Previews for Innistrad: Midnight Hunt have only just begun, and we’ve already seen a lot of exciting new cards. With Standard rotation coming up, Midnight Hunt has some big shoes to fill, but the cards we’ve seen so far have a ton of potential. Let’s jump right in and take a look at five new cards worth watching in Standard.
Arlinn, the Pack’s Hope
Our favorite Werewolf planeswalker is back, and this time, Arlinn is not messing around!
Her -3 ability creates two Wolf tokens, which will do a great job of protecting her. In most midrange decks, having a walker that defends itself with two bodies gives you plenty of time to rebuild loyalty and generate more value. We’ve also seen lots of cards referencing Wolves and Werewolves so far, and having a card that makes two bodies for those synergies is great!
Arlinn’s +1 ability also gives us game versus removal-heavy decks, while also helping us enable day or night plays. If this side were all there was to Arlinn, then I would be excited to play her in Standard. But wait, there’s more…
Arlinn, the Moon’s Fury
The Werewolf half of Arlinn looks to bring the heat. Adding two mana with her +2 may allow you to cast two spells in your turn, if you need to flip her back to her Human side and are stuck on mana. It also allows us to ramp into bigger plays or make use of a nice X spell.
Arlinn’s 0 ability has her doing her best Gideon impersonation — and, if you ask me, it’s a great one. Unlike Gideon, she has trample, which will make it very hard for your opponents to consistently chump attacks from her. This ability will be especially crucial in mirrors, allowing you to pressure your opponents’ Arlinns when you’re on the play.
Arlinn is looking to make a big impact on Standard, and she seems to be a great reason to look into playing Gruul colors!
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia
This card might seem like a bit of weird inclusion, but I think Jadar is stronger than he reads. Let’s start in the obvious place: if you’re playing an aggressive strategy, this is three power on turn two for just two mana. While you do lose the Zombie after attacking on the next turn, Jadar will replace it. Spreading power across multiple bodies also makes anthem effects stronger, so be on the lookout for those this preview season.
As preview season continues, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see cards that benefit from sacrificing, which will be another great use for that Zombie token. Along those lines, we do already have Daemogoth Titan from Strixhaven, so that may be worth including here. Having Jadar provide a line of Zombie chow for our good friend the Titan might be the key to unlocking that card.
It’s also worth noting that Jadar is a continual source of sacrifice fodder. Most sacrifice decks need an engine — like the classic Cat/Oven — that either enables synergies or mitigates sacrifice costs. This preview season, I’ll be keeping an eye on ways to abuse the free engine Jadar provides.
God, it’s brutal out here for creatures. From Skyclave Apparition to Brutal Cathar, good luck keeping a creature on the board versus these new white decks.
Brutal Cathar does draw comparisons to Skyclave Apparition, but I think we need to think less about which is better (it’s Skyclave, by the way), and instead think about how we can play both. Cathar looks to quickly catch you up on board by getting multiple creatures under it. It’s the sort of card that will stop your opponent in their tracks.
So, we’ve taken one of our beatdown opponent’s creatures. What do we get on the back half? Oh, an actual brick wall that has ward to boot? Awesome.
Moonrage Brute should make it nearly impossible for your opponent to attack, while threatening to flip and steal another creature at any time. Overall, Brutal Cathar will be a great tool for stopping any decks looking to brute force their way past their opponents, like Mono-Green.
Sigarda, Champion of Light
Sigarda is a fairly straightforward card. You play her with Humans, she makes them bigger, and she can pull even more Humans out of your library! Hooray!
I took a quick look through existing Standard cards, and I unfortunately didn’t see a lot of exciting Humans to play with. Luminarch Aspirant is one of the best, and it’s great at enabling coven. While there are other fine cards that can work with Sigarda, I think this card is going to need some help to really see a lot of play. The card is really exciting, and I hope we see some more good Humans this preview season that will allow us to make the most of her ability.
The New Dual Land Cycle
With our return to Innistrad, we are introduced to a new cycle of lands. These “slow lands” (as the community has dubbed them) are great for a grindier midrange deck. With these lands, you should be able to cast all your more expensive spells with ease.
While they won’t offer much to the most aggressive decks in the format, these lands are sure to be solid inclusions in most other strategies. While turns one and two are often some of the most important turns in Magic, you won’t have more than eight of these lands at most, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to play an untapped mana source and hold up early interaction. I love these lands and can’t wait to play with them.
Day one of previews had some seriously awesome cards, but we’ll have to wait and see what additional tools we get in the next week. If you want to hear more of my thoughts on Innistrad: Midnight Hunt — or see the latest combos I’ve put together — follow me on Twitter at @masoneclark. Be sure to let me know which of these cards you’re most excited to play!
Mason Clark is a grinder in every corner of the game who has played at the pro level and on the SCG Tour with Team Nova. Whether he’s competing in Standard, Historic or Modern, Mason plays with one goal in mind: to be a better player than he was the day before. Check out his podcast, Constructed Criticism, and catch his streams on Twitch.