Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Limited Set Review: Red

Lunar Frenzy Art by Alix Branwyn
Lunar Frenzy Art by Alix Branwyn

Abandon the Post

Abandon the Post

Rating: 1.5/5

What the heck this is just a reprint of Nightbird’s Clutches but without the sweet name and art! I think that modern limited formats have gotten so good that these Falter effects just don’t quite cut it anymore. It’s nice that this helps push Decayed tokens through, but only the most aggressive decks will be interested in this sort of effect and even then I don’t see it being all that impressive.

Ardent Elementalist

Ardent Elementalist

Rating: 3/5

I have always loved Archaeomancer, and this is just an easier to cast version of it with better stats. This is one of the few common four drops that I see prioritizing highly because it will likely  be essential for the control and Flashback based decks.

Bloodthirsty Adversary

Bloodthirsty Adversary

Rating: 4/5

This is more or less just a better Goblin Dark-Dwellers and that card is already pretty nuts in limited. I don’t see casting Bloodthirsty Adversary early, but at five mana this is fantastic and at eight it should be game winning if you built around it properly.

Brimstone Vandal

Brimstone Vandal

Rating: 2/5

The Night/Day ability here is pretty anemic, and a 2/3 Menace for three isn’t that great either. This seems like fine filler for an aggressive deck and that’s about it.

Burn Down the House

Burn Down the House

Rating: 4.5/5

A wrath that’s never bad is a great place to be. If you’re behind you can kill everything and if you’re ahead you can add a ton of pressure to the board. I would be ecstatic to start a draft with this bomb.

Burn the Accursed

Burn the Accursed

Rating: 3/5

The classic five mana burn spell of the set, except this one has some major upside. A guaranteed two to the opponent while also turning off Disturb makes this a solid addition to any red deck.

Cathartic Pyre

Cathartic Pyre

Rating: 3.5/5

To me this is just a deal three since I can almost never see using this to loot. It’s like You Find the Villains Lair from the DND set. Sure it’s a Cancel and a Careful Study, but I think I used the latter maybe once in my entire time playing the format. I see that being the same with Cathartic Pyre. It’s still a good, cheap removal spell that you should take highly though.

Curse of Shaken Faith

Curse of Shaken Faith

Rating: 0/5

Please do not play this, do not bring it in, don’t even take it unless you need those 20 gems. This card is meant to be a constructed board card, not a limited playable.

Electric Revelation

Electric Revelation

Rating: 1.5/5

A more expensive Tormenting Voice with Flashback is interesting, but I fear that by casting this you’ll just be spinning your wheels and not accomplishing much. The lack of Madness makes me doubt the usefulness of Electric Revelation. You would need a lot of Flashback and spell matters synergies before I would want to play this.

Falkenrath Perforator

Falkenrath Perforator

Rating: 1.5/5

This is worse than a two mana 3/1 by a fair amount and I wouldn’t play this unless I was insanely aggressive or in desperate need of a two drop. A two mana 2/1 with a mediocre ability just doesn’t do much at any point in the game. The only redeeming factor is how good this is at dealing damage and making your other vampires trigger their ETB’s.

Falkenrath Pit Fighter

Falkenrath Pit Fighter

Rating: 2.5/5

A one mana 2/1 is okay but not stellar, but I like how this can somewhat protect your vampires from the opponents removal. Vampires in this set look like they’re trying their hardest to be on the beatdown now that’s for sure. 

Famished Foragers

Famished Foragers

Rating: 2.5/5

A four mana 4/3 ain’t bad, but what’s really got me excited about Famished Foragers is how easy it is to double spell when you trigger it’s mana ability. You can put your opponent really far behind if you play seven mana worth of spells on turn four and I’m looking forward to playing this in my aggressive vampire decks and popping off with all that mana!

Fangblade Brigand

Rating: 3/5

This hits hard and once it flips your opponent is going to be in a world of hurt assuming that you have a couple creatures lying.

Flame Channeler

Rating: 3/5

The front side of this is fine, but the backside pays you off nicely for throwing any sort of burn at the opponent. It shouldn’t be so hard to flip this with a Neonate’s Rush or something, and even if you don’t a 2/2 for two can only be so bad.

