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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Oct 06 2021 12:06pm
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INNISTRAD: MIDNIGHT HUNT

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 In a new development for Standard-legal releases, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is the first of two fall sets scheduled for 2021; it will be followed by its companion Innistrad: Crimson Vow, which will be out in November. Both sets return us to the Gothic flavor of the titular, top-down horror plane, with its signature transformations embodied by a vast presence of double-faced cards. This time, the Emrakul-fueled cosmic horror is in the past, as the denizens of Innistrad are investigating the increasing unbalance between night and day (likely caused by the Eldrazi titan still being trapped inside the moon), which threatens to result in an eternal night. This puts the Werewolves front and center in the set's focus, but all the other monsters and their Human victims/persecutors play a big role as well.

 As usual, Innistrad-based expansions are heavily tribal affairs. In fact, while Kaldheim had a slightly smaller number of involved tribes (39 over 40 here), Midnight Hunt has the largest clusters of subtypes since Ixalan, and even more massively distributed than what was recorded there: 169 out of 243 new additions (69,5% of the total) are concentrated within the five archetypal tribes and their annexes: Human (with Knight, Soldier and Wizard); Werewolves and Wolves; Vampires, Zombies and Spirits.

 In particular, the large Human count of 77, unusual even for such a mega-tribe, is partially caused by all the Werewolves also bearing the Human type on their front face; plus of course the fact that most of the other humanoid types, like Elves, Goblins and Merfolk, do not exist on the plane. On the other hand, the relatively low Spirit count is a byproduct of the double-faced disturb cards representing the creation of ghosts, which relegates many Spirits on their back faces, eschewing tribal classification.

 

 Anyway, let's have a look at the new creatures and their tribes. As always, the main focus is on all the Constructed applications (though Limited is occasionally touched upon), the tribes are presented alphabetically, and you'll find a hypertextual list at the end.

 Infodump

  • Cards: 272 (+5 duplicated basic lands)
  • New cards: 249
  • New creatures: 140
  • Reprinted cards: 23
  • Reprinted creatures: 6 (Delver of Secrets, Stormrider Spirit, Thermo-Alchemist, Timberland Guide, Unruly Mob, Vampire Interloper)
  • New Legendary creatures: 17
  • New Snow creatures: 0
  • New artifact creatures: 1
  • New enchantment creatures: 0
  • Triple-subtype creatures: 6
  • Creature types affected: 40
  • Tribes with more than 5 additions: Human (+77), Werewolf (+19), Wizard (+15), Vampire (+14), Soldier (+12), Zombie (+12), Knight (+8), Spirit (+7), Peasant (+6), Rogue (+6), Warlock (+6)

Angel: +4

 

 

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 New Tribal Total: 197, online: 196

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Angel is not a creature type Innistrad gets immediately associated with, but the "monster plane" has been home to one of the most Angel-friendly set in history, Avacyn Restored. The mighty archangel is dead now, and two of the three (four?) Powerpuff Angels have been fused into an Eldrazi monstrosity. But the green-based Sigarda still endures! And, in a plot twist, the dark sister Liesa's back!

 Angels in Midnight Hunt feel actually like a big deal. They alone encompass three of the set's twenty mythics. Of course, Sigarda herself is one, in a version that's closer to Shadows over Innistrad's Sigarda, Heron's Grace than it is to the original Sigarda, Host of Herons from Avacyn Restored. She keeps being all about protecting Humans, and no more about being invulnerable herself. This time the Human boost takes the form of an anthem, which doubles as aggression in go-wide builds. The novel, exciting feature is the coven trigger that lets us pick and draw a fresh Human per attack from among the top five cards of our library. Unfortunately, all of the above translates into a card that does next to nothing for Angel builds, while at the same time it seems somewhat doubtful that Human lists outside of Standard would be extremely interested in a green four-drop. But as far as off-tribe lords go, Sigarda, Champion of Light does as good a job as she could, given the circumstances that still require her to be a big enough Angel (her body size is actually dwindling, from 5/5 to 4/5 to 4/4. Is she losing strength?)

 In the name of Innistrad's last bastion of protection against the darkess also fights the Sigardan Savior. This is, on the surface, a callback to classic Karmic Guide, i.e. a monowhite five-drop with a reanimating ETB effect. The respective impacts of the two flying bodies are quite similar, with a 2/2 protected from black replaced by a 3/3. But the way the reanimation trigger plays is entirely different. Karmic Guide can reanimate any single creature, regardless of the mana value; Sigardian Savior doubles down, but her targets are necessarily small. Also crucial, the Guide is ready and willing to be flickered, while the Savior only works when hardcast. On the other hand, she doesn't require an additional echo cost the turn after, so there's that. At first sight, the power level of Karmic Guide appears higher, but it just needs to be put into context: give the Savior the right build, and bringing back two fallen comrades in the mid-game may change a board presence entirely. It feels especially strong when paired with self-sacrificing weenies; too bad both Alseid of Life's Bounty and Selfless Savior have just left Standard.

 The last mythic is also a five-drop, though one that requires a large amount of white mana. Enduring Angel is a 3/3 flying double striker that gives us hexproof and also provides a built-in Angel's Grace, if only for damage-related near-death experiences. After that, it transforms into a version that could technically rebuild our life total from scratch, while also becoming more and more of a threat, but to be honest the whole thing feels more than a little bit clunky. Platinum Angel, this ain't, and the odds are that the opponent will just be forced to kill a three-toughness creature before dealing lethal undisturbed. And since a flyer threatening six damage per turn is already very much a removal magnet, the whole extra deal and transformation clause fall a little flat.

 Last but not least, despite being only a rare, Liesa, Forgotten Archangel reunites us with the peculiar white-black member of the Innistrad Angels, previously appeared as Liesa, Shroud of Dusk in Commander Legends. Killed by Avacyn a thousand years ago, Liesa's vital force had somehow persisted within the plane and has now come back to existence in a time of need. And boy, her mirrored abilites are quite something. She single-handedly make all our other creatures self-recursive while stopping the opponents' own creature recursions, all without asking for any extra resource beyond her initial casting cost. As a way to abuse ETB triggers is a bit slow, but still effective, easily turning into a nightmare for the opponent if left unchecked. Plus, she's still an evasive lifelinker of considerable size. An Orzhov Midrange build in Standard has already been shaped around her. As for Angel decks at large, the black splash has become customary after Kaldheim, so the opportunity cost to include her is minimal; and her unique ability makes Liesa well-equipped to compete for space with other impactful five-drop Angels, even Lyra Dawnbringer.


Archer: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 87, online: 82

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Archery is an established discipline on Innistrad, especially in the crossbow variant. However, Voldaren Ambusher wants to be surrounded by fellow Vampires more than fellow Archers. And Bird Admirer benefits from the company of other Werewolves, and it's mostly a Spider-like curve-filler for Limited.


