Dark Ascension White Review
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.
Archangel’s Light – 7W – Sorcery – M – You gain 2 life for each card in your graveyard, then shuffle your graveyard into your library.
Limited and Commander good only. When it comes to building up a self milling deck you down want white as one of your colors. I could see this being played in Commander decks with a lot of wrath-effects or in cubes that support mill and wrath-effects. In Draft I would take it only once I was sure I was playing white. For Sealed, it’s the hoser for the fools trying to make mill work.
Bar the Door – 2W – Instant – C – Creature you control get +0/+4 until end of turn.
To bad this didn’t have flashback or cost less so it could see Standard play. As it is it’s a Limited combat trick to keep dorks alive.
Break of Day – 1W – Instant – C – Creature you control get +1/+1 until end of turn. Fateful Hour – If you have 5 or less life, those creatures are also indestructible this turn.
Another Limited combat trick. Don’t get me wrong that Fateful Hour bonus is kind of nice but with Shrine of Burning Rage in Standard being able to finish off players at five or less life is going to keep the mechanic on the sidelines until rotation. Also all the Fateful hours cards suck for commander as when you are down that low you are the juicy target to knock-out of the game.
Burden of Guilt – W – Enchantment – Aura – C – Enchant Creature. 1: Tap enchanted creature.
Normally, I would call any aura a bad card because once you lose the dude you lose the enchantment, but this is the kind of aura you don’t play on you own dudes. Still it eats up one mana a turn and effectively works as a time walk leaving you always down on mana. Still that’s good removal in Limited.
Curse of Exhaustion – 2WW – Enchantment – Aura Curse – U – Enchant player. Enchanted player can’t cast more than one spell each turn.
That’s a nice effect, but the trouble with curses is that they don’t show up to be effective in the early game were you really want their effects. It’s really to bad that we didn’t get any kind of accelerator for them and so many of them are going to end up only being played in Limited.
Elguad Inquisitor – 3W – Creature – Human Cleric – C – Lifelink. When Elguad Inquisitor dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield. – 2/2
I like how the Human token decks are getting a full curve. So after both the UW and GW versions have proven themselves in both Standard and Draft. Granted this wont see play in Standard until after Hero of Bladehold rotates in October, but it’s nice to see a replacement and budget option.
Faith’s Shield – W – Instant – U – Target permanent you control gains protection from the color of your choice until end of turn. Fateful hour – If you have 5 or less life, instead you and each permanent you control gain protection from the color of your choice until end of turn.
This is the kind of Limited combat trick that just burns my bacon. I’m willing to bet I’m going to be all set to swing for the game and then see this played to null my plans and leave me tapped out on defenses.
Gather the Townsfolk – 1W – Sorcery – C – Put two 1/1 white Human creature tokens onto the battlefield. Fateful hour – If you have 5 or less life, put five of those tokens onto the battlefield instead.
Great in Limited but isn’t going to cut it in Standard. Yes, it is the chance for five dudes for two mana, but it’s a sorcery which means the other player is going to have a turn to answer them. Also they don’t have the evasion of flying like the Spirit token making spells. Just don’t fall for the trap and take them in Limited.
Gravony Ironwright – 2W – Creature – Human Soilder – U – Fateful hour – As long as you have 5 or less life, other creatures you control get +1/+4. 1/4
Finally, a Fateful hour card that is going to see play out side of Limited in Tribal format casual decks.
Hollowhenge Spirit – 3W – Creature – Spirit – U – Flash. Flying. When Hollowhenge Spirit enters the battlefield, remove target attacking or blocking creature from combat. 2/2.
And the Limited combat tricks just keep coming. I love creatures like this for Limited as it allows me to flash in a blocker and effectively take care of two creatures at the same time. It’s a bit over priced to see Constructed play, but if the token start to take over I could see this as maybe becoming sideboard tech as it can kill any token dead and flip Delver back to being a 1/1.
Increasing Devotion – 3WW – Sorcery – R – Put five 1/1 white Human tokens onto the battlefield. If Increasing Devotion was cast from a graveyard, put ten of those tokens onto the battlefield instead. Flashback 7WW.
Limited bomb. This will be the nuts in limited as it presents almost fifteen points of power on one card. As for constructed I think people are going to try to make it work, but it is going to fail. White Sun’s Zenith is an instant and is more repeatable than this.
Lingering Souls – 2W – Sorcery – U – Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield. Flashback 1B.
Limited and Standard playable. BW tokens is coming and with the reprint land in the set the deck now has legs to stand on.
Loyal Cather//Unhollowerd Cather – WW – Creature Human Soldier//Creature Zombie Soldier – C – Vigilance. When Loyal Cather dies, return it to the battlefield transformed under your control at the beginning of the next end step. // Unhallowed Cather can’t Block. 2/2//2/1
Early in the spoilers I thought this was going to make the cut into a Human sacrifice deck, which still might come around in Block, but now it’s just a cool limited beater that needs to piece of removal or a lock to finish it off.
