Article

A Modern Take on Magic’s Third Trip to Innistrad, Midnight Hunt

Written by Ssquirrel76

Introduction:

Greetings programs!! We have a new set out in the world, and it’s our third time visiting the gothic-horror plane of Innistrad. Midnight Hunt focuses on the Werewolf side of things, and the upcoming Crimson Vow set is built around a vampire wedding. I wanted to take a look at the new set and see what cards I thought would be strong in Modern, as well as the usual chunk of cards that are questionable or really need things to align for them to do much. I’ve been avoiding other articles and results so I can give my opinions untainted. Let’s go ahead and dive in. You can see the whole set here on the Mothership or over at Scryfall.

White:

Curse of Silence is up first, and while it isn’t as strong at keeping your opponent from casting a specific card as Runed Halo, the taxing effect will bog them down in the early game and it’s a T1 play. As fast as the Modern format can be, keeping them off one of their main spells for a couple of rounds can definitely seal the deal. Look for this to see a decent bit of play, especially since it can also get cashed in for a card eventually.

Fateful Absence costs 2 mana and lets your opponent investigate, but it kills creatures and Planeswalkers both. We have been seeing more Planeswalker kill spells in the last couple of years, but there are still few enough that it’s well worth pointing them out.

Sunset Revelry has been getting compared favorably to Timely Reinforcements. Less life and creatures, but also a chance at drawing a card. Plus the all important less mana. Snapcaster Mage into Timely Reinforcements is 5 mana vs 4 for flashing this one back. Either way you’re having to main phase it, but plenty of decks will have issues with it. I’m expecting to see this show up quite a bit.

Vanquish the Horde will probably end up seeing some play in Modern because of the potential for being a Wrath that only costs WW, but if they already have 6 creatures out, why haven’t you already lost? I expect to see this in Commander decks that have White in them, as it’s some especially low hanging fruit.

Blue:

Consider is one of the best draw spells we have seen for Blue in awhile. People were psyched when Opt was printing into Modern a few years ago, and it’s certainly been everywhere, but Surveil is a stronger mechanic than putting a card on the bottom, and this card basically has Surveil: 1.

We also get Delver of Secrets reprinted in this set, which doesn’t change anything in Modern, but it’s potentially very cool for Standard and Pioneer. Had to give a shout out to a classic card’s return, even if he’s still likely bad in Modern.

Fading Hope is one of a few cards in the vein of Boomerang effects in this set. Swap the 1 life loss from Vapor Snag for Scry:1 if it was a cheap creature and it’s something that could show up, but isn’t life changing. Geistwave is a close cousin, but it’s setting you up to want to use it to protect your own permanent so you get to draw a card. I could see people setting up loops with Snapcaster Mage just to cycle through their deck or protecting a key piece of their deck, so they can recast it the following turn. Or just bouncing something of their opponent’s, boring as that may be.

Memory Deluge is a helluva card. We always seem to have some sort of 4 mana, look at some cards, draw 2 of them. Scry: 4 draw 2 is in line with how we often see this effect, but it’s flashback is basically a delve-free Dig Through Time. 7 mana is still a lot, but the effect is really strong. Look for people to be trying to work this into their control decks.

Otherworldly Gaze is interesting as it’s pretty strong on the card filtering side of things and does fill your yard pretty efficiently, but there is no card draw attached to it. It’s possible we see it used in something like a Reanimator deck, but we already had Dream Twist in Modern, and it has done absolutely nothing. This does allow you to choose to keep some cards in your library instead of all 3 going there, but it feels like without card draw as well, it won’t be a thing.

Black:

Champion of the Perished is a Zombie version of Champion of the Parish, (great flavor text callback BTW) and one of the cards likely to show up as a 4 of in any new take on Zombies in Modern. That tribe has generally not been strong enough, but it’s very popular, so expect people to take a swing at it.

Eaten Alive is another way to kill Planeswalkers, and decks that want to be sacrificing creatures or needing death triggers will be down for it potentially, although it’s another speculative choice from me.

