Dark Ascension Review Red
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.
Afflicted Deserter // Werewolf Ransacker – 3R – Creature – Human Warrior Werewolf // Creature – Werewolf – U – At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Afflicted Deserter. // Whenever this creature transforms into Werewolf Ransacker, you may destroy target artifact. If that artifact is put into a graveyard this way, Werewolf Ransacker deals 3 damage to that artifact’s controller. At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Werewolf Ransacker. 3/2 // 5/4
This is not artifact hate, I repeat, this is not artifact hate. This is just a dork that might destroy an artifact and should be treated as such. That being said, one or two copies could see some play in the sideboard of any Werewolf deck in either Limited, Commander, and Block. As for everything else, we have better options.
Alpha Brawl – 6RR – Sorcery – R – Target creature an opponent controls deals damage equal to its power to each other creature that player controls, then each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to that creature.
This card has the potential to do so much in Limited, but you need to build around it. The key with taking this is that once you have it you ship deathtouch creatures and take undying ones. Then you hope that you opponent are running the deathtouch creatures so you can leave them with one dude when you hit the end game. If not you can turn on all you undying creatures at one time by using your largest creature to kill the rest. As for outside of Limited this card goes right into any red Commander deck as a one-sided board sweeper.
Burning Oil – 1R – Instant – U – Burning Oil deals 3 damage to target attacking or blocking creature. Flashback 3W.
Solid removal in the R/W or R/X decks in Limited. Outside of limited red would rather run mass removal instead.
Blood Feud – 4RR – Sorcery – U – Target creatures fights another target creature.
In the end Edward just couldn’t deal with Jacob hitting on his daughter anymore than him hitting on his wife. Could be good in the R/G fight deck as late game removal in Limited. In Standard we have better options for our removal.
Curse of Bloodletting – 3RR – Enchantment – Aura Curse – R – Enchant Player. If a source would deal damage to enchanted player, it deals double that damage instead.
It’s like a one sided Furnace of Rath. In all formats it is effectively cutting the targets life in half. In Standard this could push red towards being an infect deck, and turns all other decks into infect as well. If there is a Curse that sees play in all formats it is this one.
Erdwal Ripper – 1RR – Creature – Vampire – C – Haste. Whenever Erdwal Ripper deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it. 2/1
A ripper what a vampire that just goes nuts when it feeds is called. Rippers don’t just feed, they kill and leave a jig-saw puzzle behind, because of this they can’t turn human into vampires and never hold back. The only thing about a ripper this doesn’t capture in the flavor department is the has to attack each turn clause. That said, this is a solid three-drop for the any red vampire deck in any format.
Faithless Looting – R – Sorcery – C – Draw two cards, then discard two cards. Flashback 2R.
Any red deck, in any format, is going to run this card. Legacy Dredge is even going to run it in. This is the best red card in the set.
Fires of Undeath – 2R – Instant – C – Fires of Undeath deals 2 damage to target creature or player. Flashback 5B.
Outside of Limited this isn’t going to see play because there is no reason for this. Inside of Limited, hells yes, this is going to see play even if the deck running it isn’t R/B. It’s reusable removal, and taking this in draft when you are not the R/B vampire player means it’s not going to be in their deck.
Flayer of the Hatehound – 5R – Creature – Devil – R – Undying. Whenever Flayer of the Hatehound or another creature enters the battlefield form your graveyard, that creature deals damage equal to its power to target creature or player. 4/2
Limited this helps with all your other undying dorks. Legacy Dredge might run it to combo with Dread Returning a very large Golgari Grave-Troll and or Ichorids coming into play next turn, but that seems very janky to me as a Legacy Dredge pilot. Undying Pod will want this for Standard.
Fling – 1R – Instant – C – As an additional cost to cast Fling, sacrifice a creature. Fling deals damage equal to the sacrificed creature’s power to target creature or player.
R&D reprinted this just because it is cute in Limited, and slides right into the undying Draft deck as red removal. That is the only reason it was printed.
Forge Devil – R – Creature – Devil – C – When Forge Devil enters the battlefield, it deals 1 damage to target creature and 1 damage to you. 1/1
This is a bad creature. Turn one without another creature out to kill all this does is tap you land to deal one point to yourself. Do you see how much that sucks? I’ll collect one for the set and set the rest on fire.
Heckling Fiends – 2R- Creature – Devil – U – 2R: Target creature attack this turn if able. 2/2
In Limited forcing a player to make a stupid attack is the best kind of removal.
Increasing Vengeance – RR – Instant – R – Copy target instant or Sorcery spell you control. If Increasing Vengeance was cast from a graveyard, copy that spell twice instead. You may choose new targets for the copies. Flash back 3RR.
In limited this gives you copies of removal spells and is nice, but Modern is the format where this card is evil. Combo out with rituals with Past in Flames to copy your Seething Song and then using this on said Seething song to make fifteen mana only to cast every other card in you graveyard by fasting back Past in Flames to dig for a lethal Banefire or Grapeshot. Storm is now broken in Modern, remember to send R&D a welcome letter.
