At some point along the path of the Chromatic Project (building at least one deck of each possible color combination), I knew about the gods of Theros.
Already into the two-color decks, I didn’t want to wait what seemed like forever to get the two-color gods, so I plunged forward-knowing at least that I’d
be building all my mono-colored decks from the Theros pantheon. While nothing is stopping me from making decks with the new two-color gods as Commanders,
I’m already happy with the ones I have. Now that we have all ten of the two-color gods from Born of the Gods and Journey to Nyx, I’ll engage in a little
thought exercise. Here’s a rough outline of the decks that I’d build (or like to see built) with each of them.
Athreos, God of Passage
Athreos clearly must be a creature deck, and you’ll have to have ways to sacrifice your creatures or otherwise make them die. I’d stick with a tight mana
curve of value creatures, perhaps going with evasion like shadow and swampwalk (since you know someone is playing Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth). The deck is in
extort colors, which plays into having a good number of cards that aren’t particularly expensive to cast, especially if you can do it over and over. Blind
Obedience and Crypt Ghast are the obvious ones, but Treasury Thrull could also be worthwhile. Endrek Sahr, Master Breeder will get you going as well. Since
you’re going to have a sacrifice outlet like Altar of Dementia, Ashnod’s Altar, and Phyrexian Altar, you can keep the thrull count low if you want.
Phyrexian Reclamation will be a superstar in this deck. You’re going to be doing graveyard shenanigans, so Tortured Existence could be interesting. As a
side note, why is no one playing Recover? Creatures with Echo, such as Bone Shredder, Karmic Guide, Radiant’s Dragoons will pay great dividends.
Sacrificing creatures to do other things, like with Helm of Possession, Jinxed Idol, Trading Post, and more, will get things going for you. If you want to
get really crazy, you could run Festering Newt, Bubbling Cauldron, and Bogbrew Witch. With those sacrifice effects, you’ll want some combination of Dictate
of Erebos, Grave Pact, and Butcher of Malakir. Finally, Erebos, God of the Dead will be a real kick in the Jacobs. Other players not gaining life is
awesome enough already; not having it to prevent stuff going back to your hand is super sauce.
Outside-the-box cards: Death Pit Offering, Priest of Gix
Ephara, God of the Polis
Ephara will be another creature-based deck, but in addition to making creatures on your own turn, it’s going to want to make creatures on everyone else’s
turns too. This means either having Teferi, Mage of Zhalfir or token creators like Mobilization. There’s no reason that you couldn’t play both Thassa, God
of the Sea, and Heliod, God of the Sun in order to keep your devotion count up and draw into the cards you want. Ephara’s power is large enough that you
might consider going Voltron with her. Sword of Body and Mind will make creatures so that you don’t have to keep casting them. Godsend ups your devotion
and makes blocking awkward. A wizard tribal build could give you the control you want to keep alive your creatures. Azami is really good and
supplies three devotion by herself. There are plenty of cunning wizards in white to pick from as well: Galepowder Mage, Magus of the Moat (combo’d with
Archetype of Imagination), and Spelltithe Enforcer among them.
It’s not my style, but there seems to be a Stax build possible. Having white gives you access to some board wipes if you want them, so you have all the
control elements you could desire. A few enters-the-battlefield creatures and Conjurer’s Closet and/or Venser, the Sojourner would help that even more. You
might also consider soldier tribal (Sun Quan, Lord of Wu wins games), merfolk tribal, or some wild combination.
Outside-the-box cards: Stormcaller’s Boon, Energy Arc, Murder Investigation
Iroas, God of Victory
It seems as though the gods really like creatures and battling. Iroas gives you free rein to slam your forces into your enemies without getting hurt. Just
protect yourself on the back end with cards like Lightmine Field and Powerstone Minefield. Also consider that once you declare your creatures as attackers,
you can safely play instant damage spells like Fault Line and Comet Storm to clear the way. Obvious attackers include Aurelia, the Warleader; Odric, Master
Tactician; Hero of Oxid Ridge (which will keep down the chump blocking); and Hero of Bladehold. My Aurelia deck is a pretty good place to start looking for
creatures. Master Warcraft will help you sort out the “who can and can’t block” issues as well.
