Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is almost upon us, and it’s that time again. Let’s check out what the set has to offer us Commander players. What are the best cards? The best budget options? What about the Commander decks?
We’ll cover this and more in today’s review. While I won’t be able to review every card, I aim to cover all of the universally “best” new cards, and any standout cards for niche archetypes. I won’t be covering reprints — you already know if your deck wants Delver of Secrets at this point.
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar is one of the cheapest ways to build a board strapped to a respectable body. At just three mana, Adeline will often have five or even six power when she attacks on curve, which is way above rate. She’s going to do a lot of work in numerous decks.
It’s pretty easy to flip Bereaved Survivor into Dauntless Avenger, especially given the type of deck that’ll most benefit from this card will be the type of deck with lots of small creatures and tokens to sacrifice. There are ways to keep Dauntless Avenger swinging, too; Taranika, Akroan Veteran is just one of many.
White finally gets a Reclamation Sage — sort of. While this isn’t strictly the same, given it doesn’t have an ETB, it is a lot better in many ways. The body on Rec Sage ends up being irrelevant most of the time, so losing the Commando isn’t too bad. What takes this card up a notch is the flash and ability to get under a Torpor Orb effect. There are some amazing commons in this set!
If your playgroup loves to play with burn or other X spell finishers like Torment of Hailfire, then Enduring Angel might be the card for you. A respectable body on the front that can stop you losing to game-winning sorceries, the Angelic Enforcer on the flipside can turn the game around in no time. This looks like a fun card to run in tandem with Angel of Destiny.
The best white removal since Swords to Plowshares, it has to be said. Making Declaration in Stone an instant is certainly powerful, and strong enough that the exile was downgraded to destroy. On the other hand, it can also get rid of pesky planeswalkers, so there’s that. Expect this to reach staple status in mono-white decks and even RW or UW decks in no time.
Now this is tasty. Returning two small creatures to play while gaining a 3/3 flyer for five mana is exactly what I want to be doing. Even just in my Lyra deck, the fact I can bring back Serra Ascendant, Esper Sentinel, Bishop of Wings or Restoration Specialist has me hyped. Of course, being a cast trigger does stop some inevitable combo potential, but this is modern card design — Wizards has learned from the past when it comes to stopping white combo cards.
While Sungold Sentinel will inevitably see the most play in Standard (and potentially Modern or Historic), it can still be a major hatebear in Commander. Where this card goes up in potential is in decks that already want to be attacking plenty, as the unblockable it’ll gain on activation can really help certain strategies pop off.
While there will inevitably be occasions where this card does literal nothing, they’ll be few and far between. On the contrary, this card is sure to be “online” a lot more frequently than it’ll be offline in EDH. Decks that are interested in lifegain triggers and making tokens are exactly the kinds of decks that churn through cards and their own life total, so getting some value that can replace itself by drawing a card is surprisingly good.
Excuse my blasphemy, but the act of printing this wrath gets me pretty excited. The weekends where I write my Commander reviews are days of judgment for sure, and I judge this card to be perfect in every way. This is just what the format needs. I’ll take a playset.
While Curse of Surveillance is obviously going to be better in a dedicated Curses build, don’t discount the effect outside of that. In Group Hug decks, it can exclude a player from the hug — and while I don’t advocate for that kind of cold-heartedness in real life, the player being enabled by the hug deck doesn’t need any more support.
Everyone loves a good Past in Flames, right? Or maybe Underworld Breach? Maybe you just love playing Kess, Dissident Mage. Either way, Lier is here to bring the joy of graveyard spellcasting on a more permanent basis. It also stops your Mizzix’s Mastery from being countered, too, which is obnoxiously good. I’m not generally a spellslinger, and even I’m hyped about this card. Just watch out for the downside of your opponents resolving all of their spells, too.
If you’d rather just have your own spells uncounterable, then consider taking this useful little creature. Mana Leak on the front when sacrificed, and a clause that stops your noncreature spells being countered on the back when disturbed? That’s pretty good.
Memory Deluge is one of the rare cards that gets better when cast under a Reidane. If this were a sorcery, it’d be pretty forgettable, but I like it a lot more at instant, since it gives us another Dig Through Time effect.
It’s surveil 3 for one mana, basically. It can also be flashed back for two mana. It’s not busted by any means — especially as it doesn’t draw any cards — but in the right deck with plenty of cantrips, I can see this being very useful.
Poppet Stitcher is the kind of EDH card that looks pretty decent, but not downright broken — at least until you play against it. It technically doesn’t have to transform, making it at worst a Talrand for Zombies decks. Transforming it does have the potential to give you a lot of value, though.
