Innistrad: Crimson Vow Set Review – Colorless Cards and Lands

Jake FitzSimons • November 16, 2021

Blood Servitor by Jason A. Engle

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G’day, my name is Jake FitzSimons, and I’ll be reviewing the colorless cards from Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Lacking color identity, these cards are the easiest to slot into any of your existing decks, so they’re always worth going over. And don’t forget that lands are colorless as well! Let’s jump in.


Rares


Dollhouse of Horrors

This card is going to keep me up at night. Check out that unsettlingly modern kitchen and the hideous eye peeking through the window. The whole thing gives me the heebie-jeebies. But more important than the art is Dollhouse’s activated ability, a colorless analogue to the iconic Feldon of the Third Path. You might not get the creature back at the same size it started as, but, crucially with Dollhouse, you don’t lose the token at the end of your turn and it still has haste.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this style of artifact-based pseudo-reanimation; it sort of reminds me of Mimic Vat, but I’m inclined to think it’s the best. Despite a hefty investment of five mana, one mana a turn to turn dead creatures into Dollstructs is a competitive rate. This is perfect for any deck that makes a lot of Constructs – looking at you Urza, Lord High Artificer – or wants to double-dip on their biggest and best creatures.

Investigator’s Journal

The impostor is sus. That was the first thing that came to my mind when I saw this card. The second thing was how nice of an engine Investigator’s Journal can be in colors that struggle to draw. At only two mana, Investigator’s Journal is easy to play on curve, but a lot of the time you’re going to want to hold it back until it can come into play with a suitable amount of sus counters. Against token- or creature-heavy decks, you’re going to end up with more suspects than you’ll ever be able to churn through, but that’s a good thing.

Spending two mana a turn for an extra draw isn’t the best source of card advantage, but you could do an awful lot worse. If you’re digging for an answer and the two mana tap hasn’t found it, you can even sacrifice the whole thing for one last chance. Investigator’s Journal doesn’t have any natural synergy with Eloise, Nephalia Sleuth, but I’d consider it a mandatory inclusion for the flavor alone.


Uncommons


Boarded Window

If there’s one thing a pillow-fort needs, it’s well Boarded Windows. If you’re the sort of player who likes building an impenetrable wall of artifacts and enchantments that discourage your opponents from coming anywhere near you, Boarded Window might be your kind of card. By itself, Boarded Window is one of the weaker “don’t come near me” permanents, but more redundancy is always nice. Pair it with cards like Propaganda and Crawlspace, and you’re going to be awful hard to kill with combat damage. It turns out that sturdy planks of wood and some tough nails are all you need to make sure you never need to worry about 1/1 tokens ever again. Make your local Rhys the Redeemed or Yuriko, the Tiger’s Shadow player weep!

Foreboding Statue // Forsaken Thresher

A three-mana 1/2 that can tap for mana would normally fall well short of the bar, but thankfully Foreboding Statue // Forsaken Thresher has a decent backside that doesn’t take any extra work to enable. Before flipping, Foreboding is essentially a slow mana rock stapled to a creature, but once it turns into Forsaken Thresher, you’re working with a 5/5 that makes mana without needing to tap.

This strikes me as a good inclusion for decks that want medium-sized artifact creatures, and, just like Dollhouse of Horrors, decks that care about Constructs. With all the support Constructs have been getting recently, we can’t be too far away from a legendary creature that really cares about them, so Foreboding Statue might be something to keep an eye on.

Lantern of the Lost

Hate seeing your opponents have graveyards? Big fan of Relic of Progenitus? Well, Crimsown Vow has the card for you. It’s Relic, just slightly different. Instead of giving your opponents the choice of which card to exile from their bin, Lantern of the Lost puts the power in your hands, exiling a card of your choice.

This is much better as a precise response to a specific card, but it only triggers just once when it enters the battlefield, whereas Relic of Progenitus can be activated every turn. It’s up to you which you find more valuable. What really matters is the ability to sacrifice it and nuke every graveyard at once. If you’re already in the market for that kind of effect, Lantern is your friend.


