Theros Brew Review, Part 2
Brew Review Part 2: The Sequel Strikes Back Harder With A Vengeance
It’s time to look at the rest of the rares in Theros. Thanks to SCG Worcestershire Sauce, we are starting to get a picture of what to expect in Standard. While Mono-Red managed to take down the event, control decks were everywhere, and you couldn’t swing a dead cat without clubbing Jace, Architect of Thought, in the mouth. I for one welcome our new control overlords, and I’d like to remind them that, as a trusted Magic the Gathering content provider, I can be helpful to round up durdles to toil in their underground mana caves.
Disclaimer: Look, I’m just not going to review every card. I’m just not. I’ll leave that herculean task to the likes of Conley Woods, Chris Lansdell, and LSV, those that have been driven to insane levels of punnery just to make it through another set review without jumping off a high building at the thought of finding relevance in vet another another vanilla five drop. If you REALLY need me to affirm that Yoked Ox is either 1.) the most broken card since Jace started sculpting minds or 2.) not worth its weight in toilet paper (hint: most cards fall somewhere in this spectrum), then consider yourself affirmed. These are the cards that jumped up and violently assaulted my inner-brewer.
Hero’s Downfall: Good card is good. Murder never really got the respect it deserved, but I do see this getting much more play as a versatile answer to the most problematic non-Blood Baron cards in the format. The Vorthos in me questions the decision to call this “Hero’s” Downfall. What if I cast it and kill a villain Nicol Bolas or an Elzrazi? Did you think about that, Wizards?!
Hundred-Handed One: Tied with Akrosan Horse for the most flavorful card in the set, this is sneakily playable. Having five toughness is very relevant right now, and this has the ability to shut down aggro decks. Not bad at all for four mana.
Mistcutter Hydra: I like to think that Jace wandered into a seedy bar in some obscure section of the Multiverse, committed a party foul by being his usual douchetastic self, and pissed off a random Planeswalker. “I’ll show that Blue bastard!” The hydra was his Jace-seeking missle.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx: I’m not a fan. There are so many hurdles to jump though to get a marginal increase in mana production that Nykthos just doesn’t feel worth it. If the mana in Standard weren’t so shoddy, or if we had a greater selection of non-creature permanents with mana symbols, I’d reconsider it. Right now, it feels like you’re diluting your mana base for a substandard effect.
Prophet of Kruphix: As a long standing member of the Simic Guild, this card is oh so enticing. However, I don’t think it’s good enough, and it pains me to say that. I think it is a very powerful card, but the removal is so good in Standard at the moment that it takes insanely powerful creatures (especially at five mana) to even sniff the battlefield. I’m going to pass, but if someone does make it work, I’ll be more than happy to jump on the bandwagon with an, “I told y’all it was a good card!”
Reaper of the Wilds: As with Ashiok, I wasn’t really all that high on this card at first sight. Its stats are fine, but it doesn’t jump off the spoiler at you as a card to build around. While I still don’t think this card is strong enough to push you towards playing BG, if you are already playing BG, then it is definitely playable. It’s very difficult to kill, as it dodges all of the red spot removal and Doom Blade, and being a 4/5 is fine enough to tangle with most creatures and live to talk about it. It still has trouble with Hero’s Downfall and Dreadbore, like every other card in the format, but the hexproof activated ability means your opponent typically only has one turn to find the appropriate removal spell.
Spear of Heliod: This is in the argument with Hammer of Purphoros and Whip of Erebos for the title of “Best Artifact in Standard.” (Sorry, Bident of Thassa fans, your artifact should just be nicknamed “The Poop Stick.”) The Spear fits into both aggro and control decks and I expect it to see a lot of play during its time in standard.
Steam Augury:I get it, “Fact or Fiction was so MF’ing awesome that it cured herpes and brought Democracy to China. This steaming bowl of turd soup is NOT Fact or Fiction!” But it doesn’t have to be. Card drawing in standard has been neutered for so long that this will still be playable.
Swan Song: This is a fun little counterspell, one I that I hope sees play in Standard (maybe) and Modern (probably), as well as Legacy and Vintage (very likely). This seems like a perfect counterspell for combo decks, especially something like Splinter Twin in Modern. A bonus 1,000 internet points to the artist who convinced Wizards to print a bird with a white substance streaming from its backside.
Sylvan Caryatid: I fully expect this to be a staple of Standard for the next two years, and I’m going to give it a try in Modern Kiki-Pod too. He blocks early aggression, he ramps, he dies a hell of a lot on turn four to Supreme Verdict.
Thoughtseize: Great, now my podcasting cohost and recreational cardboard enthusiast, Will Blondon, can continue playing Jund in Standard. Look, you don’t need me to tell you this card is good.
The Temples: Like many of you, I wasn’t exactly thrilled that we were getting another cycle of, “Enters the Battlefield Tapped, No Matter What, You Can’t Do Anything About It” lands. Scry is a nice ability to tape onto a land, but after a year of awesome Standard manabases, it’s hard to just accept that two- and three-color decks are going to slow down. I think this is one of the main reasons Mono-Red won the first event and may be the premier aggro deck going forward.
Tymaret, the Murder King: Great flaming balls of goat shat, we get the MURDER KING! I bet he does something awesome like kill a creature like Murder, right…right…right? I can hear poor Vorthos sharpening his pitchfork right now. Wizards, how do you drop the ball on a card with this much potential? If a guy is nicknamed the MURDER KING, he’s best be good at Murdering things.
Whip of Erebos: The only legendary enchantment artifact that might end up spawning its own deck. Reanimator spent time atop the tiers during the last season, and I could see it getting there again. (We still have Angel of Serenity and Ashen Rider says, “Hi!”) Since the Whip interacts so favorably with both Obzedat and Aetherling, we’ll be sure to see it pop up in brews until Return to Ravnica block rotates.
That’s it for the rares. If I had to rank them, I’d probably go:
Theros seems to be stacked with “filler” rares. I don’t see many things that jump out to me to build a deck around, but I see a lot of cards that will shore up decks in a variety of ways. Overall, I’m excited to get to give some of these a whirl in Standard. Next time, I’ll finish up the Theros review with the Mythics and some standout commons and uncommons.
UPDATED SIMIC LIST
Travis Hall – Simic to Win It
I thought I’d just clean up the numbers a bit, and give the Prophet a try.
If you like my suggestions, you can follow me on Twitter: @travishall456. I throw around random observations and deck ideas every day. You can also hear me on the Horde of Notions podcast each week, discussing deck ideas for FNM level events and the PTQ grinders.