Yesterday saw the start of preview season for Magic the Gatherings next Standard legal set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. As one might expect with Wizards of the Coast choosing to return to such a fan favourite setting, the excitement level is quite high as we all get ready to experience that sweet, sweet gothic horror vibe we love all too much. So far, we have only seen a hand full of cards from the set, but we have seen enough to know the new and returning mechanics we will get to play with in a few weeks’ time.
So today we are going to look at these mechanics and see what kind of impact they might have on the game, from both a constructed and limited standpoint. Please note that all these opinions are my own, and you may well have differing views to me on the potential power level of these cards and mechanics. If you want to share your thoughts on these new cards, then you can leave us a comment below this article and tell me how you plan on breaking the game with them.
Now, with that bit of admin out of the way, let’s begin.
Investigate and Flashback.
First up we have two returning mechanics with Investigate and Flashback, both of which have proven to be quite popular in both constructed and limited play. Investigate first popped up five years ago during Shadows over Innistrad, giving players access to card draw no matter which section of the colour wheel they choice to frequent. Stand out examples of this can be found in both Thraben Inspector and Tireless Tracker (which still see’s constructed play). Card advantage is always welcome, and Investigate is a great example of this concept in action. Expect to see cards with Investigate to be somewhat popular in limited, with possibly a few choice cards making it to constructed play.
Flashback is the other returning mechanic, and it is fair to say, one of the most popular and beloved mechanics ever printed. Resource management is very important in a game like Magic the Gathering, since your deck only has so many cards that can have an effect on the game. So, a card that allows you to get twice as much value is automatically in high consideration when it comes to crafting a deck. Previous all stars with Flashback include Lingering Souls, Cabal Therapy and Faithless Looting. Except these cards to have a high pick rate in limited, as well as been very popular in constructed.
Get ready to get down with the sickness and play even more creatures from out of your graveyard. All the points I made about resource management, double that for creatures that you can get back from the graveyard. Similar to Embalm and Eternalize (both of which were very popular in Amonkhet Standard) Disturb allows you to pay a cost to get use of a creature in your graveyard. Except instead of a token, you get the creatures transformed side onto the battlefield for one last battle. From what we have seen so far all these cards come back as spirits. So if you love your creepy ghost stories during the autumn months, then this might just be the mechanic for you. Good for limited, with possible cards for constructed.
If zombies are more your thing, then I expect you are more interested in the Decayed mechanic. Seemingly restricted to token creatures (with other cards helping you create them) Decayed helps give you that sense of a horde of rotten corpses, shambling towards you as you bunker down and try to survive the horrors of the night. Sadly, I’m a bit underwhelmed by this one. Its still early days, and we could still be surprised by some good rare or uncommon cards to make the mechanic viable. But the tokens you create can’t block, and are sacrificed after combat if they attacked. Not a high pick for me unless we can fit it in to an aristocrat’s style deck.
Another new mechanic that hasn’t won me over is Coven. Representing the many allied parties coming together to fight of the night, Coven gives you a benefit if you have three or more creatures with different powers. As you can see on the new Sigarda, these can be really good. The only issue is that all the creatures need to have DIFFERENT powers. So, if you have two 2/2’s and a 4/4, no dice. This means deck construction is vital to your success, and a bad draw could see you out of the game with no benefit. Still, it could be fun in Commander.
Finally, we come to the really meaty part of Midnight Hunt. The Werewolves. A stable of Innistrad, these angry wolves have been one of my favourite parts of this creepy plane since it first came out over ten years ago. Sadly, Wizards of the Coast have never been able to get them to feel quite right, with them always been a little bit under powered compared to the Vampires and other ghouls of the plane.
Now however, rather than having each werewolf transforming on its own terms, they are all unified by the fact the game will either be taking part during the day or night. This is represented by the Daybound/Nightbound mechanic. From the MTG homepage: “When the game starts, it’s neither day nor night. In most games, it will become day first. The most common way that will happen is if a permanent with daybound appears on the battlefield.”
“In some uncommon cases, it may become night first because a permanent with nightbound appears first. The important thing is that once it’s day or night, the game will be exactly one of those designations, day or night, going back and forth until the game ends. It can never return to being neither. And the whole game is either day or night. It’s not a per player thing. If it’s day, each double-faced card with daybound and nightbound will enter the battlefield with its daybound face up. If it’s night, each of them will enter nightbound face up.”
This is such a favour win for Werewolf fans, and really helps the wolves stick to a more reliable strategy during the game. Whether this will be the thing that makes Werewolves a viable tribal deck is yet to be seen, but I for one am very hopefully.
And there you have it, the mechanics for Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. What do you think of Wizards returning to Innistrad? Why not tell us your opinions in the comments below, and while you are there why not consider liking and sharing our articles to help grow our little community. If you want to engage with me directly you can find me over on Twitter @TenguPlaysGames. I can be often found there posting random memes and teasing new articles before I write them.
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