in; deal 4 more damage! Did your foe play a flying creature, thinking they’ll stop your assault?
Jokes on them! This is a great way to deal with annoying planeswalkers too. I’d also love to run this in Gruul, so I can play it on Questing Beast or *Insert Gruul Creature Here*. Sure, that creature only gets +1/+1 for 4 mana, but it kills a creature too! That pays for itself if I’m being honest with you.
Oh dear. Red and Red/White are going to get very mean in January. This instant offers +3/+2 until end of turn for a whopping ONE RED MANA. Declare attack with your creatures, get the benefit of Cavalcade of Calamity, and then stack this on top of your Chandra’s Spitfire. That might be the end of the game with one attack.
Personally, I’d rather run it in Red/White. Put it on the Tenth District Legionnaire. This 2/2 gains +1/+1 permanently whenever it’s the target of a spell. Just pair that with Feather, the Redeemed. She’ll exile that Infuriate, and give it back to you for the next turn. God, this card makes me angry just talking about it. Sure, it’s going to be fun to do unto others. But this is going to be done unto me a lot. I guess the title really does fit! This card is also a reprint, and not from too far out: It was in M2020!
Okay, is the big deal in Theros: Beyond Death “stupid high casting costs”? Because Portent of Betrayal is a 4-cost sorcery. Until end of turn, you gain control of target creature, and it gains haste. There are other ways to do this, but unlike other “Traitor” cards, this one also gives you Scry 1! So you can look at your top card, and decide whether you want it or not.
It’s also important to note that this card is a reprint from the original Theros, and it was fun there too. I love traitor cards/decks, and I run one in MTG Arena pretty frequently. Mono-Red doesn’t have enough Scry options, so this one’s a nice returning card.
Talk about ridiculous fun! Naiad of Hidden Coves is a ⅔ enchantment creature. As long as it’s not your turn, spells you cast cost 1 colorless less. Esper control, Simic Flash, Izzet Phoenix/Instant? All three decks will run this card. You can be sure of that. Those 3-cost counterspells? Now it’s a 2, maybe a 1-cost! What kills me about this is that it’s a non-legendary and a common! Sure it’s a 3-drop, but as an enchantment (and a creature), Flicker of Fate will work with it as well to save it. The best part of this Naiad though is it’s all spells. Not just instants and sorceries. You can use it to drop your Wolves on your foe’s turn just a little cheaper. That’s a bargain.
Naiad of Hidden Coves is a 3-cost though and that does hurt in a deck that’s built around control, and not playing things on your turn. But I think that will not stop it from seeing play, if I’m 100% honest. I’m going to try and find ways to use it, you can be sure of that.
God bless. This is incredible. Thirst for Meaning is a 3-drop instant that lets the player draw 3 cards. Unless you discard an enchantment card, you must discard 2 cards. Why is this good? There are so many reasons why this common is incredible. Fires decks? Draw the 3 cards you need, throw the rest in the bin. Throw gods in the bin and revive them in Dimir/Grixis decks. This is another engine for Izzet Phoenix too!
It’s filthy what you can do with this card. Since it’s an instant, you can wait until it’s your opponent’s turn to use it as a draw/discard engine. Hell, run it in Blue/Green, and start running Talons of Wildwood. That gives the creature +1/+1 and Trample. For 3 mana, you can return it to your hand from the graveyard. Here’s what you need to make your flash creatures suddenly a threat.
Hey, something that won’t perish in the wrath of Realm-Cloaked Giant’s Adventure (Cast Off). Plus, it’s a ⅚ for 7! Wait, what? 7 mana for a ⅚ creature? That can’t be right. Let me look at this card again. Oh, there it is! It costs 1 colorless less for each enchantment you control. With plenty of creature enchantments and Auras, you can make this a 1-drop ⅚.
There it goes, now I understand why this could be a fun filler card. It could also go in your Fires of Invention decks if you want, but I don’t really see that. Perhaps White/Blue giants could be a thing in 2020? It’s certainly a neat card though. For a common, it’s certainly fun though! Since it’s a 7-drop, you would not be running the card unless you had plenty of enchantments in the deck, so it’s pretty niche. Or at least it seems that way. Thankfully, there are tons of enchantments in this expansion!
This creature has a fascinating ability. Normally, creatures like this must deal damage to a player to do stuff like this. However, Towering-Wave Mystic only must “deal damage” to something! If it’s blocked, if it’s blocking, it gets to use this power. When Towering-Wave Mystic deals damage, target player mills that many cards into their graveyard. Consider the implications of how that is written.
You can use Towering-Wave Mystic yet another self-mill mechanic. If you can make it unblockable, or give it protection from a color, you can make it a very consistent mill mechanic. It’s a 2/1 though, so it doesn’t have a lot of utility. That is unless you can protect it, bring it back from the graveyard, or any of the other nonsense in this set. Remember Underworld Breach? By now I’ve probably discussed it 10 or 12 times, and that’s a testament to how strong it can be. You can bring this creature back to do it again!
This is a pretty expensive common creature! Unfortunately, the spoiler I saw for this card doesn’t show the power or toughness of it. But that’s not what fascinates me about the card. Its constellation ability does.
When an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, tap target creature an opponent controls. So, if you enchant/pacify a creature, you can tap another one, then swing at your opponent, probably a lot safer, no less. I like it, but I don’t know how big it’s going to be this year. It has potential, except for that 5-drop cost.
“Omens” is another type of enchantment that each color is going to receive one of. Each is built around the type of god in that color. Omen of the Forge represents Purphoros, and is only a 2-drop, like the other Omens I’ve seen so far. Plus, it’s a red enchantment with Flash, which is already a wild thing for me.
When Omen of the Forge enters the battlefield, it deals 2 damage to any target. I’m sure by now; you already know exactly what I want to do with it. That’s right flicker this enchantment in and out of play, over and over! Teferi, anything! Sadly, you can’t bounce it with Thassa, since this isn’t a creature. But Flicker of Fate will do the trick! This is also another option for Scry since you can tap 3, sacrifice Omen of the Forge to Scry 2. If you’re running enchantment retrieval from the graveyard, this isn’t a big deal. I like it more for the direct damage on my opponent’s turn, but Scry is getting popular again. From lands to Omens, you always want to know what is on the way.
How would you like a fog card that could let your creatures still deal damage? Well, Inspire Awe can potentially do just that for 4 mana. Inspire Awe prevents all combat damage this turn, expect by enchanted creatures, and enchantment creatures. So, if your opponent has no enchantment creatures or enchanted creatures in play, you can make an aggressive play a bit safer.
Conversely, you can fog your opponent if they don’t have any of those in play. On top of that, it also lets you Scry 2. Green has a heap of card draw, but not enough scry. So, here’s another option for that. As a common, I like this. It does have a potential downside if your opponent is running a lot of enchantments. That makes it all but useless, so that makes sense as a common. If this were a higher rarity, it might be a little different.
Another way to exile cards from an opponent’s graveyard is always needed. Enter the Saphrophage Harpy (translation pending)! This is a 2/1 Flying Harpy, so it’s not the strongest or most exciting card. It’s a 3-drop, but its only purpose is to make sure a card your opponent wants to bring back disappears into the ether. I would like to put this in a mono-black sacrifice/revival deck to keep doing stuff like this over and over. It’s a common, and probably easy to put into a deck. I like it, I think it’s neat, but I don’t know what I think it’s an incredible card.
At first, I didn’t like Final Death. It’s a 5-drop, but it’s also an instant speed. It being an instant makes it a much better card than similar cards that would be at Sorcery speed. The more I think about this card though, the more I like it. This is a great (but expensive) answer to the escape mechanic. With Nyx Lotus though, you should be able to handle the cost without much issue.
You should also consider this factoid though: Final Death is a god-killer. All of the gods introduced in this expansion are indestructible, meaning you can’t use cards like Drag to the Underworld on them. They cannot be destroyed. But they can be exiled! In response to someone paying the escape cost, I imagine you can Final Death it, so the player loses the exiled cards, as well as the creature in question. It’s not cheap, but it’s a serious answer to a lot of problems that are going to come up in this expansion.
Omen of the Sun is a white enchantment with flash, but it’s not an Aura. So, you can’t use it with several other enhancing creatures. But that doesn’t mean this is a bad one by any stretch. It’s a 3-drop (1 white). When it comes into play, you create 2 1/1 human soldier tokens and gain 2 life. If you tap 3 (1 white) and sacrifice this enchantment, you can scry 2 cards.
That lets you peek at the top of your deck and put those on the bottom of your deck if you’d like. Of course, this screams Divine Visitation for Angel tokens, but it’s a great way to flash in some blockers in a pinch if you need them. None of the “Omens” are busted, in my estimation. They’re all useful though. I like that more Scry is in the game though, especially in white.
Ugh, this Nymph. Just what red needs, another discard engine! I do feel it’s important for a deck type to have many options, and not just rely on one or two cards. Oread of Mountain’s Blaze might be a cheap (in rarity) option to add more discard for your Red/Red-Blue decks. It also has a decent amount of toughness, as a ⅓. Not to mention, it’s a ⅓ for 2, that lets you discard. For 3 mana (1 red) and discarding a card, you can draw a card.
There was a time when that made little to no sense to me. But with Arclight Phoenix, Revival decks, et cetera lurking in the meta somewhere, it’s really a great idea to have all kinds of options. Now, this does cost 3 mana. But the positive side is your opponent can’t really counter it as a spell. They can stop the ability with the right cards, but even if they kill it when you activate the ability, it still goes off. It’s a pretty safe discard/draw engine.
Red’s getting some love today for their commons! This Human Shaman is built for flash/instant decks. What makes this 3/3 different to me, is it doesn’t fly! Most of the creatures you run in that deck fly (Drakes). The Arena Trickster is an interesting common though. It’s a 3/3 for 4 (1 red mana), but it buffs! When does it buff?
When your cast your first spell during your opponent’s turn. So, you can bop a creature they play with a Shock, and this Shaman gains +1/+1. The longer it sticks around, the more powerful it becomes. All it needs now is flight. Or you know, Double Strike and Trample (Ahem, Embercleave). Embercleave makes almost everything better. It’s so wild for me to say “Yeah, this common would be a fun Embercleave target”, but here we are in 2020, making the dream come true.
Altar of the Pantheon is a great card for a variety of decks, even if it’s only “1” extra devotion per color. The wording is a little confusing at first, but I understand it now. Your devotion to each color and each combination of colors is increased by 1. All it does is add 1 to each of your devotions, not adding 1 to each card. However, you can stack several of these in your deck if that is you want.
Since it adds 1 mana of any color, it has value in quite a few decks. I could see it having value in Kenrith decks, as an example. It’s also important to note that if you control a God, Demigod, or a legendary enchantment, you also gain 1 life. I imagine the reason it lists demigod, in addition, legendary enchantments, is to futureproof. Right now, the Demigods are legendary enchantments, but that might not always be the case, now or in the past. But if you have 4 red and green devotion each, and cast this, you now have 5 in each. As a common, the 3-cost (colorless) fits.
At least, that’s how I read the card. It’s a cool idea to increase devotion for other cards like Nyx Lotus.
Ahhh, yes. The tried and true-blue enchantment that turns something useful into something useless. It’s time for a new one, and a 3-drop common at that (1 blue).
Ichthyomorphosis turns the enchanted creature into a blue Fish with base power and toughness of 1. It also loses all its abilities and powers. However, it can still block so you bring it back later.
At least it’s not a pacifist card (so it can’t attack or block). Hell, you can still attack with it, so you surprise someone with all sorts of weird tricks and sneaky nonsense. It’s going to be useful though, even as a temporary solution to a problem. But with cards with escape, it’s only going to be temporary, unless you can get rid of their graveyard in total.
Luckily, that’s not so hard to do in Theros.
Hero of the Pride is a pretty easy to understand, low-cost white creature. It’s not great, but it is neat. Hero of the Pride gives +1/+0 to all creatures you control until end of turn, whenever a spell you cast targets it. It’s sort of a weird card to me though. You’d almost have to be attacking with it or protecting it in some fashion to make this worthwhile.
I’m not sure if it’s going to be a must-use or anything. It would have potential in Feather decks though (white/red). You’d have to have a pretty easy-to-cast spell to drop on him that would also be worth it. If you cast multiple spells that target him, there is more damage to go around. However, it has to “target” him, so I don’t believe area-of-effect spells count.
For every great “Escape” creature, there’s going to be some that are mediocre at best. That’s where I lump Loathsome Chimera, at least for now. It’s a 4/1 for 3, that when it escapes, it comes back with a +1/+1 counter. Its escape cost is 5 mana (1 green), and exile 3 other cards from your graveyard. That’s steep to bring back a 5/2. It’s great with Fling, perhaps, or other ways to create unblockable damage. Other than that, it’s a pretty flimsy creature.
If you have other effects that make it bigger when it comes into play (extra +1/+1 counters, et cetera), it could be a threat right out of the box. This is a “We’ll see where it winds up” kind of card. It’s a common though, so I wasn’t expecting it to be a force of nature if you’ll pardon the expression.
This card is featured in the Theros: Beyond Death planeswalker decks.
Swimmer in Nightmares has one of my favorite features for a control deck: Unblockable! This is a ¼ for 3 (1 blue). They gain +3/+0 as long as a graveyard has 10 or more cards in it. It has to be a single graveyard, mind, not a combined total. That turns it into a 4/4 for 3, which is pretty darn great. As long as you control an Ashiok Planeswalker, Swimmer in Nightmares is unblockable.
So you lock the board down, start milling your opponent, and batter them for decent damage every turn. You can use any number of enchantments or cards to boost its damage, once you know that things are going your way. Swimmer in Nightmares goes into my “It’s not a legendary, so you can stack these and be an absolute jerk with them” stack.
What’s that, I hear you calling out? Green doesn’t have enough Mana Ramp options? They need one more? Well, I don’t know if I agree, but here’s one anyway: Wolfwillow Haven! This is a 2-drop Aura Enchantment (1 green) and is an Enchant Land. Whenever this land is tapped for mana, its controller receives an additional 1 Green mana.
That’s pretty good, but not overwhelming. But you can tap 5 mana (1 green) and sacrifice this enchantment to create a 2/2 green Wolf token. So now I understand what deck this was designed for. Mono green, but more importantly, Selesnya Wolves! This comes into play, with the right creatures in play, you can get even greater benefit. Then simply bring the enchantment back from the grave and do it again. Being able to tap for more mana really pays dividends in this expansion though.
Nessian Wanderer is a great way to sift through your deck for more lands. If you have cards that let you play additional lands a turn (and there are many right now), you’ll want the Nessian Wanderer to seek them out. This ⅓ for 2 (1 green) has Constellation. Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, you look at the top 3 cards of your library.
Take a land from among those and put it in the hand. The rest go on the bottom of your library. It’s also important to note that it’s not a “Basic Land”, so you can do a lot with this. You can also do this each and every time you lay down an enchantment, so in theory, this could be done multiple times a turn for more lands.
Now you can’t play them unless you have the ability to do so, but it’s a great, reasonably cheap way to winnow through the deck and get a few more much-needed lands. The longer this stays in play, the more potential lands you can go filtering for. This is even better if your hand is filled with cards you need, and simply need more mana for.
