Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Limited Set Review: Black

The Meathook Massacre Art by Chris Seaman
The Meathook Massacre Art by Chris Seaman

Arrogant Outlaw

Arrogant Outlaw

Rating: 1/5

A situational Vampire Spawn just ain’t gonna cut it. Not being able to trigger this will leave you with an awful 3/2 for three, and even when you do trigger it, it’s nothing special. Arrogant Outlaw is playable in the very aggressive decks, but is never going to be exciting.

Baneblade Scoundrel

Rating: 2.5/5

This is a really hard creature to block, especially once it flips. You only need so many four drops, but this seems like it’ll be one of the better ones.

Bat Whisperer

Bat Whisperer

Rating: 1.5/5

The payoff here is at least better than Arrogant Outlaw. The problem is that when you don’t trigger this, it’s just a Giant Cockroach, which will just trade down in combat. If you can ensure that you’re consistently triggering this then go ahead and play it, but the floor here is just too low for me to be interested in this. Keep in mind that the stock of this does go way up the more Vampire Interlopers you have.

Bladebrand

Bladebrand

Rating: 2/5

Bladebrand was surprisingly good in Ravnica Allegiance limited because of how good it was with Footlight Fiend. I don’t see a card in this set that’s similar to Goblin Arsonist, which means that Bladebrand will mostly be mediocre unless you can combine it with some Decayed tokens or something. 

Blood Pact

Blood Pact

Rating: 1/5

Three mana Sign in Blood? I thought that the power creep was supposed to be making cards more powerful, not less. This just looks like a really bad Divination to me, even though it’s an instant and can deal the final two to the opponent. I would just play a random creature over this.

Bloodline Culling

Bloodline Culling

Rating: 4/5

Just a Murder that can clean up some Decayed tokens every now and then. Unconditional removal will always be an incredibly high priority in limited. However, I could see this be a 3.5/5 considering that there are so many cards with Disturb running around. I would guess that most non-exile removal spells will end up being worse in this set than they normally would be.

Bloodtithe Collector

Bloodtithe Collector

Rating: 3/5

I’m always down for a Shining Aerosaur and the little bit of value that’s tacked on here helps to push Bloodtithe Collector over the edge. It’s nice too because by the time you’re casting this, it should be pretty easy to trigger and your opponent should already be down to their last few cards. That makes it more likely that you snag a spell from their hand.

Champion of the Perished

Champion of the Perished

Rating: 3.5/5

Decayed tokens is what makes this awesome. Obviously there’s already zombie support because this is Innistrad, but amassing Decayed tokens seems really easy so I would expect this to get out of hand very quickly, especially if you end up in Dimir. Worst case scenario, this is still most often a one mana 2/2 or 3/3, which is still great.

Covert Cutpurse

Rating: 3.5/5

This is going to be hard to play around since it’s an uncommon. The powerful effect and good flipped side more than make up for the 2/1 body here. All of the life loss matters cards in black incentivize your opponent to block, which should make Covert Cutpurse perform better than it would in other sets.

Crawl from the Cellar

Crawl from the Cellar

Rating: 2.5/5

Assuming you have some zombies lying around, double Raise Dead that adds to the board actually seems pretty decent to me. You don’t want too many of this sort of effect, but with all the mill that’s around I’d be happy to play a couple copies of these in my creature heavy black decks.

Curse of Leeches

Rating: 4/5

Your opponent can avoid casting spells in order to flip this and get some reprieve from the upkeep drain, but if they do that they’ll still be facing down a huge lifelinking leech! This card has a really cool play pattern and offers a lot for only three mana.

Defenestrate

Defenestrate

Rating: 3.5/5

This is close to Murder, but not being able to chuck large fliers out of a window is a pretty substantial drawback. I’ll play as many of these as I can get my hands on, but I know that I’m going to die to some geist or demon while this is rotting in my hand.

Diregraf Horde

Diregraf Horde

Rating: 2/5

You get a lot of temporary power here, so assuming that you have ways to make use of the tokens, then this seems like an okay five drop. If your opponent is behind they could also just die from the attack for seven on your next turn.

Dreadhound

Dreadhound

Rating: 3/5

This is some very good top end right here. Dreadhound will come in and often deal 1-2 damage from the mill in addition to making combat near impossible for the opponent. It’s also just a huge creature that dodges a lot of the removal in the set. Hissing Iguanar effects always overperformed in Limited because there is constant creature combat going on, and I see Dreadhound doing the same.

