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10 best Innistrad: Crimson Vow cards in Magic: The Gathering’s latest set

Fangtastic.
Image: Wizards of the Coast

We’re back in the creepy lands of Innistrad for Crimson Vow. Innistrad: Crimson Vow is the next standard-legal set in Magic: The Gathering and has players attending a wedding - which is strangely wholesome for a plane that's traditionally all about everything trying to eat everything else.

We're not one-hundred percent sure the wedding is actually a nice event, but we guess we're happy for the newly married couple. Anyway, the key thing is that a new MTG set means a bunch of new cards - and that means it's the perfect time to talk about some of the best Innistrad: Crimson Vow cards that have now been spoiled.

There are a lot of really interesting cards in Crimson Vow; it'll be hard to see how good or bad some of them are until they're out in the wild in decks, but we've still found ten cards that are so obviously powerful they're certain to find a home somewhere.

Best MTG Innistrad: Crimson Vow cards

There are some incredibly powerful reprints in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, with the likes of Thalia, Guardian of Thraben making their return, Splendid Reclamation being, uh, reclaimed and even Hero's Downfall making a move from rare to uncommon.

However, we're going to look at brand new cards for our list of the best Innistrad: Crimson Vow cards - otherwise, we have to talk about Thalia. That's not a bad thing, but some people really dislike the card's effect - because those people like to be able to do absurd things - and Thalia would rather everyone just chilled out a bit.


1. Cemetery Prowler

A powerful body and some cost reduction

The Cemetery cycle features some of Crimson Vow's best cards - and Cemetery Prowler is the best of the best. Image: Wizards of the Coast

First up is one of the Cemetery cycle, which is pretty fantastic all around - but Cemetery Prowler is the best of the bunch. For three mana, Cemetery Prowler is a Green 3/4 with vigilance. Whenever it enters the battlefield or attacks, you get to exile a card from any graveyard. In a set like Crimson Vow, that's almost good enough as it is, but there's more.

It also reads: "Spells you cast cost one less to cast for each card type they share with cards exiled with Cemetery Prowler." This means that if you exile a creature with Cemetery Prowler, your creatures cost one less to cast. It also means that if you exile a creature and an artifact, then your artifact creatures will cost two less to cast. It's all very powerful stuff.


2. Avabruck Caretaker // Hollowhenge Huntmaster

Protection and pumping

Avabruck Caretaker // Hollowhenge Huntmaster transforms from a good card into a great card thanks to the Day/night mechanic returning in Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Green has a lot going on in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, and that's rarely more blatant than with Avabruck Caretaker // Hollowhenge Huntmaster. This is a six-mana 4/4 with hexproof that allows you to put two +1/+1 counters on another target creature you control at the beginning of combat on your turn.

Avabruck Caretaker is also a werewolf, and they transform into Hollowhenge Huntmaster. Suddenly your 4/4 is a 6/6 that gives all of your permanents hexproof - which is absurd on its own - and then also puts two +1/+1 counters on each of your creatures at the beginning of combat on your turn. Protection is great, and then making all of your creatures into horrifyingly large threats is even better.


3. Jacob Hauken, Inspector // Hauken's Insight

Get a clue

Another Crimson Vow card that transforms during play, Jacob Hauken, Inspector becomes legendary enchantment Hauken's Insight. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Jacob Hauken, Inspector is the most mundanely-named character in all of MTG. They're also a two-mana Blue 0/2 that you can tap to “draw a card, then exile a card from your hand face down. You may look at that card for as long as it remains exiled. You may pay six mana. If you do, transform Jacob Hauken, Inspector." While you're not discarding the cards, it's still nice to have such great card draw on a two-mana creature.

Jacob transforms into Hauken's Insight, a legendary enchantment. This enchantment allows you to exile cards in each of your upkeeps, and during each of your turns, you can play a land that's been exiled with the permanent - so either Jacob or his Insight. Also, you can cast spells exiled with it for free. Free stuff is always good.


4. Savior of Ollenbock

Eliminate the problems

Savior of Ollenbock showcases Crimson Vow's new Training keyword, boosting its power and toughness when paired with a more powerful creature. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Savior of Ollenbock is a three-mana White 1/2 with training. Training is a new ability introduced in Innistrad: Crimson Vow that allows you to put a +1/+1 counter on the creature whenever it attacks with a creature that has a higher power than it. That's not hard with one power, and it also means that when this creature attacks it'll be a 2/3, which is a nice bonus.

On top of this, you can exile a creature with Savior of Ollenbock from the battlefield or a graveyard whenever it trains. You can either use this to protect your own creatures from larger threats or remove problems on the other side of the board. These creatures return if Savior of Ollenbock leaves the battlefield, too, so you can manipulate this as you'd like for the greatest effect.


5. Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry

Another one

Equipped with Innistrad: Crimson Vow's new Disturb keyword, Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry lets you copy another powerful creature on the battlefield. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Mirrorhall Mimic // Ghastly Mimicry is our first and only disturb card on the list. Disturb is a mechanic introduced in Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, and has cards being cast from the graveyard in new forms. Mirrorhall Mimic is a four-mana Blue 0/0 that enters the battlefield as a copy of any creature on the battlefield, but it'll also be a spirit in addition to its other types. That's great if you've got some spirit synergies going on in your deck.

Then, for five mana, you can cast it from the graveyard for its disturb cost. This turns it into Ghastly Mimicry, an aura that reads: "At the beginning of your upkeep, create a token that's a copy of enchanted creature, except it's a Spirit in addition to its other types. If Ghastly Mimicry would be put into a graveyard from anywhere, exile it instead." The ability to create copies of your favourite creature is great, and even the standard clone effect is potent.


6. Lantern Flare

A new kind of helix

Lantern Flare is one of Innistrad: Crimson Vows best cards thanks to the new Cleave mechanic. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Lantern Flare is a two-mana White instant with cleave. This is a new mechanic debuting in Innistrad: Crimson Vow that allows you to pay an alternate cost for the card in order to become an editor and gain a version of the card that is the same, but you have to remove the words in the brackets. If that sounds convoluted, please spare a thought for those of us who write or edit for a living and now have to do work while playing Magic: The Gathering.

Anyway, the card reads: "Lantern Flare deals X damage to target creature or planeswalker and you gain X life. [X is the number of creatures you control.]" Both versions of this spell are good, and there will be plenty of times where the ability to simply cast it for two mana and rely on your hefty board state for the damage is going to be a game-winner.


7. Ulvenwald Oddity // Ulvenwald Behemoth

A not-very-cute moose

The reverse side of Ulvenwald Oddity, the mighty Ulvenwald Behemoth has the ability to bring MTG games quickly to an end. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Another Green Crimson Vow card here with Ulvenwald Oddity, a four-mana 4/4 with trample and haste. As ever, that's already good, but Green always has to do more. So you can pay seven mana to transform Ulvenwald Oddity into Ulvenwald Behemoth.

Ulvenwald Behemoth is an 8/8 with trample and haste that grants all of your other creatures +1/+1 and trample and haste. Seven mana sounds like a lot to transform a card, but if you don't win the game after transforming this then things have gone horribly awry.


8. Olivia, Crimson Bride

Undead and loving it

Olivia is the star of Innistrad: Crimson Vow, so it's little surprise she's one of the MTG set's best cards. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Olivia, Crimson Bride is the protagonist of Crimson Vow, resurrecting Edgar Markov in order to get married. We all do silly things when we're in love. They're also a six-mana Black and Red 3/4 with flying and haste.

They allow you to return a creature card from the graveyard to the battlefield tapped and attacking whenever Olivia attacks. The card then sticks around for as long as you control a legendary vampire, but gets exiled if you don't. Resurrecting your best threats is an easy win, and there are plenty of legendary vampires to pick from to make sure you can always benefit from the undeath, especially in Commander.


9. Alchemist's Gambit

Time never changes

Another Crimson Vow card with the set's new cleave keyword, Alchemist's Gambit can take you from losing the game to winning it. Image: Wizards of the Coast

At some point, Wizards will stop making cards that allow us to take extra turns, but apparently, that isn't yet. Alchemist's Gambit is another Crimson Vow card with cleave, and it reads: "Take an extra turn after this one. During that turn, damage can't be prevented. [At the beginning of that turn's end step, you lose the game.]"

It only costs three mana for that version of it, and you can pay seven to remove the whole losing-the-game thing. For three mana in an aggressive Red deck, an extra turn is going to be more than enough to finish people off. This is an obscene card.


10. By Invitation Only

Pick a number

By Invitation Only lets its user wipe the board of up to 13 creatures per player, giving you a serious shot at claiming victory. Image: Wizards of the Coast

Finally, we have a board wipe. Board wipes in recent days have been really interesting, and By Invitation Only is one of the most intriguing yet. For five mana you get a White sorcery that lets you wipe the board, probably.

That's because you get to choose a number between zero and 13, before each player has to sacrifice that many creatures. If you're playing a deck that floods the board with creatures, then you can simply make sure everyone else loses their creature and you get to keep yours. Otherwise, you can just wipe the board clean completely. Also, because it says ‘sacrifice’ instead of ‘destroy’, it can combo with some really fun stuff in Commander - such as when paired with Tergrid, God of Fright, who will then give you control of all of the other sacrificed creatures.

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