Midnight Guard – 2W – Creature – Human Soldier – C – Whenever another creature enters the battlefield, untap Midnight Guard.
Looks like Modern Twin could end up shifting over to pure RW as a deck. Also in limited this gives you the ability to swing in and if they drop another dude have a blocker ready.
Niblis of the Mist – 2W – Creature -Spirit – C – Flying. When Niblis of the Mist enter the battlefield, you may tap target creature. 2/1
Combat trick, dork, and evasion. Another great dude for limited.
Niblis of the Urn – 1W – Creature – Spirit – U – Flying. Whenever Niblis of the Urn attacks, you may tap target creature. 1/1
See Niblis of the Mist.
Ray of Revelation – 1W – Instant – C – Destroy target enchantment. Flashback G.
Woot! Pro-Dredge sideboard tech reprinted for Modern. Wait, the deck is still nutured without Dread Return. Crap! Still having this means that GW tokens has an out to Oblivion Ring. If enchantments start to take over any format this will become sideboard tech.
Requiem Angel – 5W – Creature – Angel – R – Flying. Whenever another non-Spirit creature you controls dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
Nope, not going to see play outside of Limited.
Sanctuary Cat – W – Creature – Cat – C – ½
In limited sometimes you just want a ½ dork to play on turn one. I have no idea why there at house cats in Magic now. Guess they stopped asking for Cheese Burgers and asked for Magic cards.
Séance – 2WW – Enchantment – R – At the beginning of each unkeep, you may exile target creature card from your graveyard. If you do, put a token onto the battlefield that’s a copy of that card except it’s a Spirit in addition to its other types. Exile it at the beginning of the next end step.
Yeah, another card I have no idea what it is doing in the set. Yes, it nets you a blocker for their turn, but if you use it during your turn you’ll need either an enters the battlefield trigger or haste to make use of the dork you bring back. In the end I’m calling garbage… no, this doesn’t even rate garbage or jank status. This card is pure Muff-Cabage.
Silverclaw Griffin – 3WW – Creature – Griffin – C – Flying, First Strike. 3/2
It’s good in Limited as it can kill a lot of dorks.
Skillful Lunge – 1W – Instant – C – Target creature gains +2/+0 and first strike until end of turn.
Hey, look it’s another limited combat trick.
Sudden Disappearance – 5W – Sorcery – R – Exile all non-land permanents target player controls. Return the exiled cards to the battlefield under their owners control at the beginning of the next end step.
Thank you Wizards. Not only did you make tokens and other powerful strategies that can kill use before turn six, but you over priced the one card that could save us. Would have much rather seen this at 2WW instead, but as it is this is only going to see play in Limited and Block as token killer.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben – 1W – Legendary Creature – Human Soldier – R – First Strike. Noncreature spells cost 1 more to cast. 2/1
This one is another that might make it over to Modern. I would gladly add her to Birthing Pod’s, or any white decks, Sideboard to hate out Storm. As for Standard her being a legend kind of limited on making her very effective to build a White Weenie deck around her. In limited she can slow down control builds and make removal and flash back more expensive.
Thraben Doomsayer – 1WW – Creature – Human Cleric – R – Tap: Put a 1/1 white Human creature token onto the battlefield. Fateful hour – As long as you have 5 or less life, other creatures you control get +2/+2.
Limited good/Constructed maybe. He does make dudes, and if you are losing he makes 3/3 dudes. This one might end up passing the test, but I think it is only going to work in Block for the Human deck.
Thraden Heretic – 1W – Creature – Human Wizard – U – Tap: Exile target creature card in a graveyard. 2/2
Damn, you Wizards, again. Nice Dredge hate card. Too bad I can’t have Dread Return back for Modern as this allows for them to be able to just remove my target. Also RIP Solar Flare. As white decks now have and answer to you in all formats. In Block and Draft this also keeps the Zombie decks in check as it removes the ones you milled so you can cast them. Looks like solid graveyard hate for all white decks.
Well that’s my review of the White cards from Dark Ascension. To put it blunt, I’m not liking white outside of Limited. Yes, the set has given some sweet new sideboard options and main deck additions to Modern, but it kind of falls flat on it face by shacking up Standard. See, when a new set comes out I want each set to change things up. As it stands Dredge and Storm have gotten harder with this set, and the only New deck that is shaping up out of it is BW Tokens. A number of the current Tier 1 decks are gaining nothing from White and there is nothing to combat those decks. Still, Limited looks fun.
As for the Sealed Box I would say if you are looking to play white stick close to the Spirits and avoid the Humans. Also pack Burden of Guilt to tie down their best creatures, and don’t forget about a few Faith’s Shields. Also set up a sideboard area in the box for Thraben Heretic against the Zombie decks along with and copies of Sudden Disappearance for Token decks. I would just skip over the rest of white.
Jeffrey Carmichael II
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