Duress

Duress

Rating: .5/5

Awful main deck card, but a decent sideboard option against planeswalkers and other non-creatures bombs. Missing with Duress is incredibly bad, so I’d under no circumstances ever have this in my main deck.

Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Rating: 4/5

With all the Decayed tokens around this will almost always be an incredibly cheap piece of removal that perfectly answers all the Disturbed creatures in the format. At the moment I would assume that this is going to be by far the best common.

Ecstatic Awakener

Rating: 3/5

This is great assuming you have a decent amount of Decayed token producers. The Decayed tokens provide so little value that I’d be ecstatic to trade one in for a card and a buffed up creature. This also hits very hard if you’re able to flip it on turn three.

Foul Play

Foul Play

Rating: 3.5/5

Situtational removal like this rarely kills what you want it to and Foul play is especially awkward because it’s a sorcery. I do imagine that it will still be very solid though because the times you do kill an early creature and get a two-for-one for such a cheap cost will be absolutely backbreaking for the opponent. 

Ghoulish Procession

Ghoulish Procession

Rating: 3/5

This is a really difficult effect to evaluate. On one hand, it doesn’t seem too hard to trigger this at least once every turn cycle. On the other hand, your opponent can play around it and the creatures you get mostly suck. I still think that this effect is unique and powerful enough to include in creature/removal heavy decks. Plus, all these Decayed tokens with any sort of anthem or Blood Artist effect seem pretty fantastic to me.

Gisa, Glorious Resurrector

Gisa, Glorious Resurrector

Rating: 4/5

Yeah this seems very hard to beat if it lives. This reminds me of Draugr Necromancer from Kaldheim, and I could see Gisa especially shining in this set because of how good exile is against Disturb. The creature tokens getting Decayed is kind of lame, but it should be easy to overrun the opponent even if the creature’s you’re gaining can’t block and are dying at the end of combat. 

Graveyard Trespasser

Rating: 4/5

Being hard to answer while having a solid body and a great effect is the perfect recipe for a limited powerhouse. This stops any graveyard synergies your opponent has while also killing them quickly, so I wouldn’t expect to ever be passing this.

Heirloom Mirror

Rating: 3/5

You get to rummage three times, fill up the graveyard, and then get a huge demon. That sounds like a good deal to me! The frontside even fuels the backside, so once this flips it’ll make short work of the opponent. In my opinion the payoff here more than makes up for the clunkiness. Losing life to activate the mirror is a bit of a bummer though.

Hobbling Zombie

Hobbling Zombie

Rating: 2/5

Daggerback Basilisk is always just fine. This reminds me of Yuan-Ti Fang-Blade, which was an unexciting, but fine playable.

Infernal Grasp

Infernal Grasp

Rating: 3.5/5

Losing two is a very real drawback, which makes this worse than the average Doom Blade in my eyes. Efficient removal is still great though, even if it doesn’t line up the best against Disturb.

Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia

Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia

Rating: 3/5

Your opponent better have a 2/3 lying around otherwise these Zombies are gonna shamble right over them! So many cards have Decayed, so it’s likely that this won’t do much in the late game since you’re likely to have a token or two lying around. If you have a powerful sacrifice outlet then this becomes way better. As is, it seems good early and middling later on.

Jerren, Corrupted Bishop

Rating: 4.5/5

You get two bodies at the very worst here which is already pretty great. All these abilities combine well to make it easier than it seems to get to 13 life, and once you do flip this you’ll be rewarded with a near unbeatable threat that will still draw you a bunch of cards before it’s answered. Obviously never pass this.

Lord of the Forsaken

Lord of the Forsaken

Rating: 5/5

The classic untap and win type of bomb. Once you untap with this, it’ll be incredibly easy to either kill your opponent in the air or just mill them out. Three cards is a lot, and having random creatures lying around is very easy to accomplish in this set. Thank goodness this is a mythic. 

Mask of Griselbrand

Mask of Griselbrand

Rating: 4.5/5

This turns any random creature into a fantastic threat while also being busted with Decayed tokens. It’s a little clunky to equip, but the life you’re gaining will catch you up and help prevent your equipment from getting out-tempoed. There’s not a chance that I’m taking anything over this pack one pick one (except for a foil bomb mythic of course!)

The Meathook Massacre

The Meathook Massacre

Rating: 5/5

A wrath that drains the opponent and then sticks around continuing to drain them does not seem remotely beatable.