Infernal Grasp is an improvement on Doom Blade, but it costs 2 life. It’s another example of something that may show up as a 1-2 of somewhere, but it’s very flexible removal with a pretty minimal downside in a lot of metas.

The last black card is Rotten Reunion. Graveyard control and easy token creation is decent. There’s a lot of ways to handle graveyards in Modern, so it’s entirely likely this goes nowhere.

Red:

Bloodthirsty Adversary has gotten a lot of early press, because when you pay for that +1/+1 counter, you get to cast a free instant or sorcery from your graveyard for each payment. The spell has to be 3 mana cost or less, so you are basically getting a free counter along with the recast. I think this is more likely to do something in Standard and just don’t think it will have enough power to move the needle in Modern. Wanted to address it though, just because of the early hype.

Cathartic Pyre on the other hand, seems like a solid Modern card. It swaps the artifact destruction from Abrade for a flipped Faithless Looting, discarding before drawing (aka rummaging). The Dredge players immediately lit up when this card was announced and it won’t be surprising if it ends up filling a spot in the deck. Getting 2 dredgers out of your hand to turn around and fill your yard is exactly what that deck wants. I could also see this card filling a role in reanimator decks.

Curse of Shaken Faith is a one-sided Eidolon of the Great Revel for spell copies or decks trying to cast a lot of spells in one turn. A lot of folks are probably thinking we have new hate for Storm with this card, but while it would function reasonably well like that, they will just bounce it, then go off the next turn like they do against every other anti-Storm card. Probably not doing much, but it may be one of those cards to stash for a future metagame shift.

Lastly in red we have Play With Fire. Yes, it’s Shock, with an added Scry:1 if you go to the face. There’s a lot of newer x/1s in the field that are must kills, like Ragavan, but if you use this for them, you lose out on what makes it better than Shock. This card has too much going against it to make it a thing in Modern, although hitting your opponent with it while you have Dragon’s Rage Channeler in play, definitely sets you up well to keep the pain coming.

Green:

Storm the Festival is like a 6 mana Collected Company for mana value 5 creatures, with the added negative of being a sorcery. Notably this cuts off at 5, so you don’t get to find things like Primeval Titan with it. Spells that look like other popular spells are often hyped up, but this feels like a non-starter, although a cool card in general.

Tovolar’s Huntmaster is kind of like a green Grave Titan that makes wolves, even gaining them when attacking once he is flipped. Green has a lot of fast mana and 10 power of creatures from him coming out is cool, but he’s probably not good enough for most Modern decks.

Willow Geist is potentially a very big creature if you are bringing a lot of creatures back from your graveyard, and the lifegain when it dies is nice. Most decks are going to be better served by running Scavenging Ooze, but keep it in mind. If nothing else, I suppose someone’s Treefolk deck gets a new card.

Wrenn and Seven (W7) is one of the three Planeswalkers in this set, and is the newest 4 ability planeswalker. W7 is playing with the “# of lands you control” mechanic and looks like a great way to dig through your deck or fill your graveyard, or both. 5 mana is a lot to ask for any card in Modern though, so there will have to be a very specific deck to want to run this card.

I definitely seem to be saying that a lot as this set seems to be quite cognizant of the fact that 2019-2020 were a very powerful stretch for Magic sets and power has been dialed back a bit the last couple of sets. Probably better for the game currently, however it makes for a less exciting dig through the set looking for new Modern additions.

Gold:

Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope is the latest version of this transforming Planeswalker, and while she is cool, she may not do a lot. Her front side plays into the wolf flash action Green has had the last several years, and her back side makes mana or beats face. It’s always fun to consider Planeswalkers for the format, but she probably just don’t make the cut.

Bladestitched Skaab is a 2 mana lord for Zombies, although he only pumps their power. This is probably fine considering zombies is generally an aggressive archetype, but they also aren’t a powerful option in the format currently. He’s likely to factor into decks trying to make it one in the future though.

