Following up from the last Planeswalker's Guide entry's information on the major gods of Theros, the Planeswalker's Guide to Theros, Part 2 is up on magicthegathering.com to bring us the goods on the second major group of characters in the set - the city-dwelling heroes. The stuff we previously knew is all there - in a dangerous world such as Theros with marauding monsters and fickle gods, the civilized races (mostly Humans, but a handful of Merfolk, a few Centaurs, and others) have, over time, built three great poleis named Meletis, Akros, and Setessa as beacons of peace and hope, defending their citizens against all danger. So how's the nitty-gritty on these places go? Let's review:
- There are a lot of named heroes. Meletis claims its enlightened dictator Perisophia, a Pegasus-riding war mage named Hypatia, and a lightning-fast Triton named Thrasios as its major heroes - and there are certainly others. Meanwhile, besides King Anax and Queen Cymede, Akros's arena-trained heroes are the spear master Arissa, the unstoppable grappler Lanathos (this appears to be the fella from the unknown booster pack, and in the full picture he's actually leaping into the air) and Setessan emigre Nymosyne. Then there's Setessa, with the known character Anthousa as its leader, assisted by young orphan Phaedra, aging bow master Niketa, and mutilated Kallias in an all-female hero corps. That's at least eleven legends among the poleis; they probably won't all be in the first set, but with Theros block's focus on the legendary supertype, expect to see them all by block's end.
- There are way, way more gods than we thought. Turns out the Big Five are just the tip of the iceberg; we certainly knew about the harvest god Karametra beforehand, but there's also Iroas and Mogis, who are both gods of war - Iroas representing honor and Mogis fear, Keranos, the storm god, and Ephara, the god of wisdom and magic. Hopefully we'll see these interesting minor deities in future sets in the block.
- A Sphinx is a major character. No surprises that an ancient Greece-themed block has a Sphinx with an important role in the story. His name is Medomai, and he's the greatest oracle on Theros, occasionally stopping by Meletis to recount omens good and bad that inevitably come true. This means that at least some of the monsters are on the side of humanity, in a way.
- The Archons are definitely monstrous. Yes, typically they're depicted as "lawful good," in a way, but white's hooded big flyers are decidedly evil on Theros for the most part. The entry on Meletis says that Tritons who live in and near that city make their living "warning Meletians of attacks by krakens, archons, or other monsters," while the history of Meletis includes a period of dominance by the megalomaniacal, unkillable Archon Agnomakhos, an event that caused a permanent rift between humanity and the Leonin.
- Akros is a lot nastier than we could have imagined. Usually the worst personality traits of red and white combined make nothing worse than misapplied zealotry, such as in the case of Razia and Aurelia. The Akroans, meanwhile, are merciless marauders who live for conquest, practice serfdom, enslave prisoners of war, and have a division in their army that craves human flesh. The historical Sparta enslaved a population known as the Helots, and young Spartan men were allowed to kill them freely during their initiation rites, so this isn't too far off the mark.