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Theros Beyond Death Commander Set Review

It’s time for a set review! I’m going to use the same rating system I used for Throne of Eldraine, as follows:

Commander: You want this card in the command zone at the start the game. Its best use is to lead the charge as the cornerstone of your deck, but it can probably fit into your 99 as well.

Build-Around: This card can be a huge player in the theme of your deck. It either enables the theme by itself or is something you’re looking to take advantage of over the course of your ideal game. It’s probably worth dedicating other slots in your deck to cards that work with a build-around.

Powerhouse: This card’s not really about synergy, but it’s good all by itself.

Role Player: This card might not be the cornerstone of a deck list, but it’s an important part of the engine or strong enough on its own to merit potential inclusion. This category also covers cards that look good enough to try out but don’t seem like obvious winners.

Tech Card: Counterplay is important, and if a card doesn’t fit into one of the above categories but is good enough at countering other strategies, it’ll be included here.

Niche Inclusion: This card might make your deck if you have a deckbuilding restriction, whether it’s self-imposed based on theme, a power level consideration, or a card availability concern.

As a reminder, my focus is on social Commander rather than competitive EDH. That means you’ll be hearing about cards largely from that more relaxed perspective. My goal when playing Commander is for everyone to have fun but also for me to have a good shot at winning the game, so if that’s your mindset as well, these ratings will probably resonate with you. I won’t be reviewing every card, so if I don’t talk about one, that means I probably don’t see it as very valuable in Commander. I also won’t be reviewing reprints, so you can just assume I feel the same way about Gray Merchant of Asphodel as you do. When you inevitably disagree with a rating or my omission of a card, please feel free to tweet at @RagingLevine with your thoughts! 

Archon of Sun's Grace

Archon of Sun’s Grace

Rating: Role Player

If you’re jamming out enchantment tokens with Estrid the Masked or just relying on a lot of enchantments to make things happen, consider slotting Archon of Sun’s Grace into your deck. Unlike Sigil of the Empty Throne, the enchantment doesn’t need to be cast, which means tokens and token copies will bring you 2/2’s. If you cast Enchanted Evening with this in play, you’ll get infinite 2/2’s, but not in a good way – you’ll literally have to kill the Archon or remove Enchanted Evening to stop the madness (and by madness, I mean the game will become a draw.) 

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Rating: Commander/Build-Around

There was some excitement about a “Soul Sister” style commander, and I did build a deck for him in my weekly Commander newsletter, but I think Daxos might actually be better as part of a life gain engine in a deck featuring a more powerful commander that cares about lifegain. Heliod, Sun-Crowned is an obvious choice, as is Oloro, Ageless Ascetic, but I’m hoping to get Daxos into a deck headlined by Tymna the Weaver or Karlov of the Ghost Council

Eidolon of Obstruction

Eidolon of Obstruction

Rating: Tech Card

If you’re running up against a lot of Superfriends decks in your playgroup, this could slow them down. It’s certainly more applicable in 60-card constructed, but it could make a dent in the right circumstance.

Flicker of Fate

Flicker of Fate

Rating: Niche Inclusion

As I demonstrated recently with my Ephara list, there have been plenty of improvements in blinking technology over the last six years. That said, if you need to blink an enchantment, this’ll do it. Note that blinking an aura allows you to attach it to a hexproof or shroud creature when it returns to the battlefield, as the targeting for auras happens when they’re cast. (For aspiring rules gurus: Comprehensive Rules section 303.4f.) It won’t get around protection, though.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned - Showcase

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Rating: Build-Around

Beyond its obvious combo interaction with creatures like Walking Ballista and Triskelion, Heliod is a solid  commander for those interested in mono-white life gain. Due to the limitations of mono-white, I see Heliod as a stronger inclusion in a Selesnya or Abzan shell than a commander. For example, you can gain an arbitrary amount of life with Spike Feeder and Heliod, so slotting Heliod into your 99 in a deck where +1/+1 counters are relevant (Ghave, perhaps) should be a consideration as well. If you’re feeling less combo-oriented, consider a nigh-invincible Phantom Nishoba or a long-term combat lock featuring Spike Weaver. You could also get really weird with Ion Storm and Opalescence

Heliod's Intervention

Heliod’s Intervention

Rating: Tech Card

As a reminder, this isn’t a “lesser” rating – this is a tech card, but it’s a fantastic one that deserves a slot in most decks that can reliably generate WW. The rate on the mega-Disenchant mode gets good fast – 2WW for two Disenchants is only a little under par, and everything from 3WW on is great. The lifegain mode is a Sanguine Sacrament that doesn’t get put on the bottom of your library, which means you can recur it if that’s what you’re looking for.

