This is the third of three Planeswalker's Guides for the world of Theros and the eponymous first expansion set there. Catch up on the gods of Theros with Part 1 and poleis of Theros with Part 2.


Hundred-Handed One | Art by Brad Rigney

Humanity isn't the only sentient race of Theros. Across the plane, several other humanoid races live under the eyes of the gods: tritons and civilized centaurs along the coasts, wilder centaurs and satyrs in the chaparral, and leonin and minotaurs in the rocky badlands. Undead escapees from the Underworld, known as the Returned, settle in the forgotten corners of the plane.


Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Beyond the borders of Akros lie the leonin dens. They are scattered throughout the rocky scrublands and low mountains, away from the human poleis of Theros. The leonin keep to themselves, interacting with other races only when they must: for trade and, occasionally, for raids.

Renunciation of Human Gods

There was a time, centuries ago, when the leonin worshipped the same gods as their human counterparts, but after the era of the tyrannical archon Agnomakhos, the leonin rejected all human ways in a bitter backlash that has defined their role on Theros ever since. Most revere the hunt and the pride, but according to chronicler Lanathos, some leonin still make offerings to Heliod and Nylea.

Art by Peter Mohrbacher


Oreskos. This central domain of the leonin lies in a rocky river valley in a remote region of Theros. Here, one can see the old influence from when the leonin were ruled from Meletis. In Oreskos, a smattering of human culture remains from their time under the oppression of Agnomakhos, but the leonin are slowly reverting back to their original nature, abandoning the ideology and culture that have been imposed on them throughout their history.

Art by Raymond Swanland

Tethmos. This is the primary leonin den, high in the mountains. Leonin in Tethmos train endlessly and are constantly ready. They prepare both for skirmishes against the Akroans intruding in their lands as well as from a culturally ingrained fear that the Meletians will attempt to enslave them again.

Roles and Personalities

Brimaz, the leonin king. The leonin king is both a warrior and a spiritual leader for his people. Each king is considered the manifestation of nature's animus on earth. Brimaz is a capable warrior and an inspiring leader but has private doubts about the isolationism of leonin culture.

Lanathos. Lanathos is a Meletian chronicler who has traveled all over Theros. He is the only human known to have been allowed to document the leonin and their ways, because he tells a sympathetic story about their origins: that Meletis is actually their ancestral homeland and that they may one day hope to reclaim it.

Art by Kev Walker


Art by Greg Staples

Tritons are a race of sea-dwellers who can plague sailors and coastal poleis such as Meletis. Tritons are partially amphibious—they can breathe air for several days at a time but must spend time in water to keep their gills soft. Tritons worship the sea god Thassa above all others and work to do her bidding.

The Hand of Thassa

While tritons pay respect to many gods, they are devoted to Thassa, god of the sea. Tritons see Thassa as the primary god of the pantheon of Theros, believing she will bring their race to ascendancy over beasts of the sea and the human-dominated poleis of the land. Tritons often act at Thassa's direct command, drowning boats in magically conjured whirlpools or creating great monuments on the Dakra Isles.

Triton priests lead ceremonies honoring Thassa, often involving offerings at towering shell-altars both under the sea and on land. Some triton worshippers create magical sculptures out of saltwater that tower up out of the ocean, then crash down into the waves again.

Thassa, God of the Sea | Art by Jason Chan

The Returned

Art by Seb McKinnon

When sentient, mortal beings die on Theros, they pass into its Underworld. They dwell in this eternally gray realm without sun or night under the watch of Erebos, god of the Underworld. But over the centuries, many denizens of the Underworld have escaped and returned to the sunlit realm of the living. They are called the Noston (from nostos, "to return home"), or the Returned.

Art by Mark Zug

Loss of identity. To leave the Underworld, beings must give up their identity and their very faces, each of which becomes an unsettling surface with eyeholes and a mouth. This doesn't mean that the Returned have no personality and no memory of anything, however. One's name and past are forgotten, but skills and personality are retained. That is, the events and relationships of the mortal's life are lost, but the results of those events are intact (such as speech or the ability to play music). In addition, the Returned lose the ability to form the long-term memories on which relationships are based—they are unable to "build a new life," as it were.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Sentient, sapient zombies. The Returned are undead in the most actual sense. When they return to the living realm, they don't return to life. They need water and air but not food. The Returned form communities, experience fleeting emotions, and follow daily routines, but their existence is a shadow play, because without an identity or an ability to nurture long-term relationships, the elements of their "lives" have no weight or substance.

