Gods Part II: The Born of the Gods Pantheon

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By: Guo Heng

A month-and-a-half ago, I wrote about the long-term potential of the Theros gods. Today we are going to cover the five gods in the set that comes after Theros, aptly named Born of the Gods.

The Theros block gods are financially interesting because they are splashy, unique cards exclusive to that block. They are popular in EDH, both as commanders and in main decks, and a couple of them rank among the most popular commanders in the format. The recent no-tuck ruling also bolstered the gods’ prospects as commanders.

In short, the gods are cards with immense casual appeal and are unlikely to be reprinted due to their quintessential  flavor and Theros block-exclusive Nyx-ified frame, ingredients for a rosy long-term growth recipe. I could not describe the gods better than Corbin (@chosler88) did in his column two weeks ago:

Either way, these are basically mini-Eldrazi that will see growth over time, even if it’s not the momentous growth that Emrakul and friends saw.

-Corbin Hosler

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We have scryed what the future potentially holds for the Theros gods in the first part of this series, and today, we are going to take a look at the five gods in the Born of the Gods pantheon.

Ephara, God of the Polis

Ephara Price

Ephara, God of the Polis is the cheapest god among the Born of the Gods crew. Ephara’s ability is unassuming and requires a deck to be built around it, which narrows the number of decks that can run her as one of the 99.

However, Ephara does make up for her shortcomings by being a pretty fun commander to build around. Her draw-a-card ability triggers every upkeep, which allows for a slew of ways to exploit the ability, be it using flicker effects—a popular effect among the casual crowd—flash creatures, or token generators, like a fellow god in the Theros pantheon, Heliod, God of the Sun. Ephara also happens to be in a color identity with the highest number of wrath effects, which synergises well with her indestructibility and the fact that she is an enchantment. Check out Danny West and David McDarby’s deck tech and Versus video featuring Ephara on Star City Games from a while back to get an idea of the plethora of ways you could play around with Ephara’s ability.

Non-foil Epharas are a good pickup at $1.45, which is pretty close to bulk price for a Standard-legal mythic. The high multiplier on her foils, currently sitting at $13.01, points towards her EDH demand. I would probably wait until rotation or at least later in summer to pick up foil Epharas.

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Karametra, God of the Harvest

Karametra Price Graph

Karametra, God of Harvests is unbelievably cheap at $2.02 for a second-set card with EDH and casual appeal. Creatures and ramp are popular strategies in EDH and Karametra embodies the best of both.

Non-foil Karametras are certainly a good pick-up at $2.02. Foils at $11.56 are a bit more steep, and as with Ephara, I would wait until the summer lull or rotation to pick up my copies. Foil Karametras have a moderate level of demand, reflected in her current spread of just 35 percent, unlike the 54 percent spread of foil Epharas.

Karametra has the potential to end up as one of the more expensive Born of the Gods gods in the long run. She is easy to build around and fits into a wide range of decks. Oh, Karametra is quite a fun commander to pilot, too.

Mogis, God of Slaughter

Mogis Price Graph

The price for Mogis, God of Slaughter baffles me. Mogis does not strikes me as a particularly popular commander, nor does he seem to fit in a large variety of decks. Yet, Mogis is tied with Xenagos, God of Revels for the most expensive god in the set, sitting at a price of $4.74 with a spread of just 30 percent!

Unless Mogis decks are more popular than I expected, I am honestly stumped as to why the card commands this price. I was expecting him to be at the very least cheaper than Karametra. At the moment, I would steer clear of picking up non-foils and foils ($14.60) and wait until rotation to see how Mogis’s future price fares.

Phenax, God of Deception

Phenax Price Graph

Phenax, God of Deception‘s reception within the EDH community was lukewarm. While milling is a popular casual mechanic, and Phenax is the God of Mill™, his ability requires a deck to be constructed in a way that would be absolutely powerless (walls can’t attack) without Phenax, but insane with Phenax on board. Granted, Phenax decks do get better with the removal of tuck (Phenax players were probably happy to hear that tuck is exiled from EDH rules), but he may be better off being in Lazav, Dimir Mastermind or The Mimeoplasm decks as Redditors in the r/EDH thread above suggested.

It seems that Phenax’s price of $3.95 is buoyed solely by casual demand, but the intensity of the demand is questionable with Phenax’s spread of 49 percent. I certainly don’t think Phenax is worth picking up right now. I am not even sure if he is a god you want to invest in for the long run come rotation.

