Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow

Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow


Magic: The Gathering – Innistrad Crimson Vow

I have to admit, I do enjoy it when a new Magic: The Gathering set is released. The sound as the foil is gently ripped open and to see the cards that are contained within is one of those experiences that can lead to a shiver down the spine of a Magic afficionado. Then once the packet is opened, you take in the scent of the crisp new cards and gaze upon the beautifully drawn artwork - admiring each of the fifteen cards in the booster pack.

The latest set to invoke that feeling is the Innistrad Crimson Vow set, a collection of cards which follows on from Innistrad Midnight Hunt. The storyline centres around Olivia Voldaren’s wedding to Sorin Markov as a bonding between the Markov and Voldaren bloodlines with the end goal of taking control over Innistrad. Who doesn’t love a good wedding?

New Mechanics

As with most new sets, the Innistrad Crimson Vow set comes with several cool new mechanics, but also has some returning keywords to make the game interesting for existing players. No doubt everyone will have their favourites based on their playing strategy.

Perhaps my favourite is the Training mechanic. When a creature with the Training keyword attacks with other more powerful creatures, the Training creature gets a bonus +1/+1. I have found this particularly useful for flying creatures with the Training mechanic, and can certainly make life difficult for an opponent.

Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow

The Cleave mechanic is an interesting one too. Cards with Cleave give the player a set of instructions with two options. Playing them with the standard mana charge provides for the basic set of instructions, whilst paying the increased Cleave price gives players the ability to use the abridged (or cleaved) instructions.
For example, a card could have “Search your library for a [basic land] card, [reveal it], put it into your hand, then shuffle”. The cleave cost would remove the instruction inside the square brackets, effectively letting players pick any card from their library to add to their hand. It can be quite powerful if you need a specific card in your library.

Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow

This is a returning mechanic. For those who didn’t play the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt set or are unfamiliar with the keyword, Disturb allows players to cast a card from their graveyard for its Disturb price, transforming it in the process (cards are double -faced). The difference in Crimson Vow however, is the fact that the creature being transformed turns into an aura upon being cast from the graveyard, boosting an existing creature on the battlefield.

This is another returning triggered ability that allows a player to sacrifice a creature, but if sacrificed, all other players must also sacrifice a creature of their own. This can be a great way of forcing an opponent to dispose of a valuable creature, possibly at the expense of a low powered creature of your own.

Daybound and Nightbound
Another mechanic from the previous Magic set, Daybound and Nightbound features on double sided cards. One side of the cards features a day persona, whilst the other side features a night perspective, indicated with a small icon in the top left of the card. When entering the battlefield cards will be faced according to the current day or night designation. Special Day/Night cards are featured in the packs to help players keep track of the cycle.

Card Art

Like any set, the artists have taken great pride in bringing the locations and creatures to life, to help propel the storyline of Crimson Vow.

Innistrad: Crimson Vow only features three Planeswalkers, all of which have appeared in previous sets.
Sorin the Mirthless (Black)
Chandra - Dressed to Kill (Red)
Kaya - Geist Hunter (Black and White)

Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow

Apart from some dual-coloured lands, the main feature of the Crimson Vow set is the black and white artistry of the single colour land cards. These beautifully drawn land cards wonderfully represent the areas they are depicting, with gnarled tree roots representing Forests, and barren wastelands representing Plains. Although players will often need to take a closer look at them to ensure they play the right land, the wonderful depictions make them well worth a more detailed look anyway.

Away From Keyboard - Magic: The Gathering Innistrad Crimson Vow

Many of the creature, instant and sorcery cards have variants that also feature the black and white artistic style. With the set being based around vampires and wolves, the black and white artwork gives the cards a classic cinema ambience - one where you could almost see Bela Lugosi pictured on a card as Dracula.

With the lovely artwork and the new (and returning) mechanics, Magic fans will be longing to hear the crinkle of new foil packets and the smell of new cards as they head back to Innistrad for the wedding of the year.