(Metagame Archive) Green Lantern Corps Preview: In Darkest Night

By Jason Grabher-Meyer

It’s not easy being a comic book hero, nor a comic book hero’s loved one. From Lois Lane to Alex DeWitt, heroes’ families and romantic interests are constantly under threat from underhanded villains. It’s just kind of a general rule. Want to piss off a superhero? Kidnap a family member or burn down his house—that’ll get his attention!

Of course, sometimes a little bit more destruction is in order, and just jamming somebody into a fridge or killing a few parents isn’t enough to create the desired effect. That was exactly the case when Mongul and Cyborg destroyed Coast City, Hal Jordan’s home. The loss of an entire Metropolis drove Hal mad and sent him on a ruinous rampage of terror that would end in the death of most of the GL Corps and the guardians themselves.

He left and didn’t come back for a while.

That’s exactly what today’s preview card, In Darkest Night, is all about. Reflecting on the emotional impact of the loss of Coast City on Hal Jordan, we get a 4-threshold ongoing plot twist that makes sure that defeated heroes that go down stay down. Check it out:

Nifty, huh?

The cost of exhausting four characters is a little steep, but hey, it takes some manpower to wreak this amount of havoc. The good news is that once the job is done, it’s finished, and those four characters can ready like normal at the end of your turn while your opponent suffers.

There are some cool things about In Darkest Night. One, it’s obviously incredibly powerful. If your opponent isn’t playing some sort of ongoing plot twist removal, then you’re essentially getting a “jump the curve” effect every turn from a single stun, since your character can recover from a double-stun trade and the opponent’s can’t. In addition, you’re essentially able to take out key characters without the need for a precision-KO card like Finishing Move or A Death in the Family. That’s pretty brutal.

One of the more subtle things about In Darkest Night is that the exhausted characters can be any team affiliation you like. You only need to have a single Emerald Enemies character around to keep the effect on, not to activate the card itself. That means you can swarm with any manner of choice 1- and 2-drops in the early game, or you can play it in a team-up deck and it won’t be a dead draw if your affiliation-sharing enablers go awry. Pretty cool.

It’s an uncommon, so that means it might see some serious play in Sealed Pack. It’s especially deadly here due to the lack of reliable ongoing plot twist removal. There’s a good chance that if you manage to get it off, it’s going to stick around. That’s more than one can say for your opponent’s characters, and the advantage created by the KO’ing of your opponent’s turn-drop can snowball fast.

In Golden Age Constructed, this card can be teched against with Have a Blast! or Foiled, so at first glance it’s not as scary here as it might be in Sealed Pack. But upon further consideration, it’s even more of a concern in some respects. Should Emerald Enemies become a popular team, it seems very possible that this could be a format-defining card, essentially forcing Foiled and Have a Blast! into decks that don’t really have room to accommodate them. For decks with access to toolbox plot twist engines, it’s not much of a concern, but most decks would need to run three pieces of removal to have a decent chance of drawing into one on or before turn 4, and that hurts.

Green Lantern Corps will establish the first player-relevant DC Modern Age format. It’s impossible at this point to say how much of a threat In Darkest Night will be in Modern Age, but it seems likely that it will be a strong presence. Wholesale plot twist negation and destruction is always a rarity, and in an environment without Have a Blast!, this thing could be utterly overwhelming.

The Emerald Enemies are some of the most vindictive and ruthless villains in the DC universe, and their representatives in Green Lantern Corps reflect that. In Darkest Night is only one of their vicious effects and is indicative of what you can expect from the team.

Check back next week as I go in another direction, taking a peek at an incarnation of one of the GLC’s most tragic and beloved heroes. A tale of Vengeance and redemption boils down to one single card that you definitely won’t want to miss.

-Jason Grabher-Meyer

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