Attending the Dark Ascension Pre-release Party

For many Magic: The Gathering fans, the wait for the Dark Ascension block is almost over.  Wondering what’s coming in this new set?  Worry not, as I attended one of the pre-release events in London, Ontario, at a local card shop called Fresher’s, to give you the lowdown on what to expect.

Upon arrival I was greeted by Fresher’s owner, Sharon, who gave me the what’s-what of the event.  This particular evening would consist of a Sealed Deck tournament.  At 6:00pm sharp, every contestant was given six booster packs, three each from the recent Innistrad set and the upcoming Dark Ascension block.  From there, we opened our packs, and made the best deck of at least 40 cards possible with what we drew.  Each player then faced off against a randomly assigned opponent; best two of three was declared winner.  Those victorious would face other successful players, and vice versa.

Before we continue and see just how terrible I did, let me give you some info on Dark AscensionD.A. is the second set of the Innistrad block, and brings back a few themes from its predecessor, namely double faced cards.  For those unfamiliar with the mechanic, let me explain it.  These flip-able cards come into play on one face, and when certain conditions are met, they flip, becoming another card.  The main instance of this is found in werewolf cards that start human and then “transform” into their beastly counterpart.

The new set features some fresh mechanics as well, such as Fateful Hour and “Increasing” Flashback.  The former of the two strengthens an ability if the player has five or less life, and the latter augments an ability if it were played from the graveyard (a.k.a. Flashbacked).  My personal favorite addition is the Undying creatures.  When these cards are sent to the graveyard from play, they return with a +1/+1 counter on them.  If they’re destroyed while this counter is present, the creatures die permanently. All of these new features make the game that much better, keeping each match a fresh experience.

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s continue tourney coverage, shall we?  After receiving my booster packs, I quickly opened and started building.  Being a fan of regeneration, I made a simple Black and White deck, based around the Undying mechanic I mentioned earlier.  To compliment my skeleton army, I hoped to boost them with colorless artifacts, one which transformed into a hulking 13/13 creature!  It proved to be a decent concept and kept me alive for awhile, but alas, I was defeated in each and every round as I lacked a strong offence.

Regardless of my defeat, I still got to leave with a promo card.  In this case, it was a dated and foiled Ravonous Demon/Archdemon of Greed.  This shiny reminder of my defeat is welcomed on my display shelf, to remind me to cover more bases next time.

Overall, the event was very fun, and the Dark Ascension set is looking like it will be a wonderful addition to the world of Magic: The Gathering when it launches February 3rd.  That’s this Friday, MTG fans, so get your pre-orders down at your nearest hobby store!  More information on the upcoming set can be found here.  Until next time, keep the magic alive folks!

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