Innistrad: Crimson Vow Limited Set Review: Green

Crawling Infestation Art by Khurrum
Crawling Infestation Art by Khurrum

Time to go over the best color in all of Magic! It’s rare for green to be the best color in a set when it comes to limited, but we’ll see if things are different this time around with Crimson Vow!


Apprentice Sharpshooter 

Rating: 2.5/5

I’m probably already too big of a fan of crappy Reach creatures like this and Bird Admirer, but this is really easy to Train because it’s so hard to kill in combat while still having a low power. I think this is going to perform better than it initially reads.

Ascendant Packleader 

Rating: 4/5

This is great on turn one and turn eight, which is quite the rarity for a one drop creature. If you play this early, it beats in and gets big quickly as you start to curve out, and if you play this later on it’s likely to come in as a 3/2 that will still incidentally get counters as the game drags on. This is brutally efficient at nearly every point in the game, and I expect to lose to this on turn one way too often.

Avabruck Caretaker

Rating: 5/5

Yikes, now this is basically unbeatable. Well, at least it’s a mythic and hopefully my opponent’s won’t play it often and instead I’ll be the one riding it to victory! Also, this is probably the best limited card in the entire set with Faithbound Judge being its only competition.

Bramble Armor

Rating: 0.5/5

I assumed that this would be awful in Midnight Hunt, and somehow it was even worse than I initially thought. This is an awful equipment, and you should never play this unless you’re desperate for playables.

Bramble Wurm

Rating: 2.5/5

Bookwurm‘s little brother made it all the way to Innistrad it seems! This is a way worse Pelakka Wurm, but that’s okay because this will still do a great job at stabilizing the board and presenting a huge threat for the opponent to have to handle. Most green decks should be happy about topping their curve with this.

Cartographer’s Survey

Rating: 1/5

This effect is designed for constructed normally and tends to fall short in limited. You’re going to want to be 3+ colors and full of late game bombs before including this, but some decks can make use of this despite 95% wanting nothing to do with an Explosive Vegetation.

Cemetery Prowler 

Rating: 4/5

This isn’t a bomb or anything, but it is a great way to manage the opponent’s graveyard while also making your spells cheaper, which is very powerful. The tide of a game often turns once a player starts double spelling consistently, and Cemetery Prowler helps facilitate that.

Cloaked Cadet 

Rating: 3/5

This is great when built around and just okay when you’re solely relying on Training this to draw a few cards. Keep that in mind and don’t feel obligated to play this in all of your green decks. In all honesty, this is more like a Selesnya card to me, but I expect it to really shine in that archetype and be the best top end imaginable. It is a shame that this only triggers once a turn though.

Crawling Infestation

Rating: 2/5

This is honestly a really difficult card to evaluate. This triggering only once a turn and only on your turn isn’t great, but I do love that the mill is a may so you don’t have to worry about decking. Ultimately, this seems way too situational and easy to play around. Some decks will be able to abuse this with Exploit and whatnot, but I don’t think this is an auto-include in your green decks or that it’s something you should be taking early.

Crushing Canopy

Rating: 1/5

Classic all-time sideboard option right here. Try not to main deck this, but even if you have to it will rarely be dead.

Cultivator Colossus

Rating: 3.5/5

A huge Trampler that sometimes draws a card or two is well worth the cost in my book. By the time you hit your 7th land I doubt that you’ll be able to trigger this all that consistently, but even if you don’t you’re gonna be getting a 7/7+ Trampler for seven mana, which is still a pretty good deal.

Dawnhart Disciple

Rating: 2/5

We got a better Garenbrig Squire here since this should trigger way more often with all the humans in the set. This will be fine in most green decks and especially shine in the Selesnya human decks. Nothing outstanding here, but a fine filler two drop.

Dig Up 

Rating: 2.5/5

Again, this grade assumes that you can pay the Cleave cost. It’s fine as Lay of the Land, but only a few multicolored green decks will be interested in that sort of effect. Even when you can Cleave this, neither mode is particularly special and they ultimately combine to make a fine, but unexciting playable. Diabolic Tutor just isn’t that good in limited!

Dormant Grove

Rating: 3/5

I can’t imagine wanting to flip this often, but it’s nice that you’ll get the option to in the late game. This seems like a great way to help you dominate the board and I just love limited cards that provide value every turn.

Flourishing Hunter

Rating: 2/5

This is less consistent than Honey Mammoth and a decent amount worse in my opinion, but this will still be something that the slower green decks will be interested in. There aren’t many creatures that fill the same role as this, so I expect it to perform well in this format as the go-to stabilizing green top end.

Glorious Sunrise

Rating: 4/5

This reminds me of when Gandalf saved the day in The Two Towers Lord of the Rings movie. Just like how he came with the sunrise and crushed the enemy, Glorious Sunrise will do the same. This gets way better if you already have creatures out, but even if you don’t, gaining three every turn or adding a bunch of mana will help you quickly catch up. This is a bomb in every green deck and should be taken over any common or uncommon.

