Sep 27 2013

Theros Set Review

gift of immortality

Gift of Immortality

Theros is the first set of a new block with Greek mythology design.

 

Set Name: Theros

Format: Standard

Game: Magic the Gathering

Release Date: September 27, 2013

 

What is this set about?

My first impression of Theros is that it feels a lot like going back to the Kamigawa block. It utilizes legends, monsters, Gods, and heroes. What makes Theros different is the heavy emphasis on enchantments. Other card types become enchantment hybrids so we’ll be seeing artifacts that are also enchantments, creatures that are also enchantments and so on.

 

Five mechanics are found in Theros

Heroic – Heroic is a trigger effect when you cast a spell that targets the heroic permanent. It’s not always consistent but it does help in aura heavy decks.

Enchantments – This is the heaviest theme of the set. Sure enchantments are slow and vulnerable to easy removal but new interactions and stronger late game benefits will make them a dominant force in Limited.

Bestow – An alternative to cast the creature as an Enchantment Aura. Even if the creature the Bestow creature enchants dies, the Bestow creature still lives on as a creature.

Devotion – Remember Primalcrux? Devotion counts how many mana symbols of a particular color you have and triggers the effect accordingly. Devotion tries to encourage players to run fewer colors and more color mana intensive permanents.

Monstrosity – Perhaps the scariest mechanic. In a way, it’s like Scavenge, Evolve and Unleash of Ravnica where a creature becomes stronger with +1/+1 counters but can be activated at instant speed. Monstrosity varies at different degree but they’re all pretty expensive. As a bonus, certain creatures gain additional abilities when they become or are monstrous.

 

Scry is the only returning mechanic of the set but it’s a good one. The ability to decide what card(s) you want or don’t want to draw next is very powerful especially during late game.

 

Highlights

The Gods of Theros are all part enchantment and part creature. They will remain an enchantment unless you fulfill a number of devotion to their color. For the most part, they host impressive stats for their initial mana cost and all of them are indestructible. Let’s have a look at the five Gods…

Heliod, God of the Sun: Paying 4 mana for vigilance is pretty unexciting. The token making is bonus. A plain God overall (no pun intended).

Thassa, God of the Sea: I feel blue is a little harder to achieve high devotion unless you put multiple cards into play, play expensive creatures or seek cards outside the set. Even as an enchantment, scry 1 every turn and granting unblockable are both very powerful effects for being the cheapest God to cast.

Erebos, God of the Dead: Its first effect works on white/green decks which would be a decent counter against today’s top decks. The last part is what people would call Greed on legs.

Purphoros, God of the Forge: This God sets up a win condition by itself. In older formats, spam with a Goblin swarm using something like Empty the Warrens and it’ll take off a huge portion of your opponents’ life.

Nylea, God of the Hunt: Trample and optional reusable pump are both something green players would say yes to. Green’s exclusiveness in monocolor also means it is easier to achieve high devotion making Nylea the most likely to become a creature. Somehow, Bow of Nylea is actually more likeable than Nylea herself.

 

Good cards to look out for are:

Gift of Immortality: I see potential in this. For 3 mana, it continuously revives the enchanted creature. Perfect combo along cards with “enters the battlefield” and “dies” trigger (Ashen Rider).

Agent of the Fates: A 3/2 deathtouch creature for 3 mana is already a good deal. If you trigger its heroic ability, it activates an ‘edict’ effect on each opponent. Very strong in multiplayer.

Hero’s Downfall: An upgrade to Murder more in line with Dreadbore. I expect this to see much more play than Murder with the gradual shift back to mono colors.

Voyaging Satyr: Untapping any land is a very powerful ability and such creature that’s reasonably costed is even harder to come by. Expect this showing up in a lot of older formats.

Fleecemane Lion: A Watchwolf with the ability to become monstrous. If it does, you end up with a 4/4 that’s virtually impossible to remove (save for sacrifice effects).

 

Should I buy into this set?

If you do, you should plan on committing to the whole block. The event agenda encourages players to participate in each sanctioned event to fulfill the “Hero’s Quest” which nets the players promotional goodies and a satisfying experience. It’s not a set for everyone but I am curious on what the multiplayer-friendly Hydra deck is like.

 

Strengths

Definitely look out for exceptionally strong enchantment support if that is what you’re seeking. The Greek mythology flavour is strong so if you’ve always wanted a clash between heroes fighting mythical monsters, this is a good set for you. Legendaries and late game cards are plentiful here so it’s good for players used to slower formats. Such cards can be found at any rarity.

 

Weaknesses

Theros have decent cards but a lot are lacking in wow factor. The effect mechanics are harder to take advantage of and takes more time to absorb. Aside from the flavour appeal and some power creep of the rares, a majority of the cards are just ok or below average. The set does shift the game environment to a slow pace with late game commitment and few removals.

 

Rating: Overall Theros is a slower set even with Scry coming back. I would go for select singles unless you’re looking for the mythic rares in which case it is better to buy boosters to find. The rares are actually pretty good if not underrated in this set.

(Source: Wizards.com)

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