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Theros Beyond Death Standard Set Review: Red and Artifacts


Find the the other parts below!

White | Blue | Black and Gold | Green and Lands

Today we'll be covering the Red and artifact cards of Theros Beyond Death. Before we start, let's go over the grading scale!

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!

The Akroan War
3 - This is such a strange Saga. It's a temporary Red Control Magic that forces your opponents to attack you. You can then trade off the creature you stole or let them all get Solar Blazed. If you don't trade the creature you stole, then they'll get it back. Seems like a good midrange card but I don't see a place for it in current Standard. All that being said, it plays wonderfully with Thassa since you'll get to keep the creature forever.
Anax, Hardened in the Forge
2.5 - All the demigods seem playable in devotion shells and Anax is no different. I just don't think Red devotion is good. I like that Anax makes your creatures resilient and allows them to make tokens when they die. This is very good for attrition matchups or against board wipes.
Blood Aspirant
3.5 - This card seems good in a br sacrifice deck. It grows extremely large when you start sacrificing cats and food, it's like a mini Korvold, Fae-Cursed King.
Careless Celebrant
2.5 - Celebrant at the very worst is a good sideboard card against small aggressive strategies since it will almost always be a two for one. When it's not a two for one, it's still trading up. It also has a relevant creature type since we do have a very good Satyr lord.
Escape Velocity
2.5 - If Maximize Velocity saw play, I don't see why this wouldn't. Especially since you can continuously recur it pretty easily without having to discard a card to jump-start.
Irreverent Revelers
2.5 - Manic Vandal with upside. If you're playing Gallia then you'll probably want these Revelers, if you're an adventure deck you should stick to Embereth Shieldbreaker. In best of one Irreverent Revelers is pretty maindeckable and I like that they're making more cards like that.
Omen of the Forge
2.5 - Slowest Magma Jet ever! At least you can use the enchantment for other things like a sacrifice outlet or to increase your devotion.
Ox of Agonas
3.5 - This card is good, especially when it's escaping. You'll just need to fuel your graveyard. I can definitely see this being played in older formats, especially in Dredge.
Phoenix of Ash
3.5 - A very resilient threat with evasion that you can also just pump when you have nothing else to do. It's amazing at offense but it can also be used for defense in a pinch. Having double Red in its casting cost helps with devotion as well.
Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded
3 - Standard Sneak Attack! This card is epic! I imagine it will be extremely powerful in a Fires of Invention deck where on turn five you play Purphoros off Fires of Invention, activate to put a Drakuseth into play, then play your second spell for the turn in Cavalier of Flame. Give everything haste and kill your opponent.
Purphoros's Intervention
2.5 - A very slow Intervention but it basically has three modes since it can make a threat, hit a creature, or hit a planeswalker. Versatile, but the modes aren't great.
Storm Herald
2.5 - This is a meme if I've ever seen one, at least for Standard. In older formats it's just going to kill your opponents since you can attach Eldrazi Conscriptions to this bad boy and kill your opponent's very quickly.
Storm's Wrath
3.5 - A cheaper Hour of Devastation that doesn't make things lose indestructible. Still great in that it's a wrath that hits planeswalkers. Lovestruck Beast, and Rotting Regisaur surviving this on curve really hurts but I still expect this card to see a good amount of play.
Tectonic Giant
2.5 - This card seems sweet against everything except Green decks, because of Questing Beast and Lovestruck Beast. Green decks are pretty rampant too. If this card finds a home it'll either be in elementals or some midrange shell.
Underworld Breach
3 - This card is extremely powerful but without good rituals, we cannot fully abuse this card in Standard. I'm sure it'll be some broken combo in older formats but its best home in Standard is probably going to be alongside Runaway Steam-Kin and burn spells.
Underworld Rage-Hound
2.5 - Aggressive creature is aggressive. Seems fine to me in a Red aggro deck, just lines up very poorly against Lovestruck Beast. Of course, almost every on curve creature does.

Top 5 Red Cards

  1. Ox of Agonas
  2. Phoenix of Ash
  3. Blood Aspirant
  4. Storm's Wrath
  5. The Akroan War

Two good escape cards in Red, I'd be surprised if neither of them showed up in a midrange or an aggressive deck. Might need next set for a rg monsters' type of deck but either way, Ox of Agonas and Phoenix of Ash have the stats to be very competitive cards in Standard.

Next up short list of artifacts!

Altar of the Pantheon
2.5 - Pristine Talisman was pretty dang good and if you control a God, Demigod, or Legendary Enchantment this card is so much better. This card is pretty sweet, and I think it could be a player in devotion decks that have X spells.
Nyx Lotus
3 - Speaking of X spells, Nyx Lotus is just Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx on an artifact. Even though this is overall worse than Nykthos, I still expect it to see a lot of play in devotion decks. It allows for giant Mass Manipulations, Hydroid Krasis, and is just a mana sink for Interventions and permanents like Purphoros, Bronze-Blooded
3.5 - And I thought Glaring Spotlight was a decent card for sideboards. Shadowspear is just an amazing card for the main deck that keeps Gods in check all while gaining you life and giving your creatures reach. This card is nuts!
Soul-Guide Lantern
2.5 - Another card that you can main deck in best of one and it not be terrible when you don't run into a graveyard deck. Wish it was just Relic of Progenitus but I guess this will do.

Not going to do a top five here but the artifact cards are solid. Nyx Lotus and Shadowspear should both find a home. Nyx Lotus's best home seems to be Mono-Blue since Mono-Blue gets Kiora to untap the Lotus and gets a big mana sink in Thassa's Intervention or just Mass Manipulation.

Tomorrow we go over the last bit of cards in Green and lands!

As always, thanks for reading,

Ali Aintrazi

Follow me @AliEldrazi

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