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Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath: Exclusive Theros: Beyond Death Preview


While Theros has been associated with Gods, we've learned with Theros: Beyond Death that Giants were the original powers on the plane. Thanks to the generosity of Wizards, I've got a super-exciting preview card to show off for you today: the Elder Giant Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath!

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath

I have to admit—when I got my first look at Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, my jaw dropped. The way Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is formatted somewhat obscures how obscenely powerful the card really is. Let's assume you're playing a normal deck that isn't built around Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath or the escape mechanic. What we essentially have is a sorcery that costs three mana and is a Growth Spiral combined with Revitalize. Sure, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath will sacrifice itself when it enters the battlefield from our hand, but that's fine. A three-mana sorcery-speed Growth Spiral (the third-most-played spell in Standard) that gains us three life for good measure is a very playable card in its own right. Generally speaking, ramp in Standard costs three mana, which means cards like Elvish Rejuvenator, Gift of Paradise, and Beanstalk Giant have seen play in recent months. Even discounting all of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath's other upsides (and there are a lot), it would see play in Standard just as a weird three-mana ramping sorcery without any additional text.

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Of course, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath isn't actually a sorcery; it's a creature, and an extremely powerful one at that. Let's continue to assume that we're not building around Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath at all and are mostly playing it as a ramp spell. As the game goes along, we'll eventually get up to five cards in our graveyard and be able to spend four mana to escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath into play as a 6/6 that draws us a card, gains us three life, and potentially lets us ramp both when it enters the battlefield and attacks (which makes the Elder Giant a nice callback to perhaps the most famous Giants in Magic's past, the titan cycle featuring Primeval Titan, Inferno Titan and friends). At various times in the past year, Elite Guardmage has been a staple of Standard as a four-mana 2/3 flier with a trigger similar to Uro, but only when it comes into play, and not when it attacks. While needing cards in the graveyard for escape is a limiting factor, it's hard to imagine that, even discounting its power as a ramp spell on Turn 3, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath isn't better than Elite Guardmage as a creature thanks to bigger stats and a more repeatable trigger. 

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Where this leaves us is that as a spell, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath looks a lot like one of the most played spells in Standard in Growth Spiral but with about a million more lines of text. It's the Questing Beast of Growth Spirals. Meanwhile, as a creature, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is a major upgrade over a card that already has seen a lot of play in Standard, in Elite Guardmage. Combine these two factors together, and you have a staggeringly powerful Magic card.

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So far, we've been focusing on just playing Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath as a good card. But if we're willing to build around it just a little bit, it becomes even better. Cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper, Emry, Lurker of the Loch, and basically any surveil card make Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath even more powerful. Not only do they stock our graveyard with enough cards that we can potentially escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath as soon as we get to four mana, but every copy of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath that we mill over is essentially like drawing an extra card since we can escape it from our graveyard.

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And this doesn't include all of the escape support from Theros: Beyond Death itself. The Binding of the Titans on Turn 2 allows you to cast Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath on Turn 3 and then have four non-Uro cards in the graveyard on Turn 4. So something like Fabled Passage or any one-CMC spell on Turn 1 or Turn 4 (since we should have five mana thanks to Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath's ramping ability on Turn 3) allows us to escape Uro into play on Turn 4. Meanwhile, Tymaret Calls the Dead gets us to a Turn 4 Uro all by itself, if we can make the mana work, with the added bonus of potentially milling over some copies of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath along the way. While escape 5 might seem like a lot, and it is a number that will make it hard to escape several times during the course of a normal game, Standard has more than enough support to consistently escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath early in the game, and probably a couple of additional times as the game goes along, which should be all you need.

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Once Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath escapes into play, it will most likely be the best creature on the battlefield, at Inferno Titan, Frost Titan, Sun Titan, Primeval Titan and Grave Titan were in the past. The super–Growth Spiral enters-the-battlefield trigger (combined with the escape mechanic allowing us to keep casting Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath turn after turn) means that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is extremely protected against removal. Even in the worst case, where our opponent immediately exiles Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath so it can't escape back into play, we're still getting a card, three life, and maybe an extra land in play out of the deal. In the best case, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath sticks around and gives us another super–Growth Spiral trigger whenever it attacks. 