Assassin: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 61, online: 58

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: This disturbing, lone Assassin is a reference to those slasher movies where the killer is wearing a creepy mask made of dead things and/or is dressed like a butcher (with some elements of Leatherface, although The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is more directly referenced in The Meathook Massacre). Mechanically, as well as color-wise, it's an "aristocrat", a two-drop 2/2 that can improve its stats by sacrificing other creatures, in the tradition of cards like Cartel Aristocrat and Pitiless Pontiff. In doing its killings, Fleshtaker doesn't guarantee protection against removal, but let us gain one life and scry. Which is very selfless for someone who likes to pose against a background that looks right out of Children of the Corn, just because the cow head wasn't unsettling enough.


Bear: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 29, online: 23

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: I believe any animal tribe with a new member in Midnight Hunt is represented by a zombified corpse at the very least, if not some demonic corruption. This undead Bear is just a middling Limited card, though. We cannot trust the morbid-like mechanic to be too consistent, and four mana for a 4/3 trampler is severely below the curve in Constructed these days.


Bird: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 294, online: 280

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Man, that face. This bird-thing really is "the foulest of fowl". It's also two bodies for three mana, but one of them is decayed, so it's not exactly a real creature, more like ephemeral material to exploit as sacrificial fodder or for other synergies. Failing that, two potential extra damage on the ground. It's not a bad deal, but not amazing either. Mostly, it's a decent curve-filler in Limited.


Cleric: +4

 

 

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 New Tribal Total: 488, online: 461

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Clerics always have a big role on Innistrad, being those who either oppose or facilitate the rise of the forces of darkness. Which is exactly what these four new guys do in a nutshell. The trio of low-rarity white Clerics includes two solid one-drops that return as ghosts via the disturb mechanic. It's sort of a flashback for creatures, but it makes use of the card's back in order to give the revenant versions new and improved stats – primarily by adding flying to the mix, since now they're Spirits from the afterlife. Lunarch Veteran is a one-sided lifegain enabler, more akin to Impassioned Orator than Soul Warden, but still effective; its Luminous Phantom side switches the deal to a death trigger. Chaplain of Alms is a first striker, and post-mortem it becomes stronger, evasive, and extends its ward to the whole team. Celestus Sanctifier is less likely to ever show up in Constructed, but it has an acceptable body/cost ratio, can start the day/night cycle, and then benefit from it with some surveil. The larger issue resides in the fact that day and night aren't probably going to become a fixture in non-Standard formats – and even in Standard, the impact during this first couple of weeks has been marginal, Werewolf decks aside.

 And then there's Jerren, Corrupted Bishop, flying the flag of Innistrad's demon-worshipping priests. Formerly a bishop of Sigarda, Jerren was secretly a follower of... Innistrad's version of Satanism. Griselbrandism? In short, he devoted his life to the restoration of the archdemon Griselbrand. That's all ancient history now, almost dwarfed by the following Eldrazi near-apocalypse, but there hadn't been a card dedicated to the black Bishop until now. Jerren is, primarily, a Human lord. He drops onto the battlefield accompanied by a 1/1 Human token, and gives every other nontoken Human a second chance at life in that same form. All these Humans can also be made into temporarily lifelinker, including Jerren himself – and that's swell because it gives something more relevant to do with his 2/3 body. Of course, the flashier thing about Jerren is that he can summon another archdemon: Ormendahl. Formerly emerging from the Westvale Abbey, this heir to Griselbrand's reign is slightly smaller than it was back then (a 6/6 rather than a 9/7), and not indestructible. On the bright side, he can instantly turn any number of puny creatures into cards. Also, summoning him is just a matter of paying a six-mana activation off Jerren. Well, that, and also timing it right when we have exactly 13 life during the end step. That's where the lifelink from Jerren's Human coalition might prove useful, though the opponent won't probably be too keen on letting the transformation happen. All in all, Jerren is a good card, whose mythicness is mainly due to the potential advent of Ormendahl, but who could function just fine as a source of tokens and life in any Human-based build. And then, should the Corrupter actually show up in the late game, we'll be happy to hail him.


Demon: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 127, online: 122

 Related Tribes: Dog

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The great Ormendahl hides behind his head lackey Jerren, so we're left with two generic, non-named Demons. Both have to do with milling. Dreadhound is a fine curve-topper in Limited, with a body that's quite large for the environment, and some incidental loss of life for the opponent that could easily add up after a while. Lord of the Forsaken is instead the kind of casual-oriented mythic that doesn't actually have a home anywhere. Unless the pseudo-Channel for graveyard casting will prove a vital part of some killer combo that's somehow okay with having a six-drop as one of its pieces, I can't see Lord of the Forsaken as much more than an expensive 6/6 frampler. The kind that's beyond the optimal curve of aggro decks but it's also not resilient enough to be used as finisher in control.


Devil: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 36, online: 35

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: With the role reversal from Forgotten Realms officially over, the Devils are back to be the little mischievous guys we all know and love. These two aren't particularly great, though. Brimstone Vandal is a life-total pinger that employs the "day/night switching matters" mechanic, which is just not consistent enough to be comparable to something like Drannith Stinger. Festival Crasher is an okay two-drop for a Limited-only iteration of a spellslinging deck. Nice hat, though.


Dog: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 95, online: 90

 Related Tribes: Demon

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Even a doggo is a Demon on Innistrad! It's the second crossing of the two tribes, after Hollowborn Barghest from Shadowmoor, back when Dogs were still called Hounds. It's kind of amusing how, now that they have the Dog subtype, they still get referred as "hound" in their names. I guess "Dreaddog" wouldn't have the same ring to it, would it?


Dragon: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 246, online: 243

 Related Tribes: Egg

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Innistrad is home to the most elegant Dragons of the entire known Multiverse, with those slender bodies and transparent, butterfly-like wings. They're also very playable. Granted, the uncommon five-drop Purifying Dragon can't really compete with something like Goldspan Dragon, but one free point of damage per attack can clear the board of some pesky stuff. The four-drop mythic Moonveil Regent has more chances to find a stable home in Constructed, being a good approximation of red's hand refueling engines like Experimental Frenzy. An aggro list that burns (no pun intended!) through its hand quickly will benefit from the non-mandatory option of turning all the spells into cantrips, at the cost of not having a large hand anymore – which a deck of that nature probably wouldn't have at that point in the game, anyway. The rule text encourages a build containing more colors than just red, and the Regent is indeed enjoying a measure of success in Standard Boros, where casting Sacred Fire results in drawing two extra cards. Plus it's still an evasive 4/4 that deals a non-zero amount of damage to any target upon death.

