9, Nov, 21

Innistrad: Crimson Vow Rares Set Review for MTG Arena

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Yesterday, we went over the Mythics for Innistrad: Crimson Vow and rated them based on their constructed viability, and whether or not you should craft them on Magic Arena when the set launches this Thursday. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the Rares for the set! In case you missed the Mythic review, check it out here.

The Rating System

This is the rating system that we’ll be using for all of the reviews. I will throw a .5 after the star on occasion.

★ – Draft Chaff. These cards have zero constructed viability. Do Not Craft

★★ – Fringe constructed playability. Mostly a meme card. Only craft if you have all the other Rares.

★★★ – Some constructed viability. Needs testing but most likely needs additional pieces or a meta shift to be good. Only Craft if you have spare Wild Cards.

★★★★ – Strong constructed viability. Generally a good card and will test well and make the cut in decks. 2nd tier priority for crafting.

★★★★★ – All Star Cards. These are deck defining cards with strong qualities. Top tier crafts.

This time, we’ll be looking at these in going by color, just to keep things organized. Since there are more rares, we’ll be doing short snippets of reviews for most of the cards, with the occasional deeper dive for more impactful cards.

White

By Invitation Only

Wizards of the Coast
By Invitation Only is interesting. We’ve seen 5 mana board wipes be utilized in Standard’s past to great effect, so I’d wager this will make some kind of appearance. It will require a control deck that’s playing white to be good in Standard to happen but it could. Historic has better options so this probably won’t make waves.

Rating: ★★★

Hopeful Initiate

Wizards of the Coast

As a 1 drop in White, Hopeful Initiate has a lot going for it. We can very easily get counters on this guy whether its via Training, or Luminarch Aspirant. This has some great utility as well being able to destroy both artifacts and enchantments, and we have some great targets in the format, like Ranger Class and Esika’s Chariot. This definitely slots into Standard’s Mono White Aggro, and may find a home in Historic Humans.

Rating: ★★★★

Lantern Flare

Wizards of the Coast
Lantern Flare is a pretty interesting card. While it can help a deck stabilize, it’s requires a fair bit of mana. I think it could maybe see play in Mono White, but it has some stiff competition. For Historic, it could be an interesting option for Jeskai Control, but the fact that it only hits a single creature could be an issue. Overall I don’t see this making a huge impact.

Rating: ★★

Sigarda’s Summons

Wizards of the Coast

While what Sigarda’s Summons offers may seem appealing, I don’t think that this is going to be a constructed playable card. The only deck that wants this is Mono White In Standard, and only when you’re against ground based creature decks. It is good at breaking board stalls, but it’s terrible as a top deck, and if you’re at 6 mana, and have a board full of creatures with +1/+1 counters, you’re probably winning.

Rating: ★★

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Wizards of the Coast
Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is a sweet reprint. It’s going to be a big W for Mono White, and could even spawn a Death and Taxes version of Mono White. We already have this in Historic, and it’s an all star there too. This is one of the rares that will be a MASSIVE player in Standard going forward.

Rating: ★★★★★

Voice of the Blessed

Wizards of the Coast
Voice of the Blessed is a card that I think will have more Historic viability than Standard. There isn’t a “life gain” deck in Standard, but Historic has one that’s quite good. This is a better Ajani’s Pridemate, and that’s saying something because Pridemate is a power player in the lifegain decks. This will for sure replace Pridemate in that deck.

Rating: ★★★★

Welcoming Vampire

Wizards of the Coast

I think that Welcoming Vampire is a card that might just be good enough to make the cut. Draw is a problem that Mono White has, since they dump their hands. That being said, I think the current climate of Standard may want Elite Spellbinder over this. I don’t think it’s quite good enough for Historic, but it might be worth testing.

Rating: ★★★

Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr / Katilda’s Rising Dawn

Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr / Katilda’s Rising Dawn is a hard card to evaluate. I think that it’s probably not quite good enough for Standard, but it could be a consideration for GW Enchantress, just as another way to win the game. That being said, this feels a bit much of a stretch to make work.