Since there are fewer potential blockers, ambush creatures like Goblin Grenadiers, Goblin Vandal, and Orcish Squatters are on the table. If you want to
play things a little more defensively, you can give your creatures vigilance with Heliod, God of the Sun (and potentially create more attackers) or Serra’s
Blessing. Iroas, of course, wouldn’t be seen without his buddy Tajic, Blade of Legion.
Outside-the-box cards: False Orders; Gleam of Battle; Razia, Boros Archangel
Karametra, God of Harvests
In Karametra, you’re going to get lands. First, you get the lands. Then you get the power. Then you get the women. Women like Avacyn, Angel of Hope.
Getting all those lands strongly suggests a landfall deck, and you’re in the colors for it. Admonition Angel, Avenger of Zendikar, Emeria Angel, and
Rampaging Baloths will provide continual upside, especially if you want to play Wheel of Sun and Moon and Zuran Orb to keep cycling all the lands through
your deck while gaining bunches of life. Don’t forget how huge Knight of the Reliquary will get. Garruk, Primal Hunter could create a pretty silly army.
Masked Admirers will keep you drawing cards.
There’s some argument for Amulet of Vigor to give you immediate access to the mana. I’d play mostly basic lands (something pretty easy to do with a
two-color deck) and add Primal Order for many, many laughs. Playing Nylea, God of the Hunt alongside Karametra gives the inevitable fatties that you’ll
cast trample, which will lead to inevitable beatings for your opponents. Add the old-timey tech of Beacon of Creation and Skullclamp. Primordial Sage will
keep your hand full, especially if you add Cloudstone Curio.
Outside-the-box cards: Turntimber Basilisk, Living Plane
Keranos, God of Storms
Keranos strongly suggests a theme deck: storms and the giants that bring them. We’ll look through everything in the color identity with thunder, lightning,
clouds, and storms. Unfortunately, the only decent giant in blue is Frost Titan. Fortunately, there are nearly 60 in red. We lose a few of the best ones in
white (like Cloudgoat Ranger and Jareth, Leonine Titan), but we’ll get by. We get a few good non-giants with Thundermaw Hellkite, Thundermare, Thundercloud
Elemental, and the new Stormchaser Chimera. I’d even go with Roil Elemental.
In order to take advantage of Keranos’s ability, we’ll need some top-of-the-library control like Sensei’s Diving Top, Scroll Rack, Magus of the Future, and
Future Sight. Unfortunately, giving Keranos deathtouch will be quite difficult. There isn’t anything in the colors that gives all your creatures
deathtouch, so we’ll have to rely on something like Basilisk Collar, which can do OK on an active Keranos, Inferno Titan, or Hammerfist Giant. I might also
consider adding Scourge of Kher Ridges just because of the Basilisk Collar. Being in colors that don’t ramp that well, Quicksilver Amulet and Urza’s Amulet
Outside-the-box cards: Cinder Cloud, Lightning Coils
Kruphix, God of Horizons
One of the most talked-about cards in Journey into Nyx, Kruphix will help you pile up mana. What you’re going to do with it is up to you. You have Seedborn
Muse and Prophet of Kruphix to make things pretty silly. Infinite mana combos are pretty easy in this format, so I’d rather go way outside-the-box with
Kruphix. Unfortunately, Kruphix doesn’t really have another ability to build around. The “no max hand size” thing is neat and all, but without Empyrial
Plate, it’s not doing anything else.
