My Review of Dark Ascension
Dark Ascension is here & everyone is excited, as usual - lol
This article will be my review & personal opinion of each card from this set. I'm sure, just like with Innistrad, I'll think some cards aren't good when they are & vice versa. We'll see.
The link above shows the picture of each card, for your reference. While my main critique of these cards has to do with the limited/draft format, or as I like to call it, the basic game, I'll also make comments with regards to some of these cards as to how I think they'll be in constructed.
My favorite cards will be in bold & I'll explain why, but it doesn't necessarily have to do with how good or how powerful the card is.
Cards I don't like will be in italics & again, I'll explain why, but it's usually because they're either too powerful (like Olivia Voldaren) or boring (like Riot Devils) or just bad (like Graveyard Shovel).
Why WotC continues to make cards like this is beyond me. I wish they'd stop. Game balance should rule, which means make the cards good & interesting & some can be powerful, but make sure that game balance is maintained, & please please Wizards, stop making cards that suck, that NOBODY WANTS, okay??? (I know that part of the reason they make boring or bad or weak cards is for game balance, but I don't like that mentality)
So I'll go right down the line with the link above.
Oh, and about the artwork. The artwork, as always, is just incredible, so I'll try not to comment about it on each card : )
Archangel's Light: Okay, this is one weird & interesting card. Because it costs 8 mana, I'm okay with it, but it "still" "might" be too powerful. Not sure yet. We'll see won't we. 2 life for "every card" in your graveyard? YIKES! So 50 cards are in my graveyard, so I gain 100 freaking life & shuffle all 50 back into my library. It's your turn - lol. Seems a bit silly to me, actually.
Bar the Door: This is a nice simple card that works just fine as a nice defensive combat trick. 3 mana seems high for an effect like this, but the difference between having all your creatures die vs. having none of them die can be worth it. Love the name & the concept. Fits Innistrad well.
Break of Day: Another nice simple card, but Fateful Hour is a great card effect. I really like this idea. At any point in the game, giving your creatures +1/+1 can be "very" effective & quite powerful. Making them indestructible until the end of the turn can flat out destroy your opponent. Cool card.
Burden of Guilt: How can you not love Burden of Guilt? What a fun card. The more themed a card is to a particular set, the more I like it & this card is just great. Plus, the idea of enchanting a creature that you can now tap is a very cool effect, as opposed to using a creature or a spell to accomplish it. Great card.
Curse of Exhaustion: Whoa. Pretty sweet card. I'm thinking Constructed for this Curse. This is a powerful effect in any type of deck but while Werewolf decks are usually only Red/Green, this card would make your opponent unable to transform your Werewolves back into human form. The question is, do you want to add this to your Red/Green Werewolf deck. Hmmm...
Elgaud Inquisitor: Okay, a 2/2 creature with lifelink would normally cost 3, so it has the Doomed Traveler ability, so it costs 4. Hmmm... A little pricey, but it's still a decent card, regardless. Mainly because both abilities are good.
Faith's Shield: Nice effect. A good card that again fits the theme well. I don't believe the Fateful Hour effect prevents sweeper effects like Day of Judgement. Someone let me know if I'm wrong about that. Thanks.
Gavony Ironwright: Okay, at first I thought this is not a good card. It's Armored Skaab without his ability, but a 1/4 is a 1/4, which means he provides an excellent defense & the ability is very cool too. I can see this card working very well in a draft.
Hollowhenge Spirit: While 4 mana is not always easy to use with Flash, this card is really good. Even if it cost 5 mana, I'd probably play it. Removing one of your opponents creatures from combat while at the same time adding a 2/2 flyer? Yeah, that's good.
Increasing Devotion: I have some problems with this card & it's mostly due to cards like Doubling Season & Parallel Lives; both of which I think should be Legendary Enchantments. Why? Because the idea that if I put a token into play I'd get 4 tokens or 8 or 16 is just ridiculous & totally unbalances the game, that's why. So 5 tokens for 5 mana? That's fine. 10 for 9? That's fine too, but when you get double or quadruple or 8 times that many tokens, then the game gets stupid.
Lingering Souls: It's Midnight Haunting with flashback, so they made it a sorcery. Good. That's what you call balancing out the card. If it was an instant then it would just be "better" than Midnight Haunting. Nice card.
Loyal Cathar: A 2/2 Vigilance for 2. Great. When he dies he turns into a 2/1 Zombie that can't block. Even better. Well okay, he's worse actually, but this is a good card. Nicely designed. I'm afraid the "undying" mechanic might be too powerful. Having creatures get stronger when they die seems a bit too much. Hope I'm wrong. Loyal Cathar is a very cool card though.
Midnight Guard: At first I thought big deal. Isn't this just a weakened version of Vigilance? But then I thought about cards like Claustrophobia, which become pretty useless with this guy. Now see... I like cards like that. : )
Niblis of the Mist: Great card for the limited format. Nice simple creature with a nice ability.
