Theros Beyond Death Set Review - Green
The Grass is Greener on the Other Side
Actually, wait... it's greener on this side, too! Welcome to the green portion of the Theros Beyond Death set review! Since this is part five of the review cycle, you probably already know what's coming: here we'll take a look at the most impactful new green cards from the upcoming set. Let's waste no more time and just jump on in!
Lets get this out of the way: this is hands down green's strongest card in the set. It's had a lot of buzz in the past week, and for good reason. and are banned in EDH, after all. Nyxbloom provides mana advantage we've almost never seen before, not just because it triples mana, where and merely doubled it, but also because it amplifies mana from any permanent. Not just lands. now taps for six.
I'd include some images here of the commanders that might make good use of this card, but the list of green commanders that would like to playincludes... *checks notes* ...ah, yes:
All of them.
A-able, -able, -able, resurrectable -but-better is pretty darn bonkers. The conversations of 'this card needs to be banned ASAP' tend to crop up around set releases, and those conversations have indeed been had about .
Some folks find that it will warp games around itself, while others viewas a bigger problem. Regardless of where you personally fall on that line, the fact that the discussion is being had about this particular card should indicate something about its power level.
Nylea is far less volatile and vindictive than her Greek inspiration, Artemis, who liked to do things like transform people into stags if they happened upon her in the woods. (Guess got his ideas from somewhere.)
A legendaryis fine, and I do like her more than her previous version, but mono-green is a surprisingly tough crowd to beat out, even when accounting for the fact that many of the top mono-green commanders are niche or tribal strategies (such as and ).
In terms of her abilities, she's competing with the likes ofand . Her card advantage ability is a nice mana sink, but I worry Nylea falls a touch too much on the 'generic' side to pull her numbers higher than the other options. In the 99, she'll frankly be quite fun in creature-based decks such as the aforementioned , and she may find a home in some decks such as or perhaps even , since they like her ability to incidentally fill the graveyard.
Arasta of the Endless Web
I was very happy to review the green cards until I got to this one and my arachnophobia kicked in.
This is, of course, an automatic inclusion inSpider tribal (and Spider tribal, too) but how does it fare on its own?
Frankly, it's completely unlike the mono-green strategies we're used to. Green usually goes big and stompy, often posing the problems that others must answer, but Arasta is more interested in playing the long game and keeping a low profile. In other words, she's mono-green control.and will keep her safe, while removal like and will give her ample disruption. Folks may even try playing her with a planeswalker or five, since she produces useful blockers.
Her Spider army won't grow exponentially, or even all that reliably, and this may be unsatisfying for players who are used to the regular tempo of green decks. However, there are those who like to gently pull strings and stay out of sight until a suddenor turns four little Spiders into a lethal swing, and for them, Arasta is a very rewarding challenge.
But seriously, screw Spiders.
The First Iroan Games
A clever piece of design, though I'm not thrilled by it in EDH. The token and the counters are too minimal for most decks that usually care about such things, and the delayed card draw is tough in a world ofs, s, s, s, and s.
I predict the most popular commander to play this Saga to be, since he's more directly rewarded by the power boost and will consistently be able to trigger Chapter 3 just on his own.
PS: Am I the only one who finds Chapter 4 to be directly at odds with the flavor text on?
My first impression was a simple, "Oh, that's pretty cool." My second impression was, "Wait, that's really, really cool." My final impression was, "Get into mydeck, like, yesterday."
Pumped-upis already excellent. Searching for any land, not just basics, is exceptionally nice, especially for commanders like , who often find themselves in the conundrum of running out of basic lands to fetch for their Landfall abilities. Feels pretty great to find a bunch of utility lands for or shenanigans, too.
Not only that, but the option to wreck flying creatures is so much better than it seems. This card is good enough even if you never use that ability, but protectingfrom random flying creatures has been a problem for me a lot more than I'd like to admit.
The list of Landfall commanders is quite long now, and they'll all love grabbing oodles of lands to play with theirs and s, but I also love this for , the land-hurling Cyclops, and the oddball , who likes lands in hand, and who is to date one of the only permanents that will rival in terms of mana production. (Imagine getting both of those out at the same time. That's math I cannot do.)
Mantle of the Wolf
I don't like this card nearly as much as I want to. Green just has better Auras, especially at four mana.will probably enjoy it, but if I'm getting the Wolf tokens from this Aura dying, things are going poorly, and this card slot could have been used on a more impactful Aura or a protection effect that might have prevented the death in the first place.
We couldn't go through the plane of Theros without another Enchantress effect!joins the ranks of , , and in enchantment-heavy builds, and happily buffs herself up along the way!
Importantly, this ability triggers when the enchantments enter the battlefield, not just when you cast them. In other words,, , or effects can get really nutty. We all already know where this will see play, but that doesn't make it any less exciting, especially when your opponents devote all their efforts to get rid of your or and don't realize that your little three-drop can attack for lethal now too.
Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
I'm extremely surprised that this card is a 2/4, and extremely impressed by the Jolly Green Giant.and other such extra-land-per-turn creatures are the lifeblood of Landfall strategies, and that's just where this card starts. We haven't even gotten to the bonkers stuff.
