So. Much. Sealed.

My cool playmat with RK Post's sketch, my decks from the weekend and all eight of my match life total sheets.

My cool playmat with RK Post’s sketch, my decks from the weekend and all eight of my match life total sheets.

My first Grand Prix is over. I went to Oklahoma City hoping for day two, but came away satisfied anyway. Not everyone can be Steve, who made day two of his first GP. I didn’t achieve the 7-2 record needed, but I did end up 5-4, which is a solid showing for my first GP.

I don’t really know how to recap the event — there were too many rounds and too much Magic playing to go through it step by step without writing a novel — but it was definitely memorable. I saw Ben Stark, Marshall Sutcliffe and other big Magic names; I met a ton of neat people; I got RK Post, the artist of the playmat, to sketch on it and sign it; and, of course, I played ALL THE MAGIC.

It’s definitely neat to be part of such a big event. There were more than 1000 players at GP OKC, and it was my first time playing at a higher REL than just FNM. It was only a little intimidating…

It was also my first time having to register a sealed pool of cards. I was nervous I wouldn’t be able to sort, alphabetize and record all the cards in the thirty minutes provided, but I finished in plenty of time. Apparently I’m much better at alphabetizing things than I thought. I was also concerned I would have a hard time building, registering and sleeving my deck in the allotted time, but I finished just as the final calls were being made. At the end of the process, I was already proud of myself for getting everything done, and I was fairly certain I’d built the strongest deck in my pool. It was a tough pool to build, though,  but after my friends looked at it, they said they thought it was the right deck. A kind opponent later wasn’t as sure, but he said the deck I’d built was really strong anyways.

My pool had a couple really good cards that made me want to go B/W (Ashen Rider, Triad of Fates and Phalanx Leader) but not a lot of support for the white. And unfortunately, Ashen Rider and Phalanx Leader are not exactly splashable. My green was really strong, though. I got the Arbor Colossus, which is a bomb if you’re in green, Centaur Battlemaster and Nemesis of Mortals. My red was pretty weak besides a couple Titan’s Strengths and an Anax and Cymede, so I knew I probably wouldn’t be playing it. My blue had a few strong cards — Thassa’s Emissary, Nimbus Naiad and Triton Tactics — but again, not enough support to play it as a main color. My black was pretty strong — I had some removal and good bodies, including Nighthowler, which is awesome to bestow. I really debated playing B/W, but ended up concluding that I would probably never actually play Ashen Rider, and forcing B/W because of it would make me play mediocre cards over strong cards.  Plus,  I had too much solid green to justify not playing it. I ended up splashing for the blue cards mentioned above with the help of a couple Voyaging Satyrs and Traveler’s Amulets.

I was the only player in our group not to have any byes, so when the first pairings were posted, I headed off on my own. I’d checked the table, but not my opponent, so imagine my surprise when I sat down across one of the few other girls at the event. We both thought it was pretty awesome. She’d gone to the modern GP in Kansas City, so it wasn’t her first big tournament, but it was her first limited GP. We chatted a little and I ended up winning the match, so it was a pretty good start to the day.

The middle part of the day kinda stunk. I lost rounds two and three, and my round four opponent was a no-show. It was nice to get the win, but I didn’t really like that I hadn’t won by playing my deck — I wasn’t feeling too confident in it, all things considered. A few of the games had been really close, but I’d stumbled on mana and just been outplayed a couple times.  I was starting to let myself feel intimidated, and it showed in my playing.

My fifth round opponent beat me fast. In the first game he got out Daxos of Meletis and just stomped me — I was stuck on mana and found no answer. And when I finally did, he played MY Sip of Hemlock on it from my library. Tear. Game two was completely different because he sided into an entirely new deck that was even stronger. Throughout the match he was very, very nice though. He could tell I was nervous, and told me to relax. Afterwards he looked at my deck and my pool and said if he’d had the pool he probably would have built the B/W deck, and splashed a couple things. But he was also the guy who said he liked the deck I’d built myself, and had no problems with it.

In the time between rounds, I looked at my options again, but kept on coming up short on playables. I decided to stick with my deck, and I’m glad I did. I won the next three rounds!

I think after I lost the third match and couldn’t possibly make day two, I stopped putting an obnoxious amount of pressure on myself. I just focused on the matches I was in, and focused on having fun and playing well. As a result, I thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon.

