Set Prospective

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt

October 3rd, 2021 — Parker LaMascus

This article is part of our community-sourced Set Prospective series. We survey Cube designers before the set’s official release to document their first impressions of new cards.

Magic’s latest expansion, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, is a fresh take on the Gothic horror plane that is one of the most popular in Magic’s history. We collected surveys from over 330 cubes from 299 designers, smashing our previous records for survey engagement. We have results from 284 designers with cubes not restricted by rarity (Unrestricted), 35 designers with Peasant cubes, and 13 designers with Pauper cubes. These designers offer a diverse cross-section of Cube designers, as varied as an 3mv-or-less cube, a “strictly worse” cube, and many other backgrounds and goals. See where these respondents fall on the Cube Map.


Unrestricted cube designers are testing a median of 13 cards from this set, making MID the second-most tested set in the history of our survey, after only Modern Horizons 2 and tied with Zendikar Rising. The average respondent gave 4 cards a rating of 7.75 or higher (strong likelihood to stay long-term), on a similar standing with Zendikar Rising. The maximum number of cards tested by any respondent is a monumental 131 (may Rhonas give them the fortitude to test them all…).

Filter by rarity:
Card TestersRank 
Infernal Grasp62.6%8.5
Cathar Commando58.4%7.2
Fateful Absence58.4%7.7
Falkenrath Pit Fighter56.2%8.1
Bloodthirsty Adversary52.0%6.9
Intrepid Adversary48.0%7.0
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar38.6%7.0
Suspicious Stowaway // Seafaring Werewolf37.4%7.6
Cathartic Pyre36.5%6.4
The Meathook Massacre32.5%6.5
Augur of Autumn32.2%6.1
Jadar, Ghoulcaller of Nephalia30.7%5.7
Play with Fire30.4%7.0
Primal Adversary29.5%6.4
Memory Deluge26.7%5.9
Tovolar's Huntmaster // Tovolar's Packleader23.4%6.3
Spectral Adversary21.9%5.7
Brutal Cathar // Moonrage Brute20.7%6.3
Poppet Stitcher // Poppet Factory19.5%5.8
Outland Liberator // Frenzied Trapbreaker19.1%6.2
Briarbridge Tracker17.3%5.3
Tainted Adversary16.7%5.9
Deathbonnet Sprout // Deathbonnet Hulk15.5%5.6
Sungold Sentinel14.9%5.1
Arlinn, the Pack's Hope // Arlinn, the Moon's Fury13.7%6.2
Light Up the Night13.1%5.7
Reckless Stormseeker // Storm-Charged Slasher12.5%6.1
Malevolent Hermit // Benevolent Geist11.9%4.9
Fading Hope11.2%5.5
Moonveil Regent10.9%5.5
Wrenn and Seven10.9%5.9
Search Party Captain10.3%6.4
Champion of the Perished10.0%5.9
Flame Channeler // Embodiment of Flame9.1%5.3
Smoldering Egg // Ashmouth Dragon8.8%5.0
Borrowed Time8.8%6.4
Morbid Opportunist8.8%7.2
Diregraf Rebirth8.5%5.2
Faithful Mending8.2%5.1
Lier, Disciple of the Drowned8.2%5.6
Gisa, Glorious Resurrector7.9%6.1
Eaten Alive7.6%5.4
Sunset Revelry7.6%5.5
Chaplain of Alms // Chapel Shieldgeist7.3%4.6
Burn Down the House7.3%5.7
Vanquish the Horde7.0%5.8
Ambitious Farmhand // Seasoned Cathar7.0%5.2
Sacred Fire6.7%5.7
Foul Play6.4%4.9
Raze the Effigy5.8%4.6
Rite of Oblivion5.8%5.6
Slogurk, the Overslime5.8%5.7
Join the Dance5.5%5.5
Dryad's Revival5.5%5.5
Ghoulish Procession5.5%5.0
Dennick, Pious Apprentice // Dennick, Pious Apparition5.5%4.9
Ardent Elementalist5.5%6.4
Jerren, Corrupted Bishop // Ormendahl, the Corrupter5.2%5.4
Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom5.2%5.1
Liesa, Forgotten Archangel5.2%5.6
Siphon Insight5.2%6.4
Rem Karolus, Stalwart Slayer4.9%6.2
Florian, Voldaren Scion4.9%6.1
Organ Hoarder4.6%6.3
Graveyard Trespasser // Graveyard Glutton4.6%4.2
Saryth, the Viper's Fang4.6%5.3
Sigardian Savior4.6%5.0
Famished Foragers4.6%4.8
Consuming Blob4.3%6.4
Angelfire Ignition4.3%5.5
Ecstatic Awakener // Awoken Demon4.3%6.3
Sigarda, Champion of Light4.0%5.1
Katilda, Dawnhart Prime4.0%5.2
Old Stickfingers4.0%5.2
Shipwreck Marsh4.0%6.6
Rockfall Vale4.0%6.6
Deserted Beach4.0%6.6
Gavony Dawnguard4.0%6.1
Bloodline Culling4.0%5.1
Secrets of the Key4.0%5.6
Storm the Festival3.6%5.3
Slaughter Specialist3.6%4.8
Contortionist Troupe3.6%6.3
Eccentric Farmer3.6%3.9
Overgrown Farmland3.6%6.6
Haunted Ridge3.6%6.7
Otherworldly Gaze3.3%3.5
Loyal Gryff3.3%5.2
Bereaved Survivor // Dauntless Avenger3.3%4.0
Lunar Frenzy3.3%5.5
Homestead Courage3.3%3.9
Sludge Monster3.3%5.7
Tovolar, Dire Overlord // Tovolar, the Midnight Scourge3.0%5.9
Shadowbeast Sighting3.0%5.6
Hostile Hostel // Creeping Inn3.0%4.5
Croaking Counterpart3.0%5.6
Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset2.7%5.6
Can't Stay Away2.7%4.3
Hound Tamer // Untamed Pup2.7%4.9
Seize the Storm2.7%5.2
Overwhelmed Archivist // Archive Haunt2.7%4.6
Diregraf Horde2.7%3.7
Electric Revelation2.7%3.6
Delver of Secrets // Insectile Aberration2.7%7.4
Mask of Griselbrand2.7%4.4
Hallowed Respite2.4%6.1
Willow Geist2.4%5.7
Ghoulcaller's Harvest2.4%6.1
Locked in the Cemetery2.4%5.2
Novice Occultist2.4%4.5
Vengeful Strangler // Strangling Grasp2.1%4.3
Path to the Festival2.1%4.8
Winterthorn Blessing2.1%5.2
Festival Crasher2.1%7.0
Kessig Naturalist // Lord of the Ulvenwald2.1%4.4
Heirloom Mirror // Inherited Fiend2.1%4.6
Cards being tested by fewer than 7 respondents not shown.

