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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
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.