Rakdos has yet another fun card to potentially slot into their sacrifice deck. It’s a 2/2 for 2 (1 Black, 1 Red), so it’s the perfect thing to come up on turn 2, before your inevitable Mayhem Devil. Each time you sacrifice a permanent, Slaughter-Priest of Mogis receives +2/+0 until end of turn. You don’t even have to use his other ability to get it! That is, you can tap 2, Sacrifice a creature or enchantment to give Slaughter-Priest of Mogis First Strike until end of turn.
Simply using that gives him +2 right off the bat. So you can do that, pop off with Mayhem Devil, deal damage to something, and if you have the mana, sac other things. With Witch’s Oven and a Trample option, the Slaughter-Priest could be a fun way to win games. What trample option is there? Shadowspear! On top of that, it gives Lifelink, so how could you not want to run that? There’s also Embercleave going around, I hear. This is another “It’s good. Not amazing, but definitely good”.
Here’s another Russian card, so I may not have the name right, apologies! But for 2 mana (1 Blue, 1 Red), there’s a lot of tempo going on here! It’s a 2/2 flyer for 2. Whenever you cast your first spell during each opponent’s turn, Mischievous Chimera deals 1 damage to each opponent. That’s not a ton of damage, but it turns into a threat.
You don’t even have to swing with it to make it a target. Perhaps it can be a distraction from your other “Whenever you cast your first spell” cards. If you’re running this, you’re running others like it. For an Uncommon, this is an incredibly good card. I have to say, I really enjoy what it’s putting down.
Oh, come on Green! Don’t you have enough power, without having this nonsense too?! Mystical Renewal is a 1G instant that puts an enchantment on the bottom of its owner’s library. That means you can use it to get rid of gods for 1 mana or save one of your enchantments for the same cost.
Sure, it goes onto the bottom of your deck, but there are plenty of ways to shuffle in-game, to give you another shot at drawing it. This feels like “Veil of Summer” level strength. 1G mana is child’s play to get, after all. And it’s instant speed, so you can drop your opponent’s card right back into their deck as they cast it.
Some will say it’s not a great card, but I like to think of it as Anti-Fires tech.
Do you, or someone you know hate that your opponent can have cards in their hand? Would you like a way to deal with that for a low cost of 2 mana (1 black)? Boy, do we ever have the card for you! This 2-mana version of Thoughtseize has serious upside, in that it exiles the card that is discarded! So here’s how you use it: Target opponent reveals their hand.
You choose a nonland card from it or a card from their graveyard. Exile it, and you lose 1 life. You can look at their hand, decide you aren’t threatened by it, and instead get rid of something in their graveyard! Did that jerk put Rakdos in their graveyard? Send that loser packing before they can bring it back to life to put your victory in peril!
The only way this card gets better is if it were at Instant Speed. Sadly, it’s a Sorcery. Teferi can fix that for you though! Wait for your opponent to draw, and splash this down on the table! They burn a counter on it, or they lose something somewhere. I like that the graveyard choice is “a card”. It’s not a non-land! Just some food for thought, friends.
(This may not be the correct card title)
Here’s some love for the Golgari fans out there! All six of you! The Acolyte of Affliction is a human Cleric that is holding true to the Golgari Value of “Reduce, Reuse, Reanimate”. When this creature enters the battlefield, the ⅔ cleric has you putting the top two cards of your library into the graveyard. That’s neat enough, but you can then put a permanent from your graveyard into your hand! For 4 mana, that’s some pretty serious value.
You better counter this one, or Villis or worse could come back to their hand for easy use. Though I have a feeling it’s going to be more for retrieving smaller, easier to use creatures. You can also use this for lands, enchantments, artifacts, et cetera. It’s a beautiful card with nothing but upsides. You can also bring another copy of this back if you want to risk it for other things in your deck. I know I would.
Perhaps the most interesting part of this card isn’t even in the abilities for it. It has to be that sneaky Phyrexian Obliterator in the card art. Are we going to see Phyrexians make a comeback somewhere in this set? I dunno, but I’d sure be on board with it. So this Saga is a cheaper one compared to the other Elspeth Saga (Elspeth Conquers Death), as it’s a 3-drop (1 black).
However, I think I like this one more for a few reasons. This is a pure control Saga. It exists to make people as frustrated as possible. Every part of it slows down or completely halts your opponent’s attempts to keep beating you.
Part I: Destroy target creature an opponent controls with power 2 or less.
Part II: Target opponent reveals their hand. You choose a noncreature, nonland from it. That player discards that card.
Part III: Exile target opponent’s graveyard.
Of course, if your opponent doesn’t have a power 2 or less creature in play, that part of the saga may feel worthless. Even if they don’t have anything good in their hand, you still get to see it. You wouldn’t cast this anyway until they have a bunch of good stuff in the grave either way, so that’s always going to have value, in a perfect world. It’s strong and inexpensive to cast. I’m noticing a trend in Theros: Uncommons are pretty awesome.
White/Blue has always been strong. This is a 1 white/1 blue enchantment that boy is it a doozy! The enchanted creature receives +1/+1 and has lifelink. On top of that, whenever it deals combat damage to a player, draw a card. It’s a better version of “Curious Obsession”. If I can put this on a creature with Hexproof, it’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. I’d put this in my WU Flyer deck and tack it on after I play Sephora.
There isn’t a lot to say for this card other than I think it’s going to have uses other than MTG Arena. I think it’s going to see plenty of use in Pioneer and other formats. It’s cheap and offers card draw for dealing damage. If you can slap it on something unblockable, that’s even better. Hmm. Jeskai Midrange? Now there’s an interesting deck archetype.
Tired of enchantments? Well, too bad! This set is practically built around them. This is a 4-cost enchant creature, that gives said creature +2/+2 and First Strike. It gets better though! Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, create a 1/1 Human Soldier token. Can you guess what deck this is going in? That’s right, Mono White and Red/White! It’s going to happen!
This is another nice, simple, straightforward enchantment. I only wish it were a lower casting cost, but it’s probably to balance out how strong this card is. Put it on Feather, and watch as she batters people silly. I have a feeling White/Blue or White/Red Enchantress is going to be a pretty strong deck type come 2020.
Oh. Lord. This is a 6-cost Sorcery, so try to hold it until you’re certain it won’t be countered. All creatures you control receive +X/+X until end of turn, where X is your devotion to green. Mono-green devotion is going to be mighty. If you have a giant mana pool, thanks to Nissa or Elementals, drop this, End-Raze Forerunner, and cackle.
That’s a requirement. You’re going to have a mighty army of gigantic trampling jerks. I can’t imagine any deck is going to have enough creatures to hold back the tide of damage that comes from that combo. For each “Forest” symbol on permanents, you control add to your devotion. It will be okay in dual-colored decks, but Mono-Green will make the most of this. It doesn’t give Trample but again, that’s what cards like End-Raze are for. Or you know, just run Aggressive Mammoth (gives creatures you control trample).
Oh, Daxos. It’s still to this day weird for me to see an uncommon Legendary Creature. Daxos is one of those new Enchantment Creatures though and is a 2/* for 2 white mana. Daxos’ toughness is equal to your devotion to white. In addition, whenever another creature you control enters the battlefield or dies, you gain 1 life.
Devotion is how many permanents you have in play that has a white mana symbol on them. With him, you have a minimum of 2, but I’m sure it will just grow. I love this card, but I like it more for Historic Format if I’m honest. He’d be a perfect addition to the Soul Sisters white life gain deck archetype. But Daxos, Blessed by the Sun is a solid card. He’s not game-breaking, at least not yet. I like him, and I would probably run him in any traditional life gain deck.
He might be fun with Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis, but I stand by my notion that she is not a great card. A Planeswalker that has no uptick and is a 4-cost on top of that? Her Escape cost is 6, and you have to exile four cards from your graveyard on top of that. She’s a meh, but Daxos is neat at least. There is one more thing to point out: He’s a Demigod. That’s a very specific classification. We’ve seen gods before, so that’s not new. So I wonder if there will be cards that specify “god” or “demigod”. Something to stew on, that.
Do you love Jund/Rakdos Sac, but need a more reliable way to make sure things are being sacrificed in a hurry? Enter a 3-drop Aura Enchantment, Inevitable End. This card gives the target creature is “At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature”.
There are a lot of ways to use Inevitable End. You can put it on a creature you want to go away, for example. That player now has a choice: sac other creatures until only that one is left, or just get rid of the important, game-winning creature straight away. Either way, Sacrifice Decks benefit. It’s a 3-cost, but it’s only an uncommon.
So far this series seems like it has a pretty high mana curve, and that’s okay. Maybe the idea is to slow the game down just a little bit. There are a lot of too many fast aggro decks going about right now. With Mayhem Devil and his pals in the meta, this is going to be fun. Or! Just as a side note, you can play it on your own creatures to have some kind of janky self-sacrifice deck. It could be used to get a creature that’s been pacified into the grave and bring it back by other means. I like Inevitable End.
If you didn’t get it quite yet, Theros: Beyond Death is based heavily on mythical literature. Instead of fairy tales, we’re going back to Myths. Allrios, Enraptured is a good example of this. He’s based on the tale of Narcissus, who falls in love with his own image in the lake.
I don’t see a whole lot of uncommon Legendaries, so this is nice to see. Allrios, Enraptured enters the battlefield tapped, and doesn’t untap during the untap step if you control a reflection. However, when he enters the battlefield, he comes with a ⅔ blue Reflection creature token. Allrios himself is a ⅔, so it’s a nice touch to the card.
I don’t know how I feel about this one. On the lore front, I think it’s really cool. I’m not sure how useful he’ll be unless you can force him to untap somehow. It’s not terrible, I just don’t really have an idea of how to use it quite yet. The only ideas I have are to use the Reflection as a sacrifice engine for other cards to get that ⅔ into fighting form. But a ⅔ that comes into play tapped for 3? Ehh, not sold on you yet, Allrios.
I’ve seen a lot of white spoilers today it seems. Today we have Hero of the Winds, a ¼ Flying Human Soldier. Whenever you cast a spell that targets Hero of the Winds, creatures you control get +1/+0 until end of turn. Most of the stuff I’ve covered this morning has been for Esper (White/Blue/Black).
Hero of the Winds is going to be appearing in White/Red aggro decks, I can promise. Sure, it’s a 4 drop, but this is the mid-game bomb you need to seal the deal. Between Feather and other cards, you can drop a bunch of those incredible 1 or 2 drop instants, buff your creatures, and just batter someone’s face with them. Even better if you make your creatures indestructible, or immune to whatever color your foes creatures are. There’s a lot of possibility for this card to see play. Since it’s a 4-drop, the uncommon rating makes sense. If this were a 2 or 3 drop, it would likely be rare. It definitely straddles that line.
It may be a niche’ pick I think, but I can see it certainly being used in a variety of white/white red aggro decks.
Another “put the top three cards of the library into the graveyard” card! This time, it’s all players though. The second step of the card has you exiling up to two target cards from various graveyards. You gain 1 life for each creature exiled this way. But for two mana, the third step is where it really shines. “Return target creature or land card from your graveyard to your hand”. This is an uncommon for two mana, and honestly, that’s an incredible value. I really love this card, and see it being used in a variety of green-splashed decks.
I don’t know if it will be in Mono-Green Devotion, but I wouldn’t be too shocked to see one or two of it. Even if you put something important in the grave, you can also get it back. This also lets you pull something back if your opponent is making you mill. However, this card can also be negative. If you put your opponent’s Phoenixes or other good cards in the grave, it can make it easier for them to access them. Now they don’t have to waste time discarding/using their discard engines. The Binding of the Titans is a sideboard card, though. If you see an opponent who won’t be helped by it, feel free to swap it in.
God. God help me, I hated this card when it came in the original Theros block. I was not running black at the time and wound up dealing with this card in almost every Friday Night Magic. The Gray Merchant of Asphodel will be in probably every Black Devotion deck, but I can also see it being mighty in White/Black decks, thanks to flicker abilities in White.
This 2/4 for 5 has a knockout of an ability. When Gray Merchant of Asphodel enters the battlefield, each opponent loses X life, where X is your devotion to black. You gain that much life back. This card made my bones ache every time I saw it because it was almost always back to back. Mono-Black Revival may very well be a thing in Theros. Play your Merchant, sac him, and revival him to do it one more time! Combine this with that annoying Smitten Swordman’s ability to drain someone’s life in one or two turns. This makes me angry just thinking about it; but not enough to where I won’t do it. I’m here to win, after all.
A 4/4 Trample for 3? There must be a catch. Of course, there is one! It can’t attack unless you control another creature with power 4 or greater. Thankfully, since this is Gruul, there’s nothing easier! As early as turn 3, you can drop a 5/5, and then follow up with this. Or vice versa, either way. There are so many creatures that either start as a 4/4 or come in and get buffed. It’s so easy! It can still block too, so even if you don’t have that other massive creature yet, he still has a play to make. You can still use him to block, buff him, and get him ready to start smashing faces. As an uncommon, it’s okay. It’s not incredible, and not terrible. I can see it being filler in a variety of mid-range/aggro decks.
I really like Cling to Dust, because it’s an instant, for more reason than any other. You can exile a card from any graveyard for 1 black mana. If you do this, you gain 3 life. However, you can opt to not exile a card, and draw a card instead! Mono-black card draw? We always need more of this.
For 4 mana and exiling 5 other cards from your graveyard, you can cast it again though. That’s incredibly steep, but it does let you exile something from the grave, which can be very important in this graveyard-heavy meta. Or at least, it will be a graveyard meta, at this rate.
At first glance, this says to me “Hey, a way to stop those annoying gods from becoming creatures that influence the game in vile ways”! Sure, you can use it for that, and that will be fine. But there are some other possibilities. After doing some reading through rules and comment sections, I noticed something funny.
You can still use this on a planeswalker you control in certain cases, and you will still be able to use its loyalty abilities. It can only enchant creatures or other enchantments, so what you do, is turn your planeswalkers into creatures. That’s where Sarkhan or Gideon come into play. Now it’s an enchantment with loyalty abilities. It loses its “planeswalker” type, but still has the abilities of one. From what I understand, if you use a loyalty ability that would normally kill it, it would not, since it’s not a planeswalker anymore. This is something I want to test or talk to a judge about.
You can also use it to remove a creature’s “creature” status, so you can prevent it from attacking and defending. I imagine it would still have its fun abilities, passive or otherwise. This is going to be a pretty fun enchantment utilize in 2020.
There’s a lot to love about Escape Velocity, even though it has that Escape cost. It’s a 1-drop enchantment that gives a creature +1/+0 and haste. Downside: Most creatures are going to fall out of Cavalcade of Calamity range with this unless you’re running some 0-power creatures somehow. Instead, why not apply it to your freshly cast Ilharg, the Raze Boar? That way you can swing for 7, plus whatever annoying thing is in your hand (like Purphoros, for instance!) for maximum damage.
While we’re talking about that combo, if you have the mana, use Purphoros’ Sneak Attack ability, to get one more bit of damage out. That could be enough to kill someone in one attack. Now admittedly, this is a very ideal set-up, but there are lots of things like this you could do. For example, you could apply it to your Chandra’s Spitfire, with a host of 1/1s to inflate it. Then you swing for lethal without really putting any effort in.
If the creature dies, fear not: You can tap 2 mana, and exile two cards from your graveyard to bring it back! While I’m not crazy about Escape, this is a pretty reasonable cost.
