Beyond the new cards and the exciting gameplay mechanics, expansion sets also serve as an opportunity to further flesh out the world of Gods Unchained: the Nine Realms, the Gods and their interactions with the mortal plane of Eucos.
Trial of the Gods will link six earthly champions with their almighty masters in a competition for the ages, one which has potentially far-reaching implications for the entire pantheon.
With three champions already revealed, there’s a lot to process before season one kicks off – which is why our resident feature writer, Luci Kelemen, has put together a short recap of everything we know about the lore so far. Think of this as a Previously on… segment of your favorite TV show! Except, you know, with cards. And Gods. And Trials!
- Chapter 1: Citadel of the Gods
- Chapter 2: Champion of Light – Lysander’s Origin
- Chapter 3: Champion of Death – Neferu’s Origin
- Chapter 4: Champion of Magic – Pallas’ Origin
- Chapter 5: Champion of Deception – Orfeo’s Origin
Chapter 1: Citadel of the Gods
The opening chapter tells the tale of a meeting between the Gods in the Citadel and hints at its far-reaching implications. It was Elyrian, God of Magic, who was tasked with a voyage to the Great Chaos, spending centuries beyond the known realms. What he found there remains somewhat of a mystery, but it’s clear everyone is better off – mortal and God alike – as long as it is contained in the far-flung parts of the universe.
“There is order, beyond our realms, the stars and constellations are proof enough of that. But there is far more out there. Patterns and echoes. I’ve been studying them, in the hopes of learning more about the cosmos, perhaps even about our own origins…”
Though Elyrian’s discoveries will no doubt have relevance in the grand story, the true reason for the meeting of the Gods in the Citadel was to announce the existence of the Grand Arena, a place halfway between the mortal and immortal plane – or as Elyrian put it, a mirror of sorts, where gods and men can share the illusion of standing side by side.
“This place will host a tournament. Each of us shall choose a mortal champion to embody our ideals and take on a portion of our power.”
The true purpose and meaning of this competition, and how it connects to the God of Magic’s discoveries in the Great Chaos remains unclear. However, the first chapter of the story has revealed a key part of the reason behind all this intrigue which seems to pit the Gods of Nature, Death and War against those of Magic, Light and Deception.
Chapter 2: Lysander’s Origin — Broken
The second chapter introduces Lysander, the champion of Thaeriel, lord of Light. A fearless commander who gave his body and spirit in the defense of Parthon against the armies of Tartessos, fighting the humongous horned beast who lead the charge.
It was a battle no mortal could win on their own, and it was Thaeriel’s intervention which saved his future champion’s life, making a crushed man whole again so that he can represent him in the Grand Arena one day in a competition for the ages.
“I WILL SEND YOU BACK AGAINST FUTURE NEED.”
Then sensation returns, and it is agony, as the Light rebuilds his body from the inside out, filling every break with searing molten gold.
And yet, Lysander remained broken on the inside, resigning from his post at the earliest possible moment, the sense of loss and failure eating away at him despite the second chance he has been given. It was his son, Kadmos, who would go on to find him in the wilderness later, and though it took quite a lot of convincing, he eventually got him to return to Parthon after year spent far away from the site of his past glories.
And yet, his stay wouldn’t be long. As Lysander knelt down to the altar to pray to the God of Light again, Thaeriel called to him, that future need very much becoming present at this moment, as he calls him away to the Grand Arena. Unlike last time, however, he asks and is given a chance to say goodbye to his son before he fully transforms into The Champion of Light.
Lysander, Champion of Light
Lysander was the first Champion to be revealed both in the story and as a card in a recent stream.
He is a 3/7 Olympian creature with Frontline and Ward who completely heals back at the start of your turn and has an area effect which grants +1 strength to every friendly creature whenever they are healed. It’s a strong synergy effect with Light and quite a sticky minion, worthy of being named Champion in all sense of the word.
“I HAVE NEED OF A CHAMPION. I NAME YOU.”
“Of course,” says Lysander, his heart racing. “My life is yours.”
“IT ALWAYS HAS BEEN.”
Broken, yet restored, he serves as Thaeriel’s avatar in the Grand Arena, and though the real reason behind the competition remains a shadowy matter, there can be no doubt that he’ll illuminate the battlefield and will serve as a worthy foe (or ally) to everyone on their path to Mythic ranks.
