Releasing in a few weeks, Innistrad: Crimson Vow looks to offer something for every kind of player encompassing various formats. Unlike Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, Crimson Vow focuses on the Vampire tribe which includes a wedding tying the Voldaren and Markov bloodline as one. As such, Crimson Vow cares a lot about various tribes such as Humans, Werewolves, Spirits, and Zombies. So there is a lot for players who want to go tribal in Commander or constructed formats.
Admittedly as the Crimson Vow was only revealed last week, so prices are a little chaotic at present. However, that doesn’t stop you from getting an idea of what is valuable in the set, and we’ll update this guide closer to the set release and the months that follow it.
Kaya, Geist Hunter
Making a crashing visit to Innistrad is Kaya, Geist Hunter which offers an interesting set of abilities. Angling towards a ‘Token matters’ approach, Kaya is able to double the amount tokens that come in play or give your creatures deathtouch. Going on from previous Kaya cards, the ultimate offer graveyard exile and you create a board of Spirits in return. Also, note on the second ability, it states any kind of token so it isn’t limited to creating creature tokens only.
Maybe there is an Abzan Midrange strategy in Standard using Esika’s Chariot and Wrenn and Seven to generate a bunch of tokens. In Commander, the Legendary Planeswalker will fit right at home in Teysa strategies since Orzhov offers tokens as a sub-theme. Either way, Kaya, Geist Hunter is an unusual design for Orzhov colors, and it will be interesting to see where the card lands upon release.
Chandra, Dressed to Kill
Compared to Chandra, Torch of Defiance, Chandra, Dressed to Kill does a lot for three mana. With that, the Red Planeswalker comes with two plus abilities making it difficult to kill from the get-go.
In Standard, curving Chandra, Dressed to Kill into Goldspan Dragon will be a regular feature of the format soon. With her first two abilities, the best home for her will be in Mono-Red lists since you want to get the most value out of the card. The ultimate seem flashy, but it’s the emblem that is the most interesting ability here. In the long game, you will win the game in most circumstances by chaining off spells to deal incredible amounts of damage. Expect this Chandra to be a Standard all-star, it does everything you want it to do in Red and it’s favorably costed.
Toxrill, the Corrosive
With every set release, we often see unique Legendary Creatures that give birth to a new Commander strategy, and Toxrill, the Corrosive is one of those. The Slug Horror focuses on -1/-1 counters that give you Slug tokens in return. With those tokens, you can sacrifice them to draw cards throughout the game.
As you’re in Dimir, it opens up various options to pack counterspells and other ways to generate tokens. Poppet Stitcher from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt would be a nice addition since Poppet Factory doesn’t affect Toxrill. In terms of color pairings, Dimir offers one of the more diverse options available for Commander, and Toxrill is adding to that impressive list further. Plus, who doesn’t want play with Slugs?
Read More: Mono-Black Is The Color To Beat In Commander
Avabruck Caretaker / Hollowhenge Huntmaster
Perhaps one of the most forced Mythics from the set, Avabruck Caretaker is a nightmare for those wanting to play Crimson Vow Limited. For six mana, you get a Human Werewolf that puts two counters on a target creature, then it can flip to give all your creatures two counters instead. A very powerful effect and the support that Werewolves desperately needs for Commander and constructed formats.
Expect to see the Human Werewolf feature in Gruul Werewolves and Mono-Green Midrange, since both sides care about growing your creatures with counters. Not to mention, the re-introduction of Hexproof makes the card incredibly difficult to beat. Unsure why the card has Hexproof over Ward, but it’s sure to see play in Werewolf-focused Commander decks as it is a big threat. Oh, and the fact it isn’t Legendary means you can have multiple out at once in Standard, that’s just gross isn’t it?
Read More: The 10 Best Vampires In Commander
Sorin the Mirthless
It can’t be a return to Innistrad without Sorin, and Sorin the Mirthless offers plenty for Control and Midrange strategies in Standard. Admittedly, Sorin’s ultimate is far from impressive and is in tune with Innistrad‘s obsession with the number 13. But, there could be instances where the ability could be enough to win you the game or remove a tricky threat if required. It’s the first and second ability that makes Sorin a powerful Planeswalker in Crimson Vow.
