Most planes based on real world cultures, such Rabiah, Kamigawa and
third century China Tarkir, have only humans that resemble those of the culture the plane is based on. Theros however, for whatever reason, has a substantial chunk of humans depicted as black rather than Greek.
The Gods of TherosEdit
Heliod, the Sun God - The mono-white Zeus stand-in, and kind of a massive dick. Dedicated to law, justice, and retribution, Heliod considers himself above all the other Gods and blankets the sky with his radiance to keep Nyx away from mortals. Though he grants boons to mortals, he is just as liable to stab those he blessed in the back if he feels that they're encroaching on his worship. He kind of got his ass handed to him in Theros Beyond Death after throwing a temper tantrum, and was placed under an impossibly heavy boulder to slowly starve him of Devotion.
Thassa, the Sea Goddess - The mono-blue Poseidon stand-in, Thassa governs the sea and the things that live in it. Even those that live in lofty locations pay homage to Thassa, as she has a bad habit of drowning people who blasphemy her. She had a minor scuffle with Kiora when she showed up on Theros and used planeswalker magic to assemble an army to fight the Eldrazi. Though her feats, Kiora gained a following and people started worshipping her instead of Thassa, which pissed her off. Things escalated, and Thassa tried to smite her, but Kiora was quick, dodged the smite, and then stole Thassa's bident. She's still bitter about it.
Erebos, God of the Dead - The mono-black Hades stand-in, Erebos watches over the dead after being banished to the Underworld by Heliod. As one can imagine, Erebos was not exactly happy about this, and constantly seeks revenge against Heliod. He uses an impossibly long whip to ensnare those that would try and escape death. After Heliod had his temper tantrum, Erebos ramped up the hate and tried to undo Heliod even harder, which allowed lots of things to escape from the Underworld. He eventually got his wish, and was the one who trapped Heliod under the boulder after Elspeth beat him.
Purphoros, God of the Forge - The mono-red Hephaestus stand-in, Purphoros is an impassioned artisan with a bronze-fetish. Crafters of all types pay homage to Purphoros. Generally pretty chill, but has enough rage inside of him to smite those that upset him. He was once the lover of Nylea, and his passion for her inspired some of this best works.
Nylea, Goddess of the Hunt - The mono-green Artemis stand-in, Nylea is a protector of the wilds. Any who wish to till the land or cut down the forests face the wrath of Nylea. She governs predation and preservation but also dabbles in rebirth.
Athreos, God of Passage - While Erebos deals with the dead in general, Athreos is the one who ferries the recently deceased from Theros to the Underworld. Make sure to have the proper coinage before departure. He is white and black aligned.
Ephara, Goddess of the Polis - The blue and white Goddess of civilization. Industry, community, and progress are her domain and helps to ensure the smooth operation of cities.
Iroas, God of Victory - This red and white-colored centaur God cares about two things: Fightin' and winnin'. He often clashes with his brother Mogis, as he believes that wars should be about honor and victory rather than wanton slaughter.
Mogis, God of Slaughter - The red and black-colored minotaur counterpart to Iroas. He is also about fightin' but he doesn't necessarily care about winnin' so long as he and his followers get to slaughter more people. To that end, he believes that wars should be fought simply to add more bodies to the graveyard, without fiddling about with honor.
Karametra, Goddess of Harvests - The green and white-colored Goddess of the harvest. She has a rocky relationship with Nylea because cultivation and untamed wilds are kind of two polar opposites.
Keranos, God of Storms - A red and blue-colored God of storms. While Heliod inherited the uppity position of Zeus, Keranos got the LIGHTNAN BOLT side of Zeus. He is also the god of sudden epiphanies and rewards those who act with certainty and purpose.
Kruphix, God of Horizons - The green blue-colored God, and technically the oldest God on Theros. He governs time and mysteries, and when trouble happens on Theros, he's usually the one who has to kick the other Gods into motion/hold them back before they make things worse. He also knows of Planeswalkers from before the time of the Gods on Theros, and is troubled by the potential of Planeswalking. If any multi-planar threats find Theros, he is sure that the entire plane would be doomed.
Pharika, Goddess of Affliction - The black and green-colored Goddess of poisons, potions, and medicine. She created the Gorgons of Theros, and has knowledge of many cures lying in wait.
