This week I’m going to finish my last look at the previews of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Usually, the bangers are front-loaded and we don’t have much to talk about in the waning part of preview season. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt left a few cards to talk about since my last article, which I’ll touch on now.
This cycle was a bit underwhelming to me until this week. I enjoy the concept of this cycle. Its creatures play moderately well at their cost but scale well into the game. This is fine early in the game and great for top decks in late game. This is Bloodthirsty Adversary in a vacuum. The first copy of this card can be used as a weak Robber of the Rich, something to fill the curve, but as the game progresses, later copies will become more powerful.
I like Bloodthirsty Adversary in an aggressive deck that can utilize a 2/2 haste for two, but also use the “multi-kicker” ability to close out a game with some Play with Fires or other burn spells in the graveyard. While I’m not sold on it as a card in a less aggressive midrange shell, it’s powerful enough to make it there. I think with this entire cycle, you’re going to have to be OK with the creature at base cost and use excess mana later to get value. This one fits the bill.
I’m a bit higher on Primal Adversary than others. Primarily, this is just a reasonable rate creature. Three toughness is a bit of a let down with cards like Rip Apart, Frostbite, and Cathartic Pyre in the format, but this is still a reasonable rate creature that scales well into the game.
This directly competes with a card I’m a big fan of, Briarbridge Tracker. Tracker is clearly the bette play on turn three, but Adversary will likely outperform Tracker as the game goes on, so there’s a bit of a tension. I like Briarbridge Tracker better, but I need to see how the format plays out and how much impact a 3/3 haste will have. Either way, green has quality options at three mana on the curve.
This is a powerful mythic from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt with some reasonable capabilities, but I don’t know where it should be played. This is the kind of card to keep your eye on as more and more sets are released into Standard and that will benefit as the format grows.
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned
This is an interesting card that has some over-the-top capabilities. It’s sort of a nonbo with countermagic as you won’t be able to play it from your graveyard.
I don’t see this card being a player in Standard. It’s extremely powerful. If you untap with a graveyard full of Expressive Iterations and Considers you can fuel up, but it is a little too vulnerable, and there are other cards, like Lymrith, that can close out better and are more resilient and have an early presence. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Lier do something in Standard, but I don’t think it will end up doing much. This card seems ripe to have some uses in Historic or other eternal formats, though.
Tovolar’s Huntmaster // Tovolar’s Packleader
Speaking of nice-looking green cards, Tovolar’s Huntmaster may not be Grave Titan, but it’s not far off. It doesn’t threaten to immediately turn on the heat, flip to attack, and make more tokens, but if it does, it gets scarier than Grave Titan.
This card can be playable in Standard and will likely have a place, but its issues are that it has six mana and doesn’t block stuff like Goldspan Dragon. I think the Standard format will be about fliers and engines and not grinding out value on the ground.
This is a solid top-end card against full aggro or full control, but against someone trying to kill you with Goldspans and Alrund’s Epiphany’s, they’re going to be able to go over the top of this easily. This is a powerful card in many potential Standard environments, but I’m not sure it has a great home. While I admit it’s a great card, I think it’s not going to live up to its Grave Titan comparison but will still see plenty of play situationally.
Storm the Festival
This is sorcery-speed-super Collected Company with a huge mana flashback. This card seems powerful but will take some work to get in the appropriate spot. My guess is this card is actually good, and there are many ways to build with it, but I’m not sure what’s the best way. Cards that come to mind are Goldspan Dragon and Wrenn and Seven as they both would functionally get you to the flashback cost. Esika’s Chariot being in the mix as a not-so-bad hit is also enticing. I like this card, and it looks like one of the most fun to try and get to work.
Deathbonnet Sprout // Deathbonnet Hulk
A nice creature if we have self-mill to support it, which there isn’t enough of in Standard. There’s a huge issue of always coming into play as a 1/1, which leaves it vulnerable later in the game to cards like Shock, even though the requirements are met to be a 3/3. It also won’t be able to block in these circumstances. I was initially excited about this card, but thinking about it more, it seems too difficult and slow to set up for its most powerful state.
Burn Down the House
I love the design of this card. I was always a huge fan of Hour of Devastation, which this is a basic reprint of, with an additional, highly desired mode in some situations. While this is going to be predominantly used as a sweeper, having the bail-out mode of three devils is solid. I expect this card to see some play, though most often in sideboards depending on the texture of the format. Sweepers are generally a bit worse given all the creature lands running around.
