Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Strategies You Aren’t Drafting Enough

Seize the Storm Art by Deruchenko Alexander
Seize the Storm Art by Deruchenko Alexander

Hey everyone! Since I’ve been drafting Midnight Hunt so much, I’ve started to stumble upon some non-intuitive draft archetypes that have been serving me well. In addition to that, I face so many opponents that I’m exposed to a wide swathe of potential strategies and combos that I wasn’t considering when I was initially drafting the set. I wanted to share some of those decks with you because they’re powerful when they’re open. Let’s start with one of my favorite strategies to draft in the format that I haven’t been seeing other players trying: Rakdos Spells.

Rakdos Spells

Izzet Spells just hasn’t quite been cutting it for me, so I’ve been unintentionally ending up in Rakdos because of how much better some of the cards synergize together. Losing Delver of Secrets and Organ Hoarder sucks, but I’ve been liking black a lot more than blue. The key to winning with this archetype is to not build it as if you’re an aggressive deck. Vampire Interloper, Vampire Socialite, and Voldaren Ambusher are all great cards, but just not in this deck. Your game plan revolves around controlling your opponents threats, netting two for ones, and then finishing the game with a hard to answer threat like Seize the Storm or Diregraf Horde.

The foundation of Rakdos Spells relies heavily on Ardent Elementalist, who is criminally under drafted at the moment. Black has Olivia’s Midnight Ambush, Defenestrate, Infernal Grasp, Eaten Alive, and Foul Play, which are obviously insanely good with Elementalist. Returning cheap removal over and over helps shore up the weakness of Elementalist (it being too slow/not having good spell targets), while still getting a two for one off of it and adding to the board. No Way Out is another brutal combo with Elementalist, since casting Mind Rot on turns three and five is pretty darn brutal in limited, especially since it also fuels your Ecstatic Awakener and Eaten Alive.

The other keys to the archetype are Seize the Storm, Ecstatic Awakener, Diregraf Horde, Dreadhound, Thermo-Alchemist, and of course, Morbid Opportunist. What’s tough about this archetype is that you aren’t too interested in the aggressively slanted creatures and Vampires, though you will sometimes play Vampire Interloper because the card is so good on turn two. Stromkirk Bloodthief is one of the few aggressive payoffs that’s too good not to play, and it could further push you to pick up some Interlopers because curving them out together is very difficult to beat.

It’s also great that you can pick up some cards that most Rakdos decks wouldn’t normally be interested in. I’ve never been a huge fan of Immolation or Electric Revelation, but I found both to be surprisingly good in Rakdos decks like this. Immolation helps prevent you from getting run over early on, and Revelation helps to fuel Seize the Storm while also being a crucial way for the deck to fight flooding. Crawl from the Cellar is also fantastic because it lets you loop Elementalist while also just being great in the late game when your Diregraf Horde gets answered.

I’ve absolutely loved drafting this deck because it’s been really easy to pick up 3-4 Ardent Elementalists when red is open and use them to their fullest. However, if you aren’t able to get a few of them then I wouldn’t go out of my way to draft this because they really are essential to the deck being successful. A deck like this heavily revolves around the heap of card advantage that you get from recurring removal spells and Mind Rots since you don’t have access to Organ Hoarder or some of the powerful flashback spells that provide card advantage.

Shipwreck Sifter Azorius

I was playing against this deck a lot and initially chalked it up as being too cute and more or less just nonsense. I was 100% wrong, because this strategy is really powerful when it’s built correctly. In my experience, in order to get this archetype to work you need at least 3-4 Shipwreck Sifters and for a vast majority of your creatures to be Spirits or have Disturb. Once you meet that requirement though, you’re off to the races. Sifters get bigger off one another and synergize especially well with Overwhelmed Archivist, and before you know it they’ll be a decent sized threat. Not to mention how well the card works when you’re discarding cards with Disturb since you’re straight up getting card advantage at that point.

I feel like I see a lot of players playing Shipwreck Sifter in Dimir, but I just don’t really get it. The card is way too anemic unless you’re consistently buffing it up and discarding Disturb creatures. Mourning Patrol, Chaplain of Alms, Lunarch Veteran, and Beloved Beggar are also going way later than they should be in the drafts I’ve been playing. I’ve been consistently getting Azorius decks where like 14 out of my 17 creatures have Disturb or are a spirit and this is the only color combination that is going to consistently reach that threshold. The main purpose behind building around Shipwreck Sifter and being Azorius is how gross it is to discard any of the white Disturb creatures to Sifter. At that point you’re getting a ton of value out of a two drop.

I’ve only gotten this deck together two times, but both times that I’ve gotten it it was fantastic. How I usually pivot into it is when I’m base blue or white towards the end of pack one and I find myself wheeling all the Shipwreck Sifters in the pack because after all, it’s pretty bad when it’s not built around. If you don’t find them wheeling, then don’t go for this deck. That and never take a Sifter early on because you need to be devoting your early picks to the slim good removal options that are in Azorius. If you don’t get enough Candletrap, Borrowed Time, Silver Bolt, and Revenge of the Drowned, then you’re going to to get crushed by cards like Morbid Opportunist, Hound Tamer, Skaab Wrangler, Siege Zombie, and Thermo-Alchemist.