 However, the most exciting new Dragon is... unborn! Smoldering Egg is a massive update on the old Dragon Egg. It costs less, has a much better stopping power, and doesn't simply hatch into a Dragon Whelp of sorts. A full-blown Ashmouth Dragon is a formidable presence on the battlefield, a 4/4 flyer that adds a free Shock to every subsequent instant or sorcery. And it stems from an initial cost of two mana! The requirement is just a spellslinging build with lots of instants and sorceries, but that's what Izzet has been doing as a default in years. In an archetype like the already extremely successful Izzet Dragons, Smoldering Egg has already found the perfect nursery, pampered by all those copies of Expressive Iteration and Prismari Command. Alrund's Epiphany alone is already enough to complete the Egg's maturation!


Drake: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 90, online: 89

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Drake is so often a filler tribe, used to host creatures that are only made for Limited. As a result, very few of its now 90 members have ever mattered for Constructed purposes. This guy is sort of midway through the relevance of Crackling Drake and the utter mediocrity of Azure Drake. It's still not a card that will ever have a place outside of Limited, but at least it has a clear purpose in spellslinging builds, sort of an expensive Goblin Electromancer that doubles as a finisher.


Druid: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 230, online: 226

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: There are no Elves on Innistrad, so even the Druid role falls on Human shoulders. Augur of Autumn is a powerful new member for the tribe, though, a stripped-down Courser of Kruphix (no lifegain, smaller toughness) that can extend its purview to include Vizier of the Menagerie's card advantage option. It needs coven to achieve that, and this is as good a place as any to point out coven is not that difficult to enable, especially compared to the most specific and demanding party. The Augur already gives us a two-powered creature; a green deck will probably end up having an incidental one-powered dork lying around, and will aim to play bigger dudes, either a 3/3 like Werewolf Pack Leader or a 4/4 like Old-Growth Troll – and that's just looking at what Standard Stompy is trafficking in. It's also nice that the current wording of this kind of card outgrew the necessity to reveal the top of our library to the opponent, a disclosure of information that can be more damaging than it looks.


Egg: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 7

 Related Tribes: Dragon

 Impact of the New Additions: Extreme

 Highlights: So, is this the best Egg ever printed? Oh yeah, you bet it is. Not that there were many playable Eggs among the other six. The comparison with Innistrad's Ludevic's Test Subject is also embarrassing for the latter – and that was one of the most well-liked Eggs!


Fungus: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 47, online: 46

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Good Fungus gone bad! Deathbonnet Sprout is an interesting concept with surefire applications within self-mill decks in Limited, but even some potential as a one-drop in certain hyper-aggressive iterations of Standard Stompy. It's not impossible to have it as a 3/3 attacker on turn two, though the payoff might not be worth all the mill/discard gymnastics that it requires – unless it fits an accompanyng strategy that already happens to fill the graveyard with creatures in the early game. Is it impactful enough for a serious version of Dredge? It does grow into a sizeable threat, after all.


Giant: +1

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 New Tribal Total: 190, online: 184

 Related Tribes: Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Giant is not the kind of tribe that consistently has sacrificial fodder at hand, and black isn't even one of its main colors. So it's safe to think Morkrut Behemoth will spend its entire career as a reasonable curve-topper in Limited.


Hippogriff: +3

  

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 New Tribal Total: 7

 Related Tribes: Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Suddenly and stealthily, Midnight Hunt turns into a Hippogriff set! This semi-forgotten tribe that hadn't appeared since Eldritch Moon (one of only three sets in which it was previously included) now has its ranks almost doubled. Bad news is all these new flying horses with the head of a swan (?) are exclusively meant for Limited. Soul-Guide Gryff is a classic Limited-playable five-drop white flyer with some marginal ability, in this case linked to the presence in the set of both flashback and disturb. The latter of which is performed demonstratively by Galedrifter, the only disturb creature that returns as a strictly worse back side, because it was already a flyer on the front. Loyal Gryff can be seen as a tragically nerfed, combo-deprived Restoration Angel, or else a slower Kor Skyfisher. They're all playable; only not in Constructed formats.


Homunculus: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 21, online: 20

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Homunculi are an established presence on Innistrad, as much as they are with the Izzet League on Ravnica. To be honest, they might be more funny and cartoonish than scary and unsettling, but they're still associated with alchemists, and that's something that fits Innistrad pretty well. The tribe doesn't have a lot of rare members beyond its two legendaries, Fblthp and Zndrsplt (why do Homunculi have these strangely spelled names, by the way? They're made in a lab, one would think they should be given very simple names by their creators). This new couple is just common filler for Limited, not even of any particular interest. Unblinking Observer can work as a mana dork in spellslinging or disturb decks. Component Collector has a minor day/night synergy.


Horror: +5

  

 

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 New Tribal Total: 217

 Related Tribes: Drake, Plant, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Horror is a subtype with a double function, as we can see it used alternatively as a noun or an adjective. Unlike other tribes, like Giant, that never have an adjectival function (no creature gets to be, say, a Giant Rat only to signify that it's a very large specimen), Horror is used to add an extra layer of monstrosity to other things, either through deformity or other spooky elements. We can see it here with the grotesque Zombie Drownyard Amalgam and the creepy-looking Drake Storm Skreelix.

 However, the two new rare members are pure in their Horrorness. The legendary Old Stickfingers looks like a bannerman for the timeless black-green "graveyard matters" strategy. Played for two mana, it's just a very cheap Rhizome Lurcher. By paying an amount of X, we're guaranteed to mill an equal number of creatures, thus empowering our Stickfingers. It's useful only in a very specific build, and not especially efficient, but it's functional, and might even have some janky combo applications, since it could be used to fetch the only relevant target we have in the deck.

 The blue Sludge Monster appears more exciting. A five-drop 5/5 is good stats, and it Frogify (Bearify?) one creature right away, plus another per each attack. The effect is versatile, as it can increasingly turn the opponent's army into a bunch of vanilla 2/2s, but it's also a way to make some of our dumber tokens better – starting from the otherwise unreliable decayed Zombies from Midnight Hunt itself.

 Finally, Rootcoil Creeper is an appealing two-drop mana dork for decks with flashback cards, which isn't too high of a requirement to fulfill in Simic. It has the secondary offensive value of a Bear body; can ramp out a five-mana spell on turn three, provided it's cast from the graveyard; and self-replaces with a flashback spell in the late game, allowing us to recycle it from exile, therefore giving us two more uses of a single effect we already employed twice. It's unlikely it'll find room anywhere in older formats, but it seems strong for Limited and possibly for Standard, depending how much of a factor flashback will be during this era.


