The first official week of Theros Beyond Death spoilers has produced some very exciting new cards that will shake-up standard and other formats. The gods of Theros have returned with increased power to wreak havoc on mortals and a new group of demigods has risen. Expect exciting new combos and decks committed to devotion.

Here are the gods of Theros! Each of the mono colored gods is a legendary enchantment creature that requires five devotion in its color to become a creature and is indestructible. Each one only cost one mana in its color with the remainder of the cost colorless and different for each god.

Potentially the most powerful of the mono colored gods of Theros is Heliod, Sun-Crowned. For only three mana, Heliod is 5/5 when he is a creature and whenever you gain life you get to put a +1/+1 counter on a target creature or enchantment you control. With all the white creatures with lifelink, activating Heliod’s ability will be easy. In fact, there are creatures like Chamber Sentry that this ability will combo with to ensure that this ability is activated. This can be accomplished by using Heliod’s other ability to give another target creature lifelink until the end of the turn. This will allow you to give Chamber Sentry lifelink and use Chamber Sentry’s ability to remove X +1/+1 counters to do damage to any target. In Pioneer or Modern, these abilities work well with Walking Ballista. Expect players to find ways to use Heliod’s in white decks during Theros Beyond Death season.

For four mana, Thassa, Deep-Dwelling is 6/5 when it’s a creature and as an enchantment at the beginning of your end step it allows you to exile up to one other target creature you control and then return it to the battlefield under your control. This is a powerful ability that will reactivate the enter the battlefield ability of that creature or other creatures you control on the battlefield. This will make decks centered around Thassa something you can expect to see in standard and potentially other formats.

Another four-mana cost god is Erebos, Bleak-Hearted. Erebos is 5/6 when he is a creature and whenever another creature you control dies, you may pay 2 life to draw a card. Then for two mana you can sacrifice another creature to give a target creature -2/-1 until the end of the turn. This ability could be used to reduce the power and toughness of a creature, so that one of your attacking or blocking creatures can survive or kill it. Erebos will find a home in black devotion decks, but may have limited value in other decks because its abilities are not as powerful as some of the other gods.

The most expensive of the mono colored gods is Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded at five mana. Purphoros is 7/6 when it is a creature, gives other creatures haste, and for three mana allows you to put any red or artifact creature from your hand onto the battlefield, but it is sacrificed at the beginning of the next end step. This activated ability basically gives creature cards flash, so you can play them at any time for a reduced cost. I expect players to use it when they have the chance to end the game with their attack or need to block to survive for one more turn. Using the ability could turn Purphoros into a creature needed to block or attack. I expect to see him tried in Mono-Red mid-range decks or possibly in heavily red Gruul decks.

Our final god is Nyleas, Keen-Eyed. She is 5/6 when it’s a creature and as an enchantment she reduces the casting cost of creature spells by one mana. Also, for three mana, you can look at the top card of your deck. When the card is a creature you put it into your hand and you can put any other card into your graveyard if you want too. This is a strong filtering ability for decks that have lots of creatures and in the mid to late game it can prevent you from drawing an unneeded land. Nyleas will fit well in a Green Stompy deck or possibly a Gruul deck that is heavily green focused.

Based on the previews so far, we can expect a demigod in all of the colors. These demigods will pair well with the gods of Theros to make strong devotion decks.

Daxos, Blessed by the Sun was the first demigod previewed. For two white mana, Daxos is a 2/* creature whose toughness is equal to your devotion to white. Also, Daxos combines well with Heliod because you gain one life when another creature you control enters the battlefield or dies. So, when a creature enters the battlefield with both Daxos and Heliod in play you get to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature. This could be the creature entering the battlefield, one already there, or Daxos. This ability will quickly grow your creatures and make it difficult for an opponent to keep-up with you without removal spells.

Tymaret has returned as a demigod. For two black mana, Tymaret Chosen from Death is a 2/* creature where his toughness is equal to your devotion to black, so he has at least two toughness. He also has an activated ability for two mana. You can exile up to two target cards from graveyards and you gain 1 life for each creature card exiled this way. Tymaret’s ability may not seem like much, but with escape as a mechanic Tymaret can prevent an opponent from returning cards with escape to the battlefield. He will be a must in black devotion decks and will make sense in other decks playing black that can afford the double black casting cost.

These are the gods and demigods we have seen so far. We can expect at least three more demigods. One in blue, red, and green. It will be interesting to see what additional abilities these demigods will have.
I will be back with more previews later this week.

Until next time, good luck finding your win condition!