Magic: the Gathering - Theros: Beyond Death Watch

AngryJellyfish
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Theros: Beyond Death is due for release on the 24th of January (prerelease: 17-19th of January; on MTG Arena 16th of January). :blow:


Official spoiler season doesn't begin until December 30th, though a few cards have now been previewed by WotC, including two Planeswalkers, the Buy a Box promo mythic, and some full art land cards!

Of course a lot of cards got unofficially leaked early as well - feel free to discuss those, but do so in clearly marked spoiler tags for the sake of anyone who'd rather wait for the official announcements.

So, are you excited for the upcoming set? I wasn't playing MTG when the original Theros block launched, so I'm looking forward to seeing what made it so popular, and how mechanics such as Devotion work in practice etc. More Ashiok is always cool as well. :coma: Here's hoping it results in a more enjoyable Standard format than the early weeks of Eldraine did. :erm:
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AngryJellyfish
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MTG Arena is really pushing the Theros: Beyond Death hype! :zomg: In addition to the usual 50 booster pre-order which went live yesterday evening, there's an extra pre-order option for those who prefer Sealed play (draft or limited). Naturally, I bought both, and got the bonus cerberus pet for doing so. :ahee:

Then tonight, a free 'Game Awards After Party' event launched, allowing us to play with preconstructed decks themed around Ashiok and Elspeth! :eek4: A lot of the cards in these decks are from Standard / Historic, though there's a small scattering of new Beyond Death cards, others from old sets (Shadowmoor continues to get a lot of love!), and a few of the Power Nine cards.

...yep, Arena now has Moxen, Ancestral Recall, and the Black Lotus itself. Not for crafting or using outside of this event, of that I'm certain, but it's still awesome to see these ridiculously OP cards on Arena. Gives me hope that the Legacy format may one day make its way to the platform. Long after Pioneer and Modern, but eventually!
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artful_lounger
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I saw this the yesterday, might tempt me back to MTG Arena since I find the setting quite compelling. Given the theme of it as well I wonder if they might bring back Gideon in some kind of Eurydice type way (although actually successfully, perhaps, unlike Orpheus with Eurydice)...QQ

The statuary extended art cards are kind of neat (I liked the invocations from Amonkhet as well, although I think I was the only one lol), although the basic lands aren't particularly inspiring.
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AngryJellyfish
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I saw this the yesterday, might tempt me back to MTG Arena since I find the setting quite compelling. Given the theme of it as well I wonder if they might bring back Gideon in some kind of Eurydice type way (although actually successfully, perhaps, unlike Orpheus with Eurydice)...QQ

The statuary extended art cards are kind of neat (I liked the invocations from Amonkhet as well, although I think I was the only one lol), although the basic lands aren't particularly inspiring.
I was wondering about Gideon - on the one hand, they're visiting his home plane, and the set is literally called Beyond Death. Even if that's referring to Elspeth and the Underworld, the flavour is too on point for them to do it any other time. On the other hand, bringing him back so soon would cheapen the impact of his death on the story - and it'd make the whole signature spellbook Rest in Peace card look a bit silly. :p:

The land cards are a cool option; I probably won't use them personally, as I'm a fan of more traditional land art that actually looks like land. Might throw them into any Theros-only decks for special events / sealed games on Arena, though.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
I was wondering about Gideon - on the one hand, they're visiting his home plane, and the set is literally called Beyond Death. Even if that's referring to Elspeth and the Underworld, the flavour is too on point for them to do it any other time. On the other hand, bringing him back so soon would cheapen the impact of his death on the story - and it'd make the whole signature spellbook Rest in Peace card look a bit silly. :p:

The land cards are a cool option; I probably won't use them personally, as I'm a fan of more traditional land art that actually looks like land. Might throw them into any Theros-only decks for special events / sealed games on Arena, though.
Yeah I see your point about cheapening the death; I guess I'm kind of inured to that due to following some comic things for so long where characters dying, being brought back to life, getting kidnapped, possessed, etc, is pretty common lol

I do like some of the less typical lands (like the one below the spoiler here which is one of my favourite island arts) but yeah I find these a little bland personally. I might like them more if they pushed the constellation feel of them more and had less of the cloudy nova effect, I think.

