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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Dec 05 2016 1:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

> summary <

 How we were. It's been 5 years since the first Innistrad set was released, as the beginning of eponymous block, back when they were still composed by three sets. Innistrad was arguably the first extremely successful top-down design, taking a strong theme, in this case the Gothic horror, and creating all the set's mechanics so that they will fit the flavor, as opposed to the other way around.

 It was also a tribal set, giving each allied color combination a horror-themed tribe that would represent it: Spirit for white/blue, Zombie for blue/black, Vampire for black/red, Werewolf for red/green, and the poor Human schmucks for green/white. These were all already big tribes at the time, except for Werewolf, that was basically redesigned, giving birth to the transforming double-faced cards, a very revolutionary concept, marking the first time something was put on a card's back other than, well, the card's back. (This also causes a certain number of fake subtype results when searching on Gatherer, because the back of each double-faced card may feature subtypes, but those don't exist prior to the transformation on the battlefield, so they don't "belong" to any tribe per se.)

 Such an organized tribal structure, let alone the strict diktat from the narrative, means there's no room for many other creature types that aren't linked to these five (for instance, as usual, by being their "jobs"), and notably absent are most of the larger races in the MTG universe, such as Elves, Goblins, and Merfolk.

 Five years and a second visit to the plane later, let's look back at all the new creatures that had been introduced during our first trip to Innistrad, to find out what ended up being their legacy. As always, the focus is on all the Constructed applications, the tribes are listed alphabetically, but you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 264 (+10 duplicated basic lands)
  • New cards: 250
  • New creatures: 127
  • Reprinted cards: 14
  • Reprinted creatures: 0
  • Fake Gatherer results (due to double-faced cards): 19
  • Creature types affected: 48
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Human (+46), Spirit (+15), Zombie (+13), Vampire (+12), Werewolf (+12), Soldier (+8), Cleric (+7), Warrior (+6)

Advisor: +3

  

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: To further proof that it's kind of a nonsensical, patchwork tribe, the featured Advisors from Innistrad are: a scientist, a civil servant, and some kind of religious leader. I mean, some of these should have advisors of their own!

 Anyway, Mayor of Avabruck is the Advisor that has had the brighter legacy among these. The basic state is cheap to cast and helps Humans, i.e. likely most of the creatures you may happen to have in any given deck, even Advisor tribal or Werewolf tribal. And then he transforms into a 3/3 that  immediately starts generating more 3/3s. What's not to love?

 Civilized Scholar never really shined, possibly due to his transformation clause being a little clunky, but such a flavorful rendition of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde deserves at least a little praise.


Angel: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Both these Angels had strong off-tribe synergies, yet not strong enough to really bother. Angel of Flight Alabaster's ability is actually pretty powerful, giving you constant card advantage for free, and comboing nicely with things like Kami of False Hope. Problem is, she's a 5-mana Angel, fighting for space with way too many options, and requiring a modicum of build-around-me attention to boot. As for Angelic Overseer, her "total invincibility" is just so damn frail, again requires another card to work, and without it she's just a very subpar 5-drop. It's an entertaining design, but ultimately a silly one.


Archer: +1

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The Archer tribe casually overlaps one of the best Werewolf in the set, able to kill lots of flyers in one form, and lots of stuff in the other, all for Gray Ogre mana. The red splash it asks for is just a minor issue.


Avatar: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: There's some delightful shenanigans to be had with this guys and stuff like Lingering Souls (even if there are times when 1/1 flyers are better than vanilla 6/6s). It's strictly a Johnny/Timmy thing, though, because it involves a 6-mana, triple green, not-good-for-anything-else dork.


Bat: +1

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The flavor of this is particularly rich because it's not a Vampire that turns into a Bat, a la Sengir Nosferatu; this is a creature that presents itself as a bat, then, lo and behold, it's actually a pretty vampiress. However, the cost to achieve all that, while reasonable, is not alluring enough, especially considering the Vamp side has no ability whatsoever (except potentially dribbling Earthquakes and alike by sprouting wings). And we don't want to know what "exploration of the senses" she performs while in bat form.


Bird: +3

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Nothing of note among Innistrad Birds, but I remember playing Mindshrieker in Limited and hoping to be lucky. And then also attempting ridiculously overcomplicated Constructed interactions with top deck manipulation and big Eldrazi.


Boar: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Boar is still a small enough tribe that even a mildly decent member is something. Outside of tribal considerations, this guy is entirely irrelevant, since you can't even eat it for life like you do with the best Boars (which is probably something out of the Astérix comics).


