Drifter's Theros Beyond Death Limited Tier List Update – February 6, 2020
Hello and welcome!
I’ve gotten stuck into plenty of drafts recently and now feel ready to update and tweak my Theros Beyond Death Tier List to be the best reflection of what I think of the cards in the format right now. Theros Beyond Death is a fantastic format, so I recommend everyone take enough time to form their own opinions, but I hope this serves as a helpful guide to get you started!
I think Compulsion and I had a good read on the set, but sometimes one can only really get a feel for cards through playing them and seeing the context they’re presented in, so I still have plenty of grade changes to make!
One thing I have noted is that I feel the C category has been a bit big, and I would potentially like to include C- on the next review. I have attempted to point out when things are low Cs, especially on the set reviews themselves (which you can find linked from the tier list). It’s worth noting that I have less experience with the rares/mythics, and they’re not really the focus in Limited anyway, so I haven’t adjusted those grades as much except when I saw something clearly off.
For Compulsion’s tier list update a while back, see here.
White has been a bit stronger than I gave it credit as a standalone colour this format; I thought it was decent but not as good as it has been. It is still a better support colour, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be heavy white also, if you have great double white cards like Daybreak Chimera.
- Dawn Evangel (D –> C)
- Daxos, Blessed by the Sun (B –> C+)
- Nyxborn Courser (C+ –> C)
- Reverent Hoplite (D –> C)
- Sentinel’s Eyes (C+ –> C)
- Sunmane Pegasus (C –> C+)
Dawn Evangel is good enough in Orzhov, where he fits the theme perfectly, that I’ve bumped him up to C and he can reach C+ in Orzhov decks with plenty of <2 CMC creatures and auras such as Mire’s Grasp and Aspect of Lamprey.
White is at its best as a great support colour in this format as I suspected, and Daxos is very hard to cast if you’re not heavy White. His effects aren’t impressive enough to warrant B; the card is still good and I’m happy to have it but it’s not as great as it seemed first glance.
Nyxborn Courser is a card I reviewed pretty early on in my set reviews, and was a mistake that slipped through the net I think – probably through overrating the Enchantment creature subtype and not accounting enough for double white. The card is hard to cast and awkward for many decks and only deserves a C, and a pretty low C at that. The statline is still good if you are heavy white and on the defensive side, however.
Reverent Hoplite has been better than I expected, somewhat owing to the fact that White as a main colour has been better.
Sentinel’s Eyes is okay but many decks don’t have room for it if they have other Escapes so it doesn’t tend to pair that well with Black or Green. Additionally, the bots clearly don’t value it highly as it seems to wheel a lot so I’ve taken it more at low C as of late.
Sunmane Pegasus has been very solid for me; the format is slow enough that its ability comes up enough and it is an exceptionally good bearer of auras. It’s a low C+, but deserves the grade.
I overrated how good the draw-go strategy would be to some extent – you can play a draw-go Control deck, but it’s harder to put the pieces together and less powerful than I thought. That being said, Blue is still a great colour with many other draws.
- Ichthyomorphosis (C+ –> C)
- Naiad of Hidden Coves (C+ –> C)
- Riptide Turtle (D –> C)
- Shimmerwing Chimera (B –> A)
- Stinging Lionfish (B –> C+)
- Thassa’s Intervention (C –> C+)
I think Icthyomorphosis is still a decent enough card to warrant a low C+, but the bots seem to think otherwise – the card is chronically underrated by them right now. If you’re playing in Paper, I would still take it at low C+.
Naiad of Hidden Coves has underperformed for me – the ability is often not that relevant, and playing fully at instant speed has been harder than I thought unless you have the early game to back it up.
Riptide Turtle is fine early game that allows you to play fully at instant speed. I think this card was just a clear underrate from me – it has great synergy with Blue’s identity in the format, and a solid defensive body.
Stinging Lionfish is still very solid, but not quite as good as I thought, because it’s harder to play a draw-go game than I thought, and so consistently tap things down.
Shimmerwing Chimera has been incredible, and strong enough to warrant a low A grade. It’s not that hard to make good use of it – even resetting Enchantment removal has just been great, and all the Omens are busted with it.
Thassa’s Intervention is a bit better than I gave it credit; it is flexible and good at most points in the game, but still not busted or anything.