They aren't just thinking, speaking zombies but also feeling ones. Although their lack of identity prevents long-term memory formation, they do feel emotions based on their experiences. That in turn means that their emotions tend toward darkness: frustration, bitterness, loneliness, resentment, anger, and melancholy.

Gold masks cover void faces. When a human dies on Theros, a funerary mask of dark clay is customary, used to "frame" the identity of the deceased for Athreos. So when a mortal destroys his or her identity to leave the Underworld, that mortal must fashion a mask to stand in for it. Gold is the most common material in Erebos's realm, so it has become customary for the Returned to symbolically replace their funerary masks (and by proxy their identities) with beautifully crafted gold masks that cover their changed faces and function as surrogate, albeit flimsy, identities.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

"Coins" of dark clay. Because gold is commonplace in the Underworld, the Returned don't value it (except their own masks) and instead use special clay pieces called ostraka as a kind of currency or barter tool. Each ostrakon is a shard from a dark clay funerary mask. These pieces of clay have great significance to the Returned for obvious reasons, and they are used as mementos by inhabitants of the necropolis of Asphodel, as trophies by those of Odunos, and as ornamentation and currency by all of their kind.

Art by Robbie Trevino


The Returned refer to their two small city-states as necropolises mostly without irony—they are occupied by the dead, after all. Smaller, more isolated settlements exist, and some of the Returned eschew civilization altogether, occupying caves or simply wandering. The two necropolises, roughly equal in size, are called Asphodel and Odunos. Each has a kind of overarching characteristic: Asphodel's is despondence; Odunos's is anger.

Asphodel. The polis of Asphodel, situated in a sprawling, inland, coastal marsh, is home to those Returned who have a deep nostalgia for things they can no longer remember. It is, for the most part, a dull place, although it maintains a guard and an order of mages for defense. Its citizens seek to be left alone, venturing out only when seized by fugues of emotion, or when resources are needed or desired (often for unrecalled reasons). The main sources of conflict in Asphodel are occasional raids on the polis by living beings who have become convinced by their leaders or their gods that the Returned are an abomination to be eliminated. Asphodel is symbolically aligned with Erebos in that its residents accept their fate.

Odunos. This polis stands in contrast to Asphodel. Its citizens tend toward a combination of greedy, violent, and resentful. These Returned have come to envy and/or despise the living and are driven by a desire to deprive them of the joys of life. Odunos raiders strike at any humanoids nearby—leonin, minotaurs, and the humans of Akros and environs. Their raids are small but effective, and almost always nocturnal. Whereas Asphodel's citizens pointlessly amass wealth, Odunos seeks to destroy the wealth of the living (both literal, such as gold, and figurative, such as food, children, and comfort). The Returned of Odunos desire little for themselves beyond water.

Concept Art by Peter Mohrbacher

Notable Figures and Objects

Art by Volkan Baga

Tymaret of Odunos. Known by humans as the Murderer King, Tymaret acts as the de facto leader of Odunos, organizing raids and commanding the best warriors.


Art by Kev Walker

Minotaurs are the barbaric, cave-dwelling raiders of Theros, barely sentient and certainly not sapient. Although they are among Theros's races, for all intents and purposes they are monsters, seeking only mayhem and meat, killing each other when they're not killing humanoids of other races. They have no high objective, no culture to speak of, and only the most rudimentary language. Most are found in the high mountains of Phoberos or Akros. Some have been known to frequent swamps, which has turned their hide and hair black with peat.

Art by Matt Stewart

Bone-strewn caves. Minotaurs will squat in any cave, cavern, or shaft they deem large enough and safe enough. Their lairs are littered with refuse, dung, and the bones of a wide variety of animals and other races, but especially with the bones from their favorite meat: human.

Art by Wayne Reynolds

Only the mighty can lead. Only the mightiest and most ferocious of minotaurs can force the herd into compliance. Fights between minotaur alphas can be heard for miles and almost certainly end in a gory death. The victor claims dominance and fealty.

