We’ve finally returned to Theros, Magic’s Ancient Greek-inspired plane. Theros Beyond Death is here, and we have all the info you need to get started.
First off, check out the official trailer from Wizards of the Coast:
Missed the original Theros block? Check out our Intro to Theros and get caught up on the story.
Theros Beyond Death features three returning mechanics — devotion, constellation, and sagas — plus a new mechanic called escape.
If you want to please the Gods of Theros, you’ll need to show your devotion. The devotion mechanic counts the number of colored mana symbols on permanents you control. In the original Theros set, you could use your devotion to produce creatures, drain your opponents’ life points, or stir your Gods to battle. Devotion was a popular mechanic in Standard in 2013; given the number of mono-colored permanents in Eldraine, it seems poised for a comeback.
Sagas first appeared in Dominaria, where they represented stories from Magic‘s past. On Theros, they promise fun twists on classic Greek myths, and they support the set’s enchantment theme beautifully.
Spells with the constellation ability will serve you well if you plan on casting sagas. Constellation triggers whenever an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control; Setessan Champion looks like a powerful addition to any enchantment-based deck.
Theros Beyond Death takes place in the underworld, and our newest mechanic cares about the graveyard. Escape allows you to cast spells from your graveyard for an alternative cost. Will you help Elspeth Tirel escape from the underworld?
Looking for the latest spoilers? Here are the cards that the Magic community has been buzzing about.
Our hero, Elspeth Tirel, returns for the first time since the original Theros block. But this time, she’s more of an anti-hero.
Every story needs a villain, and Ashiok is back and badder than ever. Ashiok, Nightmare Muse is ready to exile your opponent’s cards and let you cast them later.
The Gods of Theros are back, including Buy-a-Box promo Athreos. Like previous Gods, Athreos is indestructible, but he’ll only fight for you if you have enough devotion.
White creatures haven’t had the easiest time in Standard lately, but Daxos is looking to change that. He’s also the first creature with the subtype “demigod” — wonder what that could mean…
We all love drawing cards — and, while we’re on Theros, many of us want to play enchantments. How about an enchantment that will let us draw cards? Put Staggering Insight on an evasive creature and you’re sure to generate staggering card advantage.
Fan-favorite Gray Merchant of Asphodel gets a reprint in Theros Beyond Death! Gray Merchant was a key common in Standard and has become synonymous with Mono-Black Devotion strategies from Pauper to Pioneer. While its rarity has been shifted to uncommon, we still expect to see plenty of this card in Theros Beyond Death draft and beyond. Welcome back, Gary!
With Xenagos out of the picture, Theros needed a new God of Red and Green. Enter Klothys, an imposing figure featuring beautiful art by Magali Villeneuve. While not as earth-shattering as Born of the Gods‘ Xenagos, Klothys offers incremental advantage and graveyard interaction a la Wrenn and Six. We can’t wait to see what else this God has up her sleeve.
Xenagos may be gone, but the satyrs of Theros still know how to throw a party. Gallia of the Endless Dance is sure to keep the creatures attacking and the cards flowing. If you’ve ever wanted to build a tribal satyrs deck, now’s your chance!
What would Theros be without its Gods? The five mono-colored Gods will all return in Theros Beyond Death, and we got our first glimpse of their new design with Erebos, Bleak-Hearted. Like his previous incarnation, Erebos is indestructible, needs five devotion to become a creature, and grants card advantage at a price. Creature-sacrifice decks are already popular in Standard, and this God may fit right in.
Purphoros, God of the Forge has been the linchpin of mono-red tokens strategies in Commander. His latest incarnation — Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded — looks to go bigger. This God hits harder than ever before, and he’s sure to bring plenty of friends onto the battlefield.
Back in Theros, Nylea, God of the Hunt allowed you go to big on a single trampling threat. Now, she’ll help you find more creatures and cast them for less. Her activated ability may also put unnecessary lands in your graveyard, which can help enable escape!
Of all the Gods of Theros Beyond Death, Heliod has caused the biggest stir in the Magic community this preview season. Pioneer players immediately recognized his potential to add infinite counters to Walking Ballista and win the game on the spot. Heliod has potential in plenty of formats, and we can’t wait to see what kind of decks you build with him.
Finally, we have Thassa, the God of the Sea. Kiora may have stolen her bident back in Born of the Gods, but Thassa seems to be doing just fine. Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is a great addition to a deck full of “enter the battlefield” effects, and her activated ability is a strong defensive measure, too.
This next card may also shake up some non-rotating formats. Any deck that can reliably fill up its graveyard will likely find a good use for Underworld Breach.
In the Theros Beyond Death story, the Ox of Agonas prevents souls from escaping the Underworld. Its card forces players to discard their hands and draw new cards — which, for some of us, can be a good thing. While it’s a bit too slow for most Dredge decks, Ox of Agonas may still be useful for enabling graveyard strategies.
Like other Magic cards with “lotus” in their names, Nyx Lotus is an artifact that provides mana. But unlike its predecessors, it produces a variable amount of mana based on your devotion to a color. Nyx Lotus seems like a slam dunk in a mono-colored Commander deck, and it may help enable devotion strategies in other formats.
CK Preview Card: Drag to the Underworld
We were also fortunate enough to be able to preview a card from Theros Beyond Death: Drag to the Underworld! (Thanks to Wizards of the Coast for the free preview content!) We expect this removal spell to be a first-pick in draft, and it might just make its way into Standard.
Tentacle tokens? Tentacle tokens.
If you’re planning on drawing lots of cards, Nadir Kraken can get out of control quickly.
Polukranos may be down, but it’s not out! This hydra is back and looking for new challengers to fight. If Polukranos goes to your graveyard after tangoing with another creature, it can escape with even more counters!
Uro has one of the most fascinating card designs of the escape creatures we’ve seen. A 6/6 for three mana is tremendous, and its “enter the battlefield” ability provides plenty of value. Of note: if you cast Uro from your hand and have to sacrifice it, its “enter the battlefield” ability will still trigger!
If you liked a 6/6 for three mana, how about a 6/6 for TWO? Like Uro, Kroxa will head straight to your graveyard if you cast it from your hand, but it will force your opponent to discard a card on the way. Odds are you’ll find plenty of ways to cast this titanic creature from your graveyard!
Enigmatic Incarnation is one of the most fascinating “build-around” cards we’ve seen so far! What will you do with “Enchantment Pod”?
Speaking of cards that work well with enchantments, check out Calix, Destiny’s Hand! Calix turns any enchantment you control into a Banishing Light, and his ultimate will help you rebuild after an Austere Command on enchantments. Consider this card for your Enchantress Commander deck!
If you’re looking for new Commander cards, this preview card from our friends at The Command Zone might do the trick! Nyxbloom Ancient may not be the biggest green monster, but it multiplies your mana production. Ramp decks will love this card.
If you enjoyed playing Fleecemane Lion in the original Theros block, you’re sure to love Bronzehide Lion! Like Fleecemane, this cat is a two-mana 3/3 that can become indestructible, but its second ability creates some exciting new design space. A creature that can return to the battlefield as an aura is super cool, and we can’t wait to see what else Wizards does in this vein.
Theros Beyond Death includes plenty of indestructible creatures — including the Gods — but they may not have it so easy. Elspeth’s new Shadowspear grants trample and lifelink to an equipped creature, but it also nullifies hexproof and indestructibility. What better weapon to take down a God?
Head to CardKingdom.com for all your Theros Beyond Death needs!