Rating: ★★

Wedding Invitation / Wedding Festivity

Wedding Invitation / Wedding Festivity isn’t great. It’s far too slow to get going, although there is some good benefits of the front side. I think a more competitive option for this would be Sparring Regimen and that’s only seeing small amounts of play. I think it could be tested but won’t be good enough.

Rating: ★★★

Blue

Consuming Tide

Wizards of the Coast
Consuming Tide is actually a really interesting card. I think that this card will be wanted by the Izzet Turns deck. It’ll be utilized as a way to reset the board with losing very little. I think that there’s also a place where this could see some play in Historic for Jeskai Creativity or Control.

Rating: ★★★

Dreamshackle Geist

Wizards of the Coast
Dreamshackle Geist is a card that feels average to me, but at the same time, this compares to Dungeon Geists which saw standard play. I think though the metas were very different when Dungeon Geist was in Standard so I don’t think it’ll do much. I also don’t think that this is good enough for Historic either.

Rating: ★★

Geralf, Visionary Stitcher

Geralf-Visionary-Stitcher-VOW
Wizards of the Coast
Geralf, Visionary Stitcher is a card that may make the Historic Zombies deck want to play blue. This alongside Necroduality might be enough to push the viability of zombies in Historic. I don’t know that Standard is the home for Geralf, but Historic could be it.

Rating: ★★★

Hullbreaker Horror

Wizards of the Coast
Hullbreaker Horror is the feeling a bit like a draft card. 7 mana is often a very contentious point for constructed, and you want to be winning the game off it or before it. This does neither. While having Flash is cool, and uncountability is great, it just feels a bit underwhelming for constructed. In a world where Control decks are playing fewer high mana cost bomb threats, this feels a bit stranded.

Rating: ★★

Inspired Idea

Wizards of the Coast
Inspired Idea is a card that is ALMOST playable. I doubt that anyone is going to want to pay the 3 mana cost and have their max hand size reduced, so we’re going to be paying 5 for this. The question becomes, is a 5 mana draw 3 worthwhile? Yea, it could be. The one thing that holds this back from viability is that it’s a sorcery.

Rating: ★★

Overcharged Amalgam

Wizards of the Coast
Overcharged Amalgam seems very interesting. It compares to Nimble Obstructionist a bit, but it requires another creature to sacrifice for exploit. We are getting quite a bit of zombie support in this set, but I don’t know that the deck will be competitive in Standard. It definitely won’t see play in Historic, because we have Stifle.

Rating: ★★

Patchwork Crawler

Wizards of the Coast
Patchwork Crawler is plain and simple too cute. It has some utility of being able to exile creatures from the graveyard, but that’s the only reliable thing we have. I think that trying to build around this is not a recipe for success.

Rating: ★

Winged Portent

Wizards of the Coast
Winged Portent is a strange one. the colors don’t necessarily lend themselves to being a creature deck, nor a flying creature deck. I think that this may be something more of a card for draft.

Rating: ★

Mirrorhall Mimic / Ghastly Mimicry

Mirrorhall Mimic / Ghastly Mimicry is a really cool card. 4 mana clones are pretty competitive, and if we can get the flip side in play on a powerful creature, things could be insane. I think it’s worth considering for Historic where the creature quality is much higher.

Rating: ★★★

READ MORE: Ten Most Expensive MTG Cards in Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Black

Bloodvial Purveyor

Wizards of the Coast
Bloodvial Purveyor is really interesting. It’s has an aggressive stat line, good evasion and trample. It’s “drawback” is giving the opponent blood tokens whenever they cast spells, but we get to boost our damage for each blood token they have. Blood tokens let a player loot, but they have to pay 1 to do so. I think that this could be pretty competitive for Standard, and may be for Historic Vampires.

