Things to Look out for When Playing in the Theros Prerelease

So, it’s been day 1 at the Theros prerelease and it’s been a really cool set so far. All the fears about being forced to go mono-colour are thrown out the window and devotion is a really strong mechanic, even when found in small amounts. However, since there’s still day 2, here’s a small analysis of the cards you are going to be getting from the prerelease packs-namely the prerelease promo cards:

White – The Path of Honor

Celestial Archon
This super efficient flyer with exxxtra value seems to be the only one with bombiness issues. His board presence is somewhat similar to Serra Angel except that if you flood, you can make another guy become bomby instead. Seems good, right? Except that in my experience he needs other cards in order to make him break the game and he’s vulnerable to enchant removal which are so common in Theros, it’s depressing.

Verdict: Don’t bank on him to be your bomb. If you are lucky, the pack should contain something more bomb-worthy like the 100 hand kung-fu monster or not-Mirran Crusader.

Blue – The Path of Wisdom

Shipbreaker Kraken
They should call this card differently. Maybe Tentacled Violation or Backbreaker Kraken. When you play blue, most of your best creatures are at the higher end of the mana cost spectrum, and so you would have a lot of cards to help you survive until you hit 5 lands. Things like Voyage’s End and Griptide and Scrycancel. And so, unlike Mr I-Die-To-Destructive-Revelry, when you pay 4UU to cast this 6/6 badass (I recommend doing this while you are at 7 lands and scryed for an 5th), you are right on curve. Then, 2 lands later, when your opponent taps out to cast some silly chump blocker from your earlier swings, you make arm waving motions (you know, like tentacles), tap his blockers and swing for 10.

And if you are anything like a blue player, you would have first made sure to have exhausted your opponent’s deck of removals before doing it. The fun thing is that on the way to 6 mana, you would have dropped some other fun threats like value-Wind Drake to eat up his Divine Verdicts.

Verdict: Best bomb among all the 5 colours. Blue also happens to have a ridiculous amount of flyers. And creature bounce is ridiculous as a removal now that it shuts down Heroic decks almost single handedly. Especially those annoying green ones.

Black – The Path of Ambition

Abhorrent Overlord
I have encountered this guy in two decks so far. When cast alone, he’s a pretty decent 3 turn clock. If you made your deck around Devotion to Black, he’s basically your scoop condition. Never mind that he’s *only* a 6/6 flyer. Those bloody 1/1 flyers he spawns with will be a problem, and quickly. The only thing I have seen that will stop this monster in its tracks is a Spellheart Chimera and a graveyard full of removals. That and a Monstrous Shipbreaker Kraken.

But yes, Devotion to Black is very viable, if a little dickish.

Verdict: Solid, would beat the white one in a fight. But no, I didn’t play with one, only gotten my face beaten in with one, so I can’t really say much about it.

Red – Path of Battle

Ember Swallower
A large (for red anyway) red creature that actually beats the vanilla rule? Destroy 3 lands when it becomes 7/8? I once won a match with this guy simply because I was on 7 lands and he was on 6 when this adorable doggie turned huge. There’s really nothing much else he could do with 3 lands (He wasn’t blue, so he couldn’t bounce him) and the opponent could only watch as I declared feeding time on his remaining chump blocker and swung for the win.

The fun thing with this guy is that with red, you typically max out at 4 lands anyway and he comes in just in time. Then, when you flood a little, pay the mana and drop everyone’s lands.

Of course, if you picked red, you are most likely in it to get Purphoros.

Green – The Path of… Uhh, I Didn’t Pay Enough Attention to this one. Sorry.

Anthousa, Setessan Hero
I have not seen her in action. And making your lands become 2/2 fodder sounds like suicide or useless if you had to tap out to enchant her. However, swinging for 10 on turn 6 sounds like a good deal. One thing’s for sure though: You will see her coming. Her two friends are infinitely more threatening:

Centaur Battlemaster and Staunch Hearted Warrior
These two guys, oh my Gods, where do I start? If you see someone tap out to cast Centaur Battlemaster, your only hope is to Lightning Strike it before he resolves the Ordeal of <Whomever> on it. Secondly, if you have 8 life and you see either one of these guys come at you, just chump it. When I was running them, I wasn’t above shooting them with Lightning Strike to pump them further. Once again, Voyage’s End and Griptide figures into this conundrum quite neatly as you would actually be taking out all those other cards when you bounce them.

Lets not talk about green monstrous creatures as they are all just plainly good. So there.

Verdict: Green asks your opponent: Got removal? Constantly. While snarling. And looking hungry.

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Hankit Mok

I live to tell stories. Sometimes, I get paid for them.

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