Impression 3: This Is an Interaction Heavy Set.
While most good decks run a fair bit of interaction and removal, we seem to be moving out of a Standard where massive engines dominate games. For a while there, it felt like Modern, and games became a race to blowing the other player out of the water with a flurry of card advantage and swingy plays. Now, games seem more determined on a granular level. The lethality of individual cards is still there, but almost every type of card has an easy answer. The deck I’ve been piloting can kill anything my opponent tries, and the feeling is mutual on the other end. In Innistrad, things don’t survive long and there’s no hiding behind creature walls anymore. Even Koma doesn’t always defend you. This high rise in effective removal might be because of a general change in the last few sets—and that’s lands as creatures…
Impression 4: Creature Lands Matter a Lot.
I could see people running a mainboard Field of Ruin in any deck that can support it. New creature lands come in every color and colorless, and work as win conditions all their own. They usually require special timing with removal or Field to deal with and can work as blockers in a pinch. The balancing act of keeping enough snow lands or basics to creature lands is a real concern, but there’s almost no good reason to not use a few in any deck. And this will have knock-on effects for deck construction. Because there’s usually going to be a “hidden” creature, board wipes are weaker. Because creature lands take mana to activate but are also combat assets, decks might run more lands overall, even in aggro lists. This is a positive change to Standard, but it’s heavily changing things. And, with that in mind, and with everything I’ve said, my final point…
Impression 5: Innistrad Is NOT A Supplemental Set.
People who read my Magic articles might notice a trend where I claim a new set’s not going to make much of an impact until a rotation happens or until a certain strategy dies. Well, this one got a rotation. From normal removal to big splashy rares, Innistrad caused a nearly immediate upheaval. No old strategies remain unaltered. The paradigms are wide open. I’m already getting sick of the mono-white deck, but it’s so much better than RDW with Embercleave. If you took a break from Magic, come back. I may have personally liked the insane days of Wilderness Reclamation and Agent of Treachery combo, but Innistard is a lovely change of pace.
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