Planeswalking – Born of the Gods

PLANESWALKING

A few weeks ago Wizards released the second set in the Magic: The Gathering Theros expansion block: Born of the Gods. The set continues the story of the plane of the Theros with the mischievous Xenagos having now made the leap from planeswalker to god. While the original Theros set was focused on Elspeth being called to assist the Heliod in quashing the uprising, Xenagos’ ascension has upped the game and all sorts of chaos is leaking out from the godly realm of Nyx. To put it in more base terms, shit is getting real or perhaps unreal.

As is customary for a second (and third) release in a block, Born of the Gods is a smaller set of 165 cards. It continues with the established Theros mechanics while adding Inspired and Tribute. Both creature based mechanics, Inspired is a set of effects that trigger, or can be triggered, when a creature untaps and Tribute forces your opponent to choose a permanent buff or one time spell effect to be applied when casting Tribute creatures. They capture the essence and flavour of the set nicely, while there isn’t all out anarchy things are certainly getting that way.

These technicalities aside Born of the Gods does a fantastic job of expanding on what made Theros such a satisfying set to play with. I tended to find the Bestow mechanic a little too expensive for my tastes in Theros but with Born we get some cheaper options with a cycle of ‘vanilla’ creatures that only offer a power and toughness boost; a far more manageable prospect for someone like me. Coupled with a creature that lowers the cost of casting auras, and the cracking Eidolon of Countless Battles, I found myself with a desire to finally get some value out of the mechanic. In my next blog I’ll tell the story of how I took the existence of more manageable Bestow cost to heart by hastily creating a deck for the Born of the Gods Game Day tournament, and why I may have been better off using the new Event Deck, Underworld Herald. But for now I’m going to go over the cards in the set that I enjoy the most.

rise Rise to the ChallengeGatherer

As a combat trick this is pretty nifty, +2 power at instant speed is always helpful and First Strike covers the lack of a toughness boost but there are far better cards you’d want in a constructed deck. Even if you were accounting for its use as a Heroic enabler you’d probably be better off with the cheaper and more versatile Coordinated Assault. That said I’d be more than happy to see it as a later pick in a limited booster draft. So why pick it here? Well, just look at that art and flavour text! This is just about as perfect as card flavour gets. We’ve heard a few stories of the Iroan athlete Arissa and all of them seem to focus on her ability with a javelin. Here’s hoping we get to see more of her in the Journey into Nyx.

Raised by Wolves – Gatherer

Before we get onto what makes this card special take a moment to soak up that artwork, absolutely perfect once you notice that the guy in the middle is clearly a young leonin that has no doubt been lost in the wilds and taken in by a wolf pack. Once again Theros twists ancient Greek mythology to great effect, in this case the story of Romulus and Remus. So, a nice picture and a cool idea but in a set block where the number of auras and creatures you control is important. This card has some real potential for power, and let’s not forget that those two tokens aren’t the only wolves in the block. This bonus from counting permanent is no more prevalent than in my next pick.

Eidolon of Countless BattlesGatherer

Look at this guy, cool armour, great posture and he’s sporting that Nyx glitter that’s all the rage these days. Sure, on his own he’s not up to much, a 1/1 for 3 mana, but this set is rife with auras and ways to buff your creature count. Eidolon of Countless Battles has the potential to get very big very quickly, cast him using bestow and he’s a minimum of a +2/+2 aura right away. Bestow him on turn three on your Hero of Iroas, with the Hero’s aura cost reduction, and you’ll have a 5/5, even if you did nothing on turn one. Combo that with a Raised by Wolves and things are getting pretty scary by turn four. A conservative best case: Turn 1 – Any 1 cost creature, worst case a 1/1 vanilla, Turn 2 – Hero of Iroas, Turn 3 – Bestow Eidolon on the Hero, Turn 4 – Raised by Wolves your first creature. Now you have a 3/3 guy, two 2/2 Wolves, and an 8/8 Hero. I love this guy!

Plidius wagered that Arissa couldn’t kill a chimera with her javelins alone. She proved him wrong in a way everyone could see for days to come.

Born of the Gods is now available in all standard retail formats including booster, fat packs and a collection of five intro decks.


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