Commons


Blood Servitor

Blood Servitor is my pick for the coolest art in the whole set. Just look at this thing. A bloody simulacrum pouring its own body into a pyramid of chalices? This thing embodies everything I love about Innistrad. Having said all that, it’s also completely unplayable. A 2/2 for three mana is already a sub-par rate, and receiving a single Blood token for your efforts is not much of a payoff. If you happen to be building around Blood tokens or you’re desperate for more Constructs, Blood Servitor might be worth looking at, but you’re going to get better mileage from just about any other card. Beautiful art, garbage card.

Ceremonial Knife

Ceremonial Knife isn’t too different to Blood Servitor. The effect is a little better, but the art – while serviceable – is nothing to write home about. Requiring a three-mana investment before you get any return and only offering a static +1/+0 buff, you really have to care about Blood tokens to warrant running this little piece of Equipment. It isn’t straight-up unplayable, but there’s not much going on here that you can’t get elsewhere. For the same amount of mana – less when you account for activating the Blood token – Mask of Memory provides genuine card advantage and won’t require additional resources every turn to get value.

Honored Heirloom

Three-mana rocks aren’t as popular as they used to be, but grave hate is always nice. If you’re struggling to find room for the latter but need to fight a grave deck in your local meta, Honored Heirloom might be worth considering as a budget option. It only hits a single card and you won’t be able to activate it for mana and hold up the exile effect on the same turn, but sometimes getting rid of a single card from the bin is all you need. Either way, I’d avoid this unless you’re absolutely desperate.

Wedding Invitation

Wedding Invitation is about as simple as a card can get, which is a little unusual for having a name that most people wouldn’t believe was real if you told them about it a few years ago. Cantripping on entry and expendable for a one-shot unblockable effect, this card replaces itself, but that’s about the nicest thing I can say about it.

If you want card draw on entry, get Eye of Vecna and you can get a little value every turn thereafter. If you want unblockability, pick a land like Rogue’s Passage or Shizo, Death’s Storehouse or an Equipment like Whispersilk Cloak or Prowler’s Helm. The lifelink clause for Vampires is cute, but given how many Vampires already have lifelink, it’s sort of inconsequential.


Lands

There isn’t all that much to get excited about with the artifacts from Crimson Vow, but thankfully the new lands are exceptional, even if we all saw them coming a mile off.


Rare Dual Lands

I don’t have much to say about these lands that Naomi Krause didn’t already cover in her set review for Midnight Hunt. But I would note how nice it is to get the second half of a land cycle one set after it was introduced. We’ve come a loooong way from the fastlands from Scars of Mirrodin. It was six years before we saw the enemy pairs in Kaladesh! Whichever way you cut it, the hunt lands are seriously good in Commander. Just about any keepable hand can play them untapped on turn three. What’s not to like?

Voldaren Estate

Voldaren Estate, as you’d expect with a name like that, is an absolute house for Vampire tribal decks. It’s utterly unplayable in anything that isn’t Vampires, but so it goes with tribal lands. Think of it as an even better Unclaimed Territory.

Not only do you have whatever color you need for your creatures, you’ve got colorless mana to pay for rocks and miscellaneous costs, AND you’ve got what will very quickly become a free source of Blood tokens. How useful those Blood tokens are going to be in Commander remains to be seen, but there’s no opportunity cost with a card like this, so if Vampires are your cup of Blood, I recommend picking up a copy as soon as you can.


Wrap Up

Unfortunately, the colorless offering in Crimson Vow is a pretty mild one for Commander. There’s just not a lot to get excited about unless you’re hankering for incidental gravehate or you’re a mad Vampire fan. But I wouldn’t call it outright disappointing because I didn’t expect Innistrad to be littered with strong artifacts in the first place. The lands are easily the best of them, and I’m looking forward to throwing them in a lot of my decks.

Here’s hoping the return to Kamigawa has better artifacts! For now, thanks for reading, stay spooky, and if you want to hear more from me, check out my Revising the Rules series.



Jake FitzSimons is a writer from Sydney and a certified Magic tragic. He’s a Johnny, a Vorthos, and a Spike, in roughly that order of importance. When he isn’t chewing his mates’ ears off about the latest deck he’s brewing, he can be found juggling, practicing piano, or doting on his cat.