Category: Born of the Gods


Insatiable-Hunger-Intro-Pack

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Value City – at least as far as Intro Packs are concerned. Not only does deck contain a Standard and Modern playable rare from Theros, but it has a lot of other goodies, as well. Is it an amazing playable deck out of the box? That’s debatable. But let’s take a look!

CREATURES

2 Cyclops of One-Eyed Pass
2 Fanatic of Xenagos
1 [mtg cardname=”Mistcutter Hydra” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Mistcutter Hydra“]
1 Nessian Courser
2 Nessian Demolok
1 Nessian Wilds Ravager
1 Opaline Unicorn
1 Pharagax Giant
2 Reckless Reveler
1 Satyr Piper
1 Setessan Starbreaker
2 Snake of the Golden Grove
2 Swordwise Centaur
1 Thunder Brute
2 Voyaging Satyr

NON-CREATURES

1 Destructive Revelry
1 Fall of the Hammer
2 Lightning Strike
1 Messenger’s Speed
1 Mischief and Mayhem
2 Mortal’s Resolve
2 Ordeal of Nylea
1 Pinnacle of Rage
1 Searing Blood

LANDS

14 Forest
12 Mountain

nessian-wilds-ravager-born-of-the-gods

The Nessian Wilds Ravager is certainly an interesting card, and it’s the cover card of this deck. A 6/6 for 4GG that has the ability to either become a 12/12 or fight a target creature is definitely powerful in Limited. It’s not exactly my idea of what a red/green aggro deck should be running, but as far as fatties go, it’s not a bad one at all. But this isn’t the Hydra you’re buying the deck for.

mistcutter-hydra-theros

Mistcutter Hydra may not look like much at first, but this little XG (X, 1 Green) creature can get out of control in a hurry. Not only can it not be countered, but it also has Haste (very important!) and protection from Blue, which is one of the best colors in Theros Block Standard. It enters the battlefield with X +1/+1 counters on it, so obviously the more you pump into it, the bigger it is. It’s pretty much a win condition against mono-Blue decks and against blue/black control decks who have a hard time dealing with a big un-counterable creature (and even a lot of their Black creatures have Blue in their casting costs). Just having Haste makes it playable. It’s the best card in the deck.

Fanatic-of-Xenagos-Born-of-the-Gods-Spoiler

The deck also has two copies of [mtg cardname=”Fanatic of Xenagos” setname=”Born of the Gods” linktext=”Fanatic of Xenagos“], which is good whether or not your opponent pays for its Tribute cost. It’s either a 4/4 trampler for 1RG, or a 3/3 with Haste that becomes a 4/4 until end of the turn that it comes into play for 1RG, and it still has Trample. It’s just a valuable creature. With [mtg cardname=”Xenagos, God of Revels” setname=”Born of the Gods” linktext=”Xenagos, God of Revels“] around to give it Haste (and double the power until end of turn), this is a really good creature.

As with most Intro Packs, the rest of the creatures are sort of sub-par, most of them being Tribute creatures that are good in Limited but not aggressive enough for a typical Constructed atmosphere. Voyaging Satyr, though, which un-taps lands is pretty good. Opaline Unicorn is also a cute little mana rock on a 1/2 body.

The non-creature spells aren’t bad at all, though. It has fine removal in Fall of the Hammer, two copies of Lightning Strike, and a Searing Blood. Destructive Revelry is also quite good enchantment/artifact removal. Messenger’s Speed is a passable Aura, Mortal’s Resolve is an OK combat trick, and Ordeal of Nylea helps you ramp up your basic lands. Pinnacle of Rage is a Limited-only card and Mischief and Mayhem is a bit too expensive for what you want to do with this deck, even though it has a super cool effect.

Unlike the past couple of intro packs, there are ways to make this deck better relatively inexpensively. Here’s a shot at it:

CREATURES

4 Fanatic of Xenagos
Mistcutter Hydra
2 Nessian Demolok
Nessian Wilds Ravager
1 Satyr Piper
4 Swordwise Centaur
1 Thunder Brute
4Voyaging Satyr

NON-CREATURES

2 Destructive Revelry
2 Fall of the Hammer
3 Lightning Strike
1 Mischief and Mayhem
2 Mortal’s Resolve
2 Ordeal of Nylea
2 Searing Blood

LANDS

12 Forest
8 Mountain
4 [mtg cardname=”Temple of Abandon” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Temple of Abandon“]

We max out the Fanatic of Xenagos, since that’s easily one of the best cards in the deck, cutting the Opaline Unicorn (as cute as it is) and the vanilla Nessian Courser. We’re also cutting the Reckless Reveler who are too situational for two more Swordwise Centaur, who are vanilla but are 3/2 for two Green and fit our aggressive strategy.