Oh yes, Field of Ruin gets a reprint! With so many special lands, Field of Ruin is a must-have in the sideboard at least. It taps for colorless mana, but you can tap 2 and sac it to deal with problems. With it, you destroy a non-basic land. Both players get a basic land from their deck and put it into play as well. This can allow you to make one more move on top of that, with that land.
Sadly, your opponent gets one too. But it can kill any moves your foe can make, depending on when and what you target with it. This is a land I run 1-of in a lot of decks, as a “just in case” measure, especially when playing best-of-one.
This is a pretty simple card, and a good one. This is a 2/2 with gorgeous art and is only a 3-drop (2G). When Setessan Invoker enters the battlefield, you gain life equal to your devotion to green. Can you guess what kind of decks this is going into? That’s right, Mono-Green devotion! You’re going to gain a minimum of 2 life, but honestly, probably much more.
For me, this is probably a 3-of in my deck, as a last-ditch effort to get life to stay in a match. I’d ideally play this after Yorvo, so he can gain +1/+1, and I gain a minimum of 5 life (3 for Yorvo, 2 for Setessan Invoker). There’s just a lot you can do with it, and that’s no lie. But the “lot” in question, is gaining ridiculous amounts of life and inflating certain creatures.
Meh is about the nicest thing I can say about Meletis’ Birth. I will say that this about it though: The first part of the saga is great. It’s a 2-drop that lets you pull a Plains from your deck. Even then, it’s pretty much a niche’ card. Plains are not even in the top 30 played cards at most tournaments, and that’s sad. In most of my multi-colored decks that feature white, at most, I run 3 plains. The rest are multi-colored lands. So, part 1 lets you get a basic Plains, and that’s okay in mono-colored decks.
Part II of the Saga creates a 0/4 Wall artifact creature token with Defender. This gives you a blocker, and that’s handy. It also can trigger a variety of creature abilities, like lifegain, so that’s neat. But the final part? Gain 2 life. Meh! I’ve never been so uninterested in an enchantment before! It can be great, in the right situation though. With Heliod and several life-gain creatures in play, you can do some fun stuff. That said, it’s dependent on the right situations. It’s just not that great, at least at first glance. I’m sure there are some white-weenie fans that are looking at it and planning stuff. I hope so, anyway. I can’t wait to see what other deck brewers are coming up with. But in my estimation, it’s mediocre at best.
This article is updated on a nearly daily basis. Earlier on, I said, “I wonder how some of these cards will go, depending on how many zombies black has.” Now here we are, nearly a week later, and I see another Zombie! It’s a Zombie Merfolk, too! This is a 2/1 deathtouch Merfolk for 2 mana. When it goes into the battlefield, you put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard and gain 2 life.
So, we have yet another fun engine for self-mill in black! That’s going to be so strong in this meta, I can feel it. There are simply so many mill options, for yourself and for “target player”. So, I’ll keep this one simple: Mire Triton’s going to see at least a bit of use. The utility for this card is obvious to me right out of the gate. In Rakdos or Grixis (Red/Black, Red/Black/Blue), you want to put as many powerful creatures in the grave as possible. Then, you cast the right black spell to bring them back to life, and swing for lethal out of nowhere. Mire Triton’s going to make that easier and is only an uncommon!
Ugh. Blood Aspirant is a 2-drop red creature that will become a Jund Sacrifice staple. Could it replace Mayhem Devil? I doubt it, but they’ll go well together. The reason I say, “maybe replace”, is that Blood Aspirant is a 1/1, where Mayhem Devil is a 3/3. But whenever you sacrifice a permanent, you put a +1/+1 counter on Bloodrush Aspirant.
Mayhem Devil, on the other hand, always deals 1 damage when a permanent is sacrificed. With Blood Aspirant, you tap 2 mana (1 red) and sacrifice a creature or enchantment to deal 1 damage to target creature. Where he differs, is that creature can’t block this turn. So, I think the two cards will have a gross amount of synergy. This is an uncommon, so it’s not going to be a money card I don’t think. I am sure it will be a fun part of a variety of sacrifice decks though. Rakdos and Jund are the most likely. This is an easy one: Blood Aspirant will see use.
I’m not crazy about this card in Standard. It’s useful, but it is expensive! This is 5-drop sorcery in black/white. You can do one or both of the following effects; Return target creature card from your graveyard to the battlefield and Return target aura card from your graveyard to the battlefield. Could it be used in a Fires deck or a heavy Esper/Orzhov control deck? Absolutely. But that 5-cost kind of puts me off to it.
There are great ways to mana ramp right now though, so it has viability. The actual abilities on the card are fantastic. If you can manage to play this on your opponent’s turn (Leyline or Teferi spring to mind), then it is truly a force to be reckoned with. Once you know your opponent has no counterplays left, you drop this as an instant, and bam! Annoying creature and a just-as-annoying enchantment comes with them! It would surely cause some chaos.
Hmm, Pharika’s Spawn. I’ve been thinking about this card since yesterday. It’s got a reasonable cost for 4 mana, but I have a feeling it won’t be used this way. Instead, players are going to want to use it for its Escape cost/function instead. Normally, this is just a ¾ Gorgon with no real abilities or uses. Instead, you can tap 6 (1 black) and exile three other cards from your graveyard, to bring it back to the battlefield.
When you do this, it gains two +1/+1 counter, and each opponent sacrifices a non-Gorgon creature. So, I feel like self-mill decks are going to run this as a countermeasure against certain creatures/deck archetypes. I feel that it will be a sideboard card more. If your opponent isn’t running creatures (or not many), it won’t be quite as good. Maybe a 1 or 2 of in the main deck, just in case? This escape stuff is really going wild, and this is one of the most interesting escape abilities I’ve seen so far. It’s got a lot of upside in forcing players to eventually get rid of all their annoying, game-winning creatures. Killing creatures outright can be hard sometimes. So, having an option to make your opponent pick and choose is great. It won’t do much against foes who have mountains of cheap tokens. This is likely aimed more at players who only use a few frustrating creatures to hold players at bay.
Speaking of “creatures with impossibly good Escape upsides”, here’s Chainweb Aranir! This is a ½ for 1 with Reach, which is already useful. When it enters the battlefield, it deals damage equal to its power to target creature with flying an opponent controls. 1 damage to a flyer? That’s… that’s okay? It can kill Healer’s Hawk, sure. However, when it Escapes, it does way more.
The escape cost is 5 (2 green), and you must exile four other cards from your graveyard. When it escapes, it gains 3 +1/+1 counters on it. Now it batters some poor schlub for 4 damage instead! That will let it kill several angels and birds. What I like about this spider is that it doesn’t “fight”. The fight trait means both creatures deal damage to each other. Instead, this is direct damage. It’s a terrific way to get rid of something while still having a blocker with reach. We don’t see enough Reach, in my opinion. This is doubly true with how many good flyers we must deal with right now.
I’m also seeing this being used in Red/Green decks with Underworld Breach. That makes the escape cost much more manageable. This is going to be a fascinating meta.
When the Reverent Hoplite enters the battlefield, it makes 1/1 white human soldier tokens! How many? It’s equal to your devotion to white! Not to mention, it’s an Uncommon! This is going to be filthy with Heliod, I think. Combine this with Impassioned Orator, to gain life every time they hit the battlefield. This is a 5-drop though, and only a ½. This creature’s goal isn’t to life though. Oh, I just had a great idea!
Red/White deck, Divine Visitation, and Breach Underworld! Make a host of Angels, get rid of the Hoplite, and recast him to get even more angels! Oh, this is going to be silly. The more creatures that have multi-colored (white/red), the more angels you’ll have. It’s only your devotion to white, though. I just think multi-colored will make more creatures have value that goes towards this. There are tons of red/white soldiers to use too! This is a very solid card for the mana cost. You want that Divine Visitation to already be in play, so you can cast this next and yell “Surprise!”
We have another “Glimpse” card, this one for Blue, and it’s at instant speed! The first time you cast it, it’s a 2-drop and you draw a card. It’s a card draw with an Escape cost. That cost is 3 mana and exile 5 other cards from your graveyard. That means in self-mill decks, you’re always going to have card draw. Well, almost always.
The cost is high but remember this is an Uncommon. It makes sense for that. Keep in mind that Glimpse of Freedom is essentially near-infinite card draw, if you can pay the cost. You don’t have to worry “Oh, can I draw into another card draw card?” because if it’s in the grave, you have a chance. This lets you try, try, and try again.
This is an okay card. It sounds ridiculously strong, until you RTFC (Read the Freakin’ Card). Whenever one or more cards are put into your graveyard from the library, Devourer of Memory gains +1/+1 until end of turn and can’t be blocked this turn. The important part is “or more”. It can only gain that +1/+1 once a turn. However, you can tap 3 (1 black, 1 blue) to mill the top card of your library, to make this 2/1 unblockable.
There are lots of possibilities for this card to do silly things. Though not practical, you can put it in a Chromatic Lantern deck, sneak in Vraska, Golgari Queen. Her ultimate makes you win the game when deal combat damage to a player. Sure, this isn’t the most ideal use, but it would be a fun, sneaky way to win the game. It would not be the best deck, but it would likely be fun in casual. However, I do feel like this is going to lead to some pretty aggressive self-mill options in Theros: Beyond Death.
Sweet Oblivion may be the most aptly named card in this entire set. I saw it earlier, but it was in a language I could not easily, nor conveniently translate. Players should thank their lucky stars. This is not an Instant (but Leyline of Anticipation, as well as Teferi can change that). Sweet Oblivion has a player put the top four cards of their library into the graveyard. So, this is an enemy-mill as well as a self-mill option. For 2 mana, that’s a great value. But it gets better.
It has escape! Of course, it has escape. In a self-mill deck, this is a vile card. You can just keep casting it on yourself as long as you have cards in the grave, and the mana. For 4 mana (1 blue) and four cards exiled from the grave, you can mill yourself for four more cards. Then, if you have the mana, you can do it again! I love and hate everything about this card because it sure can be lethal.
It might be a bit weird but consider an Izzet self-mill deck. Run Thousand-Year Storm, with Jace already in play. With a few spells already played, drop Sweet Oblivion so you get 3, 4, or even 5 casts of it at once. That’s a lot of cards going into the grave. You might not even need to cast it for Escape, in a deck like that!
Hypothetically, you could mill yourself for 20+ cards in a single turn and get a free win. You’d have to put some effort into locking the board down, but I like this idea the more I think about it.
Remember where I said that a weakness of several Gruul/Red decks is a distinct lack of trample? Well, say hello to The Triumph of Anax! This Saga gives you 3 turns worth of giving a creature +X/+0 and trample! The X is equal to the number of lore counters on The Triumph of Anax. Lore Counters 1-3 of The Triumph of Anax gives a creature this temporary +X/Trample.
Lore Counter 4 has a creature you control fight a creature you don’t control. I’m less thrilled about this, because I could very quickly lose a creature this way. But if I’ve already got board control, this can be a terrific way to secure that just a little tighter.
I just really like the idea of playing this when I need to get trample damage through on a large, angry creature. As an uncommon, this is great, and it’s only a 3-drop. Easy enough to do in a variety of red decks.
A ⅔ that helps bring creatures back to your hand? That’s always value. Dawn Evangel is built for Enchantment decks. Whenever a creature dies, if an Aura was attached to it that you controlled, you can return a creature card that costs 2 mana or less from the grave to your hand. An important point of distinction is that the creature doesn’t have to be one of yours.
You can simply apply this to a creature to prevent it from attacking. Then when it dies, you pull an important soldier or cleric back previously killed.
I don’t think Dawn Evangel is going to be a groundbreaker, but it’s going to have some pretty serious value to stay in the game without having to rely as heavily on the escape mechanic.
A creature that brings back an enchantment card when it dies, to the battlefield? Now that’s interesting. Archon of the Falling Stars is costly at 6 mana (2 white), but it’s a 4/4 flyer with this useful ability. You must go out of your way to see this creature in the graveyard, though. It’s a 4/4 flyer, so it’s powerful in the standard meta. But you can always use Witch’s Oven, or keep it free as a blocking creature, to make sure it perishes.
Why would you want this creature to die? Because you can bring that Heliod back from the grave, or an Underworld Breach! There is so much you can do with this card. It’s a serious graveyard/enchantment set, so cards like this have a lot of value, even as uncommons. It’s a card that while it’s on the field, it’s great, but it’s even better in death. It may make your control opponent reconsider a board wipe because of the implications of putting it in the grave. It specifies “dies” though, so exiling is the only way to avoid this special ability. If a creature is immediately exiled without touching the graveyard first, the graveyard ability will not trigger.
This may not be a great card, but with a solid sacrifice mechanic and some animation cards, you can do a lot with it. Consider Kaya’s Ghostform for this to bring the creature back to do it one more time.
Okay, this is an amazing uncommon! It will be featured in many Izzet/Simic Flash decks, I can see that already. Whenever you cast your first spell during each opponent’s turn, you may tap or untap target nonland permanent. Tap your foe’s big creature, tap their mana-producing artifacts, untap your blocker. Or, you can untap your Nyx Lotus!
Play the Nyx Lotus, and it comes in tapped. During your opponent’s turn, cast a spell, any spell, and untap the Lotus. Now you have mana to counter, flash stuff in, and generally be as big of a jerk as you can. There’s a whole lot of value in the Stinging Lionfish. Its major downside is its 1 toughness. It is a 2/1 for 2 though, so it’s not exactly hard to put into play. For opponents that can’t directly kill or damage creatures, this is yet one more tool in the control toolbox. I only wish it could tap or untap lands. That would make it a rare/mythic rare though.
Now, I know the Drag to the Underworld is a 4-cost instant to destroy a creature, you must read the rest of the card to see why it’s so great. And it is a great card. This might even be Modern levels of crazy. Why? This spell costs X less to cast, where X is your devotion to black. So, with even two devotion, this becomes a 2-cast instead of a 4-cast. That’s as cheap as it can get. Regardless, this becomes a 2-drop instant to destroy a creature. No drawbacks, no conditions. No “Non-black,” no “non-artifact” creatures, anything that can be destroyed, will be.
This is going to be a blast in limited and constructed alike. It “looks” expensive, but with even a pair of black creatures on the board (or even 1, with Spawn of Mayhem), you can start sniping creatures. If you turn-0 Leyline of the Void, you can get this ready on turn 2 without doing any work for it. It’s a very good card in my opinion. Anytime I can easily and cheaply blast creatures with black; I’m very happy indeed.
One of the drawbacks I’ve had with my green deck is a lack of “Trample”. None of the creatures I run have it natively. The only option I have for Trample is Vivien. Nyx Herald may be the answer I was looking for. This ⅔ for 3 gives an enchanted creature or enchantment creature you control +1/+1 and trample until the end of turn. Now, this does have drawbacks.
It requires the creature to be an enchanted creature or an enchantment creature. Let’s be honest though: In Theros: Beyond Death, that’s going to be overwhelmingly easy. My green deck will feature several enchantments or enchantment creatures going into 2020. I don’t think this card is amazing by any stretch of the imagination, at least not yet. This is filed under my “I like it, but let’s wait and see” folder. It has a place in this expansion, but whether it’s a major role or not yet, we’ll just have to see.