Xenagos, God of the Revels

Xenagos Price Graph

Last but not least, we have the newest member of the pantheon, Xenagos, God of Revels. As I expected, Xenagos is one of the most expensive gods in the Born of the Gods pantheon, by which I mean he has a non-foil price of $4.63. Xenagod has an explosive ability that appeals to Timmies, Johnnies, and Spikes, is a powerful commander himself, and also works well in Prossh, Skyraider of Kher, and Atarka, World Render decks for one-turn-kills with commander damage. Putting all those together, it is not surprising that Xenagod is one of the most popular commander cards from Born of the Gods, second only to Courser of Kruphix. Xenagod’s EDH and casual demand is reflected in his foil price of $18.19, the most expensive among the Born of the Gods pantheon.

Again, non-foils are at $4.63 with a 38 percent spread as of writing. I think the window to pick Xenagod is not here yet. There is a chance that he may drop further closer to rotation, which would make him a very good pickup then. However, if he retains this price at rotation, just snap up whatever copies of Xenagod you can find at that time. He is the best Born of the Gods god in terms of EDH and casual appeal and I suspect he will be the most expensive of the pantheon a few years down the road. The rest of the Born of the Gods pantheon is playable (maybe except Phenax), but none has the wow factor Xenagod evokes.

The same approach applies to Xenagod foils, which have a spread of 34 percent at the moment.

TL;DR

In summary, I think both non-foil Ephara, God of the Polis and Karametra, God of Harvests are good pickups from right now until rotation. I am curious about the source of Mogis, God of Slaughter’s demand, which propped up his price to the level of the resoundingly popular Xenagos, God of Revels, and I would stay away from him for now, lest my specs get slaughtered. Phenax, God of Deception seems to be the least popular of the pantheon and that makes him an unattractive pickup. Xenagos, God of Revels seems destined to be the most expensive of the lot, but the window to pick up foil and non-foil copies has yet to arrive.

Echoing Corbin, I don’t think the gods’ prices will hit Eldrazi heights, but I am confident most of them will not remain below $10 in the long run—and some may even break the $20 mark on the back of EDH and casual demand.

Thank you for reading. Share your thoughts below or catch me on Twitter at @theguoheng.

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16 thoughts on “Gods Part II: The Born of the Gods Pantheon”

  1. Mogis is a beast in two-headed! He will in a few turns deal a lot of damage. Further, it is my experience that casual players outside of EDH also like him a lot!

    1. Fair enough! It’s quite hard to gauge casual interest in a card as there really is no metric for that, unlike EDH, where we can get an approximation of a card’s popularity based on its prevalence in posted lists.

      I’ve always assumed that punisher mechanics tend to be less popular among the casual crowd, but I guess casual players are more sadistic than I thought 😉

  2. Spot on article. Been picking up many of the gods for throw in’s. They are easy to pull off competitive players and should be easy to flip toward casual and EDH players when the time comes. Reprints are next to impossible with the current products WotC releases on an annual basis.

    Phenax is pretty easy to pick up at $3 instead of $4 at the trading tables. Most people are glad to move them. Xenagos’s, on the other hand, competitive potential is grilled in far to many players and is a lot harder to trade toward. It should drop to $3 at rotation though. The other 3 gods are in the “throw in” range.

    Happy Trading/Buying!
    Great/Accurate Article!

    1. Thanks Houston! You have a very good point about pulling gods from competitive players. It would be a good way to swap your short-term holds into long-term ones.

      Yeah, the memory of the brief few months Xenagod was found as a singleton in RG builds lingers till today and makes him harder to trade for even though he scarcely sees play since Tarkir rotated in!

  3. Fantastic article!
    Much more granular,in-depth and nuanced than any previous mtgfinance talk about the Theros Gods.
    Also,a very different take on Karametra and Phenax.
    Wow.

    1. Thank you orishfrn!

      Yeah, Phenax is a card that is theoretically supposed to command a solid long-term growth on the back of the casual crowd’s fondness for mill, but his current spread indicates little demand (unlike say, Ugin) and he seems to be shunned by the EDH crowd, which lays doubts on his long-term potential.

      I actually thought my take on Karamatra was pretty conventional! Is there another view on Karametra that I missed?