Human: +77

 

 

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 New Tribal Total: 2680, online: 2492

 Related Tribes: Archer, Assassin, Cleric, Druid, Knight, Peasant, Rogue, Scout, Shaman, Soldier, Warlock, Warrior, Werewolf, Wizard

 Impact of the New Additions: Irrelevant

 Highlights: This high concentration of Human, a record even for the "it's basically a supertype" tribe, is partially due to all the Werewolves having it, but mostly to the fact that Innistrad-based sets have very few humanoid alternatives to slap a class on, since none of the classic fantasy races like Elves, Goblins and Merfolk is present on the plane. Innistrad has also historicaly been home of "Humans matter" cards like Champion of the Parish and Thalia's Lieutenant, so it's no surprise to find the supreme witch Katilda, Dawnhart Prime being a sort of Human lord herself, although prioritizing ramp over aggression. Jerren, Corrupted Bishop also mostly incorporates tribal elements, with dedicated replacement and the lifelink. Off-tribe, we have Sigarda, Champion of the Light to ensure an anthem and some crucial refueling for Human lists. We also have two of the occasional Humans without any other subtype. Covetous Castaway serves a self-mill theme, but it's otherwise unimpressive. Contortionist Troupe (hey, there are circus artists on Innistrad!) is a fairly typical green scalable creature, with a coven twist that turns it into Luminarch Apirant. And since it can shapes itself to fill the coven spot we're missing, it seems like a no-brainer for green-white coven dedicated builds.


Knight: +8

   

   

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 New Tribal Total: 334, online: 321

 Related Tribes: Human, Spirit, Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: The Boros Knights are those that stand out the most among this quite large group of new additions. Both legendaries are reasonably costed three-drops. The monowhite Adeline, Resplendent Cathar clearly wants to lead a go-wide list, as she performs an effective impression of Brimaz, King of Oreskos. Her tokens aren't vigilant, but they've the more relevant Human subtype. They can also come in multiples, if Adeline's player is facing more than one opponent.

 Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer is a severely improved Skyknight Legionnaire. A turn-three evasive swing is great for aggro, and Rem also adds one point to all our burn spells and subtract one from those the opponents might play. This makes this Hippogriff-riding Knight a must-play in all Boros Aggro lists throughout the game. Sunrise Cavalier cannot compete with Rem, but is still a pretty strong three-drop in the very same deck, trampling over for three damage right away. The day/night-based growth might not happen too often, but even enabling it once or twice would constitute a major return of the initial three-mana investment.

 The blue rare, Patrician Geist, goes beyond the colors usually associated with Knights, and it's almost entirely a tribal card designed for Spirit decks with disturb synergies.


Noble: +4

   

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 New Tribal Total: 45, online: 44

 Related Tribes: Vampire

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Apparently, all the Nobles on Innistrad are Vampires, which makes some amount of sense. The rare of the lot, Florian, Voldaren Scion, doesn't necessarily require to be surrounded by other bloodsuckers (unlike the uncommon Vampire Socialite, who is, as her name suggests, completely tribal in nature). He uses the "spectacle" mechanic, though, which suggests a black-red aggressive build Nobles might not be too equipped to put together. A three-drop 3/3 first striker with impulsive drawing potential is still a pretty good card, though.


Ooze: +2

 

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 New Tribal Total: 36, online: 35

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Ooze receives the gift of two more high-profile members, like the designer darling that it is. Consuming Blob is a Tarmogoyf that only looks at our graveyard. Which would be pretty bad for five mana, if it didn't have that extra text that basically says we get another one every turn for free, starting from the very first turn. So if the Blob survives until our first end step, that's already two ready to block, all for the original mana investment. Thing escalated quickly from there. The only issue is making its body large enough to matter in the mid-game, but even in Standard it's not that hard to make it a 4/5 randomly, and even up to a 6/7 in dedicated builds that run self-mill effects and a varied mix of card types. The same kind of deck could also accommodate Slogurk, the Overslime, though this legendary is more at home in formats where fetchlands are the norm. The native trample and the built-in protection from spot removal, even at the cost of resetting its growth, make it a potential candidate for a finisher role.

 Both are strong specimens for sure. In Ooze tribal at large, though, Consuming Blob might not earn itself a five-mana slot over the more widely useful Biogenic Ooze. As for Slogurk, it might be worth the blue splash in aggro lists already banking on the proliferation of +1/+1 counters via Hardened Scales and other Oozes' various abilities. On the other hand, blue is a color Ooze usually dips into only for enablers like Prime Speaker Vannifar or combo pieces like The Mimeoplasm, both of which aren't too frequent in tribal builds. And a list with Predator Ooze can't really run Islands, so it needs access to a robust amount of fixing to make both GGG and 1GU work on turn three.


Peasant: +6

 

 

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 New Tribal Total: 13

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: Peasant is growing fast, almost increasing its size of 100% with Midnight Hunt. Innistrad naturally lends itself to be a place where commoners and villagers find themselves front and center in their struggle against surrounding monsters and darkness. Interestingly, five of these six new Peasants have a back side, either through disturb or regular transformation from the battlefield. The only exception is Eccentric Farmer, which is also the only new Peasant that's neither white nor blue. In Limited, it's a fine three-drop for decks that care about filling the graveyard, and gives us both a creature with decent stats and, possibly, a land. Once again, running fetchlands would make it better, but it's unlikely it'll ever see play in older formats.

 Devoted Grafkeeper also has a self-mill ETB, plus a tapper ability that triggers when we cast spells from the graveyard; so probably too inconsisently to matter, even if it could be useful in preparation of an alphe strike. The "second life" as a 3/1 flyer for three is also pretty decent. More interesting, though, are the uncommon white transformers. Ambitious Farmhand is straight card advantage on turn two, and later becomes a 3/3 lifelinker with the always-relevant Human subtype. While its board presence as a two-drop is minimal, a weenie deck that skews slightly more towards the mi-game might find it valuable. Similarly, Bereaved Survivor might feel underwhelming as a 2/1 on turn three, but transforming her is very tempo-friendly, and the back face provides a very appealing recursion. Both faces combo nicely with Selfless Savior, which unfortunately just left Standard.

 Also satisfying how these cards tell stories through their transformations. The Ambitious Farmhand enrolls in the Cathars. The desperate mourrner, despairing for the loss of Avacyn, finds a renewed faith and empowerment through Sigarda (who apparently also gives her boots; I don't know why she was barefoot in a graveyard, but girl sure loves her dramatic poses). Peasants also have a couple of other, basic disturb creatures showcasing the great storytelling potential of double-faced cards: The Tale of the Eternal Fisherman and The Parable of the Ascended Beggar.

