Dark Ascension Review Blue
Welcome everyone, it’s that time of year again. The Dark Ascension set has been fully spoiled and that means that it’s time to talk about the new cards. For the most part I write these reviews for the new players at my shop to help them develop their card assessment skills, but that doesn’t mean most of my readers don’t enjoy hearing my ideas on the new cards as well.
Also Mages and Sages is have another Sealed Box Tournament on February 5th, so I’ll be adding advice at the end of each part of the review articles for those playing in that event. With that said, let’s start the review.
Other reviews in the set: White, Blue, Black, Red, Green, Artifacts, Multicolored and Lands.
Artful Dodge – U – Sorcery – C – Target Creature is unblockable this turn. Flashback U.
This is a good combat trick that might see play past Limited because it has flashback so it can be repeated.
Beguiler of Wills 3UU – Creature – Human Wizard – M- Tap: Gain control of target creature with power less than or equal to the number of creatures you control. 1/1
Commander only Mythic. You want to run this in a mind control build because you want to make every card in the deck some kind of removal or mind control spell. I don’t see this being played ever outside of Commander.
Bone to Ash – 2UU – Instant – C – Counter target creature spell. Draw a card.
Limited counter spell. With that high of a casting cost and only targeting creatures you only want this in the aggro format.
Call to the Kindred – 3U – Enchantment – Aura – R – Enchant Creature. At the beginning of your upkeep, you may look at the top five cards of your library. If you do, you may put a creature card that share a creature type with enchanted creature from among them onto the battlefield, then you put the rest of those cards on the bottom of your library.
Limited, yes please. Constructed, hell no. Here’s the deal, you can run the risk and go for this in Limited with the hopes that the other player doesn’t have either the counter of the removal and get some use out of this, but in Constructed it’s just screaming for either counter or removal.
Chant of the Skifsang – 2U – Enchantment – Aura – C – Enchant creature. Enchanted creature gets -13/-0.
Great in limited as long as you can get around the wall you just turned their guy into.
Chill of Foreboding – 2U – Sorcery – U – Each player puts the top 5 cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Flashback 7U.
More self milling to fuel graveyard based decks. It’s good in limited and with a Standard/Block Dredge deck in the works it’s going to be played. Plus in Limited I’m willing to be you aren’t going to see may mirror matches in the graveyard build, but this will turn on the other players flashback cards.
Counterlash – 4UU – Instant – R – Counter target spell. You may cast a card from your hand that shares a card type with that spell without paying its mana cost.
This skips most formats and moves right over to Commander playable. Granted if it had been more aggressively priced, meaning playable in other formats, it would lead to some broken tricks in Vintage, Legacy, and Modern. Wait, this doesn’t give the other card flash. Yeah, total Muff-Cabbage once again.
Curse of Echoes – 4U – Enchantment – Aura Curse – R – Enchant Player. Whenever enchanted player cast an instant or sorcery spell, each other player may copy that spell and may choose new targets for the copy he or she controls.
It’s best to look at this as a one sided Hive Mind. Because this only allows the opponent of the target to copy instead of everyone you can get very different interactions. Well Hive Mind would let you win by playing a Pact spell and so became playable in Legacy and Modern, this lets you copy another players removal, burn, and counter-spells. Dropping this auto wins you any counter spell war and forces the other player to have to target you creatures and his with removal. In fact this is ten times better than Hive Mind in my opinion, and I think it is going to see play in all formats.
Divination 2U – Sorcery – C – Draw two cards.
This has always been a staple card of blue deck in Limited and Commander as it effectively trades one card and three mana for two new cards. For the longest time it hasn’t seen Standard play but it is starting to creep into decks with one or two copies.
Dungeon Geists – 2UU – Creature – Spirit – R – Flying. When Dungeon Geist enter the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn’t untap for a s long as you control Dungeon Geists. 3/3
Flying, taps down a dork, and has good stats. Great in Limited as a mid game bomb with the four mana cost. For this to make it in Standard there needs to be a Spirit deck rise up. With all the tribal cards in this block that just might happen. Look to this seeing a lot of play in Block format.
Geralf’s Mindcrusher – 4UU – Creature – Zombie Horror – R – When Geralf’s Mindcrusher enter the battlefield, target player puts the top 5 cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Undying. 5/5
Because most constructed formats have some kind of Dredge or Reanimate deck this card sucks. As for using it in a Dredge style deck this issue is that these decks need cheap spells because so many of their lands end up in the graveyard because of milling. Granted if this gets online it will help fuel the plan and get things rolling along as it has to die twice to stay dead. Might see some play in Limited and Commander decks which are not focused on self mill, but could gain a bonus off of this card.
Griptide – 3U – Instant – C – Put target creature on top of its owner’s library.
In limited I like this as blue removal. If you cast this in response to a mill trigger say Geralf’s Mindcrusher above. You effectively kill that creature for just 3U. Any other time you have just time-walked the other player my making them draw and cast the creature all over again. Which is good if they had tapped-out to cast it and don’t have any more lands in hand.
Havengul Runebinder – 2UU – Creature – Human Wizard – R – 2U, Tap, Exile a creature from your graveyard: Put a 2/2 black Zombie creature token onto the battlefield, then put a +1/+1 counter on each Zombie you control. 2/2
The problem is that all the blue Zombies feed off having dorks in the graveyard, and seeing how you’ll want to run blue you’re kind of defeating the point of having a zombie pumper. Granted in Limited this does help you if you can get tribal going with the deck, and he replaces himself on the defense when you tap to use him.
