Investing In Innistrad

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UPDATE 7/19/2011: A followup article, Investigating Innistrad, covers specific cards from Core Set 2012 that have big, big implications for this exciting upcoming set!  Check it out!


Twitter and assorted other social media are abuzz with speculation about the new set revealed today.  Innistrad, the initial set of its block due for release in the fall of 2011, has been officially announced. This confirms the report that its name had been registered as a trademark in December.  While speculation on specific cards doesn't really make sense right now, it's helpful to know what to watch for as future details are revealed.  There are many community opinions, and they vary wildly.  Some of these will likely prove true, so having the heads-up on potential trends is a great advantage.

Don't $#!@ with Liliana Vess.

What We Know

The set's called Innistrad.  As Doug Linn pointed out in Memphis this weekend, a vampire named Strahd is a central character in the Dungeons and Dragons Ravenloft module, and considered to be one of the greatest villains in D&D history.  Wizards of the Coast owns the Dungeons and Dragons license.  A tidied-up Liliana Vess and the threat that  "Horror Lurks Within" strongly implies a Gothic Horror world similar to those of  Castlevania and Ravenloft.

Considering the current vampire population of the Magic Nation is low, a fresh boat of neckbiters  from Innistrad could certainly stir up some economic unrest.  Vampires have always been marginalized as a tribe. Their best tribal Lord was Vampire Nocturnus, a former $20 all-star, was cut from the core set.  People were outraged!  They killed off an entire deck in one card.   This is almost as bad as when they cut Birds of Paradise from the Core set.  Wait a minute, what happened after they cut Birds?

They reprinted it in the Fall set, in Ravnica.  Are they about to pull the ol' switcheroo on us again?  Vampire Nocturnus was a really popular card with appeal to all groups of Magic players at once.  It was cut from Standard for no reason.  Why is it gone?  Because they're bringing it back.  In this set.  I'm calling it right now, and if I'm wrong, I will tape a Vampire Nocturnus to my chest with the words "I'M DUMB" written in sparkly sharpie marker.   I will wear this to the next event and everyone can point and laugh.

This is clearly baseless speculation, but it does suggest a very valid scenario.  Why would they cut a massively popular card from a core set?  Because it fits the flavor of the next set so much better that they didn't want to reprint it twice in the span of 3 months.  It makes perfect sense, and it's pretty clever problem-solving by whomever at R&D made this choice.  It's a distinct possibility considering the fact that Vampires disappeared from the set in Scars of Mirrodin.  Another instance of saving the flavor for the next set?  If they'd made another Mephidross Vampire in Scars, we'd be all vamp'ed out by the time Innistrad unleashed a horde of bloodsuckers on us.

Trick Jarrett, who runs, has the following to say about Innistrad and its Vampire inhabitants.

We know Baron Sengir wasn't from Ulgrotha, the plane for Homelands, so my conjecture is that we are going to visit his plane, which is also the origin of Liliana Vess.  Wizards introduced us to Vampires as a core race with Zendikar, then they let up on the gas with Scars so that they can hit them again in Innistrad. Liliana has been revealed to not be in M11, allowing Sorin Markov to replace her in that line-up, which now makes sense so that they can introduce Liliana 2.0 in Innistrad.
Don't go rushing out to buy Homelands Baron Sengir cards or Sengir Vampires.  Its more likely that we're visiting his home plane which suggests he will return in Planeswalker form.  By the way, Sorin Markov has a grudge against someone.  He seems to be able to kill most things that are alive and survived an entire plane being reduced to dust.   I wonder what or whom he couldn't kill, and what this eternal grudge might be.  A couple of vampire Planeswalkers could certainly cause a big fuss if they got to fighting.  Still, Nicol Bolas from Legends didn't gain value after Nicol Bolas, Planeswalker was printed, so there's not really a "buy" here.
As far as other vampires are concerned, Kalastria Highborne might become a valuable Extended player in a year or so once Lorwyn leaves the format.  Its price will surely dip this summer, and it might be worth investing at that point.  Captivating Vampire could prove deadly alongside a host of new vampires of all shapes and sizes.  On a vamp-centric Plane, vampire tokens are not out of the question.  We might see Nocturnus or a comparable Lord-type creature bring the deck to Tier 1 status, so hoarding cheap vampire rares of that caliber is a good risk.  They often retain value due to the casual crowd, so you won't lose much if our ideas are blatantly wrong.  Hey, always helps to have a good exit strategy, right?