 


Phoenix: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 29, online: 27

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: As far as Obligatory Phoenices go (that's become even more of a Magic trope than the Obligatory Dragon at this point), Sunstreak Phoenix has a very efficient return cost of only two mana, as well as heavy-hitting power. Granted, the day/night cycle might not be the easiest to exploit in an environment where it's not otherwise supported, especially when we have to double-spell to end the night. But it's still feasible, and doesn't require any other related card in a deck that runs this Phoenix.


Plant: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 55, online: 51

 Related Tribes: Horror

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Plant crosses the 50-member threshold on MTGO. It does it by cross-pollinating  with Horror for the very first time. Rootcoil Creeper is very much Plant-like, though: the mana generation is typical of the tribe, suggesting a close relationship with the leylines in the ground, and the recursion ability evokes the blossoming into something unexpected.


Rogue: +6

 

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 329, online: 312

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: The Rogues on Midnight Hunt give us the first blue Werewolf to date. Suspicious Stowaway (referencing those horror stories where the mentioned stock character hides a dark secret) doesn't particularly need to have other Werewolves around; its front guarantees one damage and one looting per turn, and if we manages to make it night (by passing the turn without casting anything, which fits a Monoblue Tempo strategy to a tee), then the damage output is doubled and the looting becomes straight drawing. Simple, effective concept and impressive storytelling.

 Most of the other new Rogues, all of which are as black as a moonless night, are also given a back face. The exceptions are the Vampire-based Stromkirk Bloodthief and the card-drawing Morbid Opportunist, a junior varsity Midnight Reaper that directly references the old morbid mechanic in its name. It's functional in Limited, but the board presence of a three-drop 1/3 is not comparable with a same-costed 3/2, not to mention the hard cap at one extra card per turn.

 Of the double-faced cards, the most interesting is Vengeful Stranger, a 2/1 that you don't mind sacrificing or suicide-attack with, since it turns into pseudo-removal. Once again, the narrative of the transformation is amazing, with the killer sentenced to death returning in the form of a pair of disembodied, vengeful ghost hands.


Scarecrow: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 37, online: 36

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Midnight Hunt embraced the Jack-o'-Lantern theme, which is of course a meta-reference to the Halloween tradition, but it's not just shallow pandering, as the pumpkin figure has roots in European folklore since at least the 19th century, so it's not out of place on Innistrad. This Scarecrow does little more than representing it, while embodying two basic elements of this set's Limited environment: "beware of graveyards" and "fixing is terrible".


Scout: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 157, online: 150

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Two brilliant new members for the Scouts. Briarbridge Tracker is clearly a callback to the illustrious Tireless Tracker from Shadows over Innistrad. Not as impressive as the original, but its 4/3 vigilant body, as long as we don't crack the Clue or have another token around, is definitely above the curve for a three-drop. The fact that it eventually replaces itself might be enough to warrant Constructed playability.

 That's not even a question for Intrepid Adversary, the white member of the set's high-profile mythic cycle that gives one card to each of the five major tribes of the plane. For the Human slot, the accompanying class wasn't given to the Warlocks, in consideration of their role as new leaders of the Human community, but to the Scouts, which are perhaps more on the frontline against the monsters. All Adversaries have good basic stats for two or three mana, and a new version of multikicker that makes them bigger while generating an effect with cumulative value. In this case, an anthem of increasing size, which already takes care of improving the Adversary's body, so no +1/+1 counters are used. By investing four mana, we end up with a 4/2 lifelinker that pumps our team by one. Six mana, and the Adversary will be a 5/3 and the anthem will have Tempered Steel's magnitude. It's clearly a scalable card that White Weenie wants, and wants bad. Even the fail case of a 3/1 lifelinker for two is worth the slot, and the extra effect being worded as an ETB, rather than an additional cost to be paid upon casting, means we can flicker the Adversary and still gets a chance to sink mana into it later.


Shaman: +2

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 435, online: 430

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: The new Innistrad Shamans only offer two simple, playable yet not extremely effective cards for an Izzet Spells build in Limited. Nothing much to say about them.


Soldier: +12

 

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 722, online: 662

 Related Tribes: Human, Werewolf, Zombie

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Soldiers always played an important role within the Innistrad's Human ecosystem (the fight against the monsters requires an organized militia, more than a bunch of lone heroes), and they don't disappoint this time, either. Brutal Cathar, the first white Werewolf, is an excellent take on the Fiend Hunter blueprint – which originated in the original Innistrad, after all. Now, for the same cost, we also get access to a warded 3/3 first striker at night. What's even more important, the return of the day lets us exile another target, creating a virtuous cycle that's very punishing for an opponent who can't break it fast enough.

 Other rare Soldiers include two extremely efficient two-drops. Sungold Sentinel provides a 3/2 body, one targeted graveyard hate, and the chance to turn on a color-based protective ability via coven. The legendary Azorius-colored Dennick, Pious Apprentice has an already efficient front as a 2/3 lifelinker, with a bonus static ability that mostly protects our flashback and disturb cards from being exiled (there are some more applications in wider formats, like stopping the opponents' reanimator spells). And then he returns from the grave as a 3/2 flying Spirit that could potentially create a Clue token per turn, especially if milling and/or self-milling are part of the deck's strategy.

 The rest of the Soldier detachment is composed of monowhite Humans designed for Limited, but in most cases they constitute high picks, like the card-drawing, possibly discounted Search Party Captain; the card selector Gavony Dawnguard; and the coven payoffs Duelcraft Trainer and Ritual Guardian.

 


Spider: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 61, online: 60

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: This is a perfectly fine Spider specimen, a strictly better Giant Spider that's given some degree of recursion, since half of the original body comes back. However, it also just shows how strong was the common Penumbra Spider from Time Spiral, which had complete recursion. No wonder it became a staple in Pauper. Where's the creature power creep now?


Spirit: +7

   

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 511, online: 504

 Related Tribes: Hippogriff, Knight, Treefolk

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: Out of the four "monster" tribes Innistrad routinely supports, Spirit is the one with fewer new additions. This is mainly caused by the fact that each of the 12 disturb creatures has a Spirit on its back, yet is not Spirits on the front, since the disturb mechanic is meant to illustrate the way a ghost is made (which is, well, by having a living being die). The actual Spirit cards include a new lord with Patrician Geist, which provides a basic anthem, but at the cost of one more mana than Supreme Phantom. It rewards the investment with a discount for flashback and disturb, something that might not be too relevant in the Spirit lists we have in Pioneer and Modern, whose three-mana slots are already filled with superior options like Drogskol Captain, Spell Queller and Skyclave Apparition. The Spirit member of the Adversary cycle is also easily the less effective, since its mana sink ability is aleatory. It still has a better chance of ending up part of Spirit lists because it's a two-drop two-powered flyer with flash, and can occasionally engineer a lethal alpha strike or save a key permanent from removal.

