My favorite Born of the Gods cards that have been spoiled

While all the spoilers were unrolling the last couple of weeks my friends and I were looking at the new treats we would get to play with.  Everyone had their own favorite…apart from Brimaz (aka the Lion King), because he’ll be ridiculously good and a standard all-star soon enough. I will go through my pick for best card for Mythic, Rare, uncommon and common slots .  You may not agree, but as with anything in Magic, anyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Mythic of choice:

The first card that caught my eye was one of the minor gods.  Mogis is cool. Xenagos could make G/R monsters absolutely insane and power out bananas monsters that crush EVERYTHING.  However, neither of these got me excited.  One of the gods fit exactly into a deck I already have built, but is missing something…and the fact that she was staring right back, like an answer to a prayer, was tremendous. What caught my eye was Ephara, God of the Polis.  While her ability looks a little underwhelming, for the casual player, she is a bomb and a can’t miss all star.  Here’s what got me excited.

A little over a year ago I wrote an article detailing what is in essence an Azorius deck where I push the detain ability just about as far as I can go.  The deck list is as follows:

Azorius Detain (casual)

Now, this deck list wants to do exactly what Ephara is looking for: play lots of dudes! And with this deck, everytime you do, you’ll be detaining a creature and slowing down your opponent.  The problem that this deck runs into is the need to replenish your hand and while it has ways to this, Ephara is the perfect card draw engine to make things work for you even faster. You’ll cast your guys, slow down your opponent, and then refill your hand with new weapons to tie up your opponent.

Now, people will tell me “Wait! This deck isn’t standard! What are you doing!”.  True…this is not a standard legal deck, but at its heart Magic is game designed to be fun and this casual deck is exactly that.  It is also a deck that I routinely run in a multiplayer free-for-all environment and can be very effective and can shut down the whole table for turns on end. Also, it could certainly be adjusted to be Standard playable and the detain ability is still perfectly valid.  So, for those Standard players out there, with little adjustment, Ephara could play a role for you too.

Basically, at its simplest, this becomes a solid addition to simple decks looking to drop lots of creatures to turn sideways and smash your opponent.  However, it combos really well with Heliod in the Standard environment, or any Bant populate deck (which could totally become a thing with Advent of the Wurm  still running around).  The quiet ability of drawing extra cards for playing creatures is terrific.  It rewards you for doing exactly what we all want to do: play dudes and let them fight.

Rare of choice:

As an avowed Bant (G/W/U) mage by choice, I am rarely excited by cards in Black.  However, in this set one card immediately got my attention.  Pain Seer jumped out at me for the quasi “Bob” wording. Basically, if you can get this guy tapped and then have her live long enough to untap you can build some massive card advantage off of her.

So, while I was at excited, the sheer fact that this card is printed it amazing.  However, couple it with Springleaf Drum now you are a) able to ramp b) tap your Pain Seer without combat and c) get yourself cards.  Imagine this in a Mono-Black Devotion deck.  Turn 1: play a Swamp, cast Springleaf Drum – Turn 2: play a Swamp, cast Pain Seer, tap Pain Seer, play Thoughtseize – Turn 3: untap Pain Seer, draw your card, play a Swamp, tap Pain Seer, tap your Swamps, cast Desecration Demon Turn 4: untap Pain Seer, draw your card, play a Swamp, tap Pain Seer, tap your Swamps, cast Gray Merchant…and you’re off to the races. I’m sorry…Mono-Black just got one more way to accelerate into stuff, draw more cards and frankly, be even scarier than it already was. If this excites me for the impact it could have in a game just imagine what someone who LIKES to play Black will do with it. One word comes to mind: Gross.

Uncommon of choice:

My uncommon is one that grants an ability I haven’t seen in a while.  Noble Quarry is a Bestow creature with Lure on it.  Now, Lure was a ridiculous ability from when I was just a wee lad playing and it was awesome.  I was always so proud of my Thicket Basilisk (the ORIGINAL Deathtouch creature) with Lure that would wipe the board clear.  However, now Lure (I mean Noble Quarry) is back and it is pretty sweet.

This fits nicely in G or G/R creature heavy decks and games where the board state has stalled a little.  This can happen in a multiplayer game because people just can’t force through enough damage to finish off an opponent.  Little Noble Quarry will quickly result in a blow out.  Bestow it on your Sedge Scorpion, or some other innocuous creature (although Deathtouchers are always the most fun!) and watch the rest of your army punch through to your opponent and blow them out.  Sadly, your Scorpion dies, but guess what?  Noble Quarry, because it is now a creature allows you to untap, reload, and take out opponent number 2 with exactly the same maneuver.  This cute little unicorn is a game breaker and I love it!

Common of choice:

I’m going a little out of my comfort zone again and heading into Red for my common of choice.  With Heroic being a solid mechanic and Inspired being a mechanic that in the right deck could also be very interesting, Epiphany Storm is perfectly placed to be very useful and have some surprising impact.

We learned from Theros that cheap Heroic triggers are the way to go in order to take maximum advantage of the mechanic. So, Epiphany Storm being only one red mana is efficient and triggers Heroic on a creature.  A great example is my Akroan Crusader that acts like a little mini Assemble the Legion in a aggressive W/R deck.  I don’t REALLY want to attack with my Crusader, but I do want the tokens, so this is perfect and it can then be used to help me rummage through my deck to accelerate my aggressive deck.

The other ability is finding cheap ways to trigger the Inspired mechanic on…you guessed it…Pain Seer.  In a Rakdos B/R build this is the perfect enabler on a Pain Seer to get him to tap without forcing combat.  So, you’d rummage with the Epiphany Storm (to discard a card you don’t need), and then when Pain Seer untaps draw a card and then take your draw step.  So, for little investment you’ve just dug three cards deeper in your deck and hopefully found the gas you needed to continue to beat down…or find an answer to slow down your opponent.  Either way, this card is huge boon and something anyone looking to play Red should be looking to pick up in order to trigger Heroic or Inspired abilities.

Those are my picks for top cards for each of the four slots.  You may have different picks on your own, but the bottom line is that Born of the Gods looks like it could a very interesting set with lots of neat new tricks, fun choices, and things that continue to make Magic enjoyable and fresh.


Bruce Gray
@bgray8791 on Twitter