We also max out the Mistcutter Hydras and drop a lot of the more irrelevant creatures: the Setessan Starbreaker and the two Snake of the Golden Groves. The Starbreaker’s removal ability will be compensated for by another copy of Destructive Revelry later. The Snake’s tribute ability can gain you 4 life or become a 7/7 for 5 mana. While that’s not bad at all, three more Mistcutters are more efficient and have Haste, which is very important!

We next cut the Pharagax Giant (great Limited card) for another Nessian Wilds Ravager. The Giant will usually just be a 5 for 4R, so the Ravager just does a lot more work here. The Cyclops are both cut for two more copies of Voyaging Satyr, which helps the deck ramp a bit. The two Nessian Demolok can stay for now, as well as Thunder Brute for being a Trampler that can gain Haste. The Piper will also stay, as having the ability to make one of the big creatures in the deck un-blockable is a nice touch.

We cut a couple of lands since we added Temples for the color fixing, and this gave us room for another Lightning Strike and Fall of the Hammer. Mischief and Mayhem stays in for now for the surprise element, and only the Messenger’s Speed (not really too great) and the Pinnacle of Rage leave for another Destructive Revelry and Searing Blood.

The next upgrade to do with this deck is replace the Thunder Brute with a [mtg cardname=”Xenagos, God of Revels” setname=”Born of the Gods” linktext=”Xenagos, God of Revels”], which will be your win condition. If you can afford them, replace the Nessian Demoloks with [mtg cardname=”Polukranos, World Eater” setname=”Theros” linktext=”Polukranos, World Eater”]. You could also take out the Piper for an Arbor Colossus. Also, if the Swordwise Centaurs are too vanilla for you, just swap them out for a play-set of [mtg cardname=”Burning-Tree Emissary” setname=”Gatecrash” linktext=”Burning-Tree Emissary”] or [mtg cardname=”Scavenging Ooze” setname=”Magic 2014 (M14)” linktext=”Scavenging Ooze”] depending on what you want to do with the deck.

Like the green/black and red/white decks, there’s a nice shell for a good aggressive deck here. I’d give it a B for providing so many value cards in the deck to start, plus you get the two booster packs. Unlike the blue/white and blue/black decks that don’t serve as good shells or provide you with much value in the lists, the red/green deck is easily the best value for your money

~ Elspeth for the Win

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Gifts-Of-The-Gods-Intro-Pack

So what does our Blue/White Enchantment-based deck have in store for us? Let’s jump right into the deck list:

CREATURES
1 Coastline Chimera
1 Flitterstep Eidolon
2 Floodtide Serpent
2 Ghostblade Eidolon
2 Great Hart
2 Griffin Dreamfinder
2 Heliod’s Emissary
1 Hopeful Eidolon
2 Lagonna-Band Elder
2 Nyxborn Shieldmate
2 Nyxborn Triton
1 Pillar of War
1 Silent Sentinel
1 Thassa’s Emissary
2 Traveling Philosopher
1 Yoked Ox

NON-CREATURE SPELLS
1 Divination
1 Eternity Snare
1 Excoriate
1 Gift of Immortality
1 Griptide
1 Hold at Bay
2 Ordeal of Heliod
1 Sunbond
1 Vanquish the Foul

LANDS
10 Island
16 Plains

First, we’ll take a look at the rares in the deck: Silent Sentinel and Gift of Immortality.

silent-sentinel-born-of-the-gods

Silent Sentinel costs 5WW (a whopping SEVEN mana) to cast. Is its effect worth it? It’s a 4/6 flyer that whenever it attacks, you may return target Enchantment card from your graveyard to the battlefield. That’s a pretty cool effect, actually, but that’s pretty high on the curve!

gift-of-immortality-theros

Gift of Immortality from Theros is actually a very interesting card. It can, potentially, make a creature immortal, as long as this card can reattach itself by the next end step. This would be a fun thing to stick on Silent Sentinel, actually.

As for fixing this deck, this deck has a fairly weak creature line-up.  Floodtide Serpent is just absolutely awful, and should be cut immediately. I understand that it helps you reuse enchantments when it attacks, but this requirement to attack makes it a very bad creature overall. Great Hart and Traveling Philosophers are boring vanillas. However, Yoked Ox is the best card in Magic: the Gathering; seriously, a 0/4 for a single White mana is a thing!

