Welcome back to another set review! Like usual, we will be taking a closer look at Magic's newest set, but unlike usual, we will be doing so in video format! All week long we will be combing through the set and looking for inspiration for the upcoming Standard and Modern formats.
Below you will find some abbreviated notes about some of my favorite cards from the set, but for more thorough analysis and breakdowns, definitely check out the video! Also, because this is our first time trying this format, any and all feedback you have is greatly appreciated. Just head down to the comments section below and drop us a note!
As the week rolls on, expect there to be more refined deck lists and deck notes as well. With that, on to the cards!
Always Watching: Should see moderate Standard play in a few different decks. The nontoken clause pushes this into different decks than traditional anthems, but vigilance also gives you a defensive benefit, giving this some worthwhile upside over Glorious Anthem.
Angelic Purge: Niche card, but versatile enough that some decks might turn to this if they can mitigate its downside.
Bound by Moonsilver: Interesting ability to deal with early threats and then reallocate it to stronger threats later on. Especially interesting if you are abusing the sacrifice clause.
Bygone Bishop: Adding additional incentive to three-drop creatures is a big deal when we already have a powerful one in Collected Company. Expect this to shoulder a lot of the work in sort of midrange-grindy creature decks.
Notable cards that work well with this include any creature cast as a morph, plus:
Dauntless Cathar: A mostly worthless upfront body, but a relevant flashback-esque ability from the yard might land this a job somewhere.
Declaration in Stone: Extremely strong in terms of rate. Not all decks will be able to use clues as well as others, making this vary in strength. That said, two mana is a very good price tag and protecting yourself early is something most control decks value highly.
Descend upon the Sinful: Final Judgment with a potential body is solid enough to see play in small numbers for control decks. You can't use this as your primary defense against aggro, but it is a nice secondary sweeper.
Eerie Interlude: One of my favorite cards in the set; I was a big fan of Ghostway and this allows you to get around killing all of your token creatures in the process. This works well with stuff like Pia and Kiran Nalaar, but the first place I wanted to look at it was in black/white allies. Here is a starting shell for such a creation:
4 Expedition Envoy
4 Kor Bladewhirl
4 Kalastria Healer
4 Zulaport Cutthroat
4 Lantern Scout
3 Drana, Liberator of Malakir
4 Gideon, Ally of Zendikar
4 Eerie Interlude
4 March from the Tomb
4 Ally Encampment
Gryff's Boon: Another cool benefit from the graveyard. This particular card is more niche than most, as it provides a very particular effect, but something like the Helm of the Gods brew I was spouting would be an interesting fit.
Militant Inquisitor: Not the most powerful of cards, but it might be the incentive that breaks the camel's back for equipment-based strategies in Standard.
Nearheath Chaplain: Another card whose power lies mostly in the graveyard ability. A 3/1 lifelink creature is not actually the worst though, so when this hits play as a human, your opponent needs to pay attention as every hit is a Siege Rhino trigger. If only one of these cards see constructed play, expect this to be the one.
Open the Armory: A pretty efficient tutor, even if it is limited in scope. If there are enough cool auras and equipment running around, this is quite serviceable. Notable finds include:
Stern Constable: Not much here, but a tapper that requires no mana and enables madness is at least worth calling out. Also, he's sooo stern!
Strength of Arms: For many purposes in constructed, if you could convert +1/+1 from Giant Growth into a 1/1 token, you would. Obviously this requires you to jump through a hoop, but if you happen to be doing so already, this is an interesting to look at.
Thalia's Lieutenant: The new Champion of the Parish does a pretty solid job of being relevant in the lategame which was where Champion of the Parish was weakest. Human decks might not have enough fodder until the next set comes out, but if they do, expect this to be at the helm. This card could also work well with Eerie Interlude.
Topplegeist: A surprisingly strong card considering that you only need to invest a single mana into this. Any two of the three abilities on this would excite me, but all three combined makes this quite appealing for aggressive strategies including aggro-control and tempo decks.
Brain in a Jar: Quite the interesting card here as we have AEther Vial running head first into Crystal Ball. I like this card, although I wonder if it is a little too clunky to be taken seriously. On the one hand, if you do execute up the curve and Birthing Pod your way through instants and sorceries, this is awesome, but how often does that plan actually come together? A card to constantly be watching as formats rotate.
Corrupted Grafstone: One of my favorite cards in the new set as I love a powerful card that takes a little love to get to where it needs to be. If this tapped for any color of mana without restriction, it would be absurdly strong and would warp the metagame quite a bit. Now the question is, what decks are willing to build with this in mind to take advantage of that power level?
Haunted Cloak: Not a great card, but it is intertesting as a one-of option to grab with Open the Armory. Haste is valuable enough and you aren't paying much more for the other two bonus keywords.
Magnifying Glass: Unlikely to find a wide range of homes, but might provide enough card advantage over a long game that it is worth looking at for hyper-control decks. Your mana rocks turning into a six mana-a-turn tome later on is kind of cool, especially if those clues matter for other reasons.
Murderer's Axe: Anytime a mechanic allows you to save mana on something, it has potential for abuse. While four mana up front is not the most attractive offer, the potential to never spend mana again while triggering your madness and graveyard stuff has a lot of value.
Wild-Field Scarecrow: A defensive card that provides some card advantage if you make it out of the early game alive. Hardly a game changer, but a potential tool for a few random decks.
Choked Estuary, Foreboding Ruins, Fortified Village, Game Trail, Port Town: There is not much to say about these other than that they will be a vital part of the metagame for as long as they are in Standard (and probably even Modern thanks to shocklands being a thing). These work well with the Battle lands which should soften the blow of the loss of fetchlands. Mana will feel a little different for decks, but you should be able to support three and four color mana bases reasonably well still. Picking up a playset of these is not a bad idea.
Drownyard Temple: A really neat land with a useful ability. If you are discarding cards or milling yourself, this provides some insane "free" value out of the yard as you actually get to ramp up a mana from this effect. Especially if you are running any deck that needs access to colorless mana, this is extra solid. For example, this is able to go "infinite" with World Breaker as the land you can sacrifice to return it, the colorless source needed to activate it, and never takes up your land drop, allowing you to continue to move up in mana.
Warped Landscape: A simple design that should make colorless decks a little happier. Evolving Wilds is probably better than this for most purposes, but if you occasionally need access to colored mana or having the mana immediately matters to you, then consider this for your brews..
That's it for white, artifact, and land cards from Shadows over Innistrad! Tomorrow we will be back with the blue and black cards from the set. We are off on the right foot as this set looks sweet and Innistrad just makes me happy. Let's hope the rest of the set falls in line. Be sure to let us know what you think of the video and until tomorrow, thanks for watching!