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Looking at the creatures that currently see play in Standard, and assuming we can escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath onto the battlefield in a timely manner, it's better than just about all of them. It stonewalls most Cavaliers and trades up with Cavalier of Flame. It's bigger than Lovestruck Beast and Nightpack Ambusher. It stops Kenrith, the Returned King in its tracks, blocks Questing Beast, and even trades with Rotting Regisaur. At the risk of going too far and overhyping the card, I'll say that I think there is a very real chance that it will be the best midrange threat in all of Standard, and could very well end up one of the best cards in Standard period. 

The hardest part of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is figuring out where it's bad. Against aggro, it gaining three life when you cast it from hand and potentially three more after it escapes (and perhaps even more as it attacks) makes it one of the cards you want to see most in your hand. It's like a Revitalize that you don't feel bad about having in your deck since it's actually a 6/6 for four that will draw you multiple cards over the course of a game.

Against control, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath has an enters-the-battlefield trigger that means that even if your opponent immediately kills it, you're already gotten a lot of value. Meanwhile, the escape mechanic means that if the control deck doesn't have very specific removal like Prison Realm, Banishing Light, or something else that exiles, you'll soon be casting Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath from your graveyard to do it all over again while adding a huge planeswalker-pressuring creature to the battlefield at a low cost.

Against midrange, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is just bigger and cheaper than whatever creatures your opponent is playing, especially if you build your deck in a way where you can escape it into play fairly early in the game. This means that in basically every possible matchup in Standard, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is somewhere between good and great. Apart from graveyard hate like Leyline of the Void shutting down escape (which isn't even that bad since you can still use the Revitalize plus Growth Spiral mode of Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath), it's hard to see a weakness in the Elder Giant. 

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This is normally where I talk about some janky decks that might want to play my spoiler card if things break just right, but this isn't necessary with Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath. While there are some sweet, janky synergies for the Elder Giant, Uro is such a strong card that it should slot into several top-tier decks and could very well create brand-new decks focused on embracing its power. It's that good. Just looking at the current top decks in Standard, it's hard to imagine that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath won't be a key part of Simic Ramp and basically any other UGx deck looking to ramp into cards like Nissa, Who Shakes the World. While the sorcery-speed restriction is somewhat annoying, it's not hard to imagine that Temur Reclamation will play it as well since it doesn't mind ramp and lifegain, and it has a lot of cheap spells to stock the graveyard. It's not even out of the question that something like Simic Flash would want it, even though it would force the deck to tap down at sorcery speed. And this doesn't consider all of the lower-tier decks and potential new brews that will want the Simic mythic.

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Of course, because I'm me and love the jankier, win-more-ier aspects of Magic, it would be remiss if I didn't point out that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath happens to be in the colors of Yarok, the Desecrated and actually works extremely well with the creature-based Panharmonicon, as you can cast it on Turn 3 to ramp into Yarok, the Desecrated, cast Yarok, the Desecrated on Turn 4, and potentially escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath on Turn 5 to double trigger, draw two, gain six, and put a couple of lands into play from your hand. The same things holds for Panharmonicon decks. In these situations, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath being a creature that works like a spell rather than an actual spell is a huge upside. 

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Another janky (or maybe not, now that we see how much support there is for filling your graveyard in Theros: Beyond Death) place to consider Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is some sort of self mill– / dredge-style strategy, where rather than casting Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath as a super–Growth Spiral and then escaping it we can simply mill it into our graveyard and make escaping Uro our primary plan. In Standard, cards like Merfolk Secretkeeper, Emry, Lurker of the Loch, The Binding of the Titans, and Tymaret Calls the Dead help to ensure that we have an Uro and five escape cards in the graveyard on Turn 4. 

Pioneer

Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath packs enough power that it isn't outside the realm of possibility that it will break into Pioneer or even Modern. In Pioneer, there's already a neo-Dredge shell that just happens to be in Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath's colors. 