Rating: ★★★

Demonic Bargain

Wizards of the Coast
Demonic Bargain is a pretty interesting card. It feels almost like Demonic Consultation, but not quite as combo-y. You obviously run the risk of exiling the card that you’re hoping to search for, but a 3 mana tutor is pretty strong. I think that this could be card that would go in the Tainted Pact and Jace, Wielder of Mysteries decks as ways to reliably find either of those cards, but that’s probably it.

Rating: ★★★

Dreadfeast Demon

Wizards of the Coast
Dreadfeast Demon is a really cool card. I think that this is a card that we can try to build around as a fun little challenge. We can sacrifice tokens to this, so that’d be how I’d build it. I don’t think that we’re making this top tier though. This is a HOUSE in draft though.

Rating: ★

Dying to Serve

Wizards of the Coast
Dying to Serve is a worse Waste Not. The fact that we have to discard cards for this, and that it activates only 1 time a turn, is a pretty big hinderance for this being good.

Rating: ★

Falkenrath Forebear

Wizards of the Coast
Falkenrath Forebear is inspired by Skyclave Shade. I think in a deck where Blood tokens are plentiful, I’d consider this. Everywhere else, I’d take a Shade. I think that this is a reasonable creature and worth testing in a more aggro style deck.

Rating: ★★

Graf Reaver

Wizards of the Coast

I think that Graf Reaver is a very good card. At worst, it’s a 2 mana planeswalker removal spell. At best, we have a solid creature that also removed a planeswalker. Definitely a really solid option for removal.

Rating: ★★★★

Headless Rider

Wizards of the Coast
Headless Rider is a sweet card for Zombies. A card like this is a great way to rebuild a board after a board wipe. If the Zombies deck is good in Standard, this will be great. This could definitely be a great card in Historic as well. I’d expect this to definitely get tested.

Rating: ★★★

Path of Peril

Wizards of the Coast
Path of Peril is great. Giving control a board wipe at 3 mana that can deal with a LOT of tiny aggressive creatures is fantastic. It’s cleave cost is a bit much but can deal with the whole board so I think that this has a good shot of being played if Esper is playable.

Rating: ★★★

Concealing Curtains / Revealing Eye

Concealing Curtains / Revealing Eye isn’t great. Generally creatures with defender are not played, and if they need some big upside. The flip side is a bad discard spell because it let’s the target of it draw a new card. This is purely a draft rare, in which it’s an alright card.

Rating: ★

Voldaren Bloodcaster / Bloodbat Summoner

Voldaren Bloodcaster / Bloodbat Summoner is a fine card. It’s competitively stated and costed, and in decks where blood tokens will be a focus, this might be alright. I just think that the “Blood Token” deck will be tricky to build, and probably will be a bit harder to make happen.

Rating: ★★

READ MORE: Zombies Are Straight-Up Silly In Commander These Days

Red

Alchemist’s Gambit

Alchemists-Gambit-VOW
Wizards of the Coast
Alchemist’s Gambit is an insane card, and one that will absolutely 100% be played in Standard, and possibly Historic. This is additional copies of Alrund’s Epiphany for Izzet Turns, and also gives Izzet Dragons an “extra turn” finisher. This card may be the tipping point of solidifying Izzet Turns as the best deck in Standard, and could cause a banning for Epiphany.

Rating: ★★★★★

Change of Fortune

Wizards of the Coast
Change of Fortune is very interesting. It’s meant to play into the Blood Token mechanic, but I don’t anticipate it being played in that deck. Where I think it could show up in is the Mono Red Madness deck. That being said, that deck already has a bunch of ways to discard cards, so we’ll have to see, but it’s definitely worth testing.

Rating: ★★★

Creepy Puppeteer

Wizards of the Coast
Creepy Puppeteer is a very interesting card. It’s definitely possible that this could be a decent top end for a Red aggro deck, and buff up some smaller creatures. This also could fit into the Gruul Aggro deck in Historic, since there’s quite a few smaller creatures that we can buff. Very interesting card that has some real potential.

