With Theros Game Day and the Face the Hydra challenge - the culmination of the first leg of the Hero's Path - coming up next weekend, now seems the perfect time to continue with my color-by-color and card-by-card breakdown of Theros with the second third of its white cards after part 1 of white. Without further ado, let's start with collector number 14:
Gift of Immortality - When straight-up indestructibility just won't do the trick... you whip out the real unkillability suit. I like the fact that this grants immunity from kill via -X/-X effects and forced sacrifice and wither/infect and such, as well as its interesting interactions with sacrifice effects, but the flavor's a tiny bit off. After all, the Gods are immortal; why do they have indestructible instead of this ability? To be perfectly honest, the answer is probably "They were too wordy as it is."
Glare of Heresy - Oooh, nice! And by nice I mean "completely brutal, just like the rest of this insane on-color-hoser cycle." This might just be the best of the lot - at two mana it's some of the most versatile removal in the set even if it can only hit white stuff and at sorcery speed. Exile also means that whatever you blast isn't coming back with any of Theros's many, many recursion effects, and, oh yeah, it can take out Heliod.
Gods Willing - I think "protection from the color of your choice" is often underrated as an effect. Situationally it can effectively be unblockability; it can save creatures from targeted removal and from damage; and it can blow up Auras. This is something I'd basically always want to have on hand in Theros Limited; the scry-trip is just gravy.
Heliod, God of the Sun - Heliod is a six-dollar mythic who is, at worst, a four-mana indestructible enchantment that grants your whole team a keyword and makes 2-power tokens for four mana. This means someone is clearly undervaluing him. His stats at five devotion to white - a 5/6 - are perhaps nothing special compared to the other gods, particularly Purphoros and Nylea, but the fact remains that it's not hard to get him to be a creature by the time he hits the table. After all, Boros Reckoner fills the three-drop slot in a monowhite deck quite nicely. And when you've got a lot of anthem effects and mass bonuses, those hordes of 2/1 Cleric enchantment creatures you can make are nothing to sneeze at - a mere Intangible Virtue is enough to make them serious threats. Is he the herald of the new era of Innistrad-style white-black tokens in Modern? I think not, but he's still a considerable force.
Heliod's Emissary - Jokes about how at least it's not Gerrard Capashen aside, as a creature this is a solid beater with surprisingly good evasion. As an Aura it holds up less, because by turn seven your opponents are likely to have plenty of things to block with anyhow, but at least it'll keep your +3/+3'd creature from having to swing into the biggest threat on the board.
Hopeful Eidolon - One of the first rules of Limited is "don't discount lifelink." A 1/1 one-drop lifelinker is a hell of a good thing to have turn one if you want to be ahead in the life race for as long as possible, and at bestow 3W this is only slightly overcosted as an aura.
Hundred-Handed One - I really dig this card. The Hekatonchires are among some of my favorite creatures from Greek mythology, and I think this comes close to doing them justice. It's also the only white monster creature in this set, and I think the color needs - and will get - more. It's awesome as a combination offensive/defensive beater and I do appreciate the absurdity of having "ninety-nine" in the text, although the fact that it's not "can block any number of creatures" rather than making a hundred blocks every combat is, hilariously, soft to infinite token swarm decks.
Lagonna-Band Elder - A 3/2 for three mana in white is nothing to sniff at, and nor is gaining 3 life when it enters the battlefield - this may be largely inferior to the closest comparison, Centaur Healer, but still really, really good in Limited.
Last Breath - This is removal that debuted in Mercadian Masques, and it shows. Frankly, I think it's a good design choice to have weenie-restricted exile effects in this set, but that doesn't really make this a good card - it's from an era when the designers were so afraid of making a new Swords to Plowshares that they made a card that's useless in the late game. It's not nearly as bad as dealing with small creatures as SOME Theros cards I could name, though...
Leonin Snarecaster - A 2/1 for two is perfectly acceptable in Limited, of course. Much like Heliod's Emissary's attack trigger, this guy's ETB ability is only really good for taking out a blocker. If only he had flash...
Observant Alseid - A lot of solid small bodies for Limited in this section; in this instance the wheat Nymph's 2/2 vigilance for 2W will potentially gum up the board for a while, and despite its high cost granting vigilance can be extremely relevant late game with this little lady's bestow ability; their big attacker finisher is useless when they can't swing without it being blocked by your own, pumped, guy.
Ordeal of Heliod - The entire Ordeal cycle is really good, and this is no exception. It's an everlasting +3/+3 for two mana - although that bonus has to be earned over three swings, of course - and 10 life is an almost insurmountable advantage in many Limited games. Put this on something removal-immune and your opponents will have to kill you before you're unkillable.
Phalanx Leader - I recognize that heroic may be something of a fringe and hard-to-set-off mechanic, but a lot of the heroes seem slightly insane in the scale of their abilities to me. Phalanx Leader is probably one of the strongest of them all; target him twice and you get the same power and toughness bonus for your entire army as Elspeth, Sun's Champion's ultimate gives out. I guess a male-model physique is really inspiring to the creatures of Magic?