Dark Ascension Spoilers: First Look

Joshua Vanderwall | 18 Jan 2012 16:00
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Artifacts are slim pickings so far, but those we've seen have really kept to the Innistrad sense of style. Jar of Eyeballs, for example, is a decent long-term draw engine and tells its own story, using the eyes of your fallen minions to let you pseudo-Scry and draw. Altar of the Lost is another card that fits nicely into the Innistrad theme, providing any color mana you need, as long as you're using it for Flashback. That Forbidden Alchemy just got a lot easier to Flashback in UR Burning Vengeance without having to clutter up the mana base!

Finally we get to my favorite color of all; Gold! The multicolored cards are back in force with Dark Ascension, and feature powerful creatures for the major tribes. Drogskol Reaver for Spirits is a bit costly to cast, but drawing two cards and netting 6 life each time it connects with a player is very powerful. Havengul Lich lets you cast a creature from any Graveyard, and can make use of that creature's Activated Abilities for the rest of the turn. I'm not quite as impressed with the Vampire, Falkenrath Aristocrat, though with a steady supply of Humans (say with Thraben Doomsayer) you can definitely make it work. Finally there is the pièce de résistance, Sorin, Lord of Innistrad. The only Planeswalker so far revealed for Dark Ascension, and likely the only one we'll see, this guy generates 1/1 Lifelink Vampire tokens as his +1 ability. At -2 Loyalty he gives all your creatures a permanent +1/+0 bonus, making all his Vampire minions Child of Nights! His ultimate, at -6, gives you permanent control of three creatures and/or Planeswalkers. That's right. He can steal Planeswalkers.

So what's your favorite preview from Dark Ascension so far? Have you sided with the Zombies, Vampires, or Werewolves or do you prefer to cast your lot with humanity? What kind of decks do you look forward to putting together with these awesome new reveals?

Now for some Q&A! Thanks to those who submitted questions last week, and please don't hesitate to submit your own Rules and Gameplay questions in the forums below or via PM to encaen.

Q: A player has a Pestilence and a White Knight enchanted with Pariah in play. The player activates Pestilence twice. When Pariah moves the Pestilence damage from the Player to the White Knight, is the damage still considered from a Black source? Does the White Knight die?

A: Pariah doesn't change the source of the damage, instead it simply changes where the damage is going. Pestilence is still the source, hence Protection from Black is going to keep the White Knight alive.

614.9. Some effects replace damage dealt to one creature, planeswalker, or player with the same damage dealt to another creature, planeswalker, or player; such effects are called redirection effects.

Q: Sharuum the Hegemon and Where Ancients Tread are in play. How does casting a second Sharuum the Hegemon create an infinite damage combo?

A: Before Sharuum's 'enters the battlefield' Triggered Ability is put on the Stack, State-Based Actions are checked and the Legends rule puts both Sharuums into their owner's graveyard. The Triggered Ability is now put on the stack, and Sharuum is in the Graveyard, and therefore a legal target. Targeting Sharuum brings him back to the battlefield and his Triggered Ability procs bringing the other Sharuum back. This can, if desired, create an infinite loop of Sharuums, meaning that Where Ancients Tread can deal as much damage as is needed to kill the opponent!

116.5. Each time a player would get priority, the game first performs all applicable state-based actions as a single event (see rule 704, "State-Based Actions"), then repeats this process until no state-based actions are performed. Then triggered abilities are put on the stack (see rule 603, "Handling Triggered Abilities"). These steps repeat in order until no further state-based actions are performed and no abilities trigger. Then the player who would have received priority does so.

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