Later this month, Magic: the Gathering fans will rejoice in a return to one of the most beloved worlds in the history of the game. The collectible card game’s next expansion, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, takes players back to the eponymous gothic horror plane for the third time. And on this go around, Magic is devoted to showcasing a fan favorite creature type: werewolves! With card previews for the set starting today, here’s what you need to know to prepare for your adventure into the dark…
6. Autumn is here, and the nights are growing longer…
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is the first of two planned horror-themed Magic expansions this fall. The second of these sets, Innistrad: Crimson Vow, focuses on a wedding between vampires, while Midnight Hunt focuses on the Harvesttide festival, a revelry centered around a ritual that the remnants of Innistrad’s humanity are conducting to combat the coming of a night that may never end. Innistrad has suffered through a great deal already– from the destruction of the world’s guardian angel to the corruption unleashed by an eldritch force that now lives in their world’s moon. As such, not only are the people themselves haunted, the land appears to be too…
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt introduces a cycle of new non-basic dual lands to the game. Functioning in contrast to the “fastlands” cycle introduced in the Scars of Mirrordin expansion, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt‘s lands come with a drawback if you play them early in the game as opposed to late. You could call them “slowlands,” perhaps.
5. Werewolves are back in force
Why are they so scared of the dark? Well, it’s because that’s when the werewolves come out to play.
For Innistrad: Midnight Hunt‘s “Booster Fun” card treatment, werewolves and warlocks will receive a special ornate card type inspired by the trimmings of humanity’s Harvesttide Festival.
And of course, for the werewolves, their feral side will feature a showcase frame that tears the festival apart!
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt puts a new twist on Magic‘s werewolves. Whereas previously, werewolves transformed between their human and bestial states independently, the werewolves in Midnight Hunt are “daybound” and “nightbound” universally. Whenever any player casts no spells during their turn, if it’s daylight during the day, it becomes night at the end of the turn. On the other hand, if a player casts two or more spells during their turn and it’s night, it will then become day. And when it’s night, any permanent card that any player owns that has a “nightbound” keyword on it, much like Tovolar above does, will come in on their night side.
4. Werewolves are white now?!
Up until now, the werewolves on Innistrad have universally been either red or green, the two colors of mana most strongly bound to emotion and nature. In Midnight Hunt, however, all of that seems poised to change. For the first time, in Brutal Cathar, we are getting a white creature card with a werewolf on its nightbound side. And this card is not only unique– it seems incredibly powerful as well.
3. Welcome Back, Arlinn Kord
Players familiar with the world of Innistrad are likely familiar with the powerful werewolf planeswalker who calls this world home: Arlinn Kord. A devoted mage who has learned to control her transformations between woman and beast, Arlinn finds herself devoted to preserving the empathy that makes her human. However, that same empathy causes her to want to protect her fellow werewolves from extinction at the hands of humans who would see them go extinct as well. She is the missing link between two forms of existence, and her new planeswalker card reflects the burden of responsibility that has been placed upon her:
2. The Dead Continue to Rise
As much as Innistrad: Crimson Vow is focused on the werewolves that rule the night on Innistrad, this gothic horror world would not be what it is without its seemingly endless assemblage of undead. Crimson Vow introduces two new mechanics that revolve around the return of spirits and the decay of flesh.
First off, we have “decayed”, a rare drawback mechanic that comes on creatures and reads “this creature can’t block. When it attacks, sacrifice it at end of combat.” So why would you want to play creatures with decayed if you can only use them once? Well, does it sound like a better deal when a creature like Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia can give you a fresh decayed body during each of your turns?
Secondly, we have “Disturb.” Functioning similarly to how Flashback works for spells, creature cards with the disturb ability can be cast from your graveyard transformed. For example, your Beloved Beggar…
…can become a Generous Soul.
1. Hope is short, but light remains on the horizon
The Harvesttide festival is not a simple party– it’s an act of desperation. With Avacyn, Innistrad’s first angel and humanity’s greatest protector, dead, humans have had to turn to older forms of magic to combat the forces that would see them destroyed. The consequences of their ritual remain to be seen, but luckily for them, despite the fact that they are largely alone, they still have Sigarda, Champion of Light, on their side:
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt hits store shelves on September 24th.