Festival Crasher

Festival Crasher

Rating: 2/5

I have doubts that this will be good even if my deck has 10-12 spells in it. A two mana 1/3 can only be so bad though and this will often trade up in the late game. Maybe this would make some waves if some sort of Artful Dodge effect was in the format.

Geistflame Reservoir

Geistflame Reservoir

Rating: 4/5

This is a little slow, but it offers a ton of value over the course of the game. Two mana to kind of draw a card is solid, and before you know it this will have enough charge counters on it to straight up kill the opponent. Keep in mind that you do need to build around this, and if you do you’re going to be rewarded handsomely.

Harvesttide Infiltrator

Rating: 2/5

Once this flips it’s great, but until then a 3/2 for three just isn’t going to cut it. This is okay filler but try not to get tricked into playing werewolves just because their flipside is good.

Immolation

Immolation

Rating: 2.5/5

A strange yet surprisingly fitting reprint. For the most part this is a worse Dead Weight and Lash of Malice, but killing early creatures for that cheap is hard to come by in limited so I would imagine that most decks are happy to play 1-2 of these.

Lambholt Harrier

Lambholt Harrier

Rating: 2.5/5

A fine aggressive two drop. I can see this effect over performing in the late game when you’re the aggressor and the opponent is just starting to catch back up.

Light up the Night

Light Up the Night

Rating: 4/5

Fireball has and always will be great in limited, so take this and enjoy burning your opponent for nine in the late game after they thought they stabilized.

Lunar Frenzy

Lunar Frenzy

Rating: 3/5

Now this is a trick that is going to end a lot of games. While it can be pretty clunky early on, later in the game this becomes a Fireball to the face that also saves your creature. Aggressive decks are going to love playing this and I’m very excited to try this out for myself.

Moonrager’s Slash

Moonrager's Slash

Rating: 3.5/5

A deal three is great whether it’s one or three mana. This card is obviously awesome and every deck will be trying to get as many copies of this as possible.

Moonveil Regent

Moonveil Regent

Rating: 5/5

This is splashable, a huge flier, draws you a ton of cards, and punishes your opponent for killing it. I think this might be one of the best cards to open in the entire set. It’s Experimental Frenzy on a dragon and your opponent better hope they have an exile effect in hand or else they’re goose is gonna get cooked real quick.

Mounted Dreadknight

Mounted Dreadknight

Rating: 2/5

This is a pretty good curve topper to any aggressive deck. A 6/5 Trample for five is above rate, and even if it’s only a 5/4 that’s far from embarrassing. 

Neonate’s Rush

Neonate's Rush

Rating: 2/5

This is a great board card and I wouldn’t mind playing the first one of these main deck regardless of the number of vampires I have. This seems like a slightly better Blinding Blast to me, which I had great success with against certain types of decks in the postboard games of War of the Spark draft.

Obsessive Astronomer

Obsessive Astronomer

Rating: 2.5/5

A 2/2 for two is fine and its ability to rummage away excess lands in the late game is going to be very useful. 

Pack’s Betrayal

Pack's Betrayal

Rating: 0.5/5 – 3.5/5

A common Act of Treason means one thing; Rakdos Sacrifice is very much possible in this format. Most decks won’t be interested in this sort of effect, but if you can get rid of the creature you take then the value of Pack’s Betrayal skyrockets. The Scry 2 is also a nice little bonus for the aggressive decks that are trying to find more gas in the late game.

Play with Fire

Play with Fire

Rating: 3/5

I doubt you’ll ever be sending this upstairs unless it’s for lethal, which means this is just a Shock. Shock is good in every format it’s been in though and is always a card that I’m happy to play multiple of.

Purifying Dragon

Purifying Dragon

Rating: 3.5/5

Now this is a five drop that’s worth taking highly. A four power flier kills the opponent incredibly quickly and it shouldn’t be too hard to get value from the ping effect.

Raze the Effigy

Raze the Effigy

Rating: 1.5/5

I never like one mana +2+2 combat tricks unless they offer an additional effect that’s actually good. Blossoming Defense is the type of quality that I look for, and this isn’t even close to that. It’s so easy to get enough playables nowadays so please just play anything else over this.