Morbid Opportunist

Morbid Opportunist

Rating: 4/5

This rating may be high, but this seems like the Skullport Mercenary of the set to me. If this sticks around, all your Decayed tokens become nuts while all your opponents become near useless. Since this triggers on each turn and creatures are always dying in limited, it seems incredibly easy to bury the opponent in card advantage with Morbid Opportunist. I would definitely not sleep on this unassuming powerhouse.

Morkrut Behemoth

Morkrut Behemoth

Rating: 1.5/5

It’s just hard to get me excited about a five drop. The times where you don’t have a creature lying around this is going to be way too slow and expensive. Menace is also one of the worst keywords for a big creature like this to have since it’s almost always going to be double blocked in combat. 

Necrosynthesis

Necrosynthesis

Rating: 3/5

One of the few auras that’s actually pretty nice in limited! If this stays on your creature, it should become a big threat in no time and if it happens to get killed at some point at least you get back the card you invested. Just be wary about casting this into your opponent’s open mana.

No Way Out

No Way Out

Rating: 1/5

Mind Rot with minimal upside will make for a good board card against slower decks with powerful late game bombs

Novice Occultist

Novice Occultist

Rating: 1/5

This is pretty much just Oculus from Mirrodin Besieged so I don’t see Novice Occulist being anything more than bad filler. A two mana 1/2 just doesn’t do much, especially in a set where three toughness seems key (because you want to be able to block Decayed tokens with ease).

Olivia’s Midnight Ambush

Olivia's Midnight Ambush

Rating: 3.5/5

Cheap removal early that can be situated in the late game to answer whatever you need? This is great removal that I never see cutting.

Rotten Reunion

Rotten Reunion

Rating: .5/5

Main decking this should be out of the question since it is so low impact. However, if the card you’re exiling is valuable then this could be a decent sideboard option against Flashback and Disturb heavy decks.

Shady Traveler

Rating: 2.5/5

I’ve come across way too many of these during my travels to Magic events. Both sides are fine, and like stated earlier being able to connect early on will help power out some of those life loss matters vampires.

Siege Zombie

Siege Zombie

Rating: 2/5

A fine aggressive early play. I like how this will beat in early and then slowly ping the opponent in the late game. Nothing particularly special here but a fine curve filler.

Slaughter Specialist

Slaughter Specialist

Rating: 1.5/5

Man do I hate to play cards that give the opponent any form of value. This only getting bigger off your opponent’s creatures dying gives your opponent a lot of agency over just how big this gets. I would just try to steer clear of playing this, but if your opponent doesn’t show you any removal in the first game then maybe this is worth boarding in. Keep in mind that just because a card is a rare does not mean that it’s good!

Stromkirk Bloodthief

Stromkirk Bloodthief

Rating: 3/5

A Gray Ogre that scales well into the late game is going to be solid. This also snowballs pretty quickly if you have an sort of aggressive start.

Tainted Adversary

Tainted Adversary

Rating: 4.5/5

A 2/3 Deathtouch for two is already great! The fact that this adds so much power onto the board in the late game makes it a versatile bomb in my eyes. It’s also nice that if you’re falling behind early on you can play Tainted Adversary and have it be a good blocker. If the game goes late, then this should easily overwhelm the opponent with Decayed tokens.

Vampire Interloper

Vampire Interloper

Rating: 2.5/5

Only the very aggressive decks will want this, but it’s going to overperform with how much black values life loss in this set. Who needs to block when the opponent is always on the backfoot? In Magic, a good offense really is a good defense!

Vengeful Strangler

Rating: 3/5

Your opponent is going to be forced to trade with this at some point, and when they do they’re going to more or less be forced to sacrifice whatever creature you enchant. The bad thing about this card is how awkward it is at answering bombs, but that’s just a small issue with an overall solid card.

Black has some great removal and some very powerful uncommons like Morbid Opportunist and Dreadhound. I’m definitely going to keep all that in mind when I rate the colors after my final review! Less than a week until we can draft I just can’t wait!

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.

21 Responses

  1. Shawn says:

    Just something to point out, you compared Easy Prey to Foul Play, but Easy Prey hits creatures with converted mana cost 2 or less, and Foul Play hits creatures with power 2 or less.

    I haven’t taken note of all the 2 powered creatures in the set, but I think Foul Play should hit considerably more targets than Easy Prey ever did. Converted mana cost 2 or less feels like a tougher restriction than power 2 or less.

