Howdy! It’s time to start talking about the sweet new cards being spoiled from Shadows Over Innistrad. The Hipsters crew responds to all the cards officially spoiled. New cards added!

Tuesday, March 22

Engulf the Shore

Jess: So, could this be Marit Lage? I find that argument a somewhat compelling one…
Carrie: Maybe Nahiri brought Lorthos over from Zendikar?
Jess: Lorthos is calamari, though… Well, more like Kozimari, but you get what I mean. Octopus chunks, thanks to Kozilek. Good card, though.
Clark: This is pretty great as an instant speed reset button. How many playable big butt creatures are out there?
Matt: This reminds me of my drinking days.
Zach: Hey, it’s super Dreadwaters!
Rich: Tamiyo’s journal would be terrible bedtime reading.
Jess: You say this, but think of how perfect that framing would be for an Innistrad art book!

Call the Bloodline

Clark: Really pushing that Vampire Madness Theme hard. Drop a vamp with that Falkenrath Gorger on the board, cast it and get a 1/1 lifelinker?
Matt: This art is confusing and awesome. The perspective seems really askew. Well done.
Curtis: I love how, on Innistrad, the themes of aristocratic duty, honor, and traditional nobility are tied to the vampires and are therefore “evil” and black-aligned. There’s a pretty cutting commentary there!
Zach: This card is bad, unless your deck needs madness to function. Then it’s good. Funny how that works.
Rich: Good point Curtis on how the traditional aristocracy is evil while the good old common village system is good.

Burn from Within

Clark: Blaze with Exile… yawn
Carrie: I thought Anguished Unmaking was the answer to Avacyn.
Matt: Fireball has always been one of my favorite cards. I won my first FNM at Twenty Sided Store by casting Fireball, then Reveberating it. The player I beat, a grinder, was so insanely frustrated and angry. It was a great day.
Zach: I like new takes on old cards, and welcome Disintegrate back into the fold.
Rich: Has there been a mono-red burn spell before that bypassed Indestructible?

Sin Prodder

Jess: I don’t think this is good outside of Limited? I don’t know, choice cards are always risky, and it’s a little too pricey for non-Commander constructed formats.
Carrie: Maybe your opponent will incorrectly evaluate whether you want to draw an extra land off this? If you can pressure your opponent’s life total aggressively, this becomes scarier, but you also tend to fill those sorts of decks with cheap spells. Your opponent is never letting you draw Lightning Bolt off this trigger, for example.
Matt: A devil giving someone a push towards sin is perfect. If “sin” weren’t so problematic I’d be much more into this flavor.
Zach: I like this design a lot. It’s a punisher/Tribute card, so it’s less than the sum of its parts. Still a 3/2 Menace for 3 ain’t bad and random upside is always welcome (even if your opponent is guaranteed to only flip lands off of Sin Prodder).
Rich: Hilarious with all those expensive Madness cards which have a high casting cost and a low madness cost.

Tireless Tracker

Jess: I love this card though! It’s a combat powerhouse with a landfall ability that makes artifact tokens. Totally going in plenty of my green decks.
Carrie: This threatens to get big in a hurry, while also drawing cards.
Matt: This card rules. The art is beautiful. Eric Deschamps comes through again!
Zach: It’s Seer’s Sundial for 1 less on a 3/2 with upside. Seems great!
Rich: I still can’t tell if Clues are really good or really bad outside of limited. Also, I got to meet Eric Deschamps at GP DC and he is a wonderful human being.

Ulvenwald Mysteries

Jess: Another solid draw engine for sacrificial decks. Or, at least another solid token generator, so long as those tokens being artifacts works for your gameplan.
Carrie: Someone should photoshop the old “Unsolved Mysteries” TV logo to be this card.
Zach: This card is is really, really slow. It’s a powerful effect if the game goes long, but the game needs to go long for this to do much.
Rich: The mono-Clue engine deck in limited is gonna be fun to play. Could be a decent budget deck there with Support since it looks like it’s GW go-wide.

Invocation of Saint Traft

Carrie: Works well with skulk, as it adds power to your attack without making the skulker easier to block.
Matt: Saint Traft still looks sweet. Nice to see another fully clothed non-sexualized woman illustrated on a Magic card. I think we’re up to ten or eleven since 1993. I tease! WOTC is doing a much better job with this lately.
Zach: Saint Traft is one of my favorite Magic cards and I’ve delighted to see the reference. Re: Matt – I should probably post my statistical analysis of gender representation in Magic, ‘cause (according to my data) it’s actually gotten worse since the previous Innistrad, not better.
Rich: Yes. My budget Hexproof deck needed a finisher and here it is!

Choked Estuary / Foreboding Ruins / Fortified Village / Game Trail / Port Town

Jess: Shadow Lands. Irksome they did two cycles of ally-only new dual lands in a row though.
Carrie: These remind me of the Scars “fast” duals. After the midgame, these will almost always come into play tapped. The art is nice.
Clark: Yea when will they offer up some Enemy color lands? Anyhow This is weird because it works with the Tangolands but the Tangolands don’t work with them. Doubt these will make it to modern.
Matt: Fortified village looks amazing. As does Port Town. Honestly, they all look totally sweet.
Carrie: We do have the cycle of enemy creature lands at least, and the enemy pain lands are still in Standard until fall.
Zach: Some of this artwork is just phenomenal. These are some weird duals but will doubtlessly see plenty of Standard play.

