Afflicted Deserter/Werewolf Ransacker (7.5 out of 10.0)
This medium sized Werewolf is not as aggressively costed as we would like for a Red Transform card as we would like the power of our Human version to at least be equal to our mana investment. Remember, there are always costs to playing cards besides the casting cost and in an aggressive deck we want this ratio to be as close to equal as possible. The Ransacker has a very good ability but while its randomness is excellent flavor for Red, it is not a reliable way to kill an artifact you have to get off the board. Most of the time just play this card as a critter and get the cool bonus of blowing up an artifact but try to pick up another spell to deal with pesky brown cards more efficiently. Besides a solid creature in Limited, he will only see play in casual Werewolf decks.
Alpha Brawl (8.0 out of 10.0)
If you think you want be in Red then take this rare. At RR, you can’t splash it so make a commitment to be all over Red once you do take it. It is a very expensive casting cost, but unless you are playing against a degenerate double Spirit Captain deck, you will have a high probability of wiping their board and winning the game. And you really can’t ask for much more out of a rare in limited. Unfortunately, it has a prohibitive mana cost for Constructed but it should be an All Star in Casual games. I think it would be fun to make a Red Commander deck with all the chaos based cards and complete randomness; this would be a fun addition to that type of deck.
Blood Feud (7.5 out of 10.0)
This uncommon is very good and much better than I originally realized as it fights any two target creatures, meaning you can make two of your opponents creatures fight each other. Nice. However, it is hampered by a few things: there is an abnormal amount of Sacred (Hexproof) in this block, your opponent needs two targetable creatures or it is a Prey Upon that costs plus five manas, it is a Sorcery and those make me mad, it is awful when you are facing down a single boss creature, and it is a terrible top deck playing into an empty board. That being said take it and play it in Limited because it won’t be played anywhere else. For flavor purposes, I would it to have a Morbid trigger for Vampires or something like that.
Burning Oil (9.5 out of 10.0)
I can tell you right now that this is one of the best uncommons in the set. You are probably going to take this over a lot of rares and mythics as well. It is a complete blowout exactly when you want a blowout. It will facilitate so many 2 for 1 and 3 for 1 situations. This is exactly the type of card that will put you in Red. It can’t kill Utility creatures but oh well. Every card can’t be perfect. For Constructed, it unfortunately doesn’t pass the Geist test or the Titan test, but Casual players should play four copies and never look back.
Curse of Bloodletting (6.5 out of 10.0)
This is a difficult card to evaluate. Traditionally, building around a Furnace-like affect can be powerful, however, I wouldn’t play this just because I had Red spells. If you do end up with one in your picks then you need to look for cards that could be good with it like Flayer of the Hatebound, Rage Thrower, or Burning Vengeance. Luckily, these are all powerful cards anyway and makes Curse of Bloodletting a safe late pick that could pay off big for you. It won’t see play in Constructed but should be a lot of fun for Casual and Commander decks.
Erdwal Ripper (7.0 out of 10.0)
This is just an average beater that grows as it feeds. Combined with other Vampires, they all become more powerful. If you are going to be heavier red, she will be great filler for your army. And that leaves her missing Constructed play, but being a big hit for Casual B/R Vamp decks.
Faithless Looting (10.0 out of 10.0)
I LOVE THE NEW RED!!! Just better than Careful Study, the new Red is a perfect pairing with Blue that warms my Izzet (probably more like Grixis) heart. I will play this in any format. It gives you something to do with your extra lands in Limited, it facilitates a whole new deck in Standard, and should be played everywhere else. If this is what Dack Fayden brings to Magic then he can keep his stupid Star Wars name.
Fires of Undeath (8.0 out of 10.0)
This is a very solid piece of removal. You want as many of these as you can get in Limited and it is awesomely splashable in both a Red or Black deck. Use it early to slaughter about every relevant utility creature in the format. It does too little for too much mana in Constructed but should be a very nice card for Casual games.
Flayer of the Hatebound (9.0 out of 10.0)
First pick this card. It is good and hard to deal with. You have to play around it perfectly. You can do it but it isn’t very easy. Besides its raw power, Flayer is sweet because of its reminiscent similarities to Flametongue Kavu. It is pretty damn good by itself but even more powerful if you can pile some other Undiers with it. I could see building around this in Constructed because like Grave Titan it deals with Geist even if they have one piece of removal. He is one of the reasons I would want to tinker with an Undying Pod deck. He just seems like gravy for a Casual or Commander deck that can take advantage of his abilities.
