Dark Ascension Mechanincs
- Fateful Hour
- Double-Faced Cards
With the archangel Avacyn still missing in action and the protective wards of the Avacynian church fading in power, the plane of Innistrad is starting to get a lot… darker. Dark Ascension brings new weapons for monsters and innocents alike and builds on the mechanics and themes of Innistrad.
Undying is a new keyword in Dark Ascension that lets creatures come back from the grave stronger than ever.
When your undying creature with no +1/+1 counters on it dies, you’ll return it to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it. An undying creature that has one or more +1/+1 counters on it when it dies stays in the graveyard as normal.
It doesn’t matter where the +1/+1 counters came from, or whether a creature has already come back with a counter on it; all that matters is where the counters are when it dies. If your undying creature gets a +1/+1 counter on it (say, from Travel Preparations) and then dies, it won’t come back, even if that’s the first time it died. On the flip side, if you can get that +1/+1 counter off of an undying creature somehow after it comes back, it’ll come back yet again the next time it dies. Undying indeed!
If a creature ever has +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters on it, the two kinds of counters immediately “cancel out,” one for one, until only one kind of counter remains. For example, a creature with three +1/+1 counters and two -1/-1 counters would end up with one +1/+1 counter. There’s a twist, though: If a creature with +1/+1 counters on it gets enough -1/-1 counters to kill it, it dies before the two counters have the chance to cancel out. For example, if your Strangleroot Geist with a +1/+1 counter on it got three -1/-1 counters from Skinrender‘s “enters the battlefield” ability, the Geist would die with one +1/+1 counter and three -1/-1 counters and wouldn’t return to the battlefield.
They say the night is darkest just before the dawn, and the new fateful hour ability word in Dark Ascension takes that philosophy to heart.
Fateful hour abilities work as long as you have 5 life or less. As soon as your life total drops to 5 or less, they immediately kick in. So you could pay some life to an Immolating Souleater in the middle of combat to suddenly give your team a boost with Thraben Doomsayer. As soon as your life total becomes 6 or higher, fateful hour abilities stop working—so gaining life with Thraben Doomsayer on the table might cause your creatures to get smaller in the middle of a turn.
Other fateful hour abilities may be triggered abilities, static abilities, or abilities that change what an instant or sorcery spell does.