Because, you know, that’s exactly how I speak.
But it turns out people want actual, actionable information. Players from YouTube, this site, and a few forums said something to the effect of “Get off our forums, spammer.” But I took it to mean “Bring us more content with even more detail.”
So let’s talk about Dark Heavens, shall we?
Actual discussion begins here
When players look at Dark Heavens, they’re often left scratching their heads. There’s a lot of cheap, mediocre creatures, a slew of powerful angels and demons, and what appears to be a fairly persistent token-generation theme. After all, who’d ever put three copies of Field of Souls in a deck if they weren’t planning to haunt the fuck out of the battlefield?
Well, mainly me. Because Field of Souls pretty much sucks. Sure, if you have one out you could trade your middling Bog Imp for the exact same thing, but what if you don’t have a creature out? Or your whole board is flooded with 1/1 tokens that are useless fodder for an enemy pinger like Niv Mizzet, the motherfucking Firemind?* And while having two or three Field of Souls on the board generates a lot of tokens when you cast Damnation, wasting two early game turns to play these enchantments will leave you without any creatures to use with them.
Once I removed Field of Suck from the deck, my objective became clearer. The whole sacrifice mechanic was pretty much a gimmick, so we’d be ditching Proper Burial, Demonic Appetite, Woebringer Demon, and the crappy, overcosted imps. We were left with essentially two types of cards: early game stall and late game fatties.
Just as with Strength of Stone, I find this type of deck has potential in Duels of the Planeswalkers 2012‘s rather simple metagame. The most dangerous decks put out a constant stream of semi-threatening creatures, mixed with some utility spells. Since Dark Heavens can clear the board with Damnation, Black Sun’s Zenith, and Living Death, the whole “getting overrun” thing is much less of a problem.
Of course, sweeping the board isn’t always practical, so a large amount of spot removal and shutdown handles the rest, up until turn five or six. It’s at this point you can begin dropping game-winning bombs: Baneslayer Angel, Ob Nixilis, Sunblast Angel, and Angel of Despair. Each of these cards poses a major “deal with this quickly or lose” kind of threat, while the inclusion of Desolation Angel outright wins the game in most instances.
Some players will quarrel with a few of my choices, and that’s fine; Dark Heavens is new and there’s still a lot to determine. I decided to stick with Fallen Angel, for example, because she can recycle early game chumps, cause enemy spells to fizzle, and combo with Living Death for the most unfair trade since the Louisiana Purchase.
Likewise, I kept Wall of Essence and Wall of Souls but ditched Souls of the Faultless because its mana requirements were simply too strict for my blood. Three mana for that effect? Fine. Three specific mana? Not in this environment.
Ultimately, I play Dark Heavens fairly conservatively, biding my time for sweepers and big threats, understanding that early game life loss can be shrugged off, only to be gained back later. The deck certainly has its share of instant-speed tricks, but I find careful consideration of when/where to use Pillory of the Sleepless or Faith’s Fetters to be substantially more important. Once large concerns are put to rest, it’s just a matter of dropping a gigantic bomb, protecting it, and laughing as your shackled opponent gets slashed over and over by your sexy/undead angel army.
WiNGSPANTT’s Dark Heavens Deck List
- 3x Terramorphic Expanse
- 1x Basilisk Collar
- 2x Doomed Traveler
- 1x Black Sun’s Zenith
- 2x Darklit Gargoyle
- 2x Doom Blade
- 2x Sign in Blood
- 1x Wall of Essence
- 1x Wall of Souls
- 2x Cadaver Imp
- 2x Midnight Haunting
- 2x Pillory of the Sleepless
- 1x Vindicate
- 1x Angelic Destiny
- 1x Damnation
- 2x Faith’s Fetters
- 1x Lightkeeper of Emeria
- 1x Voice of All
- 1x Baneslayer Angel
- 1x Desolation Angel
- 2x Essence Drain
- 2x Fallen Angel
- 1x Living Death
- 1x Ob Nixilis, the Fallen
- 1x Sunblast Angel
- 1x Angel of Despair
If you need more information on any of these cards, I highly recommend Wizards of the Coast’s Gatherer search engine.
* This is his actual, official name. Scout’s honor.