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Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Temple altar
Design Mark Rosewater (lead),
Ethan Fleischer,
Ken Nagle,
Zac Hill,
Jenna Helland
Development Erik Lauer (lead),
Zac Hill,
Dave Humpherys,
Shawn Main,
Tom LaPille
Art direction Jeremy Jarvis
Release date September 27, 2013
Plane Theros
Themes and mechanicsEnchantment matters”, Heroes, Monsters, Gods, Minotaur tribal, Monocolored
Keywords/​ability words Monstrosity, Heroic, Bestow, Devotion, Scry
Set size 249 cards
(121 commons (20 basic lands), 60 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares)
Expansion code THS[1]
Development codename Friends
Theros block
Theros Born of the Gods Journey into Nyx
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Duel Decks: Heroes vs. Monsters Theros Commander 2013
This page is about the set. For the plane, see Theros (plane). For other uses, see Theros (disambiguation).

Theros is the first set in the Theros block. It is the 62nd Magic expansion and was released on September 27, 2013. Theros is a large expansion.[2]

Set details[ | ]

“  Stand Among Heroes  ”

Theros contains 249 cards (20 basic lands,[3] 101 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares), and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. The set has an ancient Greek themed top-down design, making use of many mythological tropes (Heroes, Monsters, and Gods).[4][5][6][7] It is the first set to thematically take place on the plane of Theros. It is mostly monocolored with a handful of gold cards. Theros block is an enchantment block that plays off building blocks in M14 and Return to Ravnica block. The mood and tone are those of Greek myth: adventure, achievement, accomplishment, a hero's journey. Many existing creature types are reworked to match the Greek flavor. Apart from Minotaurs, it's not a tribal set. There are three Planeswalkers in the set, namely Elspeth and two new ones: Ashiok and Xenagos. There is an above-average amount of legendary permanents. The expansion symbol depicts a stylized temple and altar.

Storyline[ | ]

Theros is watched over by a pantheon of 15 powerful gods. The gods, though residing in Nyx, can take on many forms and often walk among mortals. Each also has a unique color identity. The five core gods are mono-colored and make up the central pillars of the Therosian belief system. The color identities of these five are: Heliod (white), Thassa (blue), Erebos (black), Purphoros (red), and Nylea (green). The ten minor gods represent the two-color pairings and were introduced later in Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx.

Elspeth[ | ]

After planeswalking away from New Phyrexia, Elspeth finds herself on a vaguely familiar plane, Theros. While she had visited once years ago when she acquired her sword, she remains relatively unaware of the nature of the plane, namely the theology. The snake priests in a temple devoted to Pharika help her back to full strength while she reflects on her experiences with Koth, Venser, Tezzeret, Karn, and Melira back on New Phyrexia. More than anything Elspeth just wants a peaceful life like the one she had on Bant before the Conflux. However, on Theros the gods have different plans.[8] Walking around the forests of Theros, Elspeth comes face to face with a deadly hydra having already killed many Therosian heroes. After a bitter battle, she emerges the victor. Heliod, taking notice of her feat, now strives to make Elspeth his champion.

Xenagos[ | ]

A satyr born to the plane of Theros, Xenagos spent much of his life romping around with his clan of fellow satyrs. His favorite activities included partying and drinking until his planeswalker spark ignited and he was able to travel away from Theros. After visiting many planes and seeing the expanse of the Multiverse his return to his native plane did not come with a feeling of home. He could now see how insignificant his life was before his awakening and even still after. Driven by a desire for power, his mission now is to enter the Therosian pantheon as a god.

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
The Lost Confession Jenna Helland 2013-09-11 Theros Elspeth Tirel, Ajani Goldmane, Pharika, Koth of the Hammer, Melira, Tezzeret, Elesh Norn, Urabrask, Sheoldred, Karn, Jin-Gitaxias, Venser, Heliod
Prince Anax, Part 1 Tom LaPille 2013-09-18 Theros Anax, Athanas, Timoteus, Archaelos, Pelagia, Georgios, Zotikos
Prince Anax, Part 2 Tom LaPille 2013-09-25 Theros Anax, Sinon, Timoteus, Zotikos, Georgios, Kaletor, Athanas, Cymede
Nymphs of Theros Jennifer Robles 2013-10-02 Theros Zoe, Nylea, Purphoros, Heliod
The Consequences of Attraction Ken Troop 2013-10-09 Theros Xandria, Ninis, Tolios, Chakros
Tragedy Jennifer Clarke Wilkes 2013-10-23 Theros Penthikos, Iroas, Heliod, Purphoros, Athreos, Erebos
I Iroan Jennifer Clarke Wilkes 2013-11-06 Theros Pandamator, Iroas, Heliod, Purphoros, Keranos, Anax, Erebos, Nymosyne, Arissa, Lanathos
The Sea God's Labyrinth, Part 1 Jeremiah Isgur 2013-11-13 Theros Solon, Thassa, Praxitelius
The Sea God's Labyrinth, Part 2 Jeremiah Isgur 2013-11-20 Theros Solon, Thassa, Praxitelius
Building Toward a Dream, Part 1 Ken Troop 2013-11-27 Theros Kedarick VI, Klytessa, Lara, Udaen, Thoros Clawkiller, Teralos
Building Toward a Dream, Part 2 Ken Troop 2013-12-04 Theros Kedarick VI, Klytessa, Lara, Udaen, Chelta, Vanin, Mogis, Phenax, Heliod, Ephara, Iroas, Ashiok
Asphodel Kelly Digges 2013-12-11 Theros Maia, Purphoros, Erebos, Kadmos, Pylia