Editor’s Note: This is another that we had to translate. So, if it’s wrong, Apologies! For what it’s worth, another website auto translated it as “pull my finger”, which is foolish on its face. So, we have a blue demigod this morning! Also, an uncommon, its power is equal to your devotion to blue. At bare minimum, Callafe is a ⅔, since they are a 3-drop (2 blue).
So, what makes Callafe fun? Creatures and enchantments, you control have “Spells your opponent’s cast that target this permanent cost 1 more to cast”. That’s what! Pair this with Kasmina, Enigmatic Mentor to make your opponents must pay a total of 3 colorless mana more per spell cast on your creatures and enchantments. If you’re a real jerk, you can clone Kasmina, and make a copy of her via Spark Double. That turns it to 5 mana extra per spell. Sure, that’s a best-case-scenario kind of thing, but wouldn’t it be infuriating?
Ready for more enchantment shenanigans? This time, it comes to the Simic color-pairing: blue/green! That’s right, those frustrating flash decks, as if flash enchantments weren’t aggravating enough, now has a creature to help make it worse! Eutropia, the Twice-Favored is a 2/2 for 3 with an incredible upside. Though it’s easy to kill, this wizard has more than enough to make it a threat.
When an enchantment comes into play that you control, you can put +1/+1 on a target creature. If that wasn’t enough, that creature now gains flying until the end of turn. What I like about this, is giving +1/+1 to your creatures that have Evolve. That lets you activate their Evolve ability, whether it’s “fetch another creature” or “tap for more mana”. That’s going to make that easy, especially with the host of enchantments in the game as of Theros. You can also use this with Enchantment Creatures, I imagine.
Since those are still labeled as “enchantments”, you can bring them into play and buff them immediately. With Simic having so much mana ramp, this card can hit as early as turn 2, as far as I see. With Golden Goose on turn 1 and another land on turn 2, you can start this buff engine the right way, before your opponent can likely counter it.
How do you feel about Green/White token decks? Do you think they’re lacking something to make them go just a tiny bit faster? Siona, Captain of the Pyleas is just what you need, and she’s an uncommon no less! Siona is a 2/2 for 3 (1 green, 1 white). When she enters the battlefield, you can look at the top 7 cards in your deck.
You can put an Aura enchantment from that 7 into your hand, and the rest on the bottom of your deck. Anytime you attach an Aura to a creature you control; you create a 1/1 human soldier token. That’s awesome! You know what I want to put in that deck? Divine Visitation! Let’s make those Angels instead, yeah? It’s not going to flood the board with tokens, but it will give you more blockers, and depending on your build, bigger, meaner options. The other thing to note that it doesn’t give you tokens for enchanting enemy creatures. That would possibly make it more powerful (and buff it up to rare instead, potentially).
Today seems to be “draw/discard” day because we have another new possibility for the Izzet discard machine! However, Shoal Kraken is a bit costly, clocking in at a 5-drop (1 blue). However, the trade-off is that it’s not going to be blown up as soon as it hits the battlefield. The Kraken is a ⅗, so it takes more than a simple direct damage spell to kill it. That’s where black decks will shine, by obliterating it.
This Kraken, instead of having an activated ability, has a passive, Constellation. His version of Constellation lets you draw a card, whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control. If you do this, discard a card. This could go well in mono-blue decks too, with spells that can be cast in the grave. It’s a nice card, but boy is it expensive! That in and of itself might lead me to avoid running it, but I’ll just have to see.
I had a feeling that “demigod” would be a creature type we would end up seeing, and the first one I’ve noticed is Tymaret, Chosen from Death! Tymaret is an uncommon and is a 2-drop black spell (2 black), with a toughness equal to your devotion to black. With that, Tymaret is a bare-minimum 2/2, as he’s a 2/*.
Tymaret has a great grave control ability too! You can tap 2 mana (1 black), to exile two cards from any graveyard. For each creature exiled this way, you gain 1 life. The best part of this being “any’ graveyard. That and you don’t have to tap Tymaret to use this ability. You know where I’d really like to see him? Sure, mono-black is the easy answer. But black/white lifegain/aristocrats would be a lot of fun. Creatures that gain power and toughness for each time you gain life will really make Tymaret a must-use and must-deal-with. While it’s great to focus on creatures with this ability, make certain you don’t “only” focus on creatures. The life gain is great but keeping other escape cards out of the grave is a must.
This is a pretty simple sorcery, but it would be much better as an instant. Luckily, there are several options for casting this at instant speed either way. But as a 6-drop (2-blue), you can return up to three target creatures and/or enchantments to their owners’ hands. If you can play this as an instant, you can do overwhelmingly strong things with it.
Save your creatures, get rid of blockers to swing for lethal. It’s expensive, but thankfully this expansion has all kinds of ways to get more mana. Otherwise, you know where I can see this going? Fires decks! Not having to pay the mana cost at all is fantastic. If you have the damage to swing lethal, this could really be a fun card.
Though, consider this as well: Token creatures! If you return them to someone’s hand, it goes away forever! Though this also counts for enchantments. It returns gods to the owner’s hands, so you don’t have to deal with their nonsense at least for that turn. Make sure to hold some extra mana and cards to bait counters!
If you thought Fires of Invention decks were going away in this expansion, well, sorry! This is another card that’s going to have options in those decks. This will let you play more than 2 spells a turn, so to speak. This is a 5/4 creature for 6 mana (1 red). Turn your end step, you can pay 3 (1 red) and sacrifice a nonland permanent. If you do this, you can reveal cards from the top of your deck until you reveal a nonland permanent. You can then put it onto the battlefield, and the rest onto the bottom of your library.
Gross! At least they don’t go into exile or onto the graveyard. This could be useful in a Jund Sacrifice deck too, having your friendly legendary dragon to buff every single turn. If you have useless stuff to sacrifice, you can do it every turn. It’s also important to note this isn’t a legendary, so you can have several on the table at once! The more mana you have open, this will allow for some brutal combos. You don’t have to have the mana to play these cards you have or spend more than 3 mana. Any way you can avoid paying the cost or reduce the cost, will give this card some serious value.
Some time ago, we revealed the Labyrinth of Skophos, which removes a target attacking creature or blocking creature from combat, for 4 colorless mana. This new creature combos with that on a literal level. How? This is a ¾ Minotaur Warrior for 4 (1 red), and you can tap 1 colorless mana to give it +1/-1 until the end of turn. But that’s not the great part.
Whenever another target creature becomes the target of a land you control named “Labyrinth of Skophos,” you may have Skophos’s Labyrinth Guardian fight that creature. So, your opponent attacks with something you’d like to deal with, just remove it from combat, fight and kill it with this Minotaur. It’s not an incredible combo. With enough attack power, it can be a threat to attackers that force you to block. Simply remove said creature from combat and smash it with your Minotaur.
Here’s a fun new Demigod! Renata, Called to the Hunt has power equal to your devotion, so it’s a bare minimum of a ⅔ (2 green in the casting cost). This pairs neatly with a variety of red and green cards. Each other creature you control enters the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter on it. Lands from Nissa? Now they’re 4/4s baseline! This stacks with Grumgully the Generous, and The Great Henge.
If you have both in play already, new creatures show up with +3/+3 baseline. So, then you just play a Questing Beast. If you have the mana after that, slap an Embercleave on him and now he can hit for 16. Sure, that’s a lot of mana to have to deal with, since she’s a bare minimum of a 4-cost. It’s neat, but it’s a little on the slow side. Well to be fair, with Gilded Goose you could get it a bit faster. It’s important to always to remember just how great mana ramp is, especially for green.
Tormod’s Crypt is back! Oh yes, it is! It only costs 1 more mana, as it’s a 1-drop! This might even be a better Tormod’s Crypt. Why? Because it’s standard, it’s uncommon, and going to be incredibly easy to pick up! The older version isn’t exactly expensive, but this means for standard MTG Arena, you have a very easy graveyard solution. This is a 1-drop that when it comes into play, you exile a card from any graveyard.
You can do two very important things with the Soul-Guide Lantern. You can tap 1 colorless, and sacrifice it to draw a card, or tap it, sacrifice it, and exile each opponent’s graveyard. For MTG Arena, that’s amazing. For tabletop MTG/Commander, it’s filthy. You can destroy every player but your graveyard in one blow. Then if you have more than one in your deck (of course you did), you can use it to draw a card, or get rid of graveyards again! I love this card, and it can be slotted into so many decks or sideboards. This is a must-run in the sideboard, if you ask me.
So, Theros: Beyond Death is packing some truly insane uncommons! Here’s a slapper: Whirlwind Denial! It’s a unique counterspell, that’s for sure. This is an incredibly efficient counterplay option for 3 mana. What does it do? For each spell and ability your opponent’s control, counter it unless its controller pays 4 colorless mana. That’s for each spell or ability on the stack!
Planeswalker ability going up? Several creatures buffing/passive abilities going off all at once and it’s got you down? Cast Whirlwind Denial to put a stop to that post-haste! This means that for those Hydroid Krasis users to still get their card draw and life gain, they better have 8 colorless mana just sitting around! Even if you counter that stupid magical hydra, it still gets those abilities, so this is a way to deal with that straight away.
They would have to tap 12 mana I imagine, to keep that creature at all. That’s a good question: Do those two abilities trigger separately? This can stop Garruk’s wolves from buffing him with more loyalty points, and so much more. The options for it are endless. I’d argue this card is too strong, but there are so many passive abilities going around that can make so many aggro moves almost unbearable.
Dryad of Life’s Gift has Lifelink and is a 1/1. But why isn’t it a Dryad? The name clearly reads Dryad. Why is it a Nymph instead? Weird flex, but okay. This is like a card that we received in Throne of Eldraine I believe, Hopeful Eidolon. You can tap 1 and sacrifice Dryad of Life’s Gift to give a creature or enchantment you control protection from a color until end of turn.
This is basically a bodyguard. It sits there, and your opponent must try and bait your sacrifice of it unless they kill it outright. Sadly, it is very easy to kill. I can think of 15-20 cards to just deal with it 1 damage and do away with it. That aside, it’s still a pretty great card, especially for an uncommon.
Careless Celebrant is fun for a 2-drop (1 red). It’s a 2/1, which already makes it frustrating. But when the Careless Celebrant dies, it deals 2 damage to target creature or planeswalker an opponent controls. This creature rewards you for being aggressive, and players are likely going to hesitate when blocking it in the early game. If it dies, it’s possibly going to take something with it.
Since the Careless Celebrant is likely going to be fielded to deal with low-cost creatures that never block, or to kill off a planeswalker, simply having it on the field is a threat. I don’t know that I’m going to be putting it in my red decks, but I certainly like the idea behind it, that’s for sure.
Okay, for 3 mana, this is just filthy. It starts off simple enough – for 3 mana (1 green), a creature gains a +1/+1 counter. At the beginning of your upkeep, you double the number of +1/+1 counters on this creature. That’s the total number, mind. Not the amount you put on it with Hydra’s Growth. Let’s consider a few things. You have at least one creature that gets a +1/+1 counter simply for existing. Like for example, Barkhide Troll. It’s a 2/2 that enters the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter just for existing.
You also have The Great Henge, which gives it an additional +1/+1 counter upon entering the battlefield. Then cast Hydra’s Growth on it. That’s yet another +1/+1 counter, making it a baseline 5/5 for 2. On your next turn, it goes from having 3 +1/+1 counters to having 6! The next turn, it has 12! The reason I picked this creature, is you can remove a +1/+1 counter to give it Hexproof until end of turn. You can effectively make it unkillable, except for board wipe. There are a lot of options for Hydra’s Growth. You can play it on your lands you turn into creatures with Nissa, for example. That land becomes a 6/6 the next turn, with Vigilance and Haste. I can also see that being a ton of fun in Selesnya Token Decks. Bring Hydra’s back over and over. Or you can be a jerk of the highest caliber and put it on an already colossal Hydra or Titan. Oh yes, I love Hydra’s Growth.
Fateful End is another nice, simple red spell. It’s 3 mana (1 red) for 3 damage to any target. Sure, that’s sort of high, since it doesn’t have a way to reduce the cost like Spectacle. So, what’s the upside? Scry! Fateful End deals 3 damage to any target also and lets you Scry 1. So, you can peek at the top card of your deck and decide if it’s worth drawing into the next turn (or this turn with the right cards). So, with that in mind, it’s great to do on your opponent’s turn.
Even better, if it’s the first spell you cast on your opponent’s turn. That’s a feature that’s going to see a lot of play in red and blue alike. You can use Wavebreak Hippocamp with this nicely. So, you play Fateful End, destroy an annoying creature or planeswalker. Then you Scry 1 and decide if you want it or not. Then Wavebreak Hippocamp’s ability pops, and you can draw a card. With the right cards in play, it’s like an Opt for free! Can’t beat that, yeah?
Favored of Iroas on the other hand, is pretty darn good for a 3-drop uncommon. This creature is a 2/2 for 3 (1 white) that comes with Constellation. As we’ve seen, Constellation is built around enchantments entering the battlefield. The way this one works is whenever an enchantment under your control, a buff is given. For Favored of Iroas, it gains double strike until end of turn.
This is great when you are buffing a creature. Give this creature some +X enchantment, and swing for a double strike that turn. At least it’s not permanent! Then they would almost have Embercleave on tap. Also bear in mind that double strike doesn’t stack. No matter how much I wish it were, otherwise, there is never going to be a quadruple strike. With so many enchantments, and ways to bring them back, you can reliably give this creature double strike, I’m willing to bet. It doesn’t specify the type of enchantment either – aura, creature, regular enchantment. It’s a neat card with a pretty useful ability. It’s not busted, or unreasonably strong. I would like to see this in Mono White, White/Green, and White/Red for maximum efficiency. Though White/Blue could use it too, even if it’s not a flier. Let’s see!
For 2 mana (1 green), Destiny Weaver is a doozy! This ⅔ Enchantress card has an incredible upside: Creature and enchantment spells you control can’t be countered! This is going to be an all-star in Gruul decks alongside Rhythm of the Wild. Having more than one way to prevent counterspells is very important. This human also has another way to dole out damage too.
For 4 mana (1 green), target land you control becomes an X/X elemental until end of turn. X is the number of enchantments you control. In addition, that creature has haste and trample, so it can be a hilarious way to stomp on people. Where will this go? Probably Mono-Green and Gruul (Red/Green). I really like this new green creature. More and more I say, “green is the power color” and this only enhances that. Sure, someone might say “Well, 4 is a lot of mana for a temporary creature!”, but I disagree. I hope nobody says that though.
If you’re running tons of enchantments (as you will in Theros), this could be a very beefy land. It’s not indestructible either, so you can potentially deal with problematic lands in a variety of ways. What I don’t understand is how this is only an uncommon. This is clearly a rare level of power to me. It’s going to also be run in a lot of Simic decks. Just stand back, do nothing, wait and make lands for attack/defense when you need.
What an utterly fascinating card, especially at a 3-cost (1 red). This enchantment gives infinite levels of value in heavy creature decks: So Gruul. This is a Gruul enchantment, despite it only being red mana. Why? At the beginning of your end step, if you control a creature with power 4 or greater, you exile the top card of your library. You can play that card until exile another card with Furious Rise.
How often are you likely to have a power 4 or higher creature in a Gruul deck? Oh, I dunno, turn 3 and forever maybe?! That means you have infinite value. You have a creature card (or whatever) that is just waiting to be played. It could be the land you need, or a direct damage spell that is needed in a dire instance. It could also be the game-winning creature you need for the next turn.