Monday, March 21

Village Messenger / Moonrise Intruder

Clark: It’s not bell ringer, but this is nice for standard.
Zach: I like Village Messenger a lot more than I did Reckless Waif. A 2/2 menace is generally going to be stronger than 3/2 with no abilities, as is a 1/1 with haste than a 1/1 with no abilities.
Carrie: On the play, this will flip on your opponent’s first turn most of the time.
Rich: Menace is such a sweet mechanic

Always Watching

Carrie: Tangible Virtue?
Clark: Finally a Magic card for my The Police EDH deck! Elkin Bottle, Last Breath… this deck/joke is terrible.
Jess: Right, Carrie? It’s a missed opportunity that left with a creepier, and yet less interesting, flavor to it.
Zach: Tangible- d’oh! Well met yet again, Carrie.
Rich: Looks like another card is getting banned in block constructed… oh wait…

Paranoid Parish-Blade

Clark: If only this were an artifact creature, Paranoid Android.
Jess: I am a little reticent of the naming convention here; paranoia is a real mental health issue, albeit one with a colloquially used name. It makes me a little worried about reprints of Psychotic Episode and Psychotic Haze, both of which are Madness cards. And no, I can’t personally express clearly when it’s overly stigmatizing to people with mental health issues, I can’t describe that line with any degree of precision. But it’s something I think about. It’s something other people should think about too.
Rich: This highlights the semantic problem I have when people use paranoia this freely: He isn’t paranoid if there are actual monsters after him. That’s not paranoia. So here we have the common trope of the paranoid character who has an actual monster to fight which is not representative of paranoia at all but perfectly representative of the way society just uses that term to bucket people who have a fear that we can’t be bothered to understand.

Thalia’s Lieutenant

Clark: Champion of the Parish meets Crusade.
Jess: Oh thank goddess they fixed Cathars’ Crusade. Damn thing was all combo; this looks to be a friendlier card to play.
Rich: Another card that works nicely with all the +1/+1 effects from Zendikar and Tarkir will make for a nice budget aggro deck I think

Confirm Suspicions

Clark: Aether Grid Control?
Jess: Micah suggested that one of the most interesting things to do with Investigate would be to pair it with Grinding Station. Basically, the Izzet Trinket deck is going to love this card.
Zach: This is going to be bad in a lot of Limited decks and people are going to nevertheless jam it in because of its potential. I’m happy to eat my words here, but this card demands so much from one’s mana base.
Carrie: The new Cryptic Command!
Rich: There’s got to be a way to abuse this in Modern with Tezzeret right?

Manic Scribe

Jess: I will run this in Limited, in my Azami deck, and maybe in a mill deck if I ever put one together. It’s more play than I’d expect for a 0/3 uncommon for two mana.
Zach: This card is likely a whole lot worse than it looks. Sure, in a format with self-mill, it’s likely to kill some folks, but it’s also nigh-guaranteed to turn on their delirium.
Carrie: Worse than Hedron Crab most of the time, but if you drop this late in a limited game, it provides solid inevitability.

Welcome to the Fold

Carrie: What is Lazav doing on Innistrad?
Clark:  One of Us, One of Us.
Jess: Dominate much?
Zach: I find the artwork deeply confusing. Is the person welcoming themself to the cult? Oh, and this card is probably really good. If you’re hitting it with madness, then you’re probably stealing a creature at instant speed.

Asylum Visitor

Jess: On the one hand, I love draw engines. On the other hand, Commander players get really testy when you attack their hands, and we’re talking about a 3/1.
Zach: Blood Scrivener is not a very good card. However, this has better stats, wizard on its typeline, and can draw more cards. I’m excited about Asylum Visitor, particularly for cube.
Curtis: Yesss. I want to jam this in any deck with Liliana of the Veil and just go nuts. I feel like this is quite playable in the right shell. The flavor is miserably cruel.
Rich: Wait… at the beginning of EACH player’s upkeep? So if you dump your own hand it’s Phyrexian Arena, and if you can dump your opponent’s hand it’s two Arenas? Wait a second…

Behold the Beyond

Jess: Booooooooooooo. If this card doesn’t win you the game after you resolve it, you’re building wrong. Given that, I don’t tend to like cards like this, because I don’t like it when I combo win.
Zach: Seven mana for a triple tutor seems pretty darned good. Wizards seems to have figured out that you can have tutors be as powerful as you want, so long as they cost 5+ mana.
Carrie: This will be fantastic in sealed, assuming you have two or three good cards in your deck.
Rich: Wow. I know people have been giving this card a bad time but it’s a one-sided Ill-Gotten Gains that searches your deck instead of your graveyard. Someone is going to try to make this work in Vintage/Legacy.

Gibbering Fiend

Zach: Aggro creature is aggro. It’ll be harder to turn on delirium in a hyper-fast deck, but incidental pinging is quite strong (just ask Nettle Drone).
Carrie: I hate playing Goblin Piker in limited, and this bonus is not likely to be worth much.
Rich: While I don’t mind the flavor of Delirium I think a lot of these cards might have been fine with Threshold


Obsessive Skinner

Jess: This may be better than it seems. I have a Ghave, Guru of Spores deck I’ll definitely try this in; it’s a Doubling Season one, so it should be able to hit Delirium with regularity.
Zach: Timberland Guide is already a fine Magic card. Obsessive Skinner can steadily take over the game with Delirium. Just don’t forget the trigger during each opponent’s upkeep.
Rich: It’s +1/+1 counter city. I would be shocked if the next block wasn’t full of -1/-1 counters after three straight blocks with +1/+1 counter sub-themes.

Second Harvest

Jess: Speaking of things that look good in a Ghave Doubling Season deck…
Zach: Doubling Season for tokens!
Carrie: More like second breakfast.
Curtis: Grown-Ups of the Corn? Also look at those hats! Innistrad humans have 17th century beliefs, 18th century clothes, and 19th century hairstyles, I think.
Rich: They also have 20th century film references apparently.

Corrupted Grafstone

Jess: Decks that like playing Fellwar Stone will love this, though I think its true Commander appeal will be supplementing the Signets in the enemy-colored decks that have been denied Talismans.
Zach: A lot worse than most two-mana rocks in cube, but Standard tends not to have any. If self-milling is easy (specifically if it’s on lands), this could be a major Standard player. Or awful.
Carrie: I assume this cannot produce colorless mana off graveyard lands. It might help splash colors if you can discard one of the splash cards that you otherwise can’t cast. No surprise this things gets printed right as tri-color cards rotate out of Standard.
Rich: I can’t believe this is a rare. This feels like the first two-mana rock we’ve gotten in a long time. Coming into play tapped seems fair and the restriction on adding mana is real, but this will still be a card that gets played in Standard.


