Magic The Gathering What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Magic The Gathering – What Are Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s Draft Archetypes?

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Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Magic the Gathering’s Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s pre-release begins today. Whether you’re heading to your local game store or playing through Arena’s early release, the set is full of creepy monsters and new mechanics to master. But as you sit down to your first Midnight Hunt draft, you may find yourself overwhelmed with where to take your limited deck. Midnight Hunt is by far the most mechanically-dense Standard set released in a while, and getting to grips with drafting for it can be tricky.

Fortunately, each of the ten colour pairings focuses on something different, with five based on the different creature types of Innistrad, and the other five on different strategic approaches. Here are the ten draft archetypes for Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, so you can get an advantage right from pack one, pick one.

White/Blue – Spirits

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Blue and white’s spirits archetype almost entirely builds itself around Midnight Hunt’s new Disturb mechanic. If a creature with Disturb is in your graveyard, you can pay its cost and have it re-enter the battlefield in its transformed state. Cards like Patrician Geist, Phantom Carriage, Lunarch Veteran, Mourning Patrol, and Archive Haunt provide a solid basis for your spirits deck.

As you’d expect from white and blue, there are lots of ways to control the board. In particular, Dennick, Pious Apprentice stops your graveyard from being tampered with, while Malevolent Hermit works as a counterspell before coming back as Benevolent Geist and making all your non-creature spells impossible to counter. Nebelgast Intruder and Chaplain of Alms are also well worth looking for as ways of stopping your opponent from doing what they want.

Blue/Black – Zombies

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

If you like making dozens of tokens each turn, you’ll want to be focusing on blue and black’s zombie-loving cards. This archetype uses a lot of Midnight Hunt’s new keyword, Decayed. Decayed creatures can’t block, and when they’ve attacked they are sacrificed at the end of combat. That means you need to go wide, pump them up, swing for big damage, and find ways to keep replenishing your undead forces.

Making zombies on Innistrad is simple, thanks to cards like No Way Out, Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia, Ghoulish Procession, Diregraf Horde, and Tainted Adversary. A real heavy-hitter here is Poppet Stitcher, which creates zombies whenever you cast an instant or sorcery before transforming into Poppet Factory, taking away your tokens’ Decayed ability and turning them all into 3/3s.

Zombies tend to be disposable by nature, but there are ways to squeeze even more out of them. Corpse Cobble can sacrifice your creatures and stitch them all together into a zombie with menace whose power and toughness are equal to the total power of all the creatures you sacrificed. Bladestitched Skaab is a tribal lord who gives all your zombies +1/+0, and Champion of the Perished gets bigger whenever another Zombie enters the battlefield, just in case you need one big blocker.

Black/Red – Vampires

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

We’re still a couple of months away from the vampire-centric Innistrad: Crimson Vow set, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely absent from Midnight Hunt. Fast and vicious, the vampires benefit from any life your opponents lose, so you’ll need to hit hard, fast, and ruthlessly to succeed.

With only a few drain strategies available in this set, you’ll have to rely on direct damage with cards like Hungry for More, Falkenrath Perforator, Play With Fire, Neonate’s Rush, Curse of Shaken Faith, and Light Up The Night.

As long as you can deal even one damage in a turn, there are lots of ways to profit off of it. Assuming an opponent has lost life this turn, Vampire Socialite puts +1/+1 counters on all your other vampires when it enters, and any after her, lost life that turn, Florian, Voldaren Scion lets exile through your deck to find the precise cards you need, Famished Foragers gives you three red mana when it enters the battlefield, and Bloodtithe Collector forces your opponents to discard.

Red/Green – Werewolves

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

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The stars of Midnight Hunt are finally here! This is the first of two archetypes that really plays with the new Daybound and Nightbound mechanic, and it’s probably the most complex new system in the entire set.