Headless Skaab – 2U – Creature – Zombie – C – As an additional cost to cast Headless Skaab, exile a creature card from you graveyard. Headless Skaab enters the battlefield tapped. 3/6
Cheap zombie with a fat back end. Even if it does enter the battlefield tapped, this is still a great blocker for turn four and beyond.
Increasing Confusion – XU – Sorcery – R – Target player puts the top X cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. If Increasing Confusion was cast from a graveyard, that player puts twice as many cards into his or her graveyard instead. Flashback XU.
I like this as it can serve two rolls in the new Dredge style decks. It’s an enabler that can let you bin a number of cards to turn on Zombies in hand, and it can work as a finisher in Limited. Here’s the example of it being used as a finisher; turn two mana mill dork, turn three cast Chill of Foreboding, turn four drop a blue Zombie, turn five with the opponent on the draw leaves them with twenty-four cards in their deck, you cast this with seven mana leaving them with eighteen cards in their deck, they draw and have seventeen when they ship back to you, you make you land drop and flashback Increasing Confusion with seven mana leaving them with only six cards left, they draw and cast something but are dead when you hit your land drop and flashback Chill of Foreboding on turn seven. Good to game technology, and it doesn’t distract from the Dredge self mill strategy, but lets you play mill as a back up plan if you see this on turn five or later.
Mystical Retrieval – 3U – Sorcery – U – Return target instant or sorcery card from your graveyard to your hand. Flashback 2R.
Comparing this card to Snapcaster Mage is like comparing Demonic Tutor to Diabolical Tutor. It’s easy to get your hands on and is a lot more fair to play against. Remember never choose a fair card when you can run on that isn’t. Well in draft this might help you fuel some kind of crazy UR flashback deck.
Nephalia Seakite – 3U – Creature – Bird – C – Flash. Flying. 2/3
Nice draft pick for blue decks. With having Flash it can bluff counter magic or removal before it arrives to block. Having a solid three defensive score means it will survive combat to become an attacker next turn.
Niblis of the Breath – 2U – Creature – Spirit – U – Flying. U, Tap: You may tap or untap target creature. 2/1
This along with the spirit lord are why I’m calling Spirit tribal the best Drafting plan. Being able to either tap-down an attacker or untap a surprise blocker is very useful.
Relentless Skaabs – 3UU – Creature – Zombie – U – As an additional cost to cast Relentless Skabbs, exile a creature card from your graveyard. Undying. 4/4
You know when I saw their was a card with the name Relentless I finally thought this was going to be a 2/2 that would be a lord to other copies of it and allow you to have as many as you want in the deck at the cost of 1UU. Instead we get a 4/4 that becomes a 5/5 when it dies the first time. Either way, it’s still good for drafting.
Saving Grasp – U – Instant – C – Return target creature card you own to your hand. Flashback W.
Nice limited trick. This will blank removal and combat damage to keep a dork alive.
Screeching Skaab – 1U – Creature – Zombie – C – When Screeching Skaab enters the battlefield, put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard. 2/1
Hey, if you are drafting Zombies you need graveyard fuel, and all the best ones are creatures because they they can be removed to cast the big ones and attack until a big one shows up.
Secrets of the Dead – 2U – Enchantment – U – Whenever you cast a spell from your graveyard, draw a card.
Because of all the good blue Flashback cards and graveyard casting Zombies this should make it into any blue deck. This makes any flashback card in the deck +2 cards when it comes to card advantage.
Skriekgeist – 1U – Creature – Spirit – C – Flying. Whenever Shriekgeist deals combat damage to a player, that player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. 1/1
With self mill and flash back in the format this guy isn’t very good, but he is a two drop for the Spirit deck in Limited. Here’s the deal, take this late when it makes it back to your around the table and play it main deck, but be ready to side it out against the Dredge and Flashback decks. If it doesn’t make it back around the table to you don’t worry about it. Let is be another players problem.
Soul Seizer//Ghastly Haunting – 3UU – Creature – Spirit//Enchantment – Aura – U – Flying. Whenever Soul Seizer deals combat damage to a player, you may transform it. If you do, attach it to target creature that player controls.//Enchant creature. You control enchanted creature. 1/3
Yes, please. Mind control effects are great in Limited. Basically, all those sweet dorks you have to pass up because they weren’t in you colors are now yours to use in different matches. The fact that this is a dork as well makes it even better because instead of being a dead card in you hand against a cleared board it becomes a threat. You offering the opponent to option to either take one and lose their best dude, or kill this and leave you best dude alone. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be making this offer than having to pick an option in it.
Stormbound Geist – 1UU – Creature – Spirit – C – Flying. Stormbound Geist can block only creatures with flying. Undying. 2/2
Still loving Spirits in Limited. This is the decks aggro pusher, attack until it dies then attack some more until it dies again.
Thought Scour – U – Instant – C – target player puts the top two cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard. Draw a card.
Man, I hope Dredge comes back as a keyword next block. As it stands this is a solid two drop in the Dredge style decks we are running now. Turn one help to turn on cards and replaces itself. Even better its a common which means you could even chain these it later turns.
Tower Geist – 3U – Creature – Spirit – U – Flying. When Tower Geist enters the battlefield, look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into you hand and the other into you graveyard. 2/2
No this is not a Dredge card. It is like playing two hawks with a free Preordain. Let’s face when you Preordain its just the same as look at the top two cards and discarding one to draw the other because with that deck it was rare that you would end up leaving the both cards on top as one would be awesome and the other would be a tutor target, dead card, or an extra land. In the end it didn’t matter, and with Flashback you can still get to use the milled card when you cast this.
That’s all for Blue. Time to get started on Black.
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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