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Theros Beyond Death
Theros Beyond Death logo
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description Mask of the Returned
Design Ethan Fleischer (lead)
Ken Nagle
Paul Cheon
Donald Smith, Jr
Sam Stoddard
Mark Rosewater
Development Sam Stoddard (co-lead)
Mark Gottlieb (co-lead)
Corey Bowen
Ian Duke
Erik Lauer
Peter Lee
Lukas Litzsinger
Yoni Skolnik
Andrew Veen[1]
Art direction Dawn Murin
Release date January 24, 2020
Plane Theros
Themes and mechanics Gods, Graveyard matters, Enters the battlefield matters, Sagas, Enchantment creatures, Enchantment matters
Keywords/​ability words Constellation, Devotion, Escape
Set size 254 cards
(101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 5 basic lands)
+ 3 borderless planeswalkers
+11 showcase cards
+1 Buy-a-Box promo
+8 Planeswalker deck exclusives
+10 theme booster exclusives
+55 extended-art cards
+ 1 bundle promo
+5 dark-frame promos
Expansion code THB[2]
Development codename Baseball
Core Set 2021 Standard
Throne of Eldraine Theros Beyond Death Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Secret Lair Drop Series Theros Beyond Death Secret Lair Drop Series: Year of the Rat

Theros Beyond Death is the 83rd Magic expansion. It was released on January 24, 2020.[3][4]

Set details[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death expansion symbol

Expansion symbol

“  Escape Your Fate  ”

Like its predecessors Theros Beyond Death has an ancient Greek themed top-down design, making use of many mythological tropes (Heroes, Monsters, and Gods).[5][6]

The main set contains 254 cards (5 basic lands, 101 commons, 80 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares), and includes randomly inserted premium versions of all cards. Additional cards are found in the set's Theme Boosters and planeswalker decks. A unique Buy-a-Box promotional card is also considered to be part of the set. Cards with an alternate card frames have another card number than the original version. Borderless planeswalkers are numbered #255-257, Showcase cards are numbered #258-268, the Buy-a-Box is #269, planeswalker deck cards are numbered #270-277, non-constellation basic lands are numbered #278-287, Theme Booster rares are #288-297 and extended artwork cards are numbered #298-351. The Bundle promo is numbered #352. Finally, there are FNM-treatment cards from the Universal promo pack numbered #353-357. Both regular and foil versions of these cards may be found in the collector boosters.

The set features five special Nyx-inspired full-art constellation basic lands (one per pack).[7] The non-constellation basic lands are only found in supplemental products.[8] These regular-border lands depict the "Above and Below" of Theros and its underworld.[9] Besides the five basic lands, there are 11 constellation showcase cards. These are all the gods and demigods.[10]

The set's expansion symbol is a Mask of the Returned.

Storyline[ | ]

THB Elspeth

Key art with Elspeth

There is no ebook for Theros Beyond Death, nor were there weekly updates for Magic Story.[11][12] It was revealed that the blowback from War of the Spark: Forsaken caused the Theros Beyond Death fiction to be delayed.[13] The Franchise Team is trying to find the correct time and channel to release it at a later point in time.[13]

The set focuses on the Underworld of Theros over the normal world of the plane,[14][15] with a major plot point being the return of Klothys, the Therosian god of destiny.[16] It features the planeswalker Elspeth Tirel[17] and her torturer Ashiok.[18]

The Gods are at war, and they bring their champions to fight. Elspeth breaks free and defeats Heliod with a weapon created from her past traumas. Klothys finds out about Elspeth escaping the Underworld so she is sending someone to bring her back to the Underworld or capture her.