Phenax, God of Deception - The black and blue God of deception, lies, half-truths, and secrets. Phenax watches over the Returned, or Theros' undead. He revels in plots that undermine the other Gods, and gave Ashiok a boon to that end.
Klothys, Goddess of Destiny - The green and red-colored Goddess of fate, destiny, and the thread. The half-naked Goddess chained herself to the Underworld willingly, in order to bind the Titans in place. During her internment in the Underworld, she didn't get many followers, and was eventually upstaged by Xenagos. This would eventually kickstart the events that would lead to Heliod's temper tantrum, which caused the dead to try and defy fate and return to the overworld. Klothys was pissed, and neglected her own duties to try and reel everyone back into the Underworld. She especially hated Elspeth, and created Calix to try and bind Elspeth to the Underworld. Elspeth eventually evaded death, and even got a pardon from Erebos to leave, which left her steaming mad.
Xenagos, God of Revels - The other green and red-colored God. Sort of. Xenagos was a planeswalker Satyr from Theros, who lived for nothing but partying and murder. One day, he partied too hard and activated his spark, allowing him to travel the planes. Faced with the reality of the multiverse, Xenagos grew jaded and fatalistic. What was the point of partying when there was an entire multiverse out there, uncaring of his jests and parties? Thus, he set forth a plot that would make him into a God, and maybe even the ONLY God on Theros. He ultimately succeeded, but his time was cut short after Elspeth and Ajani beat him up and smote his body back into the starry field of Nyx.
Enchantments - Mostly creatures that are also enchantments, but also some of the regular kinds you're used to from other planes. Enchantment creatures have a special sparkly frame so you can tell them apart. Ties into ... Bestow - Some enchantment creatures can be cast as an Aura, in which case they give the enchanted creature benefits related to their own power and toughness and abilities. If a creature cast this way would be unattached from the enchanted creature (like if it dies), it stays in play and becomes a regular creature. Bestow plays well with...
Heroic - A keyword that rewards you for targeting your creature with your own spells.
Constellation - The obligatory "why the heck is this even a keyword/ability word?" moment that we tend to get about once a block. Cards with Constellation have a significant effect that triggers whenever an enchantment comes into play under your control.
Devotion - The power of belief is incredibly important to Theros, as the Gods themselves were made by the devotion of mortals. Several cards have an effect that is activated depending on the number of colored mana symbols on permanents you control that are on the battlefield (EX: If I have 2 creatures on the battlefield that have a total of 3 blue mana symbols on them, my devotion is 3).
Escape - A keyword that represents creatures and spells that have transcended the Underworld to return to the battlefield once more. When a card with Escape is put into the graveyard from anywhere, you can pay a certain amount of mana and exile a number of other cards to play that card again! Unlike Jump-Start or Flashback, they don't exile as they resolve, so as long as you have cards to spare, you can keep them coming all game long.
Sagas - Technically these were in Dominaria, but they show up here as well. Sagas are enchantments that capture important story moments and play them out on the battlefield. Every saga enters the battlefield with a lore counter, and gains another one on your upkeep. When a lore counter is placed on a Saga, an effect is triggered based upon what story they are trying to tell. When the final effect of a Saga is activated, the Saga blows up.
Notable Cards of TherosEdit
- Anger of the Gods. For three mana you get a respectable board sweeper that also has a neat side effect. This sees a lot of play in control-style decks, especially in Modern.
- Dictate of Erebos. A black Commander staple. Flash this out when someone casts a sweeper targeting you and suddenly everyone is feeling the pain! This gets played mostly in Artistocrats style decks, where you kind of wanted to kill your dudes anyway.
- Chromanticore. A WUBRG card with Bestow that people really wanted to be errata'd into being legendary so they could use it as their commander. They're still waiting and will be likely to be waiting forever.
- Courser of Kruphix. A value engine! Lets you machine-gun lands off the top, gains you life for doing so, and helps you trigger Landfall. Sure, you're not going to be hiding any information anytime soon, but that is one small price to pay.
- Eidolon of the Great Revel. I heard you like Burn, so we stapled a Shock to your opponent's cheap spells so you can burn while you burn. Unless you deal with it early on, the Eidolon will rack up a lot of damage every time you try and cast your cantrips.
- Kroxa and Uro. Two slumbering titans that have awakened and have a very interesting design, given that they are both decent sorceries and big beaters all at once.
- Kyanios and Tiro. Technically this card wasn't in Theros proper, but the art and city mentioned are both in Theros. They're the only legal commander in those colors, and they make for a pretty good commander for a Group Hug-style deck. The card is inspired by the tale of Harmodius and Aristogeiton, and both are stated to have a great love for each other and the city they built. This makes them one of the few same-sex partners in the game.
- Gray Merchant of Asphodel. Also known as Gary. Gary is an extremely popular commander staple for heavy Black decks, and he was a limited all-star in OG Theros when he was printed at common. He was so popular that he was reprinted in Theros Beyond Death at uncommon rarity with new art, where he is surprisingly not as good. As it turns out, it is much harder to chain Gary after Gary like in OG Theros when they are harder to find.
Mythic Odysseys of TherosEdit
In March 2020, a website called "Penguin Random House" announced a new product due out in May 2020; titled Mythic Odysseys of Theros, it meant that Theros would be joining Ravnica as the second MtG plane to be converted to a campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition. Not counting the Plane Shifts, obviously. The page was swiftly taken down, but /tg/ was confident that it was true. Sure enough, Amazon would follow soon after, although now claiming that the book would be due out in June 2020, and claiming that, in addition to the obvious new subclasses (citing the "College of Eloquence" Bard and the "Oath of Heroism" Paladin - but not, strangely, the "Circle of Stars" Druid, which many fans felt was a perfect fit) and new races (mentioning the obvious Satyr and not-so-obvious Leonin), the book would include new mechanics for "Supernatural Gifts", which are, quote, "abilities that give you remarkable powers that set you on the path to legend", and new "Mythic Monsters".
WotC finally confirmed that, yes, this was going to be real with an article in Dragon+ #30. In addition to providing a more in-depth reveal of the planned subclasses (reprinting the Forge and Grave Cleric Domains, Order of Eloquence Bard, Oath of Heroism Paladin) and races (reprinted Centaur and Minotaur, Triton stats reskinned as Merfolk, new Satyr and Leonin), this article explained that the Theros book would be based around converting the Devotion mechanic from the card-set, in the same way that Guildmaster's Guide to Ravnica centered around Renown. It also provided a clearer definition of two teased mechanics; supernatural gifts - a background like "magical powerup" you choose at character creation, such as being immune to thought-reading attacks - and "mythic monsters", which are basically a new tier of uber-powerful "endgame boss" style monsters, kind of like 4e's Solos or Pathfinder's Mythical Tier monsters.
Reception to this has been decidedly mixed and mostly slanted towards the negative, with many asking what the point of a Greco-Roman inspired setting is in D&D when so many Greco-Roman monsters appear in base D&D already and not one but two third-party settings did it before. Of course, the presence of the outraged fans of Dark Sun, Planescape and Spelljammer, who are sick and tired of WotC's "only 3 books per year!" rule screwing them out of an update, cannot be ignored in this debate either, especially considering that the other book was based on a podcast whose popularity WOTC wanted to cash in on.
All of which is setting aside that they already had a setting themed around playing demigods in a world where all the monsters are unique, but I guess you gotta milk that cross-brand synergy to please the corporate masters, eh?
|Settings of Magic: The Gathering|
|Pre-revisionist:|| First Magic Sets - First Urza Block - Arabian Nights |
Legends - Homelands - Ice Age - Mirage
|Weatherlight Saga:|| Portal Starter Sets - Second Urza Block |
Tempest Block - Masques Block - Invasion Block
|Post-Weatherlight:||Otaria Block - Mirrodin - Kamigawa - Ravnica - Time Spiral|
|After the Mending:|| Lorwyn - Alara - Zendikar - New Phyrexia |
Innistrad - Return to Ravnica - Theros - Tarkir - Eldraine - Ikoria
|Two-Block Paradigm:||Kaladesh - Amonkhet - Ixalan|
|Never in a standard set:||Fiora (Where the Conspiracy sets take place) - Kylem (Battlebond)|