Chapter 3: Neferu’s Origin — Blessed Rest
The third chapter revolves around the exploits of Neferu, an Anubian commander on the eve of battle against the Olympians in a bid to take back Munos, a city they once knew as Muknod back in the day when it was still under their command.
It’s a fierce battle with too many enemies to handle, and as her compatriots fall one by one, eventually it’s her turn to get struck down. She fights her way through the darkness of the Underworld and the many monstrosities which reside therein, and she’s deemed worthy for The Blessed Rest, the afterlife of the honored dead. Pharaohs, legends and the like welcome her, but the effortless afterlife seems no more than a pointless paradise to Neferu.
Having convinced Takhat, the forgotten ruler of Anubia of this as well, they battle their way all the way back to her body, merging into one, wearing her face as they come back to life amid the pile of dead soldiers piled up in the city, they raise the dead soldier and crush the Olympian resistance, marching beyond and conquering further cities.
“Relax,” says a voice in the shadows. “You know who I am.”
A horned woman suddenly appears in their tent, no mere apparition, Malissus, the Goddess of Death herself. She offers a choice: instead of returning to the Underworld as outcasts, far from The Blessed Rest they left behind, they may serve as Champion of Death in the Trial of the Gods.
Neferu, Champion of Death
Neferu is a Control player’s dream come true with an impactful effect upon entering the battlefield (note how it isn’t a Roar effect, which is both quite flavorful and works with Void manipulation), serving as a strong late-game combo tool and potential long-term finisher.
Malissus holds out one hand.
Neferu takes it, and green fire burns through her body.
“You are my champion,” says Malissus.
Neferu-Takhat smiles, and the right side of her face twists, for a moment, into a mummy’s grin.
“I am Death,” she says, and knows that it is true.
A promising and impressive warrior even at first glance, no doubt Neferu will play a pivotal role in future Death decks in the metagame.
Chapter 4: Pallas’ Origin — All Is Magic
The fourth chapter tells the tale of a scholar unlike any other, Pallas, studying at The Academy of Mystic Arts and by all accounts driving everyone mad with their eccentricity and excellence. It was nine years ago the Elders offered her a sponsorship, on account that they themselves couldn’t understand and harness Pallas’ magic.
“As much as it pains us to admit it,” says Elder Lambaros, “we’ve concluded that there is no mage here who can teach you what you need to know.”
Pallas’ heart rate spikes, their pulse pounding in their ears.
“What… what’s to become of me, then?”
As Pallas makes the unprecedented choice to propose a course of independent study at their Evaluation instead of selecting one of the Academy’s departments like everyone else. The proposal, part ambitious, part preposterous, prompts the Head Sophists to call for further deliberations and postpone the matter. The day turns to night, and yet, no decision has been made.
“Well, you certainly have a gift,” says a voice. Pallas hadn’t heard anyone walk up, but the voice is just a few feet away.
“Mm,” says Pallas, not looking up. “So I’ve been told. Quite the magical prodigy.”
“That you are,” says the stranger. “But I meant your gift for, ah, challenging assumptions.”
It is Elyrian, God of Magic, who visits Pallas, setting them up for a very different sort of evaluation. One hour, using any means of magic, to rearrange the biographies in the Academy’s library to their own satisfaction. It’s not a straightforward task, and neither is Pallas’ solution. However, it is to Elyrian’s contentment, proving that Pallas is a worthy Champion of Magic for the upcoming Trial of the Gods.
Pallas, Champion of Magic
As it is perhaps expected of Magic wielders, Pallas may be brittle on the stats front but has a powerful ability to show for it, a very flexible one that can either affect the enemy god or damage a creature. Pallas’ potential of Void manipulation sets them up as a fairly strong counter option against Death, a theme which is further reinforced by the supporting cards like Pallas’ Incantation.
Is this possibly because they are the first Champion who was recruited by their respective god without previously dying in the process? That’s one of the many mysteries left for us to decipher going forward.
“I feel silly asking this, under the circumstances, but what about my Evaluation?”
“The Head Sophists will no doubt take their time rendering a verdict. Your absence will be accounted for. Whatever they decide, it will be waiting for you when you return. If you return.”
“Ominous,” says Pallas.
“Attend, my champion,” says Elyrian. “We have a great deal to discuss.”
The God of Magic reaches out a hand. Pallas takes it, and they leave the library behind.
That wraps up the three champions that have been announced so far, putting us at the midway point, with three champions yet to be revealed.
Who will be next? Stay tuned for more Trial of the Gods reveals in the coming weeks.