Niblis of the Urn: Nice card as well, that works in tandem with the Mist. I see lots of problems for defending with this set.
Ray of Revelation: Why is this card in Dark Ascension & not in M12? Seriously, I don't get why WotC makes a core set & then brings in core cards in new sets. That's what the "core set" is for. Ray of Revelation is an excellent staple in magic.
Requiem Angel: The possibilities with this card are just amazing. Picture 10 Spiders, from Spider Spawning, in play with Requiem Angel & then you play Divine. You just "essentially" turned your spiders into 1/1 fliers. Nice. Love cards like this.
Sanctuary Cat: Are you kidding me? Seriously. First, it's a cat & yet it has 2 toughness? Why? Next, you call it a "Sanctuary Cat" & you give it "glowing green eyes", yet it has no ability??? What? What a joke of a card. What is the point of this card? Here, lets give it an ability. Tap: destroy all non-cat creatures. What? Too powerful? ; )
Seance: Interesting card. Very flavorful, so I like that. On my opponents turn I can bring in a creature for defense, or if it has a "come into play" ability, I can play it on any turn, so I do see some use. Too bad you can't attack with it, since it won't have haste. Wondering if there's some trick you can do with another card.
Silverclaw Griffin: Great looking Griffin, but a very boring card, but bringing out a 3/2 flying first strike is always a good thing, so I have no problems with this card, other than it's pretty boring - lol.
Skillful Lunge: Very nice combat trick. Ranger's Guile is my favorite combat trick, but this is very nice. Good card.
Sudden Disappearance: So you and your opponent are in a position where neither can attack because you've both got like 6 creatures in play. You play Sudden Disappearance. Attack. Game over. Somewhat lame really, but powerful. I see people hating this card.
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben: This is one of those cards where I was like, why is everybody saying what a great card this is. Sure a 2/1 first strike for 2 is good, but his ability affects you too. What's great about this guy is he makes it harder for your opponent to play counterspells & for that reason alone, I like this card. I'm not against counterspells in magic. I'm just glad there's stuff like Thalia to make it a little more difficult to cast them. Making him Legendary is necessary, otherwise his ability becomes too powerful. Funny how WotC is actually concerned about abilities being too powerful sometimes & other times are like, "Too powerful? So what? We like too powerful". ; )
Thraben Doomsayer: Another very nice card that can be pretty powerful, but since he's just a 2/2 for 3, he's balanced well. Lots of well thought out cards that really fit the theme of this set.
Thraben Heretic: I think this is a much needed card for the Innistrad set. Purify the Grave is okay, but this is better, I think. Good sideboard card, but a 2/2 for 2 can always be a main deck card, so I think this card will see some play; maybe even in constructed sideboards.
Artful Dodge: This unblockable stuff can be really annoying, let alone really powerful. This seems pretty powerful with the flashback ability. Not sure about this card.
Beguiler of Wills: Yet another card that when I first read it I didn't think it was all that great. The fact is this is an excellent card. Making it a 1/1 for 5 mana totally balances out the ability. Now if only all Mythics were properly balanced like this. ; )
Bone to Ash: Good counter card. Simple, effective & potentially quite powerful. I like it, though only countering a creature card makes it a little limited, but if it countered anything AND drew a card, that might be a little too much. Not sure really.
Call to the Kindred: This card is yet another unique card, but I'm concerned about it's "potential" power level. I'm glad it's an Aura & not just an enchantment, making it more vulnerable, plus the fact that it makes sense as an Aura. I think this will be a fun card to play, but I don't think your opponent will be very happy - lol. Then again, I could see this card not working very well too, so I sort of like it for that reason as well.
Chant of the Skifsang: Sensory Deprivation on steroids - lol. I love it. Great use of the #13 theme. I think the italics should say the following... "Hey Ludevic... BITE ME!" ; )
Chill of Foreboding: Wow. Did we "need" another mill card? Maybe. I don't think it'll make my mill deck, since I like my mill deck the way it is, but who knows. It definitely has some uses, that's for sure.
Counterlash: I like this card a lot, but I have a question. Help me out here. If I counter your creature spell, can I now play a creature from my hand "on your turn"? I'm guessing yes, but since I can't "technically" play creature spells on your turn, I'm not sure which rule overrides which, but I don't know how much play this card will see with its 6 mana cost.
Curse of Echoes: Great multi-player card, obviously. Lots of fun too. Is this a good card in 2 player? In constructed? Hmmm....
Divination: This card belongs in M12. There's no reason for it to be here. That being said, I've noticed that the card Think Twice is being used in constructed decks, so I got a question for you all. Isn't Divination better, since you get 2 cards for 3 mana, vs. 2 cards for 5? Yes, Think Twice is a good card, mostly because of it's flashback ability, but if you're not utilizing that aspect of it in your graveyard, like with Burning Vengeance, I would think that Divination would be the clear superior card. Am I right? Let me know. Thanks.