The positive side, you still get to draw your next card when your turn rolls around. Honestly, this is a good card. I’m seeing a lot of serious power in the Uncommon rarity this expansion, which I like. You hate to see every common/uncommon be garbage. I have decks that are almost entirely Rare cards, which is silly. I’m looking forward to this rise of power cards in Uncommon. The only real downside to this card is it seems lose the chance to play that card when you do it again the next turn. That of course, assumes you still have a power 4 or higher creature that next turn.
Editor’s Note: This could be an incorrect creature name
Here’s yet another creature that brings your lost and forgotten enchantments back for another use. It’s a 4-drop, this Centaur (1 white), but they’re a ¾ with #Value. When this creature hits the battlefield, you can put an enchantment card from your graveyard, and put it on top of your library.
If you do, you gain life equal to its converted mana cost. So, it’s a life engine (Hi, Ajani’s Pridemate!), and brings back another card. All you need at that point is a card draw engine, which is not a big deal either. Plus, this is a ¾, so it’s useful in combat and isn’t likely to be immediately killed. You know, except for destroying effects and heavy red damage. But this creature fulfills his duty simply by going into play. That means you can bounce him and do it again! Enter Teferi, and Charmed Prince! It’s not busted, but it’s for darn sure useful! This has a nice balance of useful power, and reasonable mana cost.
This is a creature that will be featured in the Theros: Beyond Death Planeswalker Decks. So I imagine it’s going to be in the actual set to craft in MTG Arena. Ashiok’s Forerunner is a 3/3 with Flash, and with an ability like it has, it better!
When Ashiok’s Forerunner enters the battlefield, you can search your Library and/or Graveyard for a “Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears” card and put it into your hand. If you search your library this way, shuffle it. It’s important to note that if you don’t search your library, you don’t have to shuffle. If you’ve been scrying around and don’t want to shuffle, here’s hoping your graveyard has one! This is a terrific way to get your Ashiok and get it cast-ready. You can also use this as bait if you have an Ashiok or something else in hand already. That way, you cast it on your opponent’s turn, make them waste mana countering, and then play the actual desired card on your own turn. I can’t help but wonder if all the color combos will have one of these Forerunners to bring their planeswalkers a bit easier. I sort of doubt it though.
Well, I guess I’m 2 for 2 on “search for planeswalker” cards! Here’s the next one, Elspeth’s Devotee! I suppose it will just be for the major, important planeswalkers. Whenever Elspeth’s Devotee enters the battlefield, you can search your library and/or graveyard for Elspeth, Undaunted Hero. You then reveal it and put it into your hand. So again, this 3/3 can get the Planeswalker you’re looking for, provided you are looking for that specific Elspeth.
Unlike the Ashiok version, it doesn’t have flash. It costs 1 less though 4 mana – 2 white). That makes it significantly worth less than Ashiok’s Forerunner. Not to mention, I think Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears is much better than Elspeth. I don’t hate it, but for that cost, I’m not a fan. I feel like these Forerunner cards are more for beginners or for sealed play.
I’m torn on how I feel about the Thaumaturge of Many Faces. There’s a lot of value in this 1/1 Wizard for 2 (1 Blue). It features Constellation: When an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, you may have Thaumaturge of Many Faces become a copy of target creature and gain this ability. What?!
I’m confused though; would this Thaumaturge changes into a new creature, does he gain their “enters the battlefield” abilities? Can I use this to double the effect of Agent of Betrayal? I doubt it, but boy would that be fun. This card also does not specify “creature you control”. At least, I don’t think so. My Cyrillic is awful. So in theory, you can use this on your opponents’ massive creature. You can also steal one, copy it, and then sacrifice theirs, but that’s far more convoluted. It keeps the Constellation power too, so you can constantly change him, as long as you can play enchantments.
“As long as you can play enchantments”, he says. Have you seen this card list?! You can’t swing a shoe without hitting a new, interesting enchantment! This wizard might have some pretty fun combos coming.
Dream Trawler is an incredible creature, especially for rare. It’s costly, but again, in this expansion, mana ramp is pretty easy to attain. It’s a 6-drop (2 blue, 2 white), but it’s a ⅗ with Flying and Lifelink. That’s only the beginning of this Sphinx’s power. Whenever you draw a card, Dream Trawler gets +1/+0 until end of turn. That’s already good, especially for Azorius/Esper. Whenever Dream Trawler attacks, you draw a card. That’s better still! Each turn, it will be a minimum of a 5/5 Flyer Lifelink if you attack.
You can Discard a card to give it hexproof until end of turn. Then you tap it. If you’re attacking with it, you can just safely give it hexproof. This card feeds into its own protection loop. You also are likely running this in a very card-draw heavy deck. This may be the win-con for Esper control, easily. You can do lots of ridiculous card-draw shenanigans. I want this to be in a deck with Midnight Clock! That way you can swing for 12-15 in a few turns, without any real issue. Simply by having cards in hand, you can protect this from most spells (except board wipe, of course). This is going in my Danse decks, you can be sure of that. Probably my Fires deck too.
A 3/3 for 2? Yes, please! On top of that, you can tap 1W1G to give it indestructible until end of the turn! Even when you inevitably kill this creature, it’s not going to go away! It gets one more go around, in a roundabout sort of way. When this Lion dies, it comes back as an Aura enchantment to equip onto a creature.
That creature gains 1W1G: Enchanted creature gains indestructible until end of turn. That creature also loses all of their other abilities. This could be a bad thing until you realize it’s a Selesnya card. That means you slap this onto one of your token creatures that has no abilities you’ll miss! Give that handy-dandy token indestructible! Or whichever creature you really want to keep in play. I wonder if you could use that to kill Beanstalk Giants if you stole possession of one. It would erase its other abilities, including its power and toughness equaling your lands. That would turn it into a 0/0, and would then die.
Sticking with the “awesome Esper cards”, here’s one of two new Sagas based on Elspeth: Elspeth Conquers Death! This is a 5-drop White enchantment, that feels like a reverse Eldest Reborn. However, The Eldest Reborn was an incredibly busted uncommon, this is a pretty strong rare. So what exactly does this Saga do?
Part I: Exile target permanent an opponent controls with converted mana cost 3 or greater.
Part II: Noncreature spells your opponents cast cost 2 more until your next turn.
Part III: Return target creature or planeswalker from your graveyard to the battlefield. Give it a +1/+1 counter or a loyalty counter.
The reason this is rare instead of uncommon, it offers way more control. With The Eldest Reborn, your opponent picks what they sacrifice. Here, you get the choice. You also slow down their next turn, and retrieve a creature, as well as make it more powerful. What’s not to like? This is another “Hey, it could be fun in a Fires deck” card! I’d like to see this bringing back Cavalier of Flames to get a win out of nowhere. The only downside to this card is the 5-mana cost (2-white) but it does act as a temporary devotion boost, with that 2 white.
We have a new “Enchantress” card, and this one’s a doozy. For those of you not in the know of MTG slang, Enchantress refers to a card that when you play an enchantment, they have you draw a card. Now, these are normally pretty weak cards. They’re great, because of card draw.
But they’re often very easy to kill. This one has “Constellation: Whenever an enchantment is played on the battlefield under your control, put a +1/+1 counter on Setessan Champion and draw a card”. As a ⅓, you can do a lot with this card. This is probably the best Enchantress I’ve seen in some time. They’re a 3-drop and green, so it’s going to be exceptionally easy to put them in play. Turn 2 with a Gilded Goose.
This is probably because Setessan Champion is a rare, so they are not a 1/1 or ½. I’m very grateful that this card is a ⅓; of course, I say that until it’s in every damn Green deck I come across in the next couple of months. It’s important to be honest with oneself after all.
Now this is a fun card! It’s not uncommon to see a land that produces colorless mana, but one that can remove a creature from combat? I can see this being in a variety of control decks. Sure it won’t produce colored mana, but with a Chromatic Lantern you can fix that right up. For 4 mana, you can tap it to remove an attacking or blocking creature from combat.
I’m curious about this card will work on a mechanical level. Say I swing with Questing Beast and my opponent flashes in a blocker. If I tap this, and remove that blocker from combat, does my combat damage still go through? Questing Beast reads that combat damage can’t be prevented, so I’m definitely curious on how that would all play out.
I don’t know if it would be a 4-of in any deck except an artifact heavy control deck, but I have a feeling that Labyrinth will see some play in the Theros meta.
Sphinx Mindbreaker is one of the “Theme Booster” cards and is technically aimed at “newer players.” It’s a high-cost card (7-drop) and is a 6/6 flyer. Now, I know this is a high-cost creature, but let’s look at what he does. When he enters the battlefield, each opponent puts the top ten cards of their library into their graveyard. That’s neat, right? Mill decks are fun, yes? Now consider Flicker of Fate. Exile this card and put it back onto the battlefield to trigger it again.
Can we do it one more time? Oh, I bet we can! Charming Prince in Throne of Eldraine lets you exile a creature and put it back into play at the end of your turn. In theory, you could cast this creature once and then keep flickering him in and out to beat your opponent. If it’s an Esper Control deck (White/Blue/Black) you can throw in Ashiok to make all those cards go to the exile pile instead. Just in case your opponent is doing some nonsense like Dimir Revival. So, yes, this is a very expensive card. You have to be very careful when you cast it, unless you 1. Have mana for counterplay, or 2. Your opponent is all tapped out. Because this can come out of nowhere and secure the bag for you.
Now, this card is an exclusive for the “Theme Boosters” in the physical game. But those exclusive cards appear in MTG Arena also. Nexus of Fate (Buy-a-Box), Kenrith, the Returned King (Buy-a-Box) and Korvold, Fae-Cursed King (Brawl Decks). Not to mention, these have all been very potent in the current meta. All of these expensive rares won’t be though. Sphinx Mindbreaker though? I’m really digging what it can do.
I’m glad MTG Arena creatures regenerate at the end of a battle. Grasping Giant is a 5/7 with Vigilance that costs 6 to cast. Their ability reminds me of a lot of older powers. Whenever Grasping Giant becomes blocked by a creature, exile that creature until Grasping Giant leaves the battlefield. Now, also consider this: It doesn’t count when he is the blocker, only when he is blocked. So you have to be aggressive with him.
If this card also exiled creatures that he blocks, it would 1. Be a mythic rare and 2. Be in way more decks. But I like this card. With plenty of enchants/buffs that exist in this enchantment-heavy expansion, it’s going to be pretty easy to do ridiculous with him. Ideally, I can see Grasping Giant as a late-game answer in Red/White, or in any Land Ramp deck that includes white mana. This is a fun creature, but I’m not so sure he’s a great creature. At least, not yet.
Oh, good lord. Ironscale Hydra is a 5/5 for 5, with a truly ridiculous ability. This is a fairer version of an older card, Phytohydra. It does start as a 5/5, let’s look at its ability. “If a creature would deal combat damage to Ironscale Hydra, prevent that damage and put a +1/+1 counter on Ironscale Hydra”.
Is your opponent going to let 5 damage through every turn until they can kill it? They might be more willing to block it, since it doesn’t have trample. So, what’s the answer? Attack, flash in Embercleave and then cast Colossus on them. Even if blocked, this is now baseline 10/8 with double strike and trample. If they used a chump blocker, that’s almost game! It could be the game-winner! It would take a fair amount of mana to do this. But if you’re running Nissa, Who Shakes the World (and why wouldn’t you?), this can be easy enough to make happen.
Just keep cards on hand to give him trample, and Ironscale Hydra could truly be a force to be reckoned with. This one might be the easiest for me to use so far, considering how easy it is to mana ramp in any green deck.
Well, it looks like Sagas are back in a big way! I’ve seen a few so far, and here’s the first Black Saga I’ve seen. I imagine each color will have at the minimum one. Tymaret Calls the Dead is focused around mono-black zombie decks. I don’t know how powerful that is going to be in the next meta, but I’m curious to see. There’s a lot of fun cards for those kinds of decks right now.
So Tymaret Calls the Dead is a 3-part saga. So, when it comes into play, it receives a lore counter, and each turn after. On III, it’s sacrificed, and the final ability procs. Parts I and II read “Put the top three cards of your library into your graveyard. Then you may exile a creature or enchantment from your graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token”. Part III gives you X life, and Scry X, where X is the number of Zombies you control.
While that’s great and all, I want to think a bit farther afield. If you’re running lots of Zombies this can be a massive way to keep amassing bigger and bigger zombies. But consider this as another engine for Grixis/Dimir Revival. Put all those creatures into the grave, but don’t exile them. You want to be able to revive those gigantic, game-winning options after all. As a zombie card, it’s mediocre at best, if you ask me. It gives you life so you can amass with Dreadhorde Invasion. But I feel like it’s going to see way more use with Revival decks.
Huh. Well, there are a few Satyrs in the game as of Theros, anyway. This is a card that makes me wish Xenograft was still a playable card in standard. Xenograft turns all creatures you control into a named type (Satyr) in addition to its other types. So, this is a two-drop 2/2 creature with Haste. She gives all other Satyrs +1/+1 and Haste. This gives Red/Green some new options to build low-cost, quick damage decks.
However, whenever you attack with three or more creatures, you may discard a card at random. If you do, draw two cards. You run the risk of losing a key card, but you draw two cards for it, so it’s not the worst option. She would be a lot of fun when played with Rhythm of the Wild and Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig. That means your creatures can’t be countered and receive Riot (Rhythm). In addition, whenever a new creature comes in (that is green), he receives +1/+1. You can dole out some ridiculous damage in a hurry with this deck.
I’m not certain how I feel about this card. It’s gambling of the highest order. For five mana, you reveal the top six cards of your library. However, your opponent can exile one of the nonland cards. That player can cast the exiled card without paying its mana cost. The other cards go to your hand. In Grixis Fires, this could really be a hilarious way to win the game. It could give your opponent a tool to defeat you, but with a deck that has so many options, I can’t see it being that bad. It gives you a huge amount of cards in your hand, so you shouldn’t drop it until you have a few cards in hand (unless you have no maximum hand size).
If it’s a bad draw though, your opponent could take the only good card and use it against you. This is a great way to thin out your deck to get to the good cards in a control/Fires deck. I can see Dimir/Esper decks taking your best card, and then using discard spells to make you get rid of the other good ones though. It’s very much a double-edged sword. With the right plays and cards, this could be absolutely devastating. If Fires is in play, you can easily take the game. But if your opponent now has your only Fires of Invention. . . well. . .You know what’s going to happen. It’s a cool janky card, and I’m curious to see how it’s used in the coming weeks.
Note: This might not be the official card name. However, it’s a very simple card and a 4-drop sorcery in Red. This works like a mini Hour of Devastation. Wrath of Storm deals 4 damage to every creature and planeswalker! This is going to be in virtually every Grixis deck, I can feel. It won’t kill gods, but it will obliterate so many other things.
It’s not perfect though. It is a stronger Clarion, but it’s more expensive, and since it’s damage, it can be protected against. There are so many strong “4” toughness creatures right now. It’s so sad that Clarion can’t deal with cards like Questing Beast. Wrath of Storm is here to do just that. Is your opponent flooding the board, but you have Fires of Invention in hand? Drop it immediately and cackle as your opponent’s creatures are consumed by your Wrath. Your Wrath of Storm, that is.