Fling (5.5 out of 10.0)
This old red standby is about the same it has always been. It will be great in an Undying draft deck or for corner cases and is about as flavorless as a saltine cracker.
Forge Devil (5.5 out of 10.0)
Forge Devil has its uses in Limited, but it would be much better in other formats. I keep thinking it would be better with Bloodthirst creatures or that it could kill about half the creatures played in Zendikar Limited. I think you could sideboard this against a lot of Human strategies but if you maindeck it try to use like a really poor Geistflame and trade up a small creature for a better blocker. I don’t think any Red strategy is yearning for this in any other format. Sorry.
Heckling Fiends (7.5 out of 10.0)
I love creatures that can force other creatures to attack in Limited. It gives all of your removal, and creatures, and tricks so much more reach. I feel like giving it an even higher rating but I am just not confident in its Grey Ogre body. But I want to play them and I want to create chaos with them. It makes me sad to report that it just isn’t playable anywhere else.
Hellrider (9.0 out of 10.0)
You can definitely build around this game changer in Limited and it feels like you want to build around it in Standard. Unfortunately, it probably will not be good enough. It can create complicated and close to unwinnable board states, so I wouldn’t be surprised where it gets played.
Hinterland Hermit/Hinterland Scourge (8.0 out of 10.0)
This is the Red avatar of aggression in Dark Ascension. If you are Red and you want to be fast, then you want these in you deck. A 3/2 that has to be blocked can be devastating for almost any deck you are playing against Only the best Human token decks could trade profitably. A lot of werewolves do not make the Constructed cut but at least it blocks a Geist nicely. However, that is about as far as it goes here. I am surprised that I do not see more Werewolf Casual decks. It is strange Vampires seem to be winning in this category.
Increasing Vengeance (3.5 out of 10.0)
I hate this card. Cards like this are just never useful outside of corner cases. It only get s the extra half point here because I could see throwing this in as an after thought in a Burning Vengeance deck.
Markov Blademaster (8.0 out of 10.0)
I would give Vampire Psylocke a higher rating if I thought she would live very long. At 3cc, she is going to find it difficult to battle through defenses against some decks and she will eat removal very quickly. But if she ever starts connecting then your opponent is in big trouble. This fragility will keep her out of everything but Vampire Casual decks.
Markov Warlord (7.0 out of 10.0)
This guy is a 4/4 haster with a built in Falter. Board states get little more elaborate in Dark Ascension Limited than they did in Innstrad so his Falter ability can be effective and his body isn’t terrible for the 6cc. You do not want a lot of these or 6cc cards in your deck but you could definitely use a couple to battle through. Like a lot of Vampires in this Block, they will only be played in Casual games.
Mondronen Shaman/Tovolar’s Magehunter (8.5 out of 10.0)
The Human side of this puppy isn’t great but the Werewolf side puts the opponent very far behind. It is all of a sudden a 5/5 for 4cc that they have to take damage just to deal with it. This is an excellent card for any Red deck. Maybe this could be the high end of a Red Beatdown in Constrcuted but I feel there are just better options in cards like Hellrider and Hero of Oxid Ridge. I would love to play in something outside of Limited though since it is one of the Transform cards that tells a story from front to back.
Moonviel Dragon (5.5 out of 10.0)
Don’t get me wrong; this big guy is very powerful and you need to take him and play him in Limited when you see him. However, this is a huge fail as a Mythic to me. On its own, it is just a worse Shivan Dragon and that certainly isn’t the standard Mythics need to meet. As a Mythic, it doesn’t need to be super powerful but if it isn’t then it needs to be super interesting and this is as bland as it gets. Maybe it is Mythic because Dragons are not common in Innistrad but they are pretty much mundane in Magic the Gathering. Hey, it is pretty sweet for Casual and maybe a Dragon Commander deck though.