Dungeon Geists: Nice card. A 3/3 flyer for 4 that taps down 1 of your opponents creatures. Nice. Great for limited, no doubt.
Geralf's Mindcrusher: A 5/5 Undying for 6 with a really nice ability? Wow. That's pretty strong. I hope Undying doesn't prove to be too powerful. I guess since all players have access to it, it'll be okay, but creature removal just took a hit in the face. I see cards like Sever the Bloodline becoming very strong cards in this format, since exiling creatures is the way to go now, with all these annoying Undying creatures out there - lol
Griptide: Another very nice card. Take Grasp of Phantoms, make it an instant, but take away it's flashback ability. Good.
Havengul Runebinder: The thing with Zombies is I don't like exiling them from my graveyard. I want to bring them "back" from my graveyard, but with this card I just might re-think that. Hard not to add this powerful card to my Innistrad Zombie deck. But what do I take out? Decisions decisions decisions.
Headless Skaab: A cool basic card. Love that he's "headless" lol. A really good card for the basic game.
Increasing Confusion: I think this card "could" be too powerful, but I kinda like it, since I can mill my opponent or mill myself. Just don't know if Innistrad really needs more cards with these abilities, considering how insanely powerful certain cards already are (Spider Spawning, Kessig Cagebreakers, just to name 2).
Mystic Retrieval: With a flashback of Red & only 3 mana, this card could cause some serious problems for opponents. Immediately I see Burning Vengeance decks using this, but it'll work very well in others too. Personally, I think the flashback should've cost 4.
Nephalia Seakite: If this creature didn't have flash, I'd put it in italics, but it does, so I didn't. ; )
Niblis of the Breath: These Niblis cards seem like a lot of fun, but this one might be a bit too much. Tapping shenanigans are very useful, but untapping shenanigans? Combine this with Mikaeus the Lunarch. See what I mean?
Relentless Skaabs: This "undying" creature seems a little more balanced than Geralf's Mindcrusher, but since he's a rare & this is an uncommon, maybe that's fine. Enjoy having to kill him twice.
Saving Grasp: Maybe I shouldn't put this card in my favorites, since I just realized that I can return a creature with undying, that's already died once, to my hand to play it again without the counter on it, giving it undying "again". Yeah, that's fair - lol.
Screeching Skaab: Simple card. Apparently he's Armored Skaabs little brother. : )
Secrets of the Dead: Burning Vengeance decks are salivating. Admittedly this is a very powerful card, but this is the kind of "powerful card" that I tend to like more than dislike. Lots of potential with this cool card.
Shriekgeist: Nice. Simple fun mill card that can be quite annoying to your opponent. Nothin' wrong with that.
Soul Seizer: Another really powerful card that's balanced really well. A 1/3 flyer for 5? Yuck, right? Wrong. This guy is awesome, but he might not do anything. That's good. It should be hard to make a strong ability work. Good card. These transform cards in Dark Ascension are very cool.
Stormbound Geist: A 2/2 flyer for 3 with undying? Pretty nice. A slight drawback that probably won't really matter. I'd be happy to draft this guy anytime.
Thought Scour: I almost put this card in bold. It really is a very cool card. I'm guessing it'll make constructed. Will it make limited? Probably.
Tower Geist: Great ability, so I'm glad he costs 4 & not 3. 4 is a little steep, but with the card drawing ability, I think it's correct. A very useful card.
Black Cat: Now here's a good cat. I wish he only cost 1, since he's just a little 1/1 kitty that can't actually do anything - lol, but I guess since his ability "can" be quite good, they felt he needed to cost 2. Okay... I guess. Oh, and he's a Zombie Cat. Now how can you not love a Zombie Cat. : )
Chosen of Markov: Apparently Markov has good taste in women ; )
This really is just a vanilla 2/2 creature that transforms into a vanilla 4/4 vampire, but it's a cool card, nonetheless, because it fits the theme perfectly. When you can make a vanilla creature into an interesting creature, that's a really well designed card.
Curse of Misfortunes: Well, if you've wanted to make a "Curse deck", here's the perfect card for it. With a card like this you can play curses that aren't in the colors you're using, which is cool. Course you could get stuck with them in your hand, which would suck. I don't think this will work too well in a 2 player game, but in a multi-player? Oooh. Me likey ; )
Curse of Thirst: In addition to working quite nicely with Curse of Misfortunes, this also makes Curse of the Pierced Heart quite powerful in a Red/Black deck, doesn't it. Just a thought.
Deadly Allure: Well, looks like I'm gonna lose. We're both at 5 life, but I've only got 2 3/3 creatures in play & he's got a 6/6 flier & I've got no way to stop it. My turn. Draw a card. Oh look, it's Deadly Allure. I attack with both my creatures. He has to block, which kills both of our creatures, bringing him down to 2 life & I've still got a 3/3 creature in play & Deadly Allure in my graveyard with flashback. NICE!