****Previously Reviewed Spoilers****

Archangel Avacyn / Avacyn, the Purifier

Jess: This is actually a pretty sweet commander for Commander players to go gaga over. Boros didn’t have a lot of sacrificial commanders; sure, you could run Brion Stoutarm, but he’s slow and doesn’t really offer the same versatility. Archangel Avacyn has a more powerful (and less threatening) version of her previous incarnation’s key ability, but she also turns a sacrifice into a Slagstorm, and that has some play implications. I am excited to run her with some of the red/white human token enablers from Innistrad 1.

Zach: A 4/4 flying vigilance is already strong in limited, and adding in flash and Rootborn Defenses kicks it into overdrive. And it transforms, as well. She should be great for Limited and Cube.

Lexie: B-B-B-B-Boooooooooombbbb in limited. Girl is so good. I think she will be sweet in constructed too. She has so many abilities for her cost.

Rich: Okay, it’s a mythic rare so obviously it was going to be good in limited environments and I’m not surprised to hear that it’s Commander playable. I am disappointed that the trigger to flip Avacyn and drive her mad is something as simple as any of your non-Angel creatures dying. This seems like a bit of a flavor fail.


Avacynian Missionaries / Lunarch Inquisitors

Carrie: The front is barely playable, but if you ever flip them, Lunarch Inquisitors rock the house. Innistrad had some good equipment, and I expect it will be the same way in Shadows, but we shall see. In general, cards that make you want to do things in Limited that you don’t normally want to do (play equipment, for example) are worse than they look because you have to put suboptimal cards in your deck to make them good. Beware.

Zach: The original Innistrad had a decent amount of playable equipment, so if there’s room in SoI for the equipment subtheme, it could be easy to have 1 or 2 pieces of equipment that you’re happy to run even without Avacynian Missionaries. If the equipment subtheme is as weak as it was in Oath of the Gatewatch/Battle for Zendikar, then this creature is indeed much, much worse than it looks, since you’ll essentially be 2-for-1ing yourself to get the 2-for-1 of Lunarch Inquisitors.

Rich: So now Stasis Snare is a creature with a difficult activation trigger. Seems playable but underwhelming.


Pious Evangel / Wayward Disciple

Jess: I’ve been putting together an Orzhov cleric deck built around Ayli, Eternal Pilgrim. This could see some play in that; elsewhere, I don’t know if the cost is worth the relatively mediocre ability.

Zach: The aristocrats are back but hidden on the back face of a card that’s more expensive than Blood Artist and not as evasive as Falkenrath Noble. If this were just a 2/4 Zulaport Cutthroat for 2W, it’d be great (because it can actually block well, something no similar cards do). However, it’s not that; you need to invest five mana and another permanent to get the body, and since there’s no morbid in SoI, you’re less likely to get additional value off of the sacrifice. This could be quite powerful, but there’s a real setup cost and I haven’t yet seen the payoff for a sacrifice deck.

Rich: If standard slows down a bit then this could be a good card for the Aristocrat-style decks. It has the correct line of text, just on the wrong side of the card. Being white, however, will let you slot it into an Eldrazi Displacer/Brood Monitor combo deck without having to add black as a color for Zulaport Cutthroat. So I guess it’s got that going for it.

Aberrant Researcher / Perfected Form

Carrie: Big Delver. The front side is generally a playable Limited card. Flipping into the Perfected Form is all upside, although you will rarely play more than six cards in your deck that trigger the transformation. Delirium as a mechanic encourages players to put other permanents in the noncreature slots of their decks, so that makes this harder to flip than usual. It’s a freeroll, though, so mise!

Jess: Plus, it mills you every turn, helping enable the delirium even if it doesn’t flip!

Zach: This card is beautiful. It’s a Snapping Drake/Moon Heron/Cloud Manta which enables delirium, tells a great story, and randomly turns into a Cloud Djinn.

Lexie: OMG THE FLAVORRRRRRRRRRRR. I love, love, love the flavor of this set. Also, he’s a really good limited card.

Rich: Sweet, another way to sneak Narcomoeba, the most broken creature ever, onto the battlefield!


Daring Sleuth / Bearer of Overwhelming Truths

Jess: Uhhhhh… that’s creepy? And they kinda look like morph spiders. Also, have they colonized the Bearer in the second art? Creepy creepy crawlers!

Carrie: I think the dark side of the sleuth is supposed to be bad for the guy, but his stats and abilities sure got better.

Lexie: this art kind of reminds me of the Bloodborne game… I don’t know, I guess this whole set has that feeling. I like this card though.

Zach: Unless there are ways to sacrifice clues without paying mana or using Tamiyo’s Journal, or there are other cards which reward you for sacrificing a clue, this card has a big setup cost. I love me a Scroll Thief, but this may not be it. Or it’ll be awesome. Without seeing more commons, I can’t really make an educated guess.

Rich: I just don’t see “Clue” becoming a constructed-playable mechanic.


Startled Awake / Persistent Nightmare

Carrie: If the game goes long and your opponent is out of answers, this ends the game very quickly. Low-power blockers are the best. Spells that can flip into creatures are awesome, and I hope we see more like this.

Jess: I don’t know if this is good; it probably isn’t. But do you know what this card is? Really, really cool.

Zach: This is some awesome design space.

Lexie: This card is creepy. And the kid on the flip side reminds me of the kid from Mass Effect 3…. Anyway. I think the design of this card is sweet. Art is creepy though.

Rich: YES! Just the card I needed for my Modern Sanity Grinding deck!

Thing in the Ice / Awoken Horror

Carrie: Blue really needed more amazing two drops.

Jess: We haven’t yet seen the full set, but I am finding it hard to believe that something else will beat this for a flavor win.


