After playing in two pre-releases this past weekend, and reading lots of different things in the Internet tubes, here are a few more thoughts on Theros.
1. The limited format is not nearly as slow as I thought it would be.
Despite the fact that this set has a lot of big monsters, and expensive bestow costs, there were quite a few decks that won simply by having a good curve, or by being ultra aggressive.
The UB Erebos deck I won with had a lot of great bombs and loads of synergy, but also had a very good curve. Turns 2, 3, 4...I was constantly dropping threats, or doing things to the opponent's board.
This is the same for most formats, but even more important against decks going for the slow game.
In the second pre-release, I played a very slow UW deck with two of the Shipbreaker Krakens. I had a lot of haymakers, but was stuck with very few early drops to jab with.
I went a putrid 1-3, and lost because I had few good early game plays. One deck, in particular, beat me by simply having one or two cheap Heroic guys, backed up with a bunch of pump spells.
With the lack of removal in the set, it's easy to overwhelm an opponent before they can get their game set up. There is less fear of having your army wiped, so feel free to drop those early creatures.
2. The pool I opened on Saturday morning (above) was insane. Anybody could have won with this deck, so I can only brag about my pack luck. :)
One thing to note, as I mentioned above, is that my curve is really mostly at two, three and four. If the format was as slow as people thought it would be, the curve would have tilted a bit higher. As it was, the curve of this deck was pretty much similar to any sealed format.
Not only did I get Erebos, God of the Dead, the rare devotion land, Hero's Downfall, and two Griptides, but I also got a bunch of devotion-to-black cards.
Devotion is a very powerful ability, and I'll definitely be building a casual deck or two around it.
3. Griptide is just a mean limited card.
This card is instant-speed removal, and very powerful in a set with lots of enchantments and pump spells.
Not only is the spell awesome, but it is very mean against a mana-screwed opponent. I know I kept getting one of my dorks bounced back on top, and couldn't draw the fifth land I was looking for.
4. Shipwreck Singer is a hidden gem.
This is one of the best cards in this format, and most people forget that she has flying, too.
Not only can you force your opponent into bad attacks, but you can shrink all of their attackers. It's a good two-drop, and could be worth putting into some of my casual decks.
5. Gods Willing is a very annoying counterspell.
Despite the text you see, the real wording is "LOL, Counter Jes's Removal Spell!"
Given how little removal is in Theros, having a one-mana trick to counter a 3-5 mana spell, especially when you can also trigger Heroic, is quite powerful.
Ugh, I hate this card.
6. As Mark Rosewater's comic points out, Fblthp should be in Theros!