by Steve ‘DDT’ Giannopoulos
So the lands have been revealed:
Theros Dual Lands
A slight upgrade to Gates or a legitimate contender?
Not impressed? I don’t imagine that a lot of players are. However, the Standard format is probably going to slow down and these will find their place in numerous decks. While the upside seems quite minor, the lands will prove pretty useful. Dropping them as of turn one provides a nice ‘mini- Ponder’ effect and allows us to set up our following play. By now means should you keep a hand that is light on mana and rely on a couple of Scry triggers to dig for the next land drops. The real use of this ability lies in the ability to not get more flooded in the mid to late game, especially for the more aggressive decks. You don’t want to be recovering from some mass removal only to draw a bunch of lands.
It’s a good thing that Miracles are gone because even with just the ability to Scry 1 you could setup a timely Miracle and play accordingly since you know it’s your next topdeck. These will also be a nice addition to more casual formats like Commander, where you don’t absolutely need all your lands to come into play untapped and get a small peak before you end up playing your Sensei’s Divining Top (so that you can get many many peeks at your topdeck).
Part of the Commander ‘Power 9’
Let’s face it: we were spoiled with Duals upon Return to Ravnica’s release. Did anyone really think it was going to get better? Exacly. Maybe we’ll eventually get something like enemy-colored manlands in the next block, but until then we have these Scry lands. Eventually though, they will all probably come to be know as ‘the Temples’ and perhaps that Scry 1 ability will be deemed powerful enough that even monocolored decks will play a few.
Triton Fortune Hunter
Heoirc Merfolk? What will they think of next?
Before you all go around speculating if this will find its way to a Legacy or Modern Merfolk list, let me settle that argument: NO! You have only 4-8 instants/sorceries that can target this guy in those decks and you get Silvergill Adept to draw cards.
Triton Fortune Teller may see play in an American Aggro list with Battlewise Hoplite and Akroan Crusader. Martial Glory is still looking like the top contender to get multiple Heroic triggers. I might try to put together some kind of list for it once the set is mostly spoiled in order to be sure to have close to an ‘optimal build’.
Tymaret, the Murder King
Zombizzles are back!
I guess the Zombies in Theros are going to basically be ‘Immortals’ look-alikes similar to the ones we saw in the movie 300. A nice 2/2 for 2 Rakdos-colored mana with 2 abilities that make it easy to trigger Morbid. Oops! that won’t be an option once Innistrad rotates, but for those of you that play kitchen table magic it might be. The main strategy behind this card lies in our ability to produce tokens, something I have alluded to quite a bit with the repeated mention of a 5-color tokens deck. While that ‘deck’ may never come to fruition, we need to keep an eye out for cards that could have good synergy with our legendary Zombie friend here. It’s interesting to note that you can sacrifice on Tymaret in response to a removal spell in order to get another copy from our graveyard to our hand. He’s going to be a hard zombie to Chain or Detain.
Will we be seeing another Red/Black Zombies list once Theros is released? I’m betting that if will feel very much different than the RB Zombies list we have become accustomed to.
Erebos, God of the Dead
The fifth and final god
Erebos, God of the Dead has a very very impressive static ability. While we may not relive the atrocities of repeated Thragtusk triggers, there’s bound to be some lifegain in the format. The ability is much better than Everlasting Torment ever was as it allows us to gain life, just not our opponents. We also get a nice 5/7 body if we manage to get our Devotion to Black >=5 going.
Let’s talk about that other ability: Greed
The more appropriate representation of Greed
Greed is a card I often is in a lot of monoblack Commander decks alongside cards like Phyrexian Arena. Drawing cards wins games, drawing more cards increases the odds to win games. If we can pair the two in Commander, why then not play a deck with Eberos and Underworld Connections ? You get to draw more cards and contribute more towards the Devotion requirement. Maybe go full Monoblack nuts and throw in some Dark Prophecy ? Why not give it a shot while the format’s in its infancy and catch a lot of opponents off guard?
Wizards of the Coast’s not so subtle way of telling us that MonoBlack is back? For real this time?
Nothing is preventing us from supplementing our deck with some lifegain to get to use Eberos’s ‘Greed’ ability more than a few times. After all, we’ll probably end up being a control deck. Control decks love lifegain and card draw, don’t they? I’m not sure if straight monoblack is going to suffice for the lifegain part, Gray Merchant of Asphodel can’t do all the job by himself can he?
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