 None of the other Spirits are worth a mention, as they're not even particularly great in Limited. The "off-color" rare Willow Geist stakes a claim to the one-drop slot in Stompy lists, being a trampler that grows over time; but the mechanic of the growth isn't very consistent outside of a very specific build, and the incidental lifegain is just a mostly meaningless bonus.


Treefolk: +1

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 81, online: 79

 Related Tribes: Spirit

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: So this is a man who died beneath a tree, therefore his ghost was linked to the place of his departure (which is a trope). But does the tree became a Treefolk because of this phenomenon, or did it happen to be a Treefolk to begin with? If the latter is true, does it mean they now have a symbiotic spirit/treefolk relationship, like Wrenn with her hosts?


Vampire: +14

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 284, online: 280

 Related Tribes: Archer, Knight, Noble, Rogue, Warrior

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium

 Highlights: That the Vampires wouldn't exactly hit the ground running in Midnight Hunt was kind of expected, considering they'll be the focus of Crimson Vow. Also, they're usually much easier to make strong than the Werewolves are, since they don't depend on an external condition like the transformation. Also expected is that they would get one of the Adversaries, and they do with Bloodthirsty Adversary, whose scalable ETB ability makes her into sort of the Snapcaster Mage of this set. Of course, paying three mana to cast an instant or sorcery of mana value three or less is the opposite of casting it "for free", and severely limits the number of spells we can flash back at once this way, not to mention the need to actually have a number of them in the graveyard. It's more apt to look at her as a five-mana hasty 3/3 that recasts one of our previously used spells upon hitting the battlefield, and can alternatively take the form of a two-mana vanilla hasty 2/2 in a pinch. Which is fine, if not super-exciting.

 Two other rare Vampires are the same brand of good, not great. Slaughter Specialist has an above-the-curve body for a two-drop, and can grow out of control over time (or even suddenly, with the help of a conditional sweeper a la Drown in Sorrow). Gifting the opponents with free creatures is usually not a prime strategy, though, and the vanilla Specialist lacks the extra combat prowess to matter in the late game, especially in multiplayer, where spreading those 1/1s across the table might have a better appeal. Similarly, Falkenrath Pit Fighter is reminiscent of Insolent Neonate, but is strangely less effective of that old common. The deal is not made a disadvantage and, even more crucially, could involve a random token, so it doesn't necessarily force us to let go of the Pit Fighter. But it's also more expensive, thus not working as neatly with madness cards, and requires a life loss from the opponent. That's a damning clause that prevents us from activating the Pit Fighter when it's more convenient.

 Most of the Vampires in the set subscribe to this unnamed, spectacle-like mechanic that only provides an extra effect, or any effect at all, if the opponent has lost life this turn. This suggests a very aggressive nature for the intended Vampire build coming out of Midnight Hunt, but has the issue of not being very reliable. Especially if that's all that the Vampire does, which is the case of tribal-based removal-on-a-stick Voldaren Ambusher. And the same goes for other potentially interesting cards like Famished Foragers. On a turn when we can't engineer any damage to the opponent, a probable outcome after a board sweep, these Vamps are just terrible draws. At least Florian, Voldaren Scion and Vampire Socialite are still a 3/3 first striker for three and a 2/2 menacer for two, respectively; plus his selective impulsive drawing packs enough value even if it's not consistently enabled, while her Cordial Vampire effect can be re-triggered later, if only for the most recent Vampire. That's perfectly encapsulated by the quasi-Luminarch Aspirant quality of Stromkirk Bloodthief: it's okay to only occasionally gets access to it, although the end step is really not a good timing for such an effect; but a vanilla three-drop 2/2 is otherwise appalling stats in this day and age.

 


Warlock: +6

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 51

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Witches in Midnight Hunt have the "pagan" flavor, not the "satanic" flavor, hence the novel absence of black in their colors. Even if the conserve an unsettling factor (a homage to folk horror films like The Wicker Man and Midsommar, the latter referenced directly in the art of Join the Festival), they're the "good guys", trying to perform ancient rituals to stop the advancing darkness. Tribal-wise, they're all Humans, and serve sometimes explicitly a "Humans matter" strategy, as we see with the powerful Katilda, Dawnhart Prime, who turns our whole Human team into mana producers, Song of Freyalise-style, then provides a Gavony Township-like mana sink ability for all that mana. She's also immune to Werewolves, which might be insignificant within the game at large, but is fairly relevant in Limited and, to some extent, in Standard.

 The two-drop magnificence of Katilda isn't matched by any of the other new Warlocks, most of which feature some coven ability that's only a worthy payoff in Limited. Dawnhart Rejuvenator is even a mere functional reprint of Centaur Nurturer from War of the Spark, a card that's a non-factor in Constructed but usually a reasonable pick in draft, supplying life, mana acceleration into the top-end, and a solid blocker.

 The second rare is another legendary, Saryth, the Viper's Fang, Katilda's own protégée turned rival. She's a protective four-drop that, while not as useful as Shalai, Voice of Plenty, has the added value of making all our attackers hard to block. She can also untap a mana producer, land or creature, that taps for more than one mana. Or she can grant her hexproof protection at instant speed, though that's unlikely to work out, as the opponent would see it coming and just target Saryith instead. The versatility is there, but it seems the kind of midrange card that struggles to find a home, because its role is just not critical or game-winning enough.


Warrior: +5

  

  

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 823, online: 804

 Related Tribes: Human, Vampire, Werewolf

 Impact of the New Additions: Low

 Highlights: Nothing much to say about Midnight Hunt's Warriors (except to remind that Innistrad favors Soldiers more). We have two kind of cool, kind of flawed Vampires, plus a few Limited-only cards. Voldaren Stinger has great art, though. Taver Ruffian too, and somewhat controversial, because, as the flavor text clearly establishes, it's the depiction of a masculine woman. I commend the idea, while feeling like it could have been conveyed in a way that wouldn't require reading the flavor text to get it. And if that's supposed to be a trans man, all the worse, because then the flavor text shouldn't even use the she/her pronouns, should it? I mean, if you aim to communicate something, maybe it's better not to obscure it?


Werewolf: +19

 

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 62, online: 61

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

 Impact of the New Additions: Severe

 Highlights: And there they are, the life of the party, the Big Bads of the set, the howling threats of the endless night. Unsurprisingly, the Werewolf tribe gets a ton of crucial new additions. Werewolf Pack Leader was a worthy appetizer in Forgotten Realms (in fact, worthy enough to still maintain its place in both Stompy lists and Werewolf Gruul lists), but otherwise the tribe has been in complete limbo since Eldritch Moon. Being mostly forced to wait for a set that contains double-faced cards causes the evolution of Werewolves to necessarily proceed in fits and starts. It also seems they don't appear in other planes but Innistrad, considering Pack Leader came from a non-canon product set outside the regular Multiverse. But luckily for our furry friends, we're in the middle of an Innistrad double feature, so it's the occasion for the tribe to grow as much as it can.