Cleric: +7

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Innistrad is a world of supernatural threats, fear and Gothic sensibility; therefore religion had to be a relevant element of the entire block, which means Cleric had several new additions already from the first set. Some of those were run-of-the-mill placeholders, but some were game-defining cards like, of course, Geist of Saint Traft. Everybody knows how it works: you can't directly kill the Saint through removal, and it's pointless to try and kill the Angel he summons, because another one will come next. Still, you could easily block the Saint's 2/2 body, but we're talking WU here, that's a control deck in the making.

 Apart from one of the ultimate beaters, the tribe (and Human, and every white-based deck, essentially) also got a good removal on legs in the form of Fiend Hunter. Later it would get quasi functionally reprinted as Banisher Priest, but I still like the 1/3 body better, because it can be used to safely block 2-powered attackers.

 The other mythic rare appointed to Cleric was a bit overshadowed by the Saint's awesomeness, but it was actually a legendary guy with a definite role in the narrative (and that'll come back later a bit changed by the events). Mikaeus, the Smaller White One is a nice early drop (potentially even a 1-drop) that has for white weenie builds the same function Steel Overseer has in robots builds, if slower and with less shenanigans available, which might be the reason he never saw as much play.

 More popular than Mikaeus has been Skirsdag High Priest, a staple of certain token decks in Standard and Modern. That ability is really not that hard to activate in any creature-heavy format, and the reward is endgame-level.


Construct: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Innistrad spelled bad news for all Construct lovers, since the only two in the set were both very, very bad. Creepy Doll was a failed remake to the glorious Stuffy Doll, and a poor attempt at referencing the Child's Play franchise (and particularly Bride of Chucky). Even less successful was Geistcatcher's Rig as a reference to Ghostbusters through an extremely pointless card. It's a flavor fail, too: A better version of the Muon Trap would be a non-creature artifact that exiles a Spirit, not an overcosted vanilla creature that does 4 damage to, say, Dragons and Angels.


Crab: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Even within a tribe as humble as Crab, a thing like this is just terrible, terrible filler.


Demon: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Oh my, did Innistrad deliver on its demonic content. Bloodgift Demon is just one of the best Demons ever printed, giving you a source of card advantage and a reliable finisher in the same package. And I know Reaper from the Abyss is probably not as well-regarded, but I for one like it a lot, especially in a tribal setting, where it's a fast clock you're forced to stop but in doing so you'll likely lose not just one but two creatures, all while my Demons are not at risk. Yeah, it's 6 mana for that, but they're well spent.


Devil: +3

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: The first Innistrad block basically rekindled (see what I did there?) the entire Devil's presence on Magic: The Gathering, as there were only a handful of them in existence at that point. This first taste was not exactly brilliant, with a vanilla member and only one overcosted rare, but it was a start.


Dragon: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Innistrad's obligatory Dragon was lethal enough, basically guaranteeing a one-sided wrath effect upon connection, but such a high CMC means it's something best suited to be cheated into play, and that's an effort you make only for its peers with haste or able to deal damage while entering the battlefield.


Drake: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This guy is not the best as a Zombie, but it's cool enough as a Drake, all things considered. In fact, it's a pretty good common.


Elemental: +4

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Hound

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: These Elementals range from subpar to terrible. The only one that doesn't entirely make you cringe while reading it is Hollowhenge Scavenger but you can try as hard as you wish, you're still not Thragtusk, kid.


Fox: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: You know, that's not a bad ability for a Bear, especially when it's a Fox.


Gargoyle: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I'm fully aware Gargoyle is not a killer tribe, but this is still just a colorless Air Elemental with an upkeep cost.


Giant: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: All these Zombie things are Geralf's creations, and Geralf is Innistrad's Doctor Frankenstein, so these are de facto a cycle of Frankenstein's Monsters. And they're blue because they're science zombies, not necromantic zombies. This said, and even considering it's just an uncommon, this guy asks for two other creatures to be exiled from the graveyard AND a casting cost of 6 mana. It's big but it's not like it's going to win you games on its own or anything.


Griffin: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Standard Griffin swill.


Homunculus: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: I like this little dude more than one should. It's extremely Johnny-friendly, in that it doesn't actually give you card advantage, but it gives you a source of ETB triggers coupled with a sacrifice outlet, all for 2 mana. It's up to you to find the board state where you need both at the same time. Plus, it's a chump-blocking machine.


Horror: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Horror is monopolized by the Stitcher mechanic. Skaab Ruinator is a mythic but I still don't think it actually saw any play at all, or if it did, I forgot all about that. So its legacy is all but forgotten. At least by me.


