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Die Another Day

Happy Friday MTG peeps,

As it is Friday, we suggest you sortie out of your secret lair and head to your local games store tonight to take in a Friday Night Magic event. We hope the nasty snow storm currently raging in the region will move off so we can get to OMG! Games & Collectibles here in Barrie, Ontario to take our latest brew for a spin.

Righto - onto to today's post and the Undying mechanic provided in the latest Magic the Gathering set, Dark Ascension. Undying is a keyword triggered ability introduced in Dark Ascension and is somewhat similar to Shadwomoor mechanic 'Persist'. Essentially, if a permanent with undying is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, it returns to the battlefield under its owner's control. However, unlike persist, a creature with undying returns to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter on it (rather than a -1/-1 counter) unless it already had one or more of those counters on it when it died.

Here is a summary of the Undying Rulings:
• All cards printed with undying are creatures. If a creature with undying stops being a creature (for example, an artifact creature with undying becomes a noncreature artifact due to Neurok Transmuter's second ability), undying will still trigger.
• Likewise, if a noncreature permanent becomes a creature, gains undying, and is put into a graveyard, the undying ability will still trigger even though that permanent won't be a creature when it returns to the battlefield.
• Multiple instances of undying trigger separately, but are effectively redundant as only the first instance to resolve will have any effect.
• An object returned to the battlefield with the undying ability is a new object with no memory of its previous existence. It has "summoning sickness".
• Tokens can have undying, and the ability will trigger if a token is put into a graveyard. However, like all tokens, it can't return to the battlefield and will cease to exist as a state-based action before the ability would go on the stack.
• Undying relies on the last known information about the permanent just before it was put into a graveyard. If that permanent had a +1/+1 counter on it, then receives enough -1/-1 counters for it to be put into a graveyard due to having 0 toughness or lethal damage marked on it, it won't return to the battlefield despite the state-based action of +1/+1 counters and -1/-1 counters "cancelling each other out". As the permanent last existed on the battlefield, it had a +1/+1 counter on it, so undying will not trigger.
There are 14 Dark Ascesnion cards with Undying with the following rarities : 2 Mythic Rares, 3 Rares, 4 Uncommons, and 5 Commons. In the mana coloured spectrum, they are spread in the following colours : 3 Blue, 5 Black, 4 Red, and 3 in Green. Arguably, the most favoured cards by gamers are in Green, followed by Black. If you are looking to brew up a build with a tribal theme, here is the breakdown of creature types with undying : 5 Zombies, 2 Spirits (Geists), 2 Vampires, 2 Wolf (Wolves), 1 Devil, 1 Insect and 1 non-creature Instant spell.

Here are the cards from which to pick for your casual Undying deck - Geralf's Mindcrusher, Relentless Skaabs, Stormbound Geist, Geralf's Messenger, Mikaeus, the Unhallowed, Sightless Ghoul, Undying Evil, Vengeful Vampire, Flayer of the Hatebound, Nearheath Stalker, Pyreheart Wolf, Strangleroot Geist, Vorapede, Young Wolf.

Time to brew ! Here is a suggestion as to where you might want to start with your casual standard constructed Undying deck :
Here is the text from the Dark Ascension Frequently Asked Quenstion (FAQ) document regarding the keyword Undying :

On Innistrad, the more pernicious creatures are especially resistant to mortal wounds. Undying is an ability that brings a creature back from the dead, stronger than before.

The official rules for undying are as follows:
702.91. Undying
702.91a Undying is a triggered ability. "Undying" means "When this permanent is put into a graveyard from the battlefield, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it."
* Each card with undying is a creature. If one of them stops being a creature, undying will still work.
* The undying ability triggers when the permanent is put into a graveyard. Its last known information (that is, how the creature last existed on the battlefield) is used to determine whether it had a +1/+1 counter on it.
* If a permanent has multiple instances of undying, they'll each trigger separately, but the redundant instances will have no effect. If one instance returns the card to the battlefield, the next to resolve will do nothing.
* If a token with no +1/+1 counters on it has undying, the ability will trigger when the token is put into the graveyard. However, the token will cease to exist and can't return to the battlefield.
* When a permanent with undying returns to the battlefield, it's a new object with no memory of or connection to its previous existence.
* If multiple creatures with undying are put into the graveyard at the same time (due to combat damage or a spell that destroys all creatures, for example), the active player (the player whose turn it is) puts all of his or her undying triggers on the stack in any order, then each other player in turn order does the same. The last trigger put on the stack is the first one that resolves. That means that in a two-player game, the nonactive player's undying creatures will return to the battlefield first, then the active player's undying creatures do the same. The creatures return to the battlefield one at a time.
* If a creature with undying that has a +1/+1 counter on it receives enough -1/-1 counters to cause it to be destroyed by lethal damage or put into its owner's graveyard for having 0 or less toughness, undying won't trigger and the card won't return to the battlefield. That's because undying checks the creature's existence just before it leaves the battlefield, and it still has all those counters on it at that point.

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