 And to be frank, the influx of new Werewolves from Midnight Hunt already eclipses (pun intended) every member from all previous Innistrad sets, with the exception of Mayor of Avabruck and Huntmaster of the Fells – plus Duskwatch Recruiter, but that's only used in combo decks that have usually nothing to do with Werewolf tribal. The new lycanthropes even get an updated mechanic that works similarly yet in stark contrast with the old transformation clause. Now, all Werewolves come with the daybound keyword on the front and the nightbound keyword on the back. When a daybound creature descends onto the battlefield, the day/night cycle is started, and will be tracked for the rest of the game using two token markers.

 

 The switch between the two states uses the same conditions as the old Werewolves: no spells cast make it night, which causes the Werewolves (and all other daybound permanents) to transform into their back face; two spells cast turns it back into day, and to the front face. But there are two crucial differences here, changing entirely how Werewolves play. The first is that now the transformation clause don't look at any player casting spells in a turn, but only the active player; this means the opponent can't disrupt the attempt of the Werewolf player to get to nighttime (something that was cause of infinite frustration back in the time), while letting the latter safely play as many instant-speed spells as they like in a turn when they're not the active player. Second, even more critical change: the daybound/nightbound permanents enter directly with the nightbound face up when it's night, which is huge. Additionally, the change from day to night and vice versa now happens at the beginning of the turn, not during the upkeep, allowing for upkeep effects on the nightbound face to trigger.

 With all this bonanza of improvement out of the way, let's start looking at the new lords of the tribe. The first we meet moving alongside the curve is Kessig Naturalist, a new must-run Werewolf on par with the old Mayor (which now has the flaw of still following the old, clunky transformation rules). It's a two-drop "bear" that can give us one extra mana if it gets the chance to attack, which it might if we drop it on curve and we're on the play. And at nighttime it's a 3/3 with a proper tribal anthem ability, and still conserving the mana trigger (this is another innovation: most Werewolves don't lose their front's abilities when they tranform; they just add to them). At three mana, even flashier is Reckless Stormseeker, which can function on its own as a 3/3 with haste, but can also let any fresher creature, and not just Wolves and Werewolves, ignore the summoning sickness and swing for one extra point of power. The back face makes the whole deal even juicier, adding more power and trample. Considering how powerful the Werewolf curve can be, a Stormseeker effectively giving the entire team haste is an unvaluable machine of aggression.

 Burying the lede a little, three mana is also the spot when Tovolar, the Midnight Scourge join the fan. This new legendary is the former mentor and current nemesis of Arlinn (who has a new planeswalker card that doesn't directly reference Werewolves but plays well with them, facilitating the switch to night), as depicted in Duel for Dominance. What Tovolar offers to a Werewolf build is precious, precious card-drawing, using the same glorious wording as Toski, Bearer of Secrets. He also lets us skip entirely the whole day/night deal and just turn to night if we control at least two other Wolves or Werewolves. In his bigger, nightbound form, he even sports a very appropriate, easily game-ending Kessing Wolf Run activation. What more could we ask?

 These three high-profile Werewolves firmly puts the tribe in Gruul colors. But Midnight Hunt didn't shy away from actually sending the hairy fellas into their very first explorations of white, with the powerful exiler Brutal Cathar, and blue, with the unblockable Suspicious Stowaway. They're unlikely to find any room or reason for a splash in Werewolf tribal, but they're excellent cards otherwise.

 

 Other new Werewolves of note include Tovolar's Huntmaster, the tribe's own Grave Titan, a six-mana top-end play that packs a ton of value but might be seen as overkill in a competitive list; the artifact and enchantment hater Outland Liberator, which is instead a cherished two-drop in any green deck of this era, providing a maindeck answer to problematic permanents plus a solid cost/body ratio at night; and Hound Tamer, which is admittedly more of a bomb in Limited (good stats on turn three, great mana sink for the late game), but could have some relevance in a Constructed Werewolf build too, if the three-drop slot wasn't already so crowded.

  


Wizard: +15

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 856, online: 837

 Related Tribes: Human

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Gisa is back! In absence of her brother Geralf (who's expected to show up in Crimson Vow), everyone's favorite crazy/beautiful dark bride/necromancer has joined the Midnight Hunt to put her trusty shovel to good use. A well-rounded board presence as a four-drop 4/4 (which makes you think how proficient she has to be with that shovel to hit that hard in close combat) is just the basis for a mirrored pair of static abilities, one preventing our opponents for ever recurring any creature, the other automatically recurring their creatures under our control. There are two caveats, though: the revived creatures get decayed, so they can't be used for blocking and can only attack once; and after that, the opponent will be able to recur them, because they end up in their graveyard, otherwise Gisa's ability would keep bringing them back at each upkeep. Much like previous incarnations, this new Gisa is not the type of hyper-efficient card you instantly put in your deck, no questions asked. I mean, she is sort of efficient, not asking us for any resource past the initial casting cost, and essentially rewarding us for playing the game, the black way. But she also does very little upon landing on the battlefield, and she's not guaranteed to change the board in any meaningul way the next upkeep either, unless something wild happened in the meantime. The best case scenario is the opponent playing a bunch of strong ETB effects, which we can kill and appropriate. Most of the time, the result of an active Gisa on the battlefield is the opponent will stop taking risks in their attacks until they will have dealt with her. Her ideal role could be as a commander of a deck that features many ways to abuse the decayed bodies, for sacrifices and whatnot.

 But Gisa aside, Midnight Hunt's Wizard department is chock-full of legendaries. The mad alchemist Ludevic of the Test Subject fame returns as Ludevic, Necrogenius. He's a perfectly functional two-drop 2/3 with a self-milling theme, who later pulls a The Mimeoplasm trick by sinking a bunch of mana into his transformative activation, to become a potentially larger version of any given creature in our graveyard (well, assuming we didn't try to have him turn into an Eldrazi or something). It's not immediately clear what kind of deck might be interested in this deal, but he's a cool Johnny/Jenny card with strong Commander potential.

