“Venture to Theros, a plane where gods, heroes, and monsters are an everyday fact of life. Hydras, gorgons, satyrs, and other creatures of myth inhabit this wild, mystical place. In Theros, heroes challenge themselves in the untamed lands beyond the city walls, set sail on the raging seas, and learn their destiny from divine oracles.”

Hello everyone! I am very pleased to announce the start of our special Magic: The Gathering feature. We have a great upcoming schedule of reviews, which include Fat Packs, Intro Packs, Event Decks and even some of the other Magic products you may not have heard of. Today, however, we are starting with the range of Theros intro packs, which are a great way for new players to start playing the game!

So, to give some more detail on our upcoming feature, we have partnered with Hasbro (official distributor for Magic in Europe) to bring a comprehensive Magic: The Gathering feature to our readers. We will be reviewing some products from the previous expansion, Dragon’s Crown, alongside all the products from the Magic 2014 Core Set and the entire range of Theros releases. We will also be discussing what a pre-release Magic event is all about, and we will have a few other products from the main range. We are also in discussions with Hasbro regarding the possibility of organising a competition for the readers!

There are five flavours of Intro Pack in the Theros set. Each Intro Pack contains a pre-created, non-varying set of 60 cards, chosen specifically to allow new players to pick up an intro pack and begin playing immediately. There will be a good selection of land cards, creatures and assisting cards (such as sorcery, instants etc). Also present in each intro pack are two 15-card booster packs, again themed on the set from which they are derived. In this case, the Theros set is the first of a new block in expansions. It introduces a total of 249 cards (101 common, 60 uncommon, 53 rare, 15 mythic rare, and 20 basic land).

I will begin the review by going through the decklists and themes of each of the five Intro Packs in the Theros expansion. Each of the intro packs are usually themed around two of the five types of mana (sourced from land cards), one being more prominent than the other in the deck. Essentially, each of the five decks centre around one of each of the five types of mana, with a secondary type of mana also featuring in the deck in a smaller amount.

Favours from Nyx

25 land cards:
16 x Plains
9 x Swamp

22 creatures:
1 x Auramancer
1 x Baleful Eidolon
1 x Banisher Priest
1 x Blightcaster
1 x Cavern Lampad
1 x Celestial Archon
1 x Erebos’s Emissary
2 x Heliod’s Emissary
2 x Hopeful Eidolon
2 x Lagonna-Band Elder
1 x Minotaur Abomination
2 x Observant Alseid
1 x Pillarfield Ox
1 x Scholar of Athreos
1 x Sentry of the Underworld
2 x Traveling Philosopher
1 x Yoked Ox

13 other spells
1 x Doom Blade
1 x Gift of Immortality
2 x Last Breath
2 x Ordeal of Erebos
1 x Ordeal of Heliod
1 x Pacifism
2 x Pharika’s Cure
1 x Ray of Dissolution
2 x Vanquish the Foul

Favours from Nyx is themed around the plains and swamp mana types, as you can see above. There is a great variety of creatures in the deck, a comfortable number of land cards along with a powerful combination of spell cards, allowing you to instantly pick up the deck, and begin forming strategies. The deck can be further improved by use of the two included booster packs, which power up your library of cards with further resources against your opponent.

Manipulative Monstrosities

26 lands:
16 Island
10 Mountain

18 creatures:
2 Archaeomancer
1 Burnished Hart
2 Coral Merfolk
2 Crackling Triton
2 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
2 Omenspeaker
2 Sealock Monster
1 Shipbreaker Kraken
2 Stoneshock Giant
1 Wall of Frost
1 Water Servant

16 other spells:
1 Curse of the Swine
1 Disperse
1 Dissolve
2 Griptide
2 Lightning Strike
1 Lost in a Labyrinth
1 Magma Jet
1 Ordeal of Purphoros
2 Rage of Purphoros
1 Sea God’s Revenge
2 Shock
1 Volcanic Geyser

As you may see above, Manipulative Monstrosities focuses more on the use of spells, and has more spells and less creatures than Nyx. There is also one extra land card in this set in comparison to the Nyx set. This pack is themed around island (water drop) with the secondary mana type being mountain cards. It is a very well rounded deck, and the rare creature featured on the front of the deck is quite a powerful creature. This is one I definitely recommend.