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While Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath undoubtedly would work in the deck, there are a couple of questions, with the two biggest being whether Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is too slow for what the deck is trying to do (oddly, four mana is a lot for the deck, which mostly tries to generate value for between zero and two mana) and what should be cut to make room for Uro. It might be worth trying over Gurmag Angler. While you lose the explosiveness of a one-mana 5/5, you gain a much more resilient threat that provides an additional way to trigger Prized Amalgam

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Another potentially interesting possibility is finding room for Uro in Lotus Storm. The deck highly values cards that allow it to put extra lands into play to support the Lotus Field / Thespian's Stage plan. And thanks to cards like Pore Over the Pages and Strategic Planning, the deck often plays with a full graveyard. Along with ramp and lifegain against aggro, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath would offer an interesting backup plan for winning the game through hate. It's hard to leave in creature removal against Lotus Storm since there simply aren't good targets, which means in most matchups, Uro would be free to close out the game in a few attacks. In the worst case, Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath could be an interesting semi-transformational sideboard plan. When your opponent brings in cards like Unmoored Ego, Dovin's Veto, and Damping Sphere to try to shut down your spell-based combo, you can counter by bringing in a 6/6 for four that blanks all those hate cards and more.

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Finally, another potentially easy Pioneer home for Uro in Pioneer is Simic Ramp. The deck already plays four Growth Spiral. And while three mana is certainly more than two, most Ramp decks in Pioneer don't have a real reason to ramp from two mana to four mana anyway, with five mana (for Golos, Tireless Pilgrim) and then seven or eight mana being the big payoff points. While the deck wouldn't be able to repeatedly escape Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath, it probably could escape it once fairly early in the game thanks to chump blocking Arboreal Grazers and cheap spells like Font of Fertility, Nissa's Pilgrimage, and Growth Spiral. And even just casting Uro once and then escaping it once is a lot of value for the amount of mana you're investing.

Commander

The only place that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is somewhat awkward is as your Commander, at least at first glance, since you can't escape from the command zone. However, this isn't a big deal since you can simply choose to let Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath go to your graveyard rather than back to the command zone after it dies (probably from its self-sacrifice trigger) and then escape it into play, just like you would in Standard. 

On the other hand, you can simply choose to use Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath as a repeatable super–Growth Spiral from your command zone by intentionally putting it back in there when it sacrifices itself. While the commander tax will add up, the fact that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath lets you put an extra land into play each time you cast it will help to keep the price to a minimum. Throw in some sort of infinite mana combo, and Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath will give you a way to draw your entire deck and gain (nearly—you'll eventually run out of cards) infinite life that you'll always have access to as your commander.

Even discounting playing the Elder Giant as your commander, as someone who plays a lot of value-heavy Panharmonicon-style decks, I think Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is perfect for decks like Yarok, the Desecrated and any deck with Panharmonicon in the Simic colors, and even this might be selling Uro short. It might just be that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is a staple of Simic decks across the Commander format. According to EDHREC, Growth Spiral is already the fifth most played Simic card in Commander. And especially in a format like Commander that doesn't put as high a premium on efficiency as other constructed formats, it's hard for me to imagine that Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath isn't just a better Growth Spiral that you can slot into basically any Simic or UGx deck and have it be somewhere between a solid ramp spell and an insane source of card advantage attached to a massive body. If you'd like to read more about Uro in Commander, make sure to check out Tomer's spoiler article on using the Elder Giant in the format.

Conclusion

Anyway, that's all for today. If it hasn't come across yet, I think Uro, Titan of Nature's Wrath is very good and potentially even broken. I'd be shocked if it didn't see heavy play in Standard, and it seemingly has the potential to break into Pioneer and maybe even Modern as well! Thanks against to Wizards for hooking us up with an awesome preview card! Let us know what you think about Uro in the comments, along with leaving your thoughts, ideas, opinions, and suggestions. You can reach me on Twitter @SaffronOlive or at SaffronOlive@MTGGoldfish.com.



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