Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Limited Guide: Part 2 – Best Spells and Archetypes

Storm Skreelix Art by Darek Zabrocki
Storm Skreelix Art by Darek Zabrocki

Welcome to Part 2 of my Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (MID) Guide. This time we will be looking at the best Common and Uncommon cards to draft as well as the various 2-color archetypes players will be building around in this set.

The most important thing to keep in mind going into this set, in my view, is that the power level is extremely high. There are numerous Bomb Rares and Creatures are generally very strong in this format. While the mechanics and themes look to be value-oriented and slower, I suspect MID is going to be a fast or at least swingy format.

Fortunately there are a few viable Aggro archetypes, so even if the meta goes that route we shouldn’t have to deal with endless Black-Red decks like we did in the Forgotten Realms. I am hopeful a balanced meta may emerge though, as there are some great removal and value-oriented cards to stifle all-out Aggro decks. Additionally, there are several wrath effects available in the format to keep the creature decks wary.

I tend to ignore the Rares though in my reviews, and focus on the spells you are going to see more often. So let’s get into the best cards and general impressions of each color.

Best Non-Rare Spells

White

Best Uncommons

Both of the Transform creatures set up Coven and justify themselves in their own right. White is leaning very aggressive, especially when paired with Red or Green. All of the cards here support attack-focused decks, except for Sunset Revelry which is the one card I questioned adding to the list. It is a pretty strange spell since getting all three modes is pretty unlikely, but as long as you get two out three you come out ahead. I think it would be the most compelling in UW or BW, where you aren’t necessarily looking to curve out with creatures and want something like this to help you play from behind.

Best Commons

At common we have plenty more support for Aggro decks. Gavony Trapper may not seem aggressive, but tapping down end of turn and again on your turn is going to enable a lot of attacks and leave you with enough mana to cast Search Party Captain on the cheap. The zero power on Trapper also helps a Coven creature like Candlegrove Witch start flying as soon as turn 3. The +1/+1 counter generation also helps keep your creatures attacking, whether on the ground or through the air. Don’t sleep on Soul-Guide Gryff either, 3/4 flyers are always big threats in Limited and the ability is highly relevant with all of the Disturb/Flashback in this set.

I am liking White quite a lot and feel like it is going to support much more aggressive decks than we are used to seeing out of the color lately.

Blue

Best Uncommons

Blue has a lot to like too, with its strong Transform creatures and value mechanics. You could easily throw Firmament Sage on this list as well. My favorites here are Mysterious Tome and Ominous Roost, which are both difficult to remove and make it almost impossible for opponents to beat you in drawn out games. It is cards like these that make me optimistic about more controlling, value-oriented decks having a chance in this format. I am still skeptical of Blue decks having enough tools to slow down all of the powerful creatures in the format, but wouldn’t be shocked if the color makes a comeback in popularity in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.

Best Commons

At Common Blue returns to Earth, unfortunately. Falcon Abomination and Organ Hoarder are as good as it gets here, both offering great value. While I like Snapping Drake in core sets, Galedrifter may not cut it in this Strong Creature environment. Getting a 2/2 later is a nice upside though, even if it is expensive. I would only consider Consider in UR, but I think it has a lot of potential there.

If you have several spells which care about Instants/Sorceries, a deck with a few copies of Consider could end up being really strong. If I am playing a deck with only say one Delver of Secrets that cares about finding targets I wouldn’t play it though, Opt/Anticipate are cards that almost never make the cut for me. Locked in the Cemetery is also filler in my view, but if you are short on removal it’ll get the job done.

Blue is kind of a mixed bag for me, with some good spells but not as much depth as you would hope. I don’t want to knock it until I try it, but at this point I am most intrigued by the UR Instant/Sorcery archetype and possibly UB Zombies. I worry about decks that are too durdly in this format, and Blue is looking most likely to fit that bill outside of those archetypes.

Black

Best Uncommons

Black goes deeper than this at Uncommon with stuff like Foul Play and Necrosynthesis. There are so many Uncommons that are likely to make the cut in most decks. The most striking thing is all of the value stuff. As long as your opponent is losing life and things is dying, you get more and more ahead. Black is looking as versatile as ever, offering cards which support controlling or more aggressive strategies. Let’s see what it has to offer at Common:

Best Commons

Well, the removal here is amazing. I could take or leave the creatures but Olivia’s Midnight Ambush and Eaten Alive are going to be very early picks for me. I picked out Morkrut Behemoth as it represents a way to derive value from Decayed tokens. It seems likely these tokens will accumulate on the board in many games and it will be important to have payoffs for them. There are better ones to be sure, but a 7/6 Menace for 5 doesn’t seem bad to me.

Black is my favorite color in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, and how could it have gone any other way?

Red

Best Uncommons

Red is pretty stacked as well, offering a few great removal spells (I would straight up consider Lunar Frenzy a Fireball) and some quality creatures. As I mentioned earlier, the UR Instant/Sorcery deck has a ton of support and looks pretty intriguing to me. BR is also looking to continue its dominance into MID if players are able to assemble enough good Vampires. Maybe there are some more at Common?

Best Commons

The creatures here aren’t anything special but serviceable options especially in decks which prioritize their respective effects. Red does come in with some great burn spells at Common. Moonrager’s Slash is the most essential, but Burn the Accused also does a lot, shutting down Disturb creatures while hitting the opponent and triggering any relevant synergies as well. Immolation may Shock some players with how effective it is too.

Red is looking like a great option in MID. The removal suite is excellent and I could see it supporting any color pair. It does feel a little unfocused, maybe since it has such disparate support for different archetypes. I still see plenty of strong playable cards to compliment any deck, but I am not sure Red will always be the star of the show as it was in AFR.

