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It's that time of the year again when some of the sets currently in the Standard format in Magic: The Gathering (MTG) are finally due for a rotation out (and for the better, if you have been reading all the salt online).
With the release of the new Standard set Innistrad: Midnight Hunt (tabletop) on 24 September, previous sets Throne of Eldraine, Theros: Beyond Death, Core Set 2021 and Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths will finally rotate out of the Standard format, meaning Standard players can finally say goodbye to salt-inducing cards like Bonecrusher Giant and hello to an old friend, Flashback.
With the rotation, players will now get to return to the plane of Innistrad, which first made its debut 10 years ago in September 2011.
Heavily inspired by gothic horror, Innistrad features tales of humans going against all odds to survive in a world full of werewolves, vampires, ghosts, and zombies.
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will feature 19 new werewolf double-faced cards (DFC, also, hope you have your black card sleeves handy), along with the new keywords Daybound and Nightbound.
A game will start off without a day or night designation, but most games will experience day first as soon as a permanent with Daybound appears on the battlefield. The game will then turn to night as soon as certain criteria are met, going back and forth until the game ends.
Daybound and Nightbound are static abilities, which will affect how the new DFCs will enter the battlefield or transform according to the current day/night designation.
When it is day, each DFC with Daybound and Nightbound will enter the battlefield with its Daybound face up. When it is night, the DFC will enter with its Nightbound face up. Each DFC already on the battlefield will transform to its Daybound faces when it turns to day and Nightbound faces when it turns to night.
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will also introduce a new graveyard mechanism for transforming DFCs with its new keyword Disturb. Cards with the the new keyword Disturb can now be casted from the graveyard with their disturb cost, and they will enter the battlefield transformed.
Cards with Disturb will not transform on the battlefield unless they are cast from the graveyard (or under some unique circumstances), and they add a new element to playing transforming cards.
Besides Disturb, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will also introduce the new keyword Coven. Coven is an ability that can be triggered or activated when a player controls three or more creatures with different powers.
The conditions to meet for Coven are not exactly the easiest to fulfil, but some of the cards with Coven balance that with abilities that can potentially accelerate the state of the game.
The last new mechanic introduced is the keyword Decayed. Creatures with Decayed are unable to block, and when they attack, they will be sacrificed at the end of combat.
For some nostalgia, the keyword Flashback is now finally back in Standard.
Flashback has not been in the Standard format since the release of Innistrad in 2011, and Standard players can now look to cast Instants as well as Sorceries from the graveyard again.
Following the footsteps of previously released Magic products, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will once again feature new card variants (okay, Wizards, stahp — this is honestly getting too much).
Midnight Hunt will feature black and white Eternal Night Legends and Lands cards, as well as Halloween, folk horror inspired Equinox cards just in time for the upcoming Halloween festivities.
The design of the variants are heavily influenced by gothic aesthetics, and will probably be sought after by die-hard fans of Magic: The Gathering who want to collect all the different variants of cards out there.
This writer is not sold at the moment given the amount of products Magic: The Gathering has released recently but hey, it does not hurt to have more variety (Editor's note: We demand more Dog lands).
Innistrad: Midnight Hunt will be available in Draft Boosters, Set Boosters and Collector Boosters, including the Midnight Hunt Bundle and two Commander decks.
Hopefully, with some parts of the world slowly opening up from the pandemic crisis, tabletop Standard might just become a (regular) thing again.