There are other creatures in the deck that aren’t terrible, especially in Limited, but are a bit over-costed for Constructed. Coastline Chimera is a 1/5 flyer that can block an additional creature for 1W. Griffin Dreamfinder gets you an Enchantment back to your hand when it enters, but a 1/4 flyer for 3WW is fairly sub-par. Lagonna-Band Elder is a Centaur Healer (gains you 3 life) if you control an Enchantment. Most of the Bestow cards in the deck are pretty good, though.

The removal in this deck is absolutely awful. For 6 mana, Eternity Snare draws you a card and makes a creature unable to untap. Six mana removal is pretty awful. But guess what? You have a second piece of six mana removal in Vanquish the Foul. For 6, you get to destroy target creature power 4 or greater, and hey, you get to SCRY ONE! Excoriate and Griptide, at least, are playable Limited removal. Hold at Bay is cute. Sunbond is likewise kind of cute. Ordeal of Heliod is probably the only non-creature spell that’s in this deck worth playing.

This deck is pretty bad. I’d give it a C- only because it does contain a lot of useful Bestow creatures, two Ordeal of Heliod, and two playable Commander cards in Silent Sentinel and Gift of Immortality. It also has a Pauper all-star in Yoked Ox, but there’s only one copy in the deck. This deck would take so much work to rebuild that any list I give you will be an entirely different deck altogether. I simply wouldn’t buy this intro deck, even for the two booster packs.

~ Elspeth for the Win

Born-of-the-Gods-Event-Decklist

Here it is, folks: the Born of the Gods event deck! It’s a mono-black deck (what a surprise) with some real value rares within it! Let’s take a look at the list:

LANDS
24 Swamp

CREATURES (26)
1 Agent of the Fates
1 Blood Scrivener
1 Crypt Ghast
1 Desecration Demon
1 Erebos’s Emissary
1 Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
1 Pack Rat
4 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
3 Tormented Hero
Xathrid Necromancer

NON-CREATURES (10)
2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
1 Fated Return
1 Gift of Orzhova
1 Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price

SIDEBOARD
3 Cremate
2 Dark Betrayal
4 Duress
2 Gift of Orzhova
2 Pharika’s Cure
2 Staff of the Death Magus

There are some pretty darn good rares in this deck. Agent of the Fates is a solid little Black Heroic card that has some ways to activate it in this deck. Blood Scrivener helps you get a couple of cards if your hand is empty at a minimal cost of 1 life. Crypt Ghast doubles the production of your black mana. Desecration Demon is the best rare in the deck, by far, and is a monster that is the primary beater in mono-Black Devotion decks. Herald of Torment could prove to be a decent Bestow card in Black, and is a 3/3 flyer on its own. Pack Rat is definitely a playable card that can pump out Rats by ditching extra cards in hand and paying 2B. Also, two copies of Xathrid Necromancer is super useful for when your Human creatures die.

In the non-creature spells, you have Fated Return and Hero’s Downfall as rares. Fated Return is a pricey reanimation spell but it makes the creature coming back indestructible. Hero’s Downfall is simply excellent removal that you would definitely want more than one of in a deck.

Already, this deck looks really good on the value side of things. I don’t need to quote prices to tell you that buying multiple copies of this deck is not a bad investment (as both Desecration Demon and Hero’s Downfall are modern playable, as is Xathrid Necromancer to an extent.) The most obvious exclusion in this deck is everyone’s favorite mono-Black Devotion card, Gray Merchant of Asphodel. That actually is not a mistake. The reason for this is that Wizards decided to include a different Devotion-based card in Mogis’s Marauder. Whereas “Gary” as he’s called, makes you gain X life and an opponent lose X life where X is your Devotion to Black, the Marauders give X creatures intimidate and haste until end of turn where X is that same number.

As someone who has witnessed the power of Gray Merchant, I honestly see why people are confused about that omission. But there’s a good reason for it. Wizards went out of their way to try a new take on mono-Black Devotion, an aggressive build, built around Xathrid Necromancer and a bunch of Human creatures. Tormented Hero, Mogis’ Marauder, and Rakdos Shred-Freak are all Humans. Therefore, this makes the Necromancers extremely good and allows you to be extremely aggressive. Spiteful Returned, a Bestow creature from Born of the Gods, is actually decent enough as a creature, as whenever it declares an attack, the defending player loses 2 life. This is a super aggressive deck.

There’s also a pretty good removal package in this deck with 2 Bile Blight, 3 Doom Blade, 2 Ultimate Price, and 1 Hero’s Downfall.

