THS: Portent of Betrayal and sacrifice effects

Whenever a set has a common card like Portent of Betrayal that allows you to steal a creature temporarily, I always look to see how many sacrifice effects the set has. That lets me determine whether the card can be used in control decks as well as aggro decks, which can affect how highly I value the card during a draft. In conjunction with a sacrifice effect, such cards allow you to remove any creature without hexproof/protection, regardless of size, regeneration, and/or indestructability, and so it can be worth the effort of trying to assemble the combo.

Unfortunately, Theros provides only 2 effects that lets you sacrifice creatures you control: Rescue from the Underworld, which requires 9 mana to use with Portent of Betrayal (but lets you keep the creature for the rest of the game), and Tymaret the Murder King, which is a rare. Triad of Fares also interacts well with Portent of Betrayal but is also a rare and requires a 3-color deck. Finally, Shipwreck Singer lets you kill an X/1 creature if you can attack with it but again requires a 3-color deck.

Theros also has 5 creatures (including Tymaret the Murder King) that have abilities that allow you to sacrifice them. While Portent of Betrayal can be used against these cards without a separate sacrifice effect, it requires a fair bit of mana to be able to steal the creature and sacrifice it in the same turn. It also requires mana of the right color, unless you’re stealing Burnished Hart. Most importantly, these 5 creatures are not particularly scary and you’ll rarely be happy spending a bunch of mana to get rid of them.

Given this, you should only draft Portent of Betrayal if you’re drafting an aggressive red deck that can make good use of its effect, and not for the potential combo with a sacrifice outlet. Most R/X decks in Theros are aggressive, but some U/R and R/G decks are more controlling and Portent of Betrayal is not a good fit for those decks.

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