Wizards of the Coast recently released the official trailer for the new Magic: The Gathering set Theros Beyond Death (You can watch it above), giving fans insight of what's happening in Theros this time around. The trailer features Elspeth and Ashiok in the underworld, and it seems that the trailer might be presenting Ashiok as a villain, but what if there's more to the story than what the trailer suggests?
A new fan theory brings up the possibility that Ashiok may be helping Elspeth get revenge on the god who killed her, Heliod in their own twisted way. The theory written by Redditor Quantex609 claims that the trailer depicts their first meeting where Ashiok is warning Elspeth what will happen to her if she crosses the barrier. "At first, she lures her with the young girl resembling herself, preying upon her protective instinct," the theory reads. "Then Ashiok shows Elspeth what will happen if she crosses that barrier: she'll become a mindless and faceless zombie like the rest of them."
According to the theory, Ashiok dragging her below the surface wasn't an attempt to kill her, but a test, pointing out how Ashiok doesn't really have a reason to kill her, and Ashiok rarely kills directly since the nightmare muse isn't really known as a killer. "Elspeth's drowning experience makes her realize that she can't die here and gives her the determination to seek revenge on Heliod," the theory says. "This could be her spark reigniting and allowing her to planeswalk."
The theory went on to explain how Elspeth might return from the dead:
"Ashiok already knows how to enter and exit the underworld easily as she hasn't lost her memories or become a zombie. Maybe the reason is because the planeswalker spark is a loophole to the Theros underworld.
Ashiok could have entered the underworld using their planeswalking abilities, and now it's teaching Elspeth how to do the same. Now that Elspeth is alive and on another plane, she can planeswalk back to living Theros and then kill Heliod.
However on her way back to Theros, she encounters Ashiok again who reveals his true motives. She helps Elspeth by making her a new spear from the nightmares they harvested from her and Elspeth goes on to kill Heliod at the end of the set."
In the "Elsepth, Sun's Nemesis" card, she is seen wielding a new weapon, and the theory claims that based on the composition of the weapon, Ashiok is likely the one who created it. "It incorporates three different bad experiences of her past that have manifested into nightmares," the theory reads. "The dripping black goo from the spear is a recreation of phyrexian oil from her childhood on a phyrexian plane as well as her time on Mirrodin. The overall shape of the spear is similar to the [[Spear of Heliod]], the weapon that eventually became [[Godsend]] which killed Elspeth. The two glowing holes are a reference to her underworld mask, as being dead was likely a horrific experience. And lastly is that it produces the same black smoke that constantly surrounds Ashiok at all times."
The theory also points out how the new "Ashiok, Nightmare Muse" card could also be a reference to Ashiok's new role as a mastermind behind Elspeth's revenge. "The muses were a group of greek goddesses that inspired various forms of art, science, and literature," the Redditor wrote. "Each one represented something different and they inspired people into creating and discovering new things. Ashiok's title as a muse represents this."
It would be awesome if the actual story of Theros Beyond Death will unfold this way, but Wizards of the Coast still hasn't revealed much details yet. They recently confirmed that there are currently no plans for a Theros Beyond Death novel but they recently shared a few story details for the upcoming set.
Theros Beyond Death, the 83rd Magic: The Gathering expansion, is set to release on January 24, 2020. Prerelease events will take place on January 17-19.
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