Marketing[ | ]

Theros was sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), five intro packs, one event decks, and a fat pack.[9] There are no 6-card boosters or Booster Battle Packs. The boosters feature artwork from: Thassa, God of the Sea; Erebos, God of the Dead; Purphoros, God of the Forge; Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Arena Athlete. Theros featured an unprecedented first for organized play: a block-long Magic entertainment experience that would see players complete nine quests on the Hero's Path (three during Theros and six during Born of the Gods and Journey into Nyx). Hero cards debuted as part of the Hero's Path. These cards are not for use in tournament decks but instead are awarded to players for completing quests along the Hero's Path. They can use them to defeat later quests. Each card is double-faced, one side featuring a code redeemable for a Planeswalker Points achievement while the other side features game mechanics players can use to help defeat a Game Day Challenge Deck.

Prerelease[ | ]

The first quest in the Hero's Path was during the Theros Prerelease on September 21 and 22, 2013.[10] There players could choose their heroic path based on a favorite mana color (white, blue, black, red, or green), receive a Seeded Prerelease pack, and join fellow heroes on a social scavenger hunt. The Seeded Prerelease Pack contained a spindown life counter, a Hero card unique to a player's chosen path (respectively The Protector, The Philosopher, The Avenger, The Warrior, and The Hunter), one of five quiz activity cards, five Theros boosters, and a seeded booster featuring cards appropriate for that player's chosen path (including one of the playable five Prerelease promo cards).

While building decks and playing matches players could work together to find the answers to the questions about Theros on their activity cards. This social scavenger hunt offered players an opportunity to engross themselves in the lore of the new block and interact with their fellow heroes. Once a player had filled out the card, he or she could check the answer key to see if they completed it correctly.

Launch Weekend[ | ]

Theros launched to the public on September 27, 2013, and kicked off with Friday Night Magic. Hero's Path Quest #2 brought players to their store to receive a “Gift from the Gods” by solving a puzzle hidden within a Poster Puzzle. Once they had discovered the solution they could report it to receive a second Hero card (The Harvester).

Game Day[ | ]

On October 19 and 20 Theros Game Day players could use their Standard decks for the third quest on the Hero's Path: Face the Hydra.[11] Using a special Challenge Deck provided to the retailer, players could battle the Hydra, one of the epic monsters of the plane of Theros. The Challenge Deck is a special self-running deck with its own set of rules. Players are encouraged to pilot it against one another one-on-one or in groups of up to four with guidance from the included instructional playmat. A player didn't need to participate in the Game Day tournament to attempt to defeat the Hydra. This was the first opportunity for players to utilize the Hero cards they received at the Prerelease and Launch Weekend. Beating the Hydra also awarded players their third Hero card (The Slayer), which they'll be able to use for quests at future Hero's Path events.

Promotional cards[ | ]

Tokens/Emblem[ | ]

The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token creature card or an emblem, with advertisements on the back side:[14]

  1. {W} 2/1 Cleric enchantment creature for Heliod, God of the Sun
  2. {W} 1/1 Soldier creature for Akroan Horse
  3. {W} 1/1 Soldier creature for Elspeth, Sun's Champion and Evangel of Heliod
  4. {U} 2/2 Bird creature with Flying for Swan Song
  5. {U} 1/0 Elemental creature for Master of Waves
  6. {B} 1/1 Harpy creature with flying for Abhorrent Overlord
  7. {R} 1/1 Soldier creature for Akroan Crusader
  8. {G} 2/2 Boar creature for Curse of the Swine
  9. {R/G} 2/2 Satyr creature with haste for Xenagos, the Reveler
  10. {C} 3/3 Golem enchantment artifact creature for Hammer of Purphoros
  11. Emblem for Elspeth, Sun's Champion

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Theros has a strong enchantment theme with widespread use of the Enchantment type alongside other card types (enchantment creatures and enchantment artifacts).[15] Enchantments are primarily used to represent the Gods — which themselves are enchantment creatures — and their influence. Some enchantment creatures feature the new keyword ability bestow which lets the player cast the card as an Aura with enchant creature for the bestow cost. It then conveys a bonus to the enchanted creature. If the creature it enchants dies, the enchantment itself reverts to a creature, usually with the same features as the abilities it conveyed as an Aura.

