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Theros Beyond Death is shaping up to be an interesting new Magic set from the folks at Wizards of the Coast. The other day we saw several powerful gods and the return of sagas. Well, now we have a new version of one of the most powerful cards of the previous Theros block: Polukranos.
Remember Polukranos, World Eater? Gruul Monsters was a dominating list in the original Theros meta. Between Polukranos and Stormbreath Dragon at your top end, the deck could consistently steamroll your opponent if they weren’t ready. Well, Polukranos is back, but a little different. It’s dead – well, partly dead, at least. Polukranos still has an aggressively low cost at four mana, but this time, there’s a little stipulation. It is a 0/0 creature that enters with six +1/+1 counters on it. Any time it takes damage, a number of counters equal to the damage it receives are removed instead.
While that might initially feel like a downgrade, this Polukranos comes with a few extra abilities. For three mana Polukranos will fight any creature you put it up against. Your opponent’s, yours, doesn’t matter. It will fight it. Fighting to remove its counters is a quick way to get it into the graveyard, because that is where this card thrives. When Polukranos, Unchained escapes for six mana, it enters the battlefield with twelve +1/+1 counters instead.
All that said, the biggest downside to these massive green creatures that Magic keeps printing is that they do not have trample. So, it’s hard to tell if Polukranos will go the way of Nullhide Ferox or if it is the new Questing Beast.
Look at this little guy! He’s like a mini-Inferno Titan! When Tectonic Giant attacks or becomes the target of a spell an opponent controls, you can do one of two things. You can either dome each opponent for three, or you can exile the top two cards of your library, with the ability to play one of them until the end of your next turn. You get to choose if you want to Lightning Bolt your opponent in response to them trying to kill it, or you effectively draw another card. It’s a win-win. Keep in mind, though, that other abilities do not trigger this. If your opponent returns it to your hand with their Teferi, Time Raveler, nothing happens other than you getting set back a turn.
The biggest downside to Tectonic Giant is I’m not super sure it will find a home in Standard. Maybe it could serve as a sideboard card in the mono-red mirror or a Gruul midrange list. At four mana, it competes a little too much with Questing Beast, a card that does everything but fly, and Skarrgan Hellkite, the card that does everything else for one more mana. Hopefully, Tectonic Giant can find its place in the Theros meta too.
Ashiok’s Erasure and Banishing Light
Two powerful enchantments were spoiled recently: one that Theros veterans will be familiar with, and another that looks awfully like the Modern staple Spell Queller. Banishing Light should be nothing new to players. It’s a less fun Oblivion Ring that we saw last time we visited Theros.
Thankfully Wizards recognized that fact and also printed Ashiok’s Erasure. This is an enchantment with flash that exiles a spell on the stack. Players will have to watch carefully to not let their opponent’s spells resolve before flashing this into play. Spells that are exiled this way are gone as long as Ashiok’s Erasure is in play. Other spells with the same name cannot be cast either.
The fun comes if the player can return this to their hand before the spell-exiling ability resolves. If they do, that spell is exiled forever, with no way to bring it back. Sure it’s a slightly more complicated way to get rid of something, but it feels good watching the slow realization on your opponent’s face when you lock them out of the game.
Drag to the Underworld
Drag to the Underworld might as well have been printed as just a two-mana removal spell. With a devotion to black, the four mana instant removal can have its casting cost reduced by two generic mana. Unfortunately for Drag to the Underworld, it was printed in a format where we already have a two-for-one removal spell in Murderous Rider and the unquestionably more powerful Assassin’s Trophy.
Theros Beyond Death spoilers keep coming!
Like the new Theros Beyond Death spoilers? See anything you want to jam in Standard, Commander, Pioneer, or Modern? Let us know in the comments below, and for more Magic: The Gathering news, follow us at Daily Esports.
Ryan Hay is a writer and content creator currently living in New York. Video games, anime, and Magic: The Gathering have all been strong passions in his life and being able to share those passions with others is his motivation for writing. You can find him on Twitter where he complains about losing on MTG Arena a lot.