One of the best parts of the event was talking with my opponents. They reminded me why I was there — to play a game. Yes, my goal was to beat them, but it was also to have fun and enjoy myself. Maybe it’s because I was in the bracket that wasn’t going on to day two, but it was full of nice people who just wanted to play good games of Magic.

I got a few confidence boosters by talking to them too. When I told one opponent how long I’d been playing, he said he was impressed at how well I played and understood the game. And when my eight round opponent asked if I’d had any byes and found I didn’t, he responded with something to the extent of ‘wow, you must actually be good!’.

I lost the ninth round, but I was exhausted and ready for the day to be over, so I wasn’t too upset. My last opponent was also really nice, so that helped too. And at the end of the day, I was still really proud of myself for going 5-4 and having a winning record at my first GP.

But the Magic-playing didn’t stop there. Even though we all scrubbed out of the GP, we went back to play in side events on Sunday. I decided to do the standard sealed event, which was fun. Steve actually played Neal Oliver in it, who won GP Vegas and got second place at GP Oakland. Apparently his luck ran out for GP OKC, though. I played a couple good players and a couple not-so-good players, but had a good time overall.

I mean, I was playing Magic all weekend. That’s obviously a good time, no matter what. (Once I’ve gotten past the devastating losses, that is.)

I’m definitely ready for some FNM this week! I’m also working on a standard deck of my own creation, so I’m pretty excited to get that together and playtest it. Because even though limited is awesome, I should probably know how to do well in Constructed as well.

All for now,
Bale.

Do you remember your first big tournament? How did you do, and what did you take away from it? 

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Nine confidence boosters.

My sealed spoils.

My sealed spoils.

This weekend was full of Magic: The Gathering. I drafted, I played sealed and I drafted some more. I participated in two sanctioned tournaments: FNM (as usual) and the Release Day Sealed for Theros. I also did a team draft with my play group, a few of which are joining me next weekend in Oklahoma City for the Grand Prix. That means I played a total of a whopping 15 rounds of MTG over the weekend. I’d love to go over them all in detail, but I don’t have the time or patience to write that many recaps. That, and because I played so many matches, a lot of them are blurring together.

Friday Night Magic

The Draft

Drafting Theros was a bit awkward because nobody really knew what they were doing. It took a lot longer than normal because we were all reading the cards and evaluating them for what could easily be the first time. Not only did we have to decide whether the card would be useful in our deck, we also had to decide whether the card was good in general.

My first pick was the Akroan Horse, which I had to read several times and ask the judge to make sure it did what I thought it did before picking it. And because it was an artifact, I didn’t have a clear idea of what colors I would be. Green seemed open, with LOTS of good cards in it, so the next couple picks were green, with a couple red cards sprinkled in. But when I saw a really late Nimbus Naiad, I decided to switch into blue. It had seemed fairly open, but there was usually a green card I wanted more, so I was happy to make the jump. I ended up drafting what seemed to be a really strong U/G deck. It had a good curve — things to do early AND things to do late — but it didn’t really have any crazy bombs. (For the record, I still haven’t opened a God or one of their equipments, but I’m not too torn up about it.) I had a couple monstrous creatures, a couple of great bestow cards and even two Staunch-Hearted Warriors that brought in the heroic mechanic. I was pretty confident going into the matches, but I really didn’t know how things would go.

The Matches (final record, 3-3) 

My first match was really fun. It was a mirror match, but I came out on top. The first game came down to one turn — if I didn’t finish the job on my turn, he was going to on his. Luckily, I top-decked my Nimbus Naiad and gave my guy flying for the alpha strike. Game two went to my opponent, but it was also a good game. The third game was pretty much an epic beat down. I played turn one scorpion, turn two Ordeal of Nylea and attack for two, turn three another Ordeal of Nylea and attack for four (which he blocked and traded) and put FOUR tapped lands into play. On turn four I untapped, played land for turn and had eight lands in play. I played my 5/5 Nemesis of Mortals, passed the turn and then triggered monstrous on my turn and had a 10/10 creature attacking on turn five. Hardly fair, but awesome.

