After playing several Sealed events and a good number of Drafts, I decided it would be prudent to revisit the initial Tier List from the set review and make some adjustments. Overall, I think Drifter and I had a good read on the set, but I still made about 25 changes that I thought would be worth discussing. Below you will find them broken down by color and whether they have been upgraded or downgraded:
Commanding Presence pays off more often than not, it seems. It’s a removal magnet but when allowed to stick can really take over the game. When I draft it I like to play Transcendent Envoy, which is an insane curve out if you draw it. Dreadful Apathy ends up being hard removal most of the time. This format is slow enough to play it early and activate it late. Deeper into the game it ends up being Final Death (in 6 mana sorcery form), which is still good.
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun is a very good card in decks that lean White and defensive, which ends up being a great fit for Azorius Enchantments. Outside of that deck, his mana cost is somewhat prohibitive and abilities much less impactful. It is still a card I am going to be happy to play in the right context, but is not as flexible as something like Dreadful Apathy. The other three commons are all fine cards, but aren’t that exciting. I like how Karametra’s Blessing and Sentinel’s Eyes play in this format, but at this point they are available very late in the Draft on Arena. I have found that White auras/tricks are pretty abundant and usually end up with enough without prioritizing them.
The Draft environment seems to be slow enough to justify playing a card like this. Drawing three cards in a prolonged game will often swing you to victory. Most Blue decks care about Enchantments as well. Still, it is a 1/2 for most of the game and the format may pick up in speed over time. C is going to be the ceiling on this one.
Brine Giant usually comes into play for 5 mana, which is a good rate. The problem comes down to the abundance of removal in the set which makes vanilla fatty creatures less appealing. In a deck full of Enchantments it is still very playable but I think it falls short of a C+. Deny the Divine is also a little worse than I thought. It has been difficult to keep mana open for it without falling behind on the board. Cards like Vexing Gull and Omen of the Sea help, but I have been in several situations where it was possible to play around, and not hitting Instants/Sorceries really hurts it. It is still quite playable in control archetypes but is not the earlier pick that a C+ implies. Towering-Wave Mystic on the other hand is not a card I want in my decks. While the ability helps the self-mill strategy, it is really difficult to get through with a 2/1, so it ends up just sitting on your board. If the format was a little faster it would be better, but thus far it is not.
Blight-Breath Catoblepas is a ‘pushed’ common and really shines as long as your deck at least leans Black. Hateful Eidolan has surprised me with how relevant its ability is. It makes Mire’s Grasp and sometimes Mogis’s Favor free cards, allows you to create superpowered creatures in the BW Auras deck while mitigating the downside if they meet removal, and the lifelink makes it a viable Aura target of its own. Lampad of Death’s Vigil is stronger than I anticipated as well. Even outside of the RB Sacrifice archetype, being able to throw your board at your opponent is a fantastic finisher and the bonus life works to extend the game in your favor along with the Reach the damage provides. I look to have at least one in any Black deck I Draft, and right now they are pretty easy to get in Arena Drafts. Finally, Mogis’s Favor is not bad at all. It is a risk/reward sort of card, but I have found its floor and ceiling are a bit higher than expected.
None! Black is as awesome as we had expected in this set.
Skophos pairs extremely well with Auras, and can be difficult to block yet punishing if left unblocked. I also like how it interacts with the 4+ Power mechanic as you can buff it before combat to trigger cards like Nessian Hornbeetle.
Purphoros and Tectonic Giant are still very powerful cards that you should want in your deck, but aren’t as big of bombs as I had thought. Purphoros relies too much on Devotion in a color that tends to support, while Tectonic Giant is still great but doesn’t quite match the game breaking power the S category requires. The format is slow enough to justify a card like Dreamshaper Shaman, but it needs to go in a deck that can support its high mana cost while also having multiple ways to generate nonland permanents that you don’t mind sacrificing. Hero of the Games may shine if the meta starts getting more Aggro, but at this point seems pretty bad and I have not been interested in playing it or felt too threatened by it on the board.
I have been fortunate enough to have this card in a few of my decks so far and it has been fantastic. It definitely works best when you have enough 4+ Power creature to draw from if they remove whatever you put the counters on, but this is one of those great cards that has an extremely high ceiling and even if it meets instant removal you come out a little ahead.
Instant speed Enchantment removal is great but it isn’t as difficult to acquire as I thought. If the Arena bots start taking it earlier I could see moving these back, but at this point I would rather take threats as my early B picks. Nyborn Colossus meets a similar fate as Brine Giant in this set, suffering from big vanilla creature syndrome in a sea of removal spells. The Colossus is even worse because of its mana cost and being an Enchantment creature is generally a liability with the prevalence of cards like Mystic Repeal and Return to Nature.
I’ve played two decks with Allure of the Unknown and it is actually pretty good. It definitely loses some value if you have Bombs in your deck, but generally you are going to come out far enough ahead to justify playing it. Entrancing Lyre is another card that is better than it looks. It is not quite on the Icy Manipulator level, but in a slower metagame like this it is easy to abuse the ability to switch its target. Thundering Chariot may look like an Aggro card, but I have actually had a lot of success with it in a defensive stance. It dodges quite a few removal spells and 3 first strike damage is often enough to deter your opponent from going wide. I don’t think I would cut the card from most decks which makes it a C+ in my book.
This card can be a nightmare when the board is stalled, but I have found there aren’t as many good ways to self-mill before combat as I thought. It is still a good pick and I would like to have it in any Dimir deck I am playing, but there are a lot of stronger cards at common and uncommon in these colors.
Farewell for now
Drifter and I will continue to update our Tier List as we play more Drafts and the meta evolves, so be on the lookout for that! THB Ranked Draft hits tomorrow and I wish you all luck with your matches. For some additional resources, check out:
- Theros Beyond Death Limited Tier List
Theros Beyond Death Draft Guide– Coming soon!
- Theros Beyond Death Limited Set Review
- Theros Beyond Death Limited Overview and Sealed Guide
See you on the ladder! If you want to see me Draft and play with commentary check out my Twitch.