Single Card Discussion

“I have a response…”

Infernal Grasp
Fateful Absence
Cathartic Pyre
Play with Fire

New cards which marginally improve on well-understood effects consistently perform well in Lucky Paper’s surveys, and the cantrips and removal of Midnight Hunt are no exception.

“Easy-to-evaluate upgrades to staple effects.”

Consider is the most-tested and highest-rated card in the set, with 70% of respondents testing the cantrip at an average rating of 8.2 (likely to have a home in the respondent’s cube for many years to come). Though this is less popular than this survey’s historical bests, Consider is nonetheless extremely popular among a broad subset of cube designers.

Many other highly-rated cards are all forms of single-target removal, from a strictly better Shock to a trio of flexible 2-mv kill spells.

Double-Faced Woes

Suspicious Stowaway // Seafaring Werewolf
Arlinn, the Pack's Hope // Arlinn, the Moon's Fury
Tovolar's Huntmaster // Tovolar's Packleader

Werewolves and other Transforming Double-faced Cards (TDFCs) make a return in MID. The most-tested DFC is Suspicious Stowaway with 37% of respondents including it, but the next-most-tested is Tovolar's Huntmaster // Tovolar's Packleader with only 23%. This steep drop-off in popularity of one of the set’s marquee mechanics speaks to two things: the popularity of Looter il-Kor effects in Blue, and a marked aesthetic dislike for double-faced cards (DFCs) among entrenched Cube curators.

“Since this is Innistrad, I can forgive the DFCs, but I am really burