Of all the thousands of cards we've gotten in
the past few years, this is the one I wish there
were a way to go back and rewrite. As regular
readers will recall, I mostly play singleton
formats, and this is an amazing card that does
basically nothing in such settings. Come to
think of it, it does only slightly more in a
deck that isn't completely built around it, and
it depends very strongly on what sort of instant
and sorcery cards are available (though now that
it belongs strongly to Modern, Legacy, and
casual, that's the least of our problems!).
Actually, come to think of it, there's just one
other tweak I'd make to this card. There was a
story that early designs for the Ascensions had
a World of Warcraft-esque clause about "Your
opponents must refer to you as the [Luminarch/Archmage/Bloodchief/Pyromancer/Beastmaster]".
I really wish that could have survived - it
would have made Zendikar Standard a very
different sort of game!
If you see a Pryomancer's Ascension, run. It
rarely means anything good.
Part of the Ascension grouping of cards in the
original Zendikar, the Ascension has shown
itself to be the preferred tool of degenerate
decks, like Storm and related entities. It's
easy to turbo through your deck to load up the
graveyard with cheap cantrips and looting spells
(like Thought Scour and Faithless Looting), and
a turned-on Pyromancer's Ascension is pretty
much "game over" for an unprepared deck. (This
is why Relic of Progenitus and Rest in Peace are
good sideboard cards in Modern.)
As the linchpin to a potentially powerful deck,
Pyromancer's Ascension is a card to always keep
your eyes open for. If you see one, try to kill
it. You'll regret not doing so.
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