Another mechanic tied to the gods is devotion. Similar to chroma, it scales effects based on the number of mana symbols on the permanents a player controls.[16][17]

Humans also tie into the enchantment theme with the heroic ability word. Cards with heroic trigger an ability when its controller casts a spell targeting it.[18]

Scry appears in Theros as a returning mechanic.[19]

Theros is also a plane filled with monsters such as Hydras, Kraken, Demons, and others. These all feature the new keyword action monstrosity. Upon activation, if the creature isn't “monstrous” already, a certain number of +1/+1 counters are put on the creature and it becomes “monstrous”. Usually, this is accompanied by a triggered ability when the creature becomes “monstrous”.[20]

Additionally, the Hero's Path features Hero's Reward.

Card types[ | ]

Theros introduces the supertype Elite, the card type Hero, and the creature types God, Sable, and Head. It reintroduces the creature type Nymph.

Cycles[ | ]

Theros has fourteen cycles. Some cards are part of a Theros block mega cycle.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Allied-colored activated ability commons Setessan Griffin Coastline Chimera Returned Phalanx Deathbellow Raider Satyr Hedonist
Five common creatures that have an activated ability that requires an allied color.
Enemy-colored activated ability commons Scholar of Athreos Crackling Triton Loathsome Catoblepas Priest of Iroas Agent of Horizons
Five common creatures that have an activated ability that requires an enemy color.
Nymphs Observant Alseid Nimbus Naiad Cavern Lampad Spearpoint Oread Leafcrown Dryad
Five common 2/2 enchantment creatures with bestow and the creature type Nymph. As Auras, each provides +2/+2 and a keyword ability which they have.
Emissaries Heliod's Emissary Thassa's Emissary Erebos's Emissary Purphoros's Emissary Nylea's Emissary
Five uncommon 3/3 enchantment creatures with bestow. As Auras they give +3/+3 and provide an ability they also can use as creatures.
Gods Heliod, God of the Sun Thassa, God of the Sea Erebos, God of the Dead Purphoros, God of the Forge Nylea, God of the Hunt
Five mythic rare legendary enchantment creatures that embody one of the gods of Theros. Each card has a low casting cost but is not a creature until your devotion to that color is 5 or more. They are all indestructible and have one static ability and one activated ability.
God's Weapons Spear of Heliod Bident of Thassa Whip of Erebos Hammer of Purphoros Bow of Nylea
Five rare legendary enchantment artifacts that give all creatures owned by the player a bonus and have an activated ability.
Cantrip Auras Chosen by Heliod Fate Foretold Scourgemark Dragon Mantle Nylea's Presence
Five common Auras that allow the player to draw a card when they enter the battlefield.
Ordeals Ordeal of Heliod Ordeal of Thassa Ordeal of Erebos Ordeal of Purphoros Ordeal of Nylea
Five uncommon Auras with the cost of {1}M, that put a +1/+1 counter on the enchanted creature when it attacks and sacrifices themselves when the enchanted creature has 3 or more +1/+1 counters, granting a bonus.[21]
Double Tactics Dauntless Onslaught Triton Tactics Cutthroat Maneuver Coordinated Assault Warriors' Lesson
Five uncommon instants that can each target up to two target creatures.
Gainsay cycle Glare of Heresy Gainsay Dark Betrayal Peak Eruption Hunt the Hunter
Five uncommon hoser cards in which one color does something against other cards of that color. This includes the reprint the cycle is named for.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Allied-colored draft archetypes Battlewise Hoplite Shipwreck Singer Kragma Warcaller Destructive Revelry Chronicler of Heroes
Five uncommon draft archetypes.
Allied-colored rares Daxos of Meletis Psychic Intrusion Tymaret, the Murder King Polis Crusher Fleecemane Lion
Five rare card (several of them legendary creatures).
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy-colored draft archetypes Sentry of the Underworld Spellheart Chimera Pharika's Mender Akroan Hoplite Horizon Chimera
Five uncommon draft archetypes complementing the allied-colored cycle.
Enemy-colored rares Triad of Fates Steam Augury Reaper of the Wilds Anax and Cymede Prophet of Kruphix
Five rare cards (several of them legendary creatures) complementing the allied-colored cycle.

Pairs[ | ]

Theros has one mirrored pair.