Which Way to "Wyndmoor Street?"

Future Sight Funhouse

Every time a new set gets announced, we get to step right up, spin the wheel, and play Future Sight Funhouse.  It's an exciting game of luck and skill that asks you to answer one simple question, "what cards from Future Sight will be in this set?"  What fun.  This week's contestant is Street Wraith, from none other than the Future Sight expansion.  Welcome our guest with a warm round of applause.   He's a creepy little dude, ain't he?
While the tournament implications of this are probably irrelevant, this is a "card flavor" home run waiting to happen.  People love the idea of hiding previews in older sets, and it would cause a great buzz.  The flavor of the card is already incredible, so from the perspective of someone who truly enjoys the flavor of cards, this would be quite a cool reprint.  The financial implications are, sadly, none.  They can't all be winners, people.
You'll Never See US Sparkle

Enough Already With the Vampires

So, we're all bled out about vampires.  What else is in the set that doesn't actively seek to drain your blood?  Well, Werewolves are a common horror trope, and any good horror world needs at least two.  A whole tribe of Lorwyn-style Lords and efficient utility creatures would make Standard sound like Van Hellsing.  Just print me up a Cursed Scroll and call it a Crossbow, and I'll be a happy Timmy.
While Lycanthropes might be the bane of vampires, there could be all kinds of cool Homelands-style ghosts and ghoulies.  Let's see some Ghost Hounds come out to play.  Bring on a less color-specific Spectral Bears.  Let's see some of those crazy undead soul-sucking monsters from Harry Potter, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.  There are a wealth of creatures that could inhabit this dark Gothic realm, and it will be wonderful to see just how much influence is drawn from the other Gothic Horror Fantasy universes.  Keep an eye out for more references, such as the one in the set's name.
The world of Innistrad looks to be a miserable place full of darkness and things that go "Kill" in the night.  It'll be like Shadowmoor meets Ravnica.  If there's a character named "Rigens Norab", I'm crying "bad form."  We'll surely know the financial implications of this once we have actual information, which won't be until mid to late Summer 2011.  Until then, consider slowly acquiring some of the more relevant vampires that could see tournament play.  This could be as good for the vamps as Mirrodin was for Artifacts.
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Don't forget to check out  Investigating Innistrad, which covers specific cards from Core Set 2012 that have big, big implications for this exciting upcoming set!

Kelly Reid

Founder & Product Manager

View More By Kelly Reid

Posted in Finance, Free, Free Finance

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30 thoughts on “Investing In Innistrad

  1. Street Wraith would make sense as I have been callshoting the return of cycling in this new set. I feel like it would make sense as theme more spun around draining yoursefl (hence the two life loss) or other such flavorful new ways to reintroduce cycling. I feel like it was always a greatand yet so simple mechanic that was never fully explored…and well im putting my spike fingers in the air and crossing them for the return of Astral Slide…I might even start playing competitive Magic again.

  2. "…and if I’m wrong, I will tape a Vampire Nocturnus to my chest with the words “I’M DUMB” written in sparkly sharpie marker. I will wear this to the next event and everyone can point and laugh."

    I'm very sorry to say that a part of me hopes Vampire Nocturnus isn't reprinted in Innistrad, simply because it would totally be worth it to see this happen ūüôā

    Some nice predictions, Kelly.

