The 600 - A Review of Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow Commanders

(Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver | Art by Chris Rallis)

Midnight Vow, Crimson Hunt

We've got Werewolves, we've got Vampires, but it's not Universes Beyond: Twilight. It's a look back at Innistrad!

Way back in '21, I predicted how popular the commanders from Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow would become. With the line at 600, I gave "Over" to those I thought would lead more than 600 decks, and "Under" to the rest. You can read those articles in the links above, or you can keep reading here; I'll be referencing them throughout. Since there were so many commanders from these sets, I'll just mention the most interesting ones here.

Ready? Let's get started.

The Easy Overs

Let me start by ghosting you.

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 3887

Funnily enough, I didn't get this ghost quite as right as it looks. Here was my overriding rationale for going Over, according to last year's article:

"I believe Spirits will receive a fair bit of support in our upcoming set, Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. This tribe was a huge part of the original block, after all, so I expect the same to be true here."

There were indeed lots of Spirits in Neon Dynasty, though that ended up being flavor text. Fortunately, my pick was saved thanks to previously printed Spirit synergies, like Drogskol Captain and the like. There are more than you'd think!

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 3538

After admitting I'm a "sucker for seemingly innocuous Clerics that flip into looming monsters," I gushed about this guy for several paragraphs. At least it was warranted gushing, as evidenced by Runo's performance. There's no shortage of powerful sea monsters in the game, and they'll keep printing them 'til the presses run dry. The only awkward thing is that they're all blue, making Runo's black half relatively superfluous. Recursion spells, I guess?

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 9343

We had six new Dimir commanders between these two sets, and all but one went way Over (RIP, Ludevic). Wilhelt was the Over-est of them all, ranking 5th highest amongst all commanders as I write this. Between Zombie synergies, sacrifice synergies, and sheer card advantage, it's easy to see why. However, I'll let you in on a secret, dear reader: when I first read this card, I leaned toward Under. We have a lot of Zombie commanders, after all.

Luckily, after consulting the EDH community, I soon came to my senses. Imagine if I'd given a hyper popular commander an Under, right? Now that would be embarrassing.

(Keep reading and I'll do just that.)

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 2966

We close this section with a bit of a surprise. Lynde did well, but I thought she'd do better!

Her average deck composition is predictable: Curses, Curses, and more Curses. There's a surprising surplus of such cards (probably because we've had so many Innistrad sets), which is why I thought Lynde would earn more Wilhelt-like numbers. Does this mean EDH players are burnt out on Curses? Hmm....

The Easy Unders

And the Razzie for Worst Leading Actor goes to...

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 42

Nope, we're not missing a digit here. Only 42 brave (or misguided?) players sleeved up Kurbis decks. This no doubt prompted questions from their playgroup, such as, "Did you lose a bet?"

Last year, I noted that Kurbis's "damage prevention clause is too narrow to make much impact," and it seems that was spot on. Looks like there will be no harvest celebration.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 128

Despite being a mythic double-sided Vampire, Henrika here didn't fare much better than Kurbis. Here's my explanation from last year:

"So is Demon blood kind of like an Irish Car Bomb for Vampires? If so, Henrika's having a great time at this wedding."

Lol, that's pretty good.

Oh, you were looking for real analysis? My bad, here you go.

"The Demonic Pact-style choose-one-that-hasn't-been-chosen text is neat, especially since it allows immediate transformation. However, the flip side reveals only a glorified Vampire Nighthawk, which just barely cracks EDHREC's top 100 black cards."

That's a lot of hyphens, but the bottom line is, this makes me sad. I remember the days when I'd kill to have a card like Vampire Nighthawk in my command zone. Now, it's relegated to the third round of invites at the wedding. So sad.

We'll touch on one more...

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 298

I mention this because it actually performed better than I expected. Here were my thoughts:

"'Hexproof tribal' seems unlikely to inspire many deckbuilders, and 'deathtouch tribal' in mono-green is already taken by Fynn, the Fangbearer."

I missed an important detail here: Fynn rewards creatures with deathtouch, while Saryth gives deathtouch to creatures who probably shouldn't have it (Scattershot Archer and Endbringer, for example). Didn't cost me a pick, but it came closer than I would've liked.

The Woeful Overs

Enough positivity. Let's see where I screwed up!

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 449

I'm still surprised my guy Gerry here didn't perform better. Last year I wrote:

"This is probably my favorite version of Gerry so far. Stitcher Geralf is too mana-intensive, and Gisa and Geralf gets outclassed by better options, yet Geralf, Visionary Stitcher delivers an effect that's both unique and powerful."

Which is why I'm perplexed. There's plenty of support, what with all the big-butted Walls in mono-blue. I mean, when the DJ plays "Wobble" at Olivia and Edgar's wedding, you know Gerry and his 99 will hit the dance floor. Yet still, this appears to be more of a niche strategy than I anticipated.