The rest of my matches were not so memorable, although most of them were really close and went to game three. One of them went to time while I was playing an opponent with Elspeth and Triad of Fates. It went all the way to turn five, but he was able to kill me in the end. It was pretty sad, but at least I put up a good fight. My other two losses were to black decks running Mogis’ Marauder, which turns out to be pretty bomb-like at uncommon. It was frustrating, but at least I know to value that card highly if I’m drafting black!

At the end of the night I was slightly disappointed, but 3-3 isn’t a terrible record for the first draft of a set. I was annoyed that Theros seems to be dictated by bombs, and I didn’t have any, but as the set goes on I think that will change. People will figure out the archetypes and not rely on the rare they pulled to finish the game. But one thing is definitely certain: if your match goes long, you better have a good late-game plan or else you will probably lose.

The Release

Unlike the prerelease last week, we didn’t get any color-seeded packs, and nobody got guaranteed bombs due to promo cards. We all just got the normal six boosters to build with.

I was much luckier with my pulls on Saturday than I was at the prerelease. I got several of playable rares that were in colors that my pool was able to support. I knew I needed to play black — I had Hythonia the Cruel and Thoughseize as my rares and a lot of strong uncommons and commons. I also really wanted to play white because I had Celestial Archon. I had a two good multicolor rares, too: Anax and Cymede and Daxos of Meletis, and some fairly strong green cards.

Initially, I just wanted to go straight white black. Those were obviously my strongest colors, and I was confident I had a decent deck with just those. I did have some fixing, though, so I could splash for a third color if I wanted. A friend suggested I splash green because he saw a few strong cards he thought were playable. So for the first round I took his advice, but it didn’t really work out too well. My opponent beat me pretty easily. I was kind of annoyed, but my opponent was a really strong player — one of the guys at my LGS that just doesn’t seem to make mistakes. He asked if he could look at my pool (he didn’t see why I was playing green) and I let him.

Now, I know I’m going to have to build my own deck this weekend, but it was really helpful hearing his opinions. We ended up changing my deck to splash blue instead of green. We put in a Nimbus Naiad, Daxos and Horizon Scholar instead of my green cards and then swapped out a couple of my other not-so-strong cards for a couple Returned Phalax to help me get to my super awesome late game. The changes also smoothed out my curve a lot. (I realized I’d sorted my pool by color, creatures and non-creature spells, but had never actually laid it out to check my curve and it was pretty terrible.) The guy helping me explained exactly why he thought the changes were good, and I definitely agree. The blue was much, much stronger than the green. He did say that my pool was a tough one to build,  but I think what we ended up with was really great. So moving forward, I was really excited to test my deck.

And it ROCKED. I won the rest of my matches, and drew into the top eight. I played the guy I drew with for fun, and beat him, too. I beat a couple people playing the Bow of Nylea, one of whom also got Thassa out at the same time… but it didn’t really help him. In game three of round five my opponent had answers to almost everything I played, but I had so many strong creatures that eventually my deck just got there.

Throughout the day I was careful to keep my head in the game. I kept my focus because I knew that even though my deck was strong, I still needed to play well to back it up. I thought through my decisions, especially about bestow creatures, carefully to decide what needed to happen at that particular point in the game. Every game is different, and just because one thing worked against one opponent, doesn’t mean it will work the same way in all the matches.

The top eight decided not to play it out, but that was fine with me. I got NINE boosters, which is a full three playsets of packs for draft! I’ve never had that many in my stash at once, and I’m happy to be starting Theros off on an upswing. I needed the confidence boost. And as if those weren’t enough, cue the draft I did with my playgroup…

Draft for fun/ GP prep

I opened a Stormbreath Dragon in pack one, which sent me straight into red. Luckily, the only other red drafter was on the opposite side of the table. I picked blue as my second color pretty early and took all the fliers I saw and a lot of scry cards. I picked up two Spellheart Chimeras pretty late, which I almost cut during deck building, but ended up keeping in because of my high number of instants and sorceries. Plus I had other ways to beef them, too. The deck ended up being fairly aggressive — I had two Ordeals (Thassa and Purphorous) and a low curve, plus solid creatures. I wasn’t ever depending on Stormbreath to come out and save me; the times I played him I was already far enough ahead he was just a finisher.

