From Dusk ’til Dawn by Kevin Pass

Dusk

So this is it, the fading light of another standard season.  Only Modern and Limited GPs on the horizon and the embers of the last Kyoto PPTQs flicker into nothing.  I considered writing about standard but the format is pretty much solved and, let’s be honest, does anyone really care anymore?

Dawn

The passing of every season gives way to something fresh and exciting, a new set of spoilers.  Amonkhet is fast approaching and only one card has been spoiled so far.  The card in question resonates very fondly with me as its name is akin to a Tarantino classic I associate with my formative years, From Dusk ‘til Dawn.  As well as the band I was in during high school, Dusk ‘til Dawn (I’m the sure the Myspace I set up in 2007 still exists for those of you that feel so inclined).

 

 

 

(17 year old Kev knew how to Rock!)

 

 

Without further ado here is Dawn // Dusk.

There’s a lot to take in here, new layout, new mechanic, multiple spells on one card, so lets break it down.

The Aesthetics

We have never seen a card with this templating before.  It has a resemblance to previous split cards with one key difference, the second spell is printed sideways, and I love this decision.  The new keyword, Aftermath, permits the second spell to only be cast from the graveyard.  This means that you only care about the effect of the first spell when it is in your hand. This completely removes the need for players to awkwardly turn cards in their hand telegraphing what cards they may have as the only text that is relevant is faced correctly.  This may seem small but the amount of Turn // Burn’s I was able to play around during Dragons Maze limited due to my opponent have the audacity to read his cards is shocking. Well played WOTC!!

The fact that the second spell is typed up and down ways means you can turn the card sideways when it is in your graveyard creating a clear reminder that you have an ‘aftermath’ card that can be cast while allowing you to read the card without rummaging through the yard.  A very useful feature, although if this becomes the convention players will need to work out a new method for expressing when cards are in exile.

The Effect

Fans of From Dusk ‘til Dawn will know it is a movie with a great duality, you get half a hostage movie that turns on pin into a vampire gore-fest. Fans of my old band Dusk ‘til Dawn will know it was a band of great linearity, comprising one hundred percent of poorly composed pop-punk.  The card Dusk//Dawn is more like the former than the latter in that the first half is all about control and the second half is all about little men getting there.

Analogies aside, this card can seem very confusing at first with its two effect seeming at odds with one another.  Dusk is a fantastic effect that any control deck would snap up, clearing away any imposing creatures on the board.  Dawn, on the other hand, incentives you to play small expendable men and rebuy them en masse.  Both of these effects seem powerful but a small creature deck often lends itself to an aggressive game plan and it’s difficult to imagine such a game plan involving spending four mana to clear away large creatures.  I can imagine that this card will see plenty of play on the merits of Dusk alone but let’s get our brewer hats on and see if we can come up with something that can exploit both halves of this card.

The Applications

The first thing I thought of when I read this card was:

“How can I use this to return creatures with power greater than 2?”

This lead me to making some alterations to the Abzan Rallier deck I have been enjoying lately and came up with the following:

Dusk til Dawn Rallier – Kevin Pass

Creatures

4 Greenwheel Liberator
4 Grim Flayer
2 Walking Ballista
2 Tireless Tracker
4 Renegade Rallier
3 Mindwrack Demon

Spells

4 Renegade Map
2 Abundant Growth
3 Fatal Push
4 Sinister Concoction
2 Traverse the Ulvenwald
3 Lilianna, the Last Hope
3 Dusk // Dawn

Lands

4 Blooming Marsh
3 Concealed Courtyard
3 Evolving Wilds
6 Forest
3 Swamp
2 Plains

Sideboard

2 Kalitas, Traitor of Ghet
2 Transgress the Mind
2 Ishkanah, Grafwidow
1 Dusk//Dawn
3 To the Slaughter
4 Scrapheap Scrounger
1 Pick the Brain

This deck gets to make use of both halves of Dusk//Dawn in a variety of ways. What I often found with Abzan Rallier is that you stall out when your opponent presents a board that 4 power creatures can’t break through, Dusk is very good at dealing with these board states.  After you sweep the board you can cast Dawn to rebuy your Grim Flayers, Greenwheel Liberators and Walking Batistas all of which are very likely to have greater than two power when they are recast.

This deck has the ability to fill its graveyard rather quickly between Lilianna, the Last Hope and Mindwrack Demon.  In this deck, Dawn is essentially a flashback spell, so you have achieved card advantage every time you mill one over.  The addition of Dusk//Dawn to this deck also greatly increases the power of Sinister Concoction as you can now discard Dusk//Dawn in matches where the wrath effect is not useful, so you can buy back your creatures later or discard a creature you intend to buy back with Dawn.

Stick these Cats where the Sun Don’t Shine – Kevin Pass

Creatures

4 Spell Queller
4 Felidar Guardian
2 Cloudblazer
3 Torrential Gearhulk

Spells

4 Harnessed Lightning
4 Anticipate
2 Negate
4 Saheeli Rai
2 Disallow
4 Glimmer of Genius
2 Dusk//Dawn

Lands

4 Aether Hub
4 Inspiring Vantage
4 Spirebluff Canal
2 Wandering Fumerole
1 Needle Spires
7 Island
2 Plains
1 Port Town

Sideboard

2 Fragmatize
2 Negate
2 Immolating Glare
2 Disallow
2 Quarantine Field
1 Dusk//Dawn
2 Radiant Flames
2 Nahiri, the Harbinger

Previous iterations of the Saheeli-Cat combo deck would play Fumigate.  Replacing this with Dusk // Dawn offers a multitude of options.  With Dusk // Dawn instead of Fumigate, the deck is now free to play Spell Queller without fear of ending up in the awkward position where you need to wrath the board but doing so will give your opponent his quelled spells back.  You can also now play a more proactive game plan where you drop a Felidar Guardian into play (potentially flickering a Torrential Gearhulk or Cloudblazer for value) forcing your opponent to apply pressure for fear of the combo.  This allows you cast to cast Dusk, clearing away their pressure while leaving Felidar Guardian in play.  This deck can also be more liberal in blocking with and trading its Felidar Guardians, Spell Quellers and Cloudblazers as casting Dawn in the late game can completely refill your hand.  Could Dusk // Dawn be the card Saheeli decks need to return to only 3 colors?

Conclusion

I realise only one card has been spoiled from Amonkhet and the deck lists that I have offered today will look drastically different from what Amonkhet standard decks will be in reality but seeing how the new cards interact with what is currently available is a worthwhile exercise as things can be missed when we are dazzled by the plethora of new cards to brew with.

Dusk//Dawn is a card with the potential to create archetypes by itself, I can even imagine a BW control shell running Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim, Gifted Aetherborn and Gonti, Lord of Luxury feature a full play set of Dusk // Dawn.

Do you have any sweet ideas for Dusk//Dawn?  I’d love to hear them!!
Until next time folks, happy brewing!

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