snapcaster mage
7, Mar, 23

Insane Nostalgic MTG Staples Finally Come to Arena!

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Article at a Glance

Players have known that a remake of Shadows Over Innistrad has been in the works for some time. This remake is entirely digital, with the primary goal being to expand the number of cards you can play on MTG Arena. Some Arena-only formats, namely Explorer, are specifically designed to be a bridge to paper formats, limited to the lacking card pool on MTG Arena. After quite some time, we now have, according to Wizards of the Coast spokesperson Blake Rasmussen “95% of the cards registered from Pro Tour ONE, which was a Pioneer Pro Tour, will be available on MTG Arena” following the release of Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered.

While these reprints are indeed an exciting step towards truly having Pioneer on MTG Arena, that’s not the most significant thing to come out of the new expansion. Some incredible nostalgic staples are making their way to the Historic format in MTG Arena through this expansion.

Snapcaster Mage in Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered!

Among the most anticipated cards spoiled to come to MTG Arena as a part of this expansion is Snapcaster Mage. This incredible creature was printed all the way back in Innistrad and had a massive competitive legacy. The card doesn’t really see play anymore but should be a very fun and nostalgic option for players to use in MTG Arena.

For those worried that this card will be banned immediately upon being introduced to MTG Arena, like Mishra’s Bauble was, Blake Rasmussen confirmed that this card will be Historic legal. When partnered alongside fantastic cheap removal, like Unholy Heat, this should become a force to be reckoned with in Historic.

For those who have not played with Snapcaster Mage before, the card’s effect is simple: Snapcaster Mage gives an instant or sorcery in your graveyard Flashback. This means that you can cast it from your graveyard using the cost associated with the Flashback cost. For Snapcaster Mage, that cost is the same as the card’s mana cost. Past that point, the Flashbacked card gets exiled, so you can’t just keep casting it from your graveyard over and over.

Snapcaster Mage is good in decks where it can consistently become a two-for-one. Flash gives the card a lot of versatility and allows it to become a pseudo-removal option. It’s also a 2/1 at instant speed worst-case scenario, but that rate will be pretty bad in the Historic format. I have no idea whether this card will see play or not, but I’m pretty confident that it will show up somewhere.


For some, Griselbrand may be the most shocking card on this list. The card is banned in Commander for a good reason. Because Griselbrand allows its owner to draw cards by paying life, it’s very easy for the creature to lead to instant wins when resolved. As such, this is an incredibly popular reanimation target in Legacy.

Whether Griselbrand will become playable in Historic or not will largely depend on whether players can find a powerful shell that can cheat the creature in reliably. Sure, if you manage to hard cast a Griselbrand, it’s not difficult to imagine winning the game shortly after, but Historic has a very high power level, and trying to hard cast a seven-mana creature does not seem like a winning plan in such a fast format. This could see play in an Indomitable Creativity deck, but would Atraxa, Grand Unifier just be a better option? Legacy players may think so.

Lingering Souls

“One of the most powerful uncommons ever printed,” according to Blake Rasmussen, Lingering Souls will also be coming to MTG Arena. Like the other cards mentioned so far, this will be Historic legal. Lingering Souls feels a bit underwhelming at its normal rate, but the Flashback on this card pushes it over the top. You can discard it to things like Seasoned Pyromancer, netting a card, a token, and two more if you cast this from your graveyard.

The Main Set

While some strong cards are confirmed to be appearing as a part of the Shadows Over Innistrad remakes, many of the cards released as part of this set will be more for the Limited experience. There have already been some complaints from the MTG community on how underwhelming some of these cards are, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t getting some powerhouses in the new set.

As pointed out by Rasmussen, some of the cards we are getting in the new set are more exciting for Brawl players than competitive formats. Odric, Lunarch Marshal, affectionately nicknamed the ‘keyword soup guy,’ could be exciting for some Brawl aficionados.

Thalia, Heretic Cathar is a bit more exciting for the Pioneer crowd. This occasionally sees play in some Mono White sideboard to slow down creature mirrors or punish decks running many nonbasic lands. First Strike also ensures that this three drop lines up well in a board stall.

Meld cards, which first appeared in the original Shadows Over Innistrad, have been confirmed to return in this digital reprint. This has been confirmed alongside the two angel creatures that merge to make the fan-favorite card Brisela, Voice of Nightmares.

This picture highlights both a card that has seen a good amount of Modern play and a problem that seems to be rearing its ugly head with this remastered set. Eldritch Evolution is a fantastic Pioneer card that sees play in the Greasefang lists in that format, as well as in Yawgmoth lists in Modern.

Tireless Tracker is another nostalgic MTG card that no longer sees a lot of competitive play, but it also highlights another issue: duplicate rares.

Tireless Tracker and Mausoleum Wanderer, alongside some other, rares and mythics, are fan-favorite MTG cards that already exist on the MTG Arena client through special Anthology sets meant to inject Pioneer staples into the Arena client. For those who already have a full playset of these, opening extra copies in remastered packs can be rather frustrating when trying to open new cards to the client. For reference, there isn’t really a use for a fifth copy of an MTG card outside of Basic lands and the odd card that allows you to play an unlimited number of copies like Rat Colony because four is the maximum number of a card that you are allowed to play with traditionally in competitive formats. Hopefully, some duplicate protection becomes implemented because players are already pretty fed up with this.

Personally, I’m used to seeing this card appear in random lists because of how much some local players really love this card. Archangel Avacyn is a first-pick nightmare in Limited. It may not see competitive play, but there are a lot of players who love this card.

Unconfirmed Cards Players Want in Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered

Amongst all the cards revealed are, arguably, two of the most anticipated cards from the Shadows Over Innistrad era that has not been confirmed to MTG players yet: Spell Queller and Emrakul, the Promised End. Thing in the Ice was another big one, but we have seen confirmation on that card’s port to Arena. These two cards that see a healthy amount of competitive play, however, have a lot of players asking questions. Spell Queller, specifically, was mentioned repetitively by Twitch chat during Rasmussen’s reveal of these new cards, to which he simply said he could not confirm nor deny anything regarding it.

Read More: Everything You Need to Know about The Lord of the Rings: Tales of Middle-earth MTG Set

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