The matched were awesome. My playgroup is full of really strong players — I’m definitely the one with the least MTG experience — but I didn’t lose a single game. We were all playing each other, and I “won” the draft after going 3-0. My fourth opponent chose not to play me — it was getting late and we all wanted to head out, but still, the draft left my overall record for the day at 8-1.

That would get me to day two of GP Oklahoma City!

I’m stoked for this coming weekend, and I plan to post lots of updates on Twitter and a few on Facebook, so follow me there if you want live-action reports!

All for now,
Bale

What do you do to prepare for big tournaments? Any tips?

Goodbye, M14. Hello, Theros.

I picked black as my prerelease color. The most harpies I got off my Abhorrent Overlord was seven, but I was so far behind it didn't even help me win the game. SADNESS.

I picked black as my prerelease color. The most harpies I got off my Abhorrent Overlord was seven, but I was so far behind it didn’t even help me win the game. SADNESS.

I’m getting to this a tad much later than I would have liked, but last weekend was full of Magic. I went to FNM like normal, and then I went to the noon prerelease at my LGS on Saturday. I’ve done the midnight thing, and while it’s very fun, I like my sleep too much. (I have a weird enough sleep schedule as it is!)

Friday was the last day of drafting M14, and I’m not sad to see it go. I did finally figure out the format, but that’s what keeps MTG so interesting: every time you think you’ve got a handle on things, it changes. Thankfully, Theros will be around a bit longer, though. So far it seems really fun and different.

I am not going to do a full recap of the prerelease or FNM… that’d be an absolutely massive post, and I’m late enough posting as it is. Instead, here’s a quick rundown of my MTG-filled weekend.

FRIDAY NIGHT MAGIC

THE DRAFT

There were only 19 people drafting, so even though it was still five rounds there were far fewer people than normal. I was at a table of six instead of eight, which was a bit awkward. I opened a Bonescyth Sliver pack one and decided to go the red/white sliver route almost immediately. Things got a little awkward when: 1) I realized green slivers were WIDE open — nobody was picking up those Predatory Slivers — so I started grabbing them, 2) I picked an Ogre Battledriver over a Battle Sliver and 3) the only fixing I had was a Manaweft Sliver, which was in my third color. So instead of the solid W/R sliver deck featuring the Battle Sliver, I had an awkward three color sliver deck with a random Battledriver and no Battle Sliver. Not bad, just not as synergistic as possible… I did have 12 slivers though, which is quite the feat in a six-person table, I’d say.  Oh, and I opened Ajani, so of course I was playing him. (I opened him pack two, right before getting the pack with the Battledriver/ Sliver decision.) I was way behind building my deck, so going into my first match I was still figuring out my mana, which was stressful, but I knew if it worked out my deck would be pretty solid.

THE MATCHES (final record: 3-2) 

My first opponent was the person who sat on my right in draft, which almost never happens at our store. I was only a little annoyed because I knew he was in red as well and had taken ALL my removal from me. (I only had one Shock.) Plus I knew I’d passed him some REALLY good red cards — I took my Ajani over a Shiv’s Embrace and I think an Chandra’s Outrage. It also turned out he was in white as well, which is why I didn’t see much. Sigh. I still put up a good fight, but I couldn’t quite beat the Shiv’s Embrace. I got him really close to dead, but he stabilized both games and then beat me. I did have one

Round two was another loss, this time to a really strong B/G beast deck with all the Advocates to back it up. I stabilized at two life game two with Ajani, but my opponent was able to Opportunity and play his Phantom Warrior. I didn’t quite have enough to kill him on my alpha strike, and I was dead to the unblockable creature. A close game, but frustrating.

I got the bye during round three, and was fairly certain there was NO WAY I would get top eight, but I kept playing.

The fourth round was a sliver mirror match. The first game I just got luckier with my mana and draws than my opponent, so I finally won. He had a Megantic sliver, though, so I sided in my two Act of Treasons, hoping to pull off the epic steal. Game two I had a sick opening hand: Blur Sliver, Act of Treason, Bonescythe Sliver and the mana to cast it all. I was able to cast everything on curve, and then my opponent played a turn five Megantic Sliver as his only blocker. (He’d managed to stay alive by casting and sacrificing the Elixir of Immortality twice.) So, in my most epic play in a while, I cast my Act on his Sliver and swung in for 32 damage on turn five. It was beautiful.

