The sun has set for possibly the last time on the plane of Innistrad, giving the vampire families the perfect opportunity to seize control of the food supp- er, population. This is one of the major storylines in Innistrad: Crimson Vow, the latest set for Magic: The Gathering.
Each of the three visits to the horrific world through the popular trading card game has portrayed the humans, vampires, werewolves, zombies and devils that call it home and vie constantly for control of it, even if just to survive. These cultures have been wracked with successive catastrophes and undergone major power shifts since players first met them in 2011.
In Crimson Vow, the designers have returned to Innistrad’s monster movie roots to tell the story of Olivia Voldaren’s wedding to an as-yet unknown vampire lord in the hopes of uniting the bloodlines and crowning herself top of the undead pile. The first part of her plan involved mucking about with the sun, which players saw in the first half of this two-part block with Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.
The denizens of the popular MTG plane aren’t going to accept her ploy without a fight, and Crimson Vow will see several factions and notable individuals take up arms once again to protect their admittedly spooky homes. One of those individuals, shown on Dicebreaker’s exclusive card reveal, contributes in her own odd manner.
Reclusive Taxidermist is an uncommon rarity human druid creature that costs one colourless and one Green mana to play. At 1/2 power and toughness, she might not be the most threatening card but more than makes up for it with her ability. Players can tap Reclusive Taxidermist to add one mana of any colour, so while she can't activate on the turn she’s played (a concept called summoning sickness), every turn after she will provide a little edge over the opponent in terms of spell fuel.
This design is what’s commonly referred in Magic: The Gathering terms to as a 'mana dork' - a creature whose sole job is to sit there and churn out mana for their controller to amass. It’s a common sight in Green, which often likes to ramp up its mana base to cast huge bodies as soon as possible, controlling the board before their opponent can even react.
A downside to those dorks is their relatively flimsy nature. They don’t offer as much value in the late game and will often be forgotten or offered as a sacrifice if something scary big lumbers across the field. Reclusive Taxidermist is a little different. As long as a player has four or more creature cards in their graveyard, this card adds +3/+2 to its power and toughness, bringing it up to 4/4 and squarely in what many would consider the “chonky” category.
Another specialty Reclusive Taxidermist can boast is its inclusion in the 18 cards to receive a special art treatment as part of Crimson Vow's Dracula Series. Magic: The Gathering has long been spicing up its major sets with unique alternate looks, and the latest set is no exception. In honour of the vampiric focus, many cards have also been printed with name and illustration referencing the major characters in Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel - including the big guy himself.
Reclusive Taxidermist - whose main art was done by Wisnu Tan - becomes Quincey Harker, the son of pivotal characters Mina and Jonathan Harker who bears the name of a friend of theirs who helped to destroy Count Dracula at the cost of his own life. The artwork, which portrays the young Harker in front of a country villa with a white rose and a greyhound, was done by frequent Magic: The Gathering illustrator Tomasz Jedruszek. Below that is a direct quote from near the end of Stoker’s foundational novel.
Players can pull the Dracula Series cards from three different Innistrad: Crimson Vow products, as outlined in a blog post from publisher Wizards of the Coast. They will be available alongside the rest of the 277 cards when Crimson Vow releases physically on November 19th. The set comes to Magic Arena and MTG Online a week earlier, beginning on November 11th.