Table of Contents
Hey everyone! Am I excited for Shadows over Innistrad Remastered? Yes SIR! I promise that’s the only time I will use that admittedly terrible joke. For those who don’t know, I am a huge fan of the horror genre. That means that every trip back to Innistrad allows me to combine two of my favorite hobbies into one gloriously dark adventure.
Since it is a remastered set, we’re going to be switching it up a bit from our normal coverage. We’ll still have most of the typical articles, but I’m doing this overview instead of individually reviewing all of the cards. It is going to be covering the relevant changes from when the sets were originally out and how they will affect the limited environments we’ll be playing them in. Don’t panic, you’ll still end up getting a draft guide and all the other goodies.
We’ll start out by zooming all the way out to the basics. It is a 302-card set (including 15 basic lands) that is a combination of Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. Considering that Shadows was 297 cards on its own, that means that many cards ended up on the cutting room floor. There were also plenty of rarity shifts to help balance it for limited. Of course, I also need to mention the Shadows of the Past bonus sheet which we’ll jump right into.
Shadows of the Past
The most significant change is the addition of the Shadows of the Past “Mystical Archive” cards from the original Innistrad block sets. One of the major problems with online limited is that it gets stale quicker because of the sheer number of drafts that you can play. I love this attempt to alleviate that issue by having a rotating subset of cards to keep the drafts certified fresh.
You might think that changing out twenty four cards per pod doesn’t sound like a massive change, but I can assure you that it is going to make a huge difference. Almost all of the cards are at least above average playables with some real stars like Spider Spawning (I know everyone is chomping at the bit to force that one), Snapcaster Mage, and Huntmaster of the Fells.
The Shadows of the Past webpage specifically says that card images may be versions not present in the product, but rather representative of cards you’ll find. That means that as I am writing this, we’re not sure of the rarity of any of the cards on the bonus sheet. If they have an even distribution in draft packs that would put an average of 1.33 of each card per pod for the first three themes and one of each card for the Abominable All Stars! theme.
Since each of the rotations has a theme, it means that a different set of archetypes will be receiving a bump up while that one is active. For example, delirium decks with self-mill are going to be much better with the Fatal Flashback! theme going. You should probably write that one down since that is going to be the active one during the Arena Open.
It kicks off with Creature Type Terror! which is based around tribal effects before shifting into the aforementioned Fatal Flashback! theme. The third one is Morbid and Macabre! which will be focused on death and sacrifice triggers. It all wraps up with Abominable All Stars! whose theme is basically being an all-star team of iconic cards.
Commons Upshifted to Uncommons
There were only seven cards that got upshifted from common to uncommon. We are mostly looking for what archetypes are going to be affected by having fewer of their key cards available. With the focus on the set building being around limited, it feels like they were trying to have longer, more interactive games with these changes.
I would say that red got the seriously short end of the stick when it came to this exchange. Thermo-Alchemist being on the list really takes away from the ability to build the red “burn em out” deck unless you somehow end up with multiples. Fiery Temper facing the same fate doubles down on that problem for red by taking away what was potentially its best common. They even shifted Uncaged Fury up to make the surprise kills that much harder to pull off.
I’m sure some people were quite unhappy when they saw Pieces of the Puzzle getting the upshift nerf. It was one of those cards that was really fun to build around, but it is going to be much harder to pull off as an uncommon.
Everyone hoping to live the meld dream at common will be disappointed to find out that Midnight Scavengers also got clobbered by the uncommon nerf batt. Not impossible to pull off, but not the “Oh I have 2-3 of each of these” that it was.
There are a lot of downshifts across all rarities. This is going to have a huge effect because it’s increasing the number of copies of powerful cards in each draft. A card like Bound by Moonsilver was one of the best uncommons and now it’s floating around as a mere common.
Drogskol Shieldmate might seem fairly random to bring up here, but it’s much more likely to eat your innocently attacking two drop as a common. The other big standout for me in the uncommon to common slot is Gnarlwood Dryad giving Delirium decks a very powerful one drop.
When it comes to rares dropping down to uncommons there were a few that really caught my eye. Deathcap Cultivator is a great mana dork that can meaningfully trade off in the late game. Anguished Unmaking is instant speed Vindicate (fine, it can’t Stone Rain, but it gets the job done) with the cost of three life tossed in for dealing with vampires.
I’m a huge fan of the snarl lands being downshifted to uncommon (save dem rare wildcards) because it offers all ten duals with the allied ones sometimes having an advantage over the enemy ones.
They also dropped some mythics down to rare. Geralf's Masterpiece, Grim Flayer, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, and Ulvenwald Hydra are all just really good cards that will be popping up more often here. They also made Tree of Perdition rare so you can combo kill someone with Triskaidekaphobia.
In my opinion WotC did a really solid job on choosing which cards to cut from the set. You can group most of them into a few different, very logical categories for why they were left out.
The two biggest complaints I’ve heard about missing cards are Behold the Beyondand Open the Armory. I’ll let the constructed enthusiasts discuss those since neither one was really that relevant to limited.
The most common category for cuts was overcosted limited rares like Angel of Deliverance and Drogskol Cavalry. They spend the majority of their time sitting in people’s hands while they get beat down by much more efficient cards. They also don’t need to be in the system for even the most casual of formats so they were easy cuts.
They also cleaned up some of the colors instead of letting them be unfocused. The easiest one to point out is that they took madness out of blue. That means that Broken Concentration, Just the Wind, and Nagging Thoughts are no longer with us. They even removed enablers such as Catalog and Reckless Scholar.
There were also some changes to reduce redundancy like removing Choking Restraints, but making Bound by Moonsilver a common so you still have a pacifism effect (If you can’t tell, I think that is a huge deal). Along those same lines, they also cut cards like Moorland Drifter and Furtive Homunculus because when you have two sets worth of limited two drops, you really don’t need to diamond hands them all.
Thanks for reading! Don’t worry, this overview was just the tip of the iceberg of my Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered coverage. What’s actually in that ice? Don’t worry about that little guy, it’s just a Thing in the Ice Check back tomorrow for my coverage of all of the SIR mechanics. Until then, stay classy people!
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