Art by Phill Simmer


Art by Christopher Moeller

The satyrs of Theros are well-loved for their good spirits, their love of revels, and their boisterous, gregarious personalities. Those who feel differently know to keep their opinions to themselves. And so their fun-loving reputation expands, and the darker aspects of their nature are kept quiet—except in the minds of the humans tricked into becoming their caretakers.

Skola Valley

This verdant, highly enchanted valley dotted with copses of trees lies in Theros's chaparral. The satyrs subsist on the magic of the valley to the point that their lives resemble one long party. There are no permanent settlements, and the music of pipes can be heard from dawn until dusk.

Art by Wesley Burt


With all their basic needs provided for, the satyrs are free to pursue pleasure as the only goal in life. There are few lasting bonds between satyrs, all of whom dwell in a state of abject hedonism. They are generous when it suits their ambitions; they are cruel when those ambitions are thwarted. Since everyone ends up in the same Underworld, they believe honor and righteousness are useless endeavors. "Taste the world," say the satyrs, "before Erebos rips your tongue out."

Art by Tyler Jacobson

Cult of Horns. Frequently humans come to Skola in search of endless pleasure without consequences. When they first arrive, they are courted by the satyrs. They are told they will learn the mysteries of Nyx. They enjoy days of revelries, music, and ecstatic dance—all without a care in the world. Inevitably, the hospitality gives way to something more sinister, and these unsuspecting humans find themselves conscripted into service of the satyrs.

The satyr sybils decide when these newcomers are ready for full initiation rites. Many humans undertake the rites, never knowing the joke is on them, and are awarded a crown made of broken horns—a symbol of mockery. Once given the crown, they are known as Stubs. They are assigned menial, humiliating tasks. Enchantment magic keeps them in the thrall of the satyrs until, inevitably, the satyrs tire. Then the Stubs are deserted in the wild chaparral, where they awake hours later, alone, dazed, and ashamed. Out of embarrassment, Stubs seldom tell the true story of their time with the satyrs.

Many perpetuate the myth of the joy and excitement of their time in Skola, encouraging the younger generation to "sow their wild oats" among the satyrs.


The dual nature of the satyrs is evident in the types of revelries they hold.

Art by Kev Walker

Rollick Night. Satyrs host festivals for humans in the poleis several times a year. These are splendid affairs with good food, drink, and entertainment. The satyrs are jovial and welcoming, and while the streets are trashed the next morning, rarely do things get out of control. These Rollick Nights are the foundation of the satyrs' renown and the places where they "recruit" the most humans for the Cult of Horns.

Art by Anthony Palumbo

Bakkeia. These are hardcore celebrations of ritual madness that happen only in the Skola Valley. They often begin pleasantly enough but descend into defilement, sacrifice, and violence done by those who hold the power in the valley. Caves under the valley heated by geothermal gases are the sites of some of the most depraved rituals.


Theran centaurs are humanity's most consistent allies and trade partners, but their populations are not monolithic. Over countless centuries, the centaurs of Theros slowly divided into two distinct bands, the Lagonna and the Pheres. Whereas the Lagonna are traders who sometimes settle an area, the Pheres are nomads and raiders.

Lagonna Band

The Lagonna travel in small merchant family bands called guri (singular "guros"). They most commonly trade with Meletis, which provides the biggest market for their wares, but they also do business with Setessa.

Art by Min Yum

Lagonna Roles

Elder. The head of each guros is typically its eldest member. The family head has the final say on all clan-related decisions.

Barterer. Each guros has a barterer who serves as liaison between the guros and its trade clients. Barterers are, by necessity, more diplomatic and more knowledgeable of other cultures than the average centaur.

Omener. The omener reads messages from the gods for the guros. These messages can be from an eagle flying overhead, a lightning-struck tree, a toad crushed on the roadway, and the like. The omener has knowledge of all of these "omen signs" as well as which god may have sent them.

Courser. Coursers explore new trade territory for the guros. They may not be with the guros for long stretches, but their excellent tracking skills always enable them to find their group again in short order.