Shatter the Sky

Shatter the Sky

Rating: Niche Inclusion

This is a good wrath for Group Hug decks that want to stay on theme or for lower-powered groups.

Ashiok's Erasure

Ashiok’s Erasure

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re heavy on ways to blink enchantments or return this to your hand from the battlefield, Ashiok’s Erasure might be okay, but given that it returns the exiled card to the opponent’s hand, you’re likely to find yourself spending resources to stymie one player while the others advance their boards. I’d suggest looking elsewhere for repeatable countermagic. 

Kiora Bests the Sea God

Kiora Bests the Sea God

Rating: Powerhouse

Even if this gets destroyed after chapter 1, you still get an 8/8 with hexproof, and if that’s all you get for 7 mana, you haven’t done too badly. If you get all the way to chapter 3, you’ve gotten way more than your 7 mana’s worth – chapter 3 alone is almost worth the cost of the entire card. You can even do the usual Saga nonsense of blinking or bouncing this with chapter 3 on the stack to extract even more value from this nonsense. Also, I hope you open this in Limited because it’s ridiculous.

Nadir Kraken - Extended Art

Nadir Kraken

Rating: Role Player

What blue deck isn’t interested in drawing cards? As long as you’re doing some of that, you can get a marginal benefit from Nadir Kraken. If you’re assembling an army of tokens or just looking for value in a broad sense, Nadir Kraken is worth a try. It’s a great way to create a larger board presence on opponents’ turns, so it might go well in a UR or UG flash shell – both will also have ways to pump up the tokens if so desired.

Shimmerwing Chimera

Shimmerwing Chimera

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re trying to abuse Sagas or other enchantments with ETB effects, you could run this. Given that Crystal Shard and similar effects don’t hit enchantments, you’ll have to content yourself with cards like this one that are a little bit less flexible. It’s unfortunate that it targets, but that’s probably a balancing decision made for Limited.

Stinging Lionfish

Stinging Lionfish

Rating: Role Player

I’m just over here thinking about untapping Nyx Lotus, Gilded Lotus, or similar big-mana artifacts by casting instant-speed cantrips. You only get to do it once per opponent’s turn, so it doesn’t rise to the level of a combo or control build-around, but it can help you keep mana available to continue drawing cards or countering spells. If you combine this with Wavebreak Hippocamp, you can keep the engine running all game long (or as long as they live.)

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Thassa, Deep-Dwelling

Rating: Build-Around

The activated ability isn’t much to write home about, but an indestructible Conjurer’s Closet that’s sometimes a 6/5 sure is. This is an easy include in every blink deck, so if that’s one of your favorite strategies, be on the lookout for a copy of this one (maybe even one of the fancy ones!) 

Thassa's Intervention

Thassa’s Intervention

Rating: Role Player

First off: No, you don’t get two cards if you pay UU or 1UU. You have to pay at least 2UU to draw two cards, which is a medium deal for that effect at instant speed (compared to Hieroglyphic Illumination or Glimmer of Genius.) Obviously this really shines when you’re getting not just card draw, but card selection, which means you’re probably paying 6-7 mana total. If you’re doing that, you’re not getting a good deal relative to Dig Through Time in most circumstances, but Dig Through Time doesn’t have an amped-up Clash of Wills mode. What you’re paying for here is flexibility. Perhaps that’s a little more than the tax on the other Interventions, or perhaps Dig Through Time is just an unfair card. Who can say?

Thassa's Oracle

Thassa’s Oracle

Rating: Build-Around… and then some

Every cEDH player I know is talking about this card non-stop. Exile your library with Demonic Consultation, Sacred Guide, or a clever Doomsday pile, or include this in a Hulk pile with a Cephalid Illusionist combo and win the game. (And that’s just SOME of the ways to win. Tainted Pact? Hermit Druid? LEVELER?) This is better than Laboratory Maniac because it doesn’t need to be on the battlefield for you to win – the trigger just has to resolve. You can play this card in a “fair” deck, like I did in my Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath article, but people might not be hyped about it.