At the start of the game, it will be neither day nor night, but once a daybound permanent enters the battlefield, it will become day, while a nightbound will make it night. From there, the day and night cycle changes based on how many spells a person plays each turn: playing no spells will make it night, while playing two or more will turn it back to day. Daybound and Nightbound permanents will all transform into the corresponding side whenever the cycle changes, meaning you’ll need to carefully control how many spells you play to keep the state you need.

As you’d expect, Werewolves really need it to be night, which means this archetype keeps how many spells you cast to a minimum. There are plenty of powerful abilities, though, such as Frenzied Trapbreaker’s artifact and enchantment removal, Tovolar’s Packleader’s fighting for creature removal, and Pestilent Wolf, which can gain deathtouch.

By far the most important piece for this archetype, though, is Tovolar, Dire Overlord. Giving you card draw while also forcing it to turn to night on your turn if you control enough wolves or werewolves, it’s the best way to stop an opponent who is obsessed with making it daytime and transforming your powerful werewolves back into measly humans.

Green/White – Humans

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Green and white represent the humans of Innistrad, trying to fend off the horrors that reside in the darkness. What they lack in raw power they make up for with numbers and teamwork – this archetype is all about making Human creature tokens and fighting back with the new Coven mechanic, which triggers whenever you have three or more creatures with different power at the start of combat.

Adeline, Resplendent Cathar, Cathar’s Call, Sunset Revelry, Dawnhart Mentor and Join the Dance can all make the tokens you need, while Defend the Celestus, Timberland Guide, Katilda, Dawnhart Prime, and Sigarda, Champion of Light can buff them up.

Once you’ve pumped your Humans (hopefully in a way that means they have different power from each other), the Coven mechanic really comes in handy. Ranging from small boosts like Dawnhart Wardens and Ritual of Hope to bigger effects like Sungold Sentinel gaining hexproof and unblockable from a chosen colour, or Augur of Autumn letting you cast creature spells from the top of your library, Coven is an incredibly flexible and potent ability you’ll want to be building around.

White/Black – Sacrifice (Aristocrats)

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Moving away from creature types, white and black combine to make the popular “Aristrocrats”-type deck, where the focus is on sacrificing your own creatures for profit.

First, we’re going to combine the white token generators from the green/white Humans archetype with the black ones from the blue/black Zombies. Cathar’s Call, Adeline, Ghoulish Procession, Jadar, and Tainted Adversary all work well for this.

Next, you need to find ways to sacrifice your creatures. Zombies with decayed sacrifice at the end of the turn they attack on, but for everything else, there are tools like Ecstatic Awakener, Hostile Hostel, Fleshtaker, Lord of the Forsaken, and Eaten Alive that allow you to sacrifice your creatures.

Sacrificing your own creatures for effects is good, but having lots of death triggers for added value is even better. The Meathook Massacre drains an opponent’s life, Necrosynthesis, and Odric’s Outrider both put +1/+1 counters on creatures, Mask of Griselbrand lets you pay to draw cards when its equipped creature dies and Jerren, Corrupted Bishop makes more tokens, ready for you to kill off straight away.

Black/Green – Graveyard Reanimation

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Much like black and white, black and green loves dead creatures. However, this archetype is all about what happens while the creatures are dead and buried.

This archetype has a few ways to self-mill (meaning to put cards directly from the library into the graveyard), such as Old Stickfingers, Tapping at the Window, Heirloom Mirror, Deathbonnet Sprout, Eccentric Farmer, and Dreadhound. You can also make use of the black sacrifice tools to put creatures into your graveyard, like Hostile Hostel and Lord of the Forsaken.

There are lots of ways to make your overflowing graveyard someone else’s problem. Old Stickfingers and Consuming Blob both have their power and toughness gets bigger the more creatures are in the graveyard, while Creeping Inn can exile those creatures for direct damage if need be.

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To finish things off, there are ways to bring things out of graveyards as well, like Turn the Earth and Dryad’s Revival. Whether you’re short of a few creatures and need a blocker, or want to use cards like Willow Geist and need cards to leave your graveyard, having death not be the end is an important part of any reanimation deck

Green/Blue – Flashback

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

Flashback is a returning mechanic that allows you to play spells directly out of your graveyard. While you’ll generally want to have cast them first at their cheaper original cost, self-milling to have a wide range of flashback cards in your graveyard ready for use whenever is still a good idea.

