We’re learning a lot about the upcoming Theros block for Magic: the Gathering this week! Over the long weekend Wizards of the Coast posted an article revealing each of the mechanics being introduced in Theros, and how we’ll be able to use them to our advantage. These mechanics are definitely something new being added to the game, and they really play off the block’s mythology theme. Let’s take a look!
Where would mythology be without stalwart heroes? In Theros, the Heroic mechanic offers a lot of different effects when a creature with the ability is targeted by a spell you control. The heroic ability triggers whenever you cast a spell that targets the heroic creature, including spells that target multiple creatures at once. If a spell targets multiple creatures with heroic abilities, each of the abilities then triggers. Heroic abilities can make your weenie decks more powerful than ever, if played right. They can also help you control your opponent by manipulating your own creatures for a powerful gain.
Enchantments and Nyx
All of the gods of Theros exist in a mythical place called Nyx, a realm that appears as a starry night in the sky above Theros. Each of these gods, their weapons, servants, and reign are powered with the essence of Nyx. The Theros set includes a large number of enchantment creatures, and it’s said that these creatures are the embodiments of the gods themselves. Five powerful enchantment artifacts will also be introduced in Theros, representing the mighty weapons that the gods wield. These such artifacts have a special border that shows the stars of Nyx itself in the background.
No matter the type – whether it be artifact or creature – these cars are all affected by any spell that targets any of their types. Some of these enchantment cards provide power to those they enchant, or become something entirely new themselves.
Perhaps my favorite of all the new mechanics is bestow. Cards with the bestow ability allow you to cast them as an Aura that enchants a creature, giving that creature its power, toughness, and other abilities. These cards are usually creatures that can be played one of two ways: either from your hand as a creature, or an Aura to attach to a creature already in play. If you cast a bestow card for its bestow cost, but the targeted creature leaves play before the spell can resolve, it merely becomes an enchantment creature instead, still providing use. Once the card becomes an enchantment creature, however, it cannot become an Aura again.
The Gods and Devotion
Since Theros is a block that revolves around mythology, you’ll no doubt be dealing with the greater gods. With that comes devotion, and it bears much importance with the block. Your devotion to a specific color is the number of mana symbols of that color in the mana costs of permanents you control. There are certain cards in the set that count devotion to each of the five different colors, and they have different effects based on the amount of devotion you have. For instance, a permanent that has 3B in its mana cost is worth 1 devotion to black, where a card with RRR in its mana cost is worth 3 devotion to red. Devotion only counts mana symbols in a permanent’s mana cost, not in its text box. Hybrid mana costs count for both colors of its hybrid nature. Cards with the devotion ability will give you boons based on your devotion to certain colors, or interact with other players based on the same statistic.
Once your devotion is high enough for certain colors, the gods themselves may show up to offer their aid. Five gods appear in the Theros set as legendary enchantment creatures that only become creatures if your devotion to their specific color is high enough. Each of these gods is indestructible, and offers boons to you in different ways.
Along with the gods and heroes that roam the fields of Theros, monsters are on the hunt for prey. Each of these monsters comes with immense power in the form of an ability called monstrosity. Monstrosity is an activated ability that, if the creature isn’t already monstrous, adds more power to their awesome nature in the form of +1/+1 counters. Once a creature’s monstrosity ability is activated it becomes monstrous, disabling the ability from being used again. Some creatures have even more abilities that trigger when they become monstrous, which is even more deadly.
Veteran Magic players won’t be surprised with the scry ability, as it makes a return in Theros. Scry is an ability that has a number associated with it always. When you play a card with scry, you look at a number of cards equal to the number associated with scry from the top of your library, and place any number of them on the bottom of it.
I’m excited to see these mechanics play out once Theros releases. With a lot of the hybrid cards that released in the Return to Ravnica block, I am sure devotion will be a sight to see. Beatdown players will surely abuse ramp and monstrosity to create devastation, and they should. Like I mentioned above, I am leaning toward bestow as my favorite mechanic, but what about you? Which is your favorite?