Dovescape – Dissension
Date Reviewed: December 1, 2022
Ratings are based on a 1 to 5 scale. 1 is bad. 3 is average. 5 is great.
I’ve pointed out before that a lot of Ravnica: City of Guilds Standard’s celebrated diversity was propped up by unacknowledged factors like Umezawa’s Jitte boosting creature decks (and even some control decks). But there were also some genuine rogue decks in that era, and one of them featured Dovescape prominently. Its goal was to cast Enduring Ideal, often protected by Boseiju, Who Shelters All, and mess up the opponent’s plans with weird enchantments that the designers probably thought were just set filler. Blood Moon was in Standard, as crazy as that might sound now; Meishin, the Mind Cage and Ghostly Prison stopped you from being attacked (such as by inconvenient opposing dove tokens); Form of the Dragon ended the game when it was safe to do so. And Dovescape did a number on creature-light decks, with their card advantage spells (which, again, were surprisingly powerful) suddenly looking at best awkward and at worst blank.
Honestly, you could probably play an Enduring Ideal deck from that era in casual settings now, and it would make for an interesting experience. I’d check how its self-defense measures line up against things like Omnath, because I know some joker out there thinks he’s a kitchen table card, but the concept would be solid. But you could also update it with cards from the various Theros sets – I doubt Heliod and Purphoros were exactly what they had in mind when they made Enduring Ideal, but the concept works for me. It’s also worth noting that a Theros god’s devotion ability only works when it’s in play, so you don’t need any additional tricks to cast them when you (or someone else) controls Dovescape. That one really works for me, as it’s the kind of feels-like-cheating trick that Greek gods loved to pull on people!
Commander [EDH]: 3.5
If your opponents are trying to annoy you with a long string of combos, chains, and annoyances, sometimes the correct answer is BIRD. And Dovescape makes it so everyone’s answer is just that, turning each non-creature spell they aim to cast into a suitable flock of avian perversions. Of note is that you get the birds even if the spell can’t be countered…which made for a lot of fun with Boseiju, Who Shelters All (and still does), as well as with any and all spells that are explicitly uncounterable. Six mana makes this a hard sell, as does the danger of enabling your opponents with their own flock of foul-feathered fiends, but isn’t half the fun to try and break symmetries like these? Dovescape is a subtly fun card that can throw a game off and onto a completely different axis, and sometimes that’s all you can ask for.
Commander [EDH]: 4.25
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