Standard Set Review - Innistrad: Crimson Vow

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Standard Set Review - Innistrad: Crimson Vow

This article analyses the most promising cards from Innistrad: Crimson Vow for Standard!

By Thiago, 11/07/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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The full spoiler for

Innistrad: Crimson Vow

is out, and with this, let's make our classical card analysis for

Standard

! The set looks weaker than its predecessor, Midnight Hunt, but brings some good cards to improve existing decks!

Standard and Crimson Vow Mechanics

Training

is reasonable, but the problem is having good cards to take advantage out of it.

Cleave

is another kind of good kicker, I like cards with the flexibility to be cast for a lower cost with fewer effects or paying more mana to have more effects, it's always good to have a mana sink in the set.

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Blood tokens

are interesting, but they run into the same problem as Training, having good cards that generate these tokens.

Exploit

can be used on Sacrifice or Aristocrats decks, if these archetypes resurface in Standard.

White

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Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is without a doubt one of the best cards in the new set. Promising to be the horror of Izzet Turns and other combo/control decks, Mono White gets stronger with Thalia's return to the format. And it will see play until the end of the rotation on any aggro deck that runs white. Voice of the Blessed or the improved Ajani’s Pridemate is quite synergistic in lifegain decks. This card can help an Orzhov or Selesnya Lifegain. It's worth remembering that Righteous Valkyrie is still in the format and gains life whenever a Cleric enters the battlefield.

Blue

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Geralf, Visionary Stitcher is one of the creatures that can make Dimir Zombiea possible. I don't think they have enough payoffs in the format, but the archetype should include that card if it exists. Hullbreaker Horror has been widely talked about as a mirror breaker in combo/control matches. I am not convinced that's so much the case in a field where Fading Hope and Divide By Zero are widely played, but it might be another option to Cyclone Summoner, though it's worse for having to cast spells to trigger its effects.
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Necroduality looks like a meme card, but can cause problems if it stays 2 or more turns on the board. Although we don't have good non-legendary zombies to copy. Patchwork Crawler is another card that enables Dimir Zombies. Very synergistic with self mill and cards like Egon, God of Death. Syncopate is the famous, extremely annoying curve-breaker counterspell to take, as is Jwari Disruption. I believe it will see play on tempo decks and maybe blue decks that don't run Lier, Disciple of the Drowned.
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Thirst for Discovery reminds Thirst for Meaning that saw play in the last season. I believe that the card can be used in some control decks for its low cost. Wash Away is a good card for its versatility to counter graveyard, foretold or cards exiled with Expressive Iteration for 1 mana, or counter any spell for 3 mana. On blue decks without Lier, it might become a must-have.

Black

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Bloodvial Purveyor has a great body for a four-drop, not dying to a red removal, and has trample, making block maths difficult. I don't see Mono White resolving this creature without Fateful Absence and Izzet Turns needs to bounce with Fading Hope. Great drop for Rakdos Vampires or Mono Black Aggro. Dreadfeast Demon isn't exactly a good creature, but I see scenarios where, in a deck that can create tokens and with no removals on the other side, it quickly spirals out of control. Perhaps a midrange Golgari deck with Snakeskin Veil as the way to protect him from removals and have several tokens with Sedgemoor Witch, for example.
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Gift of Fangs is an improved Dead Weight because it can buff your vampires or be a removal. Good card for Rakdos Vampires or Mono Black. Graf Reaver pressures a lot from turn 3 onwards, and its drawback of losing 1 life on each upkeep isn't very relevant against Alrund's Epiphany and control decks. A good 2-drop for Mono Black and Zombies.

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Hero's Downfall was a staple back on its last Standard Season, and this time should be no different, as it handles any creature or planeswalker for three mana.

Red

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Abrade is a great reprint that will play a lot in this Standard, just like last time, as it can handle Werewolf Pack Leader or Esika’s Chariot for two mana , or even Reidane, God of the Worthy. Alchemist's Gambit is quite interesting, but not for the Izzet Turns because this one will always cost 7 mana to not die at the end of the turn. So, they might run one copy, maybe two if the format slows down. What interested me in this extra turn was the possibility of using 1 or 2 copies on Mono Red, Rakdos or Gruul to play another turn for 3 mana with guaranteed lethal on the board. How many times did you miss that 1 or 2 damage to win and ended up losing on the pass? This time, there may be no turning back by playing another turn!
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Cemetery Gatekeeper isn't exactly a strong two-drop, but the second part of the text draws attention and can be excellent against control/combo decks. The problem is that you need to have a card in the graveyard to justify its use, that is, it is a 2 drop that usually only works well from the third turn onwards. Chandra, Dressed to Kill has 3 useful abilities for Mono Red. The first is aggressive and speeds up the game, the second generates card advantage, and the ultimate basically wins the game. Even aggressive two-color decks can use it, as long as red is not just for a splash.
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Kessig Flamebreather is not good, but people will definitely try to make Izzet Spells with it, Delver of Secrets and Thermo-Alchemist and that's why I quote this card here, it's good in that archetype, but the archetype itself is bad. Manaform Hellkite can be a mirror breaker on Izzet Turns or simply an excellent creature on any Izzet. I can even see a Mono Red using the dragon with 8-12 non-creature spells in the deck.
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Reckless Impulse generates card advantage for decks like Mono Red and Gruul similarly to Light Up the Stage, it will definitely see play in aggressive red decks. Volatile Arsonist strikes me as a good curve top with Haste for Mono Red, and it gets even better at night (nightbound) dealing 2 damage when attacking instead of 1, and can knock small creatures out of the way. Voltaic Visionary fulfills the same card-advantage role for aggressive decks in addition to being a 2 drop with 3 power, being good for pressuring life totals. His transformation is weak, but the front side is good enough.

Green

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Ascendant Packleader was the one-drop that Mono Green needed to have action since turn 1. The 2/1 body is good, but its abilities make it even better for synergy with cards like Esika's Chariot, Wrenn and Seven and Battle Mammoth.
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Cemetery Prowler was the cheap graveyard hate Mono Green so badly needed. In addition to dealing with this, it puts pressure on the board, although It doesn't crew Chariot alone as Old-Growth Troll and because It's playing the same slot on turn 3, I think it's a sideboard or 1-of card in maindeck. Cultivator Colossus strikes me as a good tech for breaking aggro mirrors or ramp decks. I don't think it's better than other high drops that came out in the set, but the card itself is interesting, mainly for its ability to trample, making it very dangerous on late game.

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Avabruck Caretaker is another mirror breaker technology for Mono Green and manages to be useful against Epiphany decks thanks to Hexproof. To top it off, the night side is insane in pretty much any situation, giving hexproof to your entire board and counters to all your creatures. Ulvenwald Oddity is another possible mirror breaker for Mono Green. Yes, some extremely powerful green cards have been released to improve the archetype once again. All your creatures having trample can end the game out of nowhere, and this transformation depends entirely on spending mana, making the card even better for the late game.

Multicolored

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Eruth, Tormented Prophet smells like combo and is good with Lier, Disciple of the Drowned, not letting its spells be countered. At first glance it doesn't look very good, but I would prioritize removing this creature from the board quickly because the card advantage it generates is huge, and it has 4 toughness, bypassing most removals. Halana and Alena, Partners looks like a good card for escalating damage on locked boards, especially by giving Haste to creatures that get their counters on the turn. 1 or 2 copies in Gruul are worth the test, perhaps in place of Moonveil Regent.
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Torens, Fist of the Angels is very synergistic in Selesnya Humans and will be one of the payoffs in the deck. Maybe we'll start seeing more of this archetype instead of Mono-White Aggro and this card will likely be part of the list. Wandering Mind is a 2/1 body with flying that holds the game against aggressive decks and cantrips for Izzet Turns to develop their game. I don't know if it's a main deck card, but it should play at least on the sideboard.

Artifacts & Lands

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About the artifacts, the only good card for constructed is Lantern of the Lost, as it is the missing universal graveyard hate in the format and will be widely played as long as graveyard decks make an appearance.
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As for the dual lands, they are excellent like the others released in Midnight Hunt and will play a lot until they rotate, I have no doubt about it. The vampire land, Voldaren Estate, shouldn't see play even in the vampire decks because it's just worse than the current options for the archetype.

Conclusion

And that was my review for Innistrad: Crimson Vow! I hope you enjoyed it and that it helps you understand the set's impact on Standard a little better. Any questions, comments or feedback I'm available in the comments below.
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Thiago

Economist, Standard and Historic player. I stream on Twitch MTG Arena.

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