Hound: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Elemental

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Bad Hound! Bad!


Human: +46

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Archer, Cleric, Monk, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Soldier, Warrior, Werewolf, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: As we all well know, Human is pretty much a meta-tribe, in that almost 1 creature out of 4 is a Human. Innistrad actually had the gall to make it one of the five main tribes, and the result is that we got all kinds of amazing tech for them, coming from the intersection of a number of other tribes, especially Soldier through Champion of the Parish and Mentor of the Meek, two cards that revolutionized the white weenie archetype. Also relevant is the Werewolf, Mayor of Avabruck, while the Warrior, Hamlet Captain, has never been particularly effective.

 On top of that, there are a few Humans that don't belong to any other tribe. They're not extremely noteworthy, with Unruly Mob (ah, Angry Mob's name was already taken!) and Village Cannibals being essentially color-shifted variants of the same shtick, and Cloistered Youth being flavorful but nothing more: it'd be something were the possessed girl be attacking as a 3/3 on turn 2; but on turn 3, and with the added life-draining tax, it's not a winner.


Insect: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: In a set where one of the most celebrated creatures turns into an Insect, the actual Insects didn't live up to expectations. I guess Moldgraf Monstrosity has a strong ability in theory, and a scary enough presence to boot, but it's a 7 mana investment, and it needs some very specific conditions, or an insane battle plan, like Buried Alive into it and two bad(der) guys, then reanimate the Monstrosity, then it dies and you get the other two. Like, just reanimate Griselbrand and get it over with.


Juggernaut: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: How is this thing any better than the original Juggernaut? Answer: It's not.


Knight: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: How is this thing any better than the original White Knight? Answer: It's not.


Lizard: +1

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I like this one because it's been sort of a test run (see what I did there?) for the vastly superior Thing in the Ice. Also, it's one of the cards from the oddly transversal cycle "things featuring the number 13".


Monk: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Without much clamoring, Monk got two excellent members in Innistrad. Avacyn's Pilgrim has seen mad play during his time in Standard, and it's still the go-to mana dork for budget builds that can't afford Noble Hierarch but need the color fixing. And Geist-Honored Monk might not be played much, but it's a good bargain for 5 mana, 2 flyers and a big vigilant body. I used to play her in Birthing Pod decks where she would then summon a 6-mana finisher. Aw, now I miss Pod in Modern! Still, she's the best to summon Elesh Norn via Eldritch Evolution.


Plant: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Two nice Plants, one just because it's MTG's homage to Plants vs. Zombies (it's completely useless otherwise). Tree of Redemption tells a different story: it might be the only case of a Plant finding room in serious Constructed builds (although, maybe just in the sideboard against burn and fast aggro) since Wall of Roots and Wall of Blossoms. It's commonplace in Plant tribal decks, too.


Rat: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: A 1-drop with deathtouch is always a good board statement. Not the flashiest, but a solid one.


Rogue: +5

   

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Just a couple good Rogues in our gallery here (see what I did there?). Invisible Stalker, on top of being very flavorful, is the perfect equipment carrier. Unfortunately, it's not a strategy that has had a long future, mostly because Blighted Agent already existed. And Kruin Outlaw is a powerful Werewolf that was played in first-generation Werewolf decks, but with the release of the rest of the block's sets, it ended up being replaced by other cards. I suspect the double red in the casting cost didn't help.


Scarecrow: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: That's a very literal, very disappointing take on Scarecrow.


Scout: +4

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I don't think any of these Scouts left a mark anywhere. I remember Mausoleum Guard being a pick in drafts, and Vampire Interloper sometimes shows up in very fast Vampire tribal lists. Village Bell-Ringer is essentially a color-shifted Deceiver Exarch (without the tapping option, but with less clicking required in case of combo), but there's never been the need for a white creature in a deck with that kind of combos, certainly not in Splinter Twin builds. As it is, it's just a mild combat trick, as it can't even tap something when played in the opponent's end phase.


Shaman: +4

  

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: No remarkable Shamans on Innistrad, either. In fact, only uncommon filler Shamans. Bitterheart Witch was made for a Curse deck that never really materialized. If it did, it probably wouldn't even care for a 5-mana tutor.


Shapeshifter: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Shapeshifting news. Evil Twin is a Clone that can kill the cloned target in kind of a clunky way. Looks like something you want to do, but people don't even play with basic 4-mana Clones anymore, let alone one that requires two colored mana rather than none.


