"Magic: The Gathering" is full of powerful creatures, but few are as deadly as the gods. Not only are the God Cards nearly impossible to kill, they wield powerful abilities and have high power and toughness. But the god cards are more than creatures that can end a game. They represent their home plane in a way that few other cards can as the world tends to warp around them. As such, their abilities can tell you much of the world around them. With that in mind, let's delve into the flavor of "MTG's" gods.

The gods of Theros

The first god cards of Magic came about in the Greek mythology-themed set of Theros.

The first five were mono-colored enchantment creatures that used the new devotion mechanic to determine whether they were an enchantment or a creature, and the rest were all dual-colored. For sake of comparison, we’re going to focus on the mono-colored gods. All were indestructible, and all of them granted a static effect and had an activated ability. According to the website MagicTheGathering, this all tied into the lore. The names (Erebos, God of the Dead, for example) clearly illustrated what they were the gods of. The same held true for the dual-colored gods (Keranos, God of Storms). This explained what they controlled, and why they were worshiped. Another important mechanic was indestructible; this showed that, as deities - they could not die.

The fact they can still be removed via exile is also part of the lore, as gods cannot die but could fade if they were forgotten (keeping along with Greek mythology); so, if exiled by their followers, they would be forgotten and fade away.

The clause that made it possible for the gods to be an enchantment or a creature told the story of the gods, who lived in another realm called Nyx.

The devotion clause spoke to the selfish nature of the gods (just look at how things ended with Elspeth and Heliod). To quote Heliod’s card directly: “As long as your devotion to white is less than five, Heliod isn’t a creature.” In other words, unless you can prove to Heliod, or any of the other gods, that you truly worship them by having enough devotion – measured game-wise by the number of colored mana symbols on your side of the field – they’ll just remain an image in the night sky.

They are a presence that has an undeniable effect on you, but still far away from appearing in person to you. These were the Theros gods; powerful deities that influenced the world beneath them but refused to come before those who did not show them the proper respect.

The gods of Amonkhet

The gods of Amonkhet are similar to their Theros cousins, but different in several respects. To start off, their names are different, using Rhonas the Indomitable as an example. The names of the Amonkhet gods described a personality trait rather than what they embodied; Rhonas is the God of Strength. Describing a trait of the god rather than simply what they rule over creates a more intimate-sounding god.

While the Theros gods kept to themselves, Amonkhet’s gods walked freely among the people of Amonkhet, represented by always being a creature on the battlefield.

This doesn’t mean the people of Amonkhet have it easy, however; they must participate in the Trials to prove themselves. This gives Amonkhet’s gods a different restriction: They can only attack or block when you meet a certain condition. If you can’t surpass Rhonas’s Trial of Strength by having a creature with power 4 or greater, or Oketra’s Trial of Solidarity by having a team of creatures work together as one, they will not stand beside you. However, as their activated abilities show, they will stand behind you. Each of their activated abilities brings you closer to passing their Trial and allowing you to achieve greater glory in the name of the God-Pharaoh, showing they care deeply about their followers.

Speaking of the mighty Nicol Bolas, he has returned to Amonkhet and not only brought a host of new mechanics, but three gods, the gods of the Hours: The Locust God, The Scorpion God, and the Scarab God. These three gods are dripping with flavor, from their names to their color identity. Each of them are dual-colored gods in the Grixis colors; one is blue-black, one blue-red, and the other red-black. This shows how completely Nicol Bolas has corrupted these gods, twisting them into his own color identity. Their names are also different than any of the other gods, because they lack a proper name. If you’ve followed along with the lore of Amonkhet, you know that Bolas found the plane and warped it to his desires, corrupting five gods to lead the people of Amonkhet on their Trials and keeping three to use as slaves.

He erased these gods from the memories of Amonkhet so completely that their names faded from existence - hence being named solely on their appearance rather than any traits or abilities.

Something else that separates the HOU gods is the lack of attacking/blocking restrictions. As soon as they lose summoning sickness, they can swing in for some serious damage. This separates them from the other gods because it shows a complete lack of interest in mortals. The gods from Theros needed the devotion of mortals, and the gods from Amonkhet needed you to prove yourself. But the new gods simply perform the God-Pharaoh's will without regard for smaller beings – they simply exist to desecrate Amonkhet. The ability to simply enter the battlefield and go haywire as soon as they can make the HOU gods drastically different than the gods before.

This is also reflected in their power and toughness, which are fairer compared to their mana costs than the other gods (Rhonas is a 3 mana 5/5, after all).

The final trait that separates the Hour of Devastation gods from those that came before is the lack of indestructibility. Instead, they return to their owner’s hand at the beginning of the end step after they die. Flavor-wise, this helps detached these gods from their brethren in another way. This pseudo-indestructibility is a warped version of what the other gods have, showing how they were twisted from their brothers and sisters. It is also reminiscent of the Curse of Wandering that afflicts Amonkhet, in the sense that the gods die and then come back to “life.” Using the mechanics of the card to craft an identity for the gods creates a clear idea of what they mean to the lore.

The god cards of 'Magic: the Gathering'

The god cards are powerful cards packed with power and flavor. They craft so much of the plane around them that it takes a special card to accurately portray their importance. These legendary cards are nearly capable of building a world on their own, making them spectacular to look at in depth. It’s likely that it will be a while before we see more gods cards – after all, it took 4 years before Amonkhet gave us new gods. But I eagerly await the new gods, where ever and whenever they appear.