Top 5 of Everything Theros

A lot of people seemed to enjoy (arguing against the merits of) my last Top 5 of Everything listicle, so let’s do that again. This time, we have The Top 5 of Everything Theros. Because, you know, lists!

Top 5 Most Flavorful Cards

Akroan Horse
If it has a Wikipedia entry, you’re on the right track . . .

5. Akroan Horse Trojan Horse

4. Chained to the Rocks Prometheus

3. Hundred-Handed One Hekatonkheires (Seriously, that’s what they’re called.)

2. Colossus of Akros Colossus of Rhodes

1. Rescue from the Underworld This happened a few times, notably Theseus and Hercules/Heracles made trips to the underworld.

Top 5 Least Flavorful Cards

Lightning Strike
Honorable Mention: Lightning Strike It’s not that the flavor doesn’t match, but how is Searing SPEAR not a shoo-in for a set based on Greek mythology? The set’s art is lousy with various Warriors, Soldiers, and even Zombies brandishing spears. Heck, one of the Gods has his own spear. And instead of going with a reprint, they make us all go out and find four new copies of the same card we’ve already been playing with for the past year and strictly downgrade its flavor. How does that make any sense?

5. Triton Tactics Maybe the flavor on this is excellent. I’m not really sure. I’m only halfway through reading it. I plan to finish the rest of it on the plane.

4. Chosen by Heliod Imagine you’ve been training and honoring the gods your entire life, especially Heliod, the uber-god of sun and all that. You’re devoted, you pay tribute, and you act in his name for the good of him and his kind.

Then, one day, everything you’ve been working for comes to bear fruit. Heliod chooses you! He comes out of the heavens and anoints you among his chosen. And in return for all of your good works, he gives you a gift. That gift? Gift of Granite. Heliod smiles down on you as you look upon your gift, confused.

“You’re welcome,” he whispers, before flying off to probably have more illegitimate children.

3. Cavalry Pegasus So, you’re telling me a single Pegasus, and a 1/1 at that, can somehow carry all of the Human race with it into the air? For some reason, I kinda doubt it could even carry number two on this list . . .

2. Anax and Cymede How do two people have a total power of 3? Is the dude 2 and the wife 1? Is that sexist? Are they both 1.5? And why are “they” a “Human Soldier?” If that’s the king and the queen of Akros, they certainly aren’t mere Soldiers. Plus, ya know, plural.

1. Bow of Nylea Here because it shouldn’t take Aaron Forsythe’s Twitter feed to tell us what cards represent.

Top 5 Underrated Cards

Burnished Hart
Honorable mention: Burnished Hart His chances of seeing play are pretty slim, but doubling Rampant Growth isn’t a joke. Unfortunately, his activation cost kind of is.

5. Divine Verdict Limited only. Divine Verdict has, rightfully, gotten a bad rap in the past because it’s so easy to play around. But when everyone is building monsters with five enchantments on them, what are they going to do? Is someone not attacking with his or her 9/9 flying, lifelinking Scroll Thief? Play around it all you like, pal. I’ll just sit here with 4 available open while your giant monster sits there feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

4. Hammer of Purphoros Haste is one of the most consistently undervalued abilities in the game, and the ability to make 3/3s every turn at the small cost of a land make this one of a few cards a control player like myself really, really doesn’t want to face.

3. Gray Merchant of Asphodel I think the black devotion cards have the best shot in Standard, if for no other reason than Dark Prophecy being a playable card. Gray Merchant pairs particularly well with Dark Prophecy, both gaining you life lost and being a body that can trigger the prophecy. All it takes is one copy of Dark Prophecy to make Gray Merchant drain for 5. That’s, as we say in the business, a lot.

2. Glare of Heresy Boros Reckoner, Detention Sphere, Fleecemane Lion, Voice of Resurgence, and Elspeth, Sun’s Champion share two things in common: They’re permanents, and they’re white. And now they share a third: They’re all vulnerable to Glare of Heresy.

1. Horizon Chimera Maybe I just like anything that can help me mimic Sphinx’s Revelation as much as possible. Sphinx’s Divination? Sphinx’s Opportunity? Sphinx’s, um, Sphinx’s Revelation, Part 2, Double-Life Boogaloo?

The stats strike me as right, as a 3-power evasive creatures for 3 mana with upside have been proven tournament commodities (Vendilion Clique, Lifebane Zombie), and this is just a mana off but in green. It attacks planeswalkers well (something G/U might have trouble with), and it conveniently lets you hold up Plasm Capture at the same time (if you’re into that sort of thing).

Best Honorary Title

Murder King – Because, seriously. Murder King!?

Top 5 Replacements for Augur of Bolas

NONE! YOU’RE NOT MY AUGUR, OMENSPEAKER! I HATE YOU! I’M GOING TO LIVE WITH MOM!