 Splitting Ludevic's Dimir colors into their basic components, we get two wizardry legends with a better shot at Constructed playability. The mythic Lier, Disciple of the Drowned is a high-value curve-topper for spellslinging decks. Not quite as combo-oriented as his blueprint Past in Flames, due to the inherent fragility of being a creature. But still, he's a continuous Past in Flames on legs, which can't really be a bad thing. He also incidentally makes all of our spells uncounterable, even if clearly that clause was added primarily to avoid the creation of a monstrous draw-go deck where every counterspell in our hand gets duplicated. On his part, Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia is an Ophiomancer wannabe. He drops faster than his predecessor, although a 2/2 decayed Zombie can't obviously compare with an infinite supply of deathtouching Snakes. But maybe that rotten carcass has even more applications in the right build, i.e. a tribal or partially tribal deck with cards that care about Zombies entering the battlefield, like Champion of the Perished. Plus, it's a veritable hoot for sacrifice lists.

 But wait, the rare-and-mythic-Wizards parade is far from over. A full half of these 16 new Wizards comes at the top two tiers of rarity, so the tribal goodies seem never-ending here. Malevolent Hermit stakes his claim to become this era's Cursecatcher, and he actually provides more value than the old Merfolk did, and for a wider array of builds. At first he's a (stronger) Spell Pierce grafted onto a two-powered body; and then, after his counterspelling job is done, he gets recycled as an evasive threat with extra benefits. The blue mythic Poppet Stitcher is equally amazing, filling the battlefield with ephemeral Zombie material, then making those decaying corpses into a proper, powered up army. And we're not even forced to stay in the Poppet Factory forever, as we can opt to go visit the Stitcher again, the moment we need fresh bodies to replace those that might have been swept away by the opponent. All for a three-mana investment that can't be easily shocked away.

 To round off this impressive amount of rare Wizards, the Izzet-colored Vadrik, Astral Archmage is a glorified Goblin Electromancer with a day/night mechanic that's hard to enable outside of Midnight Hunt's specific environment. It's still playable enough, which is more than we can say of the shameless meme card that is Triskaidekaphile, a callback to Shadows over Innistrad's Triskaidekaphobia (being the latter the fear of the number 13, the former the love of it). This is the kind of challenge to Johnnies and Jennies that's too overt to really feel satisfying; of course, it'll be accepted nonetheless.

 

 Here's some more transformer Wizards with specific transformation clauses that don't care whether it's day or night out there.

 

 But if we like the day/nighters, here's a couple of those that draw cards for us at sunrise and sunset. If there's a tribe that really does everything in this set, it's good ole Wizard.

 


Wolf: +5

  

 

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 64, online: 60

 Impact of the New Additions: Medium to High

 Highlights: Wolf has only been the companion tribe of Werewolf, and every effect that benefits one usually also involves the other (especially from the Werewolf's point of view). This remains true in Midnight Hunt as well, although most of these new Wolves are just decent curve-fillers for Limited. The glaring exception is Primal Adversary, which gives Wolf the slot in the Adversary cycle that would ideally belong to their transformative cousins. Not just that, but this is also easily the best of the five Adversaries, a trampling beater of considerable size that creates 3/3 out of lands, Nissa-style, for two mana apiece. The play pattern is a bit awkward, in that the lands have haste (as usual, to avoid memory issues regarding which land was played in the current turn), but they don't untap. So if we spend, say, seven mana, we end up with a 6/5 Wolf plus two tapped 3/3s with haste. I mean, it's still incredibly efficient, but it contains a little bit of feel-bad for not being able to swing right away with our hasty creatures. It seems like the best we can hope for is having an even amount of mana, so at least one land will be left untapped and ready to rumble. Of course the situation does exist where we might prefer to renounce the creation of one extra land in order to engineer an immediate attack, and the Adversary allows for that to happen.

 This seems a good space as any to evaluate this entire cycle of mythics with pseudo-multikicker against each other. The green one looks like the cream of the crop: it's the one that leaves the most impactful presence on the board, it requires no setup at all, it has the best cost/body ratio and an aggressive keyword, and it's in the color that's most likely to have large amount of mana to dump into the ETB trigger. Next comes the white Intrepid Adversary – it doesn't leave anything behind if dealt with, but the impact of the anthem can be groundbreaking, and unlike Primal Adversary, it can immediately pressure the opponent with the sheer amount of power it adds on the board. A potentially large lifelinker is also good to swing back the life total in our favor. Third place for the black Tainted Adversary, which creates even more bodies than the Wolf, but they're impermanent. It's more or less on par with the red Bloodthirsty Adversary, whose versatility – a hasty 2/2 on turn two, insane value burst in the late game – is counterbalanced by the fact that it requires the most specific setup of all of them. Finally, Spectral Adverary is the only one whose ability is entirely aleatory. We can use it as a fog effect in the opponent's turn, or we can push some damage through in our turn, which is usually not something blue plans to do – or if it does, chances are the attackers were already evasive to begin with.


Zombie: +12

   

   

> summary <

 New Tribal Total: 496, online: 489

 Related Tribes: Bear, Bird, Giant, Horror, Soldier

 Impact of the New Additions: High

 Highlights: Zombies have a good showing in Midnight Hunt, in spite the fact that the decayed mechanic is not the most appealing. But first of all they get an outstanding one-drop in Champion of the Perished, the tongue-in-cheek reworking of Champion of the Parish. A new two-mana lord like Bladestitch Skaab, as boring as it might sound, is also nothing to sneeze at, particularly when its body is relatively resilient: better to give up on the toughness boost for a higher survival rate than Legion Lieutenant and Merfolk Mistbinder have. We usually don't care to reinforce a Zombie's butt anyway, even more so if they're decayed tokens already doomed to dissolve at end of turn.

 The other department in which Midnight Hunt Zombies and Zombie-related cards excel is indeed token-making. What decayed allows is a cheaper mana cost for this kind of endeavor, which leads to cards like Tainted Adversary, making two 2/2s for every three mana spent. Diregraf Horde is also very efficient in that regard, although the non-scalable casting cost relegates it in the purview of Limited. Same for the otherwise well-designed Hobbling Zombie, which just can't compete with Constructed-level three-drops. What could compete, instead, are off-tribe Zombie-maker cards like the enchantment Ghoulish Procession and especially the Wizards Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia and Poppet Stitcher, which is also a surefire way to turn those decayed Zombie into real undead boys.

  

 A few Zombies in the set, like Larder Zombie and Siege Zombie, incorporate the "tap three untapped creatures" mechanic that had made Cryptbreaker into a tribal staple; though these new versions of it, appearing at common, are clearly much less impactful. Last but not least, Organ Hoarder is frequently considered the best common of the entire set for Limited purposes. It's a three-powered four-drop that draws you the best card out of three; we can see why it's beloved.


SUMMARY

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 Check the Complete Creature Types Reference Table here.


BEST IN SHOW
(non-Adversary, non-Werewolf; click on any them to go to their review)

   

   

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THE ADVERSARIES
(click on any of them to go to their review)

  

 

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KUMA'S TRIBAL EVALUATIONS