In yesterday’s preview of Magic: The Gathering – Dark Ascension, we looked at some Black and Red cards. Today we’re casting our gaze towards a sample selection from the Green and Blue sets. What surprises does the world of Innistrad have for you this time around? Let’s take a look. Remember that you can click on any picture for a larger, high definition view of the card.
Ah bears – a green staple if ever there was one. Much like the original Grizzly Bears, the ursines of Ulvenwald are a 2/2 creature. These bears cost one mana more though. That’s because of Ulvenwald Bears special Morbid ability. If any creature died on the turn before Ulvenwald Bears comes into play, it gets TWO +1/+1 counters on it, making it a straight 4/4 creature for only three mana. Not bad at all. Considering the sheer amount of creatures in Dark Ascension, it should be pretty easy to regularly play these bears as a 4/4 instead of a 2/2. Kind of funny that you have bears that are naturally superior to some of the vampires and werewolves in this set though…
I love the artwork on this card and I’m not sure why. I’ve always been a fan of green’s spider creatures, but this one is especially nice. Four mana for a 2/3 creature would be pricey for a creature without special abilities, and the Kessig Recluse has not one, but two! The Recluse has Reach, which allows it to block creatures with Flying. This is great because of the sheer amount of White and Black creatures with Flying in this set. I also love that the Recluse has Deathtouch. This abilities means any creature it hits for a single point of damage goes to the graveyard. Lord of the Pit? Dead. Leviathan? Dead. It’s crazy how great this card works as a defensive piece. Sure, it’s not the best creature in the set, but as soon as it comes into play, your opponent is going to be wary of it. This is one nasty arachnid.
Favor of the Woods
This is a nice cheap enchantment. For three mana you pick a creature, and then every time said creature blocks, you gain three life. Put this on a creature with Vigilance or with a high toughness and you’re pretty much set. It’s a nice straightforward card that rewards a player for having a strong defense. Not much more you can say about it.
Green has some amazing creatures in this set and Village Survivors is one of my favorites. For five mana, you get a 4/5 creature with Vigilance. A pretty sturdy creature that doesn’t tap to attack. NICE. This is definitely going to see play in Sealed tourneys. It also has a great Fateful Hour ability. If you, the controller of Village Survivors, drop to five or less life, ALL your creatures gain Vigilance. That’s insane, but also a power you hope never to trigger. All in all, Village Survivor is a really nice creature card and it’ll be interesting to see how it gets used in decks.
Scorned Villager/Moonscarred Werewolf
This is one of green’s dual sided cards in the set, and I chose to highlight it due to its exceptionally low cost. Only two mana for a potential werewolf. Not bad. I also love than in Scorned Villager form, the card acts as an old school Druid, as you can tap it to add a single green mana to your pool. In the early game every bit of extra mana helps, right? However, it’s when the card transforms that things get even better. Moonscarred Werewolf is a 2/2 card that not only has Vigilance, but you can tap it to add TWO green mana to your pool. This makes Moonscarred Werewolf a pretty versatile card. The catch with this card is that its form is triggered by how many spells are cast on each turn. The only way to become a Moonscarred Werewolf is to have a turn where no spells are cast. With a Green deck, that can be kind of tricky. As well, once a werewolf, it turns back into a villager whenever two or more spells are cast in a turn. So it’s going to take a bit of finesse and luck to keep this card in its lycanthropic state. Still, you’re getting a lot for two mana and it’s well worth considering how to make this card work for you.
I don’t know why, but the fact this card even exists makes me laugh out loud as it’s just insanely cruel overkill. It’s almost something you put into a deck and then use simply to be a dick. For three mana a creature gets -13/-0. WOW. Yes, at first glance, you have to wonder how and when you would need something this intense, but there are a lot of ways a card can get pumped up for cheap. Firebreathing, for example, especially when used on some creature with a high attack score can easily give a creature a 13 attack. This effectively neuters such a creature into little more than an overpriced wall with an unusable enchantment. A Black Knight with four Unholy Strength on it? Now it’s little more than a 0/6 blocker. Take that Black Weenie deck. Leviathan? Just became a very expensive waste of time and effort. So yes, there are definitely some situations where Chant of the Skifsang will come in quite handy. It’s a quirky little card that I can’t help but love. It’s nice to see Blue is still the colour to go to for the weird stuff.
Here’s a nice little cut and dry sorcery card. For a single mana, a creature is unblockable this turn. It’s cheap, easy to cast and when paired with the right creature, it can cause a lot of trouble for your opponent. Even better, once Artful Dodge is in your graveyard, it has a Flashback cost of only a single blue mana, meaning you can play it from your graveyard. So not only is Artful Dodge a nice cheap card, but it can come back to haunt your opponent when they least suspect it. About the only thing that would make this card better is if it was an Instant. Ouch.
You don’t see a lot of undead with blue colouring, but Skaabs make sense. Skaabs are basically the M:TG term for flesh golems and stitched together zombies made out of multiple corpses, and are a perfect fit for blue. For five mana and an extra cost of exiling a creature from your graveyard, you get a 4/4 creature with Undying. Undying, of course, means that when this creature is killed, it instantly comes back onto the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter. So technically you’re paying five mana and an already dead creature for a 4/4 creature as well as a 5/5 creature to enter the fray down the road. That’s not bad. It’ll be interesting to see how often this particular creature sees play, either in regular decks or sealed competition. It’s definitely a card that doesn’t fit the usual blue stereotypes.
Here’s another nifty addition to blue’s creature lineup. Three mana for a 2/2 flyer is pretty nice. It can definitely be a strong piece in the early game. The downside to the Stormbound Geist is that it can only block other flyers. That’s not so bad if you stick with just Dark Ascension as there are a lot of flyers in this set. Stormbound Geist also has the Undying ability, which means it can eventually become a 3/3 flyer. Again, this is pretty nice for only three mana, and its drawback isn’t too much of a hindrance in a sealed tourney. Creepy as hell art too.
The last card that we’ll be looking at today is one that I personally feel is going to see a lot of use, and is potentially a sleeper hit that will slide past a lot of players, like how Necropotence did in the mid 90s. For only two mana, you’re getting a 1/1 flyer that acts as a living Millstone. Remember how insidious Millstone decks were back in the day? Here you have a creature that can easily come out in the first or second round of the game and then not only does damage, but whittles down your opponent’s potential threat. With a little luck, one of these can do massive damage. Imagine how quickly your opponent will go down with several of these in play at once. Add in the Artful Dodge card we covered earlier in this article and you have a nice cruel combo potential.
All in all, both Green and Blue has some nice cards in this Dark Ascension set. These ten cards are only a mere sample of what is to come when Dark Ascension is released on Feburary 3rd. Check back tomorrow as we take a look at a few selections from the White cards in this set, as well as a smattering of artifacts. See you then!