Koletra. Every guros tries to travel with at least one of the Koletra—burly, well-trained warriors of the Lagonna Band. Not every guros has Koletra of its own, and guri share their best warriors among each other as a sign of goodwill and a way to forge bonds.

Heptaristi Once per year, a massive Lagonna herd is gathered and all guri attend. The Lagonna trade heavily among their own during this summit, but the highlight of the event is the choosing of the Heptaristi, the seven leaders. Seven guros elders are chosen to form the Heptaristi and to make all of the most important decisions for the band. The Lagonna treat this as if it was a democratic affair, but in truth, most seats are purchased through trade agreements with other clan leaders.

Lagonna Notable Figures

Bromos. Bromos is a hefty male centaur known for his booming voice and hard-nosed haggling. He is the elder of the Surm guros, one of the oldest Lagonna guri. He has served on the Heptaristi four times.

Art by Trevor Claxton

Oka. Oka is a lithe female centaur who is widely held to be the best courser of any guros. She was married into and has served the Maiand guros for years, and has remained with them even though her mate died several years ago. Oka is also known for her skills with a shortbow.

Pheres Band

The Pheres roam the wild lands between Setessa and Akros. Their family ties are looser than those of the Lagonna Band, and on some occasions they form large raid hordes to secure resources and new hunting grounds. They are slightly larger than the Lagonna, and they are also quite a bit more savage. Pheres names are often descriptions of a physical feature or the circumstances of an individual's birth.

Art by Kev Walker

Pheres Roles

Charger. Unlike the Lagonna, who are ruled by their elders, the Pheres are led by their strongest and most dominant. Each small raiding herd follows a charger, and leadership tends to be stable until the charger ages to the point where he or she can't lead effectively anymore.

Caller. Pheres "callers" are shamans and summoners with the ability to call animals to aid the band and to enchant their allies with animal energies. A caller can be identified by the ornately carved horn he or she carries, called an oulokeros.

Tromper. Centaur legends say that when the gods first fashioned humans from the red mud of the eldest river, it was Pheres trompers who taught them how to corner and kill prey. Trompers are the feared raiders and warriors of the Pheres Band.

Art by Steve Prescott

Pheres Notable Figures

Great-Hoof. Great-Hoof is the charger of one of the largest Pheres raiding bands. He is large, muscular, and highly skilled as a tactician. It's rumored that he once broke the back of a minotaur with one kick.

Wide-Eyes. Wide-Eyes is among the youngest of Pheres callers, and her skills are already renowned. She tends to be quite reclusive unless the band needs her aid. Her most stalwart companion is a small squirrel she calls Glokhis.

Smoke-Born. Smoke-Born is a middle-aged healer who serves several raiding bands. Her birth took place as her home village, Kithara, was burned to the ground by Akroan warriors. Smoke-Born has many small wooden totems braided into her mangy hair, and although her appearance can be disconcerting, her healing skills are unmatched.


Nymphs are divinely created creatures that inhabit special places, infusing them with the magic of Nyx. Most are benevolent and associated with healing or other life-giving magic, but dark nymphs dwell near the entrances to the Underworld and in places of great sorrow as well. Nymphs were intentionally created by the gods and can act as companions, messengers, guardians, or scouts.

Nymphs tend to be mysterious, shy creatures who spend most of their lives around a single location. Although they are corporeal, they "inhabit" aspects of the natural world, such as trees, lakes, or caves. They often live in groups. They have no need for sustenance or shelter; they subsist on the magic of Nyx. They rarely interact with humans. They do not grow old or suffer from illness, but they can be killed.

Alseid. These white-aligned nymphs inhabit meadows. They protect flocks and are in closer proximity to human civilization than any of the other nymphs.

Art by Todd Lockwood

Naiad. Blue-aligned nymphs can be found anywhere there is water. They are common in the streams and grottos of the Nistos Forest. Naiad also make their home on isolated beaches and shorelines, although they prefer areas with more cover.

Art by David Palumbo

Lampad. These rare, black-aligned nymphs are said to help Athreos in guiding the dead to the Underworld. They sometimes bear torches that burn violet.

