5 Innistrad: Crimson Vow Cards to Watch in Standard

Mason Clark Standard

You have been invited to the Crimson Vow preview season! I know it hasn’t been long since we were looking at Midnight Hunt previews, but that was just the first part of this fall’s Innistrad double-feature, and even more new cards are here! So without further ado, let’s get into some cards I’m most excited about for Standard.

Ascendant Packleader

This card has been the talk of the town this preview season. Good one-drops have been hard to come by in current Standard, and this one slots right into Mono-Green, which has been among the best performing decks in Standard recently. While Izzet Turns has dominated the metagame conversation, good old green aggressive midrange has been quietly chugging away, putting up one solid finish after another. And believe it or not, the deck currently plays ZERO one-drop creatures in the main deck. 

So, this card has a spot in the curve for sure. But does it warrant that spot with the current deck configuration? I think the answer is actually no. While Packleader is strong, the current metagame frequently has the green deck going long, and this card does very little to help that plan. 

But luckily, cards don’t exist in a vacuum, and some other cards may help push this card over the line. Let’s go over one of those next.

Ulvenwald Oddity

I just played Mono-Green in the SCG Invitational this past weekend, and I would have done almost anything to have one of these moosers in my main deck. This card does a great job of pressuring the UR players and ignoring the birds they often use to clog the board on key turns. It’s also still a reasonable play on turn four or five, and it gives us a mana sink that will help swing mirrors, where the deck might normally flounder.

Our friend the Ascendant Packleader is looking to be in a more of an aggressively slanted deck. Thanks to Ulvenwald Oddity and some other green cards that fell by the wayside, we might be able to throw together a really good green aggressive deck. Or maybe even a good Gruul deck, with the help of our next card.

Curse of Hospitality

This Curse seems to be a great sideboard option for Gruul decks that are lower to the ground. It seems like a great way to keep the cards coming while also breaking through any pesky Pest and Bird tokens trying to clog up the ground.

Curse of Hospitality isn’t great in multiples, but it’s also not terrible in the same way that a card like Experimental Frenzy might be. You will get multiple card draw triggers from each Curse, which will force your opponent to have a stranglehold on the game, lest you completely run them over.

Savior of Ollenbock

There’s a lot going on with this card. Not only does it grow with every attack in creature match-ups — it just ends the game if the first attack goes through and it can train again. If your opponent didn’t have two creatures to block the first attack, the odds that they’ll have two blockers the next time is very low. That alone makes this card worth looking at. 

While Savior has a lot of competition from cards like Brutal Cathar and Skyclave Apparition, it does have some other applications worth considering. Savior’s graveyard ability is crucial at insulating you from cards like Burn Down the House; your opponent will have to answer the Savior first, if they don’t want one or two of your creatures to return to the battlefield. Savior is also a nice little graveyard hate spell for Reanimator or combo decks. The “three-drop white creature that interacts with the board” spot is very clogged at the moment, but having more options will give players tools to adapt as the metagame changes week-to-week.

Headless Rider

Sacrifice decks have been having a moment ever since Mayhem Devil was printed in War of the Spark. With the most recent rotation, a lot of best remaining sacrifice pieces left the format, and the archetype has been absent from Standard. But this latest card could change that.

Headless Rider does a good Midnight Reaper impression, but instead of drawing cards, we get Zombie tokens. Now, you won’t need to spend mana to get back on board, but you’ll be getting a weaker payoff on average — especially in post-board games, where you’re less likely to find a sideboard card. That being said, we don’t have Midnight Reaper, and this may be the next-best thing.

The Rider will do a great job of punishing players whose only interaction is something like Burn Down the House. It will force players to have more spot removal, especially removal that exiles, so the Headless Rider won’t leave a board presence behind. Exploit is a key mechanic in this set, and having a card that rewards that is exciting. It can be hard to find the right balance of cards for a Sacrifice deck to be viable, so don’t expect this card to be everywhere right away, but if you’re looking to build new decks, this is a good place to start.


Which cards are you most excited about from Crimson Vow? Tweet at @masoneclark and let me know!