    For and with the influence of Richard Garfield in the design team, is there any increased likelihood in dipping into Ravnica's host of spirits in this no doubt noir-rich new environment?

  3. Vorthos rears his head!
    Zendikar was not reduced to dust. Nissa is still there fighting the good fight as the Eldrazi stayed to NOM the plane some more before they leave

  4. Cycling certainly won't be making a comeback this soon. It was just in Alara block, and WotC is committed to a policy of reviving one new mechanic per block. My money's on Haunt (for flavor, even if the mechanic itself's a bit janky), or a graveyard mechanic like Dredge or Threshold.

    As for the Futureshifted reprints, only the ones in Lorwyn/Shadowmoor have mechanical AND flavorful relevance: Boldwyr Intimidator, Phosphorescent Feast, & co.
    Only a block after LOR/SHM, when the Nacatl were one of the main humanoid species of Naya, they couldn't reprint Nacatl War-Pride because it'd be ridiculous in a block that aimed to be multicolor (tricolor at that). Wizards doesn't feel forced to include cards in sets if they would feel obtrusive or out of place for mechanical reasons.

    Bottomline, I guarantee they won't reprint Street Wraith.

  5. If they were going to include something from Future Sight, my money would be on Fateseal. It's like Scrying, but with your opponent's library instead of your own. This ability would be appropriate in a gothic horror setting, because it makes it seem like dark spirits are trying to set you down a path of misery and despair. ūüėÄ

  6. I’ve forgotten the name(i believe its bad moon), but considering a vamp heavy gothic set is in the works, i can’t imagine a more opportune time to reprint black’s version of Honor Of The Pure.

  7. If we're taking bets on Future Sight mechanics showing up, I'm thinking we'll see "Transfigure" on some uncommons and rares perhaps. And while I hadn't considered the implications of a Vampire plane, the set's expansion symbol reminds me a lot of morph, almost like the motion that would occur when a creature un-morphs. (Recall the Onslaught expansion symbol) Also, the set's teaser – "Horror lurks WITHIN" – further lends itself to the assumption. Guess we just have to wait =P

  8. I had an idea for a lycan sort of based theme in the set. You would have Lycan monsters that put a "Lycan" counter on the creature they damage (if none are used to block or are blocked then no counters on players) and once said creature has Lycan counters equal or greater to their Toughness they gain the "Lycan" creature type as well as their subtypes. Add in a Legend or other cards that work around Lycans….BOOM! Instant fun aggro/control. The creatures could be R/G to represent the primal ferocity that Lycans and werewolves are known for in fantasy, could even have a legend for each color that are the Alpha Male and Female. Just a thought…and a hope ūüėÄ

  9. If the new set is indeed packing some gothic horror flavor, i sure hope that they feature some really good vampire cards. Here's how I picture the color-based creature distribution.

    Black – Vampires (obviously)
    Green – Werewolves
    Blue – Liches
    Red – Frankenstein monster-inspired creatures
    White – Ghosts

  10. I would love for Cycling to be as good as it was when Astral Slide & Lightning Rift were around. Especially if we had Eternal Witness back. And Venser would combo nicely as the planeswalker for a slide deck.

    But since it was in shards here is my guess of more likely mechanics.

    Future Sight mechanics that make sense-


    Other noteworthy mechanics-


    Transmute- Perhaps a card that can do something in your grave so you would want to transmute it even more. Kind of like an incentive to cycle Viscera Dragger.


    Perhaps a Delve Threshold contrast to make players think durring draft

  11. Some people are also speculating on a revisit to ravnica. Especially as some of the leaked m12 cards show bloodthirst, which was the gruul mechanic. We really have no proof that vampires will even show in this set. Liliana isn't a vampire, and a whole block dedicated to one tribe seems a bit much.