Nearheath Stalker (7.5 out of 10.0)
Undying is awesome on this guy. He feels like he should have Haste but it isn’t too big of a deal. Often, he swings for some big damage and then comes back from the Graveyard as a five power creature that holds off your opponents forces the next turn. With the 5cc, he will be a headache in Casual but not any other Constructed formats.
Pyreheart Wolf (8.0 out of 10.0)
This Wolf’s ability is very powerful for any deck that plans on attacking the turn after you cast it. It could be absolute bonkers if you didn’t have to wait a turn to take advantage of it. As it is your opponent has a chance to deal with it or plan around it. If your opponent can play properly then they can make it a tempo disadvantage to you but if he goes uncontested he will give you at least two turns of deadly alpha striking. I don’t see it getting played anywhere else unless someone can do something really janky with it.
Russet Wolves (6.0 out of 10.0)
These Wolves are typical limited filler. You will use them to fill out any deck with a substantial amount of Red but you won’t want to do it. Try to avoid playing them at all costs but they are “playable”. In fact, if you have this guy in hand and some Werewolves in play then it is right just to hold him and flip your Werewolves. Outside of that, it will be a great card for proxies.
Scorch the Fields (6.0 out of 10.0)
This is slow but can be a potentially powerful card coming out of your sideboard. Remember to look for this if your opponent is playing one of the spell lands or they are heavy Humans. A lot of the Human decks will just die to this card if played properly. Just remember, your Humans may die, too. And it is another awesome card for proxies outside of that use.
Shattered Perception (7.5 out of 10.0)
This is a niche card to be really powerful, namely the Burning Vengeance deck. But it is a niche card that I am going to want to play all the time. I love to have an excuse to hoard extra lands in my hand and this is perfect to dig out of those land pockets. I will probably play this more than it is warranted but I just like it. It would be really sweet if it saw Constructed play and it very well could. It is hard to imagine exactly when or where but it could enable many unnatural interactions.
Talons of Falkenrath (1.0 out of 10.0)
YAY!!! We found what will at least be tied for the worst card in the set. This card is only good for copious amounts of proxies. And now I am sure I will lose to it at some point.
Torch Fiend (7.5 out of 10.0)
This artifact hating Devil is aggressively costed and kills a ton of problem cards as a bonus. Do not leave him in your sideboard unless you are the durdleliest of durdle decks. Even if he doesn’t kill something, and he usually will, he will be aggressive until your bigger forces get to the battlefield. Other formats have a lot better options but I could see him as a fifth copy of artifact removal at some point.
Wrack with Madness (8.0 out of 10.0)
This solid Red removal spell is the other side of Blood Feud. While good most of the time, it is even better when you each have a creature or you are facing down a boss bomb critter off the top of your deck. It won’t kill every creature but it will kill most of the creatures that are real problems for you. There are just way too many removal options costed a lot cheaper for it to see play anywhere else.
Briarpack Alpha (8.0 out of 10.0)
Green starts out really strong in Dark Ascension. I really like this card a lot and it does exactly what I want a creature to do, act like a spell. I think it pairs particularly well with White for the Vigilance creatures and Midnight Guard. Four manas for a 3/3 will not be playable anywhere else.
Clinging Mists (6.0 out of 10.0)
This instant can be powerful and I want to play with it at some point but I cut it a lot. I think it is similar to Bar the Door. It is a card you can blow someone completely out with later in the format when they think they know what is going on. But only play it in a balls to the wall aggressive deck that you have no interest in even pretending to block so you can hide that you have it with your natural game play. Some Casual players absolutely love Fog affects. Outside of that it might make a short lived appearance in a Combo deck that needs a Fog effect to reach their seminal turn.
Chrushing Vines (7.0 out of 10.0)
This instant is something Green usually isn’t, versatile. In a lot of Green decks it can remove the cards that are going to be the worst for you. I say play it because it will likely hit something and will often set up at least two for ones, but be ready to side board it out if your opponent has completely blanked it. Its versatility gives it a chance to show up for a corner case in sideboards one day.
Dawntreader Elk (8.0 out of 10.0)
A Bear that fixes your mana; what more could you ask for? If I am in green, I want to splash ALL the removals. This makes this guy a high pick for me. If I think I will be heavy Green, I would love to pick these up early. A couple of them will make your deck so much better. His activation cost makes Bambi’s Dad suboptimal for Constructed play, but I would build a sweet five color Casual deck around it.
