Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Set Review – Blue

(Lier, Disciple of the Drowned | Art by Ekaterina Burmak)

Da Ba Dee Da Ba Di

Hello everyone, and welcome to EHDREC’s Midnight Hunt set review! We’re continuing things with the blue cards in the set. There are some really interesting, flavorful cards to be found on our third trip to Innistrad, so let’s dive in!


Mythics


Spectral Adversary

Spectral Adversary is a new toy for Spirit tribal decks, mostly because there aren’t a lot of great Spirits. It’s pretty tepid in EDH overall, though. A 2/1 flash flier for 1U is way more underwhelming in Commander than, say, Limited, as is a 3/2 for 2UU that phases out one thing. It draws you a card in a deck like Ephara, God of the Polis, so the utility may be worth it there.

It may work best as a defensive tool, as phasing out your own thing doesn’t drop any counters, Auras, or Equipment it’s currently wearing, but even then I think I’d just rather have a counterspell in the slot most of the time. It’s notable that you can re-activate the ability here if the creature is blinked, although I’m still not sure that makes the card worth it. I suppose it’s a plus in blink decks like Brago, King Eternal that might want to reuse this in future turns, but those decks also usually prefer flicker/blink creatures instead of the phasing options.

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned starts off with the line of text “spells can’t be countered” which is enough to see play in a whole lot of decks. That line of text attached to a Wizard is enough to warrant even more play. All of that on a card that also gives all your instant and sorcery cards Flashback equal to their casting cost? That’s crazy.

Now, the important thing to note is that Lier doesn’t say “spells your opponents control can’t be countered.” Lier limits your own ability to counter spells along with your opponents. That blanks out blue’s most powerful part of the color pie. Luckily, you can play around that drawback with spells that exile things on the stack, like Mindbreak Trap, or effects that bounce spells while they’re on the stack, like Narset’s Reversal and Unsubstantiate. Things that give hexproof, like Mizzium Skin, Dive Down, and Lazotep Plating would also work like a semi-counterspell for Lier. Plus, you can just temporarily blink or phase out Lier and play counterspells before it comes back.

I gotta say, double-casting High Tide is also pretty ludicrous.

As a commander, Lier’s wincons are probably going to lean toward combo or flashing back lots of extra turn spells (which, incidentally, help Lier dig to find a combo). Double-casting tons of tiny spells (especially free ones like Frantic Search and Turnabout) might also make for an enormous Storm commander, too, powering up giant Aetherflux Reservoirs, Mind’s Desires, Temporal Fissures, and Brain Freezes. I suspect there are already lots of other ways to accomplish those strategies, though, so players will have to compare the outright Flashback options to multicolored commanders, such as Kess, Dissident Mage. Personally, I think Lier would be cleverest at the head of a deck filled with Talrand, Sky Summoner and Shark Typhoon effects, casting and recasting cheap cantrips and draw spells, to go wide with an army of tokens.


Poppet Stitcher // Poppet Factory

I’m not overwhelmed or underwhelmed by Poppet Stitcher. I’m merely whelmed by it. There are a lot of token-making rewards for casting instants and sorceries, from Talrand, Sky Summoner to Docent of Perfection. I think it’s safe to say this is at the low end of that group. The back half is neat, buffing up the base tokens and removing the downside of Decayed, but turning bad 2/2s into okay 3/3s isn’t a huge benefit, especially if it takes the flying away from Talrand’s Drakes, or reduces the power of your big Metallurgice Summoning artifacts. Plus, while it’s transformed, it stops producing any tokens at all, which is… weird flavor for a card called “Factory”.

Poppet finds itself being pretty good at two things, but maybe not good enough at any one thing. The Spellslinger decks will probably elect to keep their more reliable and evasive token-makers, and Zombie tribal decks probably have a decent output of Zombie-making cards already, too. Neat card, but I’m not sure if this stitch really comes together.


