Innistrad: Crimson Vow’s tabletop release is right around the corner. As always, I’ve combed through the set in search of the five cards that have the best chance of making an impact in Modern. Standard set power levels have been on the downturn for the last few sets, which means we’re unlikely to see any pushed cards make their way into Modern. (And, to be clear, I think that’s a good thing!) That said, there are some solid role players waiting for us in Crimson Vow. Let’s take a look!
Cemetery Gatekeeper is the best version of Zo-Zu the Punisher that we’ve seen so far. Another good benchmark is Eidolon of the Great Revel — a card that Burn is always happy to play. While Cemetery Gatekeeper falls short of that mark, it makes up for it by being better in combat thanks to first strike. It also has the ability to punish Amulet Titan, Bring to Light Scapeshift and any other deck looking to play multiple lands in a single turn. Against a lot of decks, if you can exile a land on turn two on the play, Cemetery Gatekeeper is likely to deal four damage with its trigger alone. I certainly expect to see this card in Burn sideboards when linear decks are popular, as a complement to Eidolon of the Great Revel.
It seems like each new set brings us another powerful Human, and Crimson Vow is no exception. Humans has been known to play a few three-mana creatures at the top of its curve, but they’ve typically been value creatures. However, Hamlet Vanguard can play a similar role against interactive decks, thanks to ward 2. It isn’t uncommon for this card to enter the battlefield as a 5/5, and with ward 2, it will put the opponent on a short clock. When Humans want to be resilient and fast, I’d expect to see Hamlet Vanguard pop up to punish slower or combo-oriented opponents.
Welcoming Vampire is a welcome upgrade to Mentor of the Meek. Granted, its ability can only trigger once per turn, but Mentor of the Meek typically wasn’t drawing more than one card per turn, anyway. Welcoming Vampire is a speculative pick given that Mentor of the Meek doesn’t see much play, but the extra point of toughness, flying, and free card draw could be enough to push it into some decks. Death & Taxes seems like the best potential home for Welcoming Vampire in order to keep the cards flowing in removal of heavy match-ups.
Path of Peril features the new cleave mechanic, but I’m primarily interested in the full text of the card. Three mana is a lot in a fast-paced format like Modern, but decks like Hammer Time are really going to struggle to beat Path of Peril. Wiping the board against Lurrus decks is a powerful effect, especially out of decks like Esper Reanimator, where Path of Peril is often an asymmetrical sweeper. If the game progresses long enough, eventually the cleave cost becomes relevant to turn Path of Peril into a full-blown sweeper. I could see more reactive Lurrus decks (like Grixis or Four-Color Lurrus) running Path of Peril in the sideboard against the more aggressive decks.
I doubt that Voice of the Blessed will show up in tier one decks any time soon, but it seems like a tier two all-star. This is by far the best version of Ajani’s Pridemate, and likely better than Serra Avenger. Soul Sisters is the best home for Voice of the Blessed, but if Heliod decks want a non-combo win condition, Voice will bring the beatdown in a hurry. This card may be narrow, but it’s currently the best at what it does.
Crimson Vow may not have any jaw-dropping Modern staples, but these cards (and a few more) have the potential to be solid roleplayers in Modern. Toxrill, the Corrosive is my favorite card from Crimson Vow, and I’d love to know what yours is! You can let me know and feel free to ask any questions on Twitter at @RappaciousOne. If you enjoy my content, you can always join my Discord server for more in-depth conversation! I’ll see you all next week with more Modern content.
Michael Rapp is a Modern specialist who favors Thoughtseize decks. Magic sates his desire for competition and constant improvement.