MtG: 15 Best Theros Beyond Death Cards for Standard

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Gods, demigods, and giants inhabit the world of Theros Beyond Death, the latest Magic: The Gathering expansion. The expansion offers 254 new MtG cards and introduces a new type of Calix planeswalker.

There are also new enchantments in Theros Beyond Death, which is why you will find so many enchantment-based synergy cards, including Sagas and cards with the Constellation mechanic.

But there is also a brand-new ability Escape in this MtG expansion, which interacts heavily with graveyards. That, of course, is always fun!

If you plan on ranking up this season in Magic Arena, Magic Online, or tabletop MtG, then be sure to check out these 15 best cards from Theros Beyond Death set.

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

The first time you cast Uro, you pay 3 mana for 3 points of life and a card draw. That's not bad, but this card also has Escape, a brand-new mechanic, which costs 4 mana and 5 exiled cards. It returns as a 6/6 creature and can return again and again.

Obviously, you need a ton of discard spells to sustain Uro. But with its card draw triggers, including one with each attack, this is one of the most broken cards in Theros Beyond Death

Ironscale Hydra

This Hydra is practically unbeatable in combat because of its immunity to combat damage. That means this creature can only be killed with non-creature spells. Active effects that nullify the Ironscale Hydra's effect, such as Questing Beast's passive, may also work. 

Other than that, Ironscale Hydra should go straight into Stompy lists that want a powerful creature that isn't afraid to attack and be blocked. Every time it gets blocked, the Hydra grows in size, and that can get out of hand really quickly.

Tectonic Giant

The Tectonic Giant will definitely find a home in a hyper-aggressive mono-red deck. It not only deals 3 damage to the opponent each time it attacks, but it also does each time your opponent tries to remove it.

On top of that, you can use this creature to draw more cards, which is something mono-red decks always struggle with. So keep your eye out for this amazing card and be sure to use it as effectively as possible.

Elspeth Conquers Death

Saga cards are back in Theros Beyond Death!

Elspeth Conquers Death is a remarkable new Saga card with three impactful abilities. The last one allows you to return any creature or planeswalker from your graveyard back onto the battlefield.

On top of that, you can put a counter on it, regardless of its type. For example, if you play Gideon Balckblade, which is both a planeswalker and a creature, then you can choose to put either a loyalty counter for a planeswalker or a +1/+1 counter for a creature. And that's a win-win situation!

Shatter the Sky

Wrath effects are always welcome in a meta defined by aggressive decks. This kind of removal won't be good against other decks with huge creatures, but if you're playing against aggro that rarely has creatures with 4 points of power, then Shatter the Sky will be really impactful.

With that in mind, this MtG card will be mainly sit in sideboards, but when you face an aggro deck, then it will play the most important role in your match-up, allowing you to draw cards and clear the board at the same time.

Haktos the Unscarred

Any red-white aggro deck would want to have Haktos the Unscarred. It is basically immune to any card except one with the chosen converted mana cost of two, three, or four. Of course, you can't choose it yourself, as the effect is random, but it will work in your favor more often than you'd think.

Haktos is always immune to tokens, as zero- and one-cost cards are out of the question. This means that it will be really hard for any opponent to find a specific removal against Haktos, so it should definitely be on your radar.

Calix, Destiny's Hand

Calix is the type of planeswalker that everybody loves. It's simple and effective, and all three effects are relevant. Its ultimate ability can play a huge role this season, as Theros Beyond Death is an expansion that focuses mainly on enchantments.

Calix isn't as broken as Oko from the previous set, but it will find its niche in white and green decks, which can become a new type of threat in the Food-infested meta.

Dream Trawler

This Sphinx creature isn't exactly Lyra Dawnbringer, but it has many similarities. It costs only 1 mana more, but it has the same power if you count both draw step and attack steps. Sure, Dream Trawler doesn't buff other creatures like Lyra, but it protects itself rather effectively.

This is a great choice for blue-white control decks during mirror matches or against highly aggressive opponents. In all other cases, it can stay in sideboard waiting for its turn.

Purphoros’s Intervention

Purphoros’s Intervention can be either a good removal or a finisher depending on your situation. If your opponent ramps into an early planeswalker, then you can finish it off using Purphoros’s Intervention's second ability, and if there are no blockers on the opponent's side, then use the first ability to finish them off.

Since it's in red, you can easily put it even in your red aggro deck. Besides that, you can fling it into red-green Stompy, Jeskai, or even Grixis lists for good measure.

Taranika, Akroan Veteran

Taranika, Akroan Veteran, in combination with Swiftblade Vindicator, can deal 11 damage in total on turn three. That's a lot of damage, which can result in a victory on turn four already.

But even if the chance doesn't come up too often, Taranika can easily turn any of the 1/1 tokens into some really dangerous little cards at any moment.

In this regard, it is very similar to Geist of Saint Traft, a Modern and Legacy staple, which is a remarkable card that has been a favorite of many Magic players for many years. Taranika has similar potential.

Gallia of the Endless Dance

Gallia is a very rare and unusual lord card: it's a Satyr lord. There are only 10 Satyr cards available in Standard right now, and all of them come from the Theros Beyond Death set.

Of course, more should come in following expansions, but even 10 cards is a solid number for creating a brand-new Satyr tribal deck. Most of them also fit in red and green, so Gallia should definitely be considered a new potential bomb in the upcoming meta.

Archon of Sun's Grace

Constellation is a returning keyword in Theros Beyond Death that interacts heavily with enchantments. So if you're planning on using a lot of enchantments, Archon of Sun's Grace should be in your top picks for this meta.

Angel tribal decks have been doing really well in the past Standard seasons, and it looks like a Pegasus-based list with enchantments will have a similar impact on the upcoming meta.

Staggering Insight

Blue and white have always been associated with the control archetype in MtG. However, this highly valuable enchantment may well bring a few midrange lists in this color right on top of the standard ladder, too.

Obviously, classic blue-white control players will put at least two copies of this card in their lists due to its very useful Lifelink and draw mechanics.

But don't exclude the infamous mono-blue lists that dominated Magic at one point. They could easily splash white for the Staggering Insight and make the archetype do wonders once again.

Allure of the Unknown

This rare sorcery card doesn't look terribly exciting at first glance. You can draw a lot of cards with it, but you also let your opponent cast your best card for free, which isn't usually a game-winning plan.

However, this could work very efficiently against Fires of Invention decks that have been dominating Standard for some time now. This means that your opponents will not be able to cast your best spell for free, and you will still be allowed to keep five of the six cards you've drawn.

So keep it in your sideboard for if the colors fit your deck of choice, and run it out, whenever you face the Fires of Invention deck for ultimate card draw.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Here is one of the most anticipated reprints from the original Theros set. Gray Merchant of Asphodel has been one of the most valuable cards in mono-black Modern decks for a very long time, and it will do just as fine in the current Standard season.

Devotion decks will find it to be an incredibly efficient finisher that will synergize with Command the Dreadhorde enchantment, which puts creatures from your graveyard back onto the battlefield.

When you have enough black mana for the Merchant, play it and win immediately.

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In addition to this list of the best Theros Beyond Death cards for Standard, be sure to check out our other MtG guides here

Published Jan. 13th 2020

Correspondent

Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin. Sergey doesn't own consoles because a PC is all he needs.

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