Hamlet Vanguard

Rating: 3.5/5

It shouldn’t be too difficult for this to enter as at least a 3/3 with Ward two, and when this is built around you can probably get this to a 5/5 or 7/7 with relative ease. Again, this is really going to shine in Selesnya, so don’t feel obligated to play this in any green deck because it’s going to underperform if you don’t have a high density of humans in your deck.

Hiveheart Shaman

Rating: 4/5

I doubt that this will often find a land when it attacks if you’re playing a two color deck, but that doesn’t matter. What I’m interested in is paying six to keep making 3/3 or 4/4 insects! Hiveheart Shaman will block early and then steadily take over the game if it isn’t answered, which makes it a great rare in my book.

Hookhand Mariner

Rating: 3/5

I love a four mana 4/4, and this is way better than that. I’d never cut this and hope to use it as the backbone beater of most of my green decks.

Howlpack Piper

Rating: 3.5/5

It’s tough because the front side of this is pretty weak, but the backside is fantastic. Being able to cheat out some big werewolves and then easily flip this is pretty valuable though, which makes me think that this should perform well in every green deck.

Howling Moon

Rating: 3.5/5

This is more or less a one-sided Rule of Law that makes attacking with your wolves and werewolves incredibly enticing. Assuming you have a critical mass of furry friends, then this should be solid and a nightmare for an opponent who’s slightly behind to handle.

Infestation Expert

Rating: 3.5/5

Holy moly, now this is a fantastic five drop. You get a bunch of value off this as soon as it enters, and once this does flip your opponent should die after you’ve gotten one or two attacks in with this. Super cool card and probably the best non-rare five drop in the set.

Laid to Rest 

Rating: 3/5

Wow, human tribal is getting a ton of limited support! This is yet another card that Selesnya will want to prioritize because once it hits play, combat will become a nightmare for your opponent. I like cards like this because so few decks can use an effect like this, so the decks that want this shouldn’t have an issue wheeling something like this.

Massive Might 

Rating: 1.5/5

One mana combat tricks can only be so bad I suppose, but this only seems decent in very aggressive green decks that have a bunch of large werewolves that will push a bunch of damage through after being given Trample. This should never be a high pick and is something that’s going to be cut from most of your decks. There’s simply better combat tricks than this around, but it’s still an okay playable.

Moldgraf Millipede

Rating: 2.5/5

In the right deck this will be enormous, and even when it doesn’t come in as a 10/10 it’ll still usually be a 4/4 or 5/5 at worst. That’s quite a high floor and ceiling, which makes me think that Moldgraf Millipede will be a very good finisher in decks that have a bunch of self mill. I could be going slightly high here, but I have high hopes for many-legged friend here.

Mulch

Rating: 2.5/5

Speaking of sweet self mill spells! I love Mulch and would consider it one of my favorite reprints of all time (obviously behind Thalia, Guardian of Thraben). It enables so much nonsense in constructed and limited all the while being far from too powerful. I don’t know if it will spawn archetypes in Crimson Vow, but the effect is powerful enough that I think self mill decks and multicolored green decks will be very interested in this sort of effect.

Nature’s Embrace

Rating: 1.5/5

This is a really cool design! Getting the choice between ramp and pump is very interesting and is what will make this card playable in way more archetypes. I’m still rarely a fan of taking the turn off to do this, especially since both modes are slightly underpowered, but this isn’t embarrassing to play.

Oakshade Stalker

Rating: 3/5

You’ll usually play this as a Centaur Courser, but having the option to flash it in will come up and the backside has a ton of power and should be a nightmare in combat if it gets Trample from something like a Spiked Ripsaw or Massive Might.

Packsong Pup 

Rating: 3.5/5

What an adorable little dude! Top notch flavor here and a solid playable in most green decks. It shouldn’t be difficult to have 5+ werewolves/wolves in your green decks, which at that point this is going to get big quickly. I foresee some brutal starts off the back of this little pup on turn two and then being followed up with by a werewolf the next turn.

Reclusive Taxidermist

Rating: 3.5/5

Poor Werebear couldn’t keep up with the times. Still, this is a phenomenal two drop in any green deck and something that everyone is going to try to get their hands on.

Retrieve

Rating: 1.5/5

This is really slow and unexciting unless you’re returning two cards. If your deck is loaded with a couple Mulch then this is going to become a lot better, but if that’s not the case then I don’t see many noncreature permanents hitting your graveyard and fueling this. Regrowth is rarely all that good in limited unless you have some crazy spells like Flamewave or Fireball. Retrieve pretty much only getting creatures makes me see it as an expensive Raise Dead most of the time.