Spoiler:
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AngryJellyfish
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So a few cards have now been previewed early, via various different sources and articles - as usual, Scryfall has a regularly updated list, which is what I'll be checking to make sure I don't miss any. Cards of interest to me so far include:

Setessan Champion - a 1/3 for 2G which gets bigger and draws you cards every time an enchantment enters the battlefield under your control. :coma: I'm thinking Selesnya or even Bant enchantments, as Blue would allow me to throw in Eidolon of Philosophy (a single U for a 1/2 enchantment creature, which you can sac for cards later on) and Staggering Insight (Aura which grants +1/+1, lifelink and again draws you cards).

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun should be a nice addition to my lifegain matters deck, especially my Historic variant (if that format ever properly takes off) as alongside Soul Warden and Serra Ascendant, I could almost justify cutting the Black cards and going mono White. :beard:

Lastly, Inevitable End is fun~ Enchant your opponent's best creature, and force them to choose between sacrificing it, or slowly sacrificing everything else to keep it alive. Likely too expensive for constructed play when you've got actual kill spells for 2-3 mana, mind, and the broken value provided by Witch's Oven means that nobody's going to be using this as a sacrifice outlet for their own stuff. Evil in limited, though.
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AngryJellyfish
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More cards, of the big stompy variety, from Theme Boosters apparently, so Standard-legal but not in boosters.

Deathbellow War Cry suggests that there are going to be a fair amount of Minotaur cards worth casting 8 mana for. I like tribal decks, so this intrigues me. Of course, we already have Glint-Horn Buccaneer, Neheb, Smelt-Ward Minotaur and a couple of others in Red. It has also been pointed out that Irencrag Feat would allow you to cast this turn 4 or earlier, though that sounds to be very much in jank territory. :laugh:

Similarly, I hope we're given some nice things to play alongside Serpent of Yawning Depths - 4UU gets you a 6/6 Serpent Enchantment Creature which makes all Krakens, Leviathans, Octopuses, and Serpents unblockable (except by other Krakens, Leviathans, Octopuses, and Serpents). Current Standard only has one Leviathan, two Serpents, three Octopuses and no Krakens. This might have its chance to shine when Ikoria: Layer of Behemoths launches.

Demon of Loathing and Terror of Mount Velus are EXPENSIVE, but are definitely a step in the right direction towards the dream Kaalia Brawl deck I've been wanting to make since the format went live on Arena. Black already gives a few ways of cheating things in from the graveyard, hopefully a set called 'Beyond Death' will provide yet more.
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SnowMiku
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The new set looks awesome, esp. the Athreos boi. Is this the first set with the new commander precons or is that later on?

I wouldn't mind Gideon coming back but he did just die story-wise and IMO, a break from the gatewatch after WAR would be nice.
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AngryJellyfish
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(Original post by SnowMiku)
The new set looks awesome, esp. the Athreos boi. Is this the first set with the new commander precons or is that later on?

I wouldn't mind Gideon coming back but he did just die story-wise and IMO, a break from the gatewatch after WAR would be nice.
Athreos is going to be amazing in Brawl on Arena. :coma: The format gets stale quickly due to the small number of Standard-legal legendaries, so I'm hoping for plenty more multicolour Gods.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is the set with the Commander precons.
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SnowMiku
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Athreos is going to be amazing in Brawl on Arena. :coma: The format gets stale quickly due to the small number of Standard-legal legendaries, so I'm hoping for plenty more multicolour Gods.

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths is the set with the Commander precons.
Alrighty, thanks.
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AngryJellyfish
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Gary, Merchant of Asphodel is back. :coma: Technically this will be my first time meeting him, but I've seen so many deck tech videos featuring this card that it doesn't feel that way.

Upshifted to Uncommon though, which raises an interesting question - will it be Pauper legal on Arena? In paper it still would be, as it's been printed in common in the past, but Arena is a world of its own these days, where Shadowmoor cards are Brawl legal and Raging Goblin is in Standard. :iiam: Either way, I could see it getting banned in the same way Persistent Petitioners usually is in Artisan events.
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artful_lounger
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The ashiok and sphinx make me worried were going to see blue-mill decks everywhere for another rotation I wish they would just stop pushing that mechanic altogether, it's really not at all fun to play against unless you're playing black (which usually has some way to make use of the stuff milled) :/

On the other hand (and possibly technically unrelated), the announcement of a MTG themed MMORPG...
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AngryJellyfish
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
The ashiok and sphinx make me worried were going to see blue-mill decks everywhere for another rotation I wish they would just stop pushing that mechanic altogether, it's really not at all fun to play against unless you're playing black (which usually has some way to make use of the stuff milled) :/

On the other hand (and possibly technically unrelated), the announcement of a MTG themed MMORPG...
I can't say I've struggled that much against the mill decks; I can usually outpace them with aggro or crush them with big creatures before half my deck is in the graveyard.

