Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Set Review – Blue

MD Alvis • September 14, 2021

Spectral Adversary by Uriah Voth

Deep Blue

Welcome to the Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Blue Review! Today we are going to take a look at some of the new additions to our favorite format in what might be the best color in Magic. Fine…that might be a hot take, but hopefully these lukewarm-to-warm takes will help you get a balanced handle on all the best blue cards coming to a pod near you! Let’s get into it! 

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Evaluating a card like Lier, Disciple of the Drowned is…complicated. The early takes on the internet likened this to a bigger and better Snapcaster Mage, which is fair enough at first glance. I don’t know if I buy that, though.

Snapcaster Mage serves a very particular purpose in most formats – by attaching a flash body to the powerful effect of flashing back a timely Mana Leak or even a removal spell like Lightning Bolt or Fatal Push, you could really pick apart your opponent’s game plan and leave a body on the table to finish the game, if not just burn them out. Bolt-Snap-Bolt is real…or at least it was in the boomer days in the before times.

In EDH, this little wizard sees play in a lot of higher-powered lists to serve a similar function – protect your game plan or disrupt theirs. 

Comparing Lier, Disciple of the Drowned to Ol’ Snappy is not where I would go first. While giving all of your instants and sorceries flashback feels very similar and is incredibly powerful (like, this could be compared to a better Dralnu, Lich Lord more accurately), this commander pushes the spellslinger archetype into a different direction – non-reliance on counter magic. While Lier definitely protects your spells by doing one heck of a Boseiju, Who Shelters All impression, he also prevents you from interacting with opposing spells on the stack. This, in my mind, eliminates one of the primary ways for mono-blue to interact and, honestly, one of the primary draws to the color in commander.

That said, Lier, Disciple of the Drowned might be one of the better (or best) High Tide commanders of all time. Having a way to double-up your ritual is going to be game ending a large amount of the time, and then effectively protecting your Palinchron combo will do a lot of work. 

I don’t want to underrate this card necessarily, but I don’t really see it making waves as a lead singer. I could see this more as a role-player in the 99, allowing you to finish off opponents on the turn you plan to go off without fear of interaction. This would also potentially open up more colors to maximize interesting options in the graveyard.

Poppet Stitcher // Poppet Factory

Monastery Mentor only finds itself in 5164 decks on EDHREC as of the writing of this article, or roughly 2% of all possible decks. However, data can be deceiving. In decks that care about it, like Shu Yun, the Client Tempest and Kykar, Wind’s Fury it is included at a much higher rate (37% and 22%, respectively). Why talk about it?

Poppet Stitcher is Monastery Mentor. 

The zombie tokens with decay are significantly worse than a 1/1 with prowess, especially when you are behind. Flipping into the Factory really does a great prowess impression on the offensive and can transform all of your tokens (not just zombies) into sizable blockers and offset the real downside the decayed presents.

The play patterns with this card really require you to have either a sizable board already or have a full grip, but the decks that want Monastery Mentor will probably want Poppet Stitcher as well. That the transform clause triggers in your upkeep could be a problem, but the upside is still very high. Cards on the table: I’m slamming this in my Kykar, Wind’s Fury token deck, and I don’t care if it’s good. 

Spectral Adversary

I mention Spectral Adversary because it is a blue mythic in the set, but this card is primarily a 60-card constructed plant. The ability is mana-intensive, but having flash means this could save you in combat, save some of your board from a Merciless Eviction, or open up an opponent for a lethal swing. This paragraph is short, and that’s on purpose: this card is going feel great in formats like Standard and Historic and feel okay-to-fine in Commander, and it slots in as a nice utility effect in Spirit-tribal decks. 

Curse of Surveillance

If Hypothetical Opponent #1 has three curses attached. That means that you and Hypothetical Opponent #2 and Hypothetical Opponent #3 each draw three cards. Sounds good, right? However…you are spending a card for the effect and you are only drawing three cards compared to the six cards drawn by the other two opponents. So, on balance you are receiving 1/3 of the collective card advantage. This reminds me a lot of Psychic Possession, but giving the table consistent card-draw is a tough pill to swallow.

This is also no Rhystic Study or Phyrexian Arena – the upside of drawing cards is high, especially multiple cards during that player’s upkeep, but fueling up other players’ hands mitigates the upside significantly. 

Mathematically, I’m pretty low on Curse of Surveillance. Fun-amatically, I am really high on it: the art is super gross, the flavor text is on point, and I think this will feel like a curse to the person it’s attached to. I’m looking forward to attaching this to that one person who feels the incessant need to draw more cards than me. 

Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist

The dude on the front side really has “old mans shouts at sky” vibes and the ghost on the back has such a kind smile. And, either way, he’s ruining your day and not mine. Be still my beating heart.

As a control/tempo player at heart, I love the idea of having a rattle snake-style Voidmage Prodigy on board along with a way to protect my plan from interaction on the stack with the back side. Both sides of Malevolent Hermit feel about right cost-wise, and the decks that want this will really want it. This could see a fair amount of play at higher power levels and is definitely a consideration for decks like Mizzix of the Izmagnus or various Ad Nauseam-reliant strategies.