Art by Volkan Baga

Oread. The most aggressive and dangerous nymphs, these red-aligned creatures dwell in remote mountain crevasses and near volcanoes. Purphoros is fond of their company, and these nymphs also take part in satyr bakkeia—but only the very wildest ones.

Art by Todd Lockwood

Dryad. Nylea has created many green-aligned nymphs, and her followers can be found throughout the Nistos and Skola regions.

Art by Volkan Baga


Art by Lars Grant-West

Theran giants are an ancient race of towering humanoids born from the land itself. They get their strength from the ancient rocks of the hills, the roots of old-growth trees, the surging waters of great rivers, and even the darkness of echoing caverns.


Art by Min Yum

When a dead person escapes the Underworld, they lose their identity and become one of the faceless Returned. But in this process of severing the physical body from the "soul," an eidolon is also created. An eidolon is the spectral embodiment of the lost identity, but without its body, it has no agency. Unlike the Returned, it has no sense of what it lost. The Returned and its severed eidolon are never reunited, nor are they aware of one another's existence.

While some eidolons forever wander, others linger in a certain place. This "haunt" isn't chosen because of a connection to its former life. More often, it's near a place where a nymph lives. It's believed that eidolons are instinctually drawn to nymphs' magic, like a cub is drawn to the warmth of its mother. The nymphs are usually sympathetic to these creatures.


Art by Phill Simmer

Majestic but fearsome creatures with the bodies of lions and the wings and heads of eagles, griffins are reclusive creatures that live along the borders of Phoberos. They hunt for food in the chaparral, and their keen eyes sense the slightest movement in the scrubland. Wild griffins are ferocious and hunt small humans, killing them with a single blow and carrying them off into their treetop aeries to devour them. Several Meletis hoplites have managed to tame griffins as mounts over the years.


Celestial Archon | Art by Matt Stewart

Archons are a relic of Theros's past, a race of mysterious conquerors who soar on the backs of giant winged bulls. Archons once ruled as overlords of huge expanses of Theros, using armies of other races to triumph over their lands. Archons saw themselves as champions of a strict, merciless justice, and ruled with an iron fist. But the age of the archons came to an end. As the archon overlords were toppled one by one, their holdings became the poleis. Individual archons still roam the world, eager to right what they see as the great wrongs perpetrated in this age of Theros.


Art by Daarken

Sirens are a race of bird-winged humanoids whose enchanting songs and natural illusion magic are the subject of legend. Sirens feed on fish and sea birds primarily; their songs help lure creatures toward them. But sirens feed on humanoid flesh just as happily. The legendary beauty of their song often lures passing sailors, who risk unsafe tides and currents to hear their melodies. Many shipwrecks and drownings are attributed to sirens' songs.


Art by Dan Scott

These monsters are the product of overambitious magecraft—the fusing of essences from three, four, or even five creatures to create a new and dangerous one.

Most of these living amalgams fly, and some breathe fire or possess a deadly gaze or a poisonous bite or sting. Some believe they are the product of Keranos's folly; that he "inspired" a mage with lightning, leaving the mage's mind damaged but impassioned in one stroke. Others believe the secrets to the creation of chimeras come from a long-forgotten polis where magic was wielded too recklessly.


Art by Steve Prescott

Sphinxes are long-lived Theran monsters of dizzying intellect. Sphinxes do not set out to be enigmatic; their abstract thoughts only seem riddle-like to mortal minds.


Shipbreaker Kraken | Art by Jack Wang

Krakens are fearsome, destructive gargantuans of the sea and the most terrifying entities of Theran depths. The arrival of a single determined kraken can spell the end of an entire polis, and even casual actions by a kraken can wipe out fleets of ships or decimate fishing grounds.

Krakens' destructive power comes not only from their immense size, but also because they seem able to breathe air and can crawl on land, meaning they can create swaths of destruction along the coasts or even deeper inland.


Art by Christopher Burdett

A foul, ox-like creature with deadly, toxic breath, the catoblepas is thought to be the result of a curse by the gods. A herder bragged that his livestock was the finest in all of Theros because it had been created by Heliod and Nylea themselves. He grew rich from the lie, and the gods grew angry at the injustice. Heliod convinced Mogis to place a curse on the cattle, transforming them into poisonous, fetid creatures.


