The Best MTG Theros Beyond Death Cards


by in Magic: The Gathering Arena | Feb, 8th 2020

It is time for the latest expansion of Magic: The Gathering to arrive and shake up the overall metagame as we know it forever. This is always a momentous occasion, even if it happens to be a rather consistent and expected arrival every few months or so.

Best Theros Beyond Death Cards Criteria

The latest expansion for the popular card game is an important one for multiple reasons. Theros Beyond Death is the first expansion of 2020 and the first new card set to release in the new decade.

A lot is riding on Theros Beyond Death. It will likely shape the field and metagame for this new year and possibly the entire decade as well. It is a critical expansion. Leading up to launch, some weren’t sure if it would be as good as Throne of Eldraine.

The excellent previous card set was a necessary addition to the metagame, even if it did break things in the end when it came to cards like Oko and the like. Thankfully, Theros Beyond Death is here. It is one of the best expansions that we have seen in recent years.

Many cards bring new mechanics or slightly changed ones from the past like the escape keyword, the return of the saga cards and so much more. Of course, the set isn’t complete without new planeswalker cards, one of which you might see on this list.

With so many new cards in this expansion, it can overwhelm players who collect and sift through the latest additions. To help you adjust to the new expansion, we are going to let you know our picks for the best Theros Beyond Death cards.

These are the cards that are best of the entire set. We based it on a couple of different criteria. For one, we tried to aim to have at least one card for every color in the game, which happened naturally so you can rest assured that there is a fair balance of new cards this time around.

As for how we picked the best Theros Beyond Death cards, we looked at the cards of every rarity and value. We selected them based on their strength in battle, how balanced they are, how much they change the current meta and how well they synergize with other cards.

Without further ado, let’s jump right in and look at the 10 best Theros Beyond Death cards in the entire expansion. Keep in mind that this list is in no order, but some cards are certainly better than others.

Best Theros Cards: Elspeth Conquers Death

Theros Beyond Death Elspeth Conquers Death Card Transparent

It wouldn’t be right to start this list without acknowledging the star of it all. Elspeth, well, not necessarily the legendary planeswalker card herself but the card that goes together with her. Elspeth Conquers Death is one of the best Theros Beyond Death cards in the entire set.

This card is better than the main planeswalker card of the set. Elspeth Conquers Death is one of the returning saga cards that are back and better than ever. Saga cards are noteworthy for telling a story across multiple turns that benefit you directly.

In the case of Elspeth Conquers Death, the white color saga enchantment card costs five mana in total to summon to the field. Two of which must be white mana. Like with other saga cards, it starts at the first turn of the story and sacrifices after it reaches its final turn, which is three.

As soon as you summon Elspeth Conquers Death, it activates the first turn story. On the first turn it is out, it lets you target a permanent your opponent controls that have a converted mana cost of three or greater and then exile that card from the field.

The saga card continues its tale from there on the next turn you have after your draw step. In turn two, the noncreature spells that your opponents cast cost two more mana to cast than usual until your next turn.

So, for one turn, your opponent has to deal with some steeper requirements for casting those spells. It could be detrimental for some decks. Finally, the third turn allows you to return a target creature or planeswalker from your graveyard to the battlefield.

The returning creature also has a plus one/plus one counter or a loyalty counter. For the most part, this card brings back Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis from the dead. It is problematic that the main legendary planeswalker comes back this way, but it is useful, nonetheless.

The issue with Elspeth is she only has negative abilities that subtract from her already fairly low loyalty counter. She is guaranteed to leave the match soon as you won’t have any way to gain them.

Though Elspeth is pretty strong, this is an unfortunate cost. Elspeth Conquers Death can’t only counter but make the planeswalker card better in the end with the extra loyalty counter. Also, you could play the same planeswalker three times in one match this way.

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Theros Beyond Death Anax, Hardened in the Forge Card

The red color gets a few solid new cards that bring it back up to speed. Anax, Hardened in the Forge is one of them. This legendary enchantment demigod creature card costs only three mana to summon to the field, two of which must be red.

It arrives on the field with three health and a variable amount of power that ties directly into its card abilities. Devotion is one of the main mechanics of this new card set and it has to do with how much of a certain mana color that you currently have among your permanents and their mana costs.

In the case of Anax, Hardened in the Forge, the power is equal to the devotion that you have to red. For instance, if Anax is the only card you have the on field, his power would be two due to the two required red mana that you must have to play this card.

You start to see how this card could become dangerous. Having three cards that have at least two red mana required could see this creature have six power on the third or fourth turn of the match. The craziest part is that the story doesn’t end there for Anax, either.

The second ability this card has is whenever Anax or another no token creature that you control dies on the field. You can create a one/one red Satyr creature token. It has the card description that it can’t block. Better yet, if the creature who dies had four power or more, create two of these tokens.

Kiora Bests the Sea God

MTG Arena Theros Beyond Death Kiora Bests the Sea God Card

Another saga card that is an excellent addition in this card set is Kiora Bests the Sea God. The blue saga enchantment card costs seven mana to summon, two of which must be blue. It has three turns in total, starting with the first one when you play this card.

On the first turn this card makes up its mana cost by allowing you to summon an eight/eight blue Kraken creature token with hexproof. Considering creatures that cost seven mana or more makes this card worth it.

