Top new MTG Standard cards from Theros: Beyond Death

Enchantments and creatures lead the way in the new Standard.

Rage-Scarred Berserker Art Magic Theros Beyond Death
Image via Wizards of the Coast Magic: The Gathering

It’s officially week one for the new Magic: The Gathering meta, hot on the heels of the release of the card game’s newest set, Theros: Beyond Death (THB).

Many Magic players are trying to prepare their decks with all of the new cards introduced in THB. Here are the top cards heading into the new MTG Standard season.

Dream Trawler

Dream Trawler Spoiler Magic Theros Beyond Death
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The UW dream is back. Dream Trawler is a powerful finisher for Azorius and Esper decks, and as a result, hard control has returned to Standard. At six mana, this sphinx is no cheap spell, but once it’s hit the table, its value becomes apparent. It blocks most things, gains you life, and draws you extra cards when it attacks. Being able to dodge most removal by discarding a card is a great ability and we expect this card to define a deck over the next few months.

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse

Ashiok, Nightmare Muse Magic Theros Beyond Death
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Ashiok has a lot of power under the hood and early predictions of a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria-level impact seem to be coming true. Ashiok is showing up both in Esper Control and Hero shells, giving both decks a major threat and win condition if left alone. The bottom line is that this planeswalker needs an immediate answer from opponents before it steamrolls out of control.

Anax, Hardened in the Forge

Anax Hardened in the Forge Magic Theros Beyond Death
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Mono-red decks got a nice upgrade in the three-drop spot with Anax. His power ramps up with each other red permanent you own, and if you get hit with a board wipe, he leaves behind a Satyr strike fore. This kind of persistence is uncommon in red decks and should give the color a few more tricks up its sleeve. Just watch out for exile effects.

Elspeth Conquers Death

Elspeth Conquers Death Magic Theros Beyond Death
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This rare flew under the radar during spoiler season but it’s making a real impact in control shells with its varied and powerful abilities. Though Sagas take time to resolve themselves, this one has an immediate board impact that pushes it well into the range of playable. It hits the board and can kill almost anything bothering you, including planeswalkers. Then, two turns later, it brings something of yours back from death. If you bring back Garruk, Cursed Huntsman, you can immediately use his ultimate loyalty ability for serious value.

Omen of the Sea

Omen of the Sea Magic Theros Beyond Death
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Every card in the Omen cycle is big game in Limited, but the blue Omen is making quite a splash in Standard. It turns out instant-speed Preordain for one more mana and an extra bonus down the road is great. This enchantment is seeing play in most blue decks as a nice way to spend mana and provide a lot of synergies (like devotion boosting and Doom Foretold outlet) that a blue instant or sorcery wouldn’t.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Gray Merchant of Asphodel Spoiler Magic Theros Beyond Death
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Mono-black is a new deck for Standard this season and Gray headlines the squad with a killer enters-the-battlefield ability that players are using to outright win the game. Alone, he drains two. But in a deck full of cards like Murderous Rider and Yarok’s Fenlurker, he can easily swing the game well into your favor.

For a bonus, throw in Nightmare Shepherd. The demon is two additional black pips and when you sacrifice Gray with Ayara, the shepherd creates a token 1/1 with the exact same drain effect.

Uro, Titan of Nature’s Wrath

Uro Titan of Nature's Wrath Spoiler Magic Theros Beyond Death
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As many predicted, Uro is making a splash in Simic decks, paving the way for improved Ramp packages that get out of control fast. Uro is card draw, life gain, and ramp all in one beastly package. And with the Escape ability, it can jump back in the game from the graveyard. Growth Spiral is already a great card in its own right and Uro ups the game by tying this ability to a 6/6 beater.