Dark Ascension Set Review

It’s been around two weeks since Dark Ascension is out and now that we’re used to the new set, it’s time for a review.

Set Name: Dark Ascension

Block: Innistrad

Game: Magic the Gathering

Release Date: February 3, 2012


What is this set about?

Dark Ascension continues the horror theme that Innistrad started. It is the second set of the Innistrad block. Dark Ascension continues the ‘Morbid’ bonus and ‘Flashback’ effect from Innistrad but it also introduces the ‘Fateful Hour’ bonus and ‘Undying’ mechanism.

‘Fateful Hour’ is a bonus effect that applies if you have 5 or less life. I find it situational even with plenty of cards out there that makes you pay life to make it 5 or less (like the ‘Phyrexian mana’ of New Phyrexia set). ‘Undying’ is the more useful effect because it automatically revives your fallen ‘Undying’ creature and making it +1/+1 stronger. New two-sided transformation cards are also released in Dark Ascension.


The top 5 cards in my opinion are:

Lingering Souls – This card is a Midnight Haunting at sorcery speed. However, Lingering Souls’ selling point is the ‘Flashback’ effect which means you can cast it twice; the second cast is from your graveyard. Lingering Souls creates massive card advantage for you by generating a total of four spirit creature tokens over two casts in a single card.

Geralf’s Messenger – This zombie is tricky to cast unless you are running mono black. It comes into play tapped but that does not matter much. The 3/2 messenger have your opponent losing 2 life when it lands on the battlefield and it has ‘Undying’.

Strangleroot Geist – This green spirit is the revolutionary card for green in Limited formats. Strangleroot Geist is a 2/1 creature with ‘Haste’ and ‘Undying’. Not bad for two green mana.

Huntmaster of the Fells // Ravager of the Fells – This card is ridiculous! It is a red/green werewolf creature that does a total of five different things and that’s not even counting the transformation effect on each side of the card. Huntmaster is sure to be the top card in demand.

Sorin, Lord of Innistrad – Sorin is the planeswalker of the set. He is faster compared to his Zendikar debut however I feel his new loyalty effects aren’t effective enough. You also need white and black mana to play him. But who can argue with a free 1/1 ‘Lifelink’ vampire creature token every turn?

Is this set worth my time?

The short answer is unless you’re into Innistrad, not really. Here’s why:

Strengths: For constructed players, they may find much better zombies to choose from. Green cards received a much needed power boost in this set. Also, new tribal lord creatures (creatures with effect “Other X-type creatures get +1/+1”) are printed in Uncommon rarity which makes them easier to acquire. On the same note, the Uncommon cards of this set are outstanding and much better than the Rares in general.

Weaknesses: Vampire players are out of luck. There aren’t many good vampires to choose from other than the multi-colored ones. For the set as a whole, there isn’t really any one card that is “extremely game breaking” such as Innistrad’s Snapcaster Mage. Also, it is more difficult to find value (dueling or financial) in this particular set. This can be a good thing because it makes players rely on creative strategies rather than mindlessly playing expensive overpowered cards to win.

Rating: Dark Ascension is not the greatest set ever printed and is definitely not the most straightforward but it is a worthy addition to the Innistrad block. For Dark Ascension’s investment strategy, I recommend to seek out selected single cards that interests you because it is mostly the Uncommon cards that are great in this set. Therefore acquiring the singles will not cost too much. Here’s hoping the upcoming Avacyn Restored set wraps up this block well.

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment if you agree or disagree with something in my review.

(Source: Wizards.com)

Permanent link to this article: https://www.brokenfuse.com/2012/02/16/dkareview/


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  1. Sound assessment. Innistrad= sounder investment. How do blocks usually go again in terms of overall value again? With the first being good, middle being ok, and last one being (something) on average? Wonder what Wizards will come up with next after the end of this block?

    • Kevin Lam on February 20, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    I’m going to use the Zendikar block as my example.
    The first set (Zendikar) is usually the largest of the set. As such it is very diverse and there’s a lot more “good” cards you can potentially pull.
    The second set (Worldwake) is smaller and more concentrated on a certain theme. They are suppose to be an improvement from the first set so it is considered more valuable.
    The last set (Rise of the Eldrazi) is usually completely different from the other two sets but still follows some mechanics of the predecessors.

  2. so does this block follow this?

    • Kevin Lam on February 20, 2012 at 10:16 PM

    Not 100% so far but Richard Garfield (creator of Magic) is currently back to help design the Innistrad block so expect something crazy for Avacyn Restored (AVR). I miss the traditional Elves and Goblins but Werewolves and Spirits are alright.

    As for Magic’s future, after AVR, there will be Magic 2013 core set. Then a new block for September codename “Hook”, “Line” and “Sinker”.

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