We’ve now had a few days to look over the full Theros spoiler and begin processing it, digesting it, and start pooping out juicy deck lists. Okay, maybe I took that metaphor a bit too far. Aaanyways, today, we’re not going to look at specific lists, but just which cards I think can make an impact in Modern, and the smaller subset of which I think have a shot at cracking a big league Legacy lineup. After each card, I’ll include how likely I feel it will see Modern and Legacy play. Just to clarify, something that I rate 100% means it will definitely see play in the format, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be a three or four-of staple in many tier-one decks.

Good God, Lemon!

The first and obvious place to start is with the new cycle of legendary enchantment creatures, the Gods. I’ve already gone into pretty great detail how I feel about Thassa, so we won’t rehash any of that here, but instead, look at the other four Gods (because there’s blue, and then there’s everyone else). The TL;DR version on Thassa is that she’s good, she will likely be played in Modern, and I could see her as an interesting and unique tool for Legacy Miracles. If you want to know why, go back and read the damn article! But what of the other Gods? I’ll get this out there right off the bat, I don’t think any of the others currently have Legacy applications, but these are a rather unique bunch of cards for which we have no prior analog, so I could easily be proved wrong on these.

Purphoros, God of the Forge

Former Pondering columnist, Li Xu, was spit-balling that Purphoros could create infinite damage when combined with Kobolds and Cloudstone Curio, but I think it’s a little too cute, and leaves you with a bunch of bad cards if you don’t actually assemble anything. Also, you can already replace Purphoros with the much cheaper Glimpse of Nature and draw your entire deck, which generally results in a win, and nobody plays that, so it’s probably not happening. The discussion took an interesting turn, however, when it was suggested as an infinite combo in Modern by replacing Kobolds with Priest of Urabrask. There may also be some sort of tokens and/or storm-based strategy involving the Red God (ugh, can Game of Thrones be back already? whenever people refer to him as the Red God, it just makes my brain start thinking about Westeros). Purphy looks pretty good next to cards like Young Pyromancer and Empty the Warrens.

Modern: 90%

Legacy: 10%

Erebos, God of the Dead

I initially pegged Erby with a 2% likelihood to see Legacy play, but I tried to be a little more optimistic and force myself to think outside the box a little bit. What are some of the most common ways our opponents gain life in Legacy? Off the top of my head, we have Jitte, Batterskull, Scavenging Ooze, Griselbrand attacks, Deathrite Shaman‘s least used ability, the usually irrelevant lifegain from Tendrils, Glimmerpost, Children of Korlis, and I’m sure there are a few others that I’m missing. For the most part, though, lifegain effects are often found in fringe strategies or corner cases on established cards. Most people aren’t REALLY trying to gain life, and when they do, it’s more like a nice added bonus to something else that they were trying to do, anyways. Paying four mana for this ability and a bad version of Greed isn’t super exciting, even if it can turn into 5/7, as the indestructible is far less relevant in Legacy with Swords to Plowshares as the premiere removal spell. Swords to whaaaat?? Oh, that’s right, we can use Erebos to make the best removal spell of all time even better! Take this with a grain of salt, but maybe there is some sort of Orzhov Aggro deck that can take advantage of a one-mana, unconditional exile. While we’re brainstorming, other cards that see Legacy play that I can immediately think of that give your opponents life as an added drawback include Grove of the Burnwillows and Reverent Silence, though you probably don’t want to negate Grove’s lifegain (otherwise, you should just play Taiga). Erebos looks more interesting in Modern and could slot nicely into decks like Jund, Junk, Rock, and Orzhov for the following reasons:

  • In the mid-late game, these decks often find themselves living off the top. If you have life to spare (which Deathrite and Scooze can help you with), Erebos can give you more chances to topdeck the powerful cards that your deck is packed with. If Blood Baron and/or Obzedat see Modern play, Erebos could actually be a late game card-advantage powerhouse.
  • A 5/7 indestructible creature is much harder to deal with in Modern than in Legacy, as Path to Exile is less prevalent than Swords to Plowshares.
  • Being an enchantment creature is very relevant. All of the Gods that can slot into a BGx deck have the benefit of pitching to Lily to power up ‘goyf.
  • He shuts down the tier 1 powerhouse known as Soul Sisters. (This one was a joke, guys!)

