The plane of Innistrad, Magic the Gathering's “gothic” atmosphere, is home to a number of classically notable creatures of horror. The focus of the upcoming Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the 85th expansion of Magic the Gathering, is (of course) the werewolves!
This expansion introduces us to several new factors rooted in classic horror cinema, such as the “Transformation” aspect and the importance of death in play. There are five tribes in this set, four of which are monsters and the last, giving them something to hunt, would be the humans.
First and foremost are the werewolves, all double-sided green and red cards; one side being the “human” part, while the other being the “wolf within” if you will. The human-to-werewolf trigger is unique in that it can only occur in the “beginning of the end” step if no player has played any spell cards that turn, whereas the werewolf-to-human trigger is played during the “beginning of the end” step if two or more spells were played by any combination of players that turn. This is meant to give the effect of time passing. This addition also gives players some control over their monsters while adding a note of surprise for the opponent anxiously awaiting the army of humans' inevitable transformation into a much more vicious (and terrifying) army of werewolves!
Zombies are next up, appearing in both black and blue. Black zombies are your classic zombie movie creatures; an undead legion raised through necromancy or other dark magic. These cards are great for getting zombie cards back from your graveyard or creating more zombie tokens to really feel like that slow growing army that overtakes their opponent over time and larger numbers. Blue zombies tap into a very “Frankenstein” feel with these flesh golems built using dead body parts (any old body will do!). These zombies require at least one dead body exiled from your graveyard.
Vampires are certainly nothing new to Magic players, but this set adds red to the standard black vampires to really give them an aggressive, ruthless feel.
The monsters that show up in all colors would be ghosts, or “spirits,” however they are most commonly found in blue and white. They are the most defensive of the monsters, preferring to fly and attack from above.
And of course what's the use of monsters without a little conflict? Humans are centered in white, with a lot of added equipment cards best suited for humans. One of the intriguing additions is that humans all work well together, with individual human cards that help other human cards specifically.
Each color was given a secondary theme in productions and while most themes stayed, red did not. Here are the themes originally given:
- White: Fighting Monsters – White's sub-theme is all about white fighting against everyone else. Some of this shows up in several spells and effects that target nonwhite things. White also has cards specifically designed to deal with each of the different monster tribes' tactics.
- Blue: Milling – Blue's milling is, in this set, mostly used to mill oneself to take advantage of the things that care about cards in graveyards (including, among other things, flashback and blue Zombies).
- Black: Graveyard Recursion – Black is the best color at getting back its resources from the graveyard (green is the second best). This combines well with the “death matters” theme.
- Red: Graveyard as a Resource – Red has some spells that exile cards in the graveyard to use. This also combines well with “death matters.” (This theme was moved to mostly black cards, with only one red card having this effect.)
- Green: Creature Cards in Graveyard – Green has numerous cards that are strengthened based on how many creature cards are in your graveyard. This allows green to grow stronger over time and helps with the “death matters” theme.
The key takeaway in this set in particular is thought to be the addition of the “Jekyll & Hyde”-style transformation effect and the dual-faced monster cards. This set also opens up a lot of possibilities for horror decks later on, with the Innistrad: Crimson Vow (focused around vampires) set releasing this year in November. Magic the Gathering has also teased a “Double Feature” set which includes both sets together in one, releasing in 2022.
Overall, lots of good “gothic-themed” horror incoming, and it's the perfect time of year to get your spooky on! Sign ups are now open for our Take Home Prerelease event this weekend so you can check out this set a week before it officially hits the shelves on September 24th!
-Article by Elizabeth