Thirst for Meaning

Thirst for Meaning

Rating: Role Player

Thirst for Knowledge shows up in a lot of artifact decks, so expect this one to show up in enchantment-based lists. This is also useful for fueling Escape or other graveyard mechanics. Bant decks in particular, like Tuvasa the Sunlit, are likely to make use of this to keep engines running.

Thryx, the Sudden Storm

Thryx, the Sudden Storm

Rating: Role Player

This would be a weird (and fun) Commander for sure, but if you’re looking for a better spot for it, try a UG flash list – perhaps something headlined by Rashmi, Eternities Crafter to take advantage of flash synergies. That color combination seems best poised to take advantage of the cost reduction on high-cost cards, as cost reductions are best used to cast multiple spells per turn cycle rather than just one. Who’s better at casting big spells than green? Nobody.

Wavebreak Hippocamp

Rating: Build-Around

This is raw power. The 2/2 body is vulnerable to pretty much every removal spell, and the Enchantment Creature type line doesn’t help. (The Horse Fish part will just make it the butt of a lot of jokes.) That said, protecting this ungainly creature is worthwhile – especially on opponents’ turns, where you’ll be getting your card back. This doesn’t simply go into flash decks – flash decks are built around effects like this. Jori En, Ruin Diver is a good candidate for this one.

Whirlwind Denial

Whirlwind Denial

Rating: Tech Card

If your group is storm-heavy or piles on the triggered abilities in single turns, Whirlwind Denial could be the answer you need. Countering abilities is probably the best part of this card – duck out on a post-wrath stack full of Blood Artist triggers or similar and stay alive, for example. Summary Dismissal does a better job for just an extra U, but maybe you need a second effect of this type, or maybe you’re light on blue mana.

Eat to Extinction

Eat to Extinction

Rating: Role Player

This isn’t the cheapest spot removal spell, but it exiles creatures and planeswalkers without forcing you to invest the BB that Vraska’s Contempt asks for. You also get fake Surveil 1, which is a nice bonus. 3+ color decks are probably more interested in this than others.

Erebos, Bleak-Hearted - Showcase

Erebos, Bleak-Hearted

Rating: Commander

This could be a build-around in decks that have engines reliant on creature death – Yawgmoth comes to mind – but mono-black does this so well that Erebos could make the engine more reliable as the headliner. The usual suspects of Vindictive Vampire, Blood Artist, Falkenrath Noble, and so on pair well with Erebos, as do recursive creatures like Geralf’s Messenger, Gutterbones, and Nether Traitor. You won’t have the infinite combo potential that Yawgmoth provides, which is good or bad depending on your playgroup’s power level preferences.

Erebos's Intervention

Erebos’s Intervention

Rating: Tech Card

I always say decks need more point removal and more graveyard hate, and modal spells like this make it easier to pack your deck with cards you love while still meeting quotas on those types of cards. It also homogenizes decks, especially given the ease with which this can be splashed in decks light on black mana, but overall I think it’s a positive for the format to have cards like this. Oh, and this is really good. Twice X for the graveyard hate mode means it’s fairly easy to hit all the relevant cards for five or six mana total, and the lifegain on the removal mode is a nice bonus on a spell that also hits indestructible creatures and regenerators.

Gravebreaker Lamia

Gravebreaker Lamia

Rating: Build-Around

An Entomb effect with a cost reduction for spells cast from the graveyard attached to it, all rolled into a 4/4 lifelinker… yeah, that’s a graveyard deck’s dream. Escape is the obvious application for cost reductions, but don’t forget flashback, retrace, aftermath, jump-start, and anything else that lets you cast things from the graveyard.

Nightmare Shepherd

Nightmare Shepherd

Rating: Build-Around

Sacrifice your creatures with ETB abilities, then get back a 1/1 copy that triggers again, or do the same with a creature with an ability that triggers when it dies. Add Doubling Season or Anointed Procession for additional shenanigans with the tokens, or use Yarok to double the ETB triggers and get even more value. These creature tokens are Nightmares, which matters a little bit for the original Chainer, Dementia Master. There’s so much to do with this card, and I’m excited to play around with it very soon.

Pharika's Libation

Pharika’s Libation

Rating: Tech Card

Pour one out for the color pie, folks – black’s got enchantment removal. Okay, Mire in Misery already existed, but that gives opponents the choice between an enchantment or a creature. This one lets you pick but only hits a single opponent. That said, if an opponent has a single valuable enchantment, you can really mess with their game plan. The flexibility between that and the usual Edict mode, combined with instant speed, makes this a worthy card to try out.

