Prepare for an in-depth review of Top 10 THEROS cards for EDH Commander Decks. For those of you that are familiar with my previous set reviews, you will remember that I provide Top 10 lists for cards that work in my EDH/Commander decks. So, for those of you that are new to my Top 10 articles that means that there may be better cards for EDH out of the THEROS set, but they just don’t fit into my current or future decklists.
My current Commander/EDH decks are still at ten, but I am sure I will be adding at least one more once the new Commander product comes out in November 2013.
Uril, the Miststalker
Hanna, Ship’s Navigator
Chainer, Dementia Master
Lavinia of the Tenth
Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter
As I did with my previous articles, I will also include a few updates as my Top 10 list gets some play time. Be sure to check back for my COMMANDER 2013 Set Review for my EDH Decks in November/December 2013!
Let’s Get Started!
Akroan Horse: Oh my goodness does this card ooze with EDH flavor. I am just not sure if it fits any of my current deck builds… although I am sure I will try it out in one of them just for giggles and kicks. I love the politics of it… Especially against guys playing Sheoldred, Whispering One.
ME: “You get a soldier, you get a soldier, and I get a soldier”
SHEOLDRED GUY: “HEY… How come I don’t get a soldier?”
ME: “Well, because you are making us sacrifice every turn and you’re a dick.”
lol… hope you enjoyed my fictional commentary. 🙂
SIDE NOTE: This card would also be nuts with Defense of the Heart
Rescue from the Underworld: There’s a little bit of Johnny in this card. Although most will say Rescue from the Underworld is too conditional, I am considering it for my Chainer EDH Deck. Since my Chainer build is centered on a “sacrifice” theme, I could see sacrificing Kokusho, the Evening Star and then bringing Koko Puffs and Gray Merchant of Asphodel back into play during my upkeep for a double dose of life drain!
Spear of Heliod : The Spear could possibly be one of the best anthem effects in Magic, but I really don’t know if it is cut out for any of my current EDH builds. I am considering it for Eight-and-a-Half-Tails as a rattlesnake effect to deter opponents from attacking me. Hmmm… maybe we will playtest it and see how it works.
Abhorrent Overlord: Another possibility for Chainer, Master Dementia, the Abhorrent Overlord makes Harpy tokens when it comes into play. How cool is that? With a sacrifice outlet and Chainer on the battlefield, there could be an infestation of Harpies swarming the EDH table!
Gift of Immortality: This aura seems to fit my playstyle… tricks. 🙂 I will get one, and when I do, I will find a deck to try it in… just not sure which one yet. Uril? Maybe. 8.5 Tails? Maybe. 😕 Honestly, Lavinia of the Tenth and a sac outlet would be optimal!
Top 10 Theros Cards for EDH Commander
#10 – Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver
Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver begins our top 10 list as one of the most mysterious EDH cards I have seen in a long time. First lets begin by identifying Ashiok… is Ashiok a he or she? According to Mark Rosewater’s Blog Ashiok does not like to be defined as either. So, we will refer to Ashiok in today’s review as “it”, “Nightmare Planeswalker” or “Ashiok”. Now, on to the next bit of mystery regarding this Nightmare Planeswalker… will it be good in Commander? That is exactly why Ashiok barely cracks my top 10. I am just not sure. However, this Dimir Planeswalker does fit the theme of my Wrexial, the Risen Deep Copy/Steal EDH so I will give it a try. I think Ashiok will be underestimated. It only costs 3 mana and can hit the table with a +2 ability that exiles three cards and pumps it’s loyalty to 5. Next turn, there could be a decent creature to steal using the -X ability, or we could mill some more and save up our loyalty counters for the big fatty sitting in exile. Ashiok’s ultimate seems a bit “unreachable” to me, but with the right amount of politics and control, it could happen.
Let’s talk monetary value of Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver. Currently, this Nightmare Planeswalker gives me bad dreams at a pre-order price of $24.99 on Star City Games. Oh, hell no. This reminds me of Vraska the Unseen in her early days… She commanded a $20 – $25 price tag for the first month or two and then plummeted like it was 1929. If I pull an Ashiok at the pre-release, then I will give it a try, otherwise Wrexial will be waiting until the price drops into the $5 to $10 range before adding to our copy/steal theme.