Death's Caress: Yes, 5 mana is a lot & yes it's a sorcery & not an instant, but I still think this is a decent card. With the undying mechanic, maybe not so much, but creature destruction is creature destruction & with a possible life gain added in, I think this card is just fine.
Falkenrath Torturer: Against any deck, this guy is okay. Against humans, he's quite nice, so good sideboard for sure, but still playable nonetheless. Decent card.
Farbog Boneflinger: A little steep on the mana cost, but it's probably necessary, considering the cool ability. Apparently this is the guy who throws that Dead Weight ball & chain at people. ; )
Fiend of the Shadows: A very cool card. Really neat ability that can be very effective, but also might not be. In my opinion, that's good.
Geralf's Messenger: This guy is nasty, that's for sure. I got one in a booster pack & put it in my Zombie deck that I just made. Lets just say that his "come into play" effect was quite annoying to my opponents. ; )
Gravecrawler: I'm glad it says I have to control a Zombie in order to cast this guy from my graveyard, because otherwise he'd just be ridiculous. The fact that he can't block also is really good for making him properly balanced. Because of these "restrictions" he's a "great" card.
Gravepurge: Very nice card. Very effective. Love that Mikaeus is in the picture too. Very cool
Gruesome Discovery: So they took a boring "discard 2 cards for 4 mana" & turned it into a very interesting & potentially devastating effect for your opponent. Really good use of the Morbid ability.
Harrowing Journey: I almost put this card in italics, but since I know it can be quite a useful & effective card, I didn't. It's just I really don't like having my opponent draw 3 cards & I don't want to lose 3 life, but I can see where I will want the other effects, regardless.
Highborn Ghoul: While there's not much to this card, it sort of makes sense, having a Zombie with what is basically "fear". So "this" Zombie is intimidating, unlike all those other "non-intimidating" Zombies? lol
Increasing Ambition: I think this is my favorite "increasing" card. Like Unburial Rites to Zombify, the initial cost is 1 higher than Diabolic Tutor, which it should be, in my opinion, but now the flashback is higher, which it has to be since you're getting 2 cards instead of just 1. I think this is a very cool card.
Mikaeus, the Unhallowed: Now that's a Legendary Creature. He's really powerful, and the artwork is just unreal, but I'm concerned that he "might" be "too powerful", especially for the basic game. Olivia - too powerful. Most, if not all, of the Titans - too powerful. Mikaeus? I'm thinking yes.
Ravenous Demon: You know why I like this guy? Because the horns on his head are frickin' humongous - lol. I also love that he's "dangerous" to play. If you don't sacrifice a human for him, he'll kick your ass. Now that sounds more like what happens when you summon a Demon onto the battlefield.
Reap of the Seagraf: It's Moan of the Unhallowed light, with a blue flashback. Cute. Nice decent card.
Sightless Ghoul: Here I think is one of the better undying cards. A 2/2 for 4 is weak. He can't block cause he can't see, which makes him even weaker (wonder how he can attack - lol), but he's got undying, so when you kill him he comes back as a 3/3 blind ghoul. See? Good balance.
Skirsdag Flayer: Like Disciple of Griselbrand; a card which I like a lot, here comes what looks like his brother; his darker sinister brother - lol. While the Disciple sacrifices your creatures to give you life, the Flayer sacrifices your humans to destroy creatures. Talk about crossing over to the "dark side" - sheesh! ; )
Spiteful Shadows: I almost put this card in bold too, as I really like interesting unique auras that make me want to play them. I'm thinking this with Blasphemous Act would be quite fun. Don't you?
Tragic Slip: Another fun card that almost got put in bold. The reason I didn't is because I think it's a bit much to go from a little -1/-1 slip to a huge -13/-13 fall into a huge pit, simply because somebody died - lol. I'm sure this card will see plenty of play though.
Undying Evil: While I don't really like the undying mechanic, as I think it's too powerful for a creature to be stronger after you just killed it, I think "this card" is a good card, since it's a one time effect, vs a permanent ability. This involves more strategy, which is why it made my favorites.
Vengeful Vampire: Obviously the cost is right, since he's a 3/2 flyer with Undying, but this is just a vanilla creature with undying & since I don't really care for undying, I don't really care for this creature. But he is powerful, that's for sure.
Wakedancer: Nice card. An evil shaman who takes death & makes a Zombie. Nice card for limited & a nice card for this set.
Zombie Apocalypse: I don't know if I want to put this card into my Zombie deck, because I don't know if it's fair. If I'm playing against a human deck then it's definitely not fair. The theme is right for the set, but I think this card should cost at least 7 mana; maybe 8. Army of the Damned is ridiculous & it has flashback. This too is an extremely powerful card. Too powerful, probably.
Afflicted Deserter: A very good Werewolf for your sideboard, whether for your Werewolf deck or any deck. This card should definitely see lots of play.