Deranged Outcast (7.5 out of 10.0)
This Deranged card is one of the first ones that weren’t auto-plays. He is okay on his own since he becomes a combat trick, but you will want to take this Rare when you already know you will be heavy on the Humans. If you can abuse his sacrifice outlet with the Human shenanigans then the board state can get out of control quickly. If his sacrifice affect didn’t have the mana cost, I would say he could definitely facilitate some silliness in Constructed but as it is he will just be a fun Casual Human card.
Favor of the Woods (4.0 out of 10.0)
I know I will play against multiple copies of this card at some point and I won’t be happy about it. In fact, I really want to draft a deck that just sits behind it one day. We will see if I have the time and if it ever works out. However, it is a pretty terrible card all the way around.
Feed the Pack (8.5 out of 10.0)
This Rare Green card seems pretty techy and the may clause means it is a lot more playable than if you were forced to sacrifice. I think you go into Green for an affect like this. At 6cc, it doesn’t do enough for Constructed but it would be nice if it enabled some sort of Undying Deck as a singleton or the like. Also, I think it is one of the coolest Casual cards in the set.
Ghoultree (7.0 out of 10.0)
At least at Wizard’s Games, this card will be known as the “Should Have Been Tarmogoyf Slot”. The point of Modern is that WotC can easily reprint a lot of the cards for us. They really should have gotten some of them to us in Dark Ascension. And it even makes sense for flavor to reprint Goyf in this slot as it fits many of the same themes. Anyway, Ghoultree works well with several strategies. Draft it and it will work well with the Self Mil deck or just a B/G finisher.
Gravetiller Wurm (7.5 out of 10.)
To me, this is the Hexplate Golem of the set. You take it as a big dumb finisher and crush your opponents with it once you have control of the game. In this since, Morbid is perfect because it tells you how to play the card. Take control of the game, force them to kill your stuff for the comeback, and lock up the game with an 8/8 Trample Wurm. And of course you know, Hexplate Golems don’t get played anywhere else. Off to Proxy Land for the Durdle Wurm.
Grim Flowering (5.5 out of 10.0)
Green drawing cards feels so good. At 6cc, this Uncommon can be good in the right deck, Self Mil, B/G, late one of in a creature heavy deck, blah, blah, blah. It isn’t going to break games on its own but definitely think about playing it in your decks that put physical creatures in the graveyard. I like to think of it as a comeback card. Your opponent just crippled your board at great cost to his own, you tap six manas and you are right back into the game and probably favored. Its casting cost will cost it from seeing play anywhere else.
Hollowhenge Beast (6.5 out of 10.0)
He is a 5.5 for 5cc with double G, pretty plain dude. You will play him heavy Green decks, and kind of want to stay away from everywhere else, pretty plain review.
Hunger of the Howlpack (6.5 out of 10.0)
In the right deck versus the right deck this will be a total blowout. If you can facilitate the Morbid trigger than you should play the card. If you aren’t hitting Morbid regularly then this is a waste of a combat trick slot. Giant Growth was better and it didn’t get played all the time. I don’t see it getting played anywhere but Casual either.
Increasing Savagery (9.0 out of 10.0)
Another reason to hit Green hard, this Rare is the best of the cycle. It is tremendously good when you cast it the first time and it is pretty easy to Flashback. You will win so many games casting this card, just play smart and don’t let them blow you out. I do not think it will be reliable enough to make an impact in Constructed but it will be a supremely popular Casual card.
Kessig Recluse (8.5 out of 10.0)
A creature that acts like a spell and can remove any creature: Yes Please. If you are even looking at being in Green, I do not see how you can pass this card for very much. AND it can be tempo if your silly opponent skips casting to flip some Wolves. As good as it will be in Limited, it cannot make the Constructed cut but it will help all those Green Mages surprise their Blue and White Mage friends in Casual.
Lambholt ElderSilverpelt Werewolf (7.0 out of 10.0)
I like this card a whole lot. I wish the old lady side was a tad tougher but what can you really expect of the elderly. If they let this thing flip immediately then they are in serious trouble. A card like this may be a reason to play Moonmist. Casual decks should be playing four of these, easy.
