In Theros Beyond Death Limited, I expect enchantments to play a crucial role. There are Sagas, constellation, enchantment creatures, and a variety of abilities and cycles that are designed to incentivize playing enchantments. How does this change the texture of the Limited format?
The most intuitive consequence of such an immense increase in enchantment density is that Disenchant / Naturalize cards may be optimal in the maindeck, especially in Sealed. Both Revoke Existence and Return to Nature are clever reprints thanks to the escape mechanic. The more I think about it, the more strongly I believe that it will be correct to start these cards in Limited.
One important question to answer in order to understand Theros Beyond Death Limited is how much better Auras are than normal. There are various cards, like Heliod’s Pilgrim, that incentivize playing Auras. But Auras come with a risk of card disadvantage when put head-to-head against removal.
However, it appears that many of the Auras in this format are designed to mitigate this risk. Commanding Presence and Staggering Insight provide immediate value the turn they are cast. And even cards like Escape Velocity function more like Equipment for providing value over time. The last time we saw a repeatable effect like that was Gryff’s Boon in Shadows over Innistrad, and that card was quite good.
We’ve seen fast-paced formats like Ixalan and Amonkhet where Auras are some of the more valuable spells in order to snowball the early-game. But will that be the case for Theros Beyond Death? Escape rewards the long-game, and to some extent so do Sagas. But Auras often push for aggression, and there are aggressive creatures like Pious Wayfarer and Hero of the Pride that push for a density of Auras.
There’s a lot more to enchantments in Theros Beyond Death than Auras and their aggressive incentives. There’s a flash subtheme in the set meant to interact profitably with constellation.
Cards like Omen of the Forge, Mire’s Grasp, and Dreadful Apathy are awesome because they’re removal spells that help push for enchantment synergies. And cards like Omen of the Sun are perfect for ambushing attackers with additional constellation triggers. Lastly, the density of enchantment creatures means that the card type is just all over the place. I expect constellation to be easy to trigger, and games to be quite skill-intensive. Reading your opponent will be more important than ever with this many instant-speed cards.
I’ll end with two commons that I believe will be fantastic because of everything discussed above.
Thirst for Meaning is almost certainly the best blue common! It enables all of the instant-speed synergies with cards like Naiad of Hidden Coves or even Arena Trickster. And having tricky flash cards and counterspells is likely to be better than ever when Thirst for Meaning mitigates the risk of holding up mana.
This Limited format is going to be tricky, but I imagine it will be quite rewarding.