Welcome to Theros indeed. We have been teased with spoilers for several months now, starting with the set reveal at PAX East, but now we’re really starting to get through to the meat and potatoes of the newest plane in the multiverse. The veils of the Blind Eternities have spread open and we have landed on the shores of Theros, a colorful land that looks very much like Greece in antiquity. But where the monsters and gods of the ancient Athenians are the stuff of legend, here they are facts of life.

We first touched down on this enchanted land when Trick Jarrett unveiled the contents of the upcoming Heroes vs. Monsters box set. No doubt this will be a huge hit among casual players and collectors alike. There are some really nice pieces in the Heroes deck such as Figure of Destiny, Pyrokinesis (previously only found in Alliances), and Sun Titan. Coming to the plate for Team Monsters are Fires of Yavimaya, Troll Ascetic, and Orcish Lumberjack (last seen in Ice Age). However, the real stars of the show are the six cards which are found in Theros and act as previews for that set.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Those are some pretty awesome cards. Destructive Revelry introduces us to Xenagos, the Reveler in it’s flavor text. Enchantment destruction for red and direct damage for green are something that plenty of R/G Aggro players are going to be reveling about. The Satyr Hedonist, or The Puck as people ought to refer to him, will be an incredibly power accelerator for a lot of decks. Dropping him on turn two gives you five mana on turn three. Good thing Thragtusk is going away. I’m sure you’ll find a suitable replacement though. More cards like this means more monsters hitting the board sooner.

Before we get to the big monster, let’s look at what the heroes have to offer. Cavalry Pegasus is a bit underwhelming as a 1/1 Flyer for 1W, but hopefully it’s synergy with an army of humans is a sign of great things coming from Cymede, the queen of Akros. The heroes won’t have an easy life, as we ought to expect. I’m assuming that the centurion in the art for Ordeal of Purphoros is our savior from the fiery assailant. This enchantment is going to fit quite nicely with any aggressive one-drop you may be packing. Limited will hopefully be full of effects like this.

On to the all-stars of the decks now. Anax and Cymede, or zanax and cyanide as I first mistakenly pronounced it, are an absolute beast of a card for any Boros deck. This legend alongside the flavor of Cavalry Pegasus implies to me that Akros’s queen Cymede will indeed be sending an army behind it’s heroes, like Purphoros, in order to combat the monsters. And what monsters they are. Polukranos is our first glimpse at the awesome might of Theros’s monsters and it is a sight to behold. The title of World Eater should be enough to send heroes like Purphoros running back to their cradles. He hits play as a 5/5 for 2GG which means you don’t even need all the mana you generated from The Puck. You can even save it to turn Polukranos into an even bigger monster as it essentially levels up, taking out large swathes of Cymede’s army with it.

The power of the cards for players is undeniable. Polukranos is going to find play in a lot of formats, as will Anax and Cymede. From a collecting standpoint, who doesn’t love a sweet Legend and an even sweeter mythic rare? No one, that’s who. As we should have expected, this set is teeming with flavor and top-down design, perhaps in ways Innistrad didn’t even manage. While Innistrad brought some of our favorite horrors to life, Theros is going to breathe the spark of existence into the wildest fantasies of our own ancient cultures.

On Wednesday things became even larger than fantasy when the Planeswalker’s Guide to Theros, Part I was unveiled. In it we were introduced to the gods of Theros, and learned that the Purphoros we heard of on Monday is in fact one of these gods, the red-aligned one to be exact. The gods will have special card frames, which were revealed a few weeks back, and each has a signature item which just screams Legendary Equipment. This should delight competitive players, for these will no doubt be powerful spike cards, and casual players, for these will be a ton of fun to sling around. Collectors should already be foaming at the mouth for premium editions of the gods and perhaps even their equipment if they put them into a Cube or an EDH deck.

Theros is finally here and it’s wonder has something for the whole family. Where Ravnica was more of the same, and the gothic horror of Innistrad was easily understood, we have now for the first time since Zendikar traveled to a world of amazing splendor. Let’s hope the rest of the plane is as enjoyable as its first shining shores.

The Quick Hits

  • Here’s a pretty in-depth article about decetion and Magic from Michael Martin. Or is it? [StarCity Games]
  • The decklists for Heroes vs Monsters were revealed this week. I’m starting to think it would be good to have all of these decks in a box that’s easy to travel with and then just play with my friends anytime, instead of building our own decks. Thoughts? [DailyMTG]
  • Is it a little too meta for Mark Nestico to be complaining about complaining? I dunno, but he brings up some interesting points. [StarCity Games]
  • The Wizards Community Cup is a cute event, but it seems like the company team is a bit stacked, no? [DailyMTG]
  • This week Heather Lafferty interviewed Forbes.com entertainment and technology journalist Daniel Tack. [Gamer Boy, Gamer Girl]
  • Mike Linneman has a sweet guide on how to frame your Magic artwork! Now I can be classy. [Gathering Magic]
  • Hipsters’ own Monique Garraud broke down the basics of playing Magic Online via MTGO. School is in session folks. [Grinding it Out]
  • Is it the greatest draft format ever? Modern Masters returns to MTGO on Mondays this fall! Check your local listings! [MTG Online]
  • Team Hipsters didn’t make Day 2 of GP Providence, but Matt Jones came back with this fantastic interview with artist Steve Prescott. [Arting Around]
  • Nick Vigabool applies some fiscal team theories to collecting Magic cards. If you trust your friends, this is definitely worth a read. [Gathering Magic]
  • Heather Lafferty rounded out the week with an incredibly personal story about the things that get us through the difficult times in our life. [The Waiting Game]

Wallpaper of the Week

This card captures the spirit of Venser, Shaper Savant pretty well in my opinion. It feels incredibly blue but also manages to portray his power in a humble way. As usual, I really like a piece of art that directs the viewer to think about what the subjects are thinking about and Venser does not disappoint. I would have preferred something a little less Jace-like, but I guess that’s the price we all pay now when depicting blue mages.

Grade: A-

The Week Ahead

Get outside this Labor Day weekend and enjoy the sunshine while you still can. Once Theros hits you’ll be spending all your weekends either playing Magic or glued to the (hopefully improved) event coverage. Or, if you’re going to PAX Prime (not me) then check out this info on all the MTG stuff going down in Seattle this weekend.

What We Learned is a weekly feature here at Hipsters of the Coast written by former amateur Magic Player Rich Stein, who came really close to making day two of a Grand Prix on several occasions. The goal is to take some of the events and articles polluting the Magic world, strip out the chaff (tournament reports, game theory, economics) and give you our superior opinion. Complaints are encouraged.

Don't Miss Out!

Sign up for the Hipsters Newsletter for weekly updates.