White cards seem to be getting completely outclassed in this set. This card looks solid, but I can only imagine the first time I leave a card like this up when my opponent plays a Esika’s Chariot and I’m wondering why I have this card in my deck to begin with. If planeswalkers become a huge part of Standard, this card is much more appealing, but in general I think it’s just fine.
Reckless Stormseeker // Storm-Charged Slasher
This card doesn’t look like much, and may not end up being much, but I like this card for aggressive red decks. It comes in as a 3/3 haste that will give any creatures you play later haste. If you don’t play a creature the next turn, then it flips and becomes bigger and more punishing. The Night/Day mechanic does well with cards like Den of the Bugbear or Faceless Haven, which both play best in mono color aggressive decks. It’s worth noting the second copy after this (if it remains night) will come into play bigger, which is powerful.
Is this card better than Fact or Fiction? Short graveyard synergies, yes, it’s better. Is this card absurd? I don’t think so, but it’s solid. Magic is a lot more about the battlefield these days and spending four mana for dig spells isn’t super exciting. Cards like Behold the Multiverse certainly fell a bit short, and while this card is in ways better, it also won’t get you out of early mana trouble or allow you to spend mana upfront at all.
This card does provide additional value later and allow control decks to bury their opponents without having to play old-school, huge draw spells, like a Sphinx’s Revelation. This is the kind of card I’d like to play in specific control decks and potentially with a card like Goldspan Dragon in an Izzet Dragon’s build. It’s nice to have a way to sink extra mana from Goldspan that isn’t just a dead card before you have a dragon.
Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration
Everyone is low on Delver of Secrets. It’s the card everyone loves to hate. A very few are high on it. I fall in the middle. I don’t think it’s busted, but it’s not that good or the namesake card in any deck like it’s been in the past. It has potential to see play as a cheap threat in a deck that is already playing a ton of instants and sorceries, specifically Izzet with Expressive Iteration and Consider.
We also have spell lands, like Shatterskull Smashing and Sea Gate Restoration, to cheat the count for it. One-mana threats have the ability to change the dynamic of a game, so I’m not going to write it off on day one in a Standard format with a bunch of powerful Izzet cards, including Expressive Iteration, which may be the best card in Standard.
Hostile Hostel // Creeping Inn
Colorless lands are a real cost these days, and between Creature lands, Double Face Lands, and Faceless Haven, this card feels too weak to me. I’ll add the caveat that this card could be a fine tool if you need sacrifice outlets. Outside of that, this card is too weak to compete with other utility lands.
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset
I’m not a big believer in this planeswalker. At four mana, it can’t protect itself very well, doesn’t start with too much loyalty, and even if it does survive the following turn after taking a hit, it can’t get you a card back if it’s down to one loyalty. This is the kind of card you’ll build around with mana creatures and various other ways to make it “free” or cheap to cast, but you’ll lose the die roll and regret your choices because the deck you built around this card won’t function against a ton of good draws. While it’s a cool thought experiment, I think this time the experiment will fail.
Outland Liberator // Frenzied Trapbreaker
This is the last card I’ll talk about as we move into the stage of actually playing with the cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Outland Liberator is a nice take on Qasali Pridemage. It may not have exalted, but it turns into something incredibly threatening at night, and that’s a base 3/3 that attacks and eats artifacts and enchantments every turn.
While Thrashing Brontodon was mostly a huge letdown as a sideboard card, and a card I consider to be one of the more overplayed cards ever, this card looks a bit better at doing what Brontodon wanted to do. With no more Embercleave or The Great Henge to worry about, we’ll have to see if there’s anything we need this for, but it’s not a bad option for the sideboard of a green deck, especially one that wants to be aggressive but also have some form of interaction.
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is a powerful set but not in an in-your-face way. The cards are seemingly balanced and seem to make a puzzle that isn’t immediately solvable. I’m sort of looking forward to Standard for once, which is unusual for me. I’m most excited to play with Poppet Stitcher and Storm the Festival, and the strong decks are something like Izzet Dragons and Mono or Heavy green deck with Ranger Class, Briarbridge Tracker, and Esika’s Chariot.
What are you most looking forward to playing in this fresh Standard format?