Memory Deluge

As EDHREC writer Andrew Cummings said to me, “Bad Dig Through Time is still good.” While this isn’t exactly Dig Through Time, it’s very good and beats out other analogous cards like Drawn from Dreams because of the instant-speed option. I am a sucker for cards that give you value from the graveyard, and flashback gives this card an amazing amount of versatility as a late-game mana-sink. Finding only 2 out of 4 cards on the first go doesn’t feel great, but the combination seems like it will be a cool fit if mana efficiency isn’t your primary concern. All that said…

Sludge Monster

This card is evocative but not all that powerful. The fact that the ability “Non-Horror creatures with slime counters on them lose all abilities and have base power and toughness 2/2” is attached to the Sludge Monster and not the tokens makes this feel pretty weak. That this isn’t an Ooze as well feels like a miss, but I can still see playing this for the ability to re-create the feeling of the 1958 classic horror film The Blob. 

Suspicious Stowaway // Seafaring Werewolf

“Can’t be blocked” is a powerful line of text. Invisible Stalker this is not, but that it loots on the front side and straight-up draws a card on the back pushes this to a powerful place for me. I like this in the same way that I like Ghostly Pilferer or, to a lesser extent, Looter il-Kor, but the overall color identity will limit where this can see play. Super sweet design, and I am excited to jam this in a deck as soon as I get a copy. 

Triskaidekaphile

A lot has already been said about Triskaidekaphile by a lot of the community, and it seems like the general consensus is that this card is fine. I am not a huge fan of cards that read “win the game” as part of the text because, in general, they can make the game experience a little linear for my taste. 

The win the game clause seems really narrow, but I am not sure how hard it is to have 13 cards in hand. As someone who has played a lot of Blue Sun’s Zenith and Stoke of Genius, I can attest that there are a lot of times when having a specific number of cards in hand is trivial. However, the card seems sweet and playgroups are self-correcting, so I would imagine if this becomes a problem it will fall to the wayside. Until then, I expect to be janked-out by this Laboratory Maniac wanna-be. 

Firmament Sage

Ah, Day and Night – all the complicated text with a lot of tracking. I’m not 100% on this, but I think this mechanic will actually feel fine most of the time, but anytime we track something additional in paper the more likely we are to lose track. That said, drawing a card for free is great. At four mana there is a lot of competition in cards like Archmage Emeritus, but this archetype-agnostic and, therefore, much more flexible. My best guess is that this card will fly under the radar until it’s one of those weird, expensive uncommons.

Ominous Roost

If Standard has shown us anything over the last few months, it’s that a few bird tokens can go the distance. In a deck with a lot of flashback or jump-start, you should be able to make a good number of birds, even if their limited ability to block does really present a weighty downside. I love this in Sevinne, the Chronoclasm and in combination with effects like Thalia’s Geistcaller to help make as many tokens as possible. 

Phantom Carriage

Anytime a card is printed that has the ability to tutor for a wide range of effects, it is worth giving a look. Phantom Carriage lets you grab everything from Devil’s Play to finish a game, Unburial Rites to bring back a bomb, or Memory Deluge to dig deep for an answer that you couldn’t search for. While niche, this card seems like a cool, although expensive, toolbox enabler. 

Consider

As the kids might say, this card “slaps”. Consider seems at first to sit in the pack with cards like Opt as a middling instant-speed cantrip. However, the upside of surveil compared to scry was notable because (and this is obvious) we interact with our graveyards and not the bottom of our libraries. Given the sheer number of playable cards with flashback in the history of Magic, Consider will often be a 2-for-1. 

In decks that care to run a card like Opt or Serum Visions, this is going to feel better most of the time. However, a deck that wants one of these effects will want multiples, so I can see it running alongside the usual suspects. 

Fading Hope

Unsummon is in roughly 1% of possible decks on EDHREC, and that makes a lot of sense. The card is narrow, and for my money we can do better, even if we spend some extra mana. This is, quite literally, strictly better than Unsummon, so it should give us pause to evaluate.

In the right decks and right metagames, I like this as a tempo removal spell/protection spell split card, and while the effect is minimal the cost is really low. In general, you will likely be scrying with this quite often so it should feel alright. Still no Chain of Vapor, but it’ll do a good impression in a pinch. 

Flip the Switch

This is a holdover from my 60-card Spike days, but I am a sucker for tempo decks. Spellstutter Sprite this is not, but it is closer than we might first imagine. 

Spellstutter Sprite

Baral, Chief of Compliance

The old adage is “disruption + a clock”, and Flip the Switch is literally both. Decayed is hard to assess, but 2/2’s can do some work. If they could block I would be more interested, but cards like this are always worth watching, especially with a tribe as established as zombies. In addition, decks that care of about tokens and Counterspell effects like Baral, Chief of Compliance and Talrand, Sky Summoner might like this pick-up. 

Wrapping Up

That just about does it for our review of the blue cards coming in Midnight Hunt. Overall, I think we see a lot of excellent role-players that give us multiple versions of effects we didn’t have before. In my estimation, the best new card is either Lier, Disciple of the Drowned or Memory Deluge, but there are some other contenders that seem really strong.

What do you think? Did we miss any sleepers in the set? Do you have thoughts about any of the cards we talked about today? Will any of these cards be slotting into your decks? Let us know in the comments so we can hear what you think about Midnight Hunt! 



MD might Force of Will your Cultivate because he's been hurt before. Spike at heart. When he isn't trying to jank out the table with Garruk Relentless and Clever Impersonator, you can find him hanging with his family, playing games with friends, or working as a coach and spiritual director in SW Missouri.