Alpha Brawl: I like Alpha Brawl because it costs 8 mana. Any cheaper & I don't think I'd like it. It's not like your opponent can't respond to it with a combat trick, but it's really a cool fun & possibly devastating card, though I can see why some people won't like this card.
Blood Feud: This is also a very cool card. It's Prey Upon, but you can have both creatures be your opponents creatures, thus killing 2 of their creatures. Not as powerful as Alpha Brawl, but still a good card.
Burning Oil: I don't know how WotC continues to come up with new insteresting ways to design a red burn card, but they do. Burning Oil is unique, it's powerful & just an all around cool card. Not sure how White mana makes sense with the flashback, but I like it anyway.
Curse of Bloodletting: Maybe I'm wrong & this card isn't bad, but I think it is. For 5 mana any source that deals damage to my opponent doubles that damage? Isn't that ridiculous? Isn't that totally unfair for just 5 mana? I think this card is extremely unfair, but if I'm wrong let me know. Hope I'm wrong.
Erdwal Ripper: Nice card. It's Neonate with Haste, but it doesn't have to attack. Really good card. (I like Neonate too, because it can suck, but it can also be great)
Faithless Looting: I know this is a great card & you're probably shocked that I put it in italics, but in my opinion it's simply too powerful. It makes Careful Study look like a joke. Also, it's common??? HUH? Common? Are you kidding me? Burning Vengeance is powerful enough & then you go & add this? I don't get it. If this card was rare, I'd probably be okay with it, maybe, but why WotC continues to make cards more powerful is beyond me. Do you not realize that when you keep making cards more & more powerful, that it makes all those "other cards" less powerful? This is a powerful card. I just hope I'm wrong & it doesn't dominate play, but I think I see a banned card in the future here.
Fires of Undeath: I'm not sure why the initial cost for this card is 3 mana, but it's still a pretty good card. Just a little expensive. 3 mana for 2 damage? Not good. Giving it flashback? Good.
Flayer of the Hatebound: I guess Undying wasn't powerful enough for WotC. So they made this insane card. How exactly do you combat a deck of Undying creatures when the Flayer is in play? The only reason I didn't put this card in italics is I still like it for some reason. I guess it's because the ability is a really cool ability, though with Undying I see some serious problems. Guess we'll see soon enough.
Fling: Another staple that they thought should be in Dark Ascension, when it OBVIOUSLY belongs in M12. Why did they put it here? No clue. Great card though.
Forge Devil: I love the Forge Devil. He bites you when you summon him, the little bugger - lol. Well, at least he bites a creature too. Course if you're the only one with a creature in play, then he bites your creature, which is just what you'd expect from a Devil. Compare this fun card with Riot Devils. You might as well call Riot Devils "Wolves", or Bears or any other vanilla 2/3 creature. How are they Devils & where's the rioting? I don't get it.
Heckling Fiends: What a fun cool card. The Devils in Dark Ascension are just awesome monsters that will annoy the hell out of you, as well as your opponent. What fun.
Hellrider: I almost put this Devil in bold too. It's a very cool powerful ability, but it sort of gets around blocking creatures & it does so very easily, sort of, so I'm not totally sold on this card being a "good card". Like I said, defending in Innistrad appears to be very tough; now maybe too tough. I like being able to play defensively. Now I'm not sure that's a very good idea.
Hinterland Hermit: In limited this card is okay, but he's just a boring Werewolf. I have no idea why he's a Hermit. Shouldn't a Hermit have some kind of ability?
Increasing Vengeance: Interesting variance on the different red & blue cards that copy an instant or sorcery spell. Being able to copy it twice is pretty sweet. I'm guessing it won't be a very popular card though.
Markov Blademaster: Very cool. He's nothing much to start, but if he can get through he becomes one serious blademaster. Normally I wouldn't worry about him, since by turn 3 it should be pretty hard for him to attack & not get blocked, but with the cards in this set, this guy could be insane.
Markov Warlord: Like I was just saying - lol. Great Vampire. I love that some Vampires have the ability to subdue blockers. Very Vampiry, in my opinion.
Mondronen Shaman: I need to cast 2 spells to flip my opponents Werewolves. Oh wait. I'll need to lose 4 life to do it? Darn. Yeah, giving a Werewolf an ability that is designed around its weakness is very cool.
Moonveil Dragon: Maybe this Dragon is too powerful, but I just love Moonveil Dragon. I'm glad it's triple red too. Hopefully it will prove to just be a really good mythic dragon.
Nearheath Stalker: For a creature with Undying, this one is not too bad because it's 1 toughness makes it easy to kill & then it's toughness is only 2, which is still not too hard to kill. Now why this guy is both a Vampire & a Rogue is anyone's guess. If it didn't look so dam cook I probably would've put it in italics ; )
Pyreheart Wolf: This is a really nice card, but again, blocking is going to be really hard, which concerns me. Good luck blocking against a deck with 4 of these Wolves.