My last opponent was playing a blue tempo deck. I actually forget what his second color was… maybe white? Anyway, he was beating me pretty bad, but I was able to stabilize with Ajani and pump up my fliers to fly over for the win. It was pretty fun. And game two was my ideal curve: Sentinel sliver, Blur sliver and predatory sliver. I had the right mana, and it was great. I attacked with my Predatory sliver the turn it came down, which could have been bad if my opponent had blocked correctly with his creature, but instead he chumped the Sentinel and basically gave me the game. Afterwards, he realized his mistake pretty quickly and was annoyed because he had lots of gas in his hand he could have played had the game gone a bit longer. Oh well. I’m not complaining.

My final record was 3-2, which is not my best, but also not terrible. And because there were so few people it ended up getting me sixth place! Only two packs, and with the prerelease that night we couldn’t play it out, but still. My last two weeks on M14 were successful, and it was great to end on a high note.

Hello, Theros

The prerelease was fun, but disappointing. I didn’t get any bomb rare in my pool except the Abhorrent Overlord that was guaranteed when I picked black. In fact, I played only two of my six rares. It was unfortunate, but I still ended up with what I thought would be a decent deck. I had a fairly good late game with my Nighthowler, two Erebos’s Emissaries and several other bestow creatures, but my early game was crappy and I didn’t really have many creatures to bestow onto besides other bestow creatures.

Deckbuilding was really challenging for me because I did get some good rares, but they were ALL off color. I had by far the most playables in black and the second most playables in red. My good rares were G/U, G/W and R/W. (I don’t have them with me and don’t know the names well enough yet to rattle them off from memory.) Still, I was pretty happy with my build going into the matches. I didn’t know how the set would play, and I had plenty of ramp to get to my late game, so I was hopeful.

Unfortunately my hopefulness was squashed out of my fairly quickly. My first match wasn’t even close — I thought I’d stabilized the second game and my U/W opponent finally played his Kraken. That, paired with some fliers, made it impossible for me to come back. My Lightening Strikes were not up to par, and it was too hard to reliably hit my Sip of Hemlock mana. Sigh.

I actually won match two, but it was because I drew my Abhorrent Overlord the turn after my opponent played his and my devotion to black was much higher. I got five harpies out of the deal and was able to overwhelm him with fliers.

Match three was against Steve, which is always annoying because both of us always want the other to have a great record, and being paired up against each other makes it harder. I got one game of the match by using my intimidate bestow guy, but the other ones weren’t close. Fliers, man. They get you.

My fourth match was frustrating because I won the first game easily and then games two and three he managed to get out his Nylea, her bow and the 10/10 Golem defender that becomes a 20/20 trample when it goes monstrous. It was bad.

By this point everyone I came with was doing poorly, so we opted to go out to eat instead of finish the last round.  I think it was the best decision for everyone’s sanity.

I am really looking forward to drafting Theros. I think there are some cool possibilities for deck archetypes and epic late game battles. We’ll see though.  I definitely don’t have a good read on the format yet, but I’ll be drafting at FNM and a team draft this weekend, so hopefully that helps.

Only a week and a half until my first Grand Prix! So excited.

All for now,
Bale

How did you fare at the prerelease?
Do you have any epic moves that you’ll remember for a long time? 

Theros: the plane with all the flavor.

Theros is all about the flavor. Mark Rosewater (aka MaRo and the head of design for MTG) said at the SDCC panel that “…if you don’t like Theros block then there’s no hope, Vorthos players”, and I can see why. Maybe it’s because I’m paying more attention to it this time around, but there is a lot to be excited about for Vorthos players. The cards spoiled so far have some incredible flavor, and so do the set mechanics themselves! I’m stoked. And when I first saw the official set trailer for Theros, I got even more excited.

Theros is shaping up to be a great world with an awesome storyline.

Now, I could spend all of this week’s post talking about the second part to the “Planeswalker’s Guide to Theros”, but you guys should go read that for yourself. It’s all about the three poleis. If you want to know more specifics about Meletis, Akros and Setessa, it’s a great breakdown of the three communities. I’m sure I’ll talk about them more later, but right now I’m too excited about the spoiled set info!

