An Introduction to Theros Block Constructed with Journey into Nyx by Fabrizio Anteri

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Bitesize Theros Review: Sealed & Mechanics by Ruairidh Macdonald

Hi everyone,

This is the first non tournament report article I am writing in this website, and hopefully won’t be the last.

The topic I chose? Theros Block Constructed. Why? Because block constructed formats are usually not very popular, but this time the UK has a Grand Prix in this format and it is just in few weeks! I am sure the whole community is very excited about the GP event and hopefully interested in reading more about the format.

We still just have 2/3 sets of the block, but there is already a metagame in Magic Online and more than half the cards of Journey into Nyx have been released.

I am going to participate in the Pro Tour Atlanta two weeks before the Grand Prix, so I have already started my testing of the format.

The decks to beat

The current Theros Block Constructed decks to beat are:

Junk Reanimator

Whip of Erebos Banner

Ashen Rider8 [card]Forest[/card]
7 [card]Swamp[/card]
4 [card]Temple of Plenty[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Silence[/card]
3  [card]Abhorrent Overlord[/card]
4  [card]Ashen Rider[/card]
4  [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card]
4  [card]Satyr Wayfinder[/card]
4  [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card]

4  [card]Commune with the Gods[/card]
2  [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card]
2  [card]Gild[/card]
4  [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card]
2  [card]Rescue from the Underworld[/card]
4  [card]Whip of Erebos[/card]

Sideboard

4  [card]Dark Betrayal[/card]
2  [card]Erebos, God of the Dead[/card]
1  [card]Gild[/card]
3  [card]Glare of Heresy[/card]
2  [card]Reaper of the Wilds[/card]
3  [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

This is the most popular deck and probably the best one as well.  It spend the early turns fixing it’s mana and finding missing pieces through scry lands and [card]Commune with the Gods[/card], filling up the graveyard of big guys at the same time. It has a core of removal for the mid game, making enough time for the Whip to get online.

When I first saw this deck, I couldn’t believe such a bad reanimator core could be any good. But the format is very slow at the moment and this deck actually gets the time to hard cast the big guys. [card]Whip of Erebos[/card] is the MVP of the deck, the life gain is so huge and it forces the games to go very long, allowing to draw more and more Overlords and [card]Ashen Rider[/card]s. Having the best late game of the format, this deck will win very likely all games that couldn’t be decided in the early-mid game.

What Journey into Nyx Adds

From Journey into Nyx Junk gets the missing Temple: [card]Temple of Malady[/card]; Finally making the mana base solid. It gets as well a couple of removal: [card]Silence the Believers[/card] and [card]Banishing Light[/card].

The first one will easily replace [card]Gild[/card], it is instant speed and this deck won’t have any problem of paying extra 3 or even extra 6 mana for additional targets. The second one will get rid of not only creatures and Planeswalkers, but also other Whips or more important: It will get rid of other [card]Banishing Light[/card] to get back the exiled Whip.

Other cards worth trying in this deck are: [card]Pharika, God of Affliction[/card] (Good answer in the mirror match), [card]Nyx Weaver[/card] (not bad as an early drop and graveyard enabler), [card]Brain Maggot[/card] (more hate other than [card]Thoughtseize[/card] against control).

Mono Black

Agent of Fate mtg banner

Nighthowler20 [card]Swamp[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Silence[/card]
4  [card]Agent of the Fates[/card]
4  [card]Gray Merchant of Asphodel[/card]
4  [card]Herald of Torment[/card]
4  [card]Nighthowler[/card]
4  [card]Pain Seer[/card]
4  [card]Spiteful Returned[/card]
2  [card]Boon of Erebos[/card]
1  [card]Gild[/card]
4  [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card]
4  [card]Thoughtseize[/card]
1  [card]Whip of Erebos[/card]

Sideboard

1  [card]Bile Blight[/card]
4  [card]Dark Betrayal[/card]
2  [card]Erebos, God of the Dead[/card]
1  [card]Gild[/card]
1  [card]Mogis’s Marauder[/card]
3  [card]Pharika’s Cure[/card]
2  [card]Read the Bones[/card]
1  [card]Whip of Erebos[/card]

Even being mono colour, this deck offers plenty of options on how to build. This mindrange version tries to abuse as much as possible [card]Gray Merchant[/card], playing 4 [card]Agent of Fate[/card]s (which is the MVP), 4 [card]Herald of Torment[/card]s, but also 4 copies of [card]Nighthowler[/card], which is not as good per se, but it gives two devotion to the [card]Gray Merchant[/card] and also triggers the Agent.

If you are looking for a more aggressive version and punish the slow decks and hands, you can run 4 [card]Tormented Hero[/card] and some copies of [card]Mogis’s Marauder[/card] in the main deck.

What Journey into Nyx Adds

From JiN this decks is getting a lot of good stuff. Firstly, more aggression: [card]Gnarled Scarhide[/card]; Then more devotion in form of a big, big guy: [card]Master of the Feast[/card]; And finally a worth trying four drop: [card]Squelching Leeches[/card].