Board wipes and that accursed cauldron cat combo are what mess me up each time. :grumble:
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
I can't say I've struggled that much against the mill decks; I can usually outpace them with aggro or crush them with big creatures before half my deck is in the graveyard.

Board wipes and that accursed cauldron cat combo are what mess me up each time. :grumble:
It might just be because I tend to not play aggro and usually my decks are on the slower side of the mid-range usually I gravitate to UR which tends to have fewer creatures as well (at least in the decks I've played of it) and so likewise ends up getting more heavily punished by mill decks. Maybe I should just start playing mono-black xD
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AngryJellyfish
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
Maybe I should just start playing mono-black xD
T1 Cauldron Familiar
T2 Yarok's Fenlurker
T3 Ayara, First of Lochtwain
T4 Deathless Knight
T5 Gary :coma:
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AngryJellyfish
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The Binding of the Titans is... mono Green mill? :zomg: I mean, chucking cards from your own library into the graveyard then bringing them back isn't an uncommon mechanic for Green, but milling the opponent and exiling anything problematic feels much more Black to me. :hmmmm2:

And then there's Allure of the Unknown... draw a load of cards, and give your opponent the best one for them to cast for free. :holmes: Early impressions seem to be that this card sucks, without serious build around such as splashing another two colours for Teferi, Time Raveler... amazing art, though. :coma:
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AngryJellyfish
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Yesterday's drip feed preview card was Gallia of the Endless Dance - I love her, though I worry that in a meta where Shock, Bonecrusher Giant and to a lesser extent Disfigure exist, she'll be an easy snipe target. Also depends how many other good Satyrs there are in the set.

Actual spoiler season starts tomorrow. :coma:
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Yesterday's drip feed preview card was Gallia of the Endless Dance - I love her, though I worry that in a meta where Shock, Bonecrusher Giant and to a lesser extent Disfigure exist, she'll be an easy snipe target. Also depends how many other good Satyrs there are in the set.

Actual spoiler season starts tomorrow. :coma:
I like the art and theme/concept of it, it looks fun

Like you say it might be a bit vulnerable, although then again I think most lords have are 2 toughness so I guess it's in line with that. Plus she's only 2 mana and adds haste as well as the +1/+1, plus has the hand cycling ability (although the randomness may backfire ofc) which isn't dependent on satyrs...overall a neat card!
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AngryJellyfish
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(Original post by artful_lounger)
I like the art and theme/concept of it, it looks fun

Like you say it might be a bit vulnerable, although then again I think most lords have are 2 toughness so I guess it's in line with that. Plus she's only 2 mana and adds haste as well as the +1/+1, plus has the hand cycling ability (although the randomness may backfire ofc) which isn't dependent on satyrs...overall a neat card!
Yeah, 2 toughness never stopped me from playing Hero of Precinct One, Emmara or Corpse Knight... admittedly, they do get sniped instantly around 50% of the time, but the times when that doesn't happen are fun, so I live with the failures. :p:

The randomness isn't that much of a worry IMO since it's a 'may' ability, no need to risk it if you have something in hand worth holding onto.
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artful_lounger
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(Original post by AngryJellyfish)
Yeah, 2 toughness never stopped me from playing Hero of Precinct One, Emmara or Corpse Knight... admittedly, they do get sniped instantly around 50% of the time, but the times when that doesn't happen are fun, so I live with the failures. :p:

The randomness isn't that much of a worry IMO since it's a 'may' ability, no need to risk it if you have something in hand worth holding onto.
Yeah, plus if you can find someway to make her hexproof then you're pretty safe (I think there was a Gruul enchantment or something that did that, although it's probably rotated by now). Being able to choose when to activate it is handy though, so you can just do it if you have a hand full of lands and desperately need something that isn't a land (or vice versa...plus that tends to be pretty critical for red aggro decks as I recall). Plus they may have more of those mechanics that activate when stuff is discarded (I think this recurs in red from time to time)
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