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Theros Beyond Death Standard Set Review: White

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Blue | Black and Gold | Red and Artifacts | Green and Lands


Theros: Beyond Death is legal online and today we start my Standard Set Review! Theros seems to be a powerful set, but not as powerful as War of the Spark or Throne of Eldraine, thankfully. We still have some great cards, though, and THB will spawn new archetypes thanks to all the enchantments. Let's go ahead and get started, shall we?

I will not be going over cards that I believe will not see play in Standard and I will not be going over the Commander cards that will not see Standard play. For example, cards like Elspeth, Undaunted Hero (Planeswalker duel deck rare) and Archon of Falling Stars will be omitted since they are just Limited/Commander cards and saying, "This is just a Limited card" repeatedly gets old rather fast. Don't worry though, I will be covering all the rare and mythic cards in the actual Theros: Beyond Death set. So, if you like a certain rare or mythic, it will be mentioned in the review.

Keep in mind I'm rating all these cards for Standard playability. I will mention Modern applications if I believe the card has some.

Each card will be listed by color, then alphabetically by name.

Each card will be given a rating of 1-5. If a card would receive a 0, meaning it will see no play in that format ever, its rating is left off the list.

Rating | Explanation | Standard Examples

0 - Will never see play in this format (0 ratings are not listed).

1 - Unlikely to see play. (Light of the Legion)

2 - Could see fringe play, or occasional sideboard card. (Drowned Secrets)

3 - Commonly played, staple in a single deck, or frequent play in several decks. (Oath of Kaya, Thought Erasure, Lava Coil)

4 - Format staples. Sees play in multiple decks, one of the best cards in the format. (Hydroid Krasis, Risen Reef, Narset, Parter of Veils)

5 - Format warping. If you're in these colors, you play that card. (Teferi, Time Raveler, Nissa, Who Shakes the World)

Now that we have that out of the way, let's begin!

Alseid of Life's Bounty
3 - White weenie decks sometimes play the strangest 1-drops to fill the curve. It has lifelink which is good for Mono-White Heliod, Sun-Crowned devotion.
Archon of Sun's Grace
3 - This is no Emeria Angel, but it's still a decent finisher in the right control deck. Archon of Sun's Grace doesn't care that you cast an enchantment spell, just that one entered the battlefield. Could work with Thassa, Deep-Dwelling, getting you a Pegasus at the end of turn. I also like this with Sentinel's Eyes on turn five. Building your own Lyra Dawnbringer while also creating 2/2 fliers with lifelink.
Banishing Light
3.5 - Just a solid removal spell that should replace Prison Realm since it's not restricted to just creatures and planeswalkers. Exiling that Fires of Invention or Witch's Oven is very relevant.
The Birth of Meletis
3 - Birth of Meletis is a different Wall of Omens that doesn't always draw you a card; and, when it does, it's a basic Plains. We all know White is not in the best spot right now, but this should still see play in control decks. Hitting land drops and surviving is what a control deck wants to do, and Birth helps with those.
Daxos, Blessed by the Sun
3 - Not sure what the payoff for devotion to White is outside of Heliod, but Daxos does play well with Heliod and cards like Ajani's Pridemate.
Eidolon of Obstruction
2.5 - Sure, this is decent against planeswalkers, but aggressive decks don't really care too much about the cheap planeswalkers like Teferi, Time Raveler. A 2/1 First Striker isn't very good against Cat/Oven, Fires, Simic Flash, Adventure.deck or Bant Ramp, so I just don't see a home for this little enchantment spirit.
Elspeth Conquers Death
4 - Now this is a good White spell. Being able to hit anything that costs 3 or more, like the 3 mana planeswalkers, is relevant. The only problem is I'm not sure you'll always be able to trigger the third chapter since it only looks at your graveyard. You'll need to be able to reliably hit with the first and third chapter to make this card worth it. Works great with discard spells like Thirst for Meaning.
Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis
2.5 - Overrated card. Elspeth, Sun's Nemesis is basically a planeswalker with Flashback that doesn't exile itself when you flash it back, but her abilities cost so much. The best she can do is give two creatures +2/+1 reliably. Otherwise, she's not that great or impactful.
Heliod, Sun-Crowned
3 - This is much better in older formats where it can combo with Walking Ballista. As far as Standard goes, it will be playable in Mono-White devotion.
Heliod's Intervention
2 - Worst Intervention. Should have at least exiled artifacts/enchantments. That being said, it's still a playable Sideboard card. I don't expect to run into this card main deck unless Standard is full of enchantments and artifacts. Even then, is it better than Planar Cleansing?
Idyllic Tutor
2.5 - It does guarantee Fires of Invention by turn four in Fire decks. If you can also make it good when you have an active Fires by playing Banishing Lights and some enchantment threat, then I could see this being played in Fires of Invention decks.
Karametra's Blessing
2.5 - White Weenie decks play some of the weirdest ways to make things indestructible. Probably worse than Unbreakable Formation overall but could be better than Gods Willing in the right shell.
Omen of the Sun
2 - Raise the Alarm for one more mana and you gain two life for that extra mana. Wish this just made 1/1 lifelink creatures instead. As is it seems okay as a potential Sideboard card for control decks or if you want a couple more Raise the Alarms in your Venerated Loxodon deck, I don't think you do though. For 3 mana you can be doing much stronger things, like playing Gideon Blackblade.
Revoke Existence
2 - A good generic answer to the enchantment Gods. Sideboard option only.
Sentinel's Eyes
3 - This card is intriguing because it's a very cheap Escape card in both mana and how many cards you exile. I really like it alongside Archon of Sun's Grace. I wouldn't be surprised if this card saw play in some sort of enchantment matter decks, probably alongside Setessan Champion.
Shatter the Sky
3.5 - Worse in control shells but it is better in midrange shells like Jeskai Fires. Cantriping when you kill your own Bonecrusher Giant or Cavalier is decent. Can work alongside Gideon Blackblade, as well; Gideon lives and saves another creature you control by giving it indestructible.
Taranika, Akroan Veteran
2.5 - Man, I remember when these cards made their own creatures. Cards like Brimaz, King of Oreskos or Geist of Saint Traft. NO MORE! Now you need a creature out too. If I need a creature out to use this card, I'd rather just have Gideon Blackblade.
Transcendent Envoy
1.5 - Fringe playable in an enchantment deck but just overall a lot worse than Starfield Mystic.

Top 5 White Cards

  1. Elspeth Conquers Death
  2. Banishing Light
  3. Shatter the Sky
  4. The Birth of Meletis
  5. Heliod, Sun-Crowned

White got some solid cards in Theros: Beyond Death. Elspeth Conquers Death is a very welcome addition to uw control decks to deal with cards permanently instead of temporarily with things like Conclave Tribunal or Banishing Light. Shatter the Sky will still be Day of Judgment against small creature decks and that's where you want it most anyways, so it will see a good amount of play. I may have The Birth of Meletis a little too high, but I think the card is underrated.

Tomorrow we'll be going over the Blue cards, don't miss it!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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