Skeleton: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Still the only pure Skeleton (that's not a Dragon or a Plant) with haste. Not an earth-shattering accomplishment, but there's that. Certainly paying respect to the unforgettable Ray Harryhausen.


Snake: +2

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Snake had a couple of flash ambushers already (Mystic Snake, Winged Coatl), but Ambush Viper is the first not requiring blue. It's sort of a green removal that way. Not much else to say here, though.


Soldier: +8

  

  

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Soldier entirely changed face after Innistrad. The Human helper Champion of the Parish helps a large deal of key Soldiers, too, and the same goes with Mentor of the Meek, that's designed to empower any white weenie, and Soldier makes for one of the prime white weenie lists. The power level of these two is so high that they basically created an archetype on their own.

 Elite Inquisitor saw serious sideboard play at the time when Standard and Block Constructed were filled with those monster dudes, and remains a desirable 2-drop with a good set of combat abilities and protection from creature types that are common enough to randomly show up against him.

 Finally, Doomed Traveler is a brilliant 1-drop that makes for a perfect sacrifice fodder or chump-blocker, since it's one of the creatures you want to see die the most (it is doomed, after all). I personally like to feed him to Falkenrath Aristocrat.


Spider: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Null

 Highlights: Honestly, even if this were a 4/6 reach no matter what, it would still be mostly irrelevant.


Spirit: +15

  

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Bird, Cleric, Knight

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Many Spirits in Innistrad, of course (they clearly come in the "ghosts of the deceased" variety, not in the "souls of natural landmarks" one), but each one of them is overshadowed by the all-time all-star member Geist of Saint Traft. Just consider that, 5 years and many meta shifts later, it's still a 10-tix card.

 There's also another mythic within the tribe, the famously Richard Garfield-designed Mirror-Mad Phantasm. It's a kooky design for sure, one that challenges the player Johnny to find a way to break it. It's been done, mostly where the point is dredging your own deck for value or win (Laboratory Maniac was in this same set, after all), sometimes even involving another rarely seen extravaganza like Séance (you copy your only Phantasm, so it has nothing to search for and the library is entirely dumped into the graveyard). They all remained Johnny decks, though, except maybe in Commander.

 Not much of note among the rest: Mindshrieker had some combo potential with library manipulators, but it was painfully frail; Dearly Departed wanted to be in a Human deck, and while it could double as a somewhat decent finisher, the value of Entombing it was just not enough to bother; and Morkrut Banshee was a "kill more" removal-on-a-stick that just couldn't compete with cheaper black options like Skinrender.


Treefolk: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: It might be a hexproof creature with the prospect of growing up later, but this thing is still a 1/1 for 4 mana. As a rule of thumb, I try not to pay 4 mana for 1/1s. Not anymore.


Vampire: +12

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Scout, Soldier, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Vampire is one of the Big 5 types on Innistrad, resulting in a plethora of new bloodsuckers as soon as we set foot on the plane. Some of these were bound to make the history of the tribe. Bloodline Keeper, for one, has been a fixture of Vampire decks since. He might look slow at first, but the inevitability he brings to the table while sprouting 2/2 flyers one after another is undeniable. And if you let him transform, then good game. In time, Bloodline Keeper has arguably replaced Vampire Nocturnus as the vampiric Big Kahuna.

 Innistrad also introduced red to the Vampire world (if we exclude a few multicolored oddities like Garza Zol, Plague Queen). The Innistrad vampires are generally more civilized and Gothic novel worthy than the savage Zendikar breeds (Dracula being their archetype), but the red ones are those more susceptible to blood frenzy, hence the Whirling Dervish mechanic: the more they bite, the stronger they get. The 1-drop Stromkirk Noble is the best example of this concept, and is still seeing plenty of play. There's many, many enemy 1-drops that are unable to chump-block him: remember how Humans amount to one quarter of all creatures in the game?

 And then of course there's the first iteration of the legendary Olivia Voldaren, who taught Magic deckbuilders everywhere that a 3/3 for 4 may be very worth an inclusion once it can do the things she can do, as mana intensive as they are.


Warrior: +6

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Innistrad Warriors feature a few minor Werewolves, a rare red Vampire that saw some play but ultimately felt too midrange-y, and not much else. Grimgrin, Corpse-Born, Geralf's masterwork thus the set's veritable Frankenstein's Monster, is still a very cool card but it requires a steady stream of sacrificial fodder to work at all, and that probably never seemed efficient enough in competitive Constructed builds.