The cards that represent the Story Spotlights in Theros Beyond Death are:

Marketing[ | ]

THB Nyx lands

The Nyx-inspired basic lands

Theros Beyond Death is sold in regular 16-card Draft Boosters (one card being a marketing card), mono-colored Theme Boosters, two planeswalker decks, the Theros Beyond Death bundle and a Deck Builder's Toolkit.[19] The set also features Collector Boosters.[10][20] For the first time, the Theme Boosters contained two out of a possible 10 rare cards that were not part of the regular set and thus were not available in regular Draft Boosters.[21] The Promo Pack also features some non-Standard rares that are focused on Commander.[22]

The Draft Boosters feature artwork from Elspeth Tirel (key art), Kunoros, Hound of Athreos and Calix, Destiny's Hand. The Theme Boosters feature art from Transcendent Envoy ({W}), Witness of Tomorrows ({U}), Tymaret, Chosen from Death ({B}), Dreamshaper Shaman ({R}), and Hydra's Growth ({G}). The Collector Boosters feature Klothys, God of Destiny.

Events[ | ]

THB Theme Boosters

Theme Boosters

Promotional cards[ | ]

THB Collector Boosters

Collector Boosters

Tokens[ | ]

The sixteenth card in the boosters is a token, with advertisements on the back side.[27]

  1. {W} 0/1 Goat creature, created by Discordant Piper and Woe Strider.
  2. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier creature, created by Commanding Presence, Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis, Hero of the Nyxborn, Omen of the Sun, Reverent Hoplite, Siona, Captain of the Pyleas, and The First Iroan Games.
  3. {W} 2/2 Pegasus creature with flying, created by Archon of Sun's Grace.
  4. {U} 8/8 Kraken creature with hexproof, created by Kiora Bests the Sea God.
  5. {U} 3/2 Reflection creature, created by Alirios, Enraptured.
  6. {U} 1/1 Tentacle creature, created by Nadir Kraken.
  7. {B} 2/2 Zombie creature, created by Aphemia, the Cacophony and Tymaret Calls the Dead.
  8. {R} */1 Elemental creature with trample and haste, created by Purphoros's Intervention.
  9. {R} 1/1 Satyr creature with "This creature can't block," created by Anax, Hardened in the Forge, Heroes of the Revel and Satyr's Cunning.
  10. {G} 1/2 Spider creature with reach, created by Arasta of the Endless Web.
  11. {G} 2/2 Wolf creature, created by Mantle of the Wolf and Wolfwillow Haven.
  12. {U/B} 2/3 Nightmare creature with "Whenever this creature attacks or blocks, each opponent exiles the top two cards of their library," created by Ashiok, Nightmare Muse.
  13. {C} Gold artifact, created by The First Iroan Games.
  14. {C} 0/4 Wall artifact creature with defender, created by The Birth of Meletis.

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death introduces the keyword ability Escape; spells with escape can be cast from the graveyard for their escape cost.[28][29] The cost includes exiling a number of other cards from the graveyard. Certain creatures receive an additional bonus as they escape.

Returning mechanics from the Theros block are Constellation and Devotion.[28] Constellation now also appears on non-enchantment cards, and only on non-enchantment cards.[30]

Heroes of the Revel, Hero of the Games, Hero of the Nyxborn, Hero of the Pride and Hero of the Winds effectively have heroic, without the actual ability word.[31][32]

Theros Beyond Death features the following limited archetypes:

Card types[ | ]

The set sees the return of the enchantment subtype Saga, first used in Dominaria.[28] It also sees the return of enchantment creatures, first used in Future Sight and later in the Theros block.

The set introduces the Demigod and Tentacle creature types, and the Calix planeswalker type. It also introduces the Gold artifact type.

Cycles[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death has twelve cycles, including one double cycle.

