Friday, January 27, 2012

It's the Magic: Darkness has Ascended

Dark Ascension, the second set in the Innistrad block, is upon us. Things get...well, "darker" seems a bit obvious, but it is accurate. It'll actually be out on February third, so it's not upon us, really; it's moving toward the point where it's going to be upon us. So the darkness hasn't ascended yet so much as it's still queuing.

The complete spoiler is out, and man, there are some things that need to be taken care of.

Innistrad Block Pili-Pala Award for the most 1/1 for 2est of 1/1's for 2
Innistrad itself was weak on these cards. Sure, there's Little Girl mk II in the form of Cloistered Youth, Mayor of Avabruck, and Invisible Stalker, but they're all a bit...edgy. I'm glad that you can swing for 3 on turn two, have a decent human lord, and have a dude that doesn't interact with anything, but none of those guys are Flensermite, Pili-Pala, or Elvish Visionary.

Dark Ascension, on the other hand, is a gold mine. 

Black Cat is great. Whenever it dies, it takes something out with hit (probably). It's clearly rattlesnake card, albeit a mild one. That my opponents will expect me to get it killed just so I can use its special ability is just a bonus, playing combat tricks to keep it alive are the last thing they'd expect.

Shriekgeist flies and mills, but somehow it looks all the worse when milling seats it next to the exception-that-proves-the-rule Zendikar champion, Hedron Crab.

Scorned Villager is pretty good. I mean, it's a Llanowar Elves that comes late to the party. No one's impressed by that, but once it arrives, it becomes a bear that brings its own beer. Beer in the form of paying for the Giant Growth, Leeching Bite, Moonmist, or Titanic Growth that will save its 2/2 hide. Ultimately though, it isn't a 1/1 for 2; not any more than Null Champion or Hada Spy Patrol. None of those are cards that are loved for what they are; they're tolerated because of what they will become.

Niblis of the Urn is awesome. It flies, which means that it might actually get a few swings in as a 1/1. It's a spirit, a tribe which has received a lot of attention before and is only getting more. Its ability doubles as a combat trick of sorts, which I really love. It even beats out Mindshrieker who has a lot of the same things going for it because it's a humble uncommon. I'm not getting either of these guys, but my odds of getting the Niblis over the Mindshrieker are just better, and that counts.

New Hotness
There are a few cards that I'm genuinely happy with I feel like rambling about.

You  know what's really clever? Introducing a new and smart mechanic that's going to replace combat one day and then creating a card that's just 45 degrees off from that in the very next set. I love flavor, and this card oozes with it, but it's on the fast track for causing problems. Looks fun though.

I love casting spells. I love drawing cards. I even love some direct damage. So let's look at that deck I'm making with Oona's Grace and Flame Jab early February. the night of February 3rd.

A Magic player is excited about a new mythic! Someone call CNN!

Don't actually call CNN; there's even odds they'll show up and I'll be inconsolable if they do.

When a person anywhere--any person--wins a game using this thing, I'll stop feeding all my copies to ducks in the park.

Heeey fella. You, uh, gonna play againt type and do something noble? You gonna take that stylish haircut and protect humanity despite your violent and exploitative nature? You gonna mature a bit and realize the delicate symbiotic relationship that dominates your world and come to shoulder the responsibilities that entails? Just want you to know that when you're done posing and doing heel face turns, I've got a piece of humanity I've saved for you.

I know red isn't great for dealing damage, but maybe an additional two damage for four mana isn't such a great trick. I'm not a member of The Holy Order of Don't-Play-That-Or-You'll-Get-Two=For=Oned, but I'm really not sure what flash does here that isn't just "make it more easier to play."

I'm baffled--baffled--by this card.

Are you thinking what I'm thinking? 

Moonlace/Ancient Grudge archetype.

Dead people should be dead.

Withengar is the Raymond of Magic: The Gathering. Who doesn't like giantic nigh-unblockable dudes who feed on removing players from the game? Everyone likes him. I'd run him with Hedron Crabs because you just laughed at the idea of a perplexed 0/3 holding a knife scuttling the pointy end into a planeswalker's ankle so a badass, wreck-your-shit demon pops out. The best part is that he has summoning sickness, so he just flies in place there for a second while everyone tries to piece together what the hell happened. 

It's not that I hate good cards and like bad cards; it's because good cards bore me to tears. Awesome cards and amazingly bad cards are both fun in that they tend to, to paraphrase Dennis Hopper, "sometimes go too far."

That "sometime" is Dark Ascension.

Favor of the Woods is going to be fun. Most people I play with love attacking into creatures ineffectually. It's just part of the game, right? They love tapping their guys and moving them into the red zone, swapping priority and letting the defender cluster creatures and play spells (see Scorned Villager, above). They especially love to put their best attacking creatures at risk whenever they won't be able to remove a tenacious defender. Giving one of my defenders the ability to put me up by three life while--

Okay, okay, okay. Cancel that sarcasm train. I thought this was a Goldenglow Moth that cost you an extra card, but I'm just now realizing that you can slap it on opponent's creatures and do that thing I was just talking about, but for an actual positive outcome. Favor of the Woods is going to be fun.

The only thing nightmarish about this 5/5 for five is that the live action movie of Innistrad would cast Dan Aykroyd as the Hollowhenge Beast.

That's not a "Goonies" reference; if you've seen Dan Aykroyd lately, you know that instead of doing comedy through characters with an intense, barely concealed madness or performing IRL paranormal investigations, he spends his time shambling--yes, shambling--about as a reminder of both the transience of youth and the inevitability of death.

I like the guy, and every movie he's ever been in, but every time the old "Ghostbusters 3" rumor rises up, I can only think of how shocked I would be if he could climb a single set of stairs, much less co-star in a major motion picture.

1 comment:

VanVelding said... turns out that Dan Aykroyd didn't play Chunk in "Goonies."

How the fuck about that?