The ability to make a 2/3 flying token, or to look at the top card of your library is enough to impact a game of MTG right away. In these styles of decks, you are often accruing plenty of life so losing life from Sorin’s first ability is a non-issue. Expect the variations of Sorin the Mirthless to be in demand, especially the Fang Frame variant which Ayami Kojima (of Castlevania fame) created the art for. This variant is likely to be the most expensive of the lot given the attachment to the video game franchise.
Since the digital release of Crimson Vow, Hullbreaker Horror offers plenty of value for Control and Midrange strategies at the top of the curve. For seven mana, you get a Kraken Horror with flash that offers similar abilities to Tidespout Tyrant. It’s uncounterable and can take over a game quickly, given you’ll have access to so many cheap spells to make the most of the card’s abilities.
In the realms of Commander, the Kraken Horror can go infinite with two mana rocks, for example:
- Play Sol Ring, tap for 2 mana.
- Play Mana Crypt, cast trigger bounce Sol Ring.
- Tap Mana Crypt for 2 mana, have 4 mana total.
- Play Sol Ring, bounce Mana Crypt, now have 3 mana.
There is a lot of flexibility with the card for Standard and Commander. Honestly, it feels like Shark Typhoon all over again, so expect the card to be a strong feature in Standard for the time it remains legal.
Read More: The 10 Best Mono-White Commanders
Punishing effects in Red are common with cards such as Eidolon of the Great Revel seeing eternal play. Cemetery Gatekeeper is the next of that line, and could see heavy play in eternal formats. For two mana, you get a Vampire that exiles a card from a graveyard, then whenever a player plays a card (or casts a spell) that shares a type with the exiled card, they take two damage. The card is ideal in older formats where there is an emphasis on lands and cheap spells, so expect to see the Vampire crop up in sideboards as a hate piece in Red.
What makes Cemetery Gatekeeper a solid card is that it comes with first strike. Like now Standard-legal Thalia, Guardian of Thraben, the creature can get into combat to trade with smaller creatures. There’s a complete cycle of them that are strong which offer different approaches to dealing with the graveyard. As such, expect the cemetery cycle of cards to be in demand and remain at a decent price, given how broad their application can be.
As per any Standard set, Manaform Dragon is the Mythic Red Dragon of Crimson Vow and it’s a pretty good one at that. In Commander, the card will fit in Mono-Red decks such as Neheb, the Eternal as you have access to so much mana. Going further, any spellslinger-style Commander strategy will want this as you can create so many Dragon tokens across a number of turns.Manaform Hellkite is an exciting one since it creates tension with Goldspan Dragon in the four mana slot in Standard. However, expect to see the Dragon crop up in Izzet Dragons which is already one of the defacto best strategies in Standard. Having this creature out and casting Alrund’s Epiphany[/tooltip] will allow you to create a token that can attack the same turn. Seems powerful, right?
Read More: The 10 Best Dragons In Commander
For Commander, [tooltips]Cultivator Colossuslooks to be a staple in Land-based Commander strategies. For 7 mana, you get a Plant Beast that grows with the number of lands you have in play. Also, you are able to put lands into play and draw cards off the Colossus’s ability. Not just the once either, you can repeat this as many times until you have no more lands to put into play.
It’s a powerful effect that is sure to end games the minute it enters play. Not to mention, the card comes with trample allowing you to push through damage while ramping away. Although at pre-order, the card is already seeing plenty of discourse which is only going to drive the price further upon release. It’s unlikely the card will see play in Standard or Pioneer, but the demand will be enough for Commander players to keep the price at a decent rate. The only downside with Cultivator Colossus? It isn’t Legendary. Imagine this card leading your Mono-Green Commander deck, it would be rather nasty.
Read More: The Best Landfall Cards In Commander
As Crimson Vow focuses on tribes, there is plenty of support for tribes such as Spirits, Humans, Vampires, and Zombies. Necroduality is a powerful enchantment that looks to make copies of non-token Zombies that enter play. Given the tribe is over-subscribed with ‘lord effects’, Necroduality will enable some absurd turns that can go over a lot of strategies in Commander.
Complimenting the Undead Unleashed Commander pre-con, there will be a high demand for the card as the pre-con itself is well built. Adding a couple of cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow is sure to power up the deck, and Necroduality looks to offer that in abundance.