Green

Best Uncommons

Green has got some Creatures here, damn. It is definitely the most contingent on the Day/Night mechanic, but there is enough quality stuff here to be good regardless. I am already excited to draft this color, but before I jump to conclusions let’s see what to expect out of its commons.

Best Commons

Not too bad at all. The creature focus here is evident, but there are a couple serviceable removal options. I already really liked playing Feral Invocation and Howl of the Hunt also lets you surprise untap. It is going to be easy to fight stuff when you have commons like Shadowbeast Sighting and Candlelit Cavalry. I do think Green is going to be highly susceptible to blowouts against Black and Red instant-speed removal, but the raw efficiency of its creatures are going to be tough to deny.

I am most excited about Green-White Aggro, and think that will be an archetype to be reckoned with. White has the lower part of the curve covered, while Green provides excellent options for the top. Some strong Coven cards could be the kicker.

When it comes to ranking the colors I would put Black at the top and perhaps Blue at the bottom. Not really sure how to sort the other three at the moment. I think it may prove helpful to examine each 2-color archetype and see how these different colors will work together in this set.

Archetypes of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

Now that we have seen all of the key cards for each color it seems appropriate to take a peek at the signpost multicolor Uncommon spells to get a feel for the 2-color archetypes. For each I have identified the major theme and the deck strategy most conducive to the color pair. Not to say some decks won’t break the mold (especially UB), but overall I have placed each pair into one of four categories:

  • Aggro: These decks will tend to lean aggressive, prioritizing 2-drops and cheap removal in a bid to get underneath greedier deck types.
  • Midrange Aggro: These are creature decks with a higher curve, looking to outclass pure Aggro decks with more efficient creatures but still present multiple threats to punish durdly decks.
  • Midrange Value: These decks look to capitalize on specific synergies and accrue advantages over the course of the game.
  • Control: These decks focus on building card advantage over the course of games they purposefully prolong by removing or otherwise countering enemy threats.

In Limited the lines between deck strategies are especially blurry, but I like to apply this framework to get a basic idea of how aggressive or greedy a given archetype is likely to be.

Blue-White

Major Theme(s): Disturb, Self-Mill

Preferred Deck Strategy: Control

I am not super keen on this archetype because White leans so aggressive and Blue doesn’t seem individually powerful.

Black-White

Major Theme: Sacrifice

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange

I am really intrigued by this archetype, and think it can lean aggressive or more value/sacrifice oriented depending on the cards you are able to accumulate. I just wonder how effective a grindy archetype is going to be against decks that generate tons of value over time.

Red-White

Major Theme: +1/+1 Counters

Preferred Deck Strategy: Aggro

This combination looks super aggressive and I would love to have a strong deck in these colors. Especially early on in formats when players tend to have more durdly decks.

Green-White

Major Theme: Coven

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange Aggro

This combination looks amazing on the creature front, the question is whether players will be able to find enough of the handful of quality removal spells available.

Blue-Black

Major Theme(s): Zombies, Self-Mill

Preferred Deck Strategy: Control?

This deck is such a question mark for me. I am really excited to see how well the Self-mill and Decayed stuff works. I am somewhat pessimistic but honestly hope it is good because it is really fresh from a design perspective.

Blue-Red

Major Theme: Instants and Sorceries

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange Aggro

I am always partial to UR, but the combination here genuinely looks good. There are many playable Instants and Sorceries and payoffs in spades.

Blue-Green

Major Theme: Mana Ramp

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange Value

I will take a pass on this archetype unless it starts blowing me out.

Black-Red

Major Theme: Vampires

Preferred Deck Strategy: Aggro

I am a big fan of these colors in MID, and think they compliment one another quite well. There is a danger of getting outclassed on the creature front, but the removal options should help that.

Black-Green

Major Theme: Graveyard Interaction

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange Value

Along with UB this is another wild card for me. Graveyard interaction is a focal point in this set and I think BG will be the better of the two.

Red-Green

Major Theme: Werewolves

Preferred Deck Strategy: Midrange Aggro

I have to say I am leaning toward Werewolves being overrated. There are some good ones to be sure, but I am not sure building around the mechanic is the way to go. Decks should be strong and cohesive around the clock. Gaining some advantages at certain times is a welcome bonus but doesn’t need to be the end all be all.

Conclusions

This set looks really interesting! Coming off of a fairly 1-dimensional set I am really excited to dive into something more confusing and intricate. I can’t wait to play a bunch of drafts and see how the meta shakes out. I will return in the near future with a full on Draft Guide once I have done a bunch of events and feel like I have a good handle on the set. Until then, see you on the ladder! Hopefully this one remains compelling at least until Halloween.

Compulsion

I have been playing MTG for 20 years and am an infinite drafter on Arena. I teach high school chemistry full time and have a two year old daughter.

4 Responses

  1. Caleb says:

    What does “UR” stand for?

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Each of Magic’s colors is shorthanded. Red – R, Black – B, Blue – U, White – W, Green – G. UR is Red/Blue also known as Izzet/Prismari. Hope that helps!

  2. rainbowtornado says:

    Thanks for the write-up. As a newbie this is really helpful 🙂
    What do you think of 3 colour strategies in the set? Could for example a red-green-black aggro deck be worth considering or would you stick to 2 colours?

    • Compulsion says:

      I think Green will almost always be present in 3 color decks, since there aren’t many options for fixing mana outside of that color. Decks with a lot of card draw or deck thinning like Blue-Red might be better equipped to splash another color outside of that.