Reports are in to headquarters that drafting blue cards is where you want to be in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. That was music to my ears, and I rushed off to update Arena and put the new blue cards to the test. I found a decent amount of success with the usual blue strategies of drawing cards and attacking with flying creatures. Blue-white spirits fit well in this mold, offering plenty of recursive value with all the disturbed creatures, and a nice dose of tempo to help push the damage across.

But sometimes you get a chance at greatness. Sometimes you crack a fancy blue mythic rare in your first pack of the draft. Sometimes you get to build a deck around Lier, Disciple of the Drowned. When that time comes, you must seize it. You must push the strategy to the max. You must hope that nobody else is fighting for your cards. And you must hope that enough key uncommons and a few nice rares make it around the table to your seat.

When all of those things happen, you end up with a deck like this:

Lier and Friends Arena Premier Draft

Creatures (13)
Baithook Angler
Festival Crasher
Unblinking Observer
Obsessive Astronomer
Brimstone Vandal
Overwhelmed Archivist
Patrician Geist
Component Collector
Ardent Elementalist
Storm Skreelix
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Spells (10)
Otherworldly Gaze
Lunar Frenzy
Play With Fire
Arcane Infusion
Galvanic Iteration
Moonrager’s Slash
Burn the Accursed
Lands (17)

I have heard that blue-red spells is not the best archetype in Midnight Hunt. That’s usually true: blue and red already lack the creatures necessary to compete on board in games of Limited. Your damage-based removal and bounce lose effectiveness if you stall and the game goes long. That remains true in Midnight Hunt, but I had no trouble taking this deck to the full seven wins. The red spells do a lot of damage, and many can hit players as well. You may not be able to replicate this kind of success, but I will break down the useful cards that help get you to victory game after game.

First of all, Lier, Disciple of the Drowned is absurd once you can untap.A 3/4 permanent Snapcaster Mage will turn your spells-matter decks into a powerhouse. You probably won’t run them out on turn five unless you have nothing else to do, but playing them on six mana with Consider or Play With Fire in the yard for immediate flashback value already sets you up for success. If you can start casting multiple spells out of your yard with Lier, the game will end quickly—especially with Festival Crasher or Thermo-Alchemist in play to pile up that damage.

Speaking of cheap spells to enable flashback, Otherworldly Gaze does a ton of work. A better version of Dream Twist (unless you are going for the offensive mill victory, which you aren’t), Gaze fills the yard and triggers spells-matter effects very cheaply while making sure you churn through your deck. With Lier in play, you essentially draw every instant or sorcery in your top three, throwing them in the yard to cast with flashback. Absurd amounts of will value flow. But even in the base scenario, surveiling three cards and flashing it back to surveil three more does a ton of work to keep your deck flowing and enable casting more spells.

Arcane Infusion is the fancier gold-colored version of the same effect, though you can’t keep any good creatures on top of your deck. Feels bad to send Lier to the bottom of the deck for sure. One copy feels like plenty to help you dig into your deck, but you’d mostly prefer Otherworldly Gaze or even Consider. You want enough spell density in your deck that all you need to do is draw or surveil cards to make sure you hit the spells you need to keep your engine alive. The rare gold card, Galvanic Iteration, proved more useful. With a deck full of cheap burn spells, doubling up on Play With Fire or Moonrager’s Slash helped me win a few games.

Everyone loves the idea of Wee Dragonauts, though they tend to be less than unstoppable in most draft formats. You’d rather have Festival Crasher as a solid 1/3 two drop that can explode if it goes unblocked, but won’t eat many Lightning Bolt effects because it looks too weak.

Storm Skreelix however does so much more than Wee Dragonauts. The 2/4 body is much harder to kill, even a single spell a turn makes it attack as a 4/4, and the cost reduction on the spells makes single-attack victories a real threat every time you untap. I have seen this gold drake slide around the table in draft. Unlike many of the powerful blue or red cards, nobody else at the table wants Storm Skreelix. Get two if you can!

Cheap red pump spells tend to get overlooked in decks like this, though they combine well with Skreelix and friends. Lunar Frenzy is so much more than a cheap pump spell, though. By giving first strike, you can often use it for a single red mana early to win a key combat; and by giving trample, you will win against a chump block when you draw this late. If you have enough mana to dump into it and the coast is clear, you can win a turn or two earlier than expected. Of all the cards I’ve played with and against in Midnight Hunt, Lunar Frenzy has impressed me the most and ended the most games.

Beyond those cards, the rest of the deck functioned as you;d expect. The night and day cards are worth picking up to help turn Moonrager’s Slash into Lightning Bolt, but you mostly don’t care about the time of day. Of the two in this deck, Brimstone Vandal is much more powerful than Component Collector. While I did find a few spots that the tapping ability of Component Collector swung a race in my favor, the damage pings from Brimstone Vandal help shorten your clock. Thermo-Alchemist is better at reliable damage output, but Brimstone Vandal blocks and eats more than just decayed zombies. Plus it has menace for some reason, which helps get through a few more damage points when they can’t block.

Good luck going for this very fun draft archetype. I think you can have success if you focus on cheap spells and only play the best expensive creatures. Blue and red draft lovers have a better odds than usual in Midnight Hunt.

Carrie O’Hara is Editor-in-Chief of Hipsters of the Coast.

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