Rating: ★★★

Curse of Hospitality

Wizards of the Coast

This card is pretty cool. Curse of Hospitality has a similar effect to Robber of the Rich, which saw some play. That card has been phased out of the deck. Where this card has some play over Robber is that it gives ALL of your creatures trample. That’s a pretty big benefit. I think this card is moreso going to be used for that effect than the secondary one. That being said, I’m 50/50 on if this sees play, so we’ll have to see.

Rating: ★★★

Dominating Vampire

Wizards of the Coast

One of our obligatory “Act of Treason” for the set is Dominating Vampire. I don’t think that this card is very good. It has a pretty strict requirement for meet to get the creature we want, and we may not always be able to meet it. A 3/3 for 3 is fine? I’m not excited by this card and I don’t think it’s going to be played, except for maybe in a Vampire Aggro deck.

Rating: ★★

Kessig Wolfrider

Wizards of the Coast
Kessig Wolfrider is an awesome card. Red has been looking for a new 1 cost to really take center stage and I think that Kessig Wolfrider is it. Menace makes sure that we’re getting damage through in the early game and we can pump out some tokens to help beef up our board. I think this combos really nicely with Creepy Puppeteer. Standard playable for sure, possibly Historic playable.

Rating: ★★★★

Olivia’s Attendants

Wizards of the Coast
Olivia’s Attendants doesn’t excite me in the slightest. It’s 6 mana, and it needs to connect to get any benefit. It’s only redeeming qualities are that it’s got menace, and it can be a mana sync to ping down creatures. I don’t expect this to be played at all in constructed.

Rating: ★

Stensia Uprising

Stensia-Uprising-VOW
Wizards of the Coast
Stensia Uprising is a neat token producer for red. I think that this card could be good. A consistent source of creatures is always a nice thing to have for Mono Red, and depending on how long it stays in play, or when we play it, it could deal 7 to our opponent’s face, which could end the game outright. That being said, there isn’t anything quite like this so it’s a bit hard to evaluate. I don’t know that it’s going to really see a ton of consideration.

Rating: ★★

Ill-Tempered Loner / Howlpack Avenger

This is a really cool design. On the front side, Ill-Tempered Loner is a Stuffy Doll, but on the flip side, Howlpack Avenger makes all of our permanents into Stuffy Dolls. There’s tons of combo potential here, but in Historic.

For Standard, this may be used more fairly as a good blocker, and if you happen to transform it, attacking / blocking is highly favorable for you. For Historic, we have quite a few of these style effects in Truefire Captain and Brash Taunter, so this could slot into that Tier 4 deck nicely.

Rating: ★★

READ MORE: Dracula Is Yet More Proof That Wizards Can Nail Crossovers

Green

Ascendant Packleader

Wizards of the Coast
Ascendant Packleader is a super cool 1 drop. It’s a solid attacker in the early game, but then as the game goes on, it gets bigger. I think this card is definitely on the table for consideration in Mono Green in Standard, and maybe the more Midrange versions of Gruul, for Standard and Historic.

Rating: ★★★★

Dig Up

Wizards of the Coast
Dig Up is actually pretty good. We’ve seen 1 mana land tutors be strong in the past like Attune with Aether. It’s cleave ability lets us tutor anything which is pretty nice. I think that this may make it’s way into some Golgari decks with lower land counts to guarantee that they hit their land drops for Standard and Historic both. 2 mana is also a very important turn for ramp decks in Historic so this could creep in there as well.

Rating: ★★★

Glorious Sunrise

Wizards of the Coast
Glorious Sunrise is a pretty versatile card and a powerful one. I think that this has a home in Mono Green Aggro, as all of these options are really strong for that deck. I think that this probably is a bit too slow though for Historic.

Rating: ★★★★

Hamlet Vanguard

Wizards of the Coast

I really like Hamlet Vanguard a lot. I think that this card has the makings of a REALLY good finisher in Humans decks for both formats. Stick a Maul of the Skyclaves on this guy, and you’re in business. It has built in protection, and can get absolutely massive, and not to mention, we can hit this off Collected Company in Historic. Big thumbs up from me.