Modern: 35-45%

Legacy: 5-8%

Heliod, God of the Sun

I don’t really expect Heliod to make a major impact in Legacy, but I’ll give him a few points for having a weird, unique ability that we haven’t really seen before. The fact that his tokens are enchantment creatures makes me want to believe that there is some potential for abuse, but it is most likely overcosted for Legacy. Sadly, the ability is also probably overcosted for Modern, and Modern lacks Legacy’s derth of cards to potentially abuse the fact that Heliod poops out enchantments. Sorry for all the poop references, guys, I don’t know what’s gotten into me today.. wait, yes I do: Chipotle! Because of the greater potential for something broken to happen, this is a rare case where I have a greater expectation for Heliod to show up in Legacy over Modern.

Modern: 2-5%

Legacy: 5-10%

Nylea, God of the Hunt

Uhh.. maybe you can play her in a BGx deck? She has that same thing going on with the whole pitching to Lily to make ‘goyf bigger. The trample bonus is far less exciting once you realize that she doesn’t give herself trample, and her pump is at least one mana too expensive for Modern. Four mana for a conditional 6/6 in green is silly when you have access to far more efficient beaters.

Modern: 2-5%

Legacy: .1% (only because I hate giving zeroes)


Note that I only started with reviewing the Gods because they represent something very new and unique that we haven’t seen before. Those kinds of cards often have a good change of making an impact in formats with a massive card pool because of how different they are than any of the existing options. That doesn’t mean I think the Gods are the most Legacy or Modern-playable cards in Theros.

Swan Song

Stop Looking At Me Swan! A hard counter for one mana that has plenty of relevant targets will always see play. I was initially leery of playing it in Legacy, as a 2/2 flyer is hardly inconsequential, but I could see myself playing a single copy in the sideboard. Against combo and control decks, you aren’t as worried about giving them the swan. Tempo decks like Delver likely don’t want this, as you don’t want to give them something to brickwall your Insectile Aberration, but it will show up as a one to two of in certain 75-card lists. Even if this card doesn’t make a huge impact, it is a surefire thing to show up in both formats as a nice sideboard card.

Modern: 100%

Legacy: 100%

Odds that players will make a Billy Madison reference when casting this: 30-40%

Anger of the Gods

Melira-Pod haters, rejoice. This will certainly see play in Modern sideboards to combat the menace that has been racking up Grand Prix victories like nobody’s business. It will not see any play in Legacy. Remember how I said I hate giving zeroes? I take it back.

Modern: 100%

Legacy: 0%

Chained to the Rocks

One-mana white removal spells have a long history of power. I don’t expect this to show up in Legacy, but someone might give it a shot in Modern. It does open you up to getting blown out by TecEdge if you play it on a shockland, and Ghost Quarter can still hit your basic Mountain, so there’s that. It also let’s them retrigger their value creatures if they have any sort of enchantment removal or even bounce, so it can be a bit of a liability. Enough of a liability where you would rather ramp them a turn? I think Path to Exile will prove to be better than Chained to the Rocks often enough that this won’t see a whole lot of play, I could be wrong. Like I said: there’s a lot of power in a one-mana white removal spell. If a Boros Aggro deck becomes a thing, this might be the ideal removal spell for threats that are too large to bolt.

Modern: 40-50%

Legacy: 1-2%

Ashen Rider

This falls squarely into the category of big stupid monsters that you cheat into play. The Archon will slot into all of the spots you used to run Angel of Despair, whether it was in a Reanimator-style deck, or as a sideboard card to beat Show and Tell. Angel is currently only really used in Legacy, and not Modern, so I’m not certain we’ll see Modern Reanimator-style decks adopt the Archon, particularly since many rely on Goryo’s Vengeance to do the heavy lifting.

Modern: 40-50%

Legacy: 100%

Curse of the Swine

This card makes me really want to try a Mono-Blue Control deck with Vedalken Shackles. Will it be good? Probably not, but this is a very interesting (and dangerous) ability to give blue. It’s worth noting that something like Engineered Explosives works great with Curse, and it fits perfectly in Mono-Blue Control with the ability to run Academy Ruins. In fact, I think that even if this doesn’t actually enable me to finally play a deck with all of my foil Unhinged Islands (it’s an expensive habit), it will still work well in decks like Tron and certain Gifts decks that are already running the Ruins-Explosives package. Also, it will be fun to cast this and say something like, “Bacon your board. And it will be even more fun to make your own pig tokens using our HotC tokens!

