This week I wanted to talk more about the new cards previewed for Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. I’ve seen some cool cards and an overall tame power level. I picked 13 cards to discuss in no particular order. Let’s jump to it.
This is the most exciting card previewed this week. It has a Monastery Mentor feel to it, but it’s more resilient to cards like Play with Fire or any other removal that interacts with two toughness creatures. This card fits nicely into an Izzet shell, and Izzet has my attention as the best color pair with a ton of different ways to build it between similar spells-matter cards or Dragons with my early pick for best card in the format, Goldspan Dragon.
Poppet Stitcher is an interesting take on a Young Pyromancer as the tokens will die off unless you flip it over and turn them into vanilla 3/3s to lose their decay ability. There’s an issue with the tension of wanting to keep and create more zombies. Poppet Stitcher looks fun to play with and powerful enough to break into Standard. I’d like to see Poppet Stitcher abused in a shell with Demilich and cards like Consider and Curate to fuel both.
Poppet Stitcher, as of now, is the first card I’m going to try and build around.
Augur of Autumn
Courser of Kruphix was one of the most powerful cards in its Standard format. In a world where making a land drop every turn is crucial, having extra looks to do so is amazing. On top of that, Augur of Autumn makes it more likely you’ll have spells to play with extra lands. Augur of Autumn has the added Coven ability to play creatures off the top, but cards like this generally play best in decks with many interactive spells to pull ahead on mana and cards while interacting with the opponent. That’s not to say the Coven ability isn’t a nice bonus, it’s just not what I’m looking to do with this card.
This card has one major issue — its three toughness is worse than four in a world where cards like Frost Bite and Dragon’s Fire may be played in high numbers. I expect this card to see some play short- and long-term play, but I’m not sure it’ll be the format staple like Courser of Kruphix.
Every time I write about a good white card, it’s some version of Fiend Hunter. While this card is solid on its face and turns into a nice first-strike threat and then back to get more creatures, it feels like it’s using similar space to Skyclave Apparition. This card, however, will deal with cards like Goldspan Dragon, which I expect to be flying around everywhere. That alone might get copies of Brutal Cathar into some decks. This card is solid and will likely see some play at some point, but I don’t expect it to be a huge staple. Still, it’s a good option with a cool design.
With Mono Green performing well in Standard 2022, this is a card I’d normally write off as a niche Limited bomb when it can be cast. However, if Mono Green is a big deal, and mirrors become a big deal, this card may have a chance to be represented in small numbers to break through and win some lightning fast mirror games. I’d expect it to not make the cut, but it’s certainly an interesting card.
With cards like Demilich, Poppet Stitcher, and other spells-matter cards like Magmatic Channeler, I could see Galvanic Iteration finding a home along with Expressive Iteration. Galvanic Iteration, as an instant, has a ton of appeal in decks wanting to play a flash game or find various sweepers. One awesome thing about Galvanic Iteration is that there are legal spell lands, like Sea Gate’s Restoration and Shatterskull Smashing, so you’ll be able to find land drops as well. Galvanic Iteration’s biggest strike is it competes with Expressive Iteration for deck space, and generally you need to spend mana interacting with the board in some meaningful way, so too much two-mana card selection can backfire.
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia
This is a sweet two-drop that provides immediate value leaving a decayed 2/2 Zombie in play. While this card can produce three damage a turn on its own, I’m mostly interested in using it as a value card for various sacrifice effects. Cards like Immersturm Predator are still kicking around, and I’m sure we’ll see more ways to utilize decayed Zombies. At rate this is just a solid cheap creature, which I expect to see play somewhere.
Speaking of cards that need creatures to sacrifice, Grafted Identity is a potentially powerful card. Control Magic is always solid, and if we can mitigate the downside of sacrificing a creature by producing incidental Zombie Tokens, Grafted Identity is quite the resource for blue decks. If Poppet Stitcher catches on, I expect to see a copy or two in the sideboard to slow down big green creature decks or steal opposing Goldpan Dragons.
Rejoice — a very mediocre yet playable one-mana red creature! I cast more Fireblade Chargerers and Hall Monitors than I care to admit in pro-level Magic events to understand how useful a creature like this would have been. Unfortunately, Falkenrath Pit Fighter is coming along when Embercleave rotates, but so is Lovestruck Beast and Bonecrusher Giant, so maybe a Jackal Pup will give aggressive red decks a little kick. Interestingly enough, we also see Vampire Socialite as a powerful two-drop, lord-type creature for a possible start of a R/B aggro vampires deck. I got my hopes up before, and vampires were too underpowered to compete, so I’m not expecting anything to come of that, but I’ll keep an eye out.
This is an interesting card that plays well in a spells-matter deck. Moonveil Regent plays nicely empty-handed as the top of a curve in a two-color deck. You can cast an Expressive Iteration, which will trigger the dragon, draw two, then resolve your spell to increase the number of cards you’ll see. This seems possible if you fill your deck with cheap interactive spells and use this as a card engine. Despite its possibilities, I don’t like how if you cast this on turn four and it dies, you’re unlikely to get much value as the when-it-dies ability is fairly weak and only deals one to two damage, which often won’t hit anything relevant. I’m interested in trying this card because I could see it being anywhere from quite strong to not playable given the right shell and metagame.
Rite of Harmony
This feels like more of a Modern or Historic card than a Standard card. While it’s comparable to Glimpse of Nature, it’s different as it takes effect when creatures or enchantments enter the battlefield, as opposed to when cast. This is mostly an upside, as it will provide you tons of value from tokens, but you won’t draw if your creature or enchantment gets countered. I can see a card like this having huge potential in Modern with cards like Utopia Sprawl and various elves that produce tons of mana, but I don’t see potential in Standard, as a two-mana start-up cost is harder to mitigate. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this card do a lot of work as the format gets larger and there’s more support, but for now I don’t think it’ll see much play.
Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope
The best comparison I saw to this was a weaker Esika’s Chariot, which seems true to me. It’s a higher cost to put in your deck as it’s multicolor and not as reliable as Esika’s Chariot. While this card could be good, it’s too much like Chariot to find a home.
This is part of a bizarre cycle of Mythic rares that seem underpowered for Mythics and not quite Mythic in flavor. Spectral Adversary is a playable spirit, and we got a spirit lord with Patrician Geist. If that becomes a thing, maybe the Adversary sees some play as a support, as it can be played on turn two as an aggressive creature with flash, scale into the game swinging races by phasing out opposing creatures, or protecting creatures from removal. It has a lot of flexibility and potentially enough to slide into a spirits deck as a role player, but it’s not quite the Mythic staple you’d hope for, nor are the others I’ve seen from the cycle thus far.
This looks like a very nice creature. Essentially a 4/3 Vigilance for 2G that provides value when it enters the battlefield. While this isn’t going to snowball a game on its own like Tireless Tracker, Briarbridge Tracker is a nice three-drop for green, There is tension between sacrificing your clue to find more action and keeping the tracker large, but this will stay big with Ranger Class tokens and Esika’s Chariot tokens. Speaking of Chariot, it plays nicely with Tracker as it can both crew it and provide a target for the Chariot’s ability in the form of a Clue, which can be converted into raw card advantage. This is a solid card I can’t wait to play.
If I had to pick three cards I’m excited to get my hands on, it’s Poppet Stitcher, Briarbridge Tracker, and Moonveil Regent. While I don’t think Moonveil is the highest power level, it seems like the most interesting to try and play. The other two just seem like strong cards.
That will do it for this week. Next week I’ll talk more about Midnight Hunt. Let me know in the comments what you think about some of these new cards and which ones are your favorites.