Flashback costs tend to be higher than a normal casting, and so you need to ramp up your mana production as fast as possible, true to the Simic spirit. Do this with Path to the Festival, Eccentric Farmer, Dawnhart Rejuvenator, Augur of Autumn, and Wrenn and Seven. The star of the entire archetype, though, is Rootcoil Creeper, who can tap for mana (more if you’re casting something from your graveyard), as well as bring cards you’ve already flashed back from exile to your hand.

To mill yourself, use Otherworldly Gaze, Organ Hoarder, Consider, Tapping at the Window, and Drownyard Amalgam. Milling shouldn’t be the core of your strategy, but having a few flashback cards ready to play is always useful.

From there, it’s simply a matter of throwing out as many big, devastating spells as you can, and then doing it again with flashback. You want to use sheer spending power to win with this archetype, so make sure you draft cards like Rise of the Ants, Storm the Festival, Winterhorn Blessing, Croaking Counterpart, Shadowbeast Sighting, and Memory Deluge.

Blue/Red – Instants and Sorceries

Magic The Gathering  What Are Innistrad Midnight Hunts Draft Archetypes

No matter what set, red and blue colour pairs are almost always about throwing out as many instants and sorceries as you can, and finding ways to make those casts hurt even more.

For this, you’ll need a lot of cheap spells. Their effect generally doesn’t matter, as we’re more using them to trigger other abilities later down the last. Geistwave, Otherworldly Gaze, Secrets of the Key, Startle, Electric Revelation, Cathartic Pyre, Raze the Effigy, Arcane Infusion, and Play With Fire are all super cheap spells that fill this slot nicely. Galvanic Iteration is an absolute must, as it copies and casts a target instant or sorcery for added value.

The big leaders of this archetype are Vadrik, Astral Archmage, which can significantly reduce the cost of your bigger instants and sorceries, and Thermo-Alchemist. It can tap to deal one damage to each opponent, but untaps whenever you play an instant or sorcery – with enough cheap spells in your hand, you could do significant amounts of damage each turn from its ability alone. Or you could pair it up with Geistflame Reservoir for really quick wins.

Red/White – Aggro Day & Night

The final draft archetype is the second of the two that really care about night and day. Red and white is all about combat tricks – casting spells during combat to surprise your opponent with more damage than they accounted for. With white’s emphasis on humans added in, keeping it daytime for even more combat potential is a good idea.

Aggro decks are fast and cheap, so mana costs need to be kept down to be effective. Bloodthirsty Adversary and Intrepid Adversary both let you pay one generic and their respective colours as many times as you want for different effects, letting you either play them early as attackers, or later on as handy mana sinks. Other good, cheap creatures include Sungold Sentinel, Unruly Mob, Festival Crasher, Lambholt Harrier, and Voldaren Stinger.

For the combat tricks, there is a good mix of good, cheap worth using. For spells, Stolen Vitality, Raze the Effigy, Lunar Frenzy, Immolation, Flare of Faith, Ritual of Hope and Blessed Defiance are all really aggressively costed, letting you sling them out in combat with ease.

As you’ll be casting a lot of spells each turn, there’s a high chance – particularly against a Werewolves player – that the day/night cycle will be changing a lot. Fortunately, a lot of the big players in this archetype can kick the cycle off themselves, with Brutal Cathar, Celestus Sanctifier, Obsessive Astronomer, Sunrise Cavalier, and Gavony Dawnguard all making it day, and then giving you massive bonuses whenever it moves from day to night or vice-versa.

From there, winning is just a matter of attacking a lot, casting enough buffing combat tricks to break through any defences, and keep it daytime to stave off any potential werewolves.

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s prerelease runs from September 17-23, 2021. Events are available at your local game store and on Magic the Gathering Arena.

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