Magic: The Gathering’s Dark Ascension set has certainly brought with it unique challenges and rewards. The card pool is deceptively “simple” while simultaneously rewarding skilled play and synergistic deck-building. Having participated in several sealed and limited drafts for this latest Magic set release, I will accordingly be shifting the viewfinder to look at cards that shine in these events.
As a common, it is unlikely to participate in any event without coming across this needle in the haystack. Black Cat slips under the radar right up until the moment it is played against you, and when it hits it makes any opponent take a cautionary look at their hand. You’ll likely be getting in more damage than you should rightfully be allowed to with Black Cat, until your opponent can either draw recursion, actually play the card(s) they’re afraid of losing, or draw enough cards to minimize the probability of losing the card they want to keep. Not to mention the absolute nightmare it is for an opponent to rid themselves of one only to have you cast an Undying Evil or another copy. The 1B mana cost is also friendly as it plays nice with the dual-colored deck you’ll most likely be playing. Verdict: Play as many as you can get your hands on.
I’d previously tested Caress of Phyrexia in my Mono-Black Infect deck and was pleasantly surprised by its versatility, molding itself to finishing an opponent off or reloading my hand in a pinch, and expected more of the same from Harrowing Journey. I was slightly disappointed to learn that unless an opponent is down to the last bits of life when you draw it, more often its more advantageous to cast it on yourself due to the lack of poison counters, which would’ve been better substituted with at least 4 or more points of burn, but it might have been a rare in that scenario, and not eligible for underrated status. You usually don’t want to draw this early or draw too many, lest you do your opponent’s job, so this is a great one-of in a draft deck.
Farbog Boneflinger was a late pick that played much better than I’d anticipated. The five CMC (converted mana cost) seems high at first until late in the game where its card economy of being both a creature and a kill spell really shines. By the time you’re able to play this beauty, there will surely be a flying creature or Pyreheart Wolf (narrows eyes) that will be rubbing you the wrong way that you’ll be glad to be rid of. So glad, in fact that you will likely view the Boneflinger almost as well as you do a Death’s Caress and will be happy that it got rid of a pest and gave you a 2/2 body afterwards. Wasn’t that really considerate? Verdict: Run one or two depending on how much removal your deck has.
Next time, I’ll be looking at underrated Red Spell picks in draft, til then, keep turning those rocks over.