Tymaret Calls the Dead

Tymaret Calls the Dead

Rating: Role Player

In a dedicated Zombie deck, this fills the graveyard and gives you a marginal benefit. I’m not sure it’s quite worth the slot, but decks like The Scarab God may want to try it out. You might prefer not to exile your own cards from your graveyard, though.

Tymaret, Chosen from Death

Tymaret, Chosen from Death

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Black’s answer to Scavenging Ooze is here! Okay, that might be a little hyperbolic. He doesn’t grow, but he does give you that marginal life gain. If you’re excited about a potentially high-toughness card with a graveyard hate ability, Tymaret might be the card for you. Black already has plenty of effects like this, including the more flexible Withered Wretch, so you might not actually need Tymaret terribly often.

Woe Strider

Woe Strider

Rating: Role Player

When you see this card, you probably see a high-cost Viscera Seer. This one comes with a goat, which is a nice bonus, but the escape clause is the real winner. Viscera Seer is a high-value target, as it’s never just there to scry, so being able to get Woe Strider back (in 5/4 form, and again, with a goat) adds some value. I’m not saying we’re going to stop playing Viscera Seer – far from it – but I am saying Woe Strider is worth including alongside it. 

This card’s name is also what I say when I come across a copy of an obscure Capcom game for the NES. (Whoa! Strider!)

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Rating: Role Player

Rakdos or Jund sacrifice shells will probably enjoy getting extra tokens out of this one, just as they do with Pawn of Ulamog and similar cards. Grave Pact effects and cards like Death’s Presence that don’t care about the nontoken status of your creatures when they die are clear synergies with Anax, so sleeve up that Liliana, Dreadhorde General… or more likely, find a spot in the deck that already uses her to fit Anax into. Those of you in full Moldervine Reclamation mode might want to keep an eye on the size of your libraries when you stack multiple effects of this type together.

Dreamshaper Shaman

Dreamshaper Shaman

Rating: Build-Around

A red Polymorph-style effect can obviously be broken, but given that it hits any nonland permanent, you’ll have to build your deck in a really specific way to take advantage of this effect. That being said, sacrificing tokens or anything that wants to die could be just what the deck doctor ordered. Sneak Attack effects like Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded that trigger their sacrifice at the beginning of your end step also synergize well with this, as you can have Dreamshaper Shaman’s trigger resolve first, sacrifice your doomed creature, and rip into your library until you find something more exciting.

Furious Rise

Furious Rise

Rating: Powerhouse

A reliable card draw engine in red? Well, sort of. As long as you’re feeling ferocious (so, possibly in Temur lists, or just with bigger creatures) you’ll get an extra card every turn as long as you manage to use it. It’s not quite Phyrexian Arena, but it’s pretty close to the point where I think we’ll be seeing this one a lot.

Ox of Agonas

Ox of Agonas

Rating: Powerhouse

Oxen aren’t normally known for their card-drawing abilities, but when this one shows up, empty your hand in preparation. That way, you’ll be ready to draw three cards and help it escape to draw even more. Madness, reanimator, and other graveyard synergies love discarding their hands, and if you have multiple madness cards in your hand, you can get some Anje Falkenrath triggers and respond to them by activating her, allowing you to make better use of the cards you drew. And that’s just one bit of synergy – plenty more are available.

Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded

Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded

Rating: Commander

I already wrote an article about this one – check it out!

Purphoros's Intervention

Purphoros’s Intervention

Rating: Niche Inclusion

This is probably my least favorite of the Interventions for Commander. The Ball Lightning mode isn’t a good deal at all, meaning it’s mostly a sorcery-speed removal spell. Unless you’re playing some sort of weird X-spell theme deck, I wouldn’t bother.

Storm Herald - Extended Art

Storm Herald

Rating: Build-Around

This card has enormous combo potential with auras out of the graveyard, which is a weird thing to say about a red card. Flickerform comes to mind as a possible combo piece, as does Sundial of the Infinite. Flickerform benefits from the interaction with Storm Herald’s “exile instead of putting them anywhere else” clause, similar to the old Standard interactions between Whip of Erebos and Aetherling or Obzedat, Ghost Council

Underworld Breach

Underworld Breach

Rating: Powerhouse

The most important thing about Underworld Breach is that it doesn’t exile the cards you cast with it. That means you can fill your graveyard and recast something with a low cost or a huge effect over and over again. I’ve heard cEDH rumblings involving Lion’s Eye Diamonding a bunch of times and casting a bunch of nonsense, but there’s also plenty of stuff to be done that feels more fair than that. 