Rural Recruit

Rating: 3/5

This offers two decent bodies that pair incredibly well together. It’s near impossible to answer this profitably, and it adds so much power to the board, especially once it starts attacking and Training itself. This is a premier common creature and a four drop you’ll want to play as many copies of as possible.

Sawblade Slinger

Rating: 3/5

Sawblade Slinger is incredibly situational, but when it works it’s going to be amazing. Yet again, I love playing cards with a high floor and ceiling, which makes me want to play cards exactly like Sawblade Slinger. Feel free to board it out if it doesn’t have targets though!

Sheltering Boughs

Rating: 1/5

This is worse than it looks, but it’s still playable. Three mana is a lot for a mediocre pump, and the risk of getting blown out would make me very reluctant to include this in my deck.

Snarling Wolf

Rating: 1/5

Not sure why this is back, but it’s still pretty underwhelming. Maybe the most aggressive werewolf decks will want this, but even that I doubt it.

Spiked Ripsaw

Rating: 3/5

Plate Armor that makes blocking a nightmare in the late game seems like a very powerful equipment to me. Being clunky is the only drawback here, but turning any creature into a huge threat should be worth the cost.

Splendid Reclamation

Rating: 0.5/5

If you find a way to live the dream and bring 9 lands back, then more power to you. I’m just gonna continue using good creatures and removal to get my wins.

Spore Crawler

Rating: 3/5

This is a nice bread-and-butter three drop that almost any deck will be interested in. Exploiting this for value will also be nice and makes this a lot more versatile than it might seem at first glance.

Sporeback Wolf

Rating: 2/5

This is a fine attacker and also a wolf, so it’ll have it’s place but rarely be exciting.

Toxic Scorpion

Rating: 2/5

A two mana 1/1 Deathtouch is below rate for modern limited, and the ETB is also kind of underwhelming, which makes me see this a fine playable that you’ll often bench for better two drops.

Ulvenwald Oddity

Rating: 4.5/5

Talk about an insane rate and a ton of power and abilities for not much mana. If this flips and isn’t answered, the game should end on the spot.

Weaver of Blossoms

Rating: 3/5

Both sides of this are solid, and I see Weaver of Blossoms being a key part of the green ramp strategies and Gruul werewolf decks. Your mana really does explode when this flips, and I love how well it’s is able to cast an instant after it does flip.

Witch’s Web

Rating: 2/5

I usually hate two mana mediocre combat tricks, but Witch's Web ain’t too bad. This offers a lot for two mana, and even though it’s worse than Bull's Strength, I could see this doing work when you have a lot of creatures and are beating down.

Wolfkin Outcast

Rating: 3.5/5

This kicks major butt if you can get it down for four mana seeing as it’s bound to dominate combat once it flips. This will be one of those cards that the werewolf heavy decks will be gunning for, and most other players will steer clear of. It’s so good in the werewolf decks that I’m going to shoot high with this rating.

Wolf Strike

Rating: 3.5/5

I like how you can pass, bring it to night, and then use this to take down a big creature. This isn’t Clear Shot, but it’s still a good removal spell that I’m happy to include in all my green decks. Green is very low on removal in this set, so I would value this especially highly.


Top Three Commons

  1. Wolf Strike
  2. Hookhand Mariner
  3. Rural Recruit

Top Three Uncommons

  1. Infestation Expert
  2. Reclusive Taxidermist
  3. Packsong Pup

There’s so little removal in green that I think that Wolf Strike has to be the best common. As for the uncommons, I love Infestation Expert and see it as the best non-rare five drop in the entire set. Reclusive Taxidermist is going to be exceptional in any green deck, and Packsong Pup is so good in the werewolf decks that I think it narrowly squeaks into third place. Green honestly didn’t impress me nearly as much as Blue and Black have, which makes me not the most optimistic that it’s going to be particular stellar outside of Gruul werewolves.

Thanks for reading!

Chris Kvartek

While Chris Kvartek technically kicked off his career in 2012, he burst onto the scene in 2019 like few before him. With an early season Top Finish at Mythic Championship II and narrow miss for his second at Mythic Championship IV, Kvartek earned invitations to two more Mythic Championships through online qualifiers. He secured his second Top Finish of the season at Mythic Championship VII, and now this rising star must prove he can stay among the elite of professional Magic.

2 Responses

  1. Arix says:

    I don’t know, Ascendant Packleader doesn’t seem that great to me. I think about three counters is where you can realistically expect to get, and a 5/4 on turn 6 or 7 doesn’t seem super impressive? I don’t think it’s unplayable or anything, but I don’t think I’d rate it much above a 3.

    • Chris Kvartek says:

      Yeah, I could see it only being a 3.5/5, but what sold me is that there’s realistically no point in the game when it’s awful, and it’s so good during the midgame because you can easily double spell with this on turn five or six and have it be a one mana 4/3 that can still grow. It double spelling so well is why I rated it so highly, but I could definitely be wrong!