Innistrad: Crimson Vow Limited Set Review: Multicolored, Artifacts and Lands

Blood Servitor Art by Jason Engle
Blood Servitor Art by Jason Engle

I’m excited to be finishing up my limited review of Crimson Vow and finally get to rating the colors by their limited power level! However, this article is also rather bitter sweet seeing as it will be my last piece of content for MTG Arena Zone. I start work for Wizards of the Coast in about a week, and I am very excited to express my passion for Magic through a design perspective.

I will most certainly miss writing content and competing in tournaments, especially since I will be missing this season of Rivals League. However, eager doesn’t even remotely describe how much I am looking forward to start working with the Play Design team! I’m going to do everything that I can to improve the game and have it continue to be such a positive force in people’s lives, like it was and still is in mine.

Time to dive into these sweet multicolored cards!

Ancient Lumberknot

Rating: 3/5

I mean this little Doran, the Siege Tower is a four mana 4/4 at worst, but I don’t see it dominating board states unless you build your deck specifically around it. Still, this has a really high floor and will often add some power to your various creatures, so you’ll always be looking to play it.

Anje, Maid of Dishonor

Rating: 4.5/5

This has a sweet name and is near unbeatable when left unanswered, which means that you should never be passing it. Once you untap with Anje, you shouldn’t have an issue draining the opponent out and quickly building up a bunch of Blood tokens to use as fodder. Oh yeah, Anje is also still a 4/5 that can deliver a serious beatdown all by herself.

Bloodtithe Harvester

Rating: 3.5/5

Makes a Blood token, beats down early, and then is removal when the body gets outclassed? Talk about powerful, versatile, and a premium gold card for the Rakdos vampires strategy!

Brine Comber

Rating: 3/5

This is a really weird and hard to evaluate card. Both sides offer a bunch of 1/1’s, so even with no auras this is probably fine. It seems hard to build around, but the floor here is still more than a good enough playable.

Child of the Pack

Rating: 3/5

Accrues value quickly, and then flips and crushes the opponent. Seems like a top notch gold card to me!

Dorothea, Vengeful Victim

Rating: 3.5/5

I like playing this and then usually not attacking until you can trade Dorothea, or deliver that last four points of damage. The Geist of Saint Traft enchantment on the back is very sweet though and should end the game very quickly. Also, who doesn’t think of the Taylor Swift song “Dorothea” whenever they read this?

Edgar, Charmed Groom

Rating: 4.5/5

The man of the hour is looking as dapper as ever! Unkillable, and brutal on both sides is a fantastic combination and a near impossible card to beat.

Eruth, Tormented Prophet

Rating: 3.5/5

You need to be careful not to mill out once this is in play, but Phyrexian Arena on a decent blocker is well worth the risk in my opinion! I don’t like how awkward this is when you exile more card draw with it, but other than that, Eruth seems like a phenomenal play once you have enough lands out.

Grolnok, the Omnivore 

Rating: 3/5

This is a really cool card, but I don’t think it’s all that powerful unfortunately. Getting in a profitable attack with a four mana 3/3 is going to often be difficult. However, the payoff is pretty decent when you do since you should draw 1-2 cards most of the time. Grolnok will obviously dominate an empty board incredibly quickly, but it’s a shame that it’s really going to underperform on an already clogged board.

Halana and Alena, Partners 

Rating: 4/5

You do need another creature in play for for these two to do anything, but they impact the board almost immediately and quickly make each creature you control into a massive threat. Giving haste to the buffed creature means that following this up with a five drop should often come to close to ending the game on the spot.

Kaya, Geist Hunter

Rating: 3/5

Kaya only really shines once you have some tokens out, but at the very least she can always give your team deathtouch, which should make blocking very difficult for the opponent. Her ultimate is also great, though I still wouldn’t expect Kaya to be the game dominating planeswalker that her Kaldheim variant was.

Markov Purifier

Rating: 3.5/5

Dawn of Hope (kind of) on a decent body looks pretty great to me. It’s nice that this triggers itself and works with a bunch of the various black and white commons too. Markov Purifier is a great defining uncommon for the archetype.

Markov Waltzer

Rating 3/5

Heck yeah Boros finally has some vampires! This hits decently hard and does a good job at boosting your team, but it’s not the best blocker and isn’t that impressive unless you have multiple creatures out and also have profitable attacks available. This is solid, but not quite as good as some of the other gold cards we’ve seen.

Odric, Blood-Cursed

Rating: 3/5

Odric is honestly a lot worse than it seems. Most of the time he’ll only be a Centaur Courser that makes 1-2 Blood tokens, which is far from broken. It pains me to say this, but vampire Odric is a lot less scary than his human version.

Old Rutstein

Rating: 3.5/5

This old creepy guy kind of reminds me of the mask salesman from Majora’s Mask and Ocarina of Time! Talk about some all-star games. Old Rutstein is going to gain some serious value throughout the game, which makes me quite the fan of it. It’s especially nice that it triggers when it enters, and it’s also nice that because limited decks are packed with so many creatures, you’ll have a decent chance at making a 1/1 every other upkeep. Just be weary not to mill out!

Olivia, Crimson Bride 

Rating: 4.5/5

The game is going to end almost immediately if Oliva isn’t answered. She’s difficult to block and is going to trigger nearly every turn, which doesn’t seem particularly beatable. It’s also nice that if the creature she brings back dies in combat, it’ll just go to the graveyard and be able to get reanimated again next turn. Don’t pass this and do everything you can to splash it if you see it later in the draft. Definitely a very sweet and cool card to represent the set.

Runo Stromkirk

Rating: 3.5/5

What an interesting card. The front side is fine but unexciting, and even though Runo is difficult to flip, it’s really insane once it eventually does. Make sure to have a few six or seven drops to work with Runo, and just pray to get a blind flip or to tuck one back on top! Again, I love cards that are always fine and sometimes insane

Sigardian Paladin 

Rating: 3.5/5

With all the Training creatures in Selesnya, it shouldn’t be hard to have targets for Sigardian Paladin‘s ability. Even if you don’t have any counters when this enters, it’s still a 4/4 for four which is more than fine in limited.

Skull Skaab

Rating: 3.5/5

Not netting off tokens being sacrificed stops this from being broken, but it’s still great at fueling all the powerful Dimir Exploit payoffs. This isn’t as good as Bladestitched Skaab, but I’m sure that it will still be a defining uncommon of the archetype.

Torens, Fist of the Angels 

Rating: 4/5

Holy beans this is going to get out of hand insanely quickly if it lives. Toren will end up making a token almost every turn because of how creature dense limited decks are, and the tokens that Torens makes will get a counter on them after almost every combat. The tokens also help fuel one another since they can each get bigger and train one another. This is still a Gray Ogre, so it is fragile but I still don’t see how you’ll beat an opponent that sits back with this and quickly amasses an army of humans.

Vilespawn Spider 

Rating: 3/5

Spider Spawning this is not. Making 5+ 1/1 Insects is still good, but not nearly as backbreaking as an army of 1/2 Reach creatures. Four mana to activate is also a lot, but at least this triggers off itself being in the graveyard when you sacrifice it. This is still going to shine in the creature heavy Simic decks, but this isn’t going to be a format powerhouse like Spider Spawning was.

Wandering Mind

Rating: 3.5/5

Sea Gate Oracle has never looked better (or creepier). This is a better Cloudkin Seer in my opinion, which is a great place to be. Every Izzet deck will want as many of these as possible and it will be one of the premium non-rare three drops of the entire set. Creatures that ETB and draw a card are just way too good!

Blood Servitor

Rating: 1/5

Gray Ogre is not where you want to be, even if your deck is blood hungry. Don’t play this unless you’re forced to.

Boarded Window

Rating: 0.5/5

Talk about having the best darn flavor in the whole set! The risk of this blowing up is enough for me to keep this in my board. However, if you face a go wide deck that’s full of small creatures, bring this in and crush their offense!