Art by Kev Walker

A harpy is a vicious creature with the head of a woman and the wings and legs of a vulture. Harpies are shrieking buzzards of the badlands and the forests that border them, intent on robbing, harassing, and even killing anyone who enters their territory. They tend to avoid attacking adult humans, preferring to injure them and take their belongings. Their aeries are filled with stolen objects they have no use for.


Art by Chris Rahn

It is not known how many gorgons exist. On occasion, mortals attempt to capture a gorgon in order to force her to tell the secret of immortality. These mortals usually end up as statues, petrified by the gorgon's gaze; only the favor of the gods can turn stone back to flesh. Gorgons take delight in dispensing valuable secrets at the cost of deadly risk, and more than one medicinal breakthrough has come from someone surviving a gorgon's test.


Art by Slawomir Maniak

Some souls in the Underworld come to despise their afterlives, growing more and more hateful over time. The most malicious, the ones whose hate reaches the level of true evil, become demons. The transformation occurs quickly, in an incredibly painful vortex of black-mana energy. Once it is complete, the demon can, with great effort and risk, fly back over the Rivers That Ring the World and return to the realm of mortals. Demons that survive the journey use their "second lives" in a variety of ways. Some take up residence in remote places, causing animals to flee the area and plants to blacken and die. Others wander, finding opportunities to torment the living along the way.


Art by Svetlin Velinov

These fearsome creatures roam the mortal-realm side of the Rivers That Ring the World. Each cerberus is at least four feet tall at the shoulder and has two or three heads. The cerberus have paws like half-molten stone, and they leave seared, smoking tracks as they walk. As a result, the land that borders the first of the Rivers That Ring the World is a blackened, smoldering wasteland that's several hundred meters wide. The nature and origins of the cerberus are unknown. They are not creations of the gods, and they are feared by the living and the dead alike. Because of their boundless hunger for meat, especially that of humanoids, cerberus can be lured away from the riverbank, then set loose on an area.


Art by Raymond Swanland

Solitary, belligerent, and relatively stupid, the cyclopes are territorial and feared for their unrelenting aggression and inability to feel pain. Once a cyclops has its eye on you or your village, there's no stopping it. It takes a truly heroic effort to take one down—or a small army of battle-hardened hoplites.


Concept Art by Steve Prescott

These rare creatures live in the far reaches of Theros, beyond leonin lands. A manticore has the body of a lion, a human-like head with many rows of teeth, and a deadly tail. Akroans say each manticore is the reincarnated spirit of a once-great warrior, part of an army slaughtered defending its homeland from archons. The warriors were so full of life and valor that the gods intervened and transformed them into manticores.


Concept Art by Richard Whitters

Phoenixes make their nests within the craters of volcanoes and are therefore associated with Purphoros. A phoenix lays just one egg during its centuries-long life, at the end of which it plunges itself into the volcano near which it lives. On that day, the egg hatches and a new phoenix is born.


Art by Slawomir Maniak

On Theros, dragons range from about the size of a monitor lizard to the size of a small kraken. They rule the skies above the highest mountains of Theros, preying on rocs, griffins, and large animals such as boar. The Akroans revere the majesty of the large dragons and fashion their helm crests to resemble a dragon's dorsal crest.


Art by Wayne Reynolds

Reptilian monsters with a venomous bite and a deadly gaze, basilisks are an unpredictable threat for travelers through remote wilds. They range from a few feet to almost twenty feet long and can move with startling stealth and speed. Despite the dangers in acquiring it, there is a market for basilisk blood. Healers use diluted blood in potions and oracles use it in prophecy rituals. It's said that Pharika hid many secrets in basilisk blood, although most die trying to learn them.


Art by Ryan Pancoast

What krakens are to the sea and dragons are to the sky, hydras are to the land of Theros. These towering, many-headed monsters have rapid regenerative properties and acidic blood. They can withstand countless attacks, and some even grow stronger if wounded but not killed.

Hydras can spend years dormant, but they continue to grow during this time. Great thickets grow over the largest sleeping hydras, hiding them from wanderers. When they awaken, they go on rampages that destroy great swaths of land.


See the cards of Theros as they are revealed in the Card Image Gallery.