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Journey Into Nyx is the final set in the Theros block. The planeswalker Elspeth has journeyed into the gods’ own realm to defeat the planeswalker-turned-god Xenagos and restore balance to Theros. While she attempts this, mortals find themselves assailed by creatures sent from Nyx to exact the gods’ vengeance.
The artwork for the Theros block as a whole has been fantastic, and Journey Into Nyx is no exception. The Greek mythology theme comes through strongly without being overwhelming, and the creative and art teams have done a good job in making this a set inspired by Greek mythology that is still clearly a Magic set. The use of a ‘sparkly’ card frame to denote the gods and their creatures continues, giving players an immediate visual cue. Call outs to various Greek stories or characters are also present, as they were in the first two sets.
Choosing just five cards to showcase in this article was again difficult, a question for which there can be no right answer.
Deicide by Jason Chan
If there is one criticism of Magic’s card art, it is that important story moments are often unrecorded. Dragon’s Maze, for example, was the story of ten ‘maze runners’ attempting to navigate a city-wide maze and reach whatever was at the end. The ten maze runners had cards, as did the Maze’s End. The story of who won and what they found was not represented on the cards, which was rather frustrating. I still have no idea what happened. Here there is no confusion. Elspeth enters Nyx, and destroys Xenagos, as represented by this card. Nice.
Gnarled Scarhide by Greg Staples
This is one of my favourite cards from the set, and not just for the great art from Greg Staples. The Minotaur tribal deck has become a reality through the cards printed in the Theros block. Gnarled Scarhide is one of the most important. Minotaurs have always suffered from what is called the 2/3 problem. With their minimum stats set at 2 power and 3 toughness, it is difficult to create Minotaurs that cost less than three mana. In turn, this makes a tribal deck rather difficult to build. Gnarled Scarhide is an excellent answer to this problem. A wounded minotaur, who can attack but not defend, and is weaker than normal is a great concept. The addition of the bestow ability means you can use it to strengthen another Minotaur in your deck should you draw it later in the game. A great card.
Sigiled Skink by Yeong Hao-Han
This is not the flashiest or splashiest card, but the more I look, the more I like. The varied colours of the skink and the grass really appeal, and the sigils on the skink’s back are noticeable without being over the top.
Colossal Heroics by Seb McKinnon
Giant soldiers emerge from the water to attack the coast in this piece from Seb McKinnon. At first I thought these were living statues, but reading the card they are mortal warrior made temporarily giant by a spell.
Athreos, God of Passage by Ryan Barger
There had to be at least one god in this review. The gods of Theros have been a series of great card arts. Athreos is the god who ferries the dead from the land of the living. His weapon can be reversed to double as a boat.
These five cards above are some of my favourites, what are some of yours?
You can see the full Journey Into Nyx card galley at the Wizards of the Coast website.