#9 – Hero’s Downfall
I do not currently run Murder in any of my EDH decks as it has always seemed a bit “meh” to me. However, Hero’s Downfall can destroy a creature OR a planeswalker for the same casting cost and still at Instant speed!? Well alrighty then, that is some-good. Currently, I only have Karn Liberated or Vampire Hexmage to deal with Planeswalkers in my Chainer EDH deck so Hero’s Downfall will be a welcome addition. I may also include a copy in my Vhati il-Dal Commander deck.
So there is a card in Magic the Gathering ™ from long, long ago called Greed. If you are a greedy magic player and want more out of your draw/pay life abilities then let me introduce you to Erebos, God of the Dead. The enchantment side of Erebos costs to cast and the draw card ability costs to activate. In addition to drawing cards, this enchantment is indestructible and does not allow your opponent’s to gain life. Heck, yeah. But wait, there’s more. If you have Devotion of 5 or more, Erebos, God of the Dead becomes an indestructible 5/7 creature. Can your Phyrexian Arena do that? I didn’t think so!
Erebos, God of the Dead will definitely be playtested in my Chainer, Master Dementia Commander Deck but I’ll be keeping a careful eye on my life total. Chainer already has a ton of effects that suck away our life total, and this may squeeze too much juice. I will also playtest Erebos in my Vish Kal, Blood Arbiter Life Gain/Drain EDH deck. Vish Kal is centered on gaining life, so the “Greed-Payments” that Eros demands will be no problemo. However, in Vish Kal, there will also be 50% less chance of devotion banging in at 5 or more since white is sharing the color pie.
#7 – Curse of the Swine
Exile Target Creatures and turn them into Bacon. 🙂 So, I am gambling on my #7 pick, but I really think Curse of the Swine could be an efficient form of removal and add to a bit of fun around the EDH table. I am hoping that the boar token art is kick-ass, but if not, I have full intentions on making my own 2/2 Bacon tokens. I really like this card in Lavinia of the Tenth where she can send a bunch of little piggies to market (where they will be detained), but I might also bring about the swine curse in my Wrexial, the Risen Deep EDH Deck.
#6 – Glare of Heresy
A Sorcery that exiles target white permanent. Um, okay, so how does that make a top 10 list for Commander when it can only target white permanents? For those of you that have not seen my Eight-and-a-Half-Tails deck, I recommend that you take a gander: Mono White Control EDH Deck. With the ability of our mono-white commander, Eight-and-a-Half-Tails, or with tools such as Distorting Lens or Cloudchaser Kestrel, Glare of Heresy can suddenly remove almost any card on the table from the game. Ah, now you see.
#5 – Ashen Rider
There are already conversations in forums such as MTGSalvation.com where are players are trying to decide to run Angel of Despair or the new flying kitty-cat from Theros, Ashen Rider. In my opinion, the Angel and Battle Cat should be flying side-by-side in my Vish-Kal, Grand Arbiter deck as both provide mouth-watering removal on a stick. But, if I were to compare the two… Ashen’s ability to exile target permanent rather than destroy, makes him worth the one extra mana and just a little better than Angel of Despair. If you throw in the fact that if he dies he can exile another target permanent, well then, that is a rattlesnake effect most opponent’s will steer clear of. Vish-Kal will also be buying a Mimic Vat from his local hardware store, as the threat of an Ashen Rider imprinted on the Vat will not be pleasant for our opponents.
#4 – Reaper of the Wilds
So the new Golgari Gorgon, Reaper of the Wilds will allow me to scry every time a creature dies? In the wars that include Vhati il-Dal‘s army, creatures seem to die all the time so I’ll have a lot of scrying to do! Adding to the goodness is the synergy with one of Vhati’s combos. Once Vhati’s tap, destroy combo is set up we will be able to Scry 1 multiple times per turn. This will help us dig through our deck, set up our next draw phase or manipulate our Sylvan Library and/or Oracle of Mul-Daya triggers. Better yet, Reaper of the Wilds deathtouch ability will enable a small combo with Thornbite Staff. After equipping Reaper with the Staff and activating the Deathtouch ability, she can effectively begin killing creatures by tapping just mana per creature. Reaper of the Wilds final display of awesomeness is found in her ability to make herself hexproof for .