    • DoggertQBones says:

      For sure, but he did give it a 3.5 which means I think you guys are on the same wavelength that it’s a lot better than Easy Prey. Maybe he’s still slightly undervaluing it.

    • Chris Kvartek says:

      Dang I knew I would misread some cards haha, that’s my bad. I’d still stick with the 3.5 though because it’s hard for single use, situational, sorcery speed removal to ever be that bananas, even if you’re getting a two-for-one out of it.

      • Shawn Chong says:

        Yeah, 3.5 seems fair. I’d welcome the first copy in any black deck, and two is probably fine as well. Anymore than that might be a bit excessive though.

  2. Idan says:

    Listen, I really like your limited reviews, but… err… can you ease off a bit on the card name-dropping? Almost every card evaluation contains a reference to a MTG card from older sets – some recent, some… not so much. Sometimes (re: Bladebrand) – you reference two different but mechanically identical cards from different sets. It makes reading, especially for someone who’s relatively new to this game, very very cumbersome, and doesn’t really add to the reader’s ability to understand your evaluation.

    Sorry for this. Other than that – great reviews. 😀

    • Stiv says:

      Every card he refers to have a link where you can see it. From PC is very convenient to see, I don’t know if on mobile it gives you problems…

      • Idan says:

        Even on PC it requires to pause reading the paragraph in the middle to check the reference. On mobile… yes, the experience is worse. But I honestly don’t think it adds enough to be worth the cost of making it less accessible. 🤷

        • DoggertQBones says:

          Unfortunately the best way to evaluate new Limited cards is to compare them to the older counterparts. It may seem cumbersome now but learning these baselines will only be beneficial the further you go.

    • Chris Kvartek says:

      That’s totally fair. I do find it hard to evaluate cards without comparing them to previous experiences/formats, but I could have just stuck with footlight fiend lol. Ill keep that in mind 🙂

  3. Luca says:

    Olivia midnight ambush is a 5 star card.

    You can pass the turn without playing and kill ANY creature in opponent upkeep

    • DoggertQBones says:

      Well there has to be a Werewolf out right? If there isn’t it’s neither day nor night.

      • Bayard says:

        Indeed it has to be day. But once it becames day/night once u dont need day/nightbound in the table to continue shifting. But yes, to make o.m.a. instakill just by passing the turn u need one card to start the day-night stuff.

      • Luca says:

        You are right
        I believe it will be quite common from turn 4 onwards, but not automatic..

      • Cody Mann says:

        Are your sure? I thought once it was either day or night, established by any card that makes it day or night, it remains one of the two throughout the game, regardless of creatures on the field.

    • Chris Kvartek says:

      I very rarely give removal 5 stars unless it’s a type of control magic or something obscene like Flamewave. There’s a good chance that this is a 4 though because it seems relatively easy to make it night when you want to. For sure in the top three commons of the set

  4. Luca says:

    Behemoth is fine.

    Novice Occultist is fine sacr material, for example from Estatic Awakener

  5. Zac says:

    You’re absolutely underating Duress. Sure, it sucks when the card goes to waste but a more than even trade off on turn one is great. You get great info on what deck you’re playing against, you can pick a combo piece out quick, you can hit a mana ramp card, one that generates card advantage upon entry, especially with Learn staying in standard and counters things like ward that are tough to remove later on. It’s nearly always good to have a duress turn one when you’re on the play.

    • Chris Kvartek says:

      Wait but I’m just saying not to main deck duress is limited! It’s a totally different story when it comes to standard, card can be main decked there for the right meta.

  6. Cam says:

    Unless I’m misunderstanding your words, I don’t believe ‘Jerren, Corrupted Bishop’ creates a 1/1 when answered. It’s when “another nontoken human dies”. I think it doesn’t included itself. So you get two bodies on ETB, and none when it dies.

  7. Barcisz says:

    Thanks again for the great reviews! One point – I think the description of Gisa, Glorious Resurrector is off here.

    Her exile isn’t that good against Disturb because most of the time she exiles only temporarily. If she survives until your upkeep the creatures (not some tokens) enter the battlefield under your control and without some specific abilities most of the time they are useless* until they attack and die or you sacrifice them. Either way, they go to your opponent’s graveyard and the Disturb ability isn’t turned off anymore.

    * Most of the time – because there may be some other uses. For example, you can use a resurrected beefy vanilla creature for your fight spell.