Ahead of Halloween, spooky stuff has made its way into Magic the Gathering: Arena in the latest expansion, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. Like previous Innistrad sets, Midnight Hunt delivers a buffet of horror tropes, introducing new cards, keywords, and other tribes like werewolves, vampires, and spirits. The expansion for MTG: Arena and Magic Online is out now, with a physical release on September 24th.
Midnight Hunt continues the history of Innistrad, with the first set being introduced in 2011. Innistrad is a plane straight out of a Universal monster movie or a Hugh Jackman Van Helsing film. It draws inspiration from gothic horror, specifically one that hails from Eastern Europe—Castlevania fans should dig it. Midnight Hunt offers 277 regular cards, which are broken down to 100 Normal, 83 Unusual, 64 Rare, 20 Legendary Rare and 10 Basic Lands. In addition to focusing on five allied-colored tribes—werewolves, humans, spirits, zombies, and vampires—the set adds a number of keyword abilities that change the way some of those tribes behave.
Werewolves bring back a two-faced card and deal Daybound and Nightbound. These new keywords control what changes to your double-faced cards—if a day standing game is played, you’ll need to start tracking whether it’s day or night for the rest of the match. Certain abilities of the card can cause the match to change from day to night, forcing all transforming cards to be flipped accordingly.
Many altered werewolf cards have exciting lore implications, such as hound tamare One who is a dog-loving boy by day and one of the pack by night. There is also the Bird Admirer, an archer dedicated to collecting every bird in Innistrad. When day turns into night, however, she turns into a predatory werewolf whose favorite treat is literally every bird in Innistrad.
However, werewolves aren’t the only dual-faced cards in Midnight Hunt. Spirits are able to use the disturb keyword, which lets you cast the back-face of the appropriate card from your graveyard—like a ghost haunting you from across the grave.
Humans receive the New Covenant keyword, which gives your card an effect or ability if three creatures with different powers are under your control. Some of these abilities can be triggered, while others are activated by the player. The lore of the Midnight Hunt justified people resorting to witchcraft and covens as a way to protect themselves from werewolves and other demons of the night.
Finally, zombies now have the keyword Decayed. Creatures that decay after you are attacked cannot be blocked and cannot be sacrificed. A rotten creature may not seem very useful, but your opponent must decide whether to eliminate the zombies before they become a piece of a larger battalion – at which point, you can put your zombie army on the attack. and can beat the enemy.
Not every card is a terrible creature of the night. One extremely remarkable, fully human card is Rem Karolas, the stalwart slayer. He is a legendary human knight that blocks magic damage on you and inflicts it on your enemy. He also rides Pegasus, some sort of weird Pelican, which is worth it in its own right – in my humble opinion.
Midnight Hunt also sees the return of the Flashback keyword, which gives specific cards a second chance and lets you remove them from your graveyard before being exiled once again.
You can read the entirety of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s release notes MTG Website.