This Medusa has it all: Deathtouch, Hexproof, Scry 1, Great Looks, Long flowing Snake-Like Hair… all of this on a 4/5 body for just 4 mana. Feel free to glance, but don’t stare at this Top 10 Theros card, the newest Mercenary in Vhati’s Revenge
So let’s take a look at Chainer, Master Dementia‘s new win condition, Gray Merchant of Asphodel. For EDH, I am quite tickled that this is a COMMON and will be available to us for a couple of dimes and nickels. Our Chainer EDH deck only requires a sacrifice outlet and enough mana to start looping the Gray Merchant in and out of our graveyard for the win. With only Chainer and Gray Merchant on the battlefield, we are hitting each opponent for 4 life a piece. I am assuming, however, that our average damage per entry to the battlefield will range in the 5-10 Devotion to range.
Even though I plan on running both of these in my Chainer, EDH deck, Let’s take a look at Gray Merchant of Asphodel vs Kokusho, the Evening Star. In Koko Puffs favor is the 5 point drain of each opponent each and every time it goes to the graveyard. This creates a “rattlesnake” effect that opponents may try to skirt around. Kokusho is also a 5/5 flier that can block or go on the attack. Gray Merchant on the other hand, triggers on entering the battlefield, so the life drain/gain is felt immediately and chances are our devotion will be greater than or equal to 4. Gray Merchant costs one less mana but is not a flier and not efficient during the attack phase. Gray Merchant, in my opinion, plays better with reanimation effects such as Grim Return. Both Koko and Gray, however, could swing the game in our favor with a Living Death or Rise of the Dark Realms.
Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx can be compared to other EDH mana-fountain lands like Cabal Coffers and Serra’s Sanctum, but it would be hard to rank these since all of the before-mentioned lands require the appropriate deck to be successful. Where Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx outshines it’s older siblings is that it can tap for colorless mana instead of using it’s ability. This is absolutely crucial for times when our devotion is less than three (3). What puts Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx over-the-top is that it produces COLORED mana. Once our devotion hits 4 or more in our mono colored EDH builds, we will be enjoying a warm shower of colored mana. Since Nykthos runs on devotion, this land should be a staple in mono-colored EDH/Commander decks similar to the way Command Tower is in multi-colored decks. I fully plan on exploiting a flood of white mana in my Eight-and-a-Half-Tails EDH Deck and a bubbling crude of black mana in Chainer, Master Dementia Commander deck.
If Heliod, God of the Sun were just an enchantment, it would still be considered a top ten card from the Theros expansion and would definitely receive time in my mono-white control Eight-and-a-Half-Tails EDH Deck. However, the fact that Heliod can easily become a 5/6 Indestructible Creature Enchantment makes him my favorite card of this set and the #1 ranked Theros card for EDH.
The indestructible enchantment side of Heliod, God of the Sun offers our creatures vigilance so they can attack with equipped swords and still be able to defend with their protection from our enemies colors. What pushes this star bordered enchantment further into greatness is the additional ability of being able to create 2/1 Cleric Tokens. Sure, the white clergymen are a little on the mana-intensive side, but we usually leave our white mana open in mid-to-late game to protect our board with Eight and a Half Tails. If our mana goes unused before our turn, we can dump this into activating this ability for cleric tokens when the coast looks clear and before we begin our turn.
The Creature side of this white deity fits our Eight-and-a-Half-Tails deck theme of creatures that have protection, do not receive damage, or are indestructible. Heliod will easily manifest into god-status more often than not due to our Mono devotion and a 5/6 indestructible creature-enchantment will equate to good times for Team Fox-Cleric. The drooling intensifies when Heliod straps on a Sword to plow through enemy defenses or bears the weight of the Pariah’s Shield to keep us from taking damage..
The god of the Sun might also be included in my Hanna, Ship’s Navigator Combo Pillow Fort Deck. Heliod is an enchantment so Enlightened Tutor would be able to fetch him and there is a possibility that this Combo deck can reach devotion to … so maybe we will pick up an extra copy. At the very least, it is an indestructible Enchantment that spits out mini-priests and, from what I hear, these cleric enchantment tokens will work great with Serra’s Sanctum.
UPDATE: Changed description from cat tokens to cleric tokens. Oversight on my part, but thanks to Cyberkaiju for catching it. Heliod is now on order from TCGPlayer.com and now I just need to find Cleric tokens.
Hope you enjoyed this article… Don’t miss the COMMANDER 2013 set review – Winter 2013!