Arasta of the Endless Web

Arasta of the Endless Web

Rating: Tech Card

If your opponents are casting a lot of spells, you can flood the board with spiders. I suppose this could be useful in any token deck, but I’m obviously thinking about Ishkanah, Grafwidow when I see this one. It’s not the most powerful, but it’s a fun one. 

The Binding of the Titans

The Binding of the Titans

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Three marginal effects over three turns is not enough for me to want to spend a card on this in most decks. You have to really want all three – especially the mill, as it’s the one you get right off the bat. 

Destiny Spinner

Destiny Spinner

Rating: Tech Card

We’ve come a long way since the days of Gaea’s Herald. For the low price of not being an Elf (but still being a Human), this gets +1/+2, makes enchantments uncounterable, and has a vaguely dangerous activated ability. Obviously the rate on this is a little surprising in Limited, but for Commander I’m not quite as jazzed.

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Dryad of the Ilysian Grove

Rating: Powerhouse

If an 2/4 with Exploration taped to it wasn’t enough for you, there’s also the Prismatic Omen clause which fixes mana, enables cards like Valakut and Emeria, and helps with Domain effects. This is also your yearly reminder that Wastes is not a basic land type, so don’t start claiming that it costs 6 per attacking creature when you have Collective Restraint in play. I’d include Oracle of Mul Daya in most decks before this, but three mana is a steal for this one.

Hydra's Growth

Hydra’s Growth

Rating: Role Player

You have to be really into +1/+1 counters on your Commander before you want to play this. Ghave, Skullbriar, and the new Polukranos are all good candidates, but unless your theme is strong, this one should ride the bench. That said, if it survives a turn cycle, it’s hugely powerful. The more effects like this in your deck, the more you should consider effects like Vedalken Orrery.

Hyrax Tower Scout

Hyrax Tower Scout

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you are going for a Gruul Splinter Twin/Kiki-Jiki combo, don’t buy Oreos – buy Hydrox… er, Hyrax Tower Scout instead. I guess that means that, in this metaphor, Deceiver Exarch and Pestermite are Oreos. I’ve been writing for a while and should probably eat soon.

Ilysian Caryatid

Ilysian Caryatid

Rating: Niche Inclusion

This and Leafkin Druid are similar in that you’ll usually want 1-mana accelerators before you want these, but if you’re leaning heavily into a theme and want more creature-based ramp, this Caryatid is here for you.

Nessian Boar - Extended Art

Nessian Boar

Rating: Role Player

In a deck with effects that care about the power of an individual creature (Overwhelming Stampede, Rishkar’s Expertise, and so on) this 10-power monstrosity can give you an early lead. Just be careful about when and how you attack in order to not refill other players’ hands. You can also combine this with Narset, Parter of Veils to limit the amount of card draw opponents will get, though simply making it unblockable is probably a better solution. 

Nylea, Keen-Eyed - Showcase

Nylea, Keen-Eyed

Rating: Role Player

I’m not excited about this as a Commander necessarily, but with effects that let you see the top card of your library like Vizier of the Menagerie or cards that stack creatures on top of your library such as Congregation at Dawn, Nylea can provide you with a more exciting Vivien’s Grizzly. That may seem marginal, but with the discount on creatures and, sometimes, a 5/6 indestructible God tied to it, the effect makes this card look more worthy.

Nylea's Intervention

Nylea’s Intervention

Rating: Powerhouse

Ordinarily a card that fills my hand with land might not be terribly exciting at this cost, but let’s remember a couple things. First, it’s stapled to some sort of super-Hurricane (possibly a Sharknado?) Second, and most importantly, it can get any land. Not any basic – any land. Grab your Gaea’s Cradle, dig up your Dark Depths, or make Maze’s End work with some extra tutoring action. Sure, Sylvan Scrying can get a single land out of your deck, but for twice as much mana, you can get twice as many for the cost of just one card – and the savings don’t stop there.

