Theros: Beyond Death Previews – Taranika, Akroan Veteran and More
Enjoy the following spoilers from the upcoming Theros: Beyond Death set, to be released on January 16, 2020!
Taranika, Akroan Veteran
Taranika is a solid white weenie beater – she upgrades your tokens and smaller creatures, making them huge and indestructible, and combos with tap abilities. A common play will be to attack with Giant Killer, then untap it and tap something with its ability – it will still be attacking for 4, so it essentially gives you a free attacker! She also works very well with double strike creatures and creatures with on attack abilities as those creatures tend to be small and fragile, and she ensures they’ll survive the combat and hit hard.
Taranika herself is a little fragile as they can still block her rather than the creature she buffs, and she doesn’t have the most impact as just a 3 mana 3/3 with no immediate effect. In Devotion decks, she’ll be competing with Linden, the Steadfast Queen who provides one more devotion but doesn’t have an aggressive ability or represent nearly as much of a threat. If the devotion decks aren’t building around Linden’s lifegain ability or just want the card that attacks better and is more threatening, Taranika might well justify her slot. She could also always crop up in some of the other white weenie decks or Boros aggro, since she combines well with Legion Warboss, and extremely well with Swiftblade Vindicator!
Taranika is a bit on the underpowered side and replaceable so I suspect if she sees play, it’ll be more as a roleplayer than a staple, but she does have the potential to do so in a lot of different decks!
Altar of the Pantheon
The Altar is a fairly weak and low impact card, even in Limited. If you need fixing, have a lot of devotion cards that you need more support for, or really want to ramp to 5 then you’ll play it but as with Mana Geode, you’ll never really want to do so without good reason. By LSV’s Rating Scale, I would recommend taking it at about 1.5 in Draft.
Dreamshaper Shaman has a really cool effect in Limited, giving you the ability to sacrifice your worst nonland permanent to swap it out for the next one from the top of your library. Unfortunately, draft decks tend to play a decent amount of early drops so you’re not really guaranteed to upgrade the card you sacrifice, unless you have a bunch of tokens in play and it’s in that sort of deck that the Dreamshaper shines. Part of the problem is that the card itself is very understatted for its cost, and will be really low board impact. The card also combines really well with Act of Treason effects, but you’ll need quite a few more sac outlets before those become worth running in your Limited decks.
I would recommend taking the Dreamshaper at about 1.5 in Draft but that could easily rise if you’re in Boros or Rakdos and have tokens/creatures you’re happy to sacrifice, or just have Enchantment payoffs and want more cards to enable those. The minotaur is sadly a bit too overcosted and low impact to ever see play in any mainstream Constructed format, but you could throw him into your Commander or Brawl decks for some shenanigans!
Skophos’s Guardian of the Labyrinth
1: Skophos’s Guardian gets +1/-1 until end of turn.
Whenever another creature becomes the target of a land you control called Labyrinth of Skophos, you may have Skophos’s Guardian fight that creature.
As the proud bearer of an impressively long name, this minotaur has some interesting stuff going on! The pump ability makes letting it go unblocked potentially very threatening, as you can pump it to a 6/1 and hit them very hard, and it can also prevent 2/4s and such from attacking into and blocking it and allow it to trade with 4/xs.
As Labyrinth of Skophos is a rare, the second ability of the Guardian is sadly not going to come up a whole lot in Limited. If you do happen to get a Labyrinth, you should take the Guardian a little higher as the second ability is some pretty good late game upside (but not really a ton higher, as you still only have one Labyrinth and its ability is a bit expensive).
I would recommend taking the Guardian at about 2.5 in Draft. He’s a bit too weak for Constructed, sadly.
Sea God’s Scorn
Sea God’s Scorn is pretty high impact in Limited, usually returning a lot more than 6 mana worth of things your opponent then has to replay. Unfortunately, it’s a sorcery, which makes this sort of effect a lot worse – you can’t cast it end of turn, untap, attack, and waste their mana, for example. It’s also still going down a card, and there are lots of situations where the effect just won’t matter. If you have a lot of good things to bounce yourself, it goes up in value – like Omens to recur their effect, for example, as that means the card will be stuck in your hand less of the time.
Overall, it’s not an amazing card though, and I would recommend taking it at about 1.5-2.0 in Limited, depending on if you already have some stuff of your own with good enter the battlefield (ETB) effects. The Scorn is way too low impact in Constructed for 6 mana.
Join us later today, as there are more spoilers to go! Find the full schedule here.
If you’ve not already, be sure to check out our Theros Beyond Death Spoilers page for the full visual card gallery of all the cards revealed so far, and participate in our Theros Beyond Death Preorder Giveaway that runs until January 8, 2020!