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For the precursor to this article, see Investing In Innistrad.
When we last left off, discussions about the fall MTG expansion Innistrad were baseless speculation. In keeping with what has become a Magic tradition, the preceeding Core Set seems to have a few "plants" for the upcoming set. We have a lot of speculation on the contents of Innistrad, but our best guess right now is "Graveyard Matters". For old-school players, this will harken back to Odyssey block and for good reason. We have many dread returns from that era, many of which play nicely with contemporary cards.
What better card to showcase the "graveyard as resource" mechanic? Grim Lavamancer is a five-tool powerhouse that can slot into almost any deck featuring red mana, but it works against many of the typical graveyard mechanics (Threshold, Flashback and Reanimation). That said, it will be a defining card in Innistrad Standard regardless.
Speaking of Reanimator, this former gamebreaker can no longer rely on Hermit Druid for an instantly stocked graveyard, nor can it get after your opponent with a healthy dose of Anger. It's clearly a plant for Innistrad, but it won't likely end up a defining player in the metagame. This zombie will likely have to stay in the grave for a little while longer.
Call to the Grave
The Abyss is back, with a twist! Odd that it includes a clause about Zombies, but then again, why would a zombie heed a call to the grave? They rather enjoy being out on the battlefield, where brains are plentiful and fresh. This reprint may not end up seeing competitive play, but you may be noticing a theme here.
Speaking of reprints, another Odyssey block favorite is back in black. This aggressively-costed enchantment is an endless source of mindless fun, and can help fuel whatever graveyard-based strategy you desire. This one is going to see competitive play, especially if the rumors surrounding Flashback's return are true.
A contemporary card, Cemetery Reaper confirms what has seemed to be a theme in the 2012 Core Set; Zombies are back. You heard it here first - Innistrad is going to feature Zombies as a central tribe. There simply aren't enough of them in Standard right now, so printing a Lord and a tribally-aligned enchantment makes almost no sense. The inclusion of this card in M12 should be sufficient proof of this hypothesis, so Cemetery Reaper seems like a great pick-up for Magic players looking to speculate.
Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
We have seen a slew of new Vampires in M12, slower and more powerful than their Zendikar cousins, but they haven't been enough to support the tribe once Zendikar leaves the format. Bloodlord of Vaasgoth implies what Vampire Nocturnus did two years ago; Vampires are going to be the "other" black tribe in Innistrad! There's no sense in printing such a bombastic powerhouse lord for an unsupported tribe, so it's hardly a stretch to see Vampires return. Enough already with the Vampires.
If everyone is spending their turns setting up a stocked graveyard, what better way to handle the situation than by emptying it? Yes, I'm just trying to find any reason to justify this card's reprinting whatsoever, and I'm really grasping for straws. Got a better idea?
If you didn't already guess that your graveyard matters now, take a look at these other cards that suddenly arrived on the scene:
Jace, Memory Adept
Visions of Beyond
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2 thoughts on “Investigating Innistrad”
Indeed! I've been playing since The Dark, but I really didn't hit the tournament scene until right after Torment hit standard. I'm excited to see all of the graveyard effects.
*Crossing my fingers, wishing they would bring back the Dredge mechanic in the same set as a Genesis reprint…*