The 27th of September saw the release of the new Magic: the Gathering block called Theros, a 249 card set, with the two follow up expansions that complete the three set cycle, Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx to be released next February and May respectively. The plane of Theros is filled with monsters, heroes and Gods and as is the norm, brings along some new cards, some faithful old cards and a bunch of new game-play mechanics. I’ve been feverishly playing with the new Event Deck Inspiring Heroics over the last few days to see what is new.
• Developer: Wizards of the Coast
• Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
• Reviewed on: Chris’ Kitchen Table
• Release Date: Available Now
Event decks are a relatively new thing to the Magic: the Gathering product line, only starting back with the Mirrodin Besieged set (2010) and is intended to give the player an introduction to Magic the Gathering tournament style of play. It is a pre-constructed 60 card deck but also comes with a constructed (not random) 15 card sideboard for deck adjustment depending on what your opposition is playing with. This all comes in one neat little self contained package bundled with a 20 side Theros edition life counter.
The first thing you notice about the Theros block is that the whole set has a very Greek Mythos feel about it. The set is themed around Gods, legendary artifact weapons, monsters and heroes neatly dovetailed into several new game-play mechanics. For instance for the Gods to effective they rely on the new Devotion mechanic – meaning that for that card to useful as a creature on the battlefield you need an existing amount of corresponding coloured mana symbols on your already played cards.
Along with the return of scry – a way of manipulating your hand by previewing and arranging the next few cards on the top of your library, some of the other standout game-play mechanics that make their way to center stage with the Theros release are:
Heroic – which buffs the creature every time it’s the target of a spell:
Monstrosity – an activated ability that adds a specified amount of +1/+1 counters to a creature turning them into formidable force on the battlefield:
Bestow – cards with bestow give you two play options. Play the card as normal or use it to enchant an existing creature. If that creature dies in battle then the card resolves back to being a creature on your battlefield.
What all of this amounted to when we were playing was quite a lot of “What the…” and “You’ve got to be kidding me…” comments from my opponents as they had certain cards played against them and quite a lot of gleeful hand rubbing on my part. As well as the Event Deck there is also five intro packs released to start players off in Theros. Intro packs are two colour pre-constructed ready to play 60 cards decks that are designed to get you straight into the game without the need to make your own deck. The Theros release intro packs :
The bestow focused Favours from Nyx (Black and White), The montrous focused Manipulative Monstrosities (Blue and Red), devotion flavoured Devotion to Darkness (Blue and Black), more montrous in Blazing Beasts of Myth (Green and Red), and heroics in Anthousa’s Army (Green and White). Full details and deck lists are here.
It constantly amazes me how the Wizards of the Coast team can keep producing interesting content and game-play consistently year after year on the busy release schedule that they have. This block is a lot of fun to play and is shaping up to be another great set that will keep Magic the Gathering the standout leader of the trading card game arena.