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 377

Here's how I thought things would play out:

"Let's be honest, we're all hoping to flip Jerren into Ormendahl. Cards like Blood Celebrant, Wall of Blood, and Toxic Deluge make that trivially easy (if a bit risky). Once flipped, that zero-mana sac-to-draw effect is nasty, especially on a 6/6 lifelinking flampler."

Yet the first time I played with Jerren, I knew I'd made a horrible mistake. A single pinger sitting on the board, for instance, derails your entire plan. Furthermore, two of the three cards I mentioned in my analysis are objectively horrendous. I went to Jerren, and I wish I hadn't.

My prediction: Over

Final deck count: 250

We end on a two-for-one that somehow provides little value. My thoughts from last year:

"Goad is always popular to EDH. Take Marisi, Breaker of the Coil as an example—he's thriving with 1,582 decks. Throw Partner into the mix and I see no reason why this pair won't become a beloved celebrity couple (I nominate "Kambine" as their tabloid name)."

Focus, people. Let's not get distracted by celebrity gossip.

The problem here is an overabundance of goadingI think. We already saw it in these colors with Karazikar, the Eye Tyrant, for example, and though that one went Over, it just barely cleared the hurdle. I suspect Kambine's popularity was usurped by better options (like the return of Bennifer).

The Embarrassing Unders

Plenty to discuss here. Let's start with my worst pick of the set.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 2972

In my defense, I had good reasons for going Under.

"Five mana is steep for a commander that does next to nothing on its own, and there are three other Selesnya Human tribal commanders to contend with in this set."

Problem is, all four went Over. Seems I need to recalibrate for the EDH community's appetite toward overlapping themes, since it seems to be more bottomless than mine whenever I visit Taco Bell. So it goes, I suppose.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 2432

Though the numbers on this one aren't quite as impressive as Kyler's, it makes me feel worse. Am I out of touch? Here are last year's thoughts:

"Cute, but we get so many Izzet spellslinger commanders every year. If day/night is the only wrinkle, I'm just not seeing popularity in the stars."

I feel like I've said this before, yet the spellslingers still perform. Plus, I was focusing on the wrong aspect of the card; players seem far more enamored with Vadrik's cost-reduction clause than the day/night thing. Using cards like Haze of Rage and Seething Anger to temporarily boost his power is nice, especially when you can rebuy them and cast again. I guess he is a star after all.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 1637

History led me astray with this one. Here's what I mean:

"[Adeline is] good, but is she good enough to surpass 600? Since I started this series in 2018, only one mono-white commander has ever done so: Heliod, Sun-Crowned in Theros Beyond Death. I'm going to side with history on this one."

Make that two. Adeline doesn't do anything fancy, but her raw power is off the charts, and in some cases, off the playmat. When you combine her with token payoffs, like Mondrak, Glory Dominus, Myrel, Shield of Argive, and Visions of Glory, you'll run out of table space quickly. Hopefully your opponents just scoop at that point rather than make you do the math.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 1528

I was really leaning into the wedding aesthetic last year, as evidenced by this passage:

"Getting a free token with every creature is decent, and Training being the inverse of Mentor is cute, but are you really going to stay in touch with this guy after the wedding? My guess is no."

Guess again, punk. Torens is super popular!

Weirdly, most lists are almost identical to Adeline's, only with green mixed in. Lots of Human synergies from white, with +1/+1 stuff from green. It isn't the sort of deck I'd enjoy, but maybe that's why I never got an invite to this wedding.

We'll close with a commander I'm baffled by.

My prediction: Under

Final deck count: 630

In last year's article, I identified what I thought was a good comp for this commander:

"Stalwart he may be, but Rem here has the same problem that Tajic, Legion's Edge has: he doesn't protect himself. Tajic went Under by 486 decks, and I see no reason for Rem to fare any better."

Maybe it's EDH inflation, or maybe it's the plethora of new toys available these days, including Radiant Scrollwielder, Torbran, Thane of Red Fell, and Toralf, God of Fury. Whatever the reason, Rem Karolus tripled Tajic's performance, despite being strikingly similar. My personal theory: players just love his hat.


Correct Picks (33)

Incorrect Picks (14)

My Midnight Hunt/Crimson Vow Correct Prediction Percentage: 70%

My Overall Correct Prediction Percentage: 74%

I've been fairly consistent of late, with my last four reviews hitting the 70th percentile. Next up is a set I'm very fond of: Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty. Here's hoping I picked well!

Kyle A. Massa is a writer and avid Magic player living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their daughter, and three wild animals. His current favorite card is Ghired, Mirror of the Wilds. Kyle can be found on Twitter @mindofkyleam.

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