Your second turn continues with tapping all nonland permanents that your target opponent controls. They won’t untap during their controller’s next untap step as they should normally. Finally, the third turn allows you to gain control of a target permanent your opponent controls and untap it.

There is no understating this potentially game-changing saga card that lets you defend yourself, attack and even take over one of your opponent’s cards.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

MTG Arena Theros Beyond Death Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath Card

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath is one of the legendary creature in this deck and a hybrid one at that. The hybrid elder giant creature mixes green and blue mana colors. It costs only three mana to summon this legendary, one being green and another blue.

It arrives on the field with the impressive stats of six and six. However, this is taken away because you have to sacrifice Uro unless it escaped. Whenever Uro enters the battlefield or attacks, you gain three life and draw a card. Then you can put a land card from your hand to the field.

This card is there to summon, give you bonuses and then put into the graveyard. From there, you can summon it again using escape by paying two green and two blue mana plus exiling five other cards. This allows you to summon it and fight with the creature on possibly only your fourth turn.

Nyxbloom Ancient

Theros Beyond Death Nyxbloom Ancient Card

Continuing with the green color for a little bit, we have Nyxbloom Ancient. The enchantment elemental creature card that costs seven mana to summon to the field, three of which must be green mana. That is a lot of mana for this card, especially given its five/five stats.

However, when you look at its abilities you can see why this card is a powerhouse. Its trample ability lands some extra damage to the controller if there are any remaining points. More importantly, if you tap a permanent for mana, it produces three times more than usual instead.

Though you have to pay a lot for Nyxbloom Ancient, the investment pays off as your mana pool is three times what it was before. You can pull off crazy stunts and possibly close out a match.

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

Theros Beyond Death Ashiok, Nightmare Muse Card

The sole legendary planeswalker included in this list is Ashiok, Nightmare Muse. This legendary planeswalker is a hybrid between the blue and black mana colors, an interesting mix that creates a powerful asset. Ashiok starts with five loyalty points at her disposal and with a mana cost of five, one being blue and another black.

Unlike Elspeth, she can gain points by using the plus one ability to create a two/three blue and black nightmare creature token. It makes each opponent exile the top two cards of their deck every time the token attacks or blocks.

The minus three ability Ashiok has allowed her to return a target nonland permanent to its owner’s hand. Then, that player picks a card from their hand to exile. If you couldn’t tell, Ashiok is all about exiling.

Finally, the ultimate ability that costs seven loyalty points is where everything comes together. You can cast up to three face-up cards your opponents own from exile without paying any mana costs. It is all about exiling over and over until you have enough loyalty to cast those opponent’s cards as your own. The game-changing card has shaped the meta considerably.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Theros Beyond Death Dryad of the Ilysian Grove Card

Moving back to the green color for a bit, we have Dryad of the Ilysian Grove. The green enchantment nymph creature card costs three mana to summon to the field, one of which must be green mana. It has the stats of two and four that balance everything out.

This dryad allows you to play an additional land on each of your turns while it is on the field. Also, it lands you control of every basic land type in addition to other types. These are two impressive abilities that allows players to get a potential advantage early in the match.

Haktos the Unscarred

MTG Theros Beyond Death Haktos the Unscarred

In Haktos the Unscarred, we possibly have the best legendary creature card in the whole set. Haktos is a hybrid legendary human warrior creature card that costs four mana to summon, two of which must be red mana and the other two white mana.

The hybrid arrives on the field with the powerful stats of six and one but don’t think he’ll stick around for one fight. Haktos attacks in each combat if able to. When he enters the field, you choose two, three or four at random.

Haktos has protection from every converted mana cost in the game except that number. If two are chosen, only creatures with a mana cost of two can damage Haktos. Suddenly, one health goes a long way. You can have an almost invincible fighter on your side.

Shadowspear

MTG Arena Theros Beyond Death Shadowspear Card Transparent

Shadowspear is a new legendary equipment artifact card introduced in this game. It only costs one mana of your choosing to equip it on a creature and well worth doing so. The equipped creature gains plus one/plus one to stats and have both trample and lifelink.

Also, you can pay one mana to have all permanents that your opponents control lose hexproof and indestructible until the end of the turn. There are quite a few indestructible and hexproof cards in this new set. So, this card is important for countering them. As such, some decks should consider this great counter card.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

theros beyond death decks Gray Merchant of Asphodel card

Finally, we come to our last card on the list. We placed Gray Merchant of Asphodel in the final spot for one main reason. We believe that this is one of the best Theros Beyond Death cards in the entire set. It is a black zombie creature card that you should not underestimate.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel costs five mana to summon this zombie creature, two of which must be black mana. It arrives on the field with the okay stats of two and four each. But what makes this card so amazing is its ability and it has to do with that signature devotion keyword.

When Gray Merchant enters the field, each opponent you have loses an X amount of life where X is your devotion to black. Also, you gain that life that the opponents have lost. Without a doubt, this is a rather cheap win condition card right here.

Usually, each player starts with 20 life available to them. Gray Merchant deals damage based on how much the total mana costs of your cards have that is black only. With Gray Merchant alone, this guarantees to deal two damage.

But say that you wait until later in the match when you have more cards on your side of the field. You could easily tally up 10, 12 or even 20 damage just based on the mana costs of your permanents in the later portions of the match. This could turn almost any match, even losing ones, into a sudden victory.

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