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MTG Commander Highlights for Theros Beyond Death

Theros Beyond Death

With Theros Beyond Death looming on the horizon, many Magic: the Gathering players are scrambling to find new ways to utilize the upcoming batch of new cards. While Standard will certainly see a shakeup upon the return to the Grecian-inspired plane, other formats will also be feeling the fever for a plethora of new spells. In recent times, Wizards of the Coast has been very considerate of everyone’s favorite singleton format: Commander. Theros is no exception to this rule, providing an incredible amount of support.

What would commander be without legendary creatures? They are the foundation of the entire format. Late last year, Wizards announced that they would be supporting Commander with new decks during the release of each new set. While this trend will not be introduced during Theros, there are still powerful legends to build decks around.

Theros Beyond Death Heliod

Heliod, Sun-Crowned

This card depicts a new version of Theros’ Zeus facsimile. At the low cost of three mana, he is a 5/5 enchantment creature who allows your creatures to grow stronger when you gain life. He has an additional ability which provides lifelink to another creature, thus enabling the previously mentioned ability. Heliod is also indestructible like all of the other Theros Gods.

Mono-White has been a punchline in the Commander community for quite some time, and while this card does not fix white’s main issues (lack of card draw and mana ramp), it does give it an inexpensive, combo enabling commander. Heliod can turn a card like Walking Ballista into an infinite life draining machine, allowing players to win the game on ridiculously early turns. He can also be a strong lord in a life gain deck, allowing your creatures to amass in power before striking down your opponents with a strategic blow. This might not be exactly what Mono-White needed, but it’s a welcome addition to the conclave of combo-centric commanders nonetheless.

Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded

Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded

Another new god card, Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded is one of the wildest commanders I have ever seen. A five-drop 7/6 that gives haste to your board — and has a Sneak Attack lite mechanic — seems ludicrously strong.

Sneak Attack, a rare card from Urza’s Saga, has a similar mechanic, but adding it to your deck will cost a pretty penny. This new Purphoros card will be more readily available, less expensive (monetarily speaking), and able to be played out of the command zone. The very concept of a Blightsteel Colossus being cheated into play and taking out a player super early is terrifying. Personally, if I were facing off against a deck built around our Bronze-Blooded friend here, I would hope to be packing a combat negation spell of some sort.

Theros Beyond Death Erebos

Erebos, Bleak-Hearted

Aristocrats decks have a new best friend and his name is Erebos. The god of death has returned, and he is more focused than ever on rewarding players for killing their own creatures.

In Commander, due to the increased starting life total, paying 2 life for an extra card upon the death of a creature is nothing. Aristocrat decks thrive on the continued death of creatures across the board, pilfering wins through the accumulated value generated by the corpses. Put Erebos next to a free sacrifice outlet such as Viscera Seer or Phyrexian Altar and there is even more value. Add in a Gravecrawler and you may have a way to stack and draw whatever cards you need at a moment’s notice.

While not strong on his own, Erebos will be right at home at the helm of a Mono-Black aristocrats build.

Haktos, the Unscarred

Haktos, the Unscarred

While Theros’ gods cycles are usually the highlight, they certainly are not the only legendary creatures in the set.

Haktos, the Unscarred is a Boros commander with a very unique ability. He must attack each combat if able, and when he enters the battlefield a number between 2 and 4 is randomly chosen and he gains protection from all cards with that converted mana cost. Very strange, very unique.

Haktos is most likely inspired by the mythological Achilles, a nearly indestructible warrior with a now-famous weakness — hence the 1 toughness. Haktos, much like Achilles is going to have to overcome that single weakness in order to make a significant impact in many Commander games, but that doesn’t take away from the incredible amount of flavor that went into his design.

Boros may be the weakest color combination in the entire format, but it might be worthwhile to branch out and play with this extraordinarily flavorful card.

Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger

Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger

Finally, let’s go over the most vile and disturbing card in the set. As a Commander, this card is very interesting. As an art piece, it is a terrifying, malevolent and foul design. Thank you Vincent Proce, I never wanted to sleep again anyways.

Insomnia-inducing body horror aside, this card is a nuisance. So long as you have cards in the graveyard, this titan can continuously be reanimated, which will trigger its ability. Mass discard is one of the core strategies of Rakdos and this new legend is a perfect fit for a hand control deck. Removing opposing players’ threats before they play them is just what Rakdos decks need to get that edge. It also helps that the CMC of this legend is so low that it can be played super early — however, that will only send it to the graveyard.

If you are looking for a new reanimator control commander, you may just be in luck with this horrifying beast.

The five cards here just scratch the surface of the new legends in the upcoming Magic: the Gathering set. I am sure that there will be a multitude of new decks that come out of this release. Commander has been Magic‘s fastest growing format for quite some time, and I believe that with Wizards of the Coast giving it the support that it needs, Commander will continue to evolve and expand its reach.