Just How Good Is Storm Herald In Theros Beyond Death Limited?

Ryan Saxe is cracking packs and taking names! As he starts a Theros Beyond Death draft, he wonders about Storm Herald. Does it pull its weight?

Heliod’s Pilgrim, illustrated by Izzy

Theros Beyond Death is on Magic Online already, and it’s time to get into the weeds. Not all archetypes are created equal, and the same goes for colors. My intuition of card quality leads me to believe that black and green are the best colors, head and shoulders above the rest. Blue and white are solid, and red is pretty far behind the pack.

However, I could be entirely off base. Context means everything, and at the time of writing this article, I haven’t done many drafts. For all we know, red is the best color; I just don’t believe it’s likely. That being said, I’m going to start off drafting as if the colors are equal so that I still learn about each archetype. If I avoid red, I’ll never learn how to properly draft it, which is still important even if it’s the worst color.

Pack 1, Pick 1

The Pack:

Storm Herald Nessian Hornbeetle Medomai’s Prophecy Shoal Kraken Temple Thief Chain to Memory Elite Instructor Satyr’s Cunning Leonin of the Lost Pride Transcendent Envoy Venomous Hierophant Voracious Typhon Final Flare Incendiary Oracle

The Pick:

Nessian Hornbeetle, Voracious Typhon
I am torn between Nessian Hornbeetle and Voracious Typhon for the best green card in this pack. Typhon has awesome stats with built-in card advantage. Nessian Hornbeetle is a nice two-drop, and it has the potential to be so incredibly efficient alongside a common like Loathsome Chimera. Between the two, I think Voracious Typhon is the safe pick, but early in a format I’m not going for the safe pick. It’s important to discern how easy it is to make Nessian Hornbeetle powerful, and so I’m going to hedge on that if I take a green card out of this pack. I do believe it’s more likely that Voracious Typhon is the correct pick out of this pack, but that’s not how I draft Week 1. 

Medomai's Prophecy
Medomai’s Prophecy looks quite powerful. A two-mana enchantment that says scry 2 and then draws two cards is an unbelievable rate. It is quite slow, as the cards don’t come immediately, but I believe it will be good. However, I don’t think it’s going to be better than the best rate creatures in the format, and all the other options in this pack fit into that camp. If it turns out that the format is incredibly slow, this will be the correct pick.

Storm Herald
How does Storm Herald line up against Nessian Hornbeetle? Both of them are aggressively slanted creatures that have a serviceable base rate, yet an absurd ceiling. In most formats, this would be a clear Nessian Hornbeetle. However, with commons like Iroas’s Blessing and all the constellation synergy, Storm Herald has the potential to be busted. While Voracious Typhon may be the correct pick out of this pack, I’m going to speculate on the more complicated/convoluted card in Storm Herald.

Pack 1, Pick 2

The Picks So Far:

Storm Herald

The Pack:

Gallia of the Endless Dance Careless Celebrant Staggering Insight Mire’s Grasp Relentless Pursuit Arena Trickster Witness of Tomorrows Blight-Breath Catoblepas Karametra’s Blessing Underworld Charger Sunmane Pegasus Satyr’s Cunning Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea

The Pick:

Relentless Pursuit
Relentless Pursuit is so much better than I thought it was. I thought you could only get one creature or land, but it turns out you can get both! And it feeds all the escape graveyard synergies. That means in the right deck the average case scenario is somewhere between draw-two and draw-three. I believe this card will be better than Warbriar Blessing and that it will be a high pick as long as the format is not too fast.

Mire's Grasp, Underworld Charger
Mire’s Grasp and Underworld Charger, in my opinion, are the top two black commons (yes, over Final Death). While I don’t think they’re at the top of the pack here, they are phenomenally efficient and should be taken highly.

Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea
Callaphe, Beloved of the Sea is awesome. It’s rare to find a cheap blue creature that can hit as hard as Callaphe. The taxing ability is likely to be relevant, but not backbreaking. Overall, this makes for a solid card that I don’t mind first picking, but I would rather take an efficient removal spell like Mire’s Grasp instead.

Gallia of the Endless Dance, Careless Celebrant
Gallia of the Endless Dance is a glorified Runeclaw Bear. She has a variety of abilities that are relevant, especially as Satyr tokens are a red mechanic in the format, but I don’t think I need to prioritize her in the same way I need to prioritize more complicated rares. If I were to take a red card, I think Careless Celebrant is a better pick to stay open. And Careless Celebrant is a quite powerful card and probably my second choice out of this pack.

Staggering Insight
Staggering Insight is actually absurd. I think it will be one of the best uncommons in the entire set. Fundamentally, Limited games boil down to either a war of resources or a race. Staggering Insight dominates both of those situations. Yes, Auras come with a risk, but the reward on this one is so high that I couldn’t care less. Additionally, one hit with the creature and that card disadvantage risk is gone. This card would be absurd in any Limited format, and throwing it into one with such a strong enchantment theme just makes it more potent. Even though it’s likely difficult to play with my first pick, it’s too much better than the rest of this pack to justify taking anything else.

Pack 1, Pick 3

The Picks So Far:

Storm Herald Staggering Insight

The Pack:

Sage of Mysteries Field of Ruin Agonizing Remorse Omen of the Dead Unknown Shores Triumphant Surge Heliod’s Pilgrim Aspect of Lamprey Flicker of Fate Arena Trickster Thirst for Meaning Iroas’s Blessing

The Pick:

Three great commons to go with my pool so far. What should I take?

Iroas's Blessing
Iroas’s Blessing is a fairly clunky removal spell, but it makes Storm Herald turn into a Flametongue Kavu. And that kind of card is often the best in the set. However, I think that Staggering Insight is enough better than Storm Herald that leaning towards a card that goes with that is better, especially since both Heliod’s Pilgrim and Thirst for Meaning can work well with Storm Herald in case Azorius is not open.

Heliod's Pilgrim
Boros has access to more Auras than Izzet, so while I believe that Thirst for Meaning is a better card than Heliod’s Pilgrim, this pick is close because Heliod’s Pilgrim provides a better hedge towards both of the strong cards in my pool.

Thirst for Meaning
That being said, at this stage in the draft I think it’s best not to be too biased by my pool and just take the best card in this pack: Thirst for Meaning. I believe Thirst for Meaning is the best blue common as it fulfills graveyard, flash, and enchantment synergies while also being a phenomenal rate for card advantage. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s just the best common!