Authored by Eddie (AniManGaki)
It was a rainy afternoon when I received an omnious black box from our friends at Wizards of the Coast. On it, a bloodied wooden tile read Innistrad: Crimson Vow. A marriage celebration between the vampire lords, Olivia Voldaren & Edgar Markov, eh? Two great evils coming together as one can surely never be any good for us.
I hesitantly opened the box. Inside laid a pristine wine glass (filled to the brim with red petals), a wedding invitation to Olivia & Edgar’s ceremony (the ticket we need to infiltrate and stop their evil), a letter addressed to me (detailing recent events of the vampire’s activity and the boxed invitation was intended from vampires who no longer ‘requires’ them) and a card by artist, Rachta Lin. Alongside the box, we received booster packs for MTG: Crimson Vow.
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is the first in the series of Innistrad expansion, heavily featuring the addition of werewolves and a brand-new unique mechanic to the game: the Transformation effect and Day/Night system. Innistrad: Crimson Vow being the second part to this series brings in a lot of new mechanics and most importantly, Vampires to the game, with several tributes to the various renditions of Dracula. The Innistrad expansion is a pretty exciting expansion for collecting alternate artwork if you are big fan for the classic style art of black and white. Heck, even the Land cards are worth collecting a few to give your deck an edgy grim appeal.
Let’s talk about the new mechanics that came in with Crimson Vow, and the first major one is this guy– Blood tokens. They are mainly generated by vampire units, spells and artifacts. Their feature is to sacrifice this card to discard a card from your hand to draw a new card. This game changing mechanic opens up a whole new method to more frequently, yet conservatively draw cards from the deck and switch their hand out (into the discard), this works especially well for Red and Black type users who do not get many cards to draw more regularly.
I played a couple of games during the release, in both Sealed Deck and Booster Draft format. I was unfortunate to not get enough cards to build a comfortable vampire deck both times. And in both formats, my opponent started burning blood to get through his deck. This helped him tremendously in getting through stalemates as I was forced to play the long draw and eventually lose out on any advantage I had early on.
Next up we have Cleave, which can mainly be found in spells. Cleave is a huge mechanic change up for spells as it makes it feel like you have two spells in a single card. Typically, the base spell only cost a few mana to cast to get the effect; like in Fierce Retribution, you spend two Mana to “Destroy target [attacking] creature”. But, if you spend the mana cost next to Cleave of six Mana, you just have to remove the word in the brackets and the spell then changes to “Destroy target creature”, making a spell card more valuable with its flexible cost and conditions.
Third is Exploit, an upgrade to the sacrifice mechanic, giving you the choice to do it or not, to cause a pretty nasty effect. The Exploit mechanic can be commonly found in Blue and Black cards. It works amazingly with decks that generates expendable creature tokens to help remove more significant creatures from your opponent’s board.
Last up is the Training. Commonly found in White and Green cards, it is an interesting grow mechanic for players as it helps buff up weak creatures from the start of the game, making them a prominent threat in the mid game stages as the +1/+1 counter stacks up. The mechanic can be quite limiting, as the creature with training has to attack using another creature with higher Power, capping it to be no stronger than your strongest attacker and having it risk their neck out in the early stages.
The Innistrad expansion continues to excite players with its fun theme and mechanics that can help move the game a little faster as quite a number of cards in each color helps you with milling your deck out. I’m looking forward to trying out a vampire deck myself soon!