Rating: ★★★★

Hiveheart Shaman

Wizards of the Coast

I don’t think that Hiveheart Shaman‘s home is really in constructed. Where this shines is as a build around me card in Limited. For constructed 4 or 5 color decks, we’re ideally playing dual lands, so this gains very little value. We can’t even leverage the activated ability because it requires basic land types.

Rating: ★

Howling Moon

Wizards of the Coast

I think that Howling Moon is more of a commander card than anything. The existing Werewolf deck in Standard wants to be curving out with creatures rather than playing an enchantment that relies on our opponent’s casting multiple spells to gain some benefit.

Rating: ★

Splendid Reclamation

Wizards of the Coast

During it’s first time in Standard Splendid Reclamation didn’t do too much. This time probably won’t be any different, but where this card will 100% shine is in Historic. This combos incredibly well with Scapeshift and could make a very cool landfall / ramp deck come about. We don’t have Field of the Dead in the format any more, but there’s a lot to explore with this.

Rating: ★★★

Howlpack Piper / Wildsong Howler

Howlpack Piper is a really cool take on Elvish Piper, but with some Werewolf synergy upside. You’ll ideally want to give this haste somehow to be able to cheat a creature into play right away. Wildsong Howler is a great way to help refuel our hand with additional creatures. This card for Standard is most likely used for a tempo play if at all. For Historic, we can cheat some insane stuff into play, so I’d expect some experimentation there.

Rating: ★★★

Ulvenwald Oddity / Ulvenwald Behemoth

I think that Ulvenwald Oddity / Ulvenwald Behemoth is a really solid midrange creature. A 4 mana 4/4 with trample and haste is a great rate, and should it stick around, we get a… behemoth of a boss monster. I think this is a shoe in for a spot on Mono Green in Standard. For Historic, it has to contend with Questing Beast so I don’t expect it to see much love there.

Rating: ★★★★

READ MORE: Mono-Black Is The Color To Beat In Commander

Multicolor / Artifact / Land

Anje, Maid of Dishonor

Wizards of the Coast
Anje, Maid of Dishonor is the one creature that I could see that would make a vampire / blood token deck work. She’s has a reliable way to produce blood tokens, and we can combo finish our opponent’s out with her activated ability. I’d expect this to see some testing for that very deck, so we’ll see how good it’ll be.

Rating: ★★★

Eruth, Tormented Prophet

Wizards of the Coast
Eruth, Tormented Prophet is definitely not a constructed card. It’s definitely a “For Commander / Brawl” card, and that’s fine. It’s a cool effect that can give you some great value, but in the current climate of Standard and Historic, there’s much better cards to be playing.

Rating: ★

Grolnok, the Omnivore

Wizards of the Coast

What is most likely another “For Commander / Brawl” card, could also be a really fun “self mill” enabler. Grolnok, the Omnivore is one of the few cards that allow you to cast spells from exile. This would primarily be something for Historic, but could give you some protection for your Jace, Wielder of Mysteries. Pretty meme-y but still pretty fun.

Rating: ★★

Halana and Alena, Partners

Halana-and-Alena-Partners-VOW
Wizards of the Coast
Halana and Alena, Partners is actually a very cool card. This is a pretty competitive card for Gruul, and I think gives a little boost of power to the Bard Class deck, which I’m a big fan of. I’m only giving this a 3 star rating because Bard Class is a pretty fringe deck, but this definitely goes in that deck.

Rating: ★★★

Odric, Blood-Cursed

Wizards of the Coast
Odiric, Blood-Cursed is a card that goes in the Blood Token deck. I’m sure that there’s an amalgamation a cards that you could compile into the deck to maximize the benefit of Odric, but I think that it’s just too hard to get full value. You’re probably looking at playing this with Anje and Olivia, and maybe get 3ish blood tokens per ETB trigger from Odric. I still don’t think that the deck will be quite good enough though it will be tried.