This is a potent blocker, a mana-fixer, an Enchantress trigger, a tutorable creature, an extra land drop, and it enables land-specific stuff the world over.loves the Dryad's impression, and is excited not to have to find a bunch of actual Mountains off of a . Creatures like or will trigger off of nonbasic lands left and right. Even stuff like and other Domain cards get a kick out of it. This isn't just another , this is an enabler, and it's a darn good one.
By the by, anyone who uses the Dryad in a-based deck, please tell me your results!
Inspired by the myth of the Caledonian Boar, we have Magic's very first 10/6 creature, and it's appropriately bizarre.
I think it's helpful not to view the Boar as a creature. That probably sounds diminutive, but attacking and blocking doesn't seem to be this critter's main job. Its job is to die to a. Its job is to power out a . Its job is to give a ton of counters.
Its job is to fight. Its job is to be Scavenge fodder for . Its job is to... oh, you get the point. Treat the Boar like a spell, not a creature.
I just don't like this thing. It blocks for days, but that's about all it can do, and this thing will be incidentally picked off by a board wipe without nearly as much impact as other creatures of a similar mana cost.may enjoy the company, but this is low on the list of Hydras and lower on the list of five-drops.
Unfortunately, I can't get excited for this Theme Booster rare either. Seven mana is a lot, and in a world that now also containss, well, it's tough competition. This same ability is present on a one-mana , which, granted, isn't winning any of those fights and doesn't draw cards when it dies, but drawing cards isn't the important part of an army-distracting card like . Winning the game by making the rest of your team unblockable is the important part. is just too much mana to fill that role, and gets outclassed by other creatures at that level.
Commons and Uncommons
Renata, Called to the Hunt
I unfortunately don't think Renata adds anything new to the conversation thatalready started. A fun additional role-player in that deck, but she's frankly more noteworthy for her combo enabling rather than her power boost. Persist creatures like will lose their -1/-1 counter when Renata adds her own. Again, though, this is a conversation a lot of other cards (Grumgully, , , ) had already started, so she's more of a supporting role than a lead actor.
Ever wondered what would happen ifwas an Aura?
Loading Ready Run's pre-prerelease event, you may have noticed Kathleen De Vere and AliasV play this enchantment in games of Limited, where it consistently put the enchanted creatures up to the hundreds of counters.can win games all on its own if it isn't answered, and threatens to do something similar. If you watched
We all know favorites likeand + (though be careful, as too many counters on Toothy might kill you if you're not prepared for it). And of course, everything is good with ; it's practically impossible to make room for all the value she can take advantage of, but since this particular one gives her the counter to start the ball rolling and the doubled counters mesh so beautifully with lifelink, it's probably worth trying to find the room if you can.
However, I also like this Aura on some other niche commanders.is extremely excited to keep his doubled counters, and is a very good dog indeed. I particularly like , who can spend just a few turns wearing this Aura before they make a random suddenly super lethal!
Whoever designed this card knows Enchantress's weak points, alright. Not the uncounterable parts, although that's also kind of amazing; remember howwas a rare? And symmetrical? And a 1/1?
No,represents a great outlet for all the mana that Enchantress decks, especially , are able to produce, because sometimes these decks have no place to use all that mana. Now there's another win condition, one that some folks won't take seriously until they realize they're being attacked by two 8/8s with trample, and they can't attack back because of all those effects. That's game, right there. Creature-focused decks may utilize this card here and there, but Enchantress is happy for such a thoughtful new tool.
By contrast, I don't thinkis solving any significant problems for Enchantress decks, whose primary fear is that they run out of spells, not that they don't have enough lands. With how many cards they draw from and other such effects, mana flood is much more difficult to overcome than mana screw. This looks like a trap card to me.
A God killer is great (although it's awkward that this does a better job of it thandid) but I frankly would prefer to help hit indestructible artifacts too, and I gotta be honest, I don't run all that much.
The Binding of the Titans
I'm one of probably just a dozen people who doesn't like that green has a multiplayer mill card now. It's not hugely obtrusive, of course; green has always had self-mill, and it's not exactly going to be milling anybody anytime soon with kid's stuff like this. But across many formats, the narrative of 2019 was largely the pushing of green into spaces it did not belong, and I'm sad to see that trend persist in small ways here too.
How's the card itself? Fine. Not stellar. Notable perhaps forto recur it over and over again, but that's another commander who's hard-pressed for deck slots, and a delayed is a tough sell.
Omen of the Hunt
A land-fetching enchantment isn't usually noteworthy, butin particular stands out to me here. Tuvasa only triggers once per turn, but can do so on opponents' turns, so maybe there's some nice use there. Tuvasa is already full to brimming with other options, so it may not wind up any better than the other effects she already has so much of, but it's a nice synergy to have access to.
What do you think of green's new cards? Are you terrified of the mana tripler? Just as jolly as the Dryad? Is there an interaction I've missed, or a card I'm dead wrong about? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Til next time!