Zach: I wonder if this really is the blue Tarmogoyf. It’s got a setup cost, but in formats with Serum Visions or Brainstorm, that’s not a high bar.

Rich: Every set has a card that you should sell out of ASAP at the pre-release because it can only go down in value. At $20 pre-sale this is 100% that card.


Elusive Tormentor / Insidious Mist

Carrie: Amazing, efficient, hard to kill threat. Could be a key card for control decks in Standard, or maybe for Vampire madness decks out of the sideboard as a resilient threat. Total bomb in Limited.

Jess: Another flavor win, although I don’t know how useful this will be in Commander. Still, all the more reason to run Garza Zol, Plague Queen as your tribal vampire commander.

Lexie: Limited is great for this card. Total bomb.

Rich: The flavor is strong with this one. The constructed playability is not.


Heir of Falkenrath / Heir to the Night

Zach: Now that we’ve seen a bunch of vampires with madness, this seems like a potential lynchpin of that strategy. It can’t be used repeatedly, but it can power out a madness spell without costing mana and giving you a flipped Delver as upside.

Carrie: You can only use the ability once, which makes this more a straightforward Limited beatstick than a constructed Madness enabler.

Lexie: Very solid card in limited. I can’t wait to see how the vampires archetype will be in constructed though.

Rich: Love me some suicide black aggro. Let’s do this.

Breakneck Rider / Neck Breaker

Carrie: Sucks to be a horse on Innistrad.

Jess: I really wanted this to flip to some sort of Headless Horseman.

Zach: Ah yes, the old horror story of NECK BREAKER, the were-wrestler. I wonder why the werewolf’s artwork lost the sense of momentum that seemed to convey the buff to attacking creatures. Instigator Gang didn’t need it, but the idea of a wolf pack seemed to convey the ability just fine. In other news, this isn’t a 3/2 werewolf for 3R, so it’s breaking with convention from last time (which is a good thing).

Lexie: RIP, horsey. RIP.


Hinterland Logger / Timber Shredder

Carrie: Very swingy card. If you play this turn two and your opponent can’t play something on their second or third turn, you are way ahead. This is so easy to kill or trade off with, though.

Jess: Badass flavor, and a potential contender for Pauper Cube, but otherwise unremarkable outside of limited.

Zach: Nowhere near as strong as Gatstaf Shepherd, but it still forces players to have early interaction or spells. That said, it’s a common and has four power, both of which make this logger more dangerous than the shepherd.


Sage of Ancient Lore / Werewolf of Ancient Hunger

Jess: “When Sage of Ancient Lore enters the battlefield, draw a card.” Everything else is just Maro-flavored gravy.

Zach: Has it been several years since last we’ve seen a Maro? Weird.

Carrie: No two see the same Maro.

Rich: The beater I needed for my Howling Mine mono-green beatz deck.


Arlinn Kord / Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon

Carrie: Arlinn is basically Huntmaster of the Fells, except she’s easier to transform, harder to kill, and has more abilities. That means she has a real shot at being a Modern staple, depending on where the metagame goes. She will be one of the best cards in Standard.

Jess: Definitely the most exciting card they’ve yet spoiled. I don’t think it’s going to have a major impact on Modern, but that’s wishful thinking… I want at least a playset, and am not enthusiastic about paying $140 for the privilege.

Zach: Everything about Arlinn seems strong. She’s tied together by werewolf flavor, not mechanics, so she gets a wide suite of abilities which have synergy but can respond to a variety of board states.

Lexie: SHE IS SO GOOD. Holy cow, this card is insane. She has so many abilities and will do so many great things in constructed… which means she will be super expensive. Love this card though. Werewolves for life.

Rich: I’m willing to bet she started off with the normal Werewolf transformation clauses but they would rather use the text space for five abilities than three abilities plus the werewolf text. Plus, the flavor of the story made it clear she’s not a normal werewolf, and is in control of her transformations.


Neglected Heirloom / Ashmouth Blade

Carrie: The front side is okay if +1/+1 turns out to be relevant in creature combat, say if the format is full 2/3s. Notably, it stays transformed even if it stops being equipped to a transformed creature. I bet this card is pretty good.

Jess: Decent flavor, mediocre art (it should have been the sword that was broken), and little use outside of Limited.

Rich: Go go Werewolf/Equipment deck in limited!


Westvale Abbey / Ormendahl, Profane Prince

Carrie: Talk about a way to end a late-game board stall! Sure, you can use the land to make your sacrificial lambs, but you can also drop this as a 9/7 flying indestructible haste creature with lifelink if you have five expendable creatures, five mana, and a land drop. Risky if they bounce your demon, but maybe they tapped out and you win on the spot.

Jess: Dana thinks this is Night on Bald Mountain, though I’m not sure the art tells that story. Still, super good card (and interestingly it makes white tokens without having a white color identity).

Carrie: I just like to say Walpurgisnacht, which incidentally is a couple weeks after Shadows releases.

Jess: I wonder if this will be a legal commander. The equipment wasn’t, but we’ve seen planeswalker commanders since then… It would certainly be an interesting one.

Lexie: I love how they are playing with different types of cards transforming. I think it is a great way to expand the design space of this set. Now, this card is sweet. I almost want to play a token deck just to swing with this guy.

Rich: This makes me want to go back to playing B/W Tokens in modern just to put this in as a one-off for the lulz.

Angel of Deliverance

Jess: Unlike most of the times white gets this ability, the Angel doesn’t let the exiled creatures come back when it dies. That having been said, the “white creatures are all white people” issue with Innistrad 1 doesn’t seem to have stopped here; even this dark art looks like a white person in shadows.

Rich: Thanks to cross-block flavor, this Angel is actually just delivering her victims to an Eldrazi processor.


Bygone Bishop

Jess: I actually like this more than Mentor of the Meek, and I think it’s got a broader range of applicability. I like Clue tokens. Probably too slow for Affinity, but it will find plenty of homes in Commander.