Rating: ★★★

Old Rutstein

Wizards of the Coast
Old Rutstein is a card that if it were to see any play would be a part of a new archetype for Standard. This is an engine for a self mill style of deck that may want to play some kind of landfall outlet like Felidar Retreat, and Splendid Reclamation, and maybe Cultivator Colossus. It’s pretty slow, but could be a cool deck to try out in both Standard and Historic. I don’t think it’s very competitive though

Rating: ★★

Torens, Fist of the Angels

Wizards of the Coast
Torens, Fist of the Angels is a house! This is a great card to play in Humans decks for both Standard and Historic. It’s a hit off Collected Company, and is a human itself, so it helps with those synergies. This lets you go super wide, and while it may not get really big, it’ll be a reasonable threat.

Rating: ★★★★

Dorothea, Vengeful Victim / Dorothea’s Retribution

Dorothea, Vengeful Victim is very interesting. 2 mana for a 4/4 flyer that gets 1 shot at combat is strange, but could be valuable. Where this card really shines is on it’s back side. Dorothea’s Retribution is effectively Geist of Saint Traft‘s effect on an aura.

This is probably the most competitive Creature / Aura disturb card in the set, and while it may be a stretch for this to be good in Standard, Historic has a home for this already in Azorius Auras. 3 mana would be the most expensive aura in that deck, so we’ll have to test it and see just how good it is, but it looks pretty good.

Rating: ★★★★

Edgar, Charmed Groom / Edgar Markov’s Coffin

Edgar and his coffin are pretty fair cards. Edgar is a vampire lord, which is great for the vampire deck, but on his own, he’s a pretty solid creature. His coffin does a good job at keeping the board gummed up while we wait for him to rise again, but one of its downside is that it’s an artifact. There’s a fair bit of artifact removal in both Standard and Historic, so this may not stick around long.

Rating: ★★★

Runo Stromkirk / Krothuss, Lord of the Deep

Runo Stromkirk is another “For Commander” card. The color combination and theme for this card doesn’t line up with anything else in the set, but this is a pretty cool commander. I’m sure that there’s probably some cheeky combo deck in Historic that could try to take advantage of Krothuss, Lord of the Deep but I think that’s a “challenge deck” that shouldn’t be very competitive.

Rating: ★

Dollhouse of Horrors

Wizards of the Coast
Dollhouse of Horrors is a cool take on a card like God-Pharaoh’s Gift. This is probably another Historic “challenge deck” type of card, and there’s a few angles you could take with this. You could try to generate constructs other ways and then your reanimated creature constructs are much larger, or you could try to go for a slew of different creatures that have broken enter the battlefield and attack triggered abilities and try to win that way. I think one creature you’d want for sure would be Ulamog, the Ceaseless Hunger. Ultimately though, this is a pretty odd card that most likely won’t see much play.

Rating: ★★

Investigator’s Journal

Wizards of the Coast

I’m pretty sure that Investigator’s Journal is meant to be for Commander / Brawl. I could see it as an on board card draw option, similar to Mazemind Tome, but this is just worse than that. I don’t expect this to see much play if any.

Rating: ★

Enemy Colored Slow Lands

Not much to say about these cards, except these are must crafts. Lands are the backbone of any deck, and having these for both Standard and Historic are going to be great pick ups.

Rating: ★★★★★

Voldaren Estate

Wizards of the Coast

Our last card is Voldaren Estate. I don’t expect that this is going to be a very powerful land, as I don’t think the “vampire / blood token” deck will be very strong. It’s most likely not even an auto include in just a plain Vampire deck, as usually those decks are 1 or 2 colors and the mana is often good enough as is.

Rating: ★

READ MORE: Modern Spirits Get SPOOKY Good Upgrade From MTG Crimson Vow

And that’s it! That was a long one and if you made it this far, I commend your dedication! We’ll be going over a few notable commons and uncommons in tomorrow’s article before the release on Magic Arena on Thursday. What Rares are you excited to try out in Standard or Historic? Let us know in the comments!

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