Now that the whole Innistrad: Crimson Vow set has been previewed, we can take a deeper look at the full set and the second part of my HIT / MISS list.
Jacob, Hauken Inspector: Hit
This card is going to see play in some regard. While it’s not quite Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy, it has a much higher ceiling. It’s the kind of card you’d want to sideboard into when your opponent may remove removal from their deck if you’re playing a deck like Izzet Epiphany. Getting free-time walk effects off this card is just disgusting. I expect this card to be a player in Standard. At minimum, it’ll serve the role of a Search for Azcanta or Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy out of the sideboard as a cheap value engine for creatureless decks. Not only do I think this card is good, I think it’s the most underrated card in the set.
Cemetery Desecrator: Hit
I’ll call this a hit, but it’s marginal. I’m comparing it to a card like Noxious Gearhulk. It’ll see some play, but it’s not a staple of the format. It has the added benefit of removing an obnoxious card from a graveyard and will occasionally grant a three-for-one, but it’s too situational to be an all-star. It’s not a card we’ll see in high numbers, but it’ll likely find a home somewhere.
Cemetery Illuminator: Miss
This is a reasonable card that can create its own engine, but its unreliability and fragility will leave it out of most decks besides potentially a spirit deck. It may see play due its graveyard hate, but my guess is it will be on the sidelines in most tournaments.
Henrika Domnathi: Hit
This is a fantastic four-mana creature that can do quite a bit. It can come down against small creatures as a 3/4 lifelink creature with flying, and against big creature decks in will be suitable for a sacrifice from both sides or against small creatures. Against control decks you can likely sequence it when you draw an extra card before turning it into a bigger threat the following turn. Henrika does a lot, so it’s versatility leads me to believe it’ll see some Standard play.
Cemetery Gatekeeper: Miss
This is a weird one, and I could see it being either a hit or miss. All Gatekeepers have some value as graveyard hate tools, but I think this one is too unreliable as a two drop that may hit nothing. Also, dying to Spikefield Hazard is going to be a liability in this format. While this may see play in a Mono Red aggro deck, it’s too weak to be a consistent player.
Bloodvial Purveyor: Hit
This is too much body for too few mana. Its downside can often be seen as upside. This card will shine against decks that kill it with damage-based removal. Decks like Mono Green, Mono Red, or R/G Werewolves will struggle with this creature’s sizing. While this isn’t going to be a card for every black deck, any vampire deck may want access to a card like this to win in combat against other creature decks.
Dollhouse of Horrors: Miss
This card seems powerful, and there’s a lot of stuff to abuse with it, but I’m drawing the line on it. The incidental graveyard hate, the speed of the format, and cards like Abrade will be enough to keep it in check. While in most Standard formats this card looks potent, it’s too slow and will get punished by too much of the format to become a huge player in the metagame. It is the type of card that a deck can be designed for a specific tournament and certain scenarios and be the deck best in the field. It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.
Avabruck Caretaker: Miss
While this is a Limited bomb, I doubt we’ll see many or any copies in Standard. Hexproof has its way of finding spots, so I won’t be surprised if the format gets several midrange decks and this card ends up being viewed like a Golgari mirror trump card, but I won’t hold my breath.
Faithbound Judge: Miss
This one is close because I could see a spot where it could see some play as a hold-down-the-fort win condition against small creature decks that aren’t able to kill it well. It’s not a card that has a home in most decks. You wouldn’t want in control or midrange match-ups as it’s not worth investing three mana into a card that takes a lot of time to do anything. I’m not a big fan of this one, but I could see it popping up here and there.
Graf Reaver: Miss
Last week I didn’t think zombies would be a thing. While I still think that’s the case, it’s getting much closer to being a thing. Between Graf Reaver, Headless Rider, and most importantly Overcharged Amalgam, I see the start of something that could be solid. Unfortunately, I think the payoff isn’t there for the deck, likely making Grav Reaver a miss. However, if a non-tribal black aggressive deck were to emerge, Graf Reaver is a solid role player. Planeswalkers being rare these days isn’t helping Graf Reaver see additional play. The rate is good enough on this card, but I don’t see a good home for it.
Thirst for Discovery: Hit
This is a good upgrade to cards like Thirst for Knowledge or Thirst for Meaning. I like how this card creates the tension of adding more basics to your deck to pay its cost. It has a nice design, and it’s a solid card that will likely see some small amount of play.
Hero’s Downfall: Hit
Of course Hero’s Downfall will see some play. It’s a shame we’ve waited this long to see it come back when it’s possibly the worst it could ever be. Considering its uncommon rarity rating, Hero’s Downfall is not what it used to be. Three mana for reactive cards is often too much. That said you’ll see this card here and there, and I’m excited it’s back as it’s a sweet card that brings back memories. Don’t get your hopes up for four-ofs across the board, but it’ll be worth it to own a few copies.
I’m impressed with Crimson Vow. It looks like vampires have a bunch of potential angles with a lot of powerful cards. Most of these are four mana, which is problematic, but we’ll have to see how it all shakes out. I’m excited for the set to go live so I can get to work on the upcoming Set Championships and maybe dive into a little Limited as well. My favorite card by far in the set right now is Jacob Hauken, Inspector. What’s yours?