THE MECHANICS

I am obviously not sure how these will be while actually playing, but flavor-wise, they’re pretty awesome.

Bestow — A mechanic found the new enchantment creatures that enables players to either cast the card as a creature for its normal mana cost, or as an enchantment for its bestow cost. The bonus is that unlike other enchantments, the spell doesn’t fizzle if the target it killed in response; it just enters the battlefield as a creature instead. I really like this mechanic’s flavor because the cards like a gift from the gods. And the enchantment creatures even have special borders and art elements to indicate they’re divine and from Nyx.

Some examples of the enchantment creatures: the cycle of common nymphs!

Heroic — As Heliod said in the trailer, Theros is full of heroes. So wizards created a mechanic just for them, and it seems pretty cool. The mechanic triggers abilities whenever the creature (or hero) with heroic is targeted by a spell you cast. My interpretation of the flavor behind this mechanic is that heroes are the leaders on the battlefield, so when you do something to help them it should influence the battlefield in more than one way.

go heroes!

Monstrosity — You can’t have heroes without monsters, after all. And monsters are big, bad and powerful. The monstrosity mechanic is basically one that makes the monsters even more scary. The player can pay to make the monster “monstrous” and it gets a certain number of +1/+1 counters on it and triggers an effect that influences the battlefield for that turn. I think this is great because in battle monsters are scary, and in my mind they’re probably getting more and more pissed of as the fight progresses. Once they hit their breaking point, BAM they’re legit terrifying. 

ahhh scary monsters!

 

Devotion — Some cards, like the gods, only do certain things when the devotion its color is high enough. None of the gods are creatures until the devotion is high enough, for example. Devotion is determined by the number of colored mana symbols on the battlefield in mana costs. So if you play a triple black mana card, it would raise the devotion to black up three points. The idea is really cool, especially in regards to the god cards. The gods can fight for you, but only if you are devout enough… basically if you worship them enough. There are other cards with devotion, too, and they all reward you for playing a lot of a certain color.

Being devout can get you all sorts of things…

Scry — Scry is a returning mechanic, but it falls right into the Theros flavor. Scrying is the ability to look at the top few cards of your library, then deciding whether you actually want to draw them. If you don’t, you can put them at the bottom of your library. Pretty cool! It fits into Theros well because of Greek prophecies and oracles. In mythology, there is a lot of examples of predicting the future, and scry basically does that.

She looks like she’s making a prophecy, right?

 

As you can tell, I’m pretty excited about all the mechanics. They seem like they’ll be cool to play with, and they appeal to my Vorthos side!

All for now,
Bale

What do you think about Theros and its mechanics so far? 

Gods, heroes, monters and magic. Sounds like fun to me!

Not an image from Theros... but Elspeth is the planewalker in the center, and she has been said to have a large role in Theros.

Not an image from Theros… but Elspeth is the planeswalker in the center, and she has been said to have a large role in Theros.

I thought I’d have more time to explore Innistrad before information about Theros started coming out, but I was wrong. So I’m going to have to jump ship on the Innistrad posts and focus my attention on Theros. There is definitely not as much known about Theros yet, but that makes it more exciting! There are two parts published from the Planeswalker’s Guide to Theros, but it’s different reading them before the set is released — all the art could be on cards, but maybe not. And all the names and places mentioned could also be found on cards… but then again, I have no idea. It’s almost like a fun game. But one thing that we do know: the gods will actually be cards. So that seems like a good place to start looking at the Vorthos of Theros.

THE GODS

There are five main gods on Theros: Heliod, Thassa, Erebos, Purphoros and Nylea. Each of them match up with a color in MTG. They are said to live in the Land of Nyx, where humans sometimes visit in their dreams. The gods are also believed to be living enchantments, so both enchantments and dreams are seen as gifts from the gods. Enchantments are seen as a special, more divine form of magic, which makes sense since Wizards has said that Theros is going to be an enchantment-based block. The one god card that has been spoiled is Thassa, and she her card type is a legendary enchantment creature, which seems like it could be really cool to play with, but also definitely goes along with the Vorthos aspect of Theros, which is really cool. I’m excited to see what the other god cards are like. For now, I’ll just speculate based on the descriptions of the gods released…

