Magic: The Gathering’s latest set is taking the trading card game back to the world of Theros, and we’ve got an exclusive first look at one of the cards making an appearance in the upcoming expansion.
Theros: Beyond Death is the first time Magic: The Gathering has revisited the plane inspired by Greek mythology since 2014’s Journey into Nyx, the last set in the Theros block which debuted the setting in 2013. (Like most of the standalone sets, this means it’s a good place to jump in, if you’re a newcomer seeking out a beginner’s guide to Magic: The Gathering.)
The expansion’s narrative centres around fan-favourite planeswalker protagonist Elspeth Tirel, who found herself in Theros’ underworld after the culmination of Journey into Nyx where [spoilers for Magic: The Gathering’s story follow] she was killed by Theros sun god Heliod using her own spear.
The flashy cinematic trailer for Theros: Beyond Death revealed late last year shows Elspeth in Nyx, being drowned by souls before suddenly returning to life in line with the set’s title.
Theros: Beyond Death will feature over 250 new cards, including a whole host of monsters and characters influenced by Greek mythology. (Previous Magic: The Gathering set Throne of Eldraine similarly drew from classic legends, starring cards based on fairytales and the folklore of King Arthur.)
One of the cards in the set - which Dicebreaker can exclusively reveal - will be the Tectonic Giant, a Red creature (making it more of an aggressive card choice, if you’re not 100% up on what the different Magic: The Gathering mana colours mean) that costs two colourless mana and two Red mana to summon onto the field.
Tectonic Giant has a power of 3 (how much damage it does to other cards) and a toughness of 4 (how much damage it can take before being destroyed), likely making it a relatively solid pick to add to your collection if you’re starting to consider how to build a Magic: The Gathering deck using the new set.
More importantly, the creature card has a useful ability in that whenever it attacks or is targeted by an opponent’s spell, it can deal three damage to each opponent (making it potentially useful in multiplayer formats such as Commander) or exile (essentially remove from the game, in Magic: The Gathering’s lingo) the top two cards of the player’s deck - the player then picks one of those two cards, which they can choose to play until the end of their next turn.
Theros: Beyond Death will available to play in Magic: The Gathering Arena, the card game’s digital app on PC, from January 16th, followed by a pre-release for the physical set on January 17th and full release for the expansion a week later on January 24th.
The set will be followed this spring by Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, an expansion set in a brand new world that introduces gameplay rules that allow players to create their own monsters during matches - something head Magic: The Gathering designer Mark Rosewater has described as “one of the craziest mechanics we've made in quite a while”.
Summer will bring MTG’s Core Set 2021, which has been teased with the reappearance of time-twisting planeswalker Teferi, who plays a key role in Magic: The Gathering lore as a member of the Gatewatch.
Finally, this autumn’s Zendikar Rising will take the card game back to another setting that hasn’t been visited in a number of years - since 2015’s Battle for Zendikar block, in fact.
Edit: This article originally said that the physical Theros: Beyond Death set would be released on January 17th. It has since been amended to clarify that this is the pre-release date - the expansion will see a full release on January 24th.