Happy Monday, everyone. Sorry for the late post; I had an at-home day with my son due to an ear infection. This may be a little on the short side as a result, so let’s get right up to speed on what’s going on in Dark Ascension-land.
I’m sure that most of you have seen the full spoiler Wizards posted today; if not, it’s over on the mothership. Since I’ve now introduced you to the generals that I’ve currently got decks built for, I figured I would look at the potentials in the new set to see what might make the cut. (While we’re at it, none of the Dark Ascension cards have ended up in search engines yet, so be prepared to open the visual spoiler link I gave you and use it to reference the new cards I’m talking about as we go. Sorry for the inconvenience!)
Listing this stuff here also has a few side benefits as well. I’m old and forgetful, so this helps me keep track of what I need to pick up come Prerelease weekend. Also, because I’m old and forgetful, I tend to start scribbling on Post-It notes as spoilers are released. By the time the set actually releases, I could wallpaper my living room yellow. So I’m saving the trees as well.
(Yeah, yeah…I get it. I’ve got a smartphone, and I understand how to use Excel and Word. What’s wrong with using available technology? Well, sometimes I like to go old-school. There’s no harm in showing a little grey hair from time to time, right? Now you damn kids get off my lawn!)
Before we get started, the usual rules apply. I get all warm and fuzzy over over-costed flashy things, and tend to miss the little stuff, so prepare for me to gloss over a good majority of the set and miss a bunch of solid common and uncommon playables. The comments are there for you guys to catch my mistakes and make me look stupid, so please make good use.
Cool? Cool. Let’s get going…
I used to be so down on lifegain in EDH. Lately, though, I’ve come around. This thing is the next in line for the throne once Praetor’s Counsel abdicates; it’s not as powerful, but it does provide decent mass recursion in white, and if you time it correctly, this is going to be a huge tempo swing. This is also in-theme for Radiant.
I like this for Teysa, where it replaces White Sun’s Zenith as the mass white token producer. Zenith is both out of flavor (Cats? Really?) and I’ve never seen it hit a second time in one game, despite the shuffle clause.
Another card for Radiant; shocker, I know. There are some sub-par includes in there already, so this should be an upgrade somewhere. It also pumps the general passively, which is a nice bonus.
HONORABLE MENTION – Séance. I want to like it, but I think it ends up becoming Debtors’ Knell 2.0, with half the power level but all the hate in the right build. We’ll see if a slot presents itself at some point somewhere.
Zombies Tribal Thraximundar should gain some obvious mileage out of this guy.
-Beguiler Of Wills
This slots pretty straight into Angus Mackenzie. It’s a fixed Old Man Of The Sea, and the fact that the ability is permanent is fantastic.
HONORABLE MENTION –Counterlash. Honestly, I’m just looking for a home here. I love anything that says “…without paying its mana cost”, and this fits the Intet theme perfectly; it may be time for a redesign sooner rather than later there.
Instant-speed card draw and recursion is exactly the package I’m looking to slot in Thrax zombies as well.
One of my favorite cards from the set so far. The artwork is a partial tribute to the original and judge foil Demonic Tutor art, and this is essentially a tripled-up version of that card. I also love the fact that R&D didn’t include a “reveal the card” clause here. This is probably the “Goes in everything that it can color-wise” card of the set for me; Thrax, Kresh, Sisters, Teysa…if it’s a black deck, it’s in.
Tragic Slip is unbelievably solid. I know it’s getting tons of hype already in the forums, and it looks to be mostly deserved. Decks like Kresh, Thraximundar, Sisters, and Teysa are sending creatures to the graveyard all the time anyway, so this just makes sense in each one. Okay, okay…“Goes in everything…”, Part two.
HONORABLE MENTION – Mikaeus, The Unhallowed. I’m not totally sure on Dead Mike. (Anyone else hearing “Straight Outta Locash” in their heads right now?) However, he’s a zombie and he gives a passive Unearth to my Thraximundar’s zombie team, which seems good. I’m sure the “destroy humans” ability is going to be useful approximately never, but what can you do?
DISHONORABLE MENTION – Zombie Apocalypse. Yeah. I said it.
I get that the theme is perfect. I know we’ve all been waiting for a card with this name to be printed for about the past fifteen years. In EDH, though, it’s just not cutting it. The cost is right, but the ‘ETB tapped’ clause is a deal-killer, and the “human-Wrath” stapled on is all-but worthless in this format. I suppose the fact that it isn’t a global effect is a bonus, but still; I know Mark Rosewater is a fan of the old-school, Night Of The Living Dead-style slow-ass “Oh god no…the zombie horde will be here next Tuesday!” zombie, but I’m more of a fan of the remake Dawn Of The Dead runners. Get rid of the tapped thing, and I’m all over this. Maybe I’ll run Quicken to play it end-of turn or something…
This is essentially a one-sided Wrath effect. I’m sure I’ll find multiple homes for this one, but I’m thinking Intet and Kresh off the top of my head.
A mass-firebreathing dragon is a nice upgrade to the current Kaalia team, and it might work well as a finisher for the Hazezon token army as well.
The new Bosh list I’m working on is dying for an effect like this, with all the artifact recursion that I’m packing in and the lack of solid card draw. This has the potential of dropping Darksteel Forge into play in this build with Goblin Welder quicker than I used to be able to do in my old Sharuum list.
HONORABLE MENTIONS: Flayer Of The Hatebound, Increasing Vengeance. I’m dying to live the dream where Flayer is around for a huge late-game Patriarch’s Bidding with the Thrax zombies list. On the other hand, this is the exact trap I fall into every set, adding a card with an impossibly narrow application and waiting patiently for the moment that never comes.
Increasing Vengeance is just cool. I’m salivating over the thoughts of this hitting multiple times in one spell string. Then again, I don’t have a deck that this would work in, either. So there’s that.
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Fling. The old-school version is already a major roleplayer in Kresh, and I like this art better. One the other hand, this art has nothing to do with flinging anything at all. Dammit.
It’s the continuation of the dual-mode Ravnica-block instants like Mortify and Putrefy. I’m certain this will end up being included in a few of my decks. (I thought Bramblecrush was the same sort of thing, though…)
DISHONORABLE MENTION: Green as a whole. Even the big dumb creatures that I should be excited about like Vorapede and Predator Ooze just don’t seem very good compared to what’s already out there. That leaves the excitement for the whole color to cards like Grim Flowering, which might as well read, “As an extra cost to cast, one of your opponents will somehow exile your graveyard in response”.
Green is usually the front-runner for me in new sets, but it just falls short here.
Thrax gets another new zombie lord.
Thrax gets another finisher Once the presale prices drop, anyway. I wish I still had my five-color list together, though, because there’s so much green in my metagame. White, not so much…
In a related note, Thrax really cleans up with this set. Not sure how I didn’t see that coming for a zombie tribal deck in the middle of a “gothic horror”-themed block.
Kresh loves utility lands that are sacrifice outlets, and extra card draw is pretty much the nut-high as far as effects go. Sisters runs a minor steal theme, so this will see a slot there as well
-Vault Of The
I know I mentioned it last week already, but this thing is the real deal; as in ‘Trade me foils as soon as you get them’ real, and I typically only foil my generals. This will make a home in nearly any deck that can support the colors for me, Kaalia and Teysa already have proxies in place waiting.
HONORABLE MENTION: Elbrus, The Binding Blade//Withengar Unbound. Come on…like I’m not mentioning a 13/13 flying trampler. Tatsumasa, the Dragon’s Fang just peed a little.
Okay, team. Thanks for dropping in. See you all in a few-