I think, by and large, I rated Black correctly and wasn’t able to find all that much here – Black has been as nutty as I thought it would be, and most Black cards have proven very solid, and I was very high on it.
Rakdos has been a bit weaker than I thought, and hence Grim Physician has been weaker. Base black also has less good sacrifice outlets unless you open a bunch of Soulreapers of Mogis (and then we’re back to C+). I still consider the Physician a high C and am usually happy to play it.
Pharika’s Spawn has been ridiculously good; the escape cost is so low and it usually just takes over the game unless exiled. I consider it a low A and one of the best uncommons in the format.
I considered Red a good support colour, and it has mostly lived up to that role, but I think I overrated a couple of cards a bit in that. Red is a pretty weak main colour this format, as I expected.
- Dreamstalker Manticore (B –> C+)
- Furious Rise (C+ –> B)
- Impending Doom (F –> D)
- Underworld Rage-Hound (D –> C)
- Wrap in Flames (D –> C)
Dreamstalker Manticore has been a bit weaker than I thought; playing at instant speed has been harder and it’s rare that you get to kill something completely for free (harming your development is still a cost). That being said, the card is still great and a high C+.
Impending Doom is still a bad card, but not quite as bad as I rated it. Sometimes you can use it to ride something to victory before they can disrupt you, but the removal in the format is good so it usually doesn’t work out.
The format has been slow enough that Furious Rise has felt like a fantastic thing to be doing. The card fuels itself by finding you more 4 power units and is incredibly hard to disrupt, so I’ve moved it up to low B.
Underworld Rage-Hound’s escape cost is low enough that it’s a pretty real threat. It’s still not a great card, but merits a low C.
Wrap in Flames provides much needed reach, and is a great card in Boros. Most aggressive red decks are also happy to main one; between blowing away x/1s and potentially dealing a ton of damage, it hasn’t been as situational as I thought. That being said, it’s still not a great card, and aggro is pretty weak in this format but I have moved it up to low C.
Green is another colour I think I rated correctly by and large. I haven’t found much deviation from my current thoughts and the set review’s ratings. I feel I rated Enchantment removal correctly – it hasn’t been as good as many people thought, and C+ for it has seemed right to me.
Chainweb Aracnir (B –> C+)
Nylea’s Forerunner (D –> C)
Relentless Pursuit (D –> C)
Aracnir has been a bit weaker than I thought, mostly owing to the fact that there’s a lot of Escape competition for it in Green, and Escape cards tend to require a lot of support in multiples. The card is still great and will singlehandedly win some games, but I have moved it down to high C+ for the moment.
Nylea’s Forerunner has been better than I gave it credit – it is more comparable to Thicket Crasher than I thought. It’s a solid mid tier C, and makes plenty of green decks for the stallbreaking potential of its ability.
Because Escape cards require a lot of support in multiples, Relentless Pursuit is a necessary evil. My concerns about its chance to miss and its effect being on the weak side, still stand, as you can read in the original review, but it merits a low C.
- Devourer of Memory (B –> C+)
- Labyrinth of Skophos (C –> C+)
- Mirror Shield (C –> D)
- Rise to Glory (C+ –> B)
- Slaughter-Priest of Mogis (B –> C+)
Devourer has been surprisingly unexciting. This isn’t a format that’s really about 2 drops and the activated ability alone hasn’t been enough to grant it the B grade. It’s still a good card though.
I underrated Labyrinth a bit, as the effect is a lot of mana, but it’s powerful enough to be worth it. I originally misread it as being like Maze of Ith – that it would untap the creature after removing it from combat. It’s still not fantastic though, as harming your coloured sources can be very painful in this fixing-light format.
Even though there are more auras, Mirror Shield still isn’t good enough to make the C grade.
Rise to Glory has overperformed – it combines value with a huge tempo swing, and has pulled me back from positions and games I thought were already over. The ability to recur cards like Mire’s Grasp or other aura removal pushes this card from good to great, and I have been happy to splash it in several decks.
Slaughter-Priest suffers from the fact that Rakdos hasn’t been as good as I thought. It’s still a good card and a high C+, but removal is good enough that using this ability can set you up for being blown out at instant speed a lot.
I’m having a blast with Theros, and no doubt Compulsion and I will have more updates ready later on! Good luck with all your matches, and may Dream Trawler be always on your side of the board.
As always, you can find all my content here with links to the set reviews and tier list: