Standard Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

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Standard Set Review: Innistrad Midnight Hunt

In this article, I analyze the most promising cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt for Standard!

By Thiago, 09/14/21, translated by Romeu, with help from our readers

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Innistrad Midnight Hunt comes to Magic Arena on September 16th and, having the complete previews, we'll make an analysis pointing out the most promising cards in the set for the Standard format. Overall, the new Innistrad looks strong in power level and synergy, and could become a set that really defines the new Standard. About the new mechanics:

daybound/nightbound

may come to be relevant to the format, but I don't think decks will be built on top of that, turning day or night is a bonus for some cards.

Disturb

is a good ability to use a creature that has gone to the graveyard, making it come back transformed with other abilities.

Coven

is highly win-more, limited mechanics; if you already have 3 or more creatures with different powers on the board, you're probably already winning. As for flashback, an old Magic acquaintance, will add a lot to the format, giving more recursion to decks in the late game.

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White

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Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is a very solid 3-drop that can generate value when entering the battlefield, as when you attack, you create a 1/1 attacking human token. As such, it's possible that she has at least 3 power to attack on next turn. Adeline's 4 toughness makes it more robust than Mono White's other turn 3 options, in addition to having Vigilance, which can be relevant on aggro mirrors. Fateful Absence is perhaps the best card in the set. Unconditional two-mana white removal for creatures and planeswalkers in exchange for a clue token. Excellent removal for aggressive decks that can knock any creature out of the way to keep pressuring life totals. The drawback is very low, and it will definitely see a lot of play at Standard
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Intrepid Adversary can be a good creature in later turns in the game to unlock the board by giving +1/+1 to all your creatures. Other than that, two mana for a 3/1 is always good against mid/control decks. Sigardian Savior strikes me as the type of card that is a good curve-topper for aggressive decks. One or two copies to play against decks with many removals is feasible.

Blue

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Consider, also known as the NEW improved Opt, will see play in multiple formats in place of or alongside Opt. Dropping an unwanted card to the Graveyard is better than dropping it to the bottom and eventually reshuffling the deck. Good friend of Delver of Secrets. Lier, Disciple of the Drowned smells like a combo to cast all your Spells from the graveyard. The part about spells that cannot be countered is perfect to ensure they resolve to win the game. Unfortunately, the best card to cast with flashback, Alrund's Epiphany, is exiled upon resolving, but we have several cantrips to cast and spells that enable a strong late game. Memory Deluge has the obvious comparison to Behold the Multiverse. Behold is usually cast for two mana while Memory Deluge always costs 4 and has a flashback cost of 7. It always sees more cards than Behold, but its high-cost may make it unusable. However, the card is interesting.

Black

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Champion of the Perished is a great one-drop for a possible Mono Black or Dimir Zombies. He and Forsworn Paladin should be the main turn 1 creatures of aggressive black decks. Infernal Grasp is one of the best cards in the set. With Heartless Act rotating, this should be the new most used two-mana black removal pf the format. The drawback of losing 2 life is not so relevant compared to destroying any creature for two mana. Slaughter Specialist is a 2 drop with 3/3 power and toughness. Creating a 1/1 token for the opponent seems like a low drawback for such a strong creature on turn 2, and when the token dies, the vampire gets a +1/+1 counter. For black decks with many removals, it's a great two-drop, I foresee many aggressive decks using 4 copies of the card.

Red

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Bloodthirsty Adversary is a great mana sink that can win the game in the late game with 1 or 2 activations, and has Haste. I see the vampire played in decks with various spells, such as Izzet Delver, Mono Red Burn, or some Rakdos to cast one or two removals from the graveyard while slamming in to win the game.

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Falkenrath Pit Fighter is probably the best red 1 drop post-rotation. Everyone likes a 2/1 for one mana for their aggro deck, but this vampire comes with a bonus: it isn't useless in late game! Its ability to draw cards is relevant in later stages of the game to generate recursion, something so painful for aggressive decks. It also cycles itself, since we can sacrifice it after the damage to draw a card. Geistflame Reservoir is one of the biggest hopes of anyone who likes the burn archetype. Similar to Experimental Frenzy, but worse, it generates recursion, despite having to spend 2 mana on turn and tap the artifact, allowing only 1 activation per turn, the card's key is in the counters it receives for every instant or sorcery cast. The objective is to be able to make a fireball in 2 or 3 turns. The problem is that Mono Red doesn't have a recursive card as good as Light Up the Stage, but the aforementioned vampire itself, the red Adversary, the new 4-mana dragon and the NEW Shock might try to fulfill the role of not allowing the deck to lose its gas.
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Moonveil Regent is perhaps Innistrad's best red card and one of the best in the set. We speak of recursion referring to the artifact for burn, and this dragon brings exactly that. Excellent curve topper for Mono Red that can discard its hand every time it casts a spell and draws a card for the color of the spell cast. With an empty hand, it's basically casting any spell and drawing 1 card, or it can synergize with the graveyard (however, red doesn't seem to have taken advantage of this mechanic as much as black or white does). I see the card playing also in Izzet Dragons to ensure we have tools in the late game, as it is optional to discard the hand to draw cards. Play With Fire or the NEW improved Shock is a good card for burn decks and for Mono Red Aggro itself. Without Bonecrusher Giant // Stomp as a curve-topper to finish games, Play With Fire can be a good option that still gives scry 1 when dealing damage to a player.

Green

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Primal Adversary is 4/3 creature for 3 mana, which is good stats on its own, but it's also a great mana sink that can end the game in one turn by turning all your lands into 3/3 creatures with Haste. With the amount of mana it takes to pay the wolf's ability 1 or 2 times, the lands will probably only attack on the next turn, but it's still a very difficult situation to deal with if you don't have sweepers on the other side. Saryth, the Viper's Fang is an interesting four-drop that doesn't have a lot of body to look at, but its static and activated abilities are good and can generate complex combat phases. Basically, all your attacking creatures will have deathtouch, but by paying 1 mana and tapping Saryth, the creatures regains hexproof. With the rotation of some creatures from Mono Green's turn 4, we can see Saryth occupying this space. Wrenn and Seven has interested me a lot since it was first spoiled. A 5-mana planeswalker that will at least create a 2-for-1 situation with a 5/5 token with reach is good, and its four abilities are useful; +1 to secure land drops and filter the top, 0 to effectively ramp, -3 to protect you from almost any creature, including Goldspan Dragon, probably the best post-rotation format card, and its -8 wins the game in 1 or 2 turns, since we'll have plenty of lands to cast spells from the graveyard. I will definitely test it on some ramp deck.

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Multicolored

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Arcane Infusion claims to play alongside Delver. 2 mana to get an instant or sorcery from the top and still have flashback is quite efficient, you can even play it on Izzet Dragons to get a counterspell or extra turn. Can’t Stay Away is a cost-effective reanimate and even has flashback to improve the card. With the emergence of some Orzhov Midrange, Angels tribal or black and white decks with low curve, this card is highly testable with 2 or 3 copies. Faithful Mending, also known as Faithless Looting for Azorius, is good for cycling your hand, just like Looting does, and synergizing with your graveyard, something Azorius can do with some cards from the new set. The 2 life part might be relevant to control/midrange decks, and I see a lot of these decks testing the card.
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Florian, Voldaren Scion is the perfect card to generate card advantage to Rakdos Vampires. In addition to being 3 mana 3/3, looking at the top X cards and being able to cast one until the end of the turn is enough advantage that many decks can't keep up and lose in a few turns. Any Rakdos, with or without vampires, must use the card. Hungry for More is quite reasonable to pressure the board with a 3/1 creature with trample, lifelink, and haste. If it was only 2 mana for that, I wouldn't think it's relevant, but the flashback ability makes it reasonable for Rakdos, especially if it has some sacrificial synergy, as the token is sacrificed in the next end step. Join the Dance is one of the few good Selesnya cards that have been released. 2 mana to create 2 1/1 tokens played in pretty much all Standard formats and I see no reason not to see play now, except that it costs {GW}, but it still does the board-pressure role well and has flashback, making the card even better.
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Liesa, Forgotten Archangel will most likely be the terror of aggro decks. 5 mana 4/5 flying and lifelink is enough to scare away aggressive decks. Exiling opposing creatures that die and returning non-token creatures to your hand as soon as they die makes it even better. Great curve topper for Orzhov, and it has an interesting synergy with Kaya, the Inexorable that makes Liesa basically indestructible. Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer strikes me as a key card for any Boros that might come into existence. Your burns dealing 1 more damage to any target is relevant, plus pressuring the board with haste. Combined with Showdown of the Skalds, it can deal a lot of damage by revealing 1 or 2 burns plus some creature to increase the board. Rite of Oblivion is an excellent removal for decks that generate tokens or have more expendable permanents and that can generate pressure. Exiling any nonland permanent is never bad, and its drawback is low on certain decks.
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Sacred Fire or the “Shocking Helix” can be used in either control decks to hold the game or in aggressive decks to deal direct damage. Very synergistic with Rem Karolus, the reservoir and other cards in the set. By itself, it's a good card for the format and not too strong as it would be as Lightning Helix, which basically prevents the existence of aggressive decks in Historic Vampire Socialite is mandatory card for Rakdos Vampires, 4 copies without a doubt. It puts a lot of pressure quickly, and menace makes it easier to trigger its ability that makes other vampires enter the battlefield with an additional +1/+1 counter.

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Double-Faced Cards

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Chaplain of Alms is a good one-drop for Mono White which, when returning to the battlefield with Disturb, causes problems with dealing with the board as it gives Ward 1 to all of your creatures. Better than current options on turn 1. Delver of Secrets is one of the most famous cards in the set, as it is absurd in Pauper and Legacy. In Standard, we don't have Brainstorm, Ponder and Preordain, considerably worsening Delver. Still, we have the improved NEW Opt, Consider, to help flip Delver. I honestly don't think it will be as good as they say in the longing for playing with it in Standard, but it can cause many problems in the format if other sets bring good new cantrips. Malevolent Hermit can unlock several tempo decks in the format with its ability to counter noncreature spells unless its controller pays 3, something not trivial in the early turns of the game. His Disturb form is excellent for Tempo decks by not letting your creatures get countered.
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Poppet Stitcher looks innocent, but I see potential in him being a mirror breaker of post-side control matchups. A deck with many spells can easily trigger its ability and create zombie tokens. With 3 tokens on the board, we can turn the creature into an artifact that buffs its zombie tokens, pressing the board and demanding a response in 1 or 2 turns. Mandatory card in Dimir Zombies too. Smoldering Egg, the NEW Thing in the Ice, has a lot of potential alongside Delver or in Izzet Dragons, which has 4+ cost spells to quickly turn the egg into a dragon. The egg itself is useful against aggressive decks, as it's hard to get over a 0/4 early in the game and the threat of turning it into a dragon means we need to deal with the egg before it's too late. The dragon itself is pretty good, dealing 2 damage to any target when we cast an instant or sorcery, it can win the game quickly or clear the board against creature decks and turn the matchup in our favor. Hound Tamer in addition to being a decent 3-drop, it's an excellent mana sink for aggressive decks. His night form is even better, being a lord for wolves and werewolves.
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Outland Liberator resembles Thrashing Brontodon with its versatility to destroy a target enchantment or artifact, despite not having such a good body, being only a 2/2 on the front and 3/3 on the back. However, this ability to deal with cards like Esika’s Chariot and Ranger Class makes it good. Tovolar's Huntmaster has what it takes to be the new curve topper for green mid/ramp decks. six mana for a 6/6 that creates two 2/2 wolf tokens is pretty strong. The card even improves when it's night, being a 7/7 that can pay 4 mana and make a wolf or werewolf fight a creature you don't control, as well as creating 2 2/2 wolf tokens when attacking.
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Arlinn, the Pack's Hope is perhaps the best card in the set alongside the black and white removals. The front side is strong, can cast creatures as if they had flash and surprise in the combat phase, or cast a creature in the opponent's end step, in addition to coming in with a +1/+1 counter. The -3 protects the planeswalker by creating two 2/2 wolf tokens and synergizing with many cards in the set due to the wolf type. The back-side speeds up the game with +2 or simply pressures the board with 0, hitting with a 5/5 werewolf with indestructible, trample and haste. The new planeswalker easily enters Gruul or even some ramp decks.

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Tovolar, Dire Overlord arrives to complete Gruul's turn 3 and generate a lot of synergy of wolves and werewolves. The card advantage generated by its front and back static ability is superb, remember that the 2/2 token of the Ranger Class is a wolf and a drop 3 with 3/3 power and toughness turns into a 4/4 when its night ability triggers generates pressure quickly. The werewolf's activated ability to give +X/+0 and trample to target wolf or werewolf can win the game in one hit, as well as it synergizes with Arni, Brokenbrow, another creature that should see some play on Gruul's turn 3. As for the rare land cycle, I think it's great for Standard, and will see play in basically all decks with 2 or more colors. The manabase of the format should lock decks in 1 or 2 colors, as we don't have the triomes anymore. The pathways are good, but they only generate one color, the new cycle, which has been called the slow lands, is good, but it doesn't carry base for 3-color decks on its own, and Strixhaven's show lands are part of the worst land cycle rare ever seen in the format. And here we come to the end of the analysis of the cards that I consider the most interesting of the new set. 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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