Dawn of Hope
– Guilds of Ravnica
January 1, 2019
Commander [EDH]: 3.37
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
Today is the start of a new year, a new cycle in which all things are possible – so where better to start than with something a little unusual? You don’t often see a card-drawing engine of any kind in white. We shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves – Dawn of Hope isn’t a white Phyrexian Arena, and I’m not even sure that converting its text to white along the lines of “At the beginning of your upkeep, you gain 1 life and draw a card” has any fair cost in Magic. But it is certainly a card that has a lot of synergy with long-standing white effects like Firemane Angel and Ajani’s Mantra; with Peace of Mind, you can instead convert those extra cards into even more life, though I’m not sure what the endgame of such a deck would be. It would certainly be fun to test. It’s good to get the token generation as a built-in way to start it moving, albeit a way that’s quite expensive and slow. Still, I suspect there are some decks that will play the card just to get a never-ending late-game supply of tokens with an occasional extra card here and there. As such, I think it’s one to keep in mind, even if it’s not likely to be a format-defining card.
there is no hope
Life gain has historically been a marginal strategy, but this goes some way towards making life gain less useless, adding a two-mana cantrip effect any time your life total ticks up. And only for two mana, in the color known for having the weakest card draw of them all. It’s not great, by any stretch…but white is known for having a lot of lifelink effects and incidental lifegain, either as part of its own strengths or when alloyed with other colors.
On one hand, Dawn of Hope really does not do much on its own; it’s a two-mana enchantment that does nothing the turn it comes out, and you’re still needing to pump in mana to make it worth it. But it does have the ability to make its own card draw, albeit slowly, thanks to making a 1/1 lifelinking Soldier for four mana. It’s an inefficient token engine…but on a permanent type that’s a bit more resistant to removal, and one that you can fire up turn after turn.
Dawn of Hope is good in a slower, more turtle-like shell that can accrue the little advantages here and there to get the value train rolling. Its strength will be based on how fast the format is, though, and I feel like Standard may right now lack a home for it.
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