Mirrored Pairs Description
Hopeful Eidolon
Baleful Eidolon
Common 1/1 enchantment creatures with bestow. One gives lifelink and the other gives deathtouch

Reprinted cards[ | ]

The following cards have been reprinted from previous sets and included in Theros:

Functional reprints[ | ]

Notable cards[ | ]

  • The Temple cycle of lands that begin in this set saw heavy play both times through Standard and are also frequently run in Pioneer.
  • The Legendary Enchantment Artifact cycle all saw play in Standard, particularly Bident of Thassa and Whip of Erebos which were key value engines in Devotion decks.
  • Anger of the Gods is a wrath effect spell that saw Modern tournament play.
  • Stormbreath Dragon saw some tournament play.
  • Ashen Rider was a strong target for reanimator decks for many years.
  • Destructive Revelry is a Modern sideboard staple for burn decks.
  • Swan Song is a cheap and versatile counterspell that's appeared in Modern sideboards frequently and is one of the most heavily played in Commander.
  • Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx was a format-defining card in Standard, motivating the creation of Green, Blue, and Black Devotion decks, and was the centerpiece between Mono Green Devotion decks in Pioneer that were eventually targeted by bans.
  • Read the Bones was a strong card advantage spell for Standard control decks and is one of the most common black card draw spells in Commander.
  • Hero's Downfall was the first instant speed removal spell to be able to destroy Planeswalkers explicitly and quickly became the best black removal spell in Standard
  • Sylvan Caryatid is one of the best two mana-mana dorks and has been used everywhere from Standard to Modern in green decks
  • Lightning Strike is a strictly worse Lightning Bolt but was still good enough to see play in aggro red decks in Standard and Pioneer, and it has been reprinted in several Standard sets as a good generic removal option
  • Voyaging Satyr's unique ability to untap any land has made it a great choice for Lotus Field combo decks in Pioneer
  • Fleecemane Lion provided a surprisingly powerful ability for its overstated body and helped power green-white aggro decks in Standard
  • Master of Waves and Thassa, God of the Sea provided powerful payoffs for the Blue Devotion deck in Standard, while Gray Merchant of Asphodel and Erebos, God of the Dead powered up Black Devotion decks.
  • Xenagos, the Reveler proved to be a strong card for Standard aggro decks and still sees minor play in Pioneer

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Prophet of Kruphix had little impact on competitive constructed gameplay but was problematic in the casual Commander format, where the combination of untapping on every other turn and being able to play at instant speed meant that a single-player could easily dominate the game with it.

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Intro packs[ | ]

Main article: Theros/Intro packs

Theros has five bicolored intro packs:[22]

Intro pack name Colors Included Foil rare
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Devotion to Darkness U B Abhorrent Overlord
Blazing Beasts of Myth R G Ember Swallower
Anthousa's Army W G Anthousa, Setessan Hero
Favors from Nyx W B Celestial Archon
Manipulative Monstrosities U R Shipbreaker Kraken

Event deck[ | ]

Main article: Theros/Event deck

Theros has one event deck.[23]

deck name
Colors Included
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Inspiring Heroics W U

References[ | ]

  1. Matt Tabak (May 16, 2016). "What's the official set code for Theros?". Snarkham Asylum. Tumblr.
  2. Trick Jarrett (March 25, 2013). "Announcing Theros Block". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Trick Jarrett (September 04, 2013). "Basic Lands for Theros". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (September 2, 2013). "A Theros By Any Other Name, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Erik Lauer (September 09, 2013). "Developing Theros". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (September 16, 2013). "A Theros By Any Other Name, Part 3". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Ethan Fleischer (September 02, 2013). "An Even-Handed Tale". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Jenna Helland (September 11, 2013). "The Lost Confession". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Trick Jarrett (August 27, 2013). "Theros Intro Pack Rares and Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Mike McArtor (September 16, 2013). "Theros Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Mike McArtor (October 17, 2013). "Theros Game Day and Challenge Deck". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Trick Jarrett (September 03, 2013). "Theros Promos". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. Wizards of the Coast (September 18, 2013). "Buy a Box Promotion". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Trick Jarrett (September 10, 2013). "Tokens of Theros". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Staff (September 02, 2013). "The Mechanics of Theros". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater (September 9, 2013). "A Theros By Any Other Name, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Adam Prosak (December 06, 2013). "Developing Devotion". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Mark Rosewater (October 21, 2013). "Hero Complex". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Sam Stoddard (September 06, 2013). "How Theros Got Its Scry On". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Mark Rosewater (November 11, 2013). "Building a Better Monster". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Trick Jarrett (October 02, 2013). "What an Ordeal!". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Trick Jarrett (September 18, 2013). "Theros Intro Pack Decklists". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Trick Jarrett (September 26, 2013). "Theros Event Deck Decklist". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]