Zach: Chapel Geist was a good card even when it cost 1WW and didn’t draw you clues to cards. I’m guessing clues are better than they look (they seem really slow). If that’s the case, there’s either a lot of additional utility to them or the format is relatively slow.

Lexie: This card tickles my fancy. One, its a 2/3 flier for three, and two, it makes things that let me draw cards. As an aggro, white weenie player, I like drawing my cards after I play all of my little dudes.


Declaration in Stone

Carrie: No wonder the rest of the Markov clan hates Sorin.

Jess: I am kinda not loving the whole “Nahiri is a raging bitch” flavor that we seem to be getting in these spoiled cards. We’re only seeing Sorin’s perspective, and in a vacuum her actions seem messed up, but they may well end up being justified? Nahiri has just gotten short shrift since her formal introduction, and I’m not finding Shadows to be dispelling that failure of characterization.

Zach: I’m rooting for Nahiri. I don’t know what happened to her, but she was abandoned by Sorin and Ugin. Sorin seems happy to continue going to planes and doing or saying nothing, and I’m less cool with that.

Rich: I miss the old world of ancient planeswalkers battling and I hope Nahiri vs Sorin lives up to my expectations. Planeswalkers always had short tempers and Nahiri was very much not thrilled to have her world nominated as Eldrazi prison. Her side of the story better be fantastic.


Descend upon the Sinful

Jess: Well, it’s better than the typical version of this effect? Not particularly exciting otherwise, though, and definitely doesn’t feel mythic. Plus, I am totally getting a Library of the Dead vibe from that flavor text… I don’t think it’s a good thing?

Carrie: This card feels very mythic to me. It has an anti-religious feel to it (so does this whole set), the effect is extremely strong with or without Delirium, and the illustration tells a great story.

Rich: In French this card is called Descend upon the Fishermen.

Drogskol Cavalry

Carrie: Tapping out for this isn’t amazing, and it probably isn’t too tough to kill for a lot less mana than you paid. But if your opponent can’t kill this, you probably win.

Jess: Spirit tribal is definitely getting some new tools.

Zach: This is going to be a gorgeous foil.

Rich: Seven mana just seems like so much for this effect.


Eerie Interlude

Jess: While not a functional reprint of Ghostway, it’s close enough, and Ghostway is close enough to the flavor theme of the plane, for me to wonder why this needed to be a new card.

Zach: I’d wager that they didn’t reprint Ghostway because they don’t want people destroying their own tokens.

Rich: If they reprinted Ghostway you couldn’t build an 8x Ghostway deck now with Eerie Interlude!

Carrie: Zac Hill slipped Faith’s Reward into M13 hoping to make the 8x Second Sunrise deck viable in Modern. Eggs won a Pro Tour and got Second Sunrise banned. I wonder if something similar is going on here with Ghostway. That was already a fringe Modern deck.


Odric, Lunarch Marshal

Jess: Feh, these effects aren’t typically super powerful. It is fascinating to see the listed keywords grow, though.

Jess: Also, Odric looks like a tool. Odric always looks like a tool.

Lexie: So many abilties, so many options…

Zach: Oh no! His sword went out!

Rich: For a creature that does nothing on its own you’d think they could have made it survive Lightning Bolt at least.

Reaper of Flight Moonsilver

Jess: Hey there, Fallen Angel.

Rich: At uncommon this is going to be a powerhouse in limited.


Thraben Inspector

Carrie: If there are enough one-toughness attackers, or equipment proves a good theme, this could be good. Otherwise I’m not sure you want to play a card that cycles for three mana.

Zach: There’s a big power difference between Merchant of Secrets and Elvish Visionary. Where Thraben Inspector falls is a function of how good clues are and how many 1/1s there are.

Rich: This is Elvish Visionary in white for one more mana with one more toughness. This is basically the line between green card draw and white card draw but I think this is above the curve for white card draw.



Carrie: You have to work to turn on delirium, but R&D probably made that a reasonable strategy in Limited. If so, this card is very good. It also got the sweet art treatment, which tends to suggest it is a powerhouse in constructed.

Jess: I could definitely see situations where I’d play this in Commander. That’s usually a good sign for uncommons.

Zach: If you can turn on delirium, that ability is absolutely nuts. If you can’t, you get a spirit token with a bit of upside. Seems good.

Lexie: I like this guy. Can help a dude get in there and can repeat it over and over if delirium is active. Did I mention it flies?

Compelling Deterrence

Zach: Disperse is an okay card that’s become much better now that removal is weaker in Limited. Disperse that turns into Recoil should be quite powerful.

Carrie: Grimgrin looks really stupid here.

Rich: Recoil is such a bananas card.

Epiphany at the Drownyard

Carrie: End of turn pay six, either draw your best card or the other five? Or whatever combination makes your opponent’s choice most difficult. Very promising. Could also be an engine to combine with Life from the Loam in Modern.

Jess: I like that you can get value for this as 1U; I dislike that it’s not uncommon.

Zach: Steam Augury was weak. We’ll see how good this is, but we’ve never seen a card like this (where your opponent chooses what you draw) be particularly good.

Rich: I like how we keep trying to “fix” Fact or Fiction and it’s just never as good.


Geralf’s Masterpiece

Jess: Better than the last mythic stitcher, but otherwise it’s kinda meh.

Carrie: Geralf can probably do better than this.

Zach: I see why this is mythic, but man it feels underwhelming. Recursion is strong, but discarding three cards is a huge cost that’s difficult to do more than once.

Jace, Unraveller of Secrets

Carrie: Scrying then drawing a card is very strong. Lots of loyalty. Leather Jace won’t supplant Flip Jace, but decks with six Jaces tend to be good.

Jess: Planeswalkers with CMC 5+ tend to find a home in Commander more than other formats. That’s good, since this seems like a generally powerful utility card.

Zach: I’m a little surprised that this Jace doesn’t make or interact with clues, given that that’s his role in the story. As is, he’s strong, like every planeswalker in the set.

