In today's magicthegathering.com Arcana article, Trick Jarrett showed off the packaging for Theros's booster packs, fat packs, intro packs, and event deck. And when you show off intro packs, you inevitably also show off the marquee rares in the little plastic windows - hence, we've gotten our hands on a bounty of Theros spoilers today, all large rare creatures, one in each color. Among them are two cards with never-before-seen mechanics, so let's go through them one by one.
Celestial Archon 3WW
Enchantment Creature - Archon (Rare)
Bestow 5WW (If you cast this card for its bestow cost, it's an Aura spell with enchant creature. It becomes a creature again if it's not attached to a creature.)
Flying, first strike
Enchanted creature gets +4/+4 and has flying and first strike.
Looks like bestow was the super-complex mechanic Mark Rosewater was talking about. It's sort of a reworked mechanic, being a new version of the Licids, which were infamous for their complicatedness. Celestial Archon, by the way, has the Nyx frame because it's an enchantment creature - the gods, their personal artifacts, and their direct servants will all be enchantments and have this frame, it seems. So bestow can be called a god mechanic, although not necessarily one that will appear on the gods themselves. It can be read as another way of essentially mitigating the drawback of Auras, and as such is a fun Timmy/Johnny mechanic, and definitely is good in the kinds of EDH decks that run a lot of Auras. The card itself is quite good - a big flying beater that is both exciting and a clear explication of the mechanic. It also seems that there will be Archons rather than Angels in Theros!
Shipbreaker Kraken 4UU
Creature - Kraken (Rare)
6UU: Monstrosity 4 (If this creature isn't monstrous, put four +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)
When Shipbreaker Kraken becomes monstrous, tap up to four target creatures. Those creatures don't untap during their controllers' untap steps for as long as you control Shipbreaker Kraken.
Once upon a time, it would have been unheard of for blue to get a 6/6 for six mana with no drawback. Now here we have one that can turn into a 10/10 and tie up a whole lot of creatures late game. This is an awesome and flavorful finisher - my personal favorite of the monsters we've seen so far, and one that gives me a lot of hope for the monstrosity keyword. This reminds me a lot of an old favorite card, Lorthos, the Tidemaker! In what's shaping up to be a relatively slow Limited environment, I can see this aquatic monster seeing a lot of play since it functions as targeted removal for up to four creatures, allowing for multiple finishing creatures to get through for an alpha strike.
Abhorrent Overlord 5BB
Creature - Demon (Rare)
When Abhorrent Overlord enters the battlefield, put a number of 1/1 black Harpy creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield equal to your devotion to black. (Each B in the mana costs of permanents you control counts towards your devotion to black.)
At the beginning of your upkeep, sacrifice a creature.
Ahh, a new chroma for a new age! The Shadowmoor/Eventide mini-block were some of my all-time favorite sets, thanks in no small part to chroma, the eminently cool monocolor-focused ability word. This appears to be the reworked mechanic that applies to the gods, a kind of pseudo-keyword that measures your commitment to that god's color. This also works with the notion of multicolor gods coming in the later sets in the block (such as Karametra) that have different effects measured in devotion to different colors. Abhorrent Overlord, when played right, is going to be a hell of a lot of flying power for seven mana. What's interesting, too, is the fact that black is getting 1/1 flying Harpy creature tokens.
Ember Swallower 2RR
Creature - Elemental (Rare)
5RR: Monstrosity 3 (If this creature isn't monstrous, put three +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous.)
When Ember Swallower becomes monstrous, each player sacrifices three lands.
Oooh, that is one nasty monstrosity trigger! The monstrosity abilities on these rares seem to function rather like planeswalker ultimates in that they're one-shots that with some amount of support should win the game. A 4/5 in red might seem pretty unusual (and over the curve for just four mana) but this is just a reference to Earth Elemental.
Anthousa, Setessan Hero 3GG
Legendary Creature — Human Warrior (Rare)
Heroic — Whenever you cast a spell that targets Anthousa, Setessan Hero, up to three target lands you control each become 2/2 Warrior creatures until end of turn. They're still lands.
The warriors she leads can rarely keep pace with her, and neither can the tales.
Another rare example of the heroic ability word, Anthousa happens to play well with Anax and Cymede. Looks like the heroes are definitely about having a lot of creatures on the board. Play a lot of low-cost pump spells with Anthousa and you'll potentially have a dangerous amount of power to throw around the board very quickly. This looks like one of the bombs of the set.
As for the booster pack images, three of them are Thassa, Erebos, and Purphoros, who are sort of known quantities. Another is Elspeth, which, given the lack of a white or a green god, seems a tacit admission that she might be both those colors this time around. Finally, there's a completely unfamiliar face - a bald man with a lion on his cuirass in a martial pose, who seems to be an Akrosian hero.