Devotion to Darkness

25 lands:
9 Island
16 Swamp

20 creatures
1 Abhorrent Overlord
2 Blood-Toll Harpy
2 Child of Night
2 Disciple of Phenax
2 Gray Merchant of Asphodel
2 Horizon Scholar
2 Insatiable Harpy
1 Minotaur Abomination
2 Mogis’s Marauder
2 Returned Phalanx
2 Undead Minotaur

15 other spells:
1 Boon of Erebos
2 Glimpse the Future
1 Griptide
1 Lash of the Whip
1 March of the Returned
1 Ordeal of Thassa
1 Pharika’s Cure
1 Rescue from the Underworld
1 Sea God’s Revenge
2 Sip of Hemlock
1 Voyage’s End
1 Whip of Erebos
1 Witches’ Eye

Devotion to Darkness is in between the previous two intro packs. We see that it focuses mainly on swamp mana, but island type land also features as the secondary mana type. We can see that it still has a lot of spells, but the number of both spells and land has dropped back by 1 and added to creatures. This is another very well-rounded deck, which can be used for both offensive and strategic approaches. It also has a powerful rare featured on the top of the deck.

Blazing Beasts of Myth

25 lands:
11 Forest
14 Mountain

22 creatures:
2 Borderland Minotaur
1 Ember Swallower
1 Ill-Tempered Cyclops
2 Minotaur Skullcleaver
2 Nemesis of Mortals
2 Nessian Asp
1 Nessian Courser
1 Polis Crusher
1 Rootwalla
2 Satyr Hedonist
1 Satyr Piper
2 Satyr Rambler
2 Stoneshock Giant
2 Voyaging Satyr

13 other spells:
1 Artisan’s Sorrow
1 Destructive Revelry
1 Dragon Mantle
2 Lightning Strike
2 Magma Jet
1 Portent of Betrayal
2 Rage of Purphoros
2 Volcanic Geyser
1 Windstorm

Blazing Beasts of Myth is a deck which focuses more on the offensive, but still contains a complementary lineup of spells. It is based around the mountain type, with the forest type being used as the secondary mana. It is in line with the first intro pack, which has 22 creatures and a reduced number of spells in comparison to the other intro packs. I do recommend this deck however, as forest and mountain are my two favourite types, and the deck can be built up in spells using the booster packs.

Anthousa’s Army

25 lands:
13 Forest
12 Plains

20 creatures:
1 Anthousa, Setessan Hero
2 Centaur Battlemaster
2 Chronicler of Heroes
2 Deadly Recluse
2 Elvish Mystic
1 Favored Hoplite
1 Phalanx Leader
1 Pheres-Band Centaurs
2 Rumbling Baloth
1 Setessan Battle Priest
1 Setessan Griffin
2 Staunch-Hearted Warrior
2 Wingsteed Rider

15 other spells:
1 Artisan’s Sorrow
2 Battlewise Valor
1 Bow of Nylea
2 Dauntless Onslaught
2 Giant Growth
2 Pacifism
2 Time to Feed
1 Vanquish the Foul
2 Warriors’ Lesson

Anthousa’s Army is the deck which focuses on the forest type. It also features plains as the secondary mana type. It again moves back in line with the middle ground, having a good distribution of creatures (20) and spells (15). As mentioned, forest is my favourite land type so I tend to go for the forest-focused deck. However, in this case, I am more drawn to Manipulative Monstrosities, as the rare card in this set is not the strongest creature in attack and life.

Overall, Theros is a fantastic way for new players to join the game with the intro pack offerings. Magic: The Gathering is a great game and I truly recommend you give it a go. The intro packs offer great value as they are a pre-built, well-rounded option, but also include two 15-card boosters with random card, which allow new players to add their own personal touch to the intro pack. They are available for the fantastic price of $14.99/€14.99.

If you are new to Magic and want to get the absolute most variance and well-rounded option possible, perhaps the 2014 core set may be a better option (we will have reviews from a number of products in this set over the next couple of weeks), however, Theros is a great option for most and really opens up the possibility for a wide variety of strategies and combat options. It is not solely focused on one particular theme, as some expansions do, but offers a fantastic variety of cards. It would definitely be easy to start playing Magic through the use of this set.

As always, the art design and printing quality is fantastic. The new creatures in the set are all illustrated with impressive depth and vividness, which is all thanks to the highly talented illustrators over at Wizards of the Coast. They each have their own story and background, and each have a certain uniqueness which is impressive when you are introducing such a high number of new cards into an expansion. The printing, as always, is perfect. I received no cards which had bad or faded printing, or any damaged cards. The packs are all well-packaged.

Theros Intro Packs are a highly recommended purchase for any fan of Magic: The Gathering, and for those looking to join the game. I definitely suggest picking up an intro pack; at that price, what do you have to lose!