Lexie: Jace, McJaceJace, doing those Jace things.


Jace’s Scrutiny

Zach: Jace’s Scrutiny is not a particularly good card, but a ‘cantripping’ instant is a decent thing to have if you want delirium.


Just the Wind

Carrie: I expect this will be used to get value out of forced discards, like with Pore Over the Pages. Bounce is great against double-faced cards, so expect this to be a solid card even without discard outlets.

Zach: We’re living in a world where 1U bounce spells are often some of the best Limited removal spells. Just the Wind could be just the card you want to buy tempo or time, and it’s even ‘free’ if you’re discarding cards for value.


Nephalia Moondrakes

Carrie: Soul of Killing Your Opponent.

Lexie: I like this guy.



Ongoing Investigation

Zach: I have no idea how well this card will work but I want to try it out. The activated ability is so weirdly synergistic: you can make horrible, race-losing attacks and then exile the creatures for value. Then again, you can only investigate via combat damage once per turn, making the card a kind of glorified Curiosity.

Jess: I do so hate consuming graveyard resources, but that static ability is sweet. The biggest drawback to this card in Commander is its Simic color identity.


Pieces of the Puzzle

Zach: Uncovered Clues was awful. Pieces of the Puzzle is a self-mill spell in disguise (which isn’t the worst thing for turning on delirium). There are very few formats where one is able to play a 12+ spell deck (though the original Innistrad was one of them), so cards like this tend to be unplayable.


Pore Over the Pages

Carrie: Tailor-made for cheap madness cards, and for holding up Negate or Silumgar’s Scorn.



Carrie: Blue needs more good two drops.

Jess: Hi, tribal spirit autoinclude! It’s like that faerie, but cheaper and less lordly.

Lexie: Yup, love this card. Spirit Tribal man, Spirit Tribal.

Zach: On your end step, I flash in Geist of Saint Traft.


Rise from the Tides

Zach: A neat take on Spider Spawning that has a lot less going for it. Perhaps there are enough token makers that you can both get a bunch of zombies when you cast it and then not immediately die because you can’t block with your new army. Or perhaps there’s a Gnaw to the Bone for spells (which could be just what such a deck would need).

Trail of Evidence

Carrie: Investigate sounds like the most durdly mechanic ever. You better have some cards that actually do something to draw into.

Zach: I trust that clues are more fun than they look to crack, ‘cause all I see them as is additional hoops to jump through to draw cards.

Jess: Well, the “instant/sorceries matter” Commander deck now has an additional non-instant/sorcery to add. There are way more enablers for that archetype than make sense to play.

Lexie: If this card cost 1U, I’d try it in Scapeshift….

Crow of Dark Tidings

Zach: A 2/1 flying for 3 is usually on par with a Wind Drake (though with the amount of Simoon effects around nowadays, that’s less often true). Crow of Dark Tidings has the potential to quickly enable delirium, which could be just what the doctor ordered.


Diregraf Colossus

Carrie: It’s going to be hard to use both abilities in the same game, but some aggro self mill could do the trick.

Jess: This is a great tribal card, if a bit too “Wicker Man” for my artistic tastes.

Lexie: Zombies are cool. I like that this does a little bit of a lot of things. Gets big and goes wide.

Zach: Seems really strong. I understand that it can get big, but should a colossus really be small enough to be brought back by Reveillark?


Farbog Revenant

Carrie: This feels overcosted.

Lexie: Agreed. I want it to be 1B.

Zach: I like it. Lifelink is really strong in Limited and there’s a weird synergy between it and Skulk. It doesn’t look strong, but it feels like a fine C common.


Indulgent Aristocrat

Carrie: This aristocrat is much more indulgent with mana than the previous ones, which were actually good in constructed.

Jess: I am really glad for foiling out my Vampire tribal commander options before all these vamp lords got spoiled.

Lexie: Vampires will be so good in constructed…

Zach: I have low expectations of this aristocrat. Perhaps there’ll be a good WB sacrifice deck in Limited that’ll really benefit from this (where you turn your human soldier tokens into crunchy vampire Clues).

Carrie: It can sacrifice itself, which makes it solid in a vampires deck. If the Standard vampires deck is good enough, I could see a couple copies of this making it in.


Macabre Waltz

Carrie: Two mana draw three? This card is Madness! I love when reprints gain a new use.

Jess: This is way better than its original printing in function, but I’m not loving the art.

Zach: That is the silliest Liliana artwork I’ve ever seen on a card. This is normally a decent card and likely to be quite strong with madness and delirium.

Markov Dreadknight

Zach: It is a big, flying, discarding dragon. Paying mana to trigger madness isn’t great, but making this into a 5/5 ain’t bad. And even if you aren’t triggering madness, this creature becomes a beast right quick.


Merciless Resolve

Carrie: Is this better than Altar’s Reap? Shadows seems to have a land-recursion theme, so maybe it is.

Jess: Plus, it helps with Delirium, allowing you to add whichever of those two card types you need more.

Zach: Three is a lot more mana to hold up than two, so I think it’s worse than Altar’s Reap, even though it has less downside when the game has gone late. Then again, it can trigger Delirium at instant speed, so that could be a big game (unless most delirium abilities are upkeep triggers).


Mindwrack Demon

Carrie:  Mindwrack Demon shows how ridiculously powerful Siege Rhino was.

Lexie: I feel like I’d play this in constructed.

Zach: Well said, Carrie. A 4/5 flying trample is nothing to sneer at, though it’s suicidal to play this without delirium or board advantage.


Olivia’s Bloodsworn

Carrie: Remember Vampire Interloper? This version is slightly better.

Jess: Is this playable in vampire aggro?

Lexie: I want to play vampires. Guy is like Forerunner of Slaughter for vamps.

Zach: Vampire Interloper was generally awful, but absent Geistflame and Chapel Geist, the stats could be decent. The ability to grand vampires haste could also be decent if you’re cheating creatures out with madness later on.

