Magic The Gathering: Theros Inspiring Heroics Event Deck Review

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Fans of Greek mythology will be pleased to learn that it’s finally been adapted into a new Magic the Gathering block entitled Theros.

Theros, or θέρος‎, is the Greek word for “summer”, a time of bloom and life and incidentally also late-season storms. However, far from shamefully ripping off the names and deeds of Greek legends wholesale, Theros captures the essence of heroism and the feel of an epic struggle between gods, men and mighty creatures in its own Greek-mythology-inspired universe.

Theros brings with it several new mechanics, Heroic, Bestow, Devotion and Monstrosity, and also revives Scry. It also includes a number of enchantment creatures representing the Gods and their emissaries. Plus five enchantment artifacts representing their weapons.

The first mechanic, “Heroic”, is a great addition where creatures gain benefits that trigger each time you cast a spell that targets them.

“Bestow” lets you lend a creatures power, toughness and abilities to another creature by casting it optionally as an “Aura”. This gives you strategic flexibility, allowing you to switch between throwing out cannon fodder to bide your time, to boosting your offense.

“Devotion” ties Theros with the idea of Greek-like gods. The total count of mana symbols, black, red, green, white and blue, which are displayed on permanents under your control, count for devotion to that colour. If you have

“Scry” lets you look at the top N cards of your library when triggered. For example [mtg_card]Omenspeaker[/mtg_card] will let you look at the top two, moving any number of these to the bottom of your library or returning them to the top in any order. I probably don’t need to mention how useful this foresight could be- with such intimate knowledge of what your next draw might be, you can get one step ahead of your opponent. Scry can also trigger abilities on creatures such as [mtg_card]Flamespeaker Adept[/mtg_card].

Inspiring Heroics itself is the flagship, tournament-ready event deck for the new Theros expansion. It’s a blue/white deck with a balanced mix of spells, basic creatures and contains some interesting interactions to be played. It’s very thin on the ground when it comes to many of the more interesting mechanics of Theros, but that means it’s ripe with opportunity to be expanded and customized.

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Inside the cardboard outer sleeve of the Theros “Inspiring Heroics” Event deck is a standard, albeit luxurious re-usable box that contains the 60-card, tournament-ready deck, 15 additional cards, a spin-down life counter, a general Magic The Gathering introduction guide and a more specific “playing the deck” guide which will give you a feel for how to form effective strategies with the deck.

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This working knowledge of the deck will also help you modify it, ensuring you have something on hand to surprise an opponent. You should do this, because they might otherwise be able to sniff out your off-the-shelf deck in a handful of turns and adjust their plays accordingly. Inspiring Heroics contains “missable” cards such as [mtg_card]Soldier of the Pantheon[/mtg_card] which you can soon swap out for something better and frustrating permanents such as [mtg_card]Lavinia of the Tenth[/mtg_card] which you will no-doubt be eager to have the opportunity to play.

Inspiring Heroics is an aggressive offensive deck, littered with powerful spells like [mtg_card]Dauntless Onslaught[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Gods Willing[/mtg_card]. In other words, it plays closely to its Greek mythology theme and brings out the mighty heroes, many of which will rely heavily upon those spells to hit their hardest.

With this deck you’ll get the opportunity to play the pesky, flying, hexproof [mtg_card]Ascended Lawmage[/mtg_card], and get to smash your opponent with surprise combos like [mtg_card]Battlewise Hoplite[/mtg_card] coupled with [mtg_card]Dauntless Onslaught[/mtg_card]. In the late-game these Heroic abilities from the new Theros mechanic will let you quickly build up an unstoppable offense at very little cost.

[mtg_card]Ordeal of Heliod[/mtg_card] placed on an already tough creature can help you get the upper hand if you end up trading blows with your opponent.

The Sideboard, if you’re not familiar with the concept, is a set of swap-in cards which you’ll find useful against certain opponents. This is used to modify your deck after playing an opponent once and, no doubt, getting beat-down by something you couldn’t counter. If you play a new opponent, however, your deck must be reset to its original configuration. The Inspiring Heroics sideboard contains 16 cards, two each of [mtg_card]Arrest[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Gainsay[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Gift of Orzhova[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Glare of Heresy[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Negate[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Triton Tactics[/mtg_card] plus three [mtg_card]Solemn Offering[/mtg_card]. These are great for eliminating blockers, countering spells, blowing away Artifacts or Enchants and more.

This deck is a great starting point and a basis to experiment with other cards from Theros like [mtg_card]Cavalry Pegasus[/mtg_card] and [mtg_card]Daxos of Meletis[/mtg_card]. Inspiring Heroics is, however, begging for an [mtg_card]Elspeth, Sun’s Chapmion[/mtg_card] who could easily take the place of Soldier of the Panteon. A [mtg_card]Heliod, God of the Sun[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Heliod’s Emissary[/mtg_card] wouldn’t go amiss, either and nor would the cheap but useful [mtg_card]Thassa, God of the Sea[/mtg_card].

If you want to have a bit of fun with Monstrosity, [mtg_card]Hundred-Handed One[/mtg_card], [mtg_card]Shipbreaker Kraken[/mtg_card] or [mtg_card]Sealock Monster[/mtg_card] could be worth including. The decks affinity with blue also gives you the opportunity to throw in [mtg_card]Medomai the Ageless[/mtg_card] will give you an extra turn every time it deals combat damage to a player.

Playtest

We took “Inspiring Heroics” for a spin against some of Ben’s brutal custom tournament decks, and it certainly held out well. I’m not sure if this is down to luck, a good solid deck build, or a combination of both, but I found the vanilla deck to be a lot more powerful than I had anticipated.

I also played against the Face The Hydra deck, and found several cards that have devastating effects upon decks like the Hydra which rely on a glut of identical cards being in play at once. The various exile cards [mtg_card]Detention Sphere[/mtg_card] being one of my favourites, were pretty much all that stood between me and imminent doom. [mtg_card]Banisher Priest[/mtg_card] was a lifesaver, but is obviously somewhat vulnerable.

By far my favourite card in the deck, however, was [mtg_card]New Prahv Guildmage[/mtg_card] whose ability to turn seemingly innocent fodder into a deadly flying offensive proved instrumental to one of my victories. A close second was [mtg_card]Soldier of the Pantheon[/mtg_card] which proved a brutal counter to a dastardly but multicoloured deck full of counter spells. [mtg_card]Frontline Medic[/mtg_card] also looks pretty good on paper, but I didn’t get the opportunity to play it.

Overall I found Inspiring Heroics to be pretty solid, but I will be making substitutions to it after a few more plays, a few more of those dastardly Guildmages wouldn’t go amiss. The Theros Fat Pack gave me a brilliant pool of cards to try out, and I’m smitten with the idea of Enchantment Creatures which can result in some pretty hard-hitting powered up creatures popping out of nowhere onto the battlefield.