Russet Wolves: There's nothing wrong with Russet Wolves. In a draft, they're actually a good creature, but all WotC did here is create yet another 3/3 creature for 4 mana. Why? What's the point? Just put your core 3/3 creature for 4 mana in your core set. How about this ability for Russet Wolves. Whenever 2 or more Russet Wolves attack or block, they get first strike. See? How hard was that.
Scorch of the Fields: Nice themed card. The humans are getting their butts kicked. "Might" make a nice sideboard card.
Shattered Perception: This is a pretty sweet card. If you don't like your opening hand, but you've got this in it, you can discard your hand on turn 3 & draw a new hand, as opposed to taking a mulligan down to 6 cards, but this card can be very effective at any point in the game, especially since it's got flashback.
Talons of Falkenrath: Normally I wouldn't think much of this card, but with all the blocking problems, this thing could be pretty devastating. Heck, just put it on Invisible Stalker. I think it'll see play in limited.
Torch Fiend: Another cool Devil. Good for sideboard or even main deck it. Why not? It gives you Morbid. It puts a creature in your graveyard. Lots of good uses.
Wrack with Madness: Simple useful effect. It's good to see that red seems to have a lot of cards to destroy creatures. I think Black could've used one more maybe.
Briarpack Alpha: Good card. Nice green effect. Compare this to Russet Wolves. Need I say more?
Clinging Mists: The first ability is pretty weak, compared to Fog, which is great, but it's Fateful Hour ability is pretty great. So yeah... cool.
Crushing Vines: A 3 mana instant that can destroy any creature with flying or any artifact. I'd call that a very good card. Excellent for green, obviously.
Dawntreader Elk: I don't understand what killing an Elk has to do with getting more mana, but this is a very good common card, regardless.
Deranged Outcast: Now here I see why this creature is a Rogue. I like this card, but I'm not sure why it's a rare. There must be some really good combos with it, but it made my favorites because I like the way it looks, the way it's themed & it's cool nifty ability. Did I just say nifty? lol
Favor of the Woods: I think they made this card because they said since it's so hard to actually block now, maybe we should give a creature a bonus for succeeding at it - lol. But 3 mana? Seems a bit high.
Feed the Pack: I'm guessing this card won't see much play, but I like it. Why? Because it's expensive & you have to sacrifice one of your creatures to make it work & it "can" be a very powerful effect too. I don't like cards that are ridiculously powerful. I prefer cards that are potentially powerful. Much more strategy & skill & thought in playing them, which is more fun, in my opinion.
Ghoultree: I don't like this card at all. If it were just a 10/10 for 8, it would be better, but still a silly creature, but having the ability to bring this into play for just 1 green mana? (7 creatures in your graveyard is not that hard to get in Innistrad). Please Wizards. Spare me such silly cards that are obviously designed for kids. Since Tarmogoyf is a super powerful card that goes for like $20, won't this also go for that much, if not more? I think the biggest Tarmogoyf can get is like a 6/7 or something. I guess since it's initial cost is 8, it won't be nearly as popular, but it's just a silly ridiculous card, in my opinion.
Gravetiller Wurm: This Wurm is decent, since it's a 4/4 Trampler for 6, which isn't all that great, but it "can" be an 8/8 Trampler with Morbid, which is really nice. See... balance. Nice card.
Grim Flowering: Yikes! The problem with cards like this is there should be a limit for how many cards you can actually draw. I'd put the limit at around 6 or 7. Then it would be a good card. Like Archangel's Light, the "potential" of this card is pretty silly.
Hollowhenge Beast: I want to put this card in italics too, but it's hard to argue with a 5/5 Beast for 5 mana. It's a boring vanilla creature though, so maybe I should of. Perfectly good card in the basic game though.
Hunger of the Howlpack: Putting a +1/+1 counter on a creature for 1 mana is fine. Putting 3 on them is really strong. Would 2 have been better, as in better for game balance? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure this card will be very popular, especially in the basic game.
Increasing Savagry: I'm sorry, but this is just another card for kids. 10 +1/+1 counters on your creature? Seriously? So put it on Geist of Saint Traft or Invisible Stalker or any creature with Flying. C'mon guys. This is just silly. This isn't magic. This is, "look how big I can make my creature? Oh yeah, well look how big my creature is." Give me a frickin' break. If Invisible Stalker isn't banned after this set, I'll be shocked. Geist of Saint Traft too. Sheesh!
Kessig Recluse: Oh yeah. Nice Spider. Just nasty. It's about time they made a Spider with Deathtouch. That's why he's one of my favorite cards in this set.
Lambholt Elder: Just another card that I don't like at all. A 1/2 for 3 mana? It's an Elder, why? Okay, you can draw a card when in Werewolf form it deals damage to a creature, so maybe that alone should have it not in italics, but I just don't think this is a very good card.