Pick the Brain

Carrie: Pick a different card.

Zach: Coercion isn’t a great card even when you can select a land.


Relentless Dead

Jess: I like this card, but it’s no Bloodghast.

Carrie: This is the deck you sideboard Flaying Tendrils against.

Zach: I love this card. It’s zombie card advantage that feels like zombie card advantage. And it can block!

Carrie: I am very surprised it can block. I doubt decks that play this want a three mana permanent chump blocker, but it’s nice to have cards that do useful things when you are losing badly.


Sinister Concoction

Carrie: Enchantments you sacrifice are key cards in enabling Delirium. This one gives you a few more cards in the graveyard to boot. This is also removal, so expect to see it played often

Jess: This will see play in Commander; it’s another type of Attrition, and some decks will like this version more. Also, if Delirium is important and you’re missing a creature, turning this on your own nontoken creature gets you at least halfway there.

Zach: By itself, this can increase delirium by 2-4 (two by discarding a card you want and sacrificing it, three by milling something, and four by destroying your own creature, which is probably a terrible idea). It mills you before you discard a card, so I think you can see what you mill and discard a different card type accordingly (but am not 100% certain of that).


Stromkirk Mentor

Carrie: Four mana 4/2s tend to underperform in Limited.

Zach: How good this is depends on two factors (and forgive me if this seems obvious): how easy it is to make a vampire-heavy deck, and how close in P/T creatures are (and to a lesser extent, whether most vampires have higher power or toughness). If a single +1/+1 counter can really swing combat math (say, if most creatures are 2/3s), this could be decent. If it doesn’t (say, if most creatures are 3/2s), then you’re getting a Giant Cockroach with little upside.


To the Slaughter

Carrie: I love that this kills a lone Flip Jace even if they transform it in response. This could also be a good answer to Gideon if you have a Delirium deck.

Lexie: I like this card too—instant speed removal that can get around indestructible.

Zach: This is quite the edict. It seems like something control would absolutely love to have (which further weakens Dragonlord Ojutai), though it also gives power to aggressive or token strategies.


Tooth Collector

Carrie: Unless there aren’t many good targets to hit with -1/-1, this card is good even without Delirium.

Zach: Eyeblight Assassin is already a good card. Tooth Collector threatens to be quite strong.


Twins of Maurer Estate

Carrie: Trigger Madness and drop this to block? Yes, please.

Lexie: It is really good for that madness cost.

Zach: One of the better five mana non-flying 3/5s. This is going to be a great combat trick.


Falkenrath Gorger

Jess: This card is bananas. B A N A N A S!

Lexie: Card is so good. Vampires in standard please?

Zach: This card is really good. A great example of an extremely narrow ability stapled onto an already acceptable creature.

Carrie: Notably, once you discard a vampire with this on board, you can pay the madness cost before your opponent can remove this card. They can’t “blow you out” by taking away the ability after you choose to discard.

Fiery Temper

Carrie:  I’m surprised they reprinted Fiery Temper. Front-runner for best red common.

Zach: I’d be shocked (technically bolted) if this isn’t the best red common.


Flameblade Angel

Zach: A rare monored angel! Seems like a good dragon for ending the game quickly.


Harness the Storm

Jess: Hahaha, not a Commander card, even though it looks like a blast.

Carrie: It doesn’t exile cards cast from the graveyard, but it does require copies of the card in hand to trigger.

Zach: If Innistrad has a Bat signal, does that make Sorin Batman?


Incorrigible Youths

Carrie: Thankfully this is uncommon. I would not want to have to block this all the time on turn three.


Ravenous Bloodseeker

Carrie: How often will people kill their own Bloodseeker by discarding twice? How often will that be correct?

Lexie: 10/10 would play this card in limited.

Zach: Discard outlet is good. Haven’t said that in a while.


Vessel of Volatility

Carrie: A ritual that doesn’t help storm count or interact with either Goblin Electromancer or Pyromancer Ascension.

Zach: It’s a way to get an enchantment in your graveyard. Or to cast Geosurge and say go.

Wolf of Devil’s Breach

Lexie: This is also a sweet bomb in limited.

Zach: Doesn’t feel mythic, but does seem terrifyingly strong. I guess it’s mythic because it’s channeling Chandra Ablaze and can hit planeswalkers.


Briarbridge Patrol

Carrie: A sweet way to make sacrificing clues “free” on mana without simply lowering the sacrifice cost. Plus, if you drew three cards off your clues, seems like you should have a creature worth putting into play.

Jess: Yeah, I am totally going to have to make a Sherlock Holmes deck.

Zach: The card seems fun. Also, she has a cute dog, so I’m sold.

Clip Wings

Carrie: Nice Dragonlord Ojutai.

Jess: People generally like “each opponent sacrifices X” cards in Commander.

Zach: Ojutai is a scary dragon.


Deathcap Cultivator

Jess: This is the type of mana dork I could see playing in Commander: one with incidental upside, that upside here being that it’s a rattler.

Zach: I love the advent of two-mana 2/1s with fixing and upside.


Carrie: Willie.

Jess: I love it. I love land recursion, though there’s still nothing close to replicating the raw power of Life from the Loam.

Zach: This is madness!


Silverfur Partisan

Carrie: “How do we deal with the Wolfir?” “I know, make one and put an explanation in the flavor text!”

Jess: “Should that explanation actually explain anything?” “No, we’ll make them come to our well-designed website if they want to know more… though we could also make them buy a Fat Pack? Decisions!” Anyway, there still aren’t really enough Wolf and Werewolf lords to support that tribal strategy in singleton Magic.

Zach: Now ALL the werewolves are wolfir, and they’re gone. This makes for a silly infinite combo with Xenograft, 2x Spellskite, 2x Essence Warden.

Soul Swallower

Carrie: Should have been named Soultongue Kavu.

Zach: NOM NOM NOM. Strong not-hydra is strong.


