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Pojo's Magic The Gathering
Card of the Day

Daily Since November 2001!

Athreos, God of Passage
Image from Wizards.com

Atheros, God of Passage
- Journey into Nyx

Reviewed May 13, 2014

Constructed: 4.20
Casual: 4.50
Limited: 4.50
Multiplayer: 4.50

Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale:
1 - Horrible  3 - Average.  5 - Awesome

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Card of the Day Reviews 


Athreos, God of Passage

My only personal experience with the Gods of Theros was opening Phenax P1P1 in a draft. The only time I was able to cast her, she was my only permanent on the board, and her ability is of no use without other creatures, so my opponent forced me on defense, swarmed past any chump blocker I could manage, and killed me despite Phenax. Athreos seems like she might create similar situations-- her ability literally does nothing if you don't have other creatures when you cast her. If you do, or even if you manage to find one quickly, you'd have an easier time getting back on your feet with Athreos than Phenax. If you're behind on the board and have to chump block, your opponent has to either give you your dead chums back or pay 3 life for everything he killed. You can therefore be more aggressive in trading creatures, knowing you're getting the better end of the deal. And if you're ahead on the board, then Athreos herself is probably a creature too, and you can confidently alpha strike with her and everyone else even into a crowded board, then re-cast the fallen and risen after combat, or take solace in the fact that even the blocked-and-killed "got in there for 3".

Athreos's ability is solid because it's great when you're falling behind and need something to bring you back into the game. A fitting ability for the god whose portfolio seems to include sending dead souls back to the land of the living.

Constructed- 4
Casual- 4.75
Limited- 5
Multiplayer- 5

David Fanany

Player since 1995

Athreos, God of Passage

My issue with the multicolor gods is that they're supposed to be Theros' "minor" deities, but many Magic players consider multicolored decks infinitely preferable to mono- and sometimes even bi-colored ones. Their effects are also generally pretty powerful - I actually sometimes think Wizards' designers have to start thinking of being multicolored not as a disadvantage but actually as an advantage. Athreos, for example, makes it so that nobody will ever want anything you control to die. He's absolutely devastating in a duel, stacking every attrition battle in your favor; and that's before you think about decks that are specifically designed to take advantage of him (remember Lorwyn's evoke mechanic?). You'd think he wouldn't be as good in Commander, but that 40 life total might make people a little more cavalier about paying and then find that it adds up. He's definitely worth a try there too.

Constructed: 4/5
Casual: 4/5
Limited: 4/5
Multiplayer: 4/5

Michael "Maikeruu" Pierno

Today's card of the day is Athreos, God of Passage which is a three mana Black and White god that is Indestructible, a 5/4 with Devotion seven, and whenever another creature you own dies it is returned to your hand unless target opponent pays three life.  This is a low mana cost god in a popular color combination, though the Black/White tokens theme doesn't work well with Athreos.  Other Orzhov builds can work towards the 5/4 threat, but the effect alone is an interesting addition to many decks that is always advantageous. Whether the opponent pays three life or you get the card back is a benefit even though they can choose whichever is less detrimental to them.  Using aggressive or sacrificial creatures, particularly ones that can be replayed from the graveyard, make this a very efficient play.  Overall this is a low cost card that can have a notable impact on any game which should make it a frequent sight across formats which may not quite reach the top tiers competitively.
In Limited this is a nice low cost psychological presence that may or may not have the devotion available in your pool to become the 5/4, but the effect is either card advantage or a three life point hit to the opponent for every creature they destroy.  Entering the game early can provide enough of an edge to effectively win the game without actively doing anything.  An easy first pick that can be splashed into a primarily Black or White deck in Booster and if the pool allows it should be squeezed into Sealed if only for the effect forcing your opponent to constantly make difficult decisions.
Constructed: 4.0
Casual: 4.0
Limited: 4.0
Multiplayer: 4.0


Deck Garage

Athreos, God of Passage
To me, this is the best of the Gods - single colored or multicolored. Creatures die in Magic - it's a constant. Being able to get them back for free unless your opponent pays 3 life is bonkers. Athreos is great, even just throwing him in a pre-existing black and white deck, but if you build a deck around sacrificing creatures for an effect - it gets crazy. Or, you could build an aggro deck and make him a creature by turn 4, and beat your opponent down. There's no good option for your opponent. Either they pay 3 life, or they let the thing that's beating them down back into your hand. 
Oh, and he only costs three mana. It's not often I look at a card and think it has the potential to take over games and formats almost on its own, but Athreos is one of those rare cards. Watch for him to make a BIG impact.
The only think that keeps him from being a solid 5 all across the board is that you'd have to pick him first overall in a draft. To commit yourself to a certain 2 colors on the first card can be a it restricting. That said, I'd have no hesitation doing so.
Constructed: 5
Casual: 5
Limited: 4.5
Multiplayer: 5

Michael Sokolowski

Wouldn't it be fun to have the god that guards that passage to the afterlife on your side? Unless your opponent pays his price, he'll just keep on returning your dead creatures right back too you.
Thematically I like it very much, but is it actually good? Well, yes. Yes it is. End of review.
One of the best things Athreos, God of Passage has going for him is his low cost. 3 mana, when most of the other gods are 4 or even 5 mana. And as with many of the other gods, you're really more interested in his ability than a potential 5/4 indestructible creature that may or may not ever actually show up. If it does, just consider that a bonus.
Athreos basically makes all of your creature cards say "when this dies, your opponent loses 3 life." I mean, unless they'd rather just give it back to you of course. Which option you should pick if you're playing against this really depends on your board situation, it's difficult to generalize. But basically if you can take the life hit, you should. But be warned that white-black is well known for making you lose much more life than you would have thought. Theirs is a strategy of slowly whittling you down with multiple effects, especially things like extort. And those abilities are usually on creatures too.
Overall, despite the fact that he's supposed to be one of the "minor" gods of Theros, he actually has one of the most powerful effects. Any white-black deck with a good amount of creatures in it should be jumping for the chance to use this card. In Limited, with its major attacking-with-creatures focus, it's one of the best cards you could possibly pick. Casual will love it too.
It's strong, it's fast, it has a very relevant and powerful ability. Unlike the tribute mechanic, where the opponent also gets to make the decision about which ability option they'll choose (going, of course, for the one better and easier to deal with for them) there is no good choice between losing life and giving you back your dead creature. Only two slightly different very bad choices.
If I were Athreos, I would ask for a promotion.
Constructed: 4
Casual: 4.5
Limited: 5
Multiplayer: 4.5

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