A legendary Harpy? I can’t remember the last time I saw one of these! It’s a 2/1 flyer for 2, and it has a very interesting special ability. At the beginning of your end step, you can exile an enchantment card from your graveyard. If you do, create a 2/2 black Zombie creature token.
Between Aphemia and Liliana, you can amass a pretty beefy number of zombies. You don’t even need to swing with them at first. Here’s a potential engine for Tymaret Calls the Dead, which will give you life and scry for the number of Zombies you control. Looks like mono-black zombies might still very much be a thing in Theros.
This on paper may be a pretty confusing card. It’s not though don’t worry. Underworld Breach is a 2-cost enchantment that only lasts one turn. While it’s in play, each of the nonland cards in your graveyard has escape. The escape cost is equal to the card’s mana cost, plus three other cards from your graveyard. So, you can recast the spell if you have both mana and cards to exile. You can do some pretty ridiculous things late game with Underworld Breach, provided you can afford it. You can use Purphoros to put a few cards in the grave and bring them back for one last hurrah, with Underworld Breach.
If you have enough mana, you can keep blasting someone with instants and sorceries. Here’s where it works out the best: Storm decks! So, look forward to seeing this paired with Thousand-Year Storm and other Storm/Izzet decks. Thousand-Year Storm doesn’t care where the spell comes from, only that you cast it. All you need is a lot of mana and plenty of cards in the grave. This deck can surely do just that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to start brewing. . .
Here’s another card that I’m not 100% sold on, especially as a Rare. When Woe Strider hits the battlefield, you create a 0/1 white Goat creature token. Here’s where it’s interesting at least: Sacrifice another creature to Scry 1. It’s Escape cost is a little high though: 5 mana (2 black), and Exile four other cards from your graveyard.
At least it escapes with two +1/+1 counters on it. It could be fun in mono-black decks built around sacrifice and lifegain, and the ability to scry is certainly helpful. But it’s not my favorite card so far. I love the concept of it though. This is one of those cards I want to see in action before I decide. I know there are people that are going to do filthy things with it though, I’m sure of it.
Okay, I found my favorite Mono-Blue Tempo card: Nadir Kraken! Hell, this could work in Izzet and Simic Flash could benefit from this Kraken. Why you might ask? Glad you did! This is a 3-drop Kraken, that comes in as a ⅔. Whenever you draw a card, you can tap 1 colorless mana. If you do, give Nadir Kraken a +1/+1 token, and create a 1/1 blue Tentacle creature token!
That’s right, you can flood the board, simply by drawing cards. You can simply wait for your turn to come around if you’d like. Or, if you know you have board dominance, just keep playing cards that make you draw more. I’d like to see this in an Improbable Alliance deck! Just another thing to punish players when you draw cards. Pair this with your Cutthroat, so you have plenty of constantly growing creatures. The only thing this Kraken needs is reach. This might be a fun card in a deck that has Slinn Voda, the Rising Deep. If you can afford the steep 10 cost (8 plus kicker), you can return all non-Kraken, Octopus, and Merfolk creatures to your opponent’s hands. Then just swing for the game!
A set of new lands are coming in Theros: Beyond Death too: Temples are back! That’s right, rare allied dual-lands are back. Surprised? I’m sure not. They have names that are tied to the color combination as well.
Sure, they’re dual lands. These aren’t pain-lands, so they can’t come in with a life cost. These aren’t Guild Gates though; they offer Scry 1. So, they’re more like the M20 Temples/Rare Lands. I like these because they offer more dual-lands that offer utility when they come into play. Now we have Enemy Pairs and Allied Pairs, so that’s certainly a positive. We had a ton of reveals yesterday, and I knew we’d get lands. I imagine Enemy Colors will come in the next part of Theros.
Just what white/black decks need, right? Another annoying, low-cost creature. This is going to be a multiple of in all white/black or white/black/blue control decks. Why? Kunoros is a Vigilance/Menace/Lifelink 3/3 creature for 3, but that’s not what makes it shine. Creature cards in graveyards can’t enter the battlefield! No more revival shenanigans! In addition, players can’t cast spells from graveyards. This makes me happy because I know that’s going to be a very powerful mechanic in the coming expansion. Underworld Breach, for example, makes all nonland cards in the caster’s graveyard have “escape.”
That means they can just keep casting from the grave if they have cards there, and the mana to support the habit. Kunoros isn’t going to let anyone out of Hades. Once you’re in, you stay in. Be sure to defend this good boy, though. Or at the very least, run several to replace one should they get defeated. Since it’s a 3/3, it’s easy enough to kill. However, this is one of my favorite creatures to show up in Theros so far, since I’m a sucker for control decks.
I’m torn on Storm Herald if I can be honest. It feels like a late-game answer to winning a game. When this Shaman comes into play, you can put any Auras from the grave and attach them to your characters you control. At the end of your end step, you exile those Auras. If they leave the Battlefield at all, you exile them instead of putting them anywhere else.
That means you can’t return to them to your hand with any shenanigans. It’s a 3/2, so it’s also easier to kill, even if it has Haste (which it does). It’s important to note that they are Auras though, so you can’t bring back Purphoros, Erebos, or any of the other gods. It must be something you attach to a creature as an enchantment. There’s a lot you can do with this, especially if your opponent can’t block or you have huge creatures with trample. This is one of those cards you pair with something that gives you a second attack step. So, where do you run this card? Red/White and slap a Resurgence down before or after cast Storm Herald.
Ahhh, mana ramp. It’s another Lotus! Unlike the Lotus Field land, you don’t have to sacrifice anything for it. Gilded Lotus lets you tap for 3 mana of any color. So why the legendary Nyx Lotus? Because while it does come into play tapped, you can tap it for mana. When you tap it, you choose a color. Then you add your devotion to that color in mana to the pool.
So, just in case you aren’t aware, here’s how devotion works. For each color symbol in non-land permanents that you control, each goes to your “Devotion.” So, if you’re running Mono-Blue and have eight little blue icons across your permanents, you can tap this for 8 blue mana! It’s a legendary, thank goodness, so you can’t have 4 out at once. There are a lot of high-cost cards in this set, so Nyx Lotus is going to be in most decks. It’s likely to be a money card in physical MTG, but we’re here to talk MTG Arena! The best part about MTGA is you just need Rare Wildcards. Start saving them now! It’s a 4-drop, but it’s worth casting for your mid to late game mana ramping.
I’m going to be honest with you: I love this card. I love it so much; you just don’t know. But you’re about to! One of the most frustrating decks for me this past year has been Improbable Alliance. It’s a deck that draws a lot of card and floods the board with 1/1 Blue Fairy creatures. It runs an incredible number of instants and sorceries. So, what do you do about them?
Cast Arasta of Endless web! This is a 4-drop ⅗ Legendary creature (enchantment creature) with Reach. That in and of itself is good. But whenever an opponent casts an instant or sorcery, you create a ½ Spider creature token that has reach! This creature can stop Izzet Phoenix and Improbable alliance in its entirety. It could help against red/white decks that run lots of instants too. They’re only 1/2s, but they can really stack up. With the right cards, you can buff them though, and force your opponent to attack into the spiders, in hopes you’ll let them die. Your opponent can still overwhelm your spider army with fairies, it can slow them down enough to get a Questing Beast or something into play.
Are you a player of Green or Red/Green, and were looking for a creature to guarantee you a nice, easy final swing for lethal? Was the Razer-Boar not quite good enough for you? Tired of watching your creatures get blocked out without trample? The Nessian Boar is the answer to your prayers, my friends. It’s a rare boar, and it’s a 10/6 for 5. All creatures able to block Nessian Boar must do so.
It has a drawback though, though minor. Whenever Nessian Boar becomes blocked by a creature, that creature’s controller draws a card. It might seem like a bad idea, but you wouldn’t swing with this creature until the game is over. You flood the board with your green creatures, ensure there’s enough damage for lethal (and no fog abilities could come), and swing out. All the opponent’s creatures block the Nessian Boar. Drop an Embercleave, and if you want to be a double-plus-jerk, cast Fling too!
Now your Nessian Boar is a 11/6, that you sac for 11 damage during the damage step or directly after, to make certain your foe drops. This is such a fun card. You know what else could be fun? Playing this with Ilharg, the Raze Boar.
Tutors are a long-standing MTG Arena (and MTG) tradition. For those not in the know, a “Tutor” card is a card you can cast to search through your deck and find a card. This is a 3-drop white Tutor, that lets you search out an Enchantment, and put it into your hand. This is a pretty great reprint, and there are so many utilities for this card in the current standard meta. Blue/White enchants, white weenie, red/white soldiers/instants, and so much more.
Do you need more proof? Fires of Invention. Many Fires of Invention decks lose because they never get their “Fires” enchantment. But Idyllic Tutor lets you seek it out and put it in hand. Then the next turn you can cast it, provided you have enough mana to do so. This was a pretty pricey card back in Morningtide (25~ dollars or so, if I remember correctly). It’s going to be a staple for so many decks. For MTGA fans, just use your Rare Wildcards. But for physical MTG, you’re in for a bit of spending, unless you have some old ones lying about.
This 3/2 with Menace is going to be an incredible support card, as well to really beef up the strength and value of reanimator decks. Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths has your opponent look at the top three cards of your library. They put them into a face-down pile and a face-up pile. You can put one in your hand and the other in the grave.
While you can only do this once, that’s not technically true. Teferi can bounce him to your hand! Flicker can bounce him! Charming Prince can too! Or you can just be a super-jerk and clone him! There are so many ways to clone right now too. You can just keep doing this to get your revival combo set up and get the win on the board. Though it has Menace, I don’t really see attacking with it all that often. The only time I would is if I want to let it die and bring it back to life through shenanigans.
White has been one of the weakest colors in MTG for a very long time. I can only hope this is a step to make mono-white feel strong. Heliod, Sun-Crowned is a pretty intense god, and I can already see some pretty filthy combos with him. Whenever you gain life, you can put a +1/+1 counter on a creature or enchantment you own.
The key is enchantment. Even if Heliod isn’t a creature yet (requires devotion to white 5 or greater), you can stack counters on him. You can tap 1 white, 1 colorless to give another target creature lifelink until end of turn. There are so many ways to gain life right now, I can see him being a staple in mono-white and white/black decks to make their creatures nigh-unkillable. Is it the best god that we’ve seen so far? Not by half. But is it hilariously fun to consider the implications? Oh yes. Put counters on your indestructible creatures with Gideon and cackle as those formerly 1/1s just batter someone senseless. Those Healer’s Hawks don’t seem quite so worthless now, do they? On top of that, Heliod’s a 3-drop! He’s very easy to get into play.
What a ridiculous card! Haktos the Unscarred is basically “RNG the card”. What makes me say that? Haktos the Unscarred each turn if able and is a 6/1. When Haktos the Unscarred enters the battlefield, 2, 3, or 4 chosen at random. Haktos has protection from each converted mana cost, other than that chosen number. What a silly bunch of nonsense. At least, if you don’t like the number, you can bounce him out and try again!
He’s a 4-drop that is both 2 red and 2 white, giving plenty of devotion to both colors. I mean, he’s a 6/1! That sounds dangerous. He can’t be shocked, and potentially can’t be hit by a lot of other direct damage spells. You know what Haktos the Unscarred needs to make him hilarious? First Strike! That’s right, give this jerk First Strike and watch him make folks bleed with a quickness. Then you can always use Purphoros or Fling him. I love this card, but it’s so dumb. It’s dumb in a hilarious way. This is Achilles, in MTG Arena. I don’t know if I trust MTG Arena’s Random Number Generator to give me a number that’s safe, though.
While you can’t Embercleave Haktos, you can equip it to him directly, if his weakness is “3”. That’s the equip cost of Embercleave.
Whether it’s an Ashcloud Phoenix, or a Screaming Firehawk, This 2/2 Flying, Haste for 3 is pretty great. This Phoenix can also inflate its power by +2 for 3 mana until end of turn. In the late game that can be intimidating. Why? Escape of course! Ashcloud Phoenix has a 4 mana (2 red) and 3 exiled cards for escape. When Ashcloud Phoenix escapes, it comes back with a +1/+1 counter. So, if you know your opponent can’t block or stop it, escape, have a 3/3, pump up as much as you need, maybe slap an Embercleave on this bad boy, and swing for the fences!
I’d like to see this in an Izzet Phoenix deck for sure. One more annoying firebird that can come back from the grave. You play the Arclight Phoenixes for free due to instant/sorcery shenanigans and escape the Ash Phoenix into play alongside it. Ideally, the Arclight Phoenixes are better, since they don’t need escape. But this is yet another creature that your opponent is going to have to deal with. Perhaps it can be used as bait to distract from the incoming Arclight Phoenix(es). I don’t know what kind of value this will have, but there is potential in this coming Phoenix.
There aren’t a lot of “damage to just flying creature” options right now, but Nylea’s Intervention shows up right on time. This is a 2-drop + X sorcery in green. The X can be whatever mana you have available. This card lets you pick one of two abilities:
So, you can use this as a mana ramp card if you need it, or you can obliterate flying creatures/decks with it. White/Blue flying gettin’ ya down? Just unleash the hurricane that is Nylea’s wrath and watch as all those jerks go soaring right into the graveyard. MTG Arena’s going to get way more interesting with this rare. This is great when you have creatures or spells that let you play multiple lands a turn. In Historic, there’s Wayward Swordtooth, and in standard, you have Arboreal Grazer.
Even better if you’re running a white/green deck. That way you Charming Prince, exile the Grazer, and do it again so you can play one more land that turn. I like that it can shred flyers, but I love mana ramp. But you know what stands out in this card the most. What will make it useful, nay, powerful? It does not specify basic lands. You can pick up whatever lands you need! Nylea’s Intervention’s another must pick for mana ramp.
This is a “Horse Fish,” not a “Horsefish.” That’s not an important distinction, but it’s one I felt necessary to mention the Wavebreak Hippocamp either way. That said, for 3 mana (1 blue) this is value. A 2/2 that will be in just about all card draw/flash decks. Whenever you cast your first spell during each opponent’s turn, you draw a card. What’s better, this isn’t a legendary. If you can get more than one on the field, that means serious value every first cast on an opponent’s turn.
Counter a spell? Get a card. Drop a shock Shock? Draw a card! It’s only the first cast of their turn, but it’s very reliable. This makes all your counters a cheaper version of Cryptic Command, and you can’t just buy that kind of awesome power. Well, you can now, I guess! This is an incredibly consistent form of card draw. Those kinds of decks will be running this mighty rare.
This card is a must-have. This will be a 4-of in most Red decks, as well as in Red/White. A ¾ for 4 that has incredible amounts of upside. Tectonic Giant is easily, easily the best giant in MTGA’s standard meta. Whenever Tectonic Giant attacks or becomes the target of a spell an opponent controls, you can pick one of two choices:
Slap Embercleave on this bad boy and he will be a must-target. What makes this card dangerous is the existence of Torbran, which adds +2 to all red sources of damage. So that merely means attacking guarantees 5 damage to your opponent. That’s before Cavalcade, before Embercleave, before Shock, or any other monstrous thing you have in play. Plus, this is an Elemental Giant. So, it won’t take damage from Chandra, Awakened Inferno, and it can add card draw with Risen Reef!