Lost in the Woods: I doubt this card will see much play at all, in any format, with the possible exception of a mono-green deck. So why did I put it in bold? Simple. I love the theme, the name of the card & what it does. It's a "neat" card. It's fun that your opponents creatures are getting "lost in the woods". That's why.
Predator Ooze: Now here's an indestructible creature with some really cool abilities. I almost put it in bold. It's attacking ability "might" be a little too powerful, but I think it's fine. Love the last ability. If you don't want to block it, fine. It'll just keep getting bigger. It's a "Predator" Ooze. Combat makes it grow. I like it.
Scorned Villager: Look... it's Little Red Riding Hood & the Big Bad Wolf, all in one card. How can you not like that? Although he's not a very big wolf is he, and he's not all that bad either (just a 2/2). Exactly why she & the wolf can generate mana is also a mystery to me, but I like this card, both for it's look, as well as it's ability to generate mana, but it's the Little Red appeal that I like the best, whether that was their intention or not.
Somberwald Dryad: Yeah, this is pretty boring, but she's okay. A 2/2 for 2 with Forestwalk. That's fine.
Strangleroot Geist: Yikes! A 2/1 haste for 2 green with undying? Seems pretty darn powerful to me.
Tracker's Instincts: Okay, it's a limited cheaper version of Forbidden Alchemy for green with a flashback of blue. Even if you don't get a creature, you put 4 cards in your graveyard, which could still be effective. This will work well with a Spider Spawning deck too, not that that deck needs any help - lol, but this is a nice card.
Ulvenwald Bear: Hmmm... I'm not happy with a 2/2 green Bear for 3 mana, but a 4/4 for 3 is pretty sweet. Again, morbid works well here, but you could end up with just a 2/2 creature, which is still okay. Glad they made this cost 3 mana & not 2.
Village Survivors: A very nice card for the basic game with a very nice Fateful Hour ability. Giving all your creatures vigilance is good. Well themed card too.
Vorapede: Yikes yikes yikes! Is this guy too powerful? This is one nasty creature, that's for sure. If this guy proves to not be too powerful, then Undying is probably not too powerful. Since I'm pretty sure that Undying is going to create problems, I'm guessing this will be a favorite game wrecker, even in constructed. Can't imagine not playing this guy. Did I say "yikes" already? Oh yeah, I did.
Wild Hunger: +3/+1 for 3 mana is a pretty weak effect. Compare this with Giant Growth & Titanic Growth. However, giving your creature Trample & adding a flashback with red makes this card okay. Maybe even good. We'll see.
Wolfbitten Captive: The human form of this Werewolf is very good. Similar to Darkthicket Wolf. I wish in Werewolf form he was a 3/3 instead of a 2/2, but getting +4/+4 is always powerful, even though it takes 4 mana to do it. Don't think this is all that powerful for a rare card, but being able to attack with a 3/3 on turn 2 is always powerful, so this is a pretty good card.
Young Wolf: A 1/1 Wolf for 1 green with no ability is weak. If it dies, it turns into a 2/2 wolf. That's strong. At first I didn't like this card, because of undying. I'm starting to think that this might be a very good common card, despite my dislike of the undying ability.
Diregraf Captain: I think this guy should be rare, or at least legendary. Not sure why he isn't. Compare it with creatures like Goblin King. So now killing all your Zombies can win you the game too. Hmmm... Army of the Damned followed by Sever the Bloodline?
Drogskol Captain: Now this creature should definitely be a rare, shouldn't it? All your Spirit creatures get +1/+1 AND Hexproof? I'm thinking that WotC is underestimating the power of hexproof. Not sure how they could. Maybe I'm missing something.
Drogskol Reaver: So for 7 mana you get a flyer that hits for 6, gains you 6 life & draws you a card. Yeah, that's a mythic ; )
Falkenrath Aristocrat: At first I thought this creature was too powerful. Now I'm thinking she's probably okay. She's powerful, but you really need humans in play to make her "really" powerful & that's an acceptable task for the power it gives her, so I'm cool with this card now. Maybe Village Cannibals just found a friend - lol.
Havengul Lich: This is a very cool & very powerful card. A Zombie Wizard. It's ability fits it really well, doesn't it? Very Zombie Wizard like. Great card.
Huntmaster of the Fells: I don't know why but I thought this Werewolf was legendary. Not sure why it isn't, but it's a great card, regardless. I like that it doesn't work really well with Immerwolf, but I'd still consider playing with both of them in my Werewolf deck, seeing that having either one in play really makes my Werewolves quite fun.
Immerwolf: Another great card. I like it because while it's ability is powerful, it's not too hard to kill, which balances its ability really well. Thus, I'd still play Moonmist, if for no other reason than it's Fog-like effect.
Sorin, Lord of Innistrad: Like Liliana, this card is going for over $50 & I'm not sure why. $20? Sure. It's a great card. I like it a lot, but I don't see it as being a card that's "too powerful" for the game, like Jace the Mind Sculptor was. Sorin is awesome. His abilities are cool, but not ridiculous for a Planeswalker, in my opinion, but I'm not paying $50 for him. Heck, I wouldn't pay $50 for any card - lol.