      Again, thank you for reading and the kind words 🙂

  4. Glad you picked back up on this topic, it was a while since the first article but still fun and interesting to read. As Houston said I am a competitive player and have/had been trading away extra gods for playable cards, but mostly fetch lands. Maybe I’ll look to pick some back up in trades but I don’t see a lot of gods in trade binders as they have such little value and appeal at the moment.

    I’m still surprised that certain gods haven’t been explored more and shocked that an Abzan or Jund Chord/Constellation deck didn’t make better use of them…like Chording for an Athreos (I actually put this together and it was amazing before going back to stormbreath), Mogis, Xenagos, Purphoros, or Pharika (even Ephara in a Bant flash deck) seems really good and a lot of fun. I think Mono-black was so good pre RTR rotation that competitive players look too negatively at the gods if they aren’t online on an empty board. Mogis is actually a great clock as a friend used him in a Jund midrange/control deck to solid success in events so I do understand the casual appeal…basically how do u answer the guy? It’s a slow clock but in a grindy deck he’s a great clock. Maybe the artwork has something to do with it too?? Do Minotaurs have casual appeal??

    But thanks for the article! I’ll look at the gods a little more fondly in the future. One question tho, with all the gods seeing virtually 0 competitive play (I did see that Xenagod is popping back up as a 1 of) are we at the floor NOW?? I feel like some of the prices of the gods are inching up already, r you and your colleagues really expecting $20 cards in the future cause if so I’d risk the $1 to get some now instead of waiting for rotation.

    1. Thanks Spencer 🙂

      Yeah, I initially planned to start this series around this time as well, some of the gods would have hit bottom by now. The first part came a bit early as I assumed the announcement of the no-tuck ruling would spur an interest in the gods, but it did not.

      You are spot on when you mentioned that the gods have little value and appeal right now because they see nearly zero Standard play. I don’t expect them all to hit $20 (I prefer to err with conservative estimates) save for maybe Keranos, Purphoros and Xenagod (and maybe Athreos as she is a third-set mythic and is quite popular in Tiny Leaders). I can imagine the likes of Karametra and Kruphix hitting at least $15 on the back of EDH and casual demand (Omnath is $10 after two printings and Kruphix is ‘strictly better’).

      Yeah, I agree that the gods are not seeing the play they should right now (barring Pharika). To add on to the points you’ve made, right now we have access to all the sweet tokens generators and yet Purphoros is nowhere to be seen!

  5. I think part of what keeps Xenagos high is his place in Tooth and Nail. He’s one half of a game ending combo with Emrakul.

    1. Bam! Another reason I should get an Emrakul. Or any of the Eldrazis legal for EDH use.

      Yeah, Tooth and Nail + Xenagod seems to be a super sweet casual and EDH combo. Well pointed out there.

  6. Isn’t emrakul banned in EDH or just banned as a commander? (I obviously don’t play the format).

    And Guo I am surprised as well there isn’t a Purphoros deck in Standard but I think it has a lot to do with Thoughtseize and Siege Rhino in the format. Without bragging I’ve been killing Standard since RTR block rotated mostly because I’ve gotten a lot better with my sideboard planning…but as I’ve done so well with the same deck I have experimented less. I don’t understand how Chord of Calling isn’t used more (it’s been a 2 of in my side board for months) and why some of those Gods aren’t used as already mentioned cause I had success and a ton of fun when playing an Abzan Chord deck with Athreos and Pharika in it. I think the green decks just went the devotion route and giant Gen Hydras (another card I love) to find the piece they want instead of Chording for it. But still, kind of disappointing to not see more decks run really fun and powerful cards in the Theros block gods (it also didn’t help that Wizards stupidly printed Deicide to end Theros block and then printed Back to Nature to hose constellation and then Utter End as the ultimate catch all. I feel like Wizards really hated making Theros block and indestructible gods lol)

  7. Great article Guo,
    I love these reviews. Very interesting and informative. I’m actually waiting for fall for all of the Theros block gods. Saving up now so I can go heavy into them in a few months. Unless WOTC wants to return to Theros in a few years, these puppies are only going to grow. Foils and non- foils, I’m all in

    1. Thanks! Yeah, that’s why I really like the Theros block gods as a long-term investment. To be honest, I am not sure if Wizards will return to Theros. Theros wasn’t as well-loved as Ravnica, or Zendikar, nor was it unique or has a central role in the overarching Magic lore like Mirrodin. Plus the gods are just so weird in design.

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