Modern: 80-90%

Legacy: 50-60%

Master of Waves

I think a four-drop is a little much for Legacy Fish, and it might even prove too high for the Modern version. Still, he can provide quite a bit of power on turn four. If you have a lord and either a Cursecatcher or Silvergill Adept in play, the Master adds 11 power to your board; with only a lord, he adds nine power. With the fundamental turn coming roughly one turn later in Modern, he might be able to make… a… NO! DON’T SAY THE PUN, TIM! RESIST! DON’T SA—


Modern: 60-70%

Legacy: 5-10%

Hero’s Downfall

I think this card is a little bit too expensive. Doom Blade variants see play. Is one mana more worth the ability to hit Planeswalkers? This could be a sideboard player in Modern, but I think it’s too costly for Legacy. The other three-drop removal spells that see play as a one-of in some Legacy decks (D-Sphere, Vindicate, Maelstrom Pulse) do a lot more than this. Also, any Legacy deck that can play this can also play Lily; Lily can kill creatures, and she often gives Jace decks fits.

Modern: 15-25%

Legacy: 5%

Daxos of Meletis

Joe Lossett mentioned on his stream a few nights ago that he could see this being a useful sideboard card in Miracles in some fringe situations. He compared it to Geist of Saint Traft, as they both have the same converted mana cost and power and toughness. I personally prefer Geist, because he’s a lot harder to deal with, but against many decks, I could see Daxos being straight-up unblockable. In those situations, he will generate tremendous card advantage. I’m not completely sold, but he certainly has a unique and potentially powerful set of abilities. The fact that he dies to every playable removal spell in both formats has me a bit skeptical, though. He is at his best coming out of the sideboard in a control shell, after your opponent cut their removal. I think Modern has more matchups where he may be good rather than being an overcosted bear.

Modern: 30-40%

Legacy: 20-30%

Destructive Revelry

This is a very useful card and it WILL see play as a sideboard card in every deck with any trace of Gruul in both Modern AND Legacy. A Naturalize in RUG Delver that helps get them dead is great! Modern and Legacy Jund will also welcome the revelry. And just plain ol’ Modern Gruul Aggro loves this.

Modern: 100%

Legacy: 100%

Spellheart Chimera

It’s a safe safe bet that we have reached a critical mass of efficient beaters that love lots of spells in both Modern and Legacy Izzet decks. Between this new flying goat-thing, Delver, Snapcaster, and Pyromancer, we have the perfect core of creatures to craft a deck full of cheap counters and burn. I think the Chimera can reach high enough power to justify his casting cost in Legacy, especially since he flies. Lavamancer also kind of fits into this sort of deck, but there is some anti-synergy between him and Mr. Spellheart, so he probably shows up to the party as a one or two-of, with more in the sideboard when we want to side the Chimera out.

Modern: 80-90%

Legacy: 80-90%

Xenagos, the Reveler

I’ve seen seen people comparing Xenagos to Garruk Relentless and Bloodbraid Elf. I wouldn’t call that very terrible company to be in. Interestingly, Garruk sees more play in Legacy than in Modern, because his fight ability can kill more of the boogeymen of the format (while letting Garruk live to become all cursed) than it can in Modern. While Xen doesn’t fight, the fact that his wolves, or rather, half-naked goat-men, have haste is not to be overlooked; Xenagos can create a lot of pressure quickly if he is not dealt with, and while your opponent is busy trying to deal with him, you get to bash them with hasty satyrs and whatever other creatures you may be playing. If you have other creatures out, you can also tap out with Xenagos and still have a follow-up play, while also ticking up in loyalty. A four-drop Planeswalker that offers you several lines of play, can protect himself, and can pressure your opponent and their Planeswalkers will likely see play.

Modern: 80-90%

Legacy: 60-70%


I hope nobody plays this, because the art is ugly. Go buy Lorwyn copies, instead.

Modern: 0%

Legacy: 0%

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