If you want to highlight power creep in EDH, then I’d be tempted to add “enters the battlefield or attacks” to the list. It’s something we’re seeing increasingly on cards, and it usually indicates a card’s good. Sludge Monster is much harder to interact with than Auras when it comes to altering creatures, and it’s an excellent answer to cards like Avacyn, Angel of Hope or Sisay, Weatherlight Captain. This is a straight-up powerful effect.
While Spectral Adversary will shine brightest in 60-card Constructed, it’ll still be more than worthy of making the cut in Commander. Phasing is an elegant way to deal with problem permanents, and the decks that’ll enjoy this card most are the kind that can reset it easily — think Spirit tribal, or a flicker-based control deck.
If I didn’t love playing white so much, Bloodline Culling might have been my favorite card in the set. In fact, it still might be. The flexibility you get from this modality and instant speed is quite frankly groundbreaking, and I will certainly be jamming this card into my black decks going forward. What a fantastic removal spell.
Syr Konrad visited the kennels and found himself a forever friend! Dreadhound is Konrad’s best friend for sure, but more than that, is a 6/6 beater for six that can enable graveyard decks while offering some number of the thousand cuts you need to succeed. What a good boy.
I have to admit I’ve always been rather partial to Anafenza, the Foremost. My favorite thing to do with her was use Lifeline with Grave Pact effects and achieve one-sided dominance. Gisa sees this, and wants a piece of the action. She’s proactive graveyard hate that also gives you serious tempo gains. Even though the decayed versions of opponents’ creatures eventually go back to their yards, it’ll only be after you’ve had your fun.
Black also gets to partake in some repeatable yard-hate with Graveyard Trespasser. Much like Sungold Sentinel, this’ll do a lot of work as a hatebear in the right kind of deck. “Ward — Discard a card” is one of the better ward abilities.
Murder isn’t enough anymore — it’s time to grasp for something more efficient. Two life is negligible in 20-life formats, and completely forgettable in Commander. A two-mana kill spell is a card I’ll always want to run, and I can see Infernal Grasp being a powerful new contender for creature removal in EDH.
If you have a Chainer, Nightmare Adept or Muldrotha, the Gravetide deck, chances are you already have this card on your shortlist. The potential for colorless mana limited only by your life total is decidedly spicy, and limiting it to spells cast from a graveyard is a good way to keep it in check. I expect this card to be really good in decks that are all-in on that strategy.
It might be that, like me, you love to play Syr Gwyn, Hero of Ashvale. If you do, then you might want to pick up Mask of Griselbrand. Equipment that rewards adding black to your Voltron deck (like Lucille) is often well worth the effort of adjusting your mana base. Mask of Griselbrand is especially enticing in a deck that’s built to enjoy Equip 0 a good amount of the time. Your Voltron creature can now replace itself with a full grip, and that’s pretty sweet.
Along with Vanquish the Horde, The Meathook Massacre looks to be making sweepers more efficient and worth running. Getting a relevant enchantment left behind when you wipe the board feels great, and this spell should see play in a wide number of decks, from Aristocrats to Enchantress.
Tainted Adversary is a great way to get a board of Zombies in no time at all. If you pay the cost just twice, you’ll end up with a 4/5 deathtouch Zombie plus four 2/2 Zombie tokens. In black-based Zombie builds, making a lot of black mana is easy, and you should be able to make even more mana than this.
They’ve only gone and done it. After I got excited about Revolutionist only one set ago, we now have an Archaeomancer in red at four mana. If you’re not excited by this, you clearly haven’t played many spell-heavy non-blue decks. There are plenty of Boros decks that’ll love this — like Velomachus Lorehold, or Firesong and Sunspeaker — and more still in the Rakdos sphere.
A 2/2 with haste is already great in Constructed, but the Snapcaster effect is what pushes this over the edge. You’ll pay the full three mana for any spell under three mana, but you’ll be able to copy them when you pay the cost. Even in EDH, I really love this card. Getting to reuse removal or ramp is a great effect on a two-drop — it’s why I love Dire Fleet Daredevil so much.
What is it with the commons in this set?! Cathartic Pyre is incredible for just two mana. You get the choice of removal or an instant-speed Faithless Looting. I can’t say much more about this other than it’s highly playable at all levels of play.
If you play in a meta with lots of Storm or Ad Nauseum players — or just a lot of cEDH — then Curse of Shaken Faith might be a good maybeboard card.
Edgar Markov certainly wasn’t lacking in ways to use 1/1 Vampire tokens, but he’ll happily take Falkenrath Pit Fighter — and so will many other Vampire decks. This card gives me a thrill of possibility, and I can’t wait to find out where it takes me.
Ramos, Dragon Engine, meet Moonveil Regent. The Regent will excel in decks that play on the multicolor theme, and so it’ll also find a home in some Niv-Mizzet Reborn builds. Being able to cycle through hands multiple times a turn to find what you need is great, and the damage when it dies is just gravy.
