Athreos, Shroud-Veiled

Published January 24th, 2020

The final God of the Theros: Beyond Death set, the only returning multicoloured God, the God of Passage Athreos. We will greet death like an old friend that nobody can escape from. There were a number of potential cards but I quickly found out Athreos is not an explosive deck, it is a resource control game with a recurring value engine as long as the coin counters and Athreos are there. So let’s pay the ferryman and proceed with the inevitable.

Commander (1)

Athreos, Shroud-Veiled

Creatures (26)

Ashen Rider
Blood Artist
Bloodghast
Coffin Queen
Disciple of Bolas
Flickerwisp
Grave Titan
Gravebreaker Lamia
Kokusho, the Evening Star
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed
Mother of Runes
Noxious Gearhulk
Palace Jailer
Plaguecrafter
Puppeteer Clique
Razaketh, the Foulblooded
Recruiter of the Guard
Rune-Scarred Demon
Serra Ascendant
Sidisi, Undead Vizier
Solemn Simulacrum
Stoneforge Mystic
Sun Titan
Triskelion
Woe Strider
Yawgmoth, Thran Physician

Planeswalkers (3)

Kaya, Ghost Assassin
Liliana, Dreadhorde General
Sorin, Vengeful Bloodlord

Lands (37)

Ancient Tomb
Arid Mesa
Bloodstained Mire
Bojuka Bog
Cabal Coffers
Cavern of Souls
Command Tower
Fetid Heath
Field of the Dead
Flooded Strand
Godless Shrine
High Market
Isolated Chapel
Marsh Flats
Myriad Landscape
Path of Ancestry
Phyrexian Tower
Plains x4
Polluted Delta
Prismatic Vista
Scrubland
Snow-Covered Plains x2
Snow-Covered Swamps x2
Strip Mine
Swamp x4
Urborg, Tomb of Yawgmoth
Verdant Catacombs
Volrath’s Stronghold
Windswept Heath

Artifacts (16)

Ashnod’s Altar
Bolas’s Citadel
Coalition Relic
Grim Monolith
Lightning Greaves
Mana Crypt
Mana Vault
Nim Deathmantle
Phyrexian Altar
Sensei’s Divining Top
Skullclamp
Shadowspear
Sol Ring
Strionic Resonator
Sword of Feast and Famine
Whip of Erebos

Enchantments (6)

Angelic Renewal
Animate Dead
Dance of the Dead
Minion’s Return
Necromancy
The Eldest Reborn

Instants (5)

Enlightened Tutor
Hero’s Downfall
Liliana’s Triumph
Swords to Plowshares
Vampiric Tutor

//Sorceries (6)

Buried Alive
Command the Dreadhorde
Damnation
Demonic Tutor
Unburial Rites
Wrath of God

Synergies

Strionic Resonator: Your best way of getting more value from your cards in this deck. Athreos can give out extra coins and you can double up enter the battlefield effects or even Saga triggers,

Whip of Erebos: Borrowing a weapon from another God but making much better use of it. As you return the creature from the graveyard at the beginning of your end step, you give it a coin counter and when it exiles it returns to the battlefield permanently.

Kaya, Ghost Assassin: Kaya pulls a lot of weight, hitting each opponent wish life loss and discard while giving you life gain and draw. Besides the resource gains, her exile ability is the best part. Normally being able to blink Kaya to refresh her loyalty or another creature at the cost of 2 life, here we can put a coin counter on an opposing creature and Kaya will be able to exile it to have it immediately return to your side of the field.

Combos

Mikaeus, the Unhallowed + Triskelion: It’s always good to have a way to close out a long game. Although not a creative choice, Mikaeus does add even more recursion and value to your non-human creatures. Athreos can recur him and Triskelion with coin counters and Triskelion is quite useful in taking down creatures, even your own.

Ashnod’s Altar + Nim Deathmantle + Grave Titan: This combo is everything this deck wants, sacrifice outlet, recursion, and a value creatures. This combo generates infinite mana and infinite 2/2 zombies as well as enter the battlefield and die triggers. Once you have infinite mana, you can repeatedly sacrifice and recur the effects of your other creatures.

Phyrexian Altar + Angelic Renewal / Minion’s Return + Sun Titan: Another infinite mana combo, either altars will work in this case for infinite mana.

Multiplayer

In many cases, a deck can function whether in place one versus one or multiplayer. In this particular instance, there were a lot more multiplayer pieces that were cut for the sake of efficiency that I would like to go through just for the fun of things.

A manifest synergy with Thieving Amalgam and Scroll of Fate: In conjunction with Athreos’ coin counters, a manifest can be returned to the battlefield face up, evading the cost and bringing in all sorts of permanents. This combo works well in Aminatou, the Fateshifter and with any flicker cards such as Flickerwisp which is in the deck or Eldrazi Displacer.

I had to cut a number of equipment cards from the Stoneforge Mystic package such as its best friend, Batteskull. You can fit in more Swords of X and Y such as Sword of Fire and Ice but some less commonly seen equipment were on the list. Deathrender in particular goes thematically well with all the dying creatures but Shadowspear was considered not just because of the keyword powerhouse it is but because it could remove Hexproof so that Athreos can give counters to those creatures too.

When reducing the top end of the mana curve these were, unfortunately, the first on the cutting board. Kozilek, Butcher of Truth, Artisan of Kozilek, and It That Betrays all lost their slots. Kozilek, being one of the original Eldrazi lords that allowed you to shuffle away your graveyard for reuse of cards while losing your own targets for reanimation, can be worth it for the change to reuse certain spells. Artisan of Kozilek is a cast trigger reanimation which fits the theme quite well. It That Betrays takes everything your opponents may sacrifice whether from edicts, from sacrificing fetchlands, or by the incredibly dangerous ability on all three of these Eldrazi: Annihilator.

The Orzhov colour combination is home to a number of Angels as well, It was an idea as powerful as some of the Angels are to add them in. The ones that were considered were Avacyn, Angel of Hope, Angel of Despair, Angel of Serenity, Emeria Shepherd, Karmic Guide, and Magister of Worth.

The stuff that stayed leaned the colour weight of this deck more on the black side and yet there were still more that didn’t make the cut. Sepulchral Primordial, Harvester of Souls, and Dictate of Erebos add card draw, removal, and life gain. They are all strong cards but their value is significantly increased in a multiplayer situation.

Summary

Athreos is a mid to late game Commander who can cause some very odd board states as he returns your opponent’s creatures to your side. Being a 6 mana Commander makes him hard to lean on during the early game so the deck needs to be able to function and support itself until then. Have a target when playing him to make use of his coin counters and there are still ways to remove Indestructible Gods, but if he sticks, you start to take over the board state. If you enjoy games that interact and change along with the opponents, you may enjoy Athreos. There are a high number of complex difficult decision moves so be sure to manage your resources and watch out for misplays.

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Article by Cascade.Cascade

The editor-in-chief and creator of Command Beacon. They started playing Magic during the Scars of Mirrodin block and hasn’t been able to stop since.

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