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The Mechanics of Theros

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Heroic
Enchantments and Nyx
Bestow
Devotion and Gods
Monstrosity
Scry

The plane of Theros is home to brave heroes, rampaging monsters, and a pantheon of powerful gods.

 Heroic

A creature with a heroic ability gives you powerful benefits every time you cast a spell that targets it.

Wingsteed Rider
Wavecrash Triton

A heroic ability triggers whenever you cast any spell that targets the heroic creature, including a spell that also targets another creature. If a spell targets multiple creatures with heroic abilities, all of them trigger. Activated abilities, such as equip, do not cause heroic abilities to trigger.

An instant or sorcery spell has a target if it includes the word "target" in its rules text. Each Aura spell also has a target, indicated by its enchant ability. Creature spells and other permanent spells (except for Auras) never have targets.

A heroic ability triggers only when the creature's controller casts a spell that targets it, not when any other player does.

 Enchantments and Nyx

The gods of Theros dwell in Nyx, a starry realm visible as the night sky of Theros. The gods, their servants, and their weapons are infused with the power and majesty of Nyx.

The Theros set contains a number of enchantment creatures, which represent the gods themselves and their emissaries, and five enchantment artifacts, representing the weaponry of the gods. Enchantment creatures and enchantment artifacts in the Theros block all have a unique card frame that shows the starfield of Nyx.

Hammer of Purphoros

The Nyx frame doesn't have any rules associated with it. It's just a reminder that these creatures and artifacts are also enchantments. Other enchantments in Theros use the regular card frame.

Enchantment creatures and enchantment artifacts are affected by anything that affects either of their types, much like artifact creatures. Otherwise, they behave like normal creatures or artifacts.

Enchantment creatures in Theros are either the gods themselves or creatures with bestow.

 Bestow

The gods of Theros send their servants out into the world to bestow their blessings upon the worthy.

Cavern Lampad

A creature with bestow gives you the option to cast it as an Aura that enchants a creature, granting that creature its power, toughness, and abilities.

Thassa's Emissary

When a card with bestow is in your hand, you have two options: cast it normally for its mana cost, or cast it for its bestow cost. If you cast a bestow card normally, it's an enchantment creature spell that resolves and becomes an enchantment creature on the battlefield. Its bestow ability and its "Enchanted creature gets..." text are ignored.

If you cast a bestow card for its bestow cost, it's never a creature spell. Instead, it's an Aura spell with enchant creature, so you have to target a creature to cast it. If that creature has a heroic ability, this will trigger it, just as any other Aura spell would.

If the target creature leaves the battlefield after you cast a card with bestow as an Aura but before the spell resolves, the Aura spell will resolve as an enchantment creature rather than being countered like a normal Aura spell. If the target creature is still on the battlefield when the Aura spell resolves, it resolves as an Aura enchanting that creature.

While it's enchanting a creature, an Aura with bestow grants the creature the bonuses listed in its text box. If the creature it's enchanting leaves the battlefield for any reason, the Aura immediately becomes an enchantment creature again rather than being put in the graveyard like other Auras.

 Devotion and Gods

The gods of Theros grant their favors to those whose devotion is great enough.

Gray Merchant of Asphodel

Your devotion to a color is the number of mana symbols of that color in the mana costs of permanents you control. There are cards that count devotion to each of the five colors, and they have many different effects based on that devotion. Some examples:

  • A permanent that costs 3 ManaBlack Mana adds one to your devotion to black.
  • A permanent that costs Red ManaRed ManaRed Mana adds three to your devotion to red.
  • A permanent that costs 1 ManaGreen ManaWhite Mana adds one to your devotion to green and one to your devotion to white.

Devotion counts only mana symbols in your permanents' mana costs—the cost in the upper right corner of the card. Mana symbols in text boxes, such as activation costs or the big mana symbols on basic lands, do not count toward your devotion. Only colored mana symbols count; it doesn't matter how much a permanent costs to cast, just how much colored mana. A permanent that looks at your devotion to a color counts the mana symbols in its own cost.

It doesn't come up in Theros, but hybrid mana symbols and other unusual colored mana symbols also count toward your devotion to each of their colors. For example, a permanent that costs Red or Green ManaRed or Green Mana adds two to your devotion to red and two to your devotion to green.

Karametra's Acolyte

Karametra's Acolyte, for example, always adds at least Green Mana to your mana pool, because it has Green Mana in its mana cost. The Green Mana symbols in its text box don't count.

Five gods appear on cards in Theros as legendary enchantment creatures with the creature type God. But they don't manifest as creatures on the battlefield until your devotion to their color is high enough.

Nylea, God of the Hunt

Each of the Theros Gods has indestructible, and each one is a creature only if you have enough devotion to its color. If a God enters the battlefield while your devotion to its color is less than the required number, abilities that trigger when a creature enters the battlefield won't trigger. If a God on the battlefield is a creature and your devotion to its color drops below the required number, it immediately stops being a creature. A God can't attack the turn it enters the battlefield unless it has haste, even if it wasn't a creature as it entered the battlefield.

Gods are always legendary enchantments, and their abilities work whether they're creatures or not. Nylea always gives your creatures trample, regardless of your current devotion to green.

 Monstrosity

Monsters roam the wilds of Theros, ferociously punishing all who oppose them.

Nessian Asp

Monstrosity is an activated ability you can activate any time you can pay for it. When it resolves, it checks whether the creature is already monstrous. If it's not, the ability puts a number of +1/+1 counters on the creature and causes the creature to become monstrous. This means that a monstrosity ability doesn't do anything if it resolves for a second time. If a monstrosity ability is countered somehow, the creature doesn't gain counters or become monstrous, and the monstrosity ability can be used again.

Many creatures with a monstrosity ability have a triggered ability that triggers when the creature becomes monstrous—in other words, when its monstrosity ability resolves for the first time.

Stoneshock Giant

Stoneshock Giant's triggered ability triggers when its monstrosity ability resolves for the first time. If Stoneshock Giant isn't on the battlefield when its monstrosity ability resolves, its triggered ability doesn't trigger.

There are also some cards with monstrosity that gain abilities as long as they're monstrous.

Hundred-Handed One

 Scry

The scry mechanic makes its return in Theros.

Gods Willing
Omenspeaker

Scry always has a number associated with it. To scry, look at that many cards from the top of your library, put as many of them as you want on the bottom of your library, and leave the rest on top in any order you choose. When you scry 1, that translates to looking at the top card of your library and deciding whether you want it on the top of your library or the bottom. When you scry 2 or more, you have many more options.

Hundred-Handed One

Flamespeaker Adept's ability triggers once each time you scry, no matter how many cards you looked at or where you put them. For example, an Omenspeaker entering the battlefield would cause Flamespeaker Adept to trigger once.

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