MaRo Confirms Zombie Theme in Midnight Hunt, Says AFR is one of MTG’s Best-Sellers Ever

Innistrad is Magic: The Gathering’s gothic horror-themed setting, and it has been known since it’s debut as one of the most popular Magic planes among players and fans. The next two Standard legal sets to be released, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow, are both set in the beloved plane. While it’s been public since the original reveal that Midnight Hunt would be focused on the Werewolves of the plane and Crimson Vow would be centered around the Vampires, MTG head designer Mark Rosewater has seemingly confirmed that the Zombie creature type will also be featured in Midnight Hunt.

The Innistrad Tribes

The Innistrad sets of the past have framed the plane as a struggle between light and darkness: Humans (such as Thalia, Guardian of Thraben or Thraben Inspector) and their Angel guardians (see Sigarda, Heron’s Grace, Archangel Avacyn) fight to keep the eldritch horrors of the plane, such as the aforementioned werewolves, vampires, and other undead creatures, at bay. As such, Innistrad sets have often included tribal support for the various creature types that are staples of the setting.

It could have been reasonably assumed by anyone that the latest return to Innistrad would feature many of these creature types, but it hasn’t been clear how much specific tribal support would exist in the two sets for other tribes besides the titular Vampires and Werewolves. Now, however, Mark Rosewater seems to be implying that Zombies will have at least a fair amount of support in Midnight Hunt.

On August 5, Wizards of the Coast released seven early teaser previews for Midnight Hunt, one of which was Champion of the Perished, a Zombie-themed callback to the Human tribal staple Champion of the Parish. Right away, this led to speculation that Zombies might be a major tribe in Midnight Hunt, although whether the tribe would receive much additional support beyond the one card was still in question.

While Champion of the Perished is a strong enough card that it has even spawned discussion about potential Zombie tribal decks in the Historic format, if there were to be too few other good Zombies surrounding it, it would certainly not be the first or only tribal-oriented card to lack enough support to spawn a playable archetype in Standard. There are already a few solid Zombie cards in Standard 2022 such as Ebondeath, Dracolich and perhaps most notably Shambling Ghast, so it probably won’t take too many other strong Zombies to make the deck a consideration after rotation.

The inclusion of Zombies in Midnight Hunt also raises the question of what, if any, other tribes will be well-supported in the new Innistrad sets. Wizards may spread support for the plane’s many tribes across Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow, but it seems more likely that each of the tribal themes will be largely focused in either one set or the other.

The existence of other cards already in Standard 2022 can help provide us with hints at the other tribes that might be supported. One that comes to mind is Skeletal Swarming, a card from Adventures in the Forgotten Realms that is powerful enough to see some fringe play as it is. If good Skeleton cards are printed in either Innistrad set, especially at lower mana costs, it could become a force to be reckoned with in the new Standard format.

Popular among players, Skeletal Swarming is mostly held back by its clunky mana cost and the lack of other skeletons in the format.

The Success of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and more Potential Future Crossovers

Speaking of Adventures in the Forgotten Realms (AFR), Mark Rosewater has also given us an interesting insight into sales of the somewhat polarizing crossover, claiming that it’s on track to be one of the best-selling MTG sets ever printed.

Crossovers between Magic and other fantasy universes have been quite controversial in recent months, and on this very same blog, Mark Rosewater recently assured a player that future crossover sets will not be Standard legal in the future. Given this, it’s particularly interesting to learn that Adventures in the Forgotten Realms is selling well enough to be in the running for most sales of any Magic set- especially when one considers that the much-scorned crossover with AMC’s The Walking Dead was the best-selling Secret Lair at the time.

With the announcement of the Universes Beyond product line that will bring more crossovers into the Magic universe, it’s safe to say that products like this will be a part of the game for some time to come. It remains to be seen whether Wizards of the Coast will be able to resist crossovers in Standard for long despite Rosewater’s promise, or if the crossovers will be legal for play in other popular Magic formats like Modern or Commander.

Either way, it seems that crossovers with other IPs have been quite successful at pushing sales, and regardless of one’s feelings on flavor, it’s probably healthy for the game to have products like this bringing in new Magic players from other fandoms.

Paul

Dude from Vermont who likes to play Magic and Escape from Tarkov. Musician, writer, and gamer. Submit feedback or corrections to @Paul on the Discord.

13 Responses

  1. Chrysologus says:

    I never cease to laugh at the echo chamber online of people who say this or that product is a failure (or “killing” Magic), when it’s usually those very products that are the most popular, precisely because they appeal to a broad audience and not just enfranchised players.

  2. Jacey says:

    “although whether the tribe would receive much additional support beyond the one card was still in question.”

    Who Paul…. who was questioning this?? These CLICKBAIT articles from you gotta stop.

  3. Jordan Street says:

    Success from different viewpoints.
    I think that AFR was a garbage set.
    But it’s also the set I’ve spent the most Money on because Forgotten Realms.
    That sounds like a failure to me, but a finical success…

    • PEKKAmi says:

      Since we believe WotC to be greedy, we should know what metric it cares about more than anything else.

    • Paul says:

      See I actually don’t love the flavor of the set, but I think it’s a great set in terms of design/mechanics. The power is intentionally toned down a bit so that we might return to a somewhat normal Standard environment post-Eldraine.

  4. Delk says:

    i’m sure its a great article, i just can’t get past maro/sycophant fluff

    best sellers ever?, you madlad XD

  5. Ash says:

    Skeletal swarming is seeing more than fringe play. I see it once a day, at least. It is a well balanced card, so I don’t mind it. But I am sure some one will abuse it!

    • Paul says:

      Yeah, people love it on Arena but it’s not super competitive. Fringe might not have been the best choice of words, but it’s fringe in terms of competitive play.

  6. Jordan C Florko says:

    AFR brought me back into Magic after several years. I just wish they had found a way to include Rumblebelly aka Regis the last part of the Companions of the Hall, and a way to print Narbondel as a new Reliquary Tower type card. Forgotten Realms should be included in Magic it makes sense that it would be one of the planes the Planeswalkers visit.

  7. Rick Stanfill Jr says:

    AFR is my favorite set, mainly because I love DnD, that being said, really REALLY pissed off that they did not include REGIS in this set. Why make 4 of the 5 and not all 5, very disappointed in MARO & WotC