    "Horror Lurks Within" could be ironic, and we could get a whole block dedicated to bunnies and rainbows and unicorns. Maybe we need to wait for m12 to make these card speculations. What if they decide to reprint nocturnus in that set?
    Also, they usually like to put some cards that will work with the next block in the core set. No one would buy it if they didnt. Thats my 2 cents, im just not sure vampires are whats going to be in innistrad. i could be wrong though.

  12. Vampires may have “just been done” in the Zendikar block, but look very carefully at the SoM block…almost zero in the form of vampires.

    OK, now, consider that there is a bit more than just telling a story when it comes to making a block of cards. There is mechanics, and, well, no insult to the folks at Wizards…but there is BUSINESS. And, vampire decks are quite popular in standard right now thanks to Zendikar. But, when Innistrad comes out, a lot of those vampires go “poof”.

    So…does that guarantee that vampires will be in Innistrad? No, it doesn’t. In fact, there will be a nice new crop of suck-heads coming in M12 (just check out the plethora of spoiler pages, Sorin has a rather toothy crew coming with him). Now…will Liliana be a vampiress, or a zombie queen? Me, personally, I tend to think of her as more zombiish, as her end game is to reanimate everyone else’s dead and beat them over the head with them. Sounds more like a necromancer than a vampiress.

    Do I have a problem with Vampires making a startling resurrection in Standard? Nope. In fact, I am following quite intently, as I have plans for a Standard Sucker Deck myself.

  13. I find it likely that vampires will be in Innistrad because of the inclusion of Blood Lord of Vaasgoth in M12. Now, I have a number of reasons for this: Firstly, we have no idea where Vaasgoth is, but wherever it is it clearly has enough vampires to warrant some sort of hierarchy as this guy has a title. Also, including a place in a core set we've never heard of might be an indication we'll see more of it in future sets shortly.

    Secondly, he's a mythic rare, and one of the few mythics in M12 to not be a reprint (as Inferno titan is confirmed (which basically means so are the rest) and at least two planeswalkers have been confirmed as reprints, with the other three seeming likely). Granted, for a lot of people the walkers are still chase cards, and the titans doubly so, but I'd be kinda shocked if the only chase mythics Wizards printed in M12 were reprints.

    Thirdly, there is the fact that he is a tribal leader at mythic. The strong vampire sub-theme in M12 does not validate a tribal leader at mythic by its self, a rare one for sure, but not really a mythic, mythic slots are usually reserved for cards expected to dominate the meta game (granted a few exceptions exist such as time reversal). Without more vamps in standard Blood lord of Vaasgoth will barely see standard play, and definitely not in decks that dominate the format.

    Finally, it seems to me like Wizards is trying to make vampires viable in extended play. With 3 core sets in a row featuring vampire lords, two of them at mythic rating and the other a rare, and this 3rd one coming as the zendikar vampires are about to phase out of standard.

  14. You had me really confused with your speculation right up to the connection with Baron Sengir. If you read the lore and make some connections, Nocturnus Vampires ARE a type of the Baron’s Sengir tribe. So I was thinking, No way, but you make a point. If this is the Baron’s home, Nocturnus would be an excellent addition to the set, especially if the Baron himself is a planeswalker.

  15. Its "Horror Lies Within" which could mean a lot of things. My bets on withing deep in the ocean. So maybe some big monsters, but i have no clue that's just my guess on it.

  16. The set symbol makes me think of Jester's Cap. Maybe it's just me, but that was the first card I thought of what I saw it.

    I'd love to see Baron Sengir as a planeswalker, although I think the reprint of Sengir Vamp in 2012 might lean away from the vamp idea for Innistrad a bit. Why hold Nocturnus back for Innistrad, but print an old-school iconic card like Sengir vamp in 2012? Just strikes me as a little odd.
    The whole werewolf idea is intriguing (Lycanthropy anyone?), but I swear to god if I see a Sparkling Vampire in Innistrad, I'm punchin' someone lol (j/k about punching someone, but seriously, screw Twilight lol)

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