Lost in the Woods (3.0 out of 10.0)
I don’t know if you ever, ever play this card. It doesn’t even seem like it would have a corner case. I do like the flavor of being lost in the woods so I might play it for fun if I had a Planeswalker to protect.
Predator Ooze (7.0 out of 10.0)
Triple G for a 1/1 is so hard to do, but if you are very heavy Green then Indestructible is definitely worth it. It may be good for Constructed but isn’t a world beater in the metagame of Black Sun Zenith and Elesh Norn. However, it should be one killer Casual card and slowly end many a kitchen table game.
Scorned VillagerMoonscarred Werewolf (7.5 out of 10.0)
This Mana Wolf is exactly what some Green decks want to be doing and will be a tad too slow for others. Play it and if your opponent ever stumbles you will all of a sudden be throwing down some fatties on the table. It shouldn’t see play in Constructed but would be a sweet Sol Ring like affect in Commander and a Casual all star.
Somberwald Dryad (7.0 out of 10.0)
You will usually want to play it in your Green decks since it is a Bear that is sometimes unblockable. You can also easily side it out if you have something better against a specific opponent. Besides that, I really don’t think it will be played anywhere else and isn’t all that interesting.
Strangleroot Geist (8.0 out of 10.0)
This may have the most impact out of all the Undying creatures. It has Haste to bust open some heads so they can’t avoid its attacks and it passes the Geist Test quite well. Nice card, bro. Keep an eye out on it, draft it, and try to get four of them early. It will probably be a popular Uncommon across most levels of play.
Tracker’s Instincts (6.5 out of 10.0)
This is good in one deck, Self Mil and that is stretching the definition of good. I could see a Constructed deck powering out some degenerate strategy and playing it one day, though. I would get four and keep them around somewhere, just in case you need it for a Combo deck one day.
Ulvenwald Bear (6.5 out of 10.0)
This should be called Bear-or Grey Ogre since…ah, nevermind. This type of card is typical Green fodder. He fits perfectly in a Green based Undying focused deck, but normally he will be the last creature you put in. And last cards in for Limited decks usually translate to not played at all cards in Constructed. It will slide right into that sweet Commander/Casual Bear deck I have been brewing.
Village Survivors (8.5 out of 10.0)
This beefy Human body is much better that it appears. If you get it out versus a more aggressive deck, it can shut them down and if you are ahead when you cast it, they won’t be able to catch up. The Fateful Hour ability is powerful but just gravy on an already good card. I can’t even imagine putting something like Butcher’s Cleaver on this. Man, this card is good. I would be in Green just for this card if the packs were going right. It won’t get played anywhere else but Casual Human decks. But that’s okay. Survivors is a success because of what it does in Limited and it is drowning in flavor.
Vorapede (7.0 out of 10.0)
This Mythic is a beating in Limited and could be a powerhouse in Constructed. And looks cool enough to be a chase for Casual. However, Mythics are judged by a different standard and like many Mythics in Dark Acension, Vorapede just doesn’t do anything cool or powerful enough to be Mythic.
Wild Hunger (7.5 out of 10.0)
This combat trick is really good. Playing out all your critters and then just following up with this will just win games. The Flashback isn’t a surprise but they get to see they are going to die no matter what they do. And right now, some people won’t even give a second thought to the Flashback. Have fun collecting your free Planeswalker Points. Unfortunately, tricks that cost more than a mana usually are not very playable in Constructed.
Wolfbitten Captive/Krallenhorde Killer (8.5 out of 10.0)
I do not think I would first pick this card, but I would definitely like to take him high if I have already made a commitment to Green. He facilitates himself flipping very nicely since he can attack for three on turn two and then Wolf out; if you want. It may be better to just keep beating for three. He seems pretty weak for a Constructed strategy but should go right into a Casual Werewolf deck.
Young Wolf (6.5 out of 10.0)
This card has two functions and both are Green filler. Sometimes, you want to just play creature after creature and attack or if you are building that super durdle deck, Undying creatures do block twice. You usually want to play a two drop over it if you can but playing some Wolf pups isn’t terrible. Just remember, they will become outclassed quickly. And of course it is a sweet proxy card.
Check back for the concluding and much shorter Super Uber DKA Review Part 4…
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