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Gods Heliod, Sun-Crowned Thassa, Deep-Dwelling Erebos, Bleak-Hearted Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded Nylea, Keen-Eyed
Five mythic rare legendary God enchantment creatures, each with a static ability and an activated ability.
Demigods Daxos, Blessed by the Sun Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea Tymaret, Chosen from Death Anax, Hardened in the Forge Renata, Called to the Hunt
Five uncommon legendary enchantment creatures with the new Demigod subtype. Each has power or toughness equal to your devotion in their color.
Interventions Heliod's Intervention Thassa's Intervention Erebos's Intervention Purphoros's Intervention Nylea's Intervention
Five rare modal spells with {X} in their mana costs: one mode uses X, the other uses twice X.
Omens Omen of the Sun Omen of the Sea Omen of the Dead Omen of the Forge Omen of the Hunt
Five common enchantments with flash and an enters the battlefield ability, with art by Piotr Dura depicting the major gods of Theros. They may be sacrificed for {2}M to scry 2.
Rare sagas Elspeth Conquers Death Kiora Bests the Sea God Tymaret Calls the Dead The Akroan War The First Iroan Games
Five rare or mythic rare Saga enchantments.
Uncommon sagas The Birth of Meletis Medomai's Prophecy Elspeth's Nightmare The Triumph of Anax The Binding of the Titans
Five uncommon Saga enchantments.
Nymphs Alseid of Life's Bounty Naiad of Hidden Coves Lampad of Death's Vigil Oread of Mountain's Blaze Dryad of the Ilysian Grove
Five cross-rarity Nymph creatures with related flavor text.
Nyxborns Nyxborn Courser Nyxborn Seaguard Nyxborn Marauder Nyxborn Brute Nyxborn Colossus
Five common vanilla enchantment creatures with flavor text about the Callapheia.
Auras Indomitable Will Starlit Mantle Mogis's Favor Aspect of Manticore Setessan Training
Five common beneficial Auras with small effects but with in-built designs to prevent card disadvantage.
Removal Auras Dreadful Apathy Ichthyomorphosis Mire's Grasp Iroas's Blessing Warbriar Blessing
Five common Auras that represent each color's primary removal spell.
Cycle name {W/U} {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W}
Temples Temple of Enlightenment Temple of Deceit Temple of Malice Temple of Abandon Temple of Plenty
Five rare allied colored scry lands that were previously printed in Theros and Born of the Gods.

Double cycles[ | ]

Cycle name {W/U} {U/B} {B/R} {R/G} {G/W} {W/B} {U/R} {B/G} {R/W} {G/U}
Gold signposts Staggering Insight Devourer of Memory Slaughter-Priest of Mogis Warden of the Chained Siona, Captain of the Pyleas Rise to Glory Mischievous Chimera Acolyte of Affliction Hero of the Nyxborn Eutropia the Twice-Favored
Ten uncommon dual-colored spells, each a signpost for a draft archetype.

Pairs[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death has one mirrored pair.

Mirrored Pairs Description
Kroxa, Titan of Death's Hunger
Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath
Mythic rare Elder Giant legendary creatures, each of which is undercosted but is sacrificed when it enters the battlefield unless its escape cost is paid. Each one also has a triggered ability that triggers when it enters the battlefield or attacks.

Reprinted cards[ | ]

The following cards have been reprinted:

Common to uncommon[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Planeswalker decks[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death is the last expansion to feature Planeswalker decks.[33]

deck name
Colors Included Planeswalker
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Elspeth W Elspeth, Undaunted Hero
Ashiok U B Ashiok, Sculptor of Fears

Notable cards[ | ]

Banned and restricted cards[ | ]

  • Underworld Breach bears many semblances to Yawgmoth's Will, but with the further advantage in allowing the same spell to be cast multiple times, which allows for more deterministic kills. Legacy's Brain Freeze nearly kills by itself, and so it was banned in March 2020, one of the fastest bans for the format. Pioneer had the Lotus Field Breach combo that used untapping spells for mana and milling spells to fuel them. While not unbeatable — the structure of the deck is not flexible enough to counter-sideboard easily — it was removed from the format with three other combo pieces in August 2020. It is still often seen in competitive commander decks in a combo with Lion's Eye Diamond.
  • Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath was the other flagship mythic showcasing the Escape mechanic, alongside strong flavor and interesting design space of being a "spell" because it required Escaping to stay in play. However, the "spell" of Explore with life gain made it easy to churn through one's deck and find interactive spells for the escape cost, making Uro one of the most ubiquitous Mythics in multiple formats. Standard was the first to ban Uro in September 2020, as the life gain buffer, ramp payoff, and anti-midrange inevitability made it difficult to control, aggressively race, or go over the top of — effectively beating all the strategies in a typical metagame. Historic, Pioneer, and Modern simultaneously banned Uro in February 2021, largely on the same logic; a secondary concern was that the Simic Uro decks in all formats started to look the same.
  • Thassa's Oracle is an alternate-win card in the vein of Laboratory Maniac, but generally superior. It has seen play in numerous formats, most notably in the Pioneer combo deck utilizing it and Inverter of Truth which led to Inverter's ban, as well as in optimized Commander decks alongside Demonic Consultation. It finally ran afoul of the ban list when Tainted Pact — a card not legal in Modern-forward — was released in Historic, which created a four-mana, two-card combo in a format without free countermagic. It was banned in Historic in May 2021.[34]

