Theros Beyond Death (TBD) Draft Primer
Keywords and Mechanics
The escape mechanic in Theros Beyond Death is completely absurd.
- Kiora Bests the Sea God
- Polukranos, Unchained
- Archon of Sun's Grace
- Dream Trawler
- Ashiok, Nightmare Muse
From stictly a best-to-worst color ranking, the following list is pretty close:
With that ranking in mind, black is going to be picked over the most (it's also easily splashable, more on that below). I'm looking to play green or white as my main color in most drafts.
An interesting note here, blue has the strongest rares (edging out white) and is probably the best supporting color. Red and green's rares are pretty subpar. Black is middled a bit but the drop off between its best rare (Nightmare Shepherd) and its second best rare (Erebos, Bleak-Hearted) is steep.
Sorry, Gray Merchant of Asphodel didn't make the cut here.
White is pretty deep here since Alseid of Life's Bounty and Reverent Hoplite didn't make the list.
I'm extremely partial to Pious Wayfarer, Sentinel's Eyes, and Transcendent Envoy. Hero of the Pride is a fantastic bear but it's overvalued in this set and I'm looking for the constelation theme from white.
With a heavy aura theme in Theros Beyond Death, Stern Dismissal should probably be on this list somewhere; you'll almost always get a two-for-one or substantial tempo swing with this card.
I'm not going to pretend anything else is worth picking up here. There's an edge case for Altar of the Pantheon in heavy devotion decks (or for splashing, more on that below).
In colorwheel order, the following themes are in Theros Beyond Death:
- White/Blue: Fliers (Azorius)
- White/Black: Recursion (Orzhov)
- White/Red: Heroic (Boros)
- White/Green: Auras (Selesnya)
- Blue/Black: Self-Mill (Dimir)
- Blue/Red: Draw-Go (Izzet)
- Blue/Green: Constellation (Simic)
- Black/Red: Sacrifice (Rakdos)
- Black/Green: Escape (Golgari)
- Red/Green: Ferocious (Gruul)
White/Blue: Fliers (Azorius)
White/Black: Recursion (Orzhov)
White/Red: Heroic (Boros)
White/Green: Auras (Selesnya)
Blue/Black: Self-Mill (Dimir)
Blue/Red: Draw-Go (Izzet)
There's a heavy cast spells on your opponent's turn in this blue/red but the biggest draw to this color combiation is Shimmerwing Chimera and Iroas's Blessing.
Blue/Green: Constellation (Simic)
Black/Red: Sacrifice (Rakdos)
Black/Green: Escape (Golgari)
Red/Green: Ferocious (Gruul)
When splashing for a 3rd color, look for cards with a low color commitment that are powerful off-curve. In Theros Beyond Death, the best colors to splash are black and red. Splashing blue feels extremely loose but it has a lot of strong cards that only cost one blue, so keep that in mind if you open an Ashiok, Nightmare Muse or Atris, Oracle of Half-Truths and you're already in black.
Note: Mire's Grasp is probably too lose to splash but if you already have a Final Death or two, it's probably fine.
Polukranos, Unchained and Ashiok, Nightmare Muse are easy splashes if you're already in one of the two colors already and these cards further illustrate how strong a black splash can be. Both of these cards are extremely strong and these cards should make the cut almost every draft.
Klothys, God of Destiny can be an effective splash because the devotion to red and green. Seven is a little steep but it's doable and the constant source of damage is worth it either way.
Calix, Destiny's Hand is splashable if a deck has a strong enchantment/constelation theme as it offers a strong source of card advantage through its +1 ability and effective removal through it's -3 ability (ideally targeting Omens your omens).
Notable Mention: In the right deck, Rise to Glory might be worth splashing if a deck has multiple Mire's Grasp, Iroas's Blessing, or Wolfwillow Haven and you're already in the appropriate color.
How to Splash
Altar of the Pantheon feels pretty bad for splashing a color but it's probably not as bad as it seems. The devotion bonus is probably more relevant than it reads and a 3cc mana rock is fine for decks with a high curve.
Green has two cards that make splashing easier and both cards are already pretty high picks for green:
- Ilysian Caryatid
- Omen of the Hunt