If you’re worried about its cost, you’ll also likely be running Runaway Steam-Kin, or other mana ramping cards like Nyx Lotus. This is going to be easy as pie to get into play. This card has 2-red in the casting cost, meaning it’s an excellent devotion card. Plus, you can Underworld Breach it back to life, or other revival cards. Tectonic Giant’s going to be a lot of fun.
. . . Maybe I should brew a R/W Giants deck. That could be a lot of fun for jank.
We covered this originally leaked card, but here’s some more food for thought: Esper/Azorius control. Ashiok’s Erasure is so powerful because it’s close to a Blue Ixalan’s Binding. Ixalan’s Binding is gone, but this version is 1. Blue, and 2. Has flash.
Let’s discuss what Ashiok’s Erasure does. When this enchantment comes into play, you exile a target spell. Your opponents cannot cast spells with the same name as the exiled card. When Ashiok’s Erasure leaves the battlefield, return the exiled card to its owner’s hand. This is a way to stop Dovin’s Veto from ever being cast more than once in a game if you keep Ashiok’s Erasure in play.
But let’s look at the exact text of the card. “Exile target spell”. It doesn’t require an opponent’s spell. This will be in many control decks. You can exile a spell of yours to prevent your opponent from casting it too. If you know the other player is going to be running the same cards as you, you can stop that dead in its tracks.
There’s a lot of interesting technical possibilities for Ashiok’s Erasure. I wish it weren’t a 4-drop, but with this kind of power, it makes sense. You can still use whatever spell played, but your opponent never even gets the chance to. There’s a lot of possibility with this card. I like it, though.
This sorcery is a 1-drop (red)+X like the other colored interventions. But, Purphoros’s Intervention might have the best one so far. If not the best, it’s certainly an interesting one. Each of these interventions offer you a choice to go with that X cost.
Okay, full disclosure: I read this card wrong the first time I looked at it. I was insanely excited, thinking it was going to be the win-con for my Cavalcade of Calamity deck. Then I saw it’s “one” Elemental token, not X tokens. So, where can you use this card? When your opponent has no blockers, you can drop this, possibly attach Embercleave to it, and swing for lethal. You can use this card to blast an offensive planeswalker out of existence, or an opponent’s creature that you need to get rid of (Hello, everything in Jund Sacrifice!)
Sure, that just means that deck will Witch’s Oven the card in question, but it will force them to get rid of something, regardless. I think the direct damage is more practical, personally. Since it’s twice the mana tapped, you can get more value out of it. The hasted Elemental is nice, but there are so many ways to deal an instant one damage in the game right now.
Okay, you know how I said Purphoros’s Intervention is amazing? Scratch that, Erebos is the current king of Interventions! This could change again, but we’ll see. Like its red counterpart, this is a rare sorcery, with a 1+X (1 black) cost. Just like its counterpart, you get a pair of choices, meaning there’s lots of value in what you can do with this card. Here are the choices:
The first choice is self-explanatory; kill an indestructible creature, by turning it into a 0/0, and gaining life from it. That’s a fantastic god-killer! But the second card is what really interests me. You exile twice what you put into the card, from any graveyard. If your opponent is trying to steal your creatures from the grave, stop that stuff in its tracks. But the big answer is to all these graveyard decks that Theros has brewing.
I feel like Erebos’s Intervention is going to be in a crazy amount of control decks. This is great when paired with Leyline of the Void, to make sure no opponent ever gets cards in the graveyard to abuse. Your opponent can’t Underworld Breach, if they have no cards left in the grave, right?
Let’s put an end to graveyard abuse in 2020! Thank you for your service, Erebos, god of death. With this, black continues to put a stranglehold on the control over life and death in Theros: Beyond Death.
This name was translated by us, so it could be incorrect.
Time for the powerhouse green Saga of the expansion: The First Iroanian Games! This is a 4-part saga, and it’s beefy for a 3-drop (1 green). Here is what each part does:
Okay, here’s where my confusion comes in: So far, I have no idea what that Gold token is used for. I’m certain it will have a fun, frustrating use. But I love the first 3 parts of this so far. You can do a lot with suddenly giving a creature +3/+3. Thankfully it’s not until end of turn. Thankfully, for people dealing with it, that creature doesn’t gain trample. If it already had it, well. . . that’s another story. It does let you buff a creature though, and that’s great. So, for that if nothing else, it has value.
Swordtooth’s passive is back, friends! Dryad of Ilysian Grove is a great green rare. I’m starting to think Green is going to be the power-color going into Theros: Beyond Death. This is a 2/4 that lets you play an additional land on each of your turns. If that’s not good enough, lands you control have all basic land types in addition to other types. This Dryad is a Chromatic Lantern crossed with Swordtooth! Plus, it’s a 2/4, so it’s going to be a bit harder to get rid of.
I can see 4 of these being run (or at least 2), in a variety of decks. Having another Chromatic Lantern option can really see some fun plays coming to life. With enough mana ramp, this deck won’t even need Fires of Invention (but I could see it either way). What I want to see this paired with, is Kenrith, the Returned King. Now you can use all his abilities, no matter what! This could be a lot of fun with Nissa, as well. Not so much for the lands being all basic lands, but more to put more lands into play. This makes it safer to turn them into 3/3 creatures.
We found another black instant, which means it’s time to destroy more creatures in infuriating ways! Eaten Alive is an exile card though, not destroy. For 4 mana (1 black), you can exile a creature or planeswalker and then look at the top card of your library. You can put that card in your grave if you’d like. It’s Surveil, without the Surveil trait. Sadly, that means certain cards won’t synergize with it, but you can still toss a creature card into your grave to revive it later.
The major downside to this card is the cost. It’s a 4-drop! Sure, it can exile very important cards, be they god or planeswalker. But it’s a 4-cost, so I feel like that leaves it open to counterspells. However, if it goes off uninterrupted, you can do a lot with the card. You could, in theory, use this to force a draw. If your opponent is building up to a Nicol Bolas win, and only has a single legendary in play, you can kill it upon activation of that ultimate loyalty power. That way, you don’t lose, and they don’t win! That’s just petty, but sometimes, that’s what you must do.
Now this is an interesting card. But, before I go into the meat and potatoes, I am curious. This creature has spells cast from the grave cost 1 less to play (colorless). Does that factor into Escape costs? If so, having a few of these in play could really make escape mechanics much easier to use on your opponent. The Gravebreaker Lamia costs 5 to cast (1 black), but it has Lifelink and is a 4/4.
When this creature enters the battlefield, you can put a card from your deck into the graveyard. This is the perfect card for your grave/revival shenanigans. Instead of waiting for the card to come to you, or to constantly mill yourself, just look for it and toss it into a hole in the ground! Sure, it’s a 5-drop, but at least it’s a 4/4 lifelink. This is a creature that has value outside of its casting ability. For Historic, Muldrotha can make a ridiculous combo.
With Muldrotha, the Gravetide in play, you use this tutor to fetch Yarok. Play him, sacrifice the new creature, and play it again with Muldrotha and do this every turn. You can constantly fetch for new stuff and play it from the grave at your leisure. That’s filthy!
This is a simple, but incredibly useful enchantment. This is doubly useful in a meta that’s going to feature enchantment/graveyard retrieval. Mantle of the Wolf is a 4-drop (1 green) that you equip to a creature. This gives them +4/+4, but sadly, no trample. However, when Mantle of the Wolf is put into the graveyard from the battlefield, you create 2 2/2 green Wolf creature tokens.
This has plenty of synergy in Mono-Green, but I think it’s more likely to be in Selesnya (White/Green) token decks. With Tolsimir, Friend to Wolves, each time these wolves come into play, you can fight an enemy creature. Oh yeah, and you get 3 life for each of them if she’s in play too. So that’s another fun positive.
For 2 mana, this card has some pretty great value. It’s a 2/1 with First Strike. That First Strike alone makes this card playable. Here’s the wild part: Loyalty abilities of planeswalkers your opponent’s control cost 1 more to activate. The way the card displays it, it looks like 1 colorless mana. So, to activate loyalty powers you must tap mana, and this is not a legendary.
That means you can stack more of them, and even more if you’re running White/Blue clone nonsense. You can make your opponent have to pay 4 to 5 mana to use any planeswalker ability! Superfriends? More like Super. . . enemies!
Oh. My. Lanta. This legendary soldier is filthy. Whenever this 3/3 with Vigilance attacks, you can untap another creature you control. Until the end of the turn, that creature has base power and toughness of 4/4 and has indestructible! That means enchantments and equipment still buffs them. There’s also something important to note: This works on creatures with vigilance. Even if you don’t have to untap the creature, this still takes effect.
Here’s something fun to consider too: It doesn’t require a soldier, a human, or even a white creature. This is any creature you control. They don’t lose their abilities, either! So, my first though: Gringerbrute! Tap 1 to make him unblockable except by creatures with haste, and batter someone for 4!
While you’re at it, sneak in an Emberblade! Now it’s 8 damage that most creatures can’t do anything about! I really love this creature and feel like it will be incredibly fun in Red/White aggro decks. It’s only a 3-drop (2 white) also! It’s another Gideon, so you can have two indestructible creatures to swing with a turn. More if you have Sephara!
Okay, here’s a fun Black creature with a mountain of upside. It comes with a drawback, of course. All dealings with demons have a cost, after all. This is a 4/4 flying demon for 4 (2 black). Whenever another non-token creature you control dies, you can choose to exile it. If you do, create a token copy of that creature.
However, it’s a 1/1, and is a Nightmare. This lets you sacrifice creatures for in Jund/Mono-Black decks and keep them! You sacrifice the original but get them back to use all over again. This is especially great with creatures that have awesome abilities when they enter the battlefield. It’s also going to force your opponents to deal with your creatures yet again. Of course, Chandra can just blow up all non-elementals with 3 damage, wiping out all that little 1/1s. But with the right set up, that won’t be relevant at all. This truly is a thing of Nightmares, after all. I really like this card, but I wonder if it would be more of a sideboard more than anything. I can see there being value in the mainboard though; it’s not too cost prohibitive.
Thassa’s Intervention is yet another of the godly “Intervention” cards, that gives you a choice, and costs 2+X (2 blue). This one is pretty darn great if you ask me. It’s either a counterspell or a way to delve into your deck to find a pair of cards to put into your hand. So, here are your choices:
If your opponent dumped all their mana, you can use this as a last-ditch counter. Just tap 1 or 2 mana extra, knowing they can do nothing about it. But the ability to look into your deck and find something useful is great in Fires of Invention decks, as well as any other deck that runs heavy counters/answers. If you’re running Jeskai Fires, you can cast it, use Teferi to bounce Fires back to your hand. Recast it, then play those two spells you fetched without paying the mana cost. It’s certainly a fun card with a lot of uses.
Tired of seeing your opponent’s pop hexproof and indestructible? Need one of your big green creatures to have trample, but don’t have the room in your deck for a pile of green spells to do just that? Well, Theros: Beyond Death has an answer, with a very inexpensive legendary artifact with 0 downsides: Mardu Shadowspear! The equipped creature gets +1/+1 and has trample and lifelink on top of that. It’s a 1-drop on top of that (Colorless)!
That’s right, you only need 1 free mana to put it out, and 2 colorless mana to equip it. That in and of itself is valuable, but want a little something special to go on top? You can tap 1 colorless mana to remove your opponent’s permanents’ hexproof and indestructible until end of turn. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to deal with a sudden “Lol my permanents have indestructible now!” in MTG Arena. It even happened in the morning! It’s not overpowered, but I’ll really think it’s a sound, useful artifact. It’s not expensive and has a very valuable ability on top of that.
I’ve been seeing a lot of these Simic Evolution style decks lately in Standard. That deck relies highly on Vannifar and Neoform, cards like that, to get bigger permanents on the board. Enigmatic Incarnation is a 4-drop version of Vannifar, but you don’t have to wait a turn to use her.
The way this works, at the beginning of your end step, you can sacrifice another enchantment. If you do, search your library for a creature card with a converted mana cost of that card’s +1. You then put that creature onto the battlefield and shuffle your library.
You don’t have to wait around to tap Vannifar at all! Sure, Neoform is great, but I think this could be just as good, even if it costs more. Get rid of an enchantment you don’t need anymore for a creature that could win you the game on the next turn. If you have an enchantment in play that was used for a token (and thus has no more value), sacrifice it for the greater good. I don’t know that this is going to be a colossal spell this expansion. But for those niche Simic decks, it’s gonna be a pretty beastly option.
While Enigmatic Incarnation is “okay”, except in certain deck archetypes, Thassa’s Oracle is good in many blue decks. This is great as a tool against enemy mill decks, as well as a win-con in your own self-Mill deck! It’s a ⅓ for 2 (2 blue) and has a banger of passive ability.
When Thassa’s Oracle enters the battlefield, you can look at the top X cards of your library, where X is your devotion to blue. Put one of those on top of your library, and the rest on the bottom in any order. However, if X is greater than or equal to the number of cards in your library, you win the game. Did you read that correctly? You win the game for having a low number of cards!
Jace requires you to have no cards in the library. Thassa’s Oracle lets you get there just a tiny bit faster. You know what I’m going to combine this with? Midnight Clock! Every turn, it lets you draw more and more and more cards, with no limit on your hand size. You can easily get your Oracle in and out a few times to easily win the game. If you think for even a minute, I’m not going to make a self-mill Mono-Blue deck built around this card, you’ve lost your mind. I already have the rares set aside for Thassa’s Oracle, I promise. This is likely to be a decently used card in MTG Arena. Being able to bounce this out of play, or clone it, is going to make it that much faster.
Now here’s a fun Giant. Thryx, the Sudden Storm is a ⅘ for 5 (2 blue), with Flash and Flying. It’s great for those high-cast cost spells that you’re running in Fires of Invention. This giant power reads “Spells you cast with converted mana cost 5 or greater cost 1 less to cast and can’t be countered”. Sure, you don’t have to use the mana in Fires of Invention, but the real important part is “can’t be countered.”
It’s great for non-fires decks too for the reduced casting cost too. Honestly, it’s just a great card in general. It’s got flying, so it can soar over lots of creatures, and having spells that can’t be countered is just fantastic. Sure, you can kill those permanents when they hit the battlefield; but try and be positive! This means your annoying spells like “Kiora Bests the Sea God” go off without a hitch, as well as your Agents of Betrayal. Gotta love it!
Archon of Sun’s Grace is a pretty interesting creature. Before I go any further, there are presently 5 types of Pegasus in the game, before Theros: Beyond Death goes live. Why is that relevant? Archon of Sun’s Grace gives Pegasus creatures you control lifelink! This Archon also has Flying and lifelink and is a ¾ for 4. That’s value all on its own.
But the Archon of Sun’s Grace also has Constellation. Whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control, create a 2/2 white Pegasus creature token with flying. So, get those enchantment creatures and enchantments in play for plenty of lifelink tokens! This isn’t a legendary either, so you can have more than one in play at once. I’d like to see this with Ajani’s Pridemate, the latest Ajani planeswalker, and any other lifegain shenanigans you can think of.
While it is a bit high cost, at 4 mana (2 white), it’s solid devotion fodder for mono white. I could see this going into Azorius Flyers (White/Blue) as well. A few of those Pegasus’s go into that deck already, so having more options is just better, yeah?
For Standard, this is a pretty great card in MTG Arena. It’s expensive, but it’s in green, which has incredible mana ramp already. The Nyxbloom Ancient just takes that and cranks it up to 11. When this creature is in play, tapping any permanent for mana produces three times that mana instead. That means lands, artifacts, creatures. If you have a Nyx Lotus, it produces triple what your devotion to that color is! Not to mention, this is a 5/5 with Trample.
It is important to note that this will not work with Nissa, Who Shakes the Earth. Nissa’s passive gives +1 Green mana when the mana hits your mana pool. It would just be the 3G+1G. That’s still more than enough mana though! It’s also key to note this is not legendary. If by some miracle you get a few of these on the board, who knows what will come next? Oh wait, I know: Finale of Devastation. You tap Finale of Devastation when your opponent can’t counter for something like 30 mana.
Drop an End-Raze Forerunner, and just swing for an unseemly amount of damage. It’s not the best card in Theros: Beyond Death, but it’s amazing regardless. For outside of MTG Arena, it has some truly ridiculous value. But we’re here to focus on Standard, and maybe Historic! It can also be dealt with via spot removal, so that’s a positive.
This gave me a really fun idea though. With a few of these, Hydroid Krasis, Midnight Clock, and Jace, you can, in theory, draw out your deck and win. With Castle Garenbrig, you can tap for ludicrous sums of mana, and just draw your entire deck and win without giving your opponent much of a say-so in the matter.
A second Ashiok in this set? Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears starts with 4 Loyalty points and is a 6-drop (Blue/Black). Its ultimate is absolutely bonkers, but you have to get 11 Loyalty to get there. “Gain control of all creatures target opponent controls”.
The -5 is nice too. “Put target creature card from a graveyard onto the battlefield under your control”. That might sound like you have to kill creatures for it to be useful. Not so! Ashiok’s +2 has each player put the top two cards of their library into their graveyard. After you draw a card, of course. This is my preferred Ashiok, if I’m honest. It sounds like more than ever, I’m going to want to run Esper control. Between Ashiok and the other enchantments/creatures in the three-color (Blue, White, Black), control’s going to be back. I’ve felt like aggro’s had a really strong presence in this current meta. I have a good feeling about Esper control.
Personally, the first Elspeth we saw, if I can be frank, is hot garbage. It’s okay, maybe, but without a discard engine, it’s hardly worth it. Even still, it’s not what I want to run. The new Elspeth though, Undaunted Hero is a 5-drop that’s more worthy of being played. She starts with 5 Loyalty, and has a +2 that gives a +1/+1 counter to up to two target creatures. Her -2 lets her search your library and graveyard for a “Sunlit Hoplite”, and you can put it into play. Shuffle afterward.
The ultimate? Until end of turn, creatures you control gain Flying and +x/+x, where X is equal to your devotion to white. W h e w. If this were a permanent buff, it would be too much. But to make your entire army essentially Angels for a turn, this is pretty damn great. It won’t take long to build, and I imagine this will be run in a deck with plenty of blockers.
Ashiok is getting their due with this card. This new Ashiok is going to be a must-kill for anyone going against a control deck. All three powers are useful. The +1 is “Create a ⅔ blue and black Nightmare creature token”. It has “Whenever this creature attacks or blocks, each opponent exiles the top two cards of their library.
The -3 is “Return target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand, then that player exiles a card from their hand”. This is amazing if they have emptied their hand. That card you need desperately to get rid of? Gone! Pair this with old Ashiok too, while they’re in at the same time. Why? Just look at their ultimate: -7: You may cast up to three face-up cards your opponents own from exile without paying their mana cost.
Ashiok comes in at 5 loyalty too! Granted, they are a 5 drop, but that’s no big deal. Ashiok is probably my favorite card revealed so far. I love a good control deck, and this card will have so many fun options. One of my favorite things to do is to take my opponent’s cards and use them against their owners. Ashiok will 100% definitely see use. At the very least, they will in my Esper control decks. The Alternate card art for Ashiok is absolutely gorgeous too. That’s the version I want.
Remember Athreos from the first Theros block? They’re back, and better than ever! No, I’m not talking about Eric Bischoff. This 4/7 God has a 6-cost, but they are worth putting in play. Athreos is Indestructible, and as long as your devotion to white and black is less than seven, they aren’t a creature. That’s okay, right? By then it’s no big deal. But, here’s the fun part.
At the beginning of your end step, put a coin counter on another creature (any creature). Whenever a creature with a coin counter on it dies or is put into exile, return that card to the battlefield under your control, There are a ton of uses for that. Spend a few turns building these tokens up on your enemies’ board, and your own.
Then the board wipe! They all come back under your dominion! This is even better if Athreos somehow isn’t a creature. That means you can bombard the board, clear everyone off, get your opponent’s creatures and then make Athreos a creature with a higher devotion to white and black. White/Black Prison is a fun concept. I have a feeling when you hit that board wipe or start exiling creatures, your opponent is sure to scoop. The first cards I discussed were mostly common/uncommons, and they were okay.
But Athreos? Athreos and Ashiok are looking like they’ll be in my Esper Lockdown deck. It’s going to be brutal, unpleasant, and tedious to deal with. Fun, though! Unlike the last gods we received, Athreos doesn’t come back each time it dies, so be aware of that.
Please note, the original card was in Italian. The original spoiled card called it “Ten Lords a Leaping,” which made zero sense.
Ready for some more ridiculous god cards? Well, green has you covered! Today we see “Sharp-Eyed Nylea/Nylea, the Sharp-Eyed.”
Like the other gods, she’s an Enchantment Creature and is Indestructible. A 4-drop that is a ⅚, if your devotion to green is less than 5, she is not a creature. However, creature spells you cast cost 1 less to cast. Mono-Green Devotion is here! It will be running several copies of Nylea, I can wager safely. You can also tap 1 Green 2 Colorless to reveal the top card of your library.
If it’s a creature, you put it in your hand. Otherwise, it goes to the graveyard. Since Mono-Green Devotion is likely almost entirely creatures/planeswalkers, this is a pretty safe bet. Okay, here’s a deck that can run The Binding of the Titans. She’s such a great card, and I can see her bumping up the value and strength of Mono-Green.
It’s god time! We have another god to talk about, and it’s Klothys, God of Destiny. This is a dual-colored god, Red and Green. It also requires devotion to red and green, so it’s even easier to make this ⅘ into a creature. If your devotion to red and green is less than 7, they are not a creature.
At the beginning of your pre-combat main phase, you can exile a target card from a graveyard. If this was a land, you can add one red or green mana to your mana pool. Otherwise, you gain 2 life, and Klothys deals 2 damage to each opponent. Use this to your advantage as often as possible. This means you can perhaps cast one more spell before combat, but really, that 2 damage/2 life gain is way better.
Combine that with The Great Henge, you can put up 4 life a turn out. I don’t know if I think Klothys is amazing, but she’s Indestructible, so she must be exiled to be dealt with once and for all. What I do like about her though, is you don’t have to attack to deal 2 damage. I like to run heavy green creature decks where I don’t attack. I just build a massive wall until my opponent understands that they can’t win and give up. With Klothys though, you will keep ticking away at them with damage, until they have no choice but to do something brash and attack into an unfair position. Then you can swing for game afterwards. So, for my style of play, I love her. I think she’s going to be a 2-of into several Gruul decks come January.
Like all gods, Purphoros is indestructible, and he’s back! A 7/6 for 5? Whew! He’s not a creature though unless your devotion to red is above 5. That’s easy enough in this meta though. Purphoros may be the strongest god of all. Other creatures you control have haste, and that’s great. More Red haste (Hi, Storm Herald!). But if you tap 3, you can put a red creature card or artifact creature card from your hand onto the battlefield.
You sacrifice it at the beginning of your end step. That’s right friends, Sneak Attack is back! A classic red spell is back, in creature form! Combine that with the new Red Enchantment, Underworld Breach. I know that’s going to get talked about a lot today. This lets the player who casts it bring back spells from the grave, so you can (with enough mana) bring a massive army back and let them get one more swing at their opponent. Don’t let it be you that gets battered by Purphoros!
Time to bring exile permanents into every control deck! On its own, Purphoros is a pretty darn good creature. I have a feeling he will also be in every aggressive Red/Gruul deck. Especially if you have some mana ramp going on. This expansion covers you there too if you look above to the Nyx Lotus!
I’m not really sold on this creature. I like it for one reason, and one reason only. When it comes into play, you discard your hand and draw three cards. So, you play it once you’ve dumped all the good cards already and need a few more cards to use. It’s a 4/2, so it’s incredibly easy to kill, and on top of that, it’s a 5-cost creature!
When it comes back from the grave due to escape, it gains +1/+1 counter, and its Escape cost is high: 2 Red mana and exile eight other cards from your graveyard. On a personal level, I’m not crazy about escape as a mechanic, but that cost is pretty darn high. Now, in a self-mill deck, it could be fun, as well as Phoenixes to make sure you keep discarding and playing stuff from the grave. I’d have to see the Ox in action, but right now, I’m not really sold on it. It would be a fun card to use with Purphoros perhaps, to dump your hand for 3 mana instead of 5.
Now here we go! We’re getting to the good stuff. If your devotion to black is less than 5, Erebos isn’t a creature. However, whenever one of your creatures dies, you can pay 2 life to draw a card. You can tap 2 mana (1 black, 1 colorless) and sacrifice a creature to give a creature -2/-1 until the end of the turn on top of that. He’s a ⅚ Indestructible Black God.
I see immediately quite a lot of utility for Erebos, especially in black/white lifegain decks. Run those nonsense creatures that give you life when you lose a creature/bring a black creature in. You’re going to have a near unlimited engine for card draw and pain for your opponent. This is even better if you’re running Witch’s Ovens for card sacrifice.
Keep the creatures dying and coming back constantly and that 2 life won’t even matter. He might be focused on black devotion, but I can see a lot of fun for him in Jund Sacrifice, as well as Rakdos Sacrifice. Lifegain decks are where he’ll thrive the most, but he can certainly branch out to try new decks with the greatest of ease.
Elspeth, with the help of Daxos, killed Polukranos, the mighty Hydra. This was done via Godsend. In the original Theros story, that occurred. But death is seldom the end in fantasy settings, especially not Magic the Gathering. So Polukranos, Unchained has arrived for Theros: Beyond Death. Do you know what I said to myself when I saw this card? “Boy, this would be incredible in a Fires deck.”
My friends’ responses to that were. . . they were less than kind to me. I could slap this bad boy in my sideboard, Fae of Wishes it onto the field, and snag a Chalice to make sure I have some black or green mana, depending on the deck. Polukranos comes into play with 6 +1/+1 counters on it, but escapes with twelve +1/+1 counters. If damage were to be dealt to it while it has at least 1 +1/+1 counter on it, remove that many counters from it instead.
With 3 mana (1 black, 1 green), you can have Polukranos fight another target creature. It can escape for 6 mana (1 black, 1 green), and exiling six other cards from the grave. That’s incredibly expensive. But you can use Breach Underworld to make that cost just a little bit more manageable.
However, I think this can be very easily killed. Since I don’t think Deathtouch works on it, you deal it damage, then hit it with Stomp from the Bone Crusher Giant. Damage can’t be prevented, and so that last 2 goes through off Stomp. If it’s something like Questing Beast, Polukranos dies. I like this card. I don’t know if it’s going to be a guarantee in fires decks, but at least green/black is going to be a lot of fun this January. The only thing Polukranos is lacking is Trample. That’s not as hard to apply as one might think.
It’s god-time again! This time we have the blue goddess, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling. She’s a 4-drop god, that isn’t a creature until your devotion to blue is over 5. This is one of the better gods in my estimation. As a 6/5, at the beginning of your end step, you can exile one other target creature you control. Then you bring that card back to the battlefield under your control.
This is a “Charming Prince” ability every single turn that your opponent can’t really do much about other than exiling Thassa first. She can also tap 4 mana (1 blue) to tap another target creature. Oh yes, that’s the good stuff. Put that directly into my veins! I want this god in my Jeskai Fires deck. It would be a little harder to make it into a creature, but with the right deck and cards in play, you can do some pretty silly stuff with her. I’d have to work harder for a Fires deck. Thassa would have a lot of value in mono-blue decks and multi-colored control decks.
A new planeswalker! And it’s -3 is an absolute doozy! This planeswalker is built around enchantments (of course it is), and it can turn any enchantment in your control into an Oblivion Ring! Were you looking for a way to play White/Green control? Here you go, here’s the answer! So, let’s talk about these powers. Calix, Destiny’s Hand is a 4-drop (1 white, 1 green), who enters with 4 Loyalty.
My. Goodness. This is a Mythic Rare, mind, but it’s a 4-drop! It feels mildly unbalanced. I’ll grant, you need an enchantment in play to use that -3, but any enchantment you control can be turned into a Journey to Nowhere or Oblivion Ring (exile a creature or enchantment). So, you can play an enchantment to exile a creature or permanent an opponent controls and use this -3 to do it again for a separate target! That is vile. White is such a weak color right now unless it’s paired with something. Something like Green, for instance.
I’m torn on the Kiora Bests the Sea God card. I want to be incredibly angry about it, because that part III is not nice at all. This is a 7-drop, so you know what I’m going to say by now: It’s going in Fires. It’s going all the way in Fires decks! All of them, probably! This is expensive, but it’s ultimate is nothing to sneeze at. So, let’s get started:
You might not even get to the third part, in a Fires deck! With Cavaliers already in play, you can just swing out with your opponent’s defending forces tapped. But on the positive side, you can steal a permanent of any type, so it might also go in your general Betrayal decks (Blue, Black/Blue, Red/Blue). This is a super strong card though, and the cost makes sense at least. You get a giant creature, you can tap your opponent’s creatures, then steal one to swing out with! It’s a great game-ender, provided you can keep it safe for all three steps.
These new giants make me wish Torpor Orb was standard legal. That lets you ignore abilities that activate when a creature comes into play. Why is that relevant? For these new Titans, “When Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped”. That’s why.
At least you still get its next ability when it hits the battlefield, even if it goes away. For 2 mana, you make each opponent discard a card. Those who did not discard a non-land card lose 3 life. This also procs when Kroxa attacks, so it’s a great discard and life-loss engine. Plus, it’s a 6/6! Its escape cost is high though: 4 mana (2 black, 2 red), and exiling five other cards from your graveyard. It’s costly, but this is a seriously strong creature. The way the cards errata is written is important. If your opponent has no cards in hand, they can’t discard a nonland. So, they’re going to take that 3 loss of life either way.
These Titans are all going to be very interesting, but as a fan of discard, this is my favorite so far.
When Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath enters the battlefield, sacrifice it unless it escaped (like all other Elder Giants so far). However, when Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain 3 life and draw a card. THEN you can put a land from your hand onto the battlefield. Simic Ramp? You bet it’s going to run this card! It’s a 6/6 with an escape cost the same as Kroxa (4 mana – 2 green 2 blue, exile five other cards).
But it’s a fun way to add even more ramp to the deck and to get life and card draw. This is far from my favorite card so far, but its power is on par, arguably with Kroxa. Oh, I just had a thought! Wouldn’t Hushbringer stop these from being sacrificed when they come into play? Sure, they wouldn’t get their ability triggers for it either, but you will when they attack. A 6/6 for 3 mana? Hmmm. There’s some food for thought.