Titans, Gods, Mortals and the defiance of fate. Welcome to Theros.

It has been seven years since Magic: The Gathering first introduced us to the Greek-themed world of Theros. During that original story-line, we became familiar with the people, Planeswalkers and gods of Theros, through a three-set block that consisted of: Theros, Born of the Gods, and Journey into Nyx.

I want to recap the story from the original release, as it sets the scene for what we are about to experience. Xenagos, a Satyr Planeswalker, had discovered a gateway into Nyx – the realm of the gods. He used this knowledge to leave the world of men and ascend into godhood, eventually taking his place in the Pantheon of Gods as the God of Revels. This did not sit well with the other gods – if godhood could be attained, it brought into question their very divinity and associated supremacy.

One of the major gods, and the ruler of the Pantheon of Gods, Heliod, God of the Sun enlisted the help of the Planeswalker Elspeth. He forged for her a powerful weapon and tasked her with killing Xenagos.

After successfully completing her task, Elspeth was betrayed by Heliod and he in turn killed her with the very weapon that he had gifted her earlier in her quest. This behaviour was quite fitting for Heliod if you consider that his character was inspired by none other than Zeus – a deity that was not known for being fair or beyond pettiness. Thus, Elspeth found herself in the Underworld –  the realm of Erebos. For some the events that unfolded seemed simple enough, but for others certain realities were laid bare – the gods were replicable and could even be killed. Certain gods who did not occupy the top if the hierarchy saw this as an opportunity to act on their ambitions. Divine war threatens.

The story, as we enter it, explores this development further. Erebos, not content in his underworld realm wants to usurp Heliod. In his attempts to do so, he neglects his duties and the veil between to the underworld is weakened. To add to the chaos, the gods are at war, each having chosen their champion to represent them. Elspeth, still reeling from her betrayal, won’t simply pass into the next realm. Like many other souls, she manages to escape and seeks revenge on Heliod.

Elspeth manages in her goal with a weapon not unlike the one she used against Xenagos.

All this is too much for a previously unknown god, Klothys, the God of Fate and Destiny and keeper of the titans, who would much prefer for things to stay as they are meant to be. Klothys sends her agents to recapture Elspeth, who understandably has no plans to comply. It is from this struggle that the set’s tagline, “Escape your Fate” emerges.

That is the gist of the story for Theros Beyond Death. Unlike what we’ve seen with previous expansions, Theros Beyond Death has no ebook or weekly online segments through which players can follow the complete story.

Let’s have a look at some of the cards and mechanics from Theros Beyond Death.

A visit to Theros would not be complete without plenty of enchantments, and we see the return of Enchantment creatures, Sagas and the Constellation mechanic.

The five major gods feature once more, and this time there is a cycle of Instants and Omens to accompany them in addition to their chosen their champion. The dods and their demigod champions are available in alt art frames that draws on their Nyx (constellation) essence.

The gods would be nothing without their followers, so naturally Devotion will once more be a build-around mechanic. Players will be happy with the return of Gray Merchant of Asphodel, or Gary as he is popularly known. Pictured below is his promo card version. And you can expect to see some other cards appear in this border from the Promo Pack boosters available at FNM and other events.

As is befitting the theme of the set, we are introduced to a brand-new mechanic in the form of Escape. This allows a player to cast a card from their graveyard for an alternative cost. We’ve typically seen this type effect being limited to Instants and Sorceries, but it is expanded in this release to include permanent-type cards. Below are some examples, including their alt art frame versions.

Keeping with the graveyard theme, we’ve also been introduced to tow multicoloured titans. As much as Klothys was upset with Erebos for neglecting his duties and letting the souls of the dead escape, she has some answering to do for letting loose these two!

Have you started putting together a deck yet?

Heliod is a definite powerhouse and Thassa is probably the most powerful card in the set. Expect to see plenty on mono-Black Devotion decks.