It’s Halloween Time in Magic the Gathering

I’ve been meaning to do a write-up about the newest Magic the Gathering expansion Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Getting sick and dealing with other medical issues has kept me away from the site for a bit. I was able to attend the prerelease events for this set before everything happened. After the Dungeons and Dragons expansion, everyone was ready for something better. The first time around, Innistrad was a great block. This time around was no different. Even in limited, everything played smoothly and it was a lot of fun. This is only the first new Innistrad set as another follow-up one comes out next month.

Just like before, Innistrad has a horror setting. There are werewolves, vampires, zombies, spirits and other such creatures. This set is more werewolf based. There are some vampires but it’s expected that the real vampire support will be in the next set. (I like vampire decks so I’m really looking forward to that.) Just like in the original Innistrad block, the werewolves are flip cards. They have fine-tuned the mechanic for the flipping this time around though. In the previous sets, if no spells were cast in a turn, any werewolf card in [;ay that was face up flipped to the back of the card. If 2 or more spells were cast, any cards showing the back flipped to the front. The triggers are the same but an additional aspect was added. Keywords daybound and nightbound were attached to the front and back of the werewolf cards respectively. Token cards with day and night on opposite sides were added in packs to track this. Instead of automatically coming in on the front side, any cards with daybound or nightbound come in on the side that is related to the day/night board status. (If no status has been set, the card comes in on the front as cards normally would.) Flipping from day to night or vice versa can also trigger effects on non-werewolf cards. This works well from a story point of view (All werewolves should be on the same time of day.) as well as just cleaning up the mechanic and giving it other uses. Needing to flip cards in sleeves and remembering to flip them back are still issues that can cause problems.

Zombies tend to be around no matter the expansion set. This time, there’s a little twist. Some zombies (especially the zombie tokens) got a new keyword specific to them, decayed. Any zombie with decayed cannot block and they die after attacking whether or not any damage was dealt to them. This limits the use of the tokens significantly. They are good for sacrifice or a single attack. While there are non-decayed zombies and cards build towards zombie support, zombie tokens tended to be a good army type strategy more in other sets. This does bring up the image of old falling apart zombies more than the robust ones they the others would be.

Disturb is another new mechanic. Like werewolves, cards with disturb have a flip side. These cards don’t change with day and night though. The flip side comes out when you cast the disturb cost from the graveyard. Except for one, all cards with disturb are human and they call come back as spirit type creatures though they may have an additional creature type on top of that. When destroyed, these cards are then exiled.

The last new mechanic used over a number of cards is coven. Cards with coven have some sort of effect as long as there are creature cards on their side of the battlefield with at least 3 different power values. While this does require being able to keep 3 or more creatures in play, it’s not uncommon to have this situation when you do unless you are playing all small creatures. The effects these cards have are all totally different. The trigger is the only thing they share in common which means they can each be useful in different situations and are of more varied use than the other keywords for the set.

Wizards of the Coast really did a great job with their follow-up Innistrad set, both keeping with the feel of the previous set and making cards and abilities that fit the horror theme. This set and the set rotation has brought some life back to Standard play following the pandemic. While green seems to be the color that I’ve heard is predominating the Standard decks, there are still a lot of different things you can do with this set and the 4 previous ones. Now we just need to see what Innistrad: Crimson Vow will bring. After this set, I’m looking forward to seeing what new themed mechanics will be included when it releases on November 19. (My birthday is 3 days later if anyone wants to get me some cards for my birthday. LOL)

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