Ah, Theros. The first set in which I properly played Magic, and already one of my clear favorites. No doubt it’s a weird one; Any set where Revoke Existence and a five mana 2/4 are first picks would be. It will be odd to go back into a draft environment of spammable removal and unusable creature buffs, but that doesn’t have to be just yet. For now, the release of the third set of the block, Journey Into Nyx, is almost upon us. What might it bring? Pretty enchantments? A white planeswalker that people care about? More sorcery versions of existing instants for one more mana with no benefit save for scry 1? Listed below are some ideas without thought to balance; Direct examples and explanations provided for each idea.
Praise the sun (god)!
We know the remaining colour pairings will get gods, so the only question is what neat abilities they will have in addition to being unkillable beefmonsters. The philosophy is that all gods should be usable even when they don’t consider you devoted enough to smack people in the face for you.
Athreos, God of Silence (white/black)
Indestructible, as long as your devotion to W/B is less than seven, Athreos isn’t a creature.
Whenever a creature you control is dealt damage, you gain that much life.
White/Black loves high toughness and tanking damage without really doing much. Even when your blockers can’t really kill the aggression, why not discourage attacks by strengthening yourself in the process? Of course, this stacks with any Lifelink your creatures may have. (Hint: A lot of W/B creatures do.)
Iroas, God of Triumph/Victory (white/red)
As long as your devotion to W/R is less than five, Iroas isn’t a creature.
That’s right. Other gods may sit around like sissies and let their minions do the work for them until the devotion counter reaches five. (Two-coloured gods already give two devotion by themselves.) While they are doing that,
Ares Iroas punches them square in the face! He’s not very liked around Nyx, but no one admits it since they don’t want to be punched. In the face.
An alternative idea would be to allow you to return an enchantment creature you control to its owner’s hand at the beginning of your upkeep. Remember further down in this article, about how Bestows drastically lose effectiveness when they shatter apart? Know the frustration of drawing your heroic creature after dropping a Bestow by itself? Well just pick it back up and stick it to something else then! While Green is messing with Heroic, Red and White are clearly the winners at least for Bestows. Stick them back together and trigger Heroic (though you can’t bounce Bestows while they’re still attached) for just a bit of mana!
Keranos, God of Prophecy (blue/red)
Indestructible, as long as your devotion blah blah.
Whenever you scry, Keranos deals X damage to target player / creature or player, where X is the number of cards you scried.
Whether the self-explodinatering goblins of Ravnica’s Izzet are directly involved or not, there’s nothing blue/red loves more than zapping things from afar. Okay, science and learning are above that, but zapping comes at a close third. Strapping pings onto everything may be enough to make all of the overcosted scry spells worth it.* Turn Magma Jet into a sciency double kill! Shoot down chumps as you cast Act of Betrayal! Make Spark Jolt do something!
Kruphix, God of Utter Excessivity (green/blue)
Indestructible, devotion and stuff.
Play with the top card of your library revealed. You may play the top card of your library. You may play up to one land card on each turn as though it had flash. Skip your draw step. (Yes, this allows you to play one land on your opponent’s turn.)
Okay, this will be tough to balance, and I have no hopes of seeing it on an actual card. However, I raise the counterpoint of screw drawing cards. My library shall be my hand! Using the full Kruphix suite, (Courser, Prophet, and God) you would be able to play your top card at any time as long as you have a land drop open, gain 1 life, tear through five cards, then do it again during your opponent’s turn. I can’t imagine green could break playing as many cards as it can pay, could it?
Pharika, God of Plague (green/black)
Indestructible, as long as your devotion to G/B is less than one, Pharika isn’t on the battlefield.
Whenever a creature you control dies, you may exile it. If you do, return target creature card with converted mana cost less than the exiled card from your graveyard to your hand / the battlefield. (And put all cards exiled with Pharika into their owner’s graveyard?)
I know green/black likes to eat dead things, but recycling underlings is powerful as is without forming infinite loops. (Looking at you specifically, Mender!) Though Soulshift worked without exiling… then again, creatures cost about three mana less than they did back then, so caution should be the measure.** Special synergy with the great lord Egotist!
