January 16, 2020

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Daily Dose of Theros Beyond Death #21 – Limited Deck Archetypes, Finding the Balance

Welcome all to the Daily Dose of Theros Beyond Death. Today I’ll be talking about a few of the Limited deck archetypes. Prerelease will be starting this weekend, and everyone will be playing the cards for the first time. Getting a pool of 85 random cards from a set you’ve never played can be daunting. What the set designers do is try and add some synergy to the set for certain deck combinations. Although devotion is a large theme in this set, most of the decks you want to play will be two colours. Today, I’ll go over some of those possible combinations and some of the key cards you want to look out for.

Deck #1 – Red/Blue “Play on Opponents Turn”

The point of this deck is to play cards on your opponent’s turn instead of yours. It’s not quite Blue/Red Flash, but still has some good payoff cards. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for when building this deck.

As you can see, there are clearly 8 payoff cards for playing cards on your opponent’s turn with probably the best being Wavebreak Hippocamp for Blue and Dreamstalker Manticore for Red. One of the hardest things to balance with a deck like this is payoff cards vs. cards you can cast on your opponent’s turn. If you have too many payoff cards, then they won’t ever get triggered. If you only play spells during your opponent’s turn, chances are you won’t get enough permanents on the battlefield for combat and winning the game. The great thing about Theros Beyond Death is that there are permanents with Flash that you can use for this deck. Enchantments like Omen of the Sea and Omen of the Forge are great cards that can trigger your payoff cards. There are even flash Auras like Starlit Mantle that you can use as well.

Deck #2 -- Green/Red “Power 4 or greater”

This deck offers you some payoff cards for playing creatures with power 4 or greater in your deck. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for when building this deck.

Like the previous deck, you want to be able to find a balance. I think the best payoff cards for this deck are the enchantment Furious Rise which allows you to gain card advantage, and Warden of the Chained which is a huge 3-mana creature that also unlocks all of your other cards. There are 19 creatures in the set for Red or Green that can have power 4 or greater without Auras. So you should be able to put enough in your deck to have some great synergies.

Deck #3 -- Bant Constellation

In this deck you will get bonuses anytime you play enchantments with payoff cards with the Constellation mechanic. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for when building this deck.

Although you see all three colours of Bant listed for this archetype, any two-colour combinations of Bant would work well. Balancing your deck returns as a theme again. The biggest issue being that none of the payoff cards are enchantments. This is one of the toughest decks to build in my opinion as you have multiple colour options and finding that correct balance is the hardest. The best payoff cards are the cloning Protean Thaumaturge and the card drawing beast of a creature that is Setessan Champion. If you can get either of those cards you should be okay.

Deck #4 – Green/Black Self-Mill

The point of this deck is to use your cards to fill your graveyard, fuelling Escape cards. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for when building this deck.

Surprise, surprise, this deck also requires you to have a balance of cards. Although, it’s not as difficult to do as some cards give you a payoff and help you add to your graveyard. The key to value in this deck is the cards with Escape. Green has 3 creatures with Escape, while Black has 6. Both colours provide you with some card draw that also fills your graveyard in the form of Relentless Pursuit and Funeral Rites. There are tons of great Escape casting cost cards in the set with one of the biggest creatures being Polukranos, Unchained. Another card that will take advantage of your filled graveyard is Aphemia, the Cacophony, but you will need to skew the deck towards enchantment cards which may be tough in this deck.

Deck #5 – White/Red Auras

This is a fun deck that rewards you for playing with "Heroic" creatures. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for when building this deck.

The balance for this deck is between cards that give you payoffs for playing Auras and the Auras themselves. Some Auras are better than others with repetitive ones like Sentinel’s Eyes being ones you want to look to have in your deck. There are plenty of Auras available for this deck with White having 5 and Red having 4. This should give you a good selection with Red having some Auras that also act as removal spells like the 4-casting costed Iroas’s Blessing.

This deck can also get some triggers with some combat tricks like Karametra’s Blessing and Infuriate. Some of the best payoff cards are ones that allow you to pump your whole team rather than just one. Hero of the Nyxborn not only pumps your whole team, but adds some extra power onto the battlefield as well. This deck seems like it has the option of either going wide 0r having one large creature. Both strategies are good, but each have their own risks as well. If you go wide with smaller creatures, you might not be able to get through your opponent’s defenses. If you try and have one large creature, you are vulnerable to one removal spell. I can’t leave without talking about the dream card for this deck, which is Storm Herald. Any worry about all your Auras hitting the graveyard will quickly go away with one hasty attack from this creature.

Deck #6 -- Any Mono-Coloured Devotion Deck

This is a great archetype as it can be used in all five colours. It involves using devotion payoff cards to take advantage of you only playing one colour. Here are some of the key cards you want to be looking for in each colour when building this deck.

Each colour has their own Gods for devotion payoffs and Demigods to help them with their devotion count. For a White devotion deck, Reverent Hoplite is a nice way to get a ton of 1/1 Soldier tokens and start to take over the game. For a Blue devotion deck, the best non-God devotion card is Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea. It helps protect the rest of your creatures and enchantments. For a Black devotion deck, the card you want to have the most is Gray Merchant of Asphodel. It can provide a huge life swing that can help you win the game. For a Red devotion deck there are no payoff cards other than Gods and Demigods. Chances are you won’t be playing a mono-Red devotion deck in Limited unless you get those cards. For a Green devotion deck Klothys’s Design can change a stalemate into a one-sided advantage for you. Renata, Called to the Hunt is one of the best uncommons in the set regardless of her power being tied to green devotion. And finally, if you need some quick life gain, Setessan Petitioner is a great way to do that for only three mana. One of the most powerful Gods in the set is Klothys, God of Destiny and I would consider splashing a little Red to play it in a Green devotion deck.

Hopefully this will give you some options and insight into some possible deck choices for Theros Beyond Death Limited. Thanks again for reading the Daily Dose of Theros Beyond Death for the past couple of weeks. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting videos and articles about some new fun decks built around the new set. I hope you enjoy them!