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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Commander Review: Journey into Nyx – Athreos the Underworld Tour Guide

September 21, 2015 by  
Filed under Commander/General Ideas, Review

Obzedat, Ghost Council

Living and Dead. All in One House.

The previous set of Born of Gods brought us five allied-colors minor Gods. This is brought fore too in Journey to Nyx featuring the rest of the color combinations. Like the previous minor Gods, Journey into Nyx minor gods are also two colors combination with each depicting the respective concept of their colors combination. Starting the final arc of the Gods cycle for today article is Athreos, God of Passage, the Orzhov colors of White and Black.

 

Underworld Tour Guide

Purgatory

“So…. Are we Dead yet???”

Athreos is the first God that all the dead see when they arrived at the Underworld before meeting the God of the Dead, Erebos. He is tasked to ferry the dead cross the Rivers That Ring the World to the Underworld. His inspiration for design is from the Greek mythological figure Charon, who is also doing the same role for Hades. So what does the God of Passage do in card form? Let’s have a look at Athreos’ stats below.

 

 Athreos, God of Passage

Card Name: Athreos, God of Passage

CMC: 1WB

Types: Legendary Creature Enchantment – God

Card Text:

Indestructible

As long as your devotion to White and black is less than seven, Athreos isn’t a creature.

Whenever another creature you own dies, return it to your hand unless target opponent pays 3 life.

P/T: 5/4

Belfry Spirit

A Haunting Good Time

Orzhov has always been the color of life and death. The color combination blurs the line between life and death and specializes in the bringing the dead back to life. The guild also has what we called the taxing, a mechanic which requires players to pay mana to do things, from White. And when Black is involve taxes life instead of mana. This can be seen in the guild two iconic abilities; Haunt for beyond the graveyard interaction and Extort for the taxing part.

Basilica Guards

“But first, You have to pay us.”

 

As per being a minor God, Athreos also has all the same mechanics of the other minor Gods requiring a devotion to his colors at seven to become a Creature. Being the ferryman for the dead, Athreos has a very fitting ability to suit. Blending into the Orzhov colors ability to bring back the dead and taxing, Athreos lets you bring Creature you own which dies back to your hand while taxing target opponent giving him or her a choice to stop that from happening. Life may not be a problem in EDH games at the early stage but the pain comes when it goes into mid game where everyone life goes low. Athreos also has a decent power / toughness at 5/4. This top with Indestructible makes Athreos a solid attacker and blocker when you had hit his devotion.

 

Life Taxing

Blind Obedience

“Thou shall Obey.”

Although not in the same set as the Orzhov, Athreos has a very good synergy with the guild. Through his taxing, opponent will slowly bleed to death. The guild mechanic Extort requires you to cast spell in order work. Athreos provides that by returning Creatures you own when they die to your hand for casting although due to the mana requirement, that strategy can be quite mana intensive and would most likely be a midgame play. Below are all the Extort cards till date for quick reference.

 

Basilica Guards / Knight of Obligation “Wall” with Extort. Blocks the early wave of Creatures.
Basilica Screecher / Kingpin’s Pet Fliers with Extort.
Blind Obedience Slow down opponents by tapping down their Artifacts and Creatures when they enter the battlefield.
Crypt Ghast Mana ramp. Also helps to pay for Extort.
Pontiff of Blight Extort lord. Gives everyone Extort.
Syndic of Tithes / Syndicate Enforcer Basic Creatures with Extort.
Thrull Parasite Planeswalker killer with its counter removing ability. Extort to gain back life lost to ability.
Tithe Drinker Speed up life gain through Lifelink and Extort.
Treasury Thrull Creature which retrieve stuff to be cast later for Extort.
Vizkopa Confessor Hand disruptor.

 

Out of the Commander seat, Athreos could possibly join some other cards to play the reanimator role in the deck. A good thing about Athreos is that he has Indestructible which make him hard to kill as a Creature; and when his devotion is low he is not a Creature which protects him against spot removal which exiles Creatures instead of destroying them. Besides being a common “Creature” in Orzhov decks, possibly under Command of Ghost Council of Orzhov & Obzedat, Ghost Council; or be under the wing of the Esper Commanders Oloro, Ageless Ascetic; or the survivalist experts Abzan of Anafenza, the Foremost & Ghave, Guru of Spores; Atheros plays a partial reanimator role in all of them. All the above mentioned Commanders also have plenty of reanimator cards to choose from. Below are some of such cards which play the reanimator role if you want to go the Reanimator style.

 

Dawn of the Dead Upkeep of 1 life, reanimate a Creature from your graveyard directly to battlefield.
Debtors’ Knell Reanimate a Creature from your graveyard directly to battlefield at your every upkeep.
Endbringer’s Revel Political tool for everyone to bring back Creature from graveyard to hand.
Haunted Crossroads / Malevolent Awakening / Oversold Cemetery / Phyrexian Reclamation / Strands of Night / Tortured Existence When all these combine with Athreos, the combo sort of places your opponent between a place and rock. They do not pay the 3 life, you get your Creature immediately. They pays, you still gets it back but later.
Palace Siege Same as above group but doubles as a win con for the deck.

 

Debtors' Knell

Being Dead is not forever here.

 

Life Beyond Death

Athreos, God of Passage

“Are you lost? Here, let me guide you….”

To wrap it all up for today article, Athreos is a very good choice as a Commander even though he is a pretty build around Commander for he does provides quite a wide range of interaction with other themes. In my opinion,I would recommend Athreos as the Commander given the amount of cards which support his theme. In fact, he makes a better Commander than the two Orzhov guild masters (Ghost Council of Orzhov & Obzedat, Ghost Council). Having played him myself in normal variant, his retrieving trigger proves to be annoying especially when the opponent is low on life. One such scenario was when my opponent was unable to pay for the 3 life to prevent Athreos’ trigger, thus allowing me to Exploit Minister of Pain to exploit itself to be recast again and again after it was return by Athreos till I ran out of mana. That trigger is what makes him superior compare to the other Orzhov Commanders.

 

Do you think Athreos is worthy of your worship? Tell us what you think of the ferryman of the Underworld in the comments below. And that is all we have now for Athreos. We shall see you in the next Journey to Nyx Commander review. Thus till then…

 

This is yours truly, Edward “Reaper King” Leong, signing off.

:D~

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