A key to winning drafts that has withstood the test of time is to be the player at the table who is able to make great use out of the undesirable cards in the pack. Do that, and you’ll never have any issue getting getting enough playables and having a powerful, synergistic deck.

Simic Delver

So you thought that Izzet was the best Delver deck, huh? Well I couldn’t disagree more because I’ve been hating Izzet Delver and much preferring the Simic Variant of it. The reason for this is that green is a much better color than red in my opinion, and it’s easy to fill your deck with spell creatures when you’re playing Simic. Sure you miss Moonrager’s Slash and Thermo-Alchemist, but Shadowbeast Sighting and Rise of the Ants are both fantastic and help ensure that your deck has enough creatures while still having at least 12 spells for Delver. There’s also the other key card of this archetype, Winterthorn Blessing.

I’ll let you in on a little secret that you probably already know; Winterthorn Blessing is messed up good. The card on it’s own is fine, but I’ve found it to be surprisingly easy to get 1-2 Organ Hoarders and Eccentric Farmers during a draft, both of which help tutor up this effect while also being very powerful cards on their own. When you have access to a way better Frost Breath every game, you’ll find it very easy to outcompete the opponent on the board and out-tempo them. 

In reality, this deck is just an aggressively slanted Simic deck that uses Winterthorn Blessing, Might of the Old Ways, Fading Hope, Clear Shot, Duel for Dominance, and Revenge of the Drowned to push it’s creatures through. The great thing about Simic is that when it’s built properly, you rarely run out of gas. That lends the deck to excel when it’s filled with cheap cards, like Delver of Secrets, Baithook Angler, Rootcoil Creeper, and all the other good cards that cost three or less. A big mistake I see from my Simic opponents is them having their decks filled with mediocre top end like Burly Breaker, Tireless Hauler, Mysterious Tome, Dryad’s Revival, Stormrider Spirit, and Drownyard Amalgam.

You’ll almost always have access to a ton of flashback spells in the late game, so you need to ensure that you’re spending your mana early on and establishing board dominance quickly. Delver does exactly that and is why it shines the most in this archetype as compared to any other. So best of luck gumming up the ground with Eccentric Farmers and Organ Hoarders and then snagging that win with our favorite little bug buddy.

Bonus Archetype: Five Color Garbage

This is a very underdrafted deck, and for good reason; it’s not very good. I see a lot of players trying to get five color decks to work, but this set has way too little good fixing and is way too fast to be relying on a shaky mana base. I see a lot of great limited players advocating for decks similar to this on Twitter, but I just do not see the appeal and have yet to be impressed by any 4-5 color decks that I’ve drafted.

I see players relying on Crossroads Candleguide, Jack-o’-Lantern, Mystic Skull, Dawnhart Rejuvenator, and Path to the Festival for fixing. None of these cards are good and none of them are efficient enough to handle the sheer aggression that Ecstatic Awakener, Vampire Interloper, Falcon Abomination, and Diregraf Horde present. In the past, players would draft five color in order to be able to play all the crazy powerful multicolored creatures and removal. However, in Midnight Hunt most of the multicolored cards are aggressively slanted and specifically lean into the synergies in their respective color pair. Vampire Socialite and Devoted Grafkeep are great cards, but you need to build around them for them to be great.

Don’t get me wrong; still splash that Liesa, Forgotten Archangel, Moonveil Regent, or Light up the Night in your two color deck. I just would stay away from decks that need to play bad cards just so that they can cast their spells somewhat reliably. I’ve seen a couple Bant decks that seemed better than five color but still just worse than straight Azorius or Simic. I can’t lie though that Eccentric Farmer would be an absolute house in an Azorius deck that’s loaded to the brim with Disturb. Regardless of that, stick to the color pairs in the set and focus on finding the open colors and properly filling your curve.

Hopefully I was able to shed some light on some spicy archetypes that might have flown under your radar! It’s a shame that there aren’t more cards like Tavern Swindler, Abiding Grace, or Mystic Redaction in this set, since those were both insanely fun build-arounds in Modern Horizons II limited. Shipwreck Sifter kind of fills that role, but you need so many of them to get it to work that it’s going to be rare when you’re able to pull the archetype off. I love exploring limited formats and trying to find all the wonky decks that can be built, so If I missed one definitely leave it in the comments because I would love to know about it!

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. Cplayo says:

    Very cool article. Thanks man!

  2. Draugdur says:

    An excellent article! One thing I particularly like about this one and the few previous ones: helping me recognize that a colour pair may actually have more archetypes and some may suck but the others may be good, in the same colour pair!

    And I have to give a huge SECONDED! on Azorius. I played against that deck once and got absolutely destroyed. Granted, I had a bit of a “testy” Boros aggro as I wanted to check whether it is really the worst archetype (spoiler alert: most likely yes, save perhaps only 5C garbage). But still, UW was GAS! One important card you missed in your sample deck is Faithful Mending – in this deck, with a Sifter out, and seeing how a lot of the disturb cards are actually stronger on the back side, the card felt like “draw 4, gain 2 life, place two counters” for two mana, which is obviously busted AF! And then you get to cast it twice xD For a card that is fairly useless otherwise, it’s completely broken in this one deck.