Sometimes you just need a bit more devotion to the cause
When Mulldriftvotion enters the battlefield, draw X cards, where X is half your devotion to blue, rounded down. Then sacrifice Mulldriftvotion.
I know devotion decks really don’t need more toys when they’re already dominant in the metagame, but check this out: Single-use devotion creatures. The point is that they behave like sorceries (except more reusable) while temporarily upping your devotion count without wordy phrases. It could be priced more cautiously, but it should be still usable in drafts. Constructed devotion decks won’t care about mana costs, anyway. While you’re imagining what other single-use devoters could look like, consider giving them multipliers.
Harder to split than flat Lego bricks
Duct Tape Eidolon 2W
Bestow 2WW, enchanted creature gets +2/+3 (or something).
When enchanted creature dies, choose target creature that Duct Tape Eidolon could enchant. If you do, Duct Tape Eidolon becomes an aura with enchant creature. (Since it is a Bestow, it would just drop off as a creature, unable to enchant anything. If it’s the only targetable creature on the field, it will stay a creature.) Attach it to that creature.
Bestow creatures are great, for being useful creatures in a pinch and for shutting up the card disadvantage criers otherwise. The only problem with them is that, while a 4/4 lifelinked Fabled Hero is terrifying on turn 4, a 1/1 lifelinked Eidolon is… not. While you don’t technically lose your Bestows when the creature dies, the sum of the parts is rarely enough to make up for the loss of the whole. Sure Theros is a block of buffs and terrible removal (Shock Helix gets maindecked in standard…) but I would rather buff a fresh guy than the charred remains of the last one. (Tip: The fresh guy gets three +1/+1 counters with each one.) For less insanity, one could also consider a Bestow that returns to your hand upon separation. Something simple, like +2/+0, and Trample because NOTHING in Theros has that ability, and Bestow for a single green mana. There’s no way that could be broken.
No, you have it. I insist.
Hippie Eidolon W
Enchanted creature gets +0/+(1-2) and has defender.
Why would you be a shameless egoist and only enchant your dudes? Share the love, enchant enemy things, and get a chump block when your opponent finally gets rid of the creature. Or, you know, use it as a better Chosen By Heliod for your Sedge Scorpions. Whichever you please. The basic idea is to create some Bestows that you want to give to your opponent’s creatures for some silly effects that only get better once they drop off.
Lick to the center
Manhood Eidolon (no mana cost, white colour identity)
Indestructible, Bestow 3W
Enchanted creature gets +2/+2 (No, it does not have Indestructible.)
It’s apparent that most Bestows are meant to be cast as an aura, so how about one that you can’t drop as a creature? Rather, you would need to stick it onto one of your guys and kill that very guy to get the better creature once it drops off. It seems like a dumb idea, but anyone who has played against a decent sacrifice deck can confirm that the most expendable creatures are often the ones to die last. Unlikely to be seen until the next “Let’s reference old stuff we once thought was good” block due to a nonexistent mana cost, but you know whom to thank once it does show up.
Set mechanic? Why not a set engineer?
Even More Fabled Hero WW
Ascended – Even More Fabled Hero has double strike as long as two or more Auras are attached to it.
They didn’t write it down, so he wrote it onto the sky instead.
The entire block revolves around Xenagos throwing the best revel ever and literally becoming the god of parties until sulky Elspeth and another completely mysterious ‘walker try to stop him for no well-apparent reason. So why not give your chosen creatures a taste of power when you are enchanting the living crap out of it? It should only make sense that a lifelinked vigilant creature with the touch of death should fight harder than one that doesn’t have all these spirits strapped to its back. Hang on, isn’t Bestow pretty much like a non-terrible version of Banding with free Haste on top?
*Alternate concept for Keranos: Spells you cast cost R more to cast. Whenever you cast a spell, scry 1.
**On that note, a designer stated that his daughter would definitely play in the Return to Kamigawa Pro Tour once she is eighteen. As of now, she is six…