Nyxbloom Ancient

Nyxbloom Ancient

Rating: Powerhouse

Triple is a lot. It sounds like a lot, sure, but think about the last time you had you had Crypt Ghast and Nirkana Revenant in play at the same time. You felt unstoppable, right? (If this has never happened to you, play along for a second.) Nyxbloom Ancient gives you all that in one card and more – cards like Gaea’s Cradle, Nykthos, or the new Nyx Lotus get multiplied as well, as do simpler cards like Worn Powerstone or Gilded Lotus. This still costs 7 and probably won’t break Commander in half, but you should counter or kill it whenever you see it.

Omen of the Hunt

Omen of the Hunt

Rating: Niche Inclusion

Instant speed Rampant Growth sounds medium at three mana, and medium is absolutely my diagnosis for this card overall. That said, if you’re dedicated to an enchantment theme or want to keep mana up absolutely all the time, this is workable.

Renata, Called to the Hunt

Renata, Called to the Hunt

Rating: Build-Around

Comboing with Persist creatures is a great start for any card – just grab a sacrifice outlet and go infinite with Kitchen Finks, Murderous Redcap, or similar. There are also plenty of other creatures, including tokens, that can benefit from the buff, so don’t feel obligated to play combo here.

Setessan Champion

Setessan Champion

Rating: Build-Around

Another Enchantress effect at three mana that grows each time an enchantment enters on your side of the battlefield? Sign me up. You might be hesitant to send this champion into combat, but throw some auras on it and get into combat – that’s my recommendation, anyway.

Acolyte of Affliction

Acolyte of Affliction

Rating: Role Player

Let’s be honest – you weren’t playing Golgari Findbroker for the 3/4 body, right? This one fills up your graveyard a little more before allowing you to snag a permanent without even having to target anything. Consider Acolyte of Affliction an upgrade!

Allure of the Unknown

Allure of the Unknown

Rating: Role Player

A 5-mana draw 5 in Rakdos? Sure, your card quality is reduced a little bit and an opponent gets a free spell, but if you’re forging an alliance with someone, which happens in Commander fairly frequently, this can be even more powerful than it already seems. You can also restrict when your opponents cast spells with cards like Teferi, Time Raveler or Dosan, the Falling Leaf, but that’s not a lot of fun.

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

Rating: Niche Inclusion

The ultimate isn’t super exciting, and the other abilities aren’t inspiring either. Unless you are trying to do some weird stuff with exiling opponents’ cards, I don’t recommend this version of Ashiok.

Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths - Extended Art

Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths

Rating: Niche Inclusion

If you’re desperate for a weird, bad Fact or Fiction, this beats Truth or Tale, but not by much. My guess is that the average setup will be one face-up card vs. two face-down cards, but obviously the minigame of pile construction gets weird as playgroups evolve. Of course, if you have a friend at the table who wants you to have more cards, you can strike a deal and get three cards all at once…

Calix, Destiny's Hand

Rating: Build-Around

If you are going all-in on enchantments, include Calix in your deck. Tuvasa and Estrid, the Masked – Foil are clamoring for a card like this – Replenish as an ultimate is huge, and the other abilities are nothing to scoff at. -3 to turn an enchantment into an almost-Banishing Light is decent (and doesn’t rely on Calix staying on the battlefield), and the +1 will keep you full on enchantments for a while.

Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders

Dalakos, Crafter of Wonders

Rating: Build-Around

I wrote about this for my Commander Newsletter, and while I’m still not totally sure how it’ll play, I’m excited to find out what Izzet Equipment looks like. Adding creatures with triggers on dealing combat damage to players, or equipment that provides such triggered abilities, will synergize with the flying and haste Dalakos provides.

Dream Trawler

Dream Trawler

Rating: Powerhouse

I want a Dream Trawler so I don’t have to trawl alone. Seriously though, it attacks as a 4/5 flying lifelinker because it draws you a card when it attacks, and you can discard a card to protect it from targeted removal. This is going to be an obnoxious card in Azorius decks for sure.

Enigmatic Incarnation

Enigmatic Incarnation

Rating: Role Player

You have to work really hard to get what you want out of this, but as long as you’re packing lots of enchantment creatures across your curve, this does a weird, mediocre impression of Birthing Pod. It turns out weird, mediocre Birthing Pod is right up my alley, but I recognize it’s not necessarily a gamewinner. That said, cards like Rancor and Hatching Plans spring to mind as sacrifice options right off the bat. Rancor isn’t the only one of its kind – in fact, there are 17 total auras that go back to the hand when they die. Cessation, Fool’s Demise, and Spirit Loop are my favorites aside from Rancor. 