Traverse the Ulvenwald

Zach: This is a very weird card. If you’re crazy, you can have Eladamri’s Call. Otherwise, you get Lay of the Land. For Limited, it’s a fine Caravan Vigil that sometimes is a tutor. I’m skeptical of it in Constructed, however: delirium seems like a not-insignificant hoop to jump through for a creature and spending a card to fetch a basic land is generally not powerful. Or perhaps I’m wrong and it helps turn on delirium by being a cheap, sort-of-cantripping sorcery.

Carrie: A one-mana creature tutor is interesting, and with Collected Company still around we might have use for toolbox creature decks. It might be hard to hit delirium in a CoCo deck, but between this and Topplegeist, it could be worth the trouble.


Anguished Unmaking

Carrie: I assume the flavor text is being emo to emulate Sorin.

Jess: I mean, this is obviously good in Commander, and replaces Mortify in many decks. But, at the same time… it’s not exactly exciting?

Lexie: I like this card more than Utter End—I’d rather pay 3 mana and be able to cast it on turn 3 than wait until turn 4.

Zach: Cube creators will now forever have a choice: Anguished Unmaking, Vindicate, or both?

Nahiri, the Harbinger

Carrie: Her ultimate sure does suggest she is bringing some Emrakul down on Innistrad. I hope the story is more creative than that.

Jess: I hope she’s not an Emrakul cultist now. I really dislike the way she’s being framed so far.

Lexie: Nahiri is like, one of my favorite planeswalkers. I want to play with her. 🙁

Zach: I’m fascinated by how red Nahiri’s card is and how dissimilar she is to Nahiri, the Lithomancer (whose abilities all cared about equipment). Perhaps the point of her being a harbinger of some malevolent force is overwriting her personality, but it definitely doesn’t feel anything like the Nahiri we met in 2014. This was a problem for Liliana of the Dark Realms, but perhaps storyline will justify the big change.

Carrie: I have a really hard time believing she’s in the thrall of Emrakul. Please please please let it be a surprising antagonist.

Olivia, Mobilized for War

Carrie: Horrible illustration. I mean, wtf?

Jess: Seriously, the worst! The card underneath it is decent, but still no Olivia Voldaren.

Lexie: Don’t like the art, but I love the card.

Zach: Eric Deschamps can and should have done better art than this. Olivia herself… kind of feels like her original version and should be a very strong Limited card.

Sigarda, Heron’s Grace

Jess: Well, it’s less OP than the original version? I do wonder what the others will look like, though.

Lexie: Why can’t she have hexproof too? 🙁 #sadpanda

Zach: A much less miserable-to-play-against version of Sigarda. I like how her card demonstrates that she hasn’t gone crazy (yet).

Carrie: I hope she’s a hero of the block. Innistrad looks short on female role models this time around.

Sorin, Grim Nemesis

Jess: Great in Commander, and likely too pricey to play elsewhere. I plan on picking up a bunch of these later at a discount, once their initial bubble has burst.

Lexie: I don’t know why people are so hyped about this card. It’s okay, but I don’t think it is powerful enough for the cost. Like, let’s look at six-mana Elspeth…

Zach: Every ability is strong, feels appropriate for Sorin, and is different from what we’ve seen on Sorin before. He’ll be a bomb in Limited, like most planeswalkers.


Brain in a Jar

Jess: One day I should make a “severed body parts” Commander deck.

Zach: Carefully worded to not work with Ancestral Vision. You could potentially do some shenanigans with Melira’s Keepers/Tatterkite to circumvent that restriction, but my Jenny brain is blanking on the how.


Magnifying Glass

Jess: This card is amazing in the right Commander deck, and decent in the wrong one. What is that on her arm, though?

Carrie: It looks like an eye in her shoulder.

Jess: Like a Necronomicon one, right? I can’t tell if it’s that or supposed to be a tainted shard of something spreading poison outwards. Grotesque either way. Goddess, I hope we don’t go from this set to New Phyrexia… I’d like to stop on a happy plane again at some point. The art lately’s been leaning a bit too hard on the body horror.

Zach: I love having mana sinks in Limited (Seer’s Lantern was my jam), but Magnifying Glass is really hungry for mana. Whereas Seer’s Lantern was fixing and ramp, Magnifying Glass’ colorless mana is unlikely to matter and few ramp targets have been spoiled so far. I’m happy to try it out, but it could just be too slow and too expensive to generate value.


Shard of Broken Glass

Zach: Usually, equipment this weak tends to be unplayable. If there’s enough equipment-matters or need to enable delirium, it could be playable, but otherwise I have low expectations.

Carrie: I’m trying to envision how the angle of the person in the reflection matches where they would be in relation to the shard. It seems off. The reflection has to be the victim, but even then, it is hard to reconcile.


Tamiyo’s Journal

Carrie: The flavor text should list a song and an emotion.

Jess: I am reticent to endorse tutors, but I love the clues.

Zach: Eat your heart out, Venser’s Journal!


Drownyard Temple

Carrie: What does this do? Why? I expect we’ll find out in Eldritch Moon.

Jess: I love it, it’s recurrable in a self-mill strategy and with Living Lands, Amulet of Vigor or Lotus Cobra, and Ashnod’s Altar, you can get infinite death and landfall triggers.

Zach: It’s a land with its own Crucible of Worlds. I like the design.

Forsaken Sanctuary / Foul Orchard / Highland Lake / Stone Quarry / Woodland Stream

Carrie: Please don’t be the only dual lands. Please don’t be the only dual lands. Please don’t be the only dual lands.

Jess: I mean, it’s good that they finally made a set of these, the cycles of this type of card have tilted towards the allied colors, but they’re still not good lands.

Zach: I love lands like this for Limited. They allows splashing and greedy decks.

Lexie: I hope we get more than uncommon gates…. Crossing my fingers…


Warped Landscape

Jess: Because most people have no idea what a Terminal Moraine is.

Zach: Hey, it’s Terminal Moraine! It’s a fine Limited card, though weaker than Evolving Wilds and Terramorphic Expanse.

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