Theros is one of the most popular Planes in Magic the Gathering. It makes perfect sense that now that we are returning to this Greek and Roman inspired plane that the excitement level is high.
Our previous adventures on Theros were dominated by the presence of the undercosted Gods such as Thassa, God of the Sea and Erebos, God of the Dead. While we are only a week into the Theros: Beyond Death preview season, it would seem that this go around it’s going to be the same.
Enter Heliod, Sun-Crowned and sound the alarm bells. Pioneer may never be the same, I mean until WOTC bans something. Just to be clear, Heliod plus Walking Ballista and two mana equals infinite damage. So what are you to do with this new found knowledge? Smash some people! That’s exactly why I’m here today so let’s dive in.
I Have Faith In You. Prove Me Right.
The main idea that I’m going to focus on for Pioneer is having a functional deck that can also win instantly if we manage to assemble Heliod and Ballista without our opponent interacting effectively with us. To this end, I believe that it would be best to splash blue for maindeck Teferi, Time Raveler and sideboard counterspells.
When is comes to combo decks throughout Magic’s history, the ability to prevent an opponent from stopping your combo is invaluable. The three mana Teferi from War of the Spark does exactly that. Since we’re not looking to combo off as fast as possible we can afford to set up and take our time.
First you have to understand that, to an extent, Devotion based decks build themselves. For builds such as ours, we have a lot of nice options. Let us start with some of the other cards previewed already.
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun is a very nice card for these type of decks. If everything is going according to plan then your Devotion to white will be fairly high, giving Daxos a lot of toughness. The combination of this and the life you will gain from other creatures entering the battlefield if going to buy you a lot of time. If your battlefield consists solely of Daxos and a Knight of the White Orchid that mean Daxos is a 2/4 and few damage based removal spells can take him out by themselves.
Speaking of Knight of the White Orchid, this is a premium two-drop in any deck that can reliable cast it in the early turns. There is a common play pattern when using the Knight, skip a land drop if you’re on the play; this isn’t applicable when you’re on the draw. This allows your opponent to get ahead on lands, thus triggering Knight of the White Orchid’s enter the battlefield ability. This makes it a pseudo ramp spell for a white deck which can give you the boost you need to stay just a little bit ahead.
Rounding out with such Pioneer highlights as Detention Sphere and Gideon of the Trials, again, adds to both gameplans that this deck can present. That being said, let’s take a look at the list.
Let's Write History, With Blood!
This is just the first pass that I’ve taken at the archetype so I would imagine things will be changing as we go through and Pioneer continues to develop. I do feel confident in that list as a jumping off point for anyone interested in the archetype.
A True Hero Isn't Measured By The Size of His Strength, But By The Size of His Heart.
If you are anything like myself, you get excited for Standard when a new standard legal set is approaching release. No worries everyone, I will not leave you wanting.
We see a lot of the same pieces in this list as we did in our Pioneer brew and for good reason. No one is pretending that 2019 Magic has been packed with a number of powerhouse cards. White has been receiving the short end of the stick lately, but we’re going to try and change that here.
Outside of the power that Heliod and Daxos, Blessed by the Sun bring to this list, I’m very excited to see how Reverent Hoplite plays out. Heliod, Sun-Crowned is potentially a very difficult to deal with threat if we can keep our Devotion high enough. However, if that is not something that seems feasible in a game or match-up, we can go wide with the tokens generated by the Hoplite and the power boost of Unbreakable Formation.
There is also a sub-theme of gaining life in this deck. There is so many different triggers and creatures that gain you life for doing what your deck already wants to be doing. it is no mistake that Linden, the Steadfast Queen, Ajani's Pridemate and Ajani, Strength of the Pride made their way into this list.
The Gods Commanded Him to Perform Twelve Labors.
I have no doubt that this will not be the only iteration of this deck. I am also confident that there is a card that either hasn’t been previewed yet or a card that I am forgetting from an older set that could put these decks over the top. Maybe one of you will be the one who finds that diamond in the rough.
This time of the year is always the best time of the year for Magic players. Everyone in the game loves new cards. So let me know in the comments what cards you are most excited to brew with or build around.
Until next week good luck, I hope you lose!