Faithful Mending has gotten a ton of talk because people miss their Faithless Looting, and a UW version that gains 2 life while maintaining a 3 mana cost flashback, all at instant speed…yeah that was bound to turn some heads. I don’t think twisting Dredge to run this is the right move, but it could be very interesting in something like an Esper Reanimator deck. People will be playing around trying to find the right place for this card for a bit and I expect to see it have a place in the format at some point. Not the worst card for control decks looking for answers either.

Fleshtaker seems like a sure thing for Artistocrat decks, gaining life and scrying, and potentially turning him into a big beater at the same time.

Hungry for More is a new take on a Hellspark Elemental, gaining lifelink with it’s Vampire creature type and the black mana added to the costs. Not a big mover, but I’ve always enjoyed creatures like that, all the way back to when 4th Edition was out and I was playing Ball Lightning.

Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer is a really cool card. I know Skyknight Legionnaire is only a common and has been in each Boros Ravnica set since the original, but this is a big step up from that guy. Protecting you and your creatures from damage spells and adding 1 to damage your opponents take from your spells is very nice. Sure he dies to anything bigger than a Shock and isn’t likely to do anything, but I just had to share my love for this card. Feels like a really easy add to the 99 if you play Firesong and Sunspeaker in Commander, although it is a nonbo w/a big board effect like Inferno if you were aiming to send that damage to your opponents with a creature like Boros Reckoner. Sometimes you just have to call out cool cards even if they won’t do much. He is a Knight though, so maybe he could factor into ratcheting that tribe’s power up another step. Doubt he replaces Mantis Rider in Humans.

Rite of Harmony is a new GW spin on Glimpse of Nature, but it feels like a better reactive play to the flicker from Yorion in a Bant Flicker deck. Yorion flickers the team, including multiple enchantments, you cast this or flash it back, you draw a lot of cards once everything returns.

Siphon Insight seems like a cool new spell that I’m not positive where it would land. It could show up in a U/B/x Control list to use someone’s spells against them or even just to make sure they stay in exile. It could also just do nothing. I see a lot of potential power in the card, but I won’t be surprised if it sinks like a stone either.

Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset. Now that’s a card name. He protects himself and gains life with his plus, Anticipates with his minus, and if you can’t win with that ultimate, well something went really wrong for you somewhere. That said, 4 mana is a lot in Modern, and he has to compete with other versions of himself, as well as Jace, the Mind Sculptor, so we will see if the coolest named Teferi can earn a slot in the format.

Artifacts:

Maybe I shouldn’t have pluralized it, because the only artifact I want to talk about is Stuffed Bear.

There have been a lot of artifacts (and lands) in Magic’s history that you pay mana to turn into a creature for the turn, and then attack with them. One of the ones that was always a personal favorite of mine was Chimeric Idol from Prophecy. Listen to the Resleevables episode about Prophecy if you want to hear a lot of talk about a really bad Magic set. Cedric and Patrick always do a great job, even with a stinker of a set like Prophecy. I always liked the card and have run it off and on in Legacy Pox, as recently as a couple of years ago even. Less because it was good and more because of being a pet card. Chimeric Idol was 3 mana and tap all your lands to make him into a 3/3, which meant you wanted to be a tap out style of deck, because you weren’t going to get to react to things if you were trying to beat down with him. Stuffed Bear costs 2 on the front end and 2 to activate, and he is a 4/4. Obviously creatures have come a long way over the years in Magic, and he’s unlikely to see any play in Modern, but having lands or artifacts that become creatures have always been a way for Control decks to wipe the board but still kill you. It’s unlikely to have a home, but if it does, that’s where it would be. Yes I really just spent this many words talking about this card.

Lands:

The only new lands to talk about from this set are the Slow Lands, which should be rejected by all but budget players. Honestly, budget players should probably find other lands to use too. They aren’t typed for searching for with fetches and they enter the battle field tapped unless you already have 2 lands, so they are horrible for aggressive decks. As fast a format as Modern is, I don’t expect to ever see these on the other side of the table from me, but weirder things have happened.

In Conclusion:

So there you have it, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is in the books and has been available for play on Magic the Gathering Online for awhile and just hit paper this past weekend. Crimson Vow isn’t due out until November, so look for my set review then. I’ll have to see what I write about for October. Until next time!

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