Esper Control

Elspeth, Sun's Champion banner

Prognostic Sphinx5  [card]Island[/card]
2  [card]Plains[/card]
7  [card]Swamp[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Deceit[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Enlightenment[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Silence[/card]
4  [card]Prognostic Sphinx[/card]
2  [card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/card]
4  [card]Bile Blight[/card]
4  [card]Dissolve[/card]
4  [card]Divination[/card]
1  [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card]
4  [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card]
2  [card]Gild[/card]
4  [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card]
1  [card]Pharika’s Cure[/card]
1  [card]Read the Bones[/card]
1  [card]Revoke Existence[/card]
2  [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

Sideboard

1  [card]Annul[/card]
2  [card]Ashiok, Nightmare Weaver[/card]
4  [card]Dark Betrayal[/card]
1  [card]Drown in Sorrow[/card]
3  [card]Gainsay[/card]
1  [card]Pharika’s Cure[/card]
1  [card]Psychic Intrusion[/card]
2  [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

This is the classic “I do nothing until you do something” control deck. Basically all the available removals of the format find a house here, to make space for the best finisher of the format: [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card] (MVP). The slower the decks are, the better match it is for Esper Control.

What Journey into Nyx Adds

Sadly, there are no new tools (so far) for this deck. Journey into Nyx will have some playables for the deck, but nothing will improve it like other decks are improving. I will expect this deck to loose popularity with the inclusion of the new set.

WB Heroic

Mana Confluence banner

Hero of Iroas9  [card]Plains[/card]
10 [card]Swamp[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Silence[/card]
4  [card]Agent of the Fates[/card]
4  [card]Eidolon of Countless Battles[/card]
4  [card]Herald of Torment[/card]
4  [card]Hero of Iroas[/card]
2  [card]Hopeful Eidolon[/card]
3  [card]Pain Seer[/card]
4  [card]Spiteful Returned[/card]
2  [card]Bile Blight[/card]
4  [card]Gods Willing[/card]
2  [card]Springleaf Drum[/card]
4  [card]Thoughtseize[/card]

Sideboard

4 [card]Dark Betrayal[/card]
2 [card]Hopeful Eidolon[/card]
4 [card]Nighthowler[/card]

2 [card]Revoke Existence[/card]
3 [card]Hero’s Downfall[/card]

This could be the most explosive deck of the format, but it suffers of a bad mana base of only 4 dual lands with so many double colours in white and black.

The plan of the deck is quite simple, use Tseize and [card]Gods Willing[/card] for protect [card]Hero of Ioras[/card] and/or [card]Agent of the Fate[/card]s (MVP again) and use all the bestow creatures on them. Games usually finish with a 10+ power creature with flying and/or lifelink, and this is not even turn 9-10, but 5-6.

What Journey into Nyx Adds

From JiN the deck gets [card]Mana Confluence[/card], which depending on the metagame will be a 4 of or 3 of. This deck REALLY needs to have access to double white and double black by turn 4. This land will allow as well to remove those two horrible springleaf drum from the main deck and make some space for better cards (I am looking at you Atheros)

Naya Monsters

Polis Crusher banner

Xenagos, the Reveler6  [card]Forest[/card]
8  [card]Mountain[/card]
3  [card]Temple of Abandon[/card]
4  [card]Temple of Plenty[/card]
3  [card]Temple of Triumph[/card]
3  [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card]
4  [card]Polis Crusher[/card]
3  [card]Polukranos, World Eater[/card]
4  [card]Stormbreath Dragon[/card]
4  [card]Sylvan Caryatid[/card]
4  [card]Voyaging Satyr[/card]

3  [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card]
4  [card]Elspeth, Sun’s Champion[/card]
4  [card]Lightning Strike[/card]
3  [card]Xenagos, the Reveler[/card]

Sideboard

2  [card]Anger of the Gods[/card]
1  [card]Arbor Colossus[/card]
1  [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card]
1  [card]Courser of Kruphix[/card]
3  [card]Destructive Revelry[/card]
1  [card]Hammer of Purphoros[/card]
3  [card]Magma Jet[/card]
3  [card]Mistcutter Hydra[/card]

This deck may or may not splash white for Elspeth and [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card]. White gives of course more powerful options, but straight RG is more solid and faster.

The MVP of this deck is [card]Polis Crusher[/card]. It doesn’t look any bigger than Polukranos, not even with Monstrosity, but if you have a look at all the creatures played in block you will realize how many of them are enchantment creatures, this means that the Crusher is very likely unblockable in many scenarios and it also have a huge effect once it gets monstrous. Also, it dodges [card]Chained to the Rocks[/card] in the mirror match and what could be the new best removal of the format: [card]Banishing Light[/card].

Moving forward

Rescue from the Underworld banner

I will expect to see more two color aggressive decks with the inclusion of [card]Mana Confluence[/card] in Journey into Nyx and this will make the current decks adapt, sacrificing some power to get more consistent mana bases and don’t suffer from the aggression of these decks.

There will be also some brews of 3 colors control. Bant seems to have nice tools to control the games and very good finishers ([card]Hydra Bloodmaster[/card] is already making Polukranos look small)

Black continues to be the most solid color and could easily use the new city of brass and the temples to splash for other colors, fixing some match ups.

I would love to see someone brewing a new deck, trying to sacrifice [card]Bearer of the Heavens[/card] with [card]Rescue from the Underworld[/card].

See you at the Granx Prix!

I hope this was a nice catch up to everyone willing to attempt the Grand Prix. I am open mind and open hears to suggestions or ideas about the format, the decks and the new cards.

As always, if you have any questions or thoughts, please leave them in the comments area below and I’ll get back to you asap.

Fabrizio

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