Ceremonial Knife

Rating: 0.5/5

Another trash piece of equipment that isn’t worth a slot. Just play anything over this, please.

Dollhouse of Horrors 

Rating: 3.5/5

This is slow, but it’s going to take over the game pretty quickly assuming that you have 15+ creatures in your deck. I’d play this in just about every deck that meets that creature count. The tokens getting Haste is scary from both a gameplay and flavor perspective. Crazy Stuffy Dolls running around trying to kill the opponent just has to give you the creeps!

Foreboding Statue

Rating: 3.5/5

Every deck will want this, since once you’ve used it for mana early on you can start to beat down with a three mana 5/5. I’m very excited to play a ton with this card!

Honored Heirloom

Rating: 1/5

Manalith has simply not withstood the test of time. If you face an opponent with a ton of graveyard synergies, then this might do something, but even then it’s way too clunky for my tastes.

Investigator’s Journal

Rating: 3/5

You’ll need a few creatures in play before you can play this and be happy, but that doesn’t seem particularly difficult. This feels similarly powerful to how Mazemind Tome was in limited, which means that every deck will happily play this. However, it’s still not going to be as good as the top uncommons and good removal.

Lantern of the Lost

Rating: 0.5/5

This is a nice little piece of graveyard hate that is a lot better than Soul-Guide Lantern was in Theros Beyond Death. I wouldn’t start this, but again, keep it in mind for those postboard games!

Wedding Invitation 

Rating: 1.5/5

There just isn’t the room to jam this mediocre filler into your limited decks. You want all your cards to do something, and for two mana this accomplishes incredibly little. Even if I had a ton of Vampires in my deck I wouldn’t be taking this highly, though I probably would still consider playing a copy because giving an unblockable creature lifelink could help change the tide of a race.

The Dual lands 

Rating: 3/5

Fixing is important in limited because there is so little of it, and these lands are especially nice since they’ll almost always come into play untapped. If I’m in the same colors as a land that’s being passed to me, I’ll take them pretty highly because of how valuable fixing is in limited when it’s trivial to get to 23 playables nowadays.

Evolving Wilds

Rating 3/5

Another set, another Evolving Wilds reprint. This is a solid piece of fixing that players still don’t seem to value high enough.

Voldaren Estate

Rating: 3/5

This grade assumes that you’re Rakdos Vampires, because otherwise this is unplayable in my opinion. If you are that archetype though, this seems like a solid way to accumulate Blood tokens while still having access to a colored mana source when you really need it. A lot of vampires in this set have ways to abuse Blood tokens, which will end up making them way more valuable than a single loot.

Color Rankings

  1. Blue
  2. Black
  3. Green
  4. White
  5. Red

Wow, at the moment I think that the colors in this set are aligned in the same order as they were for Midnight Hunt! Blue has amazing card draw and creatures, Black has the best removal by far, green has a ton of solid creatures at common and works well in Gruul or Selesnya. White doesn’t have great removal spell since I don’t see cards like Sigarda's Imprisonment performing well with all the Exploit in the format. The color is also a little all over the place in what it’s trying to accomplish. Red has good common removal and great uncommons, but the common creatures were unfortunately way too anemic for me to rate the color any higher. Rating colors without playing with them is incredibly hard, so hopefully I’m somewhat right here!

Thank you again for all the support you’ve given for the content I’ve been producing on MTG Arena Zone over the past few months! It was honestly a blast to make it and you can always go back and read them on my profile here. As always, thank you for reading, and I hope that you end up enjoying this format because it honestly seems fantastic!

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. calebvdl says:

    We’ll miss you Chris! Thanks for gracing this community with your insights and best of luck at Wizards, you’re gonna kill it 💪

  2. Barcisz says:

    Fingers crossed that red will be better than in Midnight Hunt. At least RG Werewolfs seems like a powerful archetype. Thanks for the great reviews and all the content! Good luck in your new job, it seems really enjoyable. 🙂