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Theros Beyond Death Constructed Set Review: White

Other Theros Beyond Death Reviews

Previous Limited Reviews: White | Blue | BlackRed | Green |Gold & Artifacts

Ratings Scale

5.0: Multi-format all-star. (Jace, the Mind SculptorTarmogoyfSnapcaster Mage. Arcum’s Astrolabe.)
4.0: Format staple. (Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. Nissa, Who Shakes the WorldUrza, Lord High Artificer.)
3.5: Good in multiple archetypes and formats, but not a staple. (Jace Beleren. Banishing Light. Brazen Borrower.)
3.0: Archetype staple. (Jace, Architect of Thought. Leafkin Druid. Cauldron Familiar.)
2.5: Role-player in some decks, but not quite a staple. (Jace, Memory Adept. Ayara, First of Locthwain. Rimrock Knight.)
2.0: Niche card. Sideboard or currently unknown archetype. (Jace, Wielder of MysteriesNaturalizeDuress.) Bear in mind that many cards fall into this category, although an explanation is obviously important.
1.0: It has seen play once. (One with Nothing). (I believe it was tech vs. Owling Mine, although fairly suspicious tech at that.)

Alseid of Life's Bounty

Alseid of Life’s Bounty

Constructed: 2.5

The rate on Alseid of Life’s Bounty is pretty good. A 1/1 lifelinker that sacrifices to stop a removal spell, win a combat, or make something unblockable is definitely worth one mana, and this being an enchantment is a substantial additional bonus. Alseid looks like a workhorse to me, and I could easily see it helping make Aura decks quite a bit better.

Archon of Sun's Grace

Archon of Sun’s  Grace

Constructed: 2.5

Constructed is typically hostile to 4-mana creatures without ETB abilities, but Archon of Sun’s Grace can get around that if you play it on five or six mana and trigger it immediately. Making a squad of lifelinking fliers is very threatening, and I can definitely see matchups where this is an excellent sideboard card.

Banishing Light

Banishing Light

Constructed: 3.5

A reprint, but a welcome one. It’s always good having this kind of effect around, as it gives white an answer to anything while also having a lot of good counterplay.

The Birth of Meletis

The Birth of Meletis

Constructed: 2.0

This is a slow Wall of Omens, and ultimately you end up with a Plains, an 0/4, and 2 life. That on its own isn’t quite enough to make the cut, but if your deck cares about enchantments/artifacts this could provide some ancillary benefits that push it over the line.

Dawn Evangel

Dawn Evangel

Constructed: 2.0

Dawn Evangel mitigates the risk of Auras by a decent amount, though it requires a lot of moving pieces in order to get value. I’d more look at Hateful Eidolon if this is the direction you want to take your deck, but if you can combine enough good 2-drops and Auras, Dawn Evangel can provide value.

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun

Constructed: 2.5

Daxos is a supercharged Soul Warden, and comes with a ton of toughness as a bonus. The main upside to Daxos is his lifegain ability, with his status as an enchantment and devotion help not too far behind. This could definitely be part of an engine, or even just a sideboard card – a 2/4 lifegainer against red, for example.

Eidolon of Obstruction

Eidolon of Obstruction

Constructed: 2.5

Eidolon of Obstruction offers a nice combination of abilities. It’s a 2/1 first striker at a cost low enough that white aggro decks will take notice, and plays especially well with +1/+1 counters from Venerated Loxodon. It also can knock your opponent a turn off curve when it comes to planeswalkers, so no more Nissa into make a 3/3 on five mana. That’s a good mix of aggression and disruption, and this will obstruct many an opponent as a result.

Elspeth Conquers Death

Elspeth Conquers Death

Constructed: 3.5

I really like Elspeth Conquers Death, and not just because it’s a fun cardname to say. This comes down, eats their best permanent, and then in a pair of turns, brings back your best threat. That’s a lot of action for one card, and this reminds me of The Eldest Reborn (which saw a good amount of play). The fact that this lets you exile whatever you want (at 3 cost or more) is huge, and makes this a very exciting addition to Constructed. Don’t sleep on this one, or it will conquer you.

Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis

Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis

Constructed: 3.5

Elspeth is already seeing a tiny bit of Pioneer play, though most of her playing minutes will come from Standard. This combination of abilities is something that interests both aggressive and controlling decks, though she is better for beatdown. The normal play pattern will be to make tokens if you don’t already have a board presence, and pump your team if you do. Planeswalkers have long been a great answer to removal/sweepers, and a board of two 1/1’s attacks for six on the turn you play Elspeth. She can also gain life if you are in dire straights, and most importantly, comes back from the dead. Her escape ability makes her a potent long-game threat, giving aggro decks more gas against control and making life harder on decks utilizing counters and discard. All told, Elspeth is excellent.

Flicker of Fate

Flicker of Fate

Constructed: 2.0

You need to be pretty hard-up for Flicker effects before playing this, though it’s a nice option to have.

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

Constructed: 3.0

Heliod is exciting because of the Walking Ballista combo (take a look at an initial decklist I brewed), and has strong potential in both Pioneer and Modern. I like Modern versions a bit more, because Collected Company is a great card (hitting Heliod plus Spike Feeder is infinite life with no mana cost). Heliod is an interesting card as part of a combo, because you can lead with this and it’s very hard to kill. However, Heliod also does very little outside of the combo in these decks, so figuring out the best build is tricky.

Heliod's Intervention

Heliod’s Intervention

Constructed: 2.5

I like Heliod’s Intervention for control sideboards, as it can defend against heavy enchantment/artifact decks while gaining a bunch of life in a pinch. This is the kind of card that sometimes sees zero play, but can be insane in the right matchup.

Heliod's Pilgrim

Heliod’s Pilgrim

Constructed: 2.0

Heliod’s Pilgrim is good at fetching Auras and subsequently wearing them, even if you do pay a tax for that 2 for 1. Some very focused decks may want this, even if the rate appears low.

Idyllic Tutor

Idyllic Tutor

Constructed: 2.0

Bad tutors still sometimes see play, though this didn’t do much last time it was around.

Karametra's Blessing

Karametra’s Blessing

Constructed: 2.0

I actually like this one – in a deck full of Auras (think Staggering Insight), this is a one-mana way to counter removal while also winning combat or just getting extra damage in. This needs a very specific deck to be good, but in that deck it is of constructed power level.

Omen of the Sun

Omen of the Sun

Constructed: 2.0

Omen of the Sun puts a lot of stuff onto the board, making it a potential inclusion in something like a Enigmatic Incarnation deck. Cards that provide this many permanents are worth keeping an eye on, even if this wouldn’t get there on its rate alone.

Pious Wayfarer

Pious Wayfarer

Constructed: 2.0

White has a lot of potentially good cards that need focused decks, and Pious Wayfarer is another on that list. If you can reliably play enchantments, this acts as a 2-power creature for one mana, and getting to pump other creatures could make combat favor you nicely. It does need a lot of help though, so don’t play this without a substantial amount of enchantments.

Revoke Existence

Revoke Existence

Constructed: 2.5

Cheap exile removal is always useful, and this will compete with Disenchant in decks that don’t care about making plays at sorcery speed.

Sentinel's Eyes

Sentinel’s Eyes

Constructed: 2.5

My favorite use of this is in GW Auras in Pioneer or Modern. It’s actually really powerful there, as you can keep buying it back even if they deal with your threat, and a one-mana Aura is always worth investigating. In Standard, this is a bit tougher to justify, though some deck using Setessan Champion could make use of it.

Shatter the Sky

Shatter the Sky

Constructed: 3.5

Shatter the Sky is a 4-mana sweeper, which is the magic number, and has a line of text that’s more of a drawback than an advantage (but not entirely). Most decks will just play this and pay the price of the opponent drawing a card from time to time, which still makes this an excellent way to sweep the board. Some decks will actually be able to trigger the card draw for themselves, which can be a nice bonus. Either way, the skies will be shattered over and over this coming year.

Taranika, Akroan Veteran

Taranika, Akroan Veteran

Constructed: 2.0

Taranika really packs a punch, though she needs a friend to really beat down. I like Taranika in creature mirrors, where she punches above her weight, and because races make vigilance matter more.

Transcendent Envoy

Transcendent Envoy

Constructed: 2.5

Cost reduction plus flying is the perfect combination for an Aura deck, and Envoy may deliver exactly what you need (despite being fairly ineffective on its own).

Top 3 White Cards

3. Banishing Light

2. Elspeth Conquers Death

1. Elspeth, Sun’s Nemesis

The Elspeth combo pack is a big deal, and white decks get two very strong threats as a result (alongside a flexible answer). That’s a good haul, and that’s not even accounting for all the white cards that have potential in focused decks.

LSV

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