Dark Ascension is the second set in the Innistrad block, and Wizards of the Coast have added a number of twists and turns in terms of storyline and game play. Where the humans in Innistrad seemed to have some power over the hordes of zombies, spirits, and vampires, Dark Ascension shatters their hopes for a peaceable existence. In terms of gameplay, Flashback (pay a mana cost when the card is in the graveyard to cast the spell a second time), Morbid (stronger effects if creatures have died this turn) and double-faced cards (when a condition is met, the card is flipped to reveal a much stronger creature) make their return.
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However, the Undying mechanic is something that is new to Dark Ascension. This ability allows a creature, if it has no +1/+1 counters at its time of death, to be returned to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter. For those players that love their humans, the Fateful Hour mechanic provides stronger effects for spells if the player casting them has less than five life. The different groups of evil-doers are given their standard-bearers, with Diregraf Captain (Zombie), Drogskol Captain (Spirit), and Immerwolf (Werewolf/Wolf). Vampires get their keystone character in the Falkenrath Aristocrat, a 4 CMC creature with haste that has additional abilities to confer invulnerability and +1/+1 counters.
While being a vampire, planeswalker Sorin (of Innistrad) will have a number of uses in a variety of decks. With an ability to create +1/+1 Vampire tokens, +1/0 buffs, and creature/planeswalker stealing as an ultimate ability, Magic the Gathering players will be cracking open a number of packs. Couple that with an artifact (Elbrus, the Binding Blade) that can turn into one of the game’s strongest creatures (Withengar Unbound), and one will have a hard deck to beat. Wizards of the Coast has provided players with a number of counters to these incredible creatures (Tragic Slip, which kills a creature on turns with a creature death by giving them a -13/-13 debuff, and Grafdigger’s Cage, where spells cannot be placed on the battlefield from graveyards or libraries). Keep an eye out for Wizards of the Coast’s 2012 plans, which include finishing up the Innistrad block, a new Planechase set (June), Magic 2013 (July), and the beginning of the new storyline.
Magic the Gathering: Dark Ascension Reviewed / http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Summoner/ /