Rares


Grafted Identity

Grafted Identity is a Control Magic that buffs the enchanted creature by +1/+1 and requires you to sacrifice a creature when you cast it. Control Magic is in over 4,000 decks on EDHREC, so this effect does see play. Sacrifice is often considered a heavy cost, but for many decks out there, it’s often used as an upside, hence the popularity of cards like Viscera Seer. However, that upside is maybe less true in blue than in black. The best home for this card is maybe Muldrotha, the Gravetide, a commander that both cares about sacrifice outlets and that can reuse the Aura whenever it winds up in the yard. All in all, it’ll see some play, but minimally so, because we already have a lot of Control Magic already.

Curse of Surveillance

Curse of Surveillance has some stomach-churning art, if nothing else. Is it any good? Eh. The new Lynde, Cheerful Tormentor decks will certainly run it, if for no other reason than there aren’t many Curses in Grixis. I’m not sure it’s strong enough for today’s Nekusar, the Mindrazer lists. Group hugs decks don’t often want to exclude one player from their hugs. It’s hard to break parity on this card, unlike with, say, Curse of Opulence, especially with Hullbreacher and Leovold, Emissary of Trest banned in Commander. Like most Curse cards, it’ll more than likely wind up being a gimmick more than an actual card.

Memory Deluge

Memory Deluge lets you scry 2 and then draw two for 2UU. That’s not unreasonable, but there’s a lot of competition at that rate, including the cards Behold the Multiverse and Contact Other Plane from this year alone. The ability to flash it back to scry 7 and draw two for 5UU is not nothing, but it’s also pricey. It’s niche, but my guess is that Deluge may find a home in blue decks that self-mill, so it’s not a total waste if it winds up in the ‘yard when you’re trying to bin a reanimation target. You also get a little gas out of this if you’re hit with a tax effect, which is interesting.

Patrician Geist

Patrician Geist is an obvious inclusion for a Spirit tribal deck, though that’s at least in part due to a dearth of good Spirits. Outside that sphere, usage will be entirely reliant upon how helpful you find a cost-reducer for spells cast from the ‘yard. I’m not sure if this is a reflection of the card’s power or the synergy with a graveyard-centric set, but once again Muldrotha, the Gravetide stands out as a likely home for a card that may potentially save you 3-4 mana per turn when casting things from the ‘yard. Kess, Dissident Mage and Sevinne, the Chronoclasm decks may also have an interest here. Pairs well with Gravebreaker Lamia and Secrets of the Dead!

Sludge Monster

Sludge Monster will be great against that one Atraxa, Praetor’s Voice Horror tribal deck I once played against back in 2019. Beyond that, transforming the scariest thing on the field into a 2/2 with no abilities is always useful, especially since it triggers on ETB and attack. Waiting a full turn for a triggered ability always feels bad, especially on a five-mana spell, so getting it on ETB is welcome. It’s a solid card generally, but note that the slime counters themselves do not cause the creature to become a measly 2/2. Sludge Monster itself has the clause that makes slime counters do anything, just like Kindred Boon‘s divinity counters. Note that it also doesn’t do anything against commanders like Orvar, the All-Form, since that’s technically a Horror. I like this design, but I’m not sure any specific decks want this card, since the removal turns out to be a little unreliable.

Triskaidekaphile

Triskaidekaphile is a more complicated Laboratory Maniac/Thassa’s Oracle as far as draw-to-win wincons go. The best ways to get to the trigger are things like Ad Nauseam and Necropotence, neither of which see a ton of play outside the more competitive tip of the format, and that’s going to hurt the card’s ability to close out games. The trigger can also be responded to with instant-speed removal when it goes on the stack, which probably makes it less attractive to competitive players.

Azami, Lady of Scrolls decks may use it as a wincon, but overall I think it’s not powerful enough to unseat the infamous Thassa’s Oracle, which isn’t bound by timing restrictions. Outside of that sphere, I also personally suspect that the lines of play this card requires may end up being a little too much for it to see much love at other power levels.

Visions of Duplicity

Visions of Duplicity is perhaps the least interesting of the five-card “Visions of” cycle from Midnight Hunt, particularly because it deals with creatures you don’t control. If you could swap a bad token, or creature with an ETB ability that you’ve already used, in exchange for a total bomb, that would be one thing, but just causing a little chaos isn’t the most reliable use of your game time.

