Born of the Gods is the second set in the Theros block (for a multiplayer review of Theros see here). This set mainly serves to complete the picture drawn by the first set in the block. For multiplayer fans that is actually a good thing. What you find with Born of the Gods is a set with cards that can fit into multiple decks, either improving them or adding alternative options. It lacks the linearity of other sets – there’s no theme deck you would make up using only cards from this set. However the versatility of the cards, especially the uncommons, opens up some welcome new options for deck builders.
Mechanics & Cycles
Born of the Gods adds to the mechanics of the Theros set, although sadly there was no room for more Monstrous cards.
Archetypes: The Archetypes are a cycle of five creatures, one for each colour. These archetypes grant an ability to all your creatures, and remove that ability from your opponents’ creatures. For example the green creature Archetype of Endurance grants all of your creatures hexproof, while creatures your opponents control lose hexproof and cannot have or gain hexproof. Nice, or nasty depending on where you are sitting!
Bestow: Born of the Gods has more bestow cards to add to the mix, and develops the ability in some interesting ways. The common and uncommon bestow cards added in this set are well worth a look.
Gods: There were five Gods in Theros, one for each colour. In Born of the Gods we also have five, one for each allied colour pair. As in Theros the Gods are all mythic rare indestructible enchantment creatures. These multicolour gods require a devotion level of seven rather than the five required by the Theros Gods. However they each add two to their own devotion score so it kind of evens out. Each Gods is powerful in its own way, and does not need to be a creature in order to affect the table to your advantage.
Heroic: There are a few heroic cards in Born of the Gods, and these mostly fill in some of the missing slots from Theros. Nothing earth-shattering, but some interesting and useful cards can be found.
Inspired: This is one of two new mechanics in the set, and by far the best. Inspired creatures all have an ability that triggers whenever they untap. Naturally this will happen in your untap step (though technically, the ability doesn’t go on the stack until the beginning of your upkeep). The ability will also trigger any other time they untap. Cards from Theros that untap creatures suddenly make a lot more sense.
Tribute: Tribute is an ability seen on larger creatures, and frankly it is a poor replacement for Monstrous. Tribute triggers when the creature enters the battlefield and gives your opponent a choice; either pay the tribute by putting a number of +1/+1 counters on the creature, or else give you another advantage. Being as this is the opponent’s choice, where there is one option that is clearly better for you; that is the one your opponent is likely to choose, making these cards lacklustre at best. There were a couple (and I mean literally two) that look interesting but overall I would rather have seen a development of the Monstrous mechanic from Theros instead.
Born of the Gods: Ten interesting cards for multiplayer
1. Akroan Skyguard – a small heroic creature that can become a threat quite quickly with the right spells and bestow cards
2. Archetype of Imagination – the blue archetype grants flying to your creatures and denies flying to your opponents’
3. Chromanticore – a five colour bestow creature that gets the mind working
4. Ephara’s Enlightenement – an enchantment that can keep growing your creatures, as long as you keep playing creatures
5. Fate Unraveler – this black creature punishes your opponents for drawing cards, which fits nicely into certain decks…
6. Flame-wreathed Phoenix – one of the two Tribute creatures that looks worth the effort (the other is a white uncommon)
7. God-Favored General – this Inspired creature can create an army for you, if you can untap it enough times
8. Heroes’ Podium – this card is like Coat of Arms, except for Legendary creatures. Well worth a look.
9. Mogis, God of Slaughter – the black/red God is strongly associated with Minotaurs, though he isn’t one himself (he just looks like one)
10. Swordwise Centaur – this green common provides you with three power for two mana, not to be overlooked.