Reckless Stormseeker

Rating: 4/5

This is a 3/3 haste the turn it comes in and then from there basically gives all your creatures haste assuming that you’re only playing one creature a turn. If you ever flip this then your opponent is going to be in pretty bad shape since this turns any of your creatures into a hard hitting threat.

Seize the Storm

Seize the Storm

Rating: 4/5

This grade assumes that you’re heavily built around Seize the Storm. By the time the late game rolls around it seems easy to get at least two 6/6 Trample out of this, which is crazy good. If you wanted a reason to play Consider and a low land count, then this is it because you are going to get paid off heavily for being a spells matter deck when this is at your top end.

Smoldering Egg

Rating: 4.5/5

Flipping this seems very easy and even if it takes awhile, Smoldering Egg is a great blocker. Once you flip this, your opponent might have a turn before they get their board and life total gunned down by Ashmouth Dragon. You of course want to build around this, but even if you don’t you should be able to flip Smoldering Egg with like two spells, which is kind of insane.

Spellrune Painter

Rating: 2.5/5

A nice little prowess threat that becomes especially problematic once it flips. I don’t see cutting this very often.

Stolen Vitality

Stolen Vitality

Rating: 2.5/5

This is the type of combat trick I like to play. It pushes damage on offense and makes your creature a great blocker when you need to be on defense. The set designers just took Brute Strength, removed its main weakness, and made a super sweet and solid card.

Sunstreak Phoenix

Sunstreak Phoenix

Rating: 4.5/5

A big, near unkillable flier is going to end the game incredibly quickly and is not something you should ever pass.

Tavern Ruffian

Rating: 2.5/5

The front side of Tavern Ruffian is mediocre, but dear lord is this big when it flips. The 2/5 body will also drag the game on and get it to the point where a player runs out of spells and coincidentally causes Tavern Ruffian to flip.

Thermo-Alchemist

Thermo-Alchemist

Rating: 3.5/5

Another fantastic payoff for the spells matters deck. Thermo-Alchemist provides reach and can deal a ton of damage in a spell heavy deck, while still being good if you have little to no spells.. Not to mention that it’s a great blocker early on and makes it easy to trigger all the life loss matters vampires that might be in your deck.

Village Watch

Rating: 2/5

When evaluating these werewolves, it’s important that the front side is good on its own. A 4/3 haste for five is okay, but three toughness for five mana means that you’re almost always going to be trading this down. I’m not very high on Village Watch, but I suppose that it does get a little better if your deck is full of werewolves.

Voldaren Ambusher

Voldaren Ambusher

Rating: 3.5/5

A lot has to go right here to get fully paid off, but even if this only deals two damage it’s still a very good card. This feels like a worse Mardu Heart-Piercer to me, which is still a more than fine place to be because considering that that card was fantastic in Khans of Tarkir.

Voldaren Stinger

Voldaren Stinger

Rating: 1.5/5

This is a slightly better Fearless Pup that’s going to be solid if you have good pieces of equipment. Aggressive decks will probably  be happy enough to play this on it’s own since it’s so good at pecking in for damage, but it’s far from stellar and not a card that should be taken highly.

Red seems very powerful in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. You have so much great burn as well as excellent creatures like Thero-Alchemist and Ardent Elementalist. I can definitely see Izzet spells being the best deck of this format.

Next is green, see you then!

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.

5 Responses

  1. Alexandre Barata says:

    The Instant/Sorceries matter theme has quite the big payoffs. Looks like a nice sub-archetype for the red players.

  2. Jerry says:

    “a thing in lava” is obviously good, but I wonder if it’s better in GR or UR because it checks total mana value.

  3. Caleb Vanderleek says:

    Could you please say more about why Curse of Shaken Faith is so bad as to be a ‘0’? Is casting two spells in a turn just not that important in Limited?

    • Stephen Lilico says:

      2 damage to face that your opponent has total control over is the problem. Though even if it were archon of emeria as an enchantment, that would still be card disadvantage. In limited the games go long. The only notable point is that 2 spells is how you return to day, but any player will happily take 2 damage to nerf your army of werewolves and play to the board