Hellrider – 2RR – Creature – Devil – R – Haste. Whenever a creature you control attacks, Hellrider deals 1 damage to defending player. 3/3
Hero of Oxid Ridge fills this role already in Standard, but in Limited this is a nice trick and could be a finishing blow if you have enough attackers. I could see Hellrider being best buddies with Rage Thrower in red Limited decks to create alpha strikes of death.
Markov Blademaster – 1RR – Creature – Vampire Warrior – R – Double strike. Whenever Markov Blademaster deals combat damage to a player, put a +1/+1 counter on it. 1/1
If this connects even once with the opponent it jumps from a 1/1 to a 3/3. If this happens again, it jumps from 3/3 to 5/5. If armed with a Sword of War and Peace you deal seven points, gain two life for each card in your hand, and deal two points for each card in the opponent’s. This would be turn five, so gain eight and deal fifteen. If you dropped Shrine on turn two, and started the game on the draw, play your land and win. If this is you option for your first pick in a draft you will be playing red.
Markov Warlord 5R – Creature – Vampire Warrior – U – Haste. When Markov Warlord enters the battlefield, up to two target creatures can’t block this turn. 4/4
Yup, drafting vampires once again with this card. Red Deck Wins would rather have Inferno Titan in the six drop slot for Standard, but in block where the deck becomes Mono-Red Vampires two of these are auto additions.
Mondronen Shaman // Tovolar’s Magehunter – 3R – Creature – Human Werewolf Shaman // Werewolf – R – At the beginning of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last turn, transform Mondronen Shaman. // Whenever an opponent cast a spell, Tovolar’s Magehunter deals 2 damage to that player. At the beginning of each upkeep, if a player cast two or more spells last turn, transform Tovolar’s Magehunter. 3/2 // 5/5
This is the card that werewolves have been waiting for to finally make it as a Standard deck. In Limited this means you are going to Draft every wolf you see. The sure power of skipping you turn then seeing either two points of damage and removal used to kill it, or four points of damage just to flip it back is awesome. Add in the new werewolf lord that doesn’t let them flip back and their only answer is removal and taking two points.
Moonveil Dragon – 3RRR – Creature – Dragon – M – Flying. R: each creature you control gets +1/+0 until end of turn. 5/5
Dear Wizards, why did we need a dragon in a Gothic horror block, let alone two? Tripple red might as well mean mono red, and with Inferno Titan red has a better six-drop that can survive Dismember. This card sucks all over.
Nearheath Stalker – 4R – Creature – Vampire – C – Undying. 4/1
What, no haste? Complete filler for both Limited and Block undying decks.
Pyreheart Wolf – 2R – Creature – Wolf – U – Whenever Pyreheart Wolf attacks, each creature you control can’t be blocked this turn except by two or more creatures. Undying. 1/1
Hmm, this has potential in a bunch of decks. It gets dudes threw that wouldn’t be able to normally and will force a number of bad blocks that are going to cost both players creatures. It’s going to effect limited, and maybe Standard.
Russet Wolves – 3R – Creature – Wolf – C – 3/3
Run, it’s a were-potato! Sorry, I live in Northern Maine, I hear russet and think potato not the color red. In the end this is just filler for red decks and werewolf decks in Limited as a four-drop dork.
Scorch the Fields – 4R – Sorcery – C – Destroy target land. Scorch the Fields deals 1 damage to each Human.
Are you drafting red and already passed over a bunch of Human cards? Then take this as a sideboard pick. Other wise, just leave it on the counter at you local shop in the free box.
Shattered Perception – 2R – Sorcery – U – Discard all the cards in your hand, then draw that many cards. Flashback 5R.
Standard now has a B/R mill deck, but because I don’t want anyone to play it I will not tell you about it. Maybe in another article this week, but it seems like to much of a trap. As for this in Limited, you could build the flashback deck off the back of this and Faithless Looting for graveyard fill and card drawing.
Talons of Falkenrath – 1R – Enchantment – Aura – C – Flash. Enchant creature. Enchanted creature ahs “1R: This creature gets +2/+0 until end of turn.”
Come on! This shoul have just given the bonus at all times and been a great combat trick to give a dork Wolverine claws. As is you need four mana to use it as a combat trick, and two mana every turn to make the creature a threat. This card totally sucks, will table around and be the last card in the pack as people take the land over this.
Torch Fiend – 1R – Creature – devil – C – R, Sacrifice torch Fiend: Destroy target artifact.
Yeah, Mimic Vandal does this guys job better in other formats, but in Limited this is the best artifact hate you can get out of a Dark Ascension pack.
Wrack with Madness – 3R – Sorcery – C – Target creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.
You know how my brother’s favorite game was, “Why are you hitting yourself?” If only he played this would be his pet card. It’s solid Limited removal when they tap out for a dangerous creature that is just as, if not more, powerful then it can handle.
Red would have gotten a high review from me if the suck cards didn’t distract from the good stuff. Over all it gets a B- on both flavor and playability. Outside of Limited and Standard it seems that red is going to have the most effect on my favorite formats Modern and Legacy. Now on to the green cards.
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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