I do love a good haste effect, and Reckless Stormseeker is pretty tasty. Even if you never flip it, it’s worth the mana investment, and when you do? Trample and haste is right up my street.
Courser of Kruphix has always been so close to making the cut in my builds, but never quite does. Augur of Autumn, on the other hand, easily makes the cut where Courser doesn’t. Getting to cast creatures from the top is worth way more than the paltry one life per land.
Caustic Caterpillar has always been a great green staple, and Outland Liberator asks if you’d like to have that on the front side of Werewolf Kogla. How can you say no to that? Werewolf Kogla still has the sac ability, too, ensuring that when it attacks, it can take down multiple permanents.
Ah, Saryth. This card is super exciting to me, as someone that loves to play Samut, Voice of Dissent. In Samut, it grants hexproof to my commander, while being able to untap my mana dork (probably Selvala, Heart of the Wilds) to let her tap again. And that’s honestly the floor with this card. It has so much utility both as a commander and in the 99, I’m sure you’ll find a home for it.
There’s a good chance this card is good without top deck manipulation. There’s a better chance it’s broken with top deck manipulation. This is the kinda card that is great in stompy green Timmy decks, while having scary potential in decks that can set it up to cheat on mana.
Wolf-titan! It seems only fair, with Primeval Titan banned in EDH, that green gets a replacement titan, and Tovolar’s Huntmaster is a pretty good option. You’ll get your 6/6 for six with a good ETB on the front side, plus attack triggers and a super strong activated ability on the other side. This card is a lot of power, and a lot of fun.
The other thing I really like in Commander is ways to win through combat. Red got Fiery Emancipation last year, and this year, green gets Unnatural Growth. I really love this as a way to end games quicker for combat-focused decks, and it gets stronger the more combats you take. Gruul decks can take advantage of this, as they generate mana when attacking, which can be used for extra combats.
Why was six afraid of seven? Because seven’s damn fine. Wrenn and Seven is a boon to lands-based decks, and I’m seeing it do a lot of work in Lord Windgrace or any Omnath build. It’s also perfectly good to slot into your green deck, as the abilities are all really relevant.
A delightful throwback to Cackling Counterpart, Croaking Counterpart feels right at home in the current trend toward Simic tokens builds. Be sure to remember it’s any creature in play, not just your own.
This set really does make board wipes great in Commander again, doesn’t it? Diregraf Rebirth lets you bring back your best creature after a wipe, and it’ll do so for around 2-3 mana most of the time. Don’t forget that the discount applies to the flashback cost, too. What a sweet little uncommon.
Cryptolith Rite has long been a staple of go-wide decks, and Katilda granting this ability to Humans you control makes her a fab include in Humans decks — or even a commander of them. While the Gavony Township ability might seem spendy, it’s not so bad when you factor in extra mana dorks.
Both lines of rules text on Liesa are fantastic, and getting them both on one card is pretty sweet indeed. I can see this being a major player in Orzhov decks going forward, as it’s an asymmetrical way to keep the tempo flowing in the right direction.
Old Stickfingers is a really interesting card. Similar to polymorph decks in red and Izzet, this commander wants you to be picky about the creatures you’re running, in order to quickly assemble a value engine or combo. I see Ol’ Sticky being better in the command zone for sure, and I’m interested to see what people come up with.
Likewise, Rem Karolus is a major roleplayer in Boros decks. While he could easily helm his own, it’s in the damage-based decks like Gisela and Iroas that he’ll see most play, and also as an enabler in Winota, Joiner of Forces.
Sorcery-speed removal isn’t as bad as you’d think in Commander, especially when you’re not playing at the top tables. Getting to cast Utter End twice by sacrificing a nonland permanent as part of the cost is a fair trade off, and I think it’s a great piece of budget tech for Aristocrats and Tokens builds.
Planeswalker Combo — Serves ∞
The Chain Veil
Land That Taps For Two or More (Ancient Tomb has poor shelf life, so opt for something more robust)
Mana Dork That Taps For Two Or More (Joraga Treespeaker is currently in season)
- Preheat your mana base to eight mana
- Level up your mana dork (you can skip this step if your dork naturally taps for two or more)
- Grease the playmat with The Chain Veil
- Place Teferi onto the pre-greased playmat
- Activate The Chain Veil
- Activate Teferi, choosing to untap your Chain Veil and mana sources
- Enjoy infinite activations of planeswalkers
Serving Suggestion: Please see the Atraxa cookbook for more details.
Oh hey, it’s you. You’re probably wondering if you’ll get a good Werewolf commander this visit to Innistrad. Well, I’ve got good news — you got one!
All it takes is stapling card draw to it — who knew?
Tovolar is awesome. Stay tuned for our deck building guide, which should be up soon.
