The nights lengthen in Magic: The Gathering. With the following card game, called Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, the general mood turns towards the dark. The set gets underway on Thursday in Magic: The Gathering Arena. Pit powerful creatures like werewolves, zombies, and ghosts against a thin line of human defenders. Compared to Wizards of the Coast’s recent playful crossover with Dungeons & Dragons, the setting is decidedly bleaker. We spoke with Meris Mullaley, World Building and Narrative Design Manager, and Product Architect Mike Turian, to learn more. They also brought in some exclusive new cards to share with Polygon readers.
Making a new set of Magic Cards is a complex endeavor that takes place years before launch. Of course, there are mechanical concerns that involve making sure new cards are compatible with old ones. But designers must also be aware of the ongoing meta game so that it remains rich and engaging for dedicated gamers.
Also, you need to change things up a bit from time to time.
“It’s like a coordinated dance between the creative and game design teams,” Mullaley said. “It is possible that we are facing a really fun and happy scenario. Okay, now we have something that is darker and a little creepier. Because all year round, creatively, you want something that everyone can get excited about. “
Midnight hunt it’s not just him Magic team’s annual emo phase. It comes after Adventures in the forgotten realms because those letters that preceded it are also intended to complement it. The same is true for all legal cards in Standard, a subset of the entire Magic franchise that turns around with the release of this next set.
“Creature types are something that has both a creative and a mechanical bow,” Turian said. And so a set with lots of humans and other monsters goes well with Midnight hunt, which will be packed with werewolves and other gothic horrors. But Standard is also rotating. With the launch of Midnight hunt, much of what we are doing is trying to look back, not directly at [a set like] Forgotten kingdoms, but looking at what the environment is leaving. What are some of these center staples that need to be replaced? “
One of those staples – dual lands, which Wizards is replenishing with the newly christened lastlands revealed on September 2. But there are many more reinforcements where those came from.
Cathartic Pyre is a new card, but it has nothing to do with catharsis. A Cathar is a priest in the world of Innistrad, and this art represents a traditional death ritual in the realm. Mechanically, the card fulfills an important function in the game.
“Doing 3 damage to a creature or planeswalker for 2 mana is a very simple effect,” Turian said. “Especially in limited ones, I see this as a very popular card.”
Anything that adds more cards to the graveyard will pay dividends for players who have invested in certain strategies, he said. For instance, Strixhaven: Wizard School‘Lorehold College used the graveyard extensively to bring powerful new creatures to the battlefield. The card should also provide fans of Magic: The Gathering Arena the kind of flexibility they need to stay agile. The new digital version of Magic It’s often played as a best-of-one match between two players, so Cathartic Pyre can do double duty in those decks.
The theme of Memory Deluge is even more sinister, as it shows a woman forced to destroy a tragically young vampire. But here again, mechanically, the card fulfills several important roles.
Turian notes that players who prefer blue mana are always looking for other cards that allow them to draw additional cards from their hand. They also seek to search their deck, and this card allows for both.
As a bonus, this card can also be cast from the graveyard. Once used, its ability to look at seven different cards makes it a potential gateway for a late game finisher. All the blue players have to do is find one in the deck and then play it when the time is right.
“I think it can be a good combination,” Turian said.
Meanwhile, The Meathook Massacre fulfills a basic space that black decks need to stay viable. But it is much more accurate than similar cards, dealing damage to all creatures on the table.
“Everything that is dying is giving you a reward,” Turian said. “One of the great things about this is that not only are you filling that space with a basic element, but if you are actually playing a larger endurance creature, a lot of [similar cards] end it all. Where here, you can have more control over what dies. “
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt arrives by Magic: The Gathering Arena and Online magic September 16. Pre-release week begins September 17, with a full physical release on September 24. Set includes Draft, Set, Collector and Theme Booster card packs, a suitable starter pack, and two Commander decks – Undead Unleashed and Coven counters. Pre-orders are available now through your friendly local game store and online.
Correction (September 10): This article has been updated to indicate precisely what Magic: The Gathering Sets will be legal in Standard after September 24.