Reception[ | ]

Theros Beyond Death didn’t to quite as well as Wizards of the Coast had hoped.[35]

Trivia[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Wizards of the Coast. "Theros Beyond Death Credits".
  2. Information below the text box
  3. Magic Announcement Stream (Video). Magic: the Gathering. YouTube (September 4, 2019).
  4. Wizards Europe (October 11, 2019). "We're happy to announce the release dates for two upcoming sets in 2020!". Twitter.
  5. Mark Rosewater (January 2, 2020). "At Death's Door, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (January 6, 2020). "At Death's Door, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Magic: The Gathering (December 11, 2019). "Straight from Nyx: Full art basics. One per pack.". Twitter.
  8. Mark Rosewater (December 13, 2019). "Are the Theros Beyond Death full-art Nyx lands going to be in the set bundles?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. Magic: The Gathering (December 13, 2019). "These regular-border lands SamBurleyArt depict the "Above and Below" of Theros and its underworld!". Twitter.
  10. a b Blake Rasmussen (December 13, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Collector Booster Contents". Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Wizards of the Coast (December 16, 2019). "The Theros Beyond Death Story on Cards". Wizards of the Coast.
  12. Wizards of the Coast (January 10, 2020). "Theros Beyond Death Story Summary". Wizards of the Coast.
  13. a b Mark Rosewater (January 27, 2020e). "Odds & Ends: Theros Beyond Death". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Mark Rosewater (September 04, 2019). "I missed the announcement of the sets for next year.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (October 23, 2019). "Will Theros Beyond Death completely take place in the Underworld or will we see more of Theros?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  16. Wizards of the Coast (December 12, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  17. She's back!. Reddit (September 26, 2019).
  18. Wizards of the Coast (December 12, 2019). "Magic at the Game Awards 2019". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Wizards Play Network
  20. Mark Rosewater (September 21, 2019). "I feel like the return to Theros should have an enchantment masterpiece series.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Blake Rasmussen (December 17, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Theme Boosters". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Wizards of the Coast (January 15, 2020). "Theros Beyond Death Promo Pack Updates". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Gavin Verhey (January 14, 2020). "Theros Beyond Death Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Jeffrey Dohm-Sanchez (October 22, 2019). "Wizards of the Coast reveals the first details on the Theros Beyond Death product line.".
  25. Blake Rasmussen (January 9, 2020). "Theros Beyond Death Promos". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Blake Rasmussen (December 17, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Production Error". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Blake Rasmussen (January 9, 2020). "The Tokens of Theros Beyond Death". Wizards of the Coast.
  28. a b c BlakedaWerewolf (October 30, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Major Spoilers". Reddit.
  29. Matt Tabak (December 12, 2019). "Theros Beyond Death Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  30. Mark Rosewater (December 13, 2019). "So, it appears that the decision was made to not have Constellation on enchantments anymore?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  31. Mark Rosewater (December 14, 2019). "So it looks like there will be creatures in Theros with the text of the Heroic ability, but no Heroic keyword?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  32. Mark Rosewater (January 20, 2020). "More to the Death". Wizards of the Coast.
  33. Caranthir (September 10, 2019). "Are Planeswalker Decks being discontinued? (Comment #11)". MTG Salvation.
  34. Jay Parker (May 19, 2021). "May 19, 2021 Banned and Restricted Announcement". Wizards of the Coast.
  35. Mark Rosewater (July 6, 2024). "Why is Theros a 4 now on the Rabiah scale? It was always a 3 from all the other times you shared the Rabiah scale.". Blogatog. Tumblr.

External links[ | ]