Friday, January 13, 2012

A Week in Review - Dark Ascension Preview Week #1

Week #1 of Dark Ascension Preview Week is now over. Since we have a little down time until Week #2 jump starts again on Monday, I thought I'd share some of the deck ideas that have been floating around in my head. Keep in mind that as of right now, only 37 of 158 cards of Dark Ascension have been spoiled.

Heartless Lich

I've already posted one potential version of this deck, but honestly, Havengul Lich is so strong, there are many different directions you could go (some even without Heartless Summoning.

I'm a fan of the graveyard shinanigans and I might be a bigger fan of Gravecrawler. So in my original Heartless Lich build, it's hard for me to not go for the Gravecrawler + Heartless Summoning focus which abuses things like Falkenwrath Noble, Grimgrin, and Secrets of the Dead. If you want to read more about this deck, you should just ahead and read the post. --But maybe I'm making things too complicated. There has to be an easier way to kill people? Right?

Red/Black Burning Vengeance Aggro

Consider the following card combination: I'm still waiting for another efficient mono-black zombie in Dark Ascension (to help bring back the Gravecrawlers). If all else fails, Diregraf Ghouls would work just fine. Throw in some Giestflame and Brimstone Volley and you have yourself a deck.

The deck curves out into all out aggression with steady card drawing (Faithless Looting, Bloodgift Demon), reusable removal (Burning Vengeance, Reaper from the Abyss), and an engine that never fails to impress (Heartless Summoning, Gravecrawler). The engine would fuel both the Burning Vengeances and morbid for the Reaper from the Abyss. You would only need to run a few Isolated Chapels/Clifftop Retreats for white sources since the only white in the deck would be 2-4 Unburial Rites. Even if you don't get a Heartless Summoning in play, Faithless Looting + Unburial Rites will get the job done in getting your big guys into play.

The best opening for this deck would probably 3 Gravecrawlers and Faithless Looting. And truthfully, this might be the strongest, most consistent decks I'm going to propose today. If the Dark Ascension previews would end today, this is the deck I would use in the next tournament.

Black/White Tokens

As much as I like and had fun with my Blasphemous Tokens deck, after Dark Ascension is released, I have a feeling that black/white is going to be where it's at and we're going to have to say goodbye to red. With cards like Sorin, Lord of Innistrad and Gather the Townsfolk, it's hard to argue against the inevitable.

The only question is if there will still be room for the likes of Skirsdag High Priest and Village Bell-Ringer in this new generation of black/white tokens. With a flashy new planeswalker on the market, black/white tokens are sure to be a popular archetype.

The Mill Deck

I think Increasing Confusion is one of the strongest cards in the set. Judging from the message boards, not everyone out there agrees with me. This card just wins games. Increasing Confusion enables itself (and other copies of itself) for a flat out victory. And if I'm going to stand by my statement in saying that's one of the most powerful cards in the set, I'm also going to go ahead and say that I think the Mill Deck could potentially be a strong contender in Innistrad Constructed. I think it's that good.

Note: Since you can choose to cast Increasing Confusion where X=0, if you really want to kill somebody, this card essentially reads: Pay XUU and mill your opponent for X times 2. (You can get it into your graveyard for one blue and then cast it immediately for another blue and X.)

I've drafted a lot of mill in Innistad and you can read all about my experience in this MTG Salvation thread titled: A Month of Force Drafting Mill in Innistrad

I've been meaning to put that information here on this blog, but I haven't gotten around to it. I tried to make it constructed viable, but the only reason it worked was because there were so many commons/uncommons that lent themselves to that strategy. I'm hoping Increasing Confusion and a few other cards was all that deck was lacking.

Chalice of Life & Death

And now in traditional "Casual MTG" fashion, we find ourselves face to face with something a little goofy. Call me crazy, but an artifact that taps to deal 5 damage to an opponent with no activation sounds like an outstanding game finisher, right? The only problem is, how would you ever get to 30 life?

It's a good thing there already exists a card in Innistrad that already gets people to 30+ life whenever they cast it.

I'll give you a moment to think about it.

What could it be?

It's a card that's currently used in tier 1 Innistrad Block decks that has amazing life gain potential.

Give up yet?

The card I'm talking about it obviously: Gnaw to the Bone

Now this deck idea I have isn't as fully fleshed out as either the Burning Vengeance Aggro or the Black/White Tokens, but I think the pieces are out there to actually put together something that works. All you would have to do is to fill your grave with creatures, cast a Gnaw to the Bone, and get 1-2 Chalices of Death online. It would be a defensive control-ish deck that just sat around, gathering pieces. And like I said at the beginning of this post, there are still 121 cards left in Dark Ascension to be spoiled, but it'll be interesting to see if I could ever get it to work.

***I have a few other ideas having to do with Gutter Grime, Huntmaster of the Fell, and other cards, but that will be it for now. I may add on to this list throughout the weekend.***

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