The sideboard includes more removal, plus 4 Duress for control purposes. The 2 extra copies of Gift of Orzhova to complement the one in the deck could prove useful if you’re playing this deck as is. Cremate is nice for messing up Graveyard-based strategies, but little else (although it draws you a card, as well). The Staff of the Death Magus is kind of a cute addition, as well, rewarding you by playing Swamps and black spells and giving you 1 life for each.

CHANGING THE DECK

The first obvious thing about this deck is that it’s combining two distinct strategies: an aggressive approach with the Human/Xathrid Necromancer combination, and Bestow. For devotion purposes, Bestow is extremely useful as a mechanic. Honestly, this deck can work as-is, but it’s not quite strong enough in a serious competitive setting.

First of all, Agent of the Fates is a really nice card, a 3/2 creature with Deathtouch, and there are ways to make it work pretty well with the Bestow abilities in this deck. It’s also a Human, which works with the Necromancer. Blood Scrivener is a bit too situational, and would probably be our first cut. Crypt Ghast is super cool, in that it can double mana, but one copy in an aggressive deck probably doesn’t cut it here. Desecration Demon is an auto-keep, and a second copy could easily replace the Ghast. Erebos’ Emissary is an interesting little Bestow card, but a third Desecration Demon replaces it easily on the curve. If you’re not going to spend on the Demons, two more Necromancers would slot in nicely! The reason for more Necromancers should be obvious: the more Necromancers, the more tokens you acquire!

Herald of Torment is OK, but it’s another slot better occupied by a Necromancer or a Demon. The Marauders might be okay, especially if you’re maxing out the Human potential with Necromancers. Pack Rat is nice, and good in mono-Black devotion in general, but not in this particular build. It’s still super solid if you go a different direction, though.  Cacklers are fine one-drops, as are Tormented Heroes, even if the Heroic ability is never relevant. Rakdos Shred-Freak is a bit sub-par on average, but super good with the Necromancer.

For non-creatures, the removal count is fine except for there only being one Hero’s Downfall. Fated Return is too pricey and situational to be worth main-boarding, so that’s an easy swap. Gift of Orzhova isn’t bad, and helps devotion, but another Hero’s Downfall or perhaps a Herald of Torment (which gives you more value) is probably better here instead.

Of course, you could go the more traditional route of mono-black, cutting Shred-Freak for more Pack Rats, cutting the Marauders for Gray Merchant of Asphodels, and cutting the Necromancers for Demons. But I think the mono-Black Humans route is much more interesting, and its possible to run 4 Necromancer and 4 Demon in the deck. Here’s the revised list.

LANDS
24 Swamp

CREATURES (27)
Desecration Demon
Herald of Torment
3 Mogis’s Marauder
3 Rakdos Cackler
4 Rakdos Shred-Freak
3 Spiteful Returned
4 Tormented Hero
Xathrid Necromancer

NON-CREATURES (9)
2 Bile Blight
3 Doom Blade
Hero’s Downfall
2 Ultimate Price

In the end, this is the list I’d go with. It keeps the Human factor alive, with the Marauders still in, cutting the more fragile and situational creatures with more heavy hitters. The Agent was nice, but it was 1 Human, replaced by two more. I also flip-flopped the count of Tormented Hero and Cackler. There’s still enough Bestow in the deck to make the Tormented Heroes sort of relevant. Of course, if you’re looking to go super-Human and not wanting to spend on the Demons, replace the 4 Demons with 4 Agents of the Fates.

As for the sideboard, I’d cut the Gifts of Orzhova for two more Herald of Torment, if you’re going to keep going to Bestow route. The Staffs are silly, and Pithing Needle could take their place to shut down activated abilities. Cremate is also pretty sub-par and Thoughtseize is strictly better than Duress if you can afford them. Sideboards really depend on your meta, however, so go with whatever works against your meta. Heck, Gild might even have a place in here.

Overall, I’d give this Event Deck a B for play-ability, but an A for value. I really like the different take on mono-Black Devotion, although do remember that in October 2014, the big value cards from the Return to Ravnica block and Magic 2014 (Desecration Demon and Xathrid Necromancer, plus the Rakdos creatures) will no longer be legal in Standard. Still, it’s worth picking up a copy, or several, just for the individual good rares in the deck.

~ Elspeth for the Win

 

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Due to some some processing issues, my two-part Born of the Gods Set Review took a lot longer than I would’ve liked to go live. But here they are for your viewing pleasure…

PART ONE

PART TWO

Overall, I really like this set. I basically only went over the highlights, but there are plenty of other cards in this set that I’ll definitely take deeper looks at that haven’t been mentioned here.

What are your favorite cards in this set?

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