Even without going infinite, you’ll have extra mana around, so the cool thing to do with Kruphix is to build the monstrous Whelming Wave deck. Pack in a
little mana ramp and a few mid-range creatures to keep you going early, then supersize Polukranos and Shipbreaker Kraken. Lorthos, the Tidemaker will make
use of some of that stored-up mana. Deep-Sea Kraken will come off of suspend faster than you think. And someone will finally play Nimbus Swimmer. Maybe you
could just try to win off of Helix Pinnacle. In the end, I think that Kruphix is the god that is the most difficult to build something interesting around.
Inside the box cards: Genesis Wave; Curse of the Swine; Sakiko, Mother of Summer
Mogis, God of Slaughter
Mogis taught Rakdos everything he knows. The way to go with Mogis is continued Slaughter. Tainted AEther. Lethal Vapors (with indestructible creatures like
Darksteel Colossus or swarms plus Eldrazi Monument). Fleshbag Marauder. Create crazy states with Avatar of Slaughter and Crawlspace. Make creatures die
(which shouldn’t be hard in black and red) and gain life with Dross Harvester. Since other people are sacrificing creatures, play It That Betrays. Too bad
you can’t also play Prince of Thralls. Lim-Dul the Necromancer, Massacre Wurm, and the hidden gem Sangromancer give you benefits from creatures dying.
Kaervek the Merciless is slaughteriffic enough, but adding Grafted Exoskeleton will make them really pick their spots to cast spells. Black/red means not
caring about anyone else’s feelings, so instead of the on-board trick of Grafted Exoskeleton, wait for someone to cast a big spell and then Tainted Strike
Kaervek. Regrow Tainted Strike and scream “Who wants more?” I’m sure your play group will love it.
Outside-the-box cards: That Which Was Taken, Dingus Staff
Pharika, God of Affliction
Sometimes we want to play cards like Defense of the Heart and our opponents are unkind enough to limit themselves to two creatures. Help them out a little
with Pharika. Help them out a little more by playing with Blood Artist so that when those snakes die, your life total goes in a proper direction. Help them
out further by removing inconvenient abilities with Archetype of Finality. If you want to be even techier, try out Night of Souls’ Betrayal, Urborg
Shambler, or Stronghold Taskmaster. With all that dying, Reaper of the Wilds could be cool. Infernal Tribute costs BBB, so it could help turn on Pharika
quite quickly, plus help draw cards. Necropotence is the same, but always tricky to have around. All the Garruks are good (and you can play Garruk
Relentless in this color combination), but Garruk, Primal Hunter really runs up the devotion count. Add Doomgape for real laughs.
Pharika is cheap enough (and in colors that can easily get its devotion going) that you can think about commander damage. Brawn and Nylea, God of the Hunt
will help you with trample, good for all the good power-to-cost ratio creatures you can have. Since you’re in black, you could make Pharika the god of
nearly any tribe with Conspiracy. You’ll be playing Creakwood Liege, so maybe it’s worms. OK, not worms. How about Skyshroud Poacher and some elves?
Outside-the-box cards: Reap, Gravestorm
Phenax, God of Deception
Phenax kind of builds itself, but instead of a raw mill deck, I’d rather go with something that mills things so that you can use them. You’ll still need a
little graveyard hate like Scrabbling Claws or Withered Wretch in order to take out things that are inconvenient (like Ulamog, the Infinite Gyre), but then
it’s time to Bring Out Your Dead with Rise of the Dark Realms, Liliana Vess, Sepulchral Primordial, Havengul Lich, and Geth, Lord of the Vault. Huge props
to the player that gets All Hallow’s Eve to go off and then casts Gather Specimens. Consuming Aberration will threaten to kill or mill someone. Ghastlord
of Fugue will turn on Phenax all by itself. Add Nemesis of Reason and the Jaces, and you have a deck. Maybe even kick in Lazav, Dimir Mastermind as one of
I gave some deep thought to building a truly outside-the-box Phenax deck, but it’s just too narrow to do anything else with. This is the one that I’d just
rather give into (if I were going to build it) and spend creative energy on other decks.
