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MTG Theros Beyond Death Planeswalker Decks Review

MtG Theros Beyond Death Feature

Magic the Gathering (MtG) is a long running, collectable card game for two or more players. Each game represents a battle between powerful wizards, known as Planeswalkers, who have the ability to travel a multiverse. Within this multiverse lies countless worlds inhabited by species as varied as the fantastic lands they live in.

Players will cast spells, summon creatures, and deploy artifacts to overcome their opponents. Typically, a player will win by reducing their opponent’s starting life points to zero, but there are other paths to victory.

Theros Beyond Death is the 83rd expansion for Magic the Gathering (MtG), released on 24 January 2020. It is the fourth expansion to be based on the plane of Theros, a world modelled on Hellenic Greece. The set design, like others based on Theros, is heavily influenced by Greek Mythology.

Mechanically, Beyond Death continues to emphasise the Enchantment card type, as previous Theros sets did. Aside from introducing a large number of these cards, players will find plenty of cards with synergies for Enchantments. Also, with the introduction of the new keyword action Escape,you have a new way to interact with your graveyard.

Theros Beyond Death Planeswalker Decks

A Planeswalker deck is a pre-constructed, ready to play, 60 card deck, which also comes with two booster packs. This product is aimed primarily at new players, as it enables a player to jump right into the action. It will also help players begin to learn the strategies and mechanics of gameplay and deck construction. As part of the Theros Beyond Death product range, two Planeswalker decks have been released. Both contain cards showcasing the new themes and mechanics introduced in the Theros Beyond Death expansion.

Ashiok's Deck

Decklist

Planeswalker (1)

Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears x1*

Enchantment (2)

Mire's Grasp x2

Creature (17)

Ashiok's Forerunner x2*

Pharika's Spawn x2

Devourer of Memory x2

Elite Instructor x2

Swimmer in Nightmares x3*

Towering-Wave Mystic x3

Underworld Charger x3

 

Enchantment Creature (6)

Gravebreaker Lamia x1

Tymaret, Chosen from Death x1

Mindwrack Harpy x4*

Instant (4)

Final Death x2

Glimpse of Freedom x2

Sorcery (5)

Funeral Rites x2

Sleep of the Dead x3

Land (25)

Unknown Shores x2

Swamp x12

Island x11

*Denotes exclusive cards, only available in this product.

Deck Strategy

Ashiok's deck makes use of mechanics that interact with the graveyard, yours and your opponent’s. Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears, Mindwrack Harpy, and Towering-Wave Mystic enable you to mill* yourself and your opponent. This will annoy your opponent, and potentially take out some of their threats before they are even drawn. However, the real benefit is in your own growing graveyard.

Cards like Devourer of Memory, and Swimmer in Nightmares benefit from cards entering your graveyard. Underworld Charger and Pharika's Spawn can be cast from the graveyard, by exiling other cards from it. Both creatures enter play with +1/+1 counters, if cast from the graveyard, giving you a 5/5 and 5/6 to play with. Sleep of the Dead can also be cast from the graveyard in the same way, providing a useful means to temporarily deal with a trouble threat.

Use Gravebreaker Lamia or Ashiok's Forerunner to get your Planeswalker into play, then use her to steal creatures from your opponent. With Ashiok, you can target your opponent’s creatures in play and in the graveyard, enabling you to use their own deck against them. Just be careful not to decimate your own library. If you run out of cards to draw, you'll lose the game.

*To mill you opponent is to make them put cards from their library into their graveyard. It's an annoying tactic!

Elspeth's Deck

Decklist

Creature (19)

Taranika, Akroan Veteran x1

Archon of Falling Stars x2

Elspeth's Devotee x2*

Hero of the Winds x2

Daybreak Chimera x4

Leonin of the Lost Pride x4

Sunlit Hoplite x4*

 

Enchantment Creature (4)

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun x1

Eidolon of Inspiration x3*

Planeswalker (1)

Elspeth, Undaunted Hero x1*

Enchantment (6)

Indomitable Will x3

Dreaful Apathy x3

Instant (5)

Karametra's Blessing x3

Phalanx Tactics x2

Land (25)

Plains x25

*Denotes exclusive cards, only available in this product.

Deck Strategy

This Elspeth deck is a straightforward, albeit slightly aggressive, example of a mono white deck. It plays to the themes and mechanics of the set well highlighting, in particular, synergies with enchantments, and Enchantment Creatures.

Leonin of the Lost Pride and Sunlit Hoplite provide the early game attackers. Both can be sacrificed strategically, to good effect. When Leonin of the Lost Pride dies, you will be able to remove a threat from your opponent’s graveyard. If you're playing against the Ashiok deck, this will be a very useful ability. The Sunlit Hoplite can be recovered once Elspeth enters the battlefield. Provided you can keep her in play, you can use her ability to keep pulling Hoplites back into the fray.

Eidolon of Inspiration and Taranika, Akroan Veteran will help bolster your attacks. Make use of the Instant and Sorceries to tip combat in your favour, and remove your opponent’s early threats. Keep up a steady attack to force your opponent on to the back foot. By the time you get your Flying creatures into play, you should be in a good position to push on.

Thoughts

As I've stated before, the Planeswalker Decks are not designed to be competitive. They provide new players with a ready to play product that will help them get a feel for the game. I do find these two decks slightly more interesting that other recent Planeswalker products. The Ashiok deck in particular, as it showcases some interesting mechanics new players will benefit from learning. If you are new to Magic, these might be worth picking up. Both contain some interesting cards you may later build into custom decks.