Commanders like Octavia, Living Thesis might like it just because the Flashback cost gets reduced to UU just by virtue of your commander choice. Zedruu, the Greathearted cares about swapping things, too. Overall, though, an underwhelming card with a sometimes-cheap Flashback cost is still an underwhelming card.


Uncommons and Commons


Consider

Consider is Opt with the non-named Surveil mechanic. It’s really solid. Generally speaking, Surveil is better than scry, and Opt already shows up in 31,489 decks. I’ll be finding a home for it in my Talrand, Sky Summoner cantrip-into-Drakes deck. Plenty of other lists looking for card velocity and quality will want it as well, including things like Rielle the Everwise, Kess, Dissident Mage, Niv-Mizzet, Parun, and tons more. It’s a common, so it’s easy to not think about, but that also might make Consider the most frequently played card from the entire set, when all is said and done.

Fading Hope

Fading Hope is one of the easiest cards I’ve ever reviewed: it’s a strictly better Unsummon, and Unsummon is in 3,972 decks. If Unsummon is good enough for your deck, then it’s worth upgrading to Fading Hope. If Unsummon isn’t currently good enough for your list, how often does getting a scry trigger if the creature has a mana value of 3 or less make it suddenly good enough? Probably never.

Firmament Sage

Firmament Sage is super borderline. It’s in a popular tribe and it is going to just accidentally draw you cards on occasion without any interaction on your part. Both of those are useful things. In fact, the ‘no interaction on your part’ is probably a prerequisite, since you’ll likely need to skip casting anything on your own turn to cause the night/day shift, and just hold up your mana for lots of instants on someone else’s turn. That’s not always doable for every deck, so beware. Basically, it’s the kind of card that might get a slot in a specific deck, but it’s maybe not a Snapcaster Mage-type card that is worth considering in most blue decks. In the lists where it shows up, though, there are going to be games where it performs well above its paygrade.

Geistwave

Geistwave is a bounce spell that rewards you with a draw if you hit your own thing. It’ll probably see the most play in decks that want the option not just to use on an enemy creature, but also to recur their own efficient bomb, like Dockside Extortonist. I have a feeling that Orvar, the All-Form will like this spell quite a lot, and that it’s caught the eye of blue-inclusive Krark, the Thumbless decks, or the Mutate Spellslinger Vadrok, Apex of Thunder.

Ominous Roost

Ominous Roost is good. The question is, is it good enough? You really need a commander with the ability to cast spells from the ‘yard to justify this card in your deck; Kess, Dissident Mage, Muldrotha, the Gravetide and Sevinne, the Chronoclasm come to mind. Do they want to get free 1/1 fliers that can’t block very well whenever they do the the thing they’re already doing? Maybe. Maybe not. Those decks are crowded already, after all. It might only be worth it if your deck’s win condition is combat-based. Worst thing, these might just be good Skullclamp fodder.

Secrets of the Key

Secrets of the Key doesn’t feel particularly playable when taken at face value. I’m not sure I want to pay three mana to draw one card, then pay another eight to draw two more. However, the things this spell can do cumulatively gets way more interesting. The Clues are artifacts, and in some decks, spending five mana to get three artifacts is really solid. Urza, Lord High Artificer and Galazeth Prismari decks don’t mind paying five mana for three mana rocks! Brudiclad, Telchor Engineer loves any and all tokens. Lonis, Cryptozoologist almost goes without saying, too, and frankly, this is kinda funny in Adrix and Nev, Twincasters. I’d love to see it set up a Rise and Shine, or pop off with an Academy Manufactor.

If Cranial Plating, Nettlecyst, or Tezzeret, Agent of Bolas-style damage-per-artifact effects are in any way a part of your win condition, this little spell probably does enough to warrant a slot.


Welcome to the Hunt!

That’s going to wrap up coverage of the blue cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hunt. If you’d like to share your thoughts on any of these newest additions to our EDH card pool, sound off in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Dana is one of the hosts of the EDHRECast and the CMDR Central podcast. He lives in Eau Claire, WI with his wife and son. He has been playing Magic so long he once traded away an Underground Sea for a Nightmare, and was so pleased with the deal he declined a trade-back the following week. He also smells like cotton candy and sunsets.