Outside-the-box cards: Guiltfeeder, Bonehoard
Xenagos, God of Revels
I guess “revels” really means “battles,” because that’s what Xenagos does. I’d avoid going with too many super-fatties, sticking with dangerous mid-cost
creatures that have hexproof. Of course, Malignus costs only five and people sometimes forget the damage can’t be prevented. You’re in the colors to play
Asceticism and Archetype of Endurance, but you also have native hexproof in creatures like Drove of Elves; Dungrove Elder; Lumberknot; Plated Slagwurm; and
Thrun, the Last Troll. Domri Rade is also in your colors, so if you can ever get that ultimate, you’ll be golden (in more ways than one). Putting the
Xenagos trigger on the stack and then casting Berserk (or Fatal Frenzy) seems like it’ll pile up damage pretty quickly. The dream play would be doing that
on Worldspine Wurm. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Savage Beating, Relentless Assault, and World at War. I’m sure you’ve already thought of Fling and
The wacky combo with this deck is something that allows you to fight one of your own creatures, Broodhatch Nantuko (or Saber Ants), and Purphoros, God of
the Forge (okay, there are lots of things that combo with Purphoros). How about just fight and Mogg Maniac?
Outside-the-box cards: Blind Fury, Living Hive, Hateflayer
While some of the two-color gods of Theros are build-around commanders, it seems to me that they’re better off as role-players in existing decks. None of
them makes me want to disassemble existing decks to replace them with any of these ten, but I will certainly be using all ten of them in multiples. On the
back burner, I’m considering that when I finally build a five-color deck as part of the Chromatic Project, an all-gods-and-Planeswalkers deck is a real
Finally, without comment, in order to get the updated version into the database, here’s my most recent version of Lavinia of the Tenth:
- 1 Solemn Simulacrum
- 1 Clone
- 1 Man-o'-War
- 1 Duplicant
- 1 Karmic Guide
- 1 Mistmeadow Witch
- 1 Galepowder Mage
- 1 Mulldrifter
- 1 Reveillark
- 1 Slithermuse
- 1 Knight of the White Orchid
- 1 Kozilek, Butcher of Truth
- 1 Aether Adept
- 1 Angelic Arbiter
- 1 Frost Titan
- 1 Sun Titan
- 1 War Priest of Thune
- 1 Elesh Norn, Grand Cenobite
- 1 Phyrexian Metamorph
- 1 Phyrexian Ingester
- 1 Stonehorn Dignitary
- 1 Restoration Angel
- 1 Deadeye Navigator
- 1 Archon of the Triumvirate
- 1 Isperia, Supreme Judge
- 1 Azorius Justiciar
- 1 Daxos of Meletis
- 1 Medomai the Ageless
- 1 Djinn of Infinite Deceits
- 1 Angel of Finality
- 1 Ephara, God of the Polis
- 1 Sensei's Divining Top
- 1 Sol Ring
- 1 Holy Day
- 1 Equilibrium
- 1 Darksteel Ingot
- 1 Future Sight
- 1 Turnabout
- 1 Hibernation
- 1 Wayfarer's Bauble
- 1 Crystal Shard
- 1 Portcullis
- 1 Erratic Portal
- 1 Vanish into Memory
- 1 Return to Dust
- 1 Cryptic Command
- 1 Planar Cleansing
- 1 Day of Judgment
- 1 Blue Sun's Zenith
- 1 Mycosynth Wellspring
- 1 Ghostly Flicker
- 1 Conjurer's Closet
- 1 Faith's Reward
- 1 Azorius Charm
- 1 Cyclonic Rift
- 1 Martial Law
- 1 Azorius Cluestone
- 1 Restore the Peace
- 1 Strionic Resonator
If you want to follow the adventures of my Monday Night RPG group (in a campaign that’s been alive since 1987), ask for an invitation to the Facebook group
“Sheldon Menery’s Monday Night Gamers.”