Stromkirk Captain: A good & much needed addition for Vampires. +1/+1 & first strike. Watch out.
Altar of the Lost: I'm not sure I like this card. Graveyard flashback decks are already powerful. Do they really need this kind of help? The name is cool, but I'm a little concerned about this card.
Avacyn's Collar: Now this is my kind of card. I love Avacyn's Collar. What a cool ability. Perfectly themed. Just awesome.
Chalice of Life: Cool card. I'm concerned that it's not Legendary though. Should I really be able to have 4 in play, thus being able to tap them & make my opponent lose 20 life each turn? I don't think so.
[i]Elbrus, the Binding Blade:[/i] This card would've "easily" been one of my favorite cards except for 1 reason; it's last silly stupid idiotic ability. This card is awesome in a 2 player game & for that I'll put it in bold. Elbrus, the Binding Blade (there ya go), but it's last ability is designed for a multi-player game & it's just stupid. "Oh look, he's now a 26/26 flyer with trample & intimidate. Oh look, now he's a 39/39. Oh look". Hey WotC... remake this card & eliminate this stupid ability. Do us all a favor too & make a Mtg card game for kids & stop with all this nonsense. It's a joke.
Executioner's Hood: Is it true that Mtg has never had an Executioner's Hood? Wow! Wonder what took so long. Not sure if I agree with the ability, but it's pretty cool. I'm trying to think what would be a more fitting ability for an Executioner's Hood. Still thinkin'...
Grafdigger's Cage: Yes! Thank you WotC. Thank you for making a card that wrecks graveyard flashback decks, as well as cards that bring cards from your library into play. Yes, I'm serious. Every deck strategy should have a card that wrecks it & this card is probably going to be in everyone's sideboard. I'd be shocked if you didn't want 4 in your sideboard. Awesome card. Now Burning Vengeance, Spider Spawning & others "have" to have artifact destruction to function. Otherwise they're screwed. This is good. About time. By the way, my favorite deck is my Spider Spawning deck. I love it.
Heavy Mattock: And we follow up that awesome card with a pathetically weak card. I believe the first equipment made was a sword with a cost & equip of 1 that gave your creature +1/+1. This does that with a cost of 3 & an equip of 2. Oh, but if you're a human, then it's +2/+2. So on a human, it's okay, I guess. On anything else though it's weak. Sorry, but I'm not paying 3 mana with an equip of 2 to give my human +2/+2. I'll stick with Butcher's Cleaver & other cards that are much better.
Helvault: I'm guessing this is a great card, but I don't see it yet. 7 to exile your opponents creature, but if Helvault is destroyed your opponents get their creature(s) back? I guess if you've got 7 mana, you can exile 1 of your opponents creatures each turn, which is obviously a very powerful ability. Lets just say I'm glad there's creatures in Dark Ascension that have the ability to destroy artifacts. ; )
Jar of Eyeballs: How cool is Jar of Eyeballs. It's just a cool card & perfect for this set. Nothing more needs to be said.
Warden of the Wall: I wish this card didn't enter play tapped. I mean, if you use it for mana, it's tapped, so it's useless as a creature anyway, so what's the problem? It's a nice card, but I'd definitely play this with Niblis of the Breath. Then it's really nice.
Wolfhunter's Quiver: I really think the equip cost is just too high, but maybe it had to be, due to the 3 damage to Werewolves ability. But it's pretty weak otherwise, so I think an equip cost of 4 would've been better. Just a guess though.
Evolving Wilds: This is Terramorphic Expanse, but I'm okay with this duplication, since they're theming the card to Innistrad, which makes sense. It's not a "Terramorphic Expanse". It's an "Evolving Wilds". Got it.
Grim Backwoods: Interesting card. Expensive ability with a steep cost, just to draw a card, but drawing a card can make all the difference & using the ability to your advantage (like creating Morbid) can make this card quite powerful. Good card.
Haunted Fengraf: Another very interesting land card. Nicely themed, having a haunted area. You don't know what kind of creature you'll run into, do ya. Cool.
Vault of the Archangel: Sheesh! Okay, Lifelink AND Deathtouch? So I'm guessing the Angel Avacyn will have both Lifelink & Deathtouch too? Sounds like a whole lotta fun, but this card seems awfully powerful.
So that's it. My overall impression is Dark Ascension is a very good subset of Innistrad, but I still like Innistrad better. Lots of good cards here. I just wish they'd stop with the silly cards, but Innistrad had a few too, but if I had to give this set a grade, I think I'd give Dark Ascension a B+.
I hope to get some feedback. Tell me where you agree & disagree with me. I'm sure I'm wrong about some cards & maybe I'll update this article as I see these cards in drafts on youtube (Yes, I watch drafts on youtube. It's fun. Try it) : )