Top 5 Overrated Cards

Mistcutter Hydra
5. Mistcutter Hydra It’s not being hyped much, but it is hearing plenty of people saying, “Maybe this will see play.” The days of Scragnoth being a powerhouse just because it uses RainX are long gone. These days, we need a rate better than {X}{G} for an X/X creature.

4. Polukranos, World Eater I know it’s a lot of text, but if you slog through it, you’ll notice two things. First, {X}{X}{G} to deal X damage is a lot for a little. Do you want to pay 5 mana to Forked Bolt? How about 7 to Arc Lightning? Second, Polukranos only deals X damage, but the creatures fight with their entire power. Good luck living through fighting anything worthwhile.

3. Prophet of Kruphix This guy is actually properly rated as a Commander card, but people don’t realize how annoying it’s going to be. You’ll learn as soon as the Momir player starts repeating, “Hold on, I have effects at the end of your turn,” for every single player in the game.

2. Xenagos, the Reveler Besides the fact that I just don’t know what to do with this card, the plus ability isn’t really something you want or need to be activating every turn to build to the ultimate. The 0 ability is very good. It’s so good, in fact, that I see this card building to its ultimate virtually never. Why would you when you can just kill someone with 2/2s?

1. Purphoros, God of the Forge I’m honestly a bit underwhelmed by the Gods for a number of reasons. For one, they’re all just midrangy, kinda grindy cards. If the Gods are big in Standard, it just means everyone is casting 4- and 5-mana spells and running their good cards into other people’s good cards. That’s not terribly interesting to me.

Purphoros, for what it’s worth, is the closest to breaking that mold, but for all the hype over him as the “best God,” I find it somewhat hard to become excited about this guy. We’ve seen Pandemonium before in several forms, and this isn’t even that.

People are dreaming about going off with Young Pyromancer, but they’re not accounting for how in the world such a deck would function if Young Pyromancer isn’t in play. There aren’t as many token-making spells anymore, so what does the rest of the deck do?

Furthermore, the “{2}{R}: Pump your team” doesn’t excite me either. That ability has never made a splash.

Color me unimpressed.

Top 5 Names That Will Be Made Fun of for Sounding Dirty

5. Peak Eruption
4. Polis Crusher
3. Spearpoint Oread
2. Thassa’s Bounty
1. Spear of Heliod

Okay . . . maybe this is why Searing Spear isn’t in the set.

Number of Times I Activated Meletis Charlatan at the Prerelease

5

Number of Times Activating Meletis Charlatan Was Awesome

5

Top 5 9 Standard cards

Temple of Mystery
9. The Temples – They’re barely better than Guildgates and are pretty unexciting, but they’ll see play. Move along; nothing more to see here.

8. Whip of Erebos It was solid before we all knew about the interaction with Aetherling and Obzedat, Ghost Council. It’s over the top now that we know.

7. Soldier of the Pantheon Savannah Lions not getting it done? Have an Ismaru, Hound of Konda. Ismaru making a mark, but is it too hard to acquire? Downshift into Elite Vanguard. Elite Vanguard not seeing enough play? Have a free upgrade to Dryad Militant. Still not seeing much play outside of Block? Well, have I got a Soldier for you!

Please, white weenie players, play the heck out of this guy. Otherwise, in a year, white 1-drops will look like this:

{W}

Elite Leonin Soldier of the Universe

Rare

Creature – Cat Soldier

Protection from everything
Opponents can’t play spells or attack.
You can’t cast Elite Leonin Soldier of the Universe if your library contains any creature cards with power greater than 3 or any Islands.
Also, you win the game.
2/1

 

Read the Bones
6. Read the Bones I never lost after casting this at the prerelease. Granted, I only lost two games, but still. It has the Gerry Thompson seal of approval, so it must be good.

5. Sylvan Caryatid This is the real replacement for Augur of Bolas, but instead of only drawing cards sometimes, it always provides mana. I was eyeing Mana Bloom to replace Farseek, but Sylvan Caryatid has stolen my heart.

4. Anger of the Gods If we can’t just have Pyroclasm, I accept this offering of the (apparently angry) gods.

3. Stormbreath Dragon And we just got rid of Thundermaw Hellkite. This guy isn’t as good, but he’s plenty good regardless.

2. Elspeth, Sun’s Champion I’ve come around on this. I still don’t know if it’ll actually make a large impact, but I would be willing to bet there’s a control deck or two that will take advantage of the newest incarnation of Elspeth. This card was so hard to beat at the prerelease that I have to give it some credit in Standard, where it’s surrounded by better-support cards.

However, in what way is she the champion of the sun? Is this a reference to Helios? Or does she, like, push clouds away?

1. Thoughtseize Like this needs an explanation.