Werewolf: +12

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Advisor, Archer, Human, Rogue, Shaman, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: Even more than Devil, Werewolf essentially didn't exist before Innistrad (aside for some pathetic attempts between Legends and Odyssey). The functionally new tribe changes color from black to red and green, and most importantly introduces the transformation mechanic as the crucial and requisite aspect of all Werewolves. The vast majority of double-faced cards in the set are Werewolves, because, you know, a Werewolf's defining trait is that they transform from human to beast. And in fact all the Werewolves also have the Human type in their "day" side.

 Out of the 12 Werewolves of this first serving, where they originally appeared in their reworked form, the 4 pictured ones are certainly the best. Mayor of Avabruck in particular is a great card pretty much anywhere you could put him, not just in Human or Werewolf tribal decks. Then the Archer, Daybreak Ranger, is solid removal, and the two red ones are, appropriately, fierce attackers, although none of these would remain cream of the crop once the next sets kicked in.


Wizard: +4

  

 

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: As revolutionary as Innistrad was for tribes like Devil, Human, Soldier and Werewolf, no creature type received such an unbelievable quantity of greatness like Wizard did. Three of these four cards would go on to become archetype definers not just in Standard, but in every damn single eternal format all the way to Vintage, which is a feat so outright incredible that it didn't even occur to me before now.

 Of course Snapcaster Mage, having been designed by (and bearing the effigy of) Pro player Tiago Chan, winner of the 11th and final Magic Invitational held in 2007 (an event already responsible for the creation of other pretty powerful Wizards like Meddling Mage and Dark Confidant), is evidently a Spike card. His power is unmistakable, giving the chance to recast a key spell while leaving a decent body behind, all for a couple of mana. There's literally no control deck able to run Snapcaster Mage that doesn't.

 And then there's Delver of Secrets, which transcended its status of card to become a format-crossing archetype. In its apparent simplicity of a 1-drop that has a chance to attack as a 3-powered flyer by turn 2, provided your deck is equipped with enough instants and sorceries, you can already read not just a strategy, but a complete list. It's worth noting that it's best friend with Snapcaster Mage, because when you have many, many instants and sorceries lying around, you might want to cast them again.

 As for Laboratory Maniac, it gave a new, more absolute endgame to pursue for dredge builds. Why try and attack your opponent from your graveyard when you can just go all the way in, reanimate one single dude and seal the deal right there? Dredging would never be the same afterwards.


Wolf: +3

  

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Wolves are Werewolves' natural companions, but their first re-introduction here is underwhelming in this sense. Just a trio of unremarkable commons with activated combat abilities.


Wurm: +1

> summary <

 Related Tribes: None

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: I'm all for low-cost Wurms, but I'm not sure this guy solves any of the tribe's high CMC problems, since it pretty much does nothing early on. And as a creature of choice for self-milling strategies, it's just not sexy enough.


Zombie: +13

   

   

> summary <

 Related Tribes: Drake, Giant, Horror, Snake, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Last of the Innistrad main tribes, Zombie didn't get as many long-lived members (see what I did there?) as some of the others. It mostly boils down to the 1-drop Diregraf Ghoul, that would become a staple of Zombie lists (and, of course, Zombie lists only), in virtue of being fast. The same reason why Walking Corpse is noteworthy: it was the first color-shifted Grizzly Bears in black, a 2/2 for 1B with no adverse effects. It was never played, of course, because vanilla Grizzly Bears haven't been enough since ages, but it opened the road for strictly better black Grizzly Bears in sets to come (e.g. Battle Brawler, Blood-Chin Rager, Pain Seer).

 Of the two mythic rares, Skaab Ruinator is sort of a misguided experiment (a specialized delve, that in retrospect just feels more clunky than actual delve), and Grimgrin is a fun card that requires a fun deck to build around. In fact, both him and Unbreathing Horde are two of those weird cards that feel like they're more effective in theory than in practice, but then you try them in practice once or twice and they're amazing. Just maybe not reliable enough.

 A different issue plagues Undead Alchemist, aside for the fact that it's a Zombie lord in blue, when most Zombie decks prefer to stay mono-black. The idea is that with the Alchemist, your Zombie horde takes on the milling endgame, becoming larger and larger in the process, until the inevitability. But if you do the math, apart from some random disruption to the opponent's draw, aren't you just switching a 20-point damage goal for a 40/50-point one? Sure the growing horde may be scary on its own (the Alchemist might even leave the board at some point, while the Zombies he created stay), but again, it might not be a reliable course of action. Fascinating card, though.


SUMMARY

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