Magic: The Gathering (MTG) brings us back to Innistrad in the new upcoming set, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. The set is thematically one of Gothic horror, with illustrations and lore that remind us why we should be afraid of the dark.
There are a total of 277 regular cards, and we have already learned of some new and returning mechanics that will be making appearances. They seem to be gearing up for a dynamic rotation where cards transform turn to turn, and players spring unexpected surprises on hapless opponents.
Here is a list of the mechanics that we know so far.
Flashback is a keyword first introduced in 2001 in the Odyssey set. It allows players to cast an Instant or Sorcery spell from their graveyard, so long as they possess Flashback, by paying the designated mana cost.
This designated mana cost is higher than the cost of playing the card from hand. After the spell is cast via Flashback, it is then exiled.
It is a mechanic that gives players more options at their disposal the longer a game lasts, and when opponents are aware of the wide range of options, they will be pushed into making interesting decisions during the course of the game.
Transform was a keyword introduced in the original Innistrad block back in 2011. It led to the printing of double-faced cards, where each card is, in a way, two cards in one.
Now, the Transform mechanic has been revised into the Daybound/Nightbound mechanic. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt brings something similar to day/night cycles in video games into a physical card game.
Cards with Daybound will make the playfield become night when the printed condition is met, and all players will flip all their Daybound cards on the field, transforming them. The same thing applies for Nightbound, except the playfield becomes day instead.
This mechanic affects the entire playfield at once, which could lead to unforeseen situations and explosive synergies.
Disturb is just like Flashback, except it applies to Creature cards instead of Instant and Sorcery cards. Yes, Creature cards can be played from the graveyard now, which is very fitting given the horror theme of Innistrad: Midnight Hunt.
The mechanic can also appear on cards that transform. Also, unless specified on the card, creatures summoned through the Disturb mechanic don’t get exiled when they are sent to the graveyard again.
Looks like players will be getting a lot of ammunition in the form of the living dead.
Speaking of living dead, Decayed is a mechanic that adds a good dose of flavour to Zombie creature tokens.
A Zombie creature with Decayed can’t block and is sacrificed at the end of combat after it attacks. This keyword makes the visualisation of Zombie creatures in the game more vivid given how well the mechanic meshes with what a zombie is supposed to be like.
It seems to lend itself well to either a more aggro-oriented deck or as fodder to be sacrificed in one way or another.
Coven is a new mechanic that encourages a wider board where players control many creatures at once. The mechanic activates when the player controls three or more creatures with different power stats.
When activated, the Coven mechanic will then provide a bonus printed on the card.
Given the range of different proactive, colourful effects possible within this set so far, it makes sense for there to be a way for players to protect themselves from the onslaught.
Ward is a returning mechanic which prevents the card possessing it from being targeted by a spell or ability by countering them. If the opponent insists on getting their spell or ability through, they will have to pay the associated cost printed on the card, be it in terms of additional mana or life.
This forces opponents to be more careful with their resources, and really think about whether it is really worth paying the price to get a spell through to a card with Ward.
Flash is a keyword that allows cards printed with it to be played as if they are Instant cards.
While primarily found in Blue, they can also be found in Green, and when the mechanic is printed on Enchantment cards, it can lead to nasty combat tricks to bamboozle opponents.
Looks like it is going to be a scary fun time flinging Magic: The Gathering cards and spells around once Innistrad: Midnight Hunt gets released on 24 September 2021, and digitally on 16 September 2021.