Ascend from Avernus – Baldur’s Gate
Date Reviewed: June xx, 2022
Commander [EDH]: 3.38
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
If you’re not familiar with D&D cosmology, Avernus is the uppermost layer of the Nine Hells. That means it’s a bad enough place on its own, and then you realize that there are even worse places down below. That might make it seem a little odd that a white spell with a beneficial ability is referencing it, but as I recently wrote in a different context, I think it’s good that there’s a bigger range of concepts appearing on cards than there used to be.
Regardless of that, this card has a lot of things it can potentially do. On the one hand, triple white mana can be tough; on the other hand, note that it’s “X or less”. Any time you have a non-trivial number of cards in your graveyard, it threatens a crazy blowout – even if that’s just five creatures in an aggressive white deck, because they presumably dealt damage to the opponent and drew answers, and thus will do that again. In Commander settings, white is not traditionally the color we think of in the context of graveyard combos, but even if all this card does is give white decks a little more resilience, that’s something.
Commander [EDH]: 3/5
Mass reanimation is promising enough, especially given Ascend from Avernus having the ability to fish back creatures and planeswalkers alike, and it’s not too hard to get more than enough value out of a timely cast to blow a game open. That said, this requires both set-up and mana to really make use of, and white can sometimes struggle with in terms of loading up the graveyard (with the triple-white making this more of a commitment). That said, since you get back all eligible permanents with a mana value of X or less, this is the kind of flashy trick that will leave all opponents begging for mercy, especially if the game’s gone late and things are waiting for a second life in the graveyard. It’s almost definitely a bit too clunky for Legacy, but plenty of Commander games will be turned around by a bit of timely ascension.
Constructed: 1.25 (maybe not completely useless, but I’m not sold)
Commander [EDH]: 3.75
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