Eutropia the Twice-Favored

Eutropia the Twice-Favored

Rating: Niche Inclusion

I’m sure there’s some way to fuse a +1/+1 counter theme and an enchantment theme, and I’ll probably end up building a list at some point, but I’m not super jazzed about this one.

Gallia of the Endless Dance

Gallia of the Endless Dance

Rating: Niche Inclusion

During original Theros block, I used a paper cutter and some tape to mash up a Satyr token and a Harpy token into a “Hatyr” token. No one was particularly excited when I used the leftovers to make a “Sarpy”, but they can’t all be winners.

Haktos the Unscarred

Haktos the Unscarred

Rating: Niche Inclusion

The randomness of this card makes it both unpredictable and somewhat unfun – the Achilles Heel mechanic is really cool design-wise, but I don’t think it will translate well to gameplay. I’m prepared to be proven wrong, though!

Klothys, God of Destiny

Klothys, God of Destiny

Rating: Commander?

I suppose you could build around this one with nonland permanents that sacrifice themselves and some discard outlets, but this seems like more of a 60-card constructed plant than anything else.

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

Rating: Commander

Maybe I’m taking on too big a challenge building around this and Uro. I don’t think this one is as good as Uro since group discard is both more annoying and less impactful than the mana advantage turn over turn Uro will generate. That said, I think you’ll want to build around Kroxa with cards like Waste Not and Liliana’s Caress as well as some cards that reanimate creatures from opponents’ graveyards if you choose to take on this particular challenge.

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos - Extended Art

Kunoros, Hound of Athreos

Rating: Tech Card

Another card that, while it could be a Commander, looks more like a hate card for 60-card constructed. If you’re having a lot of trouble with graveyard strategies in your local meta, give this one a look.

Polukranos, Unchained

Polukranos, Unchained

Rating: Build-Around/Commander

You could make this your Commander, as I did in my Commander Newsletter recently, but this is more likely to show up in a deck featuring Skullbriar, Reyhan, or another +1/+1 counter-related Commander, as Polukranos seems more like a card you support with a strong Commander due to its self-centered nature. Either way, it’s a heck of a threat.

Rise to Glory

Rise to Glory

Rating: Niche Inclusion

You really need to have both halves of this happen for it to be truly glorious, so if you’re playing a deck that finds itself wanting to include Evershrike, Rise to Glory is the card for you. Usually the Aura-focused decks I see aren’t black, but if you’re playing the unusual “Fun Zur” deck (I’ve seen one or two over the last 10 years or so) then this could be worthwhile.

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

Siona, Captain of the Pyleas

Rating: Role Player

If you’re opposed to tutors but want some better card selection in your aura-focused deck, Siona could be a solid choice. Extra creatures to put auras on are welcome as well, but I’m mostly here for that triggered ability.

Staggering Insight

Staggering Insight

Rating: Role Player

I feel like I’ve been building an aura deck with these last three cards. Bant auras seems like the most natural place for this Curiosity knock-off.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Rating: Commander/Powerhouse

I already wrote an article about this one, so I’ll summarize: Strong card. Really, really strong. If you can get it on the battlefield and attack even once, you’re doing incredibly well.

Altar of the Pantheon

Altar of the Pantheon

Rating: Niche Inclusion

I can’t see this muscling out Commander’s Sphere in most decks, but if you’ve managed to assemble a Devotion-focused deck that wants a colorless permanent that generates a mana of any color, I’m both confused and intrigued. 

Nyx Lotus

Nyx Lotus

Rating: Powerhouse

Okay, so just a Nykthos that’s an artifact. It’s a good thing this enters tapped, because it would be a crazy powerful ritual if it didn’t. If you are playing a mono-color deck, play this and enjoy it. You’ll have a ton of fun.

Shadowspear

Shadowspear

Rating: Tech Card

It doesn’t remove shroud, but Shadowspear’s ability to pierce through hexproof and indestructible without even having to be equipped is something to celebrate. We all know how obnoxious those abilities can be, and this circumvents both while being playable in any deck.

Soul-Guide Lantern

Soul-Guide Lantern

Rating: Tech Card

If you’re playing a graveyard strategy that makes you wary about including Relic of Progenitus, I’d suggest slotting this in alongside Tormod’s Crypt. You should probably be playing more graveyard hate (which I say a lot) so look to this as a starting point.

Well, I’m exhausted, but I’m also incredibly excited about this set. See you next time with some sweet decklists featuring Theros Beyond Death cards!

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