Born of the Gods follow up Theros with more Gods and mythical creatures.
Set Name: Born of the Gods
Game: Magic the Gathering
Release Date: February 7, 2014
Born of the Gods took what was in Theros and add more contents to it. We see a lot more of the unique tribes such as satyrs, minotaurs and sea monsters. There’s also added support for enchantments, heroics and devotion. More cards with scry effects also make an appearance this set.
New mechanics are found in Born of the Gods
Tribute: Not to be confused with Yugioh’s card mechanic. This effect is not a sacrifice effect. Instead, when a creature with tribute enters the battlefield, an opponent may “pay the tribute” giving it a number of +1/+1 counters based on the tribute amount. If they don’t, an effect triggers. In a way, this is comparable to older “choice cards” such as Vexing Devil and Browbeat.
Inspired: Inspired is an easy mechanic to get used to and I can picture it being in a lot of future sets. Basically, whenever a creature becomes untapped, an effect triggers. This is different than the “untap effect” from Shadowmoor where that was an activated ability and Inspired is a trigger effect.
Most of Theros’ mechanic will return to Born of the Gods including Heroic, Auras and Enchantments, Devotion, and Scry. Monstrosity is the only mechanic not to return.
There are new Gods in this set. This time, they come in 2-color pairs and each requires a total of 7 devotion rather than 5.
Ephara, God of the Polis: White blue 6/5 God. It potentially nets you a draw every turn provided you have a way of getting creatures into the battlefield. The unfortunate thing is that white blue decks tend to run few creatures.
Mogis, God of Slaughter: Black red 7/5 God. The extra power is nice for offense motivating you to devote enough for Mogis to be a creature. Its effect is painful to the opponent but it’s mostly going to be a Shock every turn.
Xenagos, God of Revel: Red green 6/5 God and the cover character for this set and the next. For its color and cost, I expected higher stats from Xenagos. The effect is basically for creature aggro beefing your attacker (Ball Lightning for 12?). It is convenient even when you’re not devoted to Xenagos. In fact, it could work well with his planeswalker self.
Karametra, God of Harvests: Green white 6/7 God. A little expensive but makes up with higher stats. Casting a creature spell gives free land ramp. It sounds good if you’re going for progressively larger spells but hard to take advantage of. Like Ephara, you need a constant stream of creatures running to fully utilize Karametra.
Phenax, God of Deception: Blue black 4/7 God. Phenax takes on a mill strategy. The best way to use Phenax is to set up defenders with high toughness early game to stall then use them to start mass milling. If you’re devoted enough, Phenax himself can mill 7 cards each turn. It is creature reliant and somewhat slow so it’s not for everyone.
The top 5 cards of this set are:
Spirit of the Labyrinth: I’m not too fond of white creatures but this one definitely changed my mind. Draw limitation is really strong against control. In your average game, it’s just a sideboard card. In legacy and commander formats, this locks down a lot of decks especially against the recent commander Nekusar, the Mindrazer.
Archetype of Imagination: It may be expensive but the ability to gain evasion while denying your opponent evasion is game changing. Considering that flying is the most common evasion available, it will be relevant in most games. The only way your opponent can fight back is creatures with reach or removal.
Vortex Elemental: The 1 mana uncommon Vortex Elemental is more devastating than any other fearsome blockers including deathtouch creatures. It spins itself and the creatures it battled back to the library effectively slowing down the opponent. You can control which creatures block it too (at a price).
Gild: Gild is a good removal spell. Black already have a lot of removals this format and many are much cheaper spells but Gild can be better because it exiles instead of destroys and it gives you mana as refund.
Unravel the Aether: I like to think of this as an alternate Naturalize. It doesn’t destroy like Naturalize and it doesn’t exile like Revoke Existence either (also in the same set). Shuffling back an artifact or enchantment slows down your opponent and gets past indestructibles such as the Gods of this block. Your opponent can always search it back if they have a tutor but Standard format doesn’t have too many of those.
Should I buy into this set?
If you’re already committed to Theros, you’ll want to commit to the entire block and Born of the Gods does not disappoint. One could say it is a Theros expansion. If not, just wait for the next block. Born of the Gods should have a few general support for each color even if you’re not following their effect themes.
The white and blue cards are particularly strong in this set. There are more cards following effect mechanics of Theros so if you wanted more heroic or devotion support, Born of the Gods might have something for you. Some of the uncommons of this set are really good and can be considered “rare” quality.
Born of the Gods is actually a lackluster set for me. There isn’t really anything amazing going for it (much less so than Theros) and not a lot of cards are worth collecting. The set relies on the Theros effect mechanic to work which means having Theros is a must. I felt some card effects had lazy design or were hastily made. Mono green and red cards are particularly underpowered to me. This is Wizard’s most reserved set in terms of power level, flavour and creativity because hardly much has changed.
Rating: If I am buying, I would just pick out any interesting singles. However, if you’re into the Theros theme, a few packs should suffice to get a taste of Born of the Gods. From what we’ve seen, Journey into Nyx is the final set of the block as we’ll see the yet-to-be-revealed Gods Kruphix (blue green), Keranos (blue red), Pharika (green black), Iroas (red white), and Athreos (white black). Ajani the planeswalker will likely return as well as the original God Nyx.
Thanks for reading!