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Innistrad Set 2: Dark Ascension Arrives! (Good news for 4E DMs!)

Innistrad-Dark-AscensionToday, Wizards of the Coast released their second set of the Magic the Gathering: Innistrad series, featuring thematic Gothic horror elements such as undead armies, vampires, werewolves, and ghostly spirits.  This second set, called the Dark Ascension, features five new intro pack decks – Swift Justice, Relentless Dead, Dark Sacrifice, Monstrous Surprise, and Grave Power – built from 158 new black bordered cards, also available in booster packs and fat packs.

By the way, I got a chance to check out a couple of the Innistrad Set 1 intro decks – Deathly Dominion and Carnival of Blood – and posted a Review on EN World for those interested in reading more about these decks.

And also new this week, WotC released a MTG app to the iTunes store called the Magic the Gathering: Toolbox.  While I don’t have an Apple product to try it out on, the user reviews at the iTunes store were fairly brutal.  Apparently, users felt that the functions and speed of the app were underwhelming at best, which seems to confirm once again that the programmers at WotC really need to get sharper or they need to start farming their programming projects out of house.

On a lighter note, I also got one of the new decks, the Relentless Dead, and it’s quite a nasty piece of work.  It’s built on the premise of raising zombies, and actually gains more power as you lose zombies to the graveyard by giving opportunities to bring in more powerful undead.  The deck was a lot of fun to play with and actually gave me a fighting chance against Tizzbin’s nasty Carnival of Blood deck that I had trouble beating a few weeks ago.

Now I also mentioned in my title that I thought these new MTG Innistrad cards were good news for 4E DMs, and it’s true.  There is a considerable amount of solid inspiration in these cards for Dungeon Masters working on advancing their Shadowfell campaigns!

Intro Decks of Dread

One of the big features of the Shadowfell setting are the Domains of Dread, those little pocket dimensions of evil where nasty baddies await unsuspecting heroes.  Many of these new decks have great potential for inspiring new Domains of Dread, providing not only new monsters, but also spell effects and magical terrain effects that might be prevalent in the domain.

And one of the nice side benefits of using MTG decks to inspire Shadowfell adventures is the ton of free art that comes with them.  I personally enjoy displaying cool art and pictures to my players as part of the adventure, and the illustrations found in these new Innistrad cards are particularly good.  Using them in conjunction with some new undead and monster creations can add a lot to a Shadowfell campaign.

My own Forgotten Realm campaign is about to head off into the Shadowfell in pursuit of the evil Doombringer cultists that have been plaguing them since 1st Level, and I’m finding some nice ideas for new critters and villains among these new cards.  It will be a lot of fun to drop new elite monsters such as the Farbog Boneflinger, Lumberknot, or Splinterfright on my heroes, and have some cool art to go illustrate the fights!

Of course, I’ve also been enjoying my renewed interest in playing MTG with some of my friends.  It’s a perfect “beer&pretzels” game to pull out when we can’t get everyone together to play D&D.  Personally, I’ll be interested to see if Wizards of the Coast decides to create a “fey realm” style MTG deck in the near future – seems like a pretty nifty way to link two great products together.

So until next blog… I wish you Happy Gaming!

Editor’s Note: This Reviewer received a complimentary copy of the product from which this blog was written.

About The Author

Michael is an Adept of a Secret Order of Dungeon Masters, and dwells in a hidden realm with his two evil cat-familiars, deep within the Vale of Wolverines, called by some "Michigan". He has been esoterically conjuring D&D Campaigns for nearly a Third of a Century, and has been known to cast ritual blogs concerning Dungeons & Dragons every few days with some regularity. Michael has freelanced for Wizards of the Coast, and writes reviews of D&D and other Role-Playing Game products on EN World News.


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