Theros Spoiler Spotlight

May 10, 2019

Today i’d like to review the new Theros cards spoiled recently.

Alexandre Darras

32, from Brussels, Belgium.
Started playing Magic in 1995
Won GP Manchester 2012
17th GP Praha 2009
2 times Nationals top 4

More Posts (11)

Today i’d like to review the new Theros cards spoiled recently. If you wanna have advices on the previously spoiled cards, you should read Alessandro Portaro’s article.

Ashen Rider : This card is an obvious tribute to Angel of Despair. Let’s compare both of these cards. The Angel costs 7 mana, while the Archon costs 8. What do we get for the extra mana we are paying? First and foremost, Ashen Rider triggers on both entering the battlefield and dying. Second, the targeted permanent is exiled instead of destroyed. These are obvious advantages. Was the Angel played? Yes, mostly in two decks. In Solar Flare, a Blue-White-Black control tap-out deck, the Angel could be played as the deck ramped through signets or reanimated through Zombify after being discarded to Compulsive Research. We unfortunately lose Unburial Rites in standard with the rotation. But we get a new way to reanimate huge monsters, Rescue from the Underworld.

So, both of these cards could combine together to make a deck that would look like the old Solar Flare.
You obviously need to have a few sacrifice critters lying around to make it work. Enters Omenspeaker.

This card is the new iteration of Court Hussar, Sea Gate Oracle and Augur of Bolas. This card makes for a good early blocker, smoothing your draw and searching for the pieces you still need to make your engine work. You still need a way to discard your fatties. The most obvious way unfortunately makes us branch into a fourth colour, as Izzet Charm and Thoughtflare are probably the best options avalaible.

The possibilities for a new Solar Flare iteration seems to be there in Theros so the Archon might see play in such a shell starting october.
Ashen Rider will also replace Angel of Despair as a sideboard option in Legacy Dredge, as the casting cost isn’t relevant, and the Archon is just better there.

Spear of Heliod is a new Glorious Anthem with a few differences. This as an effect we didn’t have for quite a long time. We have had conditional boosts such as Path of Bravery or Intangible Virtue, but no Crusade unconditional effect since Honor of the Pure in M12. And this new spear also got an additional activated ability, which is quite relevant, as it is a repeatable Reciprocate for 3 mana. This is obviously strong but is it what you need in the type of deck that wants a Glorious Anthem? I’m not sure. You probably want to curve out playing creatures on the first two turns into the Spear into more creatures (except if you’re playing against a Supreme Verdict deck). Keeping 3 mana untapped is pretty tough early and will only happen pretty late in games. Another problem with this card is it’s Legendary super-type. Even though the Legend rules changed recently, you have no incentive to play a second copy of this card at any time, as the spear will only be tapped during your opponent’s turn. So this is only a drawback, which makes me think this won’t be a 4-of, except maybe in dedicated token decks who can abuse the Crusade effect.

Hero’s Downfall is the card MaRo gave us a tidbit about with this clue “A rare card with five words of rules text in which one of the words is “planeswalker”” in his State of Design 2013 article. While some of us expected “Gain control of target planeswalker”, this card is pretty nice. It is obviously pretty strong as it is a nearly universal answer, but a few things have to be said about it. First, 3-mana removal seems to be fringe playable. As they are mostly played in control decks, they need to come up early against the fastest decks and also to help mitigate the tempo loss of the card drawing spells you’re playing. Murder was pretty much not played during its standard lifespan, mostly because it cost 3 mana. Cheaper alternatives, such as Tragic Slip or Abrupt Decay were the deckbuilder’s choices instead. While Hero’s Downfall is strictly better, it still might be too slow if the format speeds up to the tempo of decks such as Naya Blitz (which won’t be the case, as far as the cards we know through the cards spoiled so far). This instant will also be important in fighting all the new planeswalkers of Theros, as we probably gonna live in a standard world of Elspeth, Sun’s Champion, Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver and mostly Xenagos, the Reveler.

*This card is yet to be in the official spoiler.

Steam Augury is born out of a great ancestor, Fact or Fiction. Fact was the main card advantage spell in the infamous Psychatog deck, which dominated both standard and extended for some time. How could this new blue-red instant compare to the Invasion card? The red mana will limit the deckbuilding possibilities obviously, as the duals won’t be as plentiful as of late. The fact that you make the piles and that the opponent chooses instead of the opposite is quite interesting, as the tension is still there but you have more information than your opponent so you can really make informed choice while your opponent will have to guess if you need those lands or not. The way you play and the information you give will be crucial on both ends of this card as you much gather as much information as possible from your opponent’s play if he is the one playing Steam Augury.

Temple of Abandon, Temple of Deceit, Temple of Mystery, Temple of Silence and Temple of Triumph are the new cycle of dual lands.

I should probably separate them in two halves as the one played in control decks are far more better than the one played in aggro decks.

Still, I think they are really good. They are obviously really slow, as they have no way to enter the battlefield untapped, but this didn’t stop the Worldwake duals to be format staples for years (Creeping Tar Pit is still played in Legacy). These can be compared to Halimar Depths that would fix your mana. Scry 1 is at least as good as rearranging the top 3 cards of your library. What I really like about them is that, thanks to the pseudo spell they offer you, you can mitigate both mana deaths and mana flood. Except in ultra aggressive deck, a turn one tapped land is usually acceptable, and they are so much better than any other land late game that I think they will see a lot of play. As for the fact that they chose the same color combination as Guildpact in order to give these guilds more playtime, it’s fine to me, as we know that we gonna get the rest of the duals later in the Block.

That’s all I have for today. I hope this will help you and good luck in your pre-releases!

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