MtG: 15 Best Innistrad Crimson Vow Cards for Standard

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As expected, Innistrad Crimson Vow is a very different Magic: The Gathering set from Innistrad Midnight Hunt, which was released just a couple of months ago.

While Midnight Hunt focused on werewolves, Crimson Vow is mostly dedicated to vampires that are much more numerous here. However, in a surprising turn of events, it's the spirit creatures that really shine in the new set, giving spirit tribal decks a lot to work with.

Besides that you will find plenty of staple reprints and some major control cards. Check out all this and more in our list of the best Innistrad Crimson Vow cards for MtG.

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Thalia, Guardian of Thraben

Currently, the two biggest enemy parties in standard are Mono-White vs. Mono-Green decks.

Since Thalia is now reprinted in standard, after spending years as the top-tier choice in the eternal formats, she will give a serious push to Mono-White decks.

She is excellent against all spell-heavy decks, including both aggro and control lists. Thalia hasn't been called a staple card all the way up to vintage format for no reason. She's the real MVP of the Crimson Vow set!

Ascendant Packleader

This summer Wizards of the Coast released a 1-mana 2/1 creature called Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer that took Magic by the storm. Well, here's a an offering for standard format that will have a similar impact.

Mono-Green is already the highest rated deck in standard, and with the addition of Ascendant Packleader it will blow out into the stratosphere.

Obviously, this will see play in other green decks based on wolf creatures, so watch out for this little but very dangerous card.

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Faithbound Judge

There is a huge support for spirit creatures in Crimson Vow, which does make spirit tribal deck serious contenders for the top tier archetype this season. However, Faithbound Judge can also be played in Blue-White Control decks as a solid defending creature.

On top of that, it has a flipside of Sinner's Judgement enchantment aura curse, which can win you a game in just a few turns. All this makes Faithbound Judge one of the most hyped cards this season.

Jacob Hauken, Inspector

The comparisons with the modern staple card Jace, Vryn's Prodigy are inevitable in this case. Both cards are early looters that offer strong play later on, in this case being the flipside of Hauken's Insight legendary enchantment that allows you to play lands and cast spells for free from the top of your library.

The most obvious deck for this card is any blue control list that uses Alrund's Epiphany, which can be cast for free as soon as Jacob Hauken flips.

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Chandra, Dressed to Kill

A new Chandra planeswalker is nothing short of amazing. She has similar abilities to one of the most successful Chandra planeswalkers in Magic's history — Chandra, Torch of Defiance — but this one is cheaper at only three mana, which makes her eligible for such aggressive decks like Mono-Red Burn.

Her ultimate ability may not be as strong as that of Chandra, Torch of Defiance, but it can still do a lot of damage, which is exactly what you're looking for in any aggro card.

Katilda, Dawnhart Martyr

While Faithbound Judge could be successfully played outside spirit decks, Katilda is clearly playable only in spirit tribal decks, as her power and toughness directly depend on the number of spirits you control.

In that case she can be really strong for mere three mana. You can play her on turn three and have 3/3 with 1-drop and 2-drop spirits on the board. With each consecutive turn she will keep growing and getting more dangerous.

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Hullbreaker Horror

Although the cost on this Kraken creature is quite steep, the amount of advantage you get by playing it in the late game would be a real game winner for all blue control decks.

The best part about this card is that it can perform exceptionally well in control mirror matches, and deal not only with the opponent's creatures, but also their spells.

You may want to play a couple of copies in the main list or put it in the sideboard. It will do a good job regardless!

Overcharged Amalgam

This card has a lot to offer!

First, it's a zombie creature that can go into any Dimir zombie tribal deck. Second, it has both Flash and Flying, and it counters not only spells, but also abilities, which can at times be just as important.

But most importantly, it has the Exploit mechanic, which allows you to trigger the counter effect by sacrificing Overcharged Amalgam to itself. In that case you won't have a 3/3 creature on board, but your game will be saved.

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Dig Up

Here is a card with the brand-new Cleave mechanic that gives spells some flexibility. In this case players can chose to play four mana instead of one to tutor for any card in their library without it being revealed.

This card can quickly become a staple in Ramp Sultai decks, where cards like this can fecth for the game-winning pieces without any hassle.

Even with the one mana cost, this spell does give you a basic land, which is still pretty good.

Dorothea, Vengeful Victim

Spirit tribal players will have a blast this season in standard, as here is another overpowered spirit from Crimson Vow.

You can play this for two mana, attack with it, put it in the graveyard. Then next turn play Dorothea's Retribution for only three mana, and you will basically have Geist of Saint Treft on your hands.

When modern staples make their way into standard, you know it's going to be a hot season.

Wash Away

This has to be one of the most creative and potent counterspells Wizards of the Coast have ever printed.

For one mana you can counter any spell that wasn't cast from the owner's hand. Meaning that you can counter anything from graveyard, exile zone, sideboard, and library.

If you do want to counter a spell from a hand, then you will have to pay two more mana. In any case, this will go straight into all blue control decks for some unexpected tempo counter plays.

Bloodtithe Harvester

Vampire tribal lists are also getting some goodies in Crimson Vow. Bloodtithe Harvester is a great example of a high utility card for almost no cost.

For two mana you get a 3/2 creature that can destroy any other creature with two toughness. You will probably have to wait a turn to do that due to the tap ability, but it's still super strong for such low cost.

This one will definitely see play in Rakdos Vampires decks in standard.

Wolfkin Outcast

Werewolf decks have already got a lot of excellent cards in Innistrad Midnight Hunt set, but here is another one from Crimson Vow that just looks really good.

You get a 5/4 creature for four mana as the base, and if it's nighttime, then you get a 6/5 that also draws you card each time one of your wolf creatures dies.

The Gruul Werewolves archetype that is now one of the top tier lists on Magic Arena will surely want a couple of copies of Wolfkin Outcast.

Hero's Downfall

Hero's Downfall is a direct reprint from the Theros set, and it is just as relevant today as it was back in 2013. But this time it got downgraded from rare to uncommon rarity, which is how it should have been in the first place.

It will be played in the majority of black decks, including Jund Midrange and Grixis Control, mostly in the sideboard.

It's a simple design that can quickly deal with unwanted creatures and planeswalkers.

Lantern of the lost

Cheap graveyard hate cards are always a welcome addition to any sideboard. This one also draws you a card for just one mana and basically saves your game from the imminent pressure of the opponent's graveyard creatures.

Lantern of the Lost is comparable to Relic of Progenitus, a modern staple, with the small difference that this card can't slowly drain the opponent's graveyard turn after turn.

Those are the best 15 cards in MtG's Innistrad: Crimson Vow set. In addition to this list of the best Innistrad: Crimson Vow cards for standard, be sure to check out our other MtG guides and card lists here

Published Nov. 8th 2021

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Sergey has been a freelancer in the video games industry for more than five years, writing for various publications around the world. His favorite games are MtG, Dark Souls, Diablo, and Divinity: Original Sin.

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