Heliod, God of the Sun —  Heliod is associated with justice, and his domain includes family honor, morality and even marriages. He wields Khrusor, the Sun Spear, and it’s said that he can throw it down from Nyx and hit any point in Theros. Apparently there are legends that say Heliod destroyed a whole city, or Polis, with Khrusor. Heliod’s personality is self-assured and proud, and he has an aura of brilliance. But Heliod is said to be very fickle… “Heliod’s greatest ally today might be the target of his retribution tomorrow.” That doesn’t stop almost everyone from worshipping him at least a little, even if it’s just a wink in the direction of the dawn light in the morning as a sign of respect. The summer solstice is dedicated to celebrating Heliod, and is three full days of feasts, weddings and declarations of devotion.

Thassa, God of the Sea — Along with the obvious domain of the sea, Thassa is also said to be the god of ancient knowledge, introspection and the passage of time. She is discontent with how things are, but isn’t one to act quickly or rashly. She is dedicated to gradual change. She wields Dekella, a powerful bident that allows her to control the tides and whirlpools. But there is a legend that she turned a sailor’s whole family to eels after he stole Thassa’s bident to destroy an enemy fleet. Thassa is hard to anger, but impossible to placate once she is. Tritons are Thassa’s biggest worshipers, but she shows no favoritism to them. Anyone traveling out to sea also makes a point to honor Thassa.

Erebos, God of the Underworld — As Heliod is the god of the sun, Erebos is the god of the shadow. Erebos accepts his role, and even stands behind Heliod. Erebos is the god of death, obviously, but he’s also the god of misfortune, envy, wealth and other vices. Erebos carries Mastix, an impossibly long and powerful whip that is more often used to keep reluctant dead in the underworld than actually inflict pain. Even though Erebos daydreams about the sun, he finds peace in the fact that every mortal will join him eventually. And suffering doesn’t bring him delight, but he knows it brings others understanding of him and his position in the world. His worshipers belong to three groups: “those who exalt death, those who desire wealth, and those who pray for acceptance of their fates.” The first is the most dangerous, the second is the largest, but the third group is closest to Erebos’s heart.

Purphoros, God of the Forge — Purphoros’s domain is over fire, the forge and “restless earth”. “[Purphoros] rules the raw creative force of heat and energy that fills the souls of sentient beings. His energy emerges as chaos, something to be harnessed and shaped by labor and passion.” Because of this, he’s also the god of creation and destruction, artists and obsession. Purphoros’s signature item is really cool — he wields Akmon, a hammer that is insanely powerful. A blow from Akmon can reduce earth to its molten form and when it strikes metal each spark becomes an enchantment. Purphoros inspires those who come into his presence. He creates beautiful items, but immediately destroys them to start again. He always thinks there is something more to be said or created and he is forever stretching the “bounds of mortal imagination”. This can leave him frustrated, though, and he can lash out with raw power and destruction. His main worshipers are smiths, who brought both bronze and iron to Theros, but he is also worships by artists when they’re creating pieces of work and warriors when they’re lighting fires.

Nylea, God of the Hunt — Nylea controls the seasons and the forests. She is seen as the god of rebirth because of her control over the seasons, and the god of predation and hunger because of her control of the forests. She is Theros’s finest archer, wielding the shortbow Exphixis. And although Nylea has no problem with hunting for food, she does not allow hunting for sport. If you don’t ask for her blessing to hunt the animals in the forest, she will hunt you down. Nylea is easy to anger if humans are interfering too much with her realm. She allows Puphoros to unleash fires in parts of her realm, if she doesn’t like what’s going on. Nymphs and humanoid creatures, like Centaurs and Satyrs, worship Nylea for the most part, but humans do as well, especially when they want the seasons to cooperate. There are no temples built in her honor, and she hates sacrifices. In fact, Nylea is very hard to please. But Nylea is not always mean — she is often playful and joyful. She just likes things happening in their natural order.

So there you have it. Theros’s five main gods. In the guide there was another god mentioned: Karametra, god of the hearth (who doesn’t get along with Nylea), so I think there will be demigods, which makes sense since Theros is MTG’s take on Greek mythology. And looking at the gods, you can definitely see the inspiration. I love Greek mythology, so I’m really excited to learn more about Theros.

All for now,
Bale

Which god do you like the best? What do you think of Theros so far?