Thursday, January 26, 2012

Dark Ascension EDH Set Review: Double-Faced Cards

Last but not least, we've got some DFCs to take a look at. Well, okay, maybe "least" after all, since I pretty much hate playing with these cards. Yeah, some of them are actually good enough to warrant fiddling around with them (Bloodline Keeper!), but they're just such an inconvenience and a hassle.
That said, I have a friend with a Uril the Miststalker deck with a Wolf/Werewolf subtheme, so her deck, at least, will get some love from Dark Ascension!

Loyal Cathar/Unhallowed Cathar
In a weird twist, this guy actually gets worse after he Transforms. Either way, he's still clearly  not an EDH card and will get no love in this format.

Soul Seizer/Ghastly Haunting
Cool flavor and concept, but I can't imagine every playing this over Treachery, Volition Reins or any other Control Magic variant where you don't have to jump through hoops to get it to work. I mean, how does this thing help you deal with Akroma, Angel of Wrath? It doesn't.

Chosen of Markov/Markov's Servant
Sexy art is about all this Limited fodder has going for it. Not even Vamp tribal would want a vanilla 4/4.

Ravenous Demon/Archdemon of Greed
Meh. Pretty bad over all. Not very good untransformed, transformation condition is a pain, and the end result is pretty unspectacular, especially with that extra drawback. Lame.

Afflicted Deserter/Werewolf Ransacker
A utility-effect Werewolf might be a little unwieldy to use - by the time you can transform it and get the effect, it might be too late. But, by the same token, this might be just what a Werewolf deck needed. It's certainly worth trying out, and you can always just run some hard removal like Hull Breach or something as a backup in case this proves too difficult to use effectively.

Hinterland Hermit/Hinterland Scourge
Why is this "Hinterland Noun" when Hinterland Harbor made U and G mana? Who knows. What I do know is, this is pretty mediocre even in a dedicated Werewolf build. It's not the worst Werewolf in the block, but it's pretty far down the list.

Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar's Magehunter
This one is pretty sweet. Once you get it transformed, your opponents' flurries of spells to try and transform all your Werewolves back into Human will at least do some damage to them. They'll still probably go ahead and do it, because most of the time it'll be worth taking 4 to the dome to negate all those awesome Werewolf abilities. But, if your running Werewolves, you'll definitely want this one.

Lambholt Elder/Silverpelt Werewolf
It's no Hystrodon, that's for sure. Still proably worth running in most Werewolf builds. I really wish it had Trample, but it's not like Green doesn't have plenty of ways to grant Trample!

Scorned Villager/Moonscarred Werewolf
Mana dorks like this are typically pretty awful in EDH. I'd still run Joraga Treespeaker before I'd run this, and I never run Treespeaker. Good luck, Mana Wolf, but you're not EDH material. Sorry.

Wolfbitten Captive/Krallenhorde Killler
Werewolves did need a compelling one-drop and this fits the bill pretty nicely. Sure, the "nce a turn" restriction limits it's EDH applications somewhat, but the Wolf side gets enough of a boost to remain relevant in the late game.

Huntmaster of the Fells/Ravager of the Fells
It goes without saying that this is the cream of the crop, as far as Werewolves go. No matter wich way it transforms, you're gonna get something out of the deal. Flip it one way, and you get to sling a couple Shocks around. Flip it the other way and you get a Wolf token and some life. Pretty damn sweet. My only complaint is that it doesn't play well with Immerwolf, but that's a minor quibble really.

Chalice of Life/Chalice of Death
Cute, but probably too hard to transform to be truly worthwhile. Still, if you have a deck that consistently and reliably has 50+ life, it might be worth consideration.

Elbrus, the Binding Blade/Withengar Unbound
Ha ha oh wow. This is certainly splashy, flavorful and attention-grabbing - all the qualities you'd look for in a Mythic rare. Unfortunately, it's pretty janky. It has Black in it's color identity, which slightly limits it's playability, but if you're playing Stoneforge Mystic and Stonehewer Giant in a deck that also has Black cards in it, you might have a little more luck with this. Hard-casting it just seems like a bad idea. It's too much of a huge removal target to be worth the full eight mana investment.

   And that concludes our look at Dark Ascension. There really wasn't a whole lot to excite me, unfortunately, but then again a lot of the cards in the set are just specific to certain deck types. Fans of Werewolves and Zombies should be perfectly happy, while Vampires mostly got the shaft. The W/B color pair got a lovely pair of bombs in the form of Sorin, Lord of Innsitrad and Vault of the Archangel.

Myexcitement level is not nearly as high for this set as it was for Innistrad, but they did have much more room in INN to play around and make non-Thematic cards. I'm mostly just left hoping the next and final set of the block has more broadly-playable and useful cards.


  1. Great set of reviews, Thaumaturge. I think I agree with you completely on the excitement level for this set as it applies to EDH; it's just a tad to focused on tribal, and a good bunch of the mechanics just don't apply. (Fateful Hour? Mmm Hmm...) Humans matter? Thanks anyway...

    Agreed whole-hearedly on Grafdigger's Cage, by the way. Not so much on Zombie Apocalypse, but I'll let you know how I feel once I toss it in Thrax'.

    Good god, do I want about 12 foil Evolving Wilds from this set...

  2. Sweet, thanks for the feedback! Lemme know down the road how Zombie Apocalypse shapes up. I'm holding off on going Zombie tribal until after Avacyn Restored, mostly because I'm more into Vampires at the moment, though they aren't getting as much love.

  3. Great combo for Elbrus:
    Phage, the Untouchable + Elbrus, the Binding Blade + Lightning Greaves = Win Combo.