We’ve seen some great Izzet commanders recently that can reduce the costs of spells. Vadrik seems good even without the day/night tech, as increasing his power is a really easy thing to do.
ARTIFACTS & LANDS
Moonsilver Key is the main thing to get excited about here, and to be honest? It deserves to hog the limelight. Getting to look for an artifact with a mana ability is so open-ended. Do you want a Sol Ring? Maybe a Mana Crypt? Why stop there? This thing’ll get you Basalt Monolith, The Great Henge, or even Cursed Mirror.
The new lands are great budget options in EDH. The checklands from Battle for Zendikar already see play, and the new lands are even easier to make work — you just need two lands in play, and it doesn’t matter if they’re basic or not, or what type they are. I really like these for EDH.
MIDNIGHT HUNT COMMANDER DECKS
Lynde is the Curses commander to end all debate about the best Curses commander. While that’s not strictly true — Ardenn makes a great white partner for a Curses build — it’s going to be true for most deck builders. You can find her in Set Boosters and Collector Boosters, or preorder her from Card Kingdom.
While we may not have Avacyn this time around, we do have her Memorial. I like this in “legends matter” decks quite a bit, and even in some artifact builds like Osgir or Gerrard. It’s the next best thing if you haven’t got Avacyn, Angel of Hope and you like to play with legends.
Of the other revealed cards exclusive to non-draft boosters, Visions of Ruin strikes me as the most appealing. Provided each opponent controls an artifact when you cast it, you’re going to be getting three mana back in Treasure. Whether it’s good in your meta will largely depend on how many other players are making Treasure, but when it’s good? It’s good.
I like this one quite a bit. It’s selective graveyard hate — which, in my opinion, is the best kind of graveyard hate. This punishes players who want to loop creatures in and out of the bin, and rewards you with some fantastic blockers for your trouble. At worst, it’s a three-mana way to stop a player until they find a disenchant, which can be enough to help you get to the win yourself.
Heronblade Elite is absurd. It’s human Marwyn, but this time with vigilance, and not limited to green mana. I can think of a lot of decks that will gladly snap this one up, and I’m excited to play it myself. Vigilance is sneaky here, giving you the ability to attack with inflated power while also getting the mana.
Kyler is a great option for a go-wide Humans commander, but likewise fits into any number of other +1/+1 counter decks, too. Humans and counters is a deep enough archetype to fit some personality into, and Kyler should prove to be pretty popular.
Moorland Rescuer is a payoff for going wide with Humans and building them up, and as far as white payoffs go, it’s the kind we constantly clamor for more of. Getting more than one creature back is fantastic. It’s a shame it goes to exile once you do, but if it didn’t? It’d be gross.
Coven Counters has some other cool cards, but these are the ones to watch. Stay tuned for our precon upgrade guides, which feature a full review of the new cards and deck.
Eloise is a card many people are excited about, and I’m among those that love her design. She’s flavorful, easy to make work, has many ways to build around her, and isn’t back-breakingly powerful — the perfect commander.
Crowded Crypt is a mana rock that does something — one of the signs of power creep, and the type of card I think everyone should be playing. There will be a board wipe after you’ve played your mana rocks, and getting an instant board by cashing this in is a nice trade, and one I’m happy to make.
Ghouls’ Night Out is not only the best pun in the set, but also the best approximation of Sepulchral Primordial. It’s a lot of value for five mana, and even if the creatures do end up decayed — meaning you’ll get to attack with them exactly once — it’s still more than worth it, as these types of plays usually come before a board wipe, anyways. I know I’m hyped to try it out in Chainer, Nightmare Adept to take advantage of haste.
While there are other good Zombies in this build, I’ll be reviewing the precon properly in my article next week. The remaining card to highlight here is Hordewing Skaab, which I find to be a slam dunk of a card — but also one that makes me question how much R&D are lurking on EDHREC. Wonder sees play in a lot of Zombie decks, and Hordewing Skaab feels designed to fill that niche with a tribal card. Adding looting is just a bonus.
So, this card is quite the enabler, isn’t it? EDH players are not strangers to tucking creatures underneath cards like this. Fiend Hunter and Angel of Glory’s Rise is a classic combo, and protection like Glorious Protector is pretty popular right now, too. Prowling Geistcatcher essentially lets decks with graveyard loops have at least one extra run around the track, and that’s if they’re not somehow going infinite with it.
And there you have it: the best Commander cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and the Commander decks. I’ve not been able to be exhaustive, but the cards covered today represent the very best of what the expansion has to offer for Commander players. Did I miss anything you’re really excited about? Let me know on Twitter!
Kristen is a lover of both Limited and Commander, and can most often be found championing the Boros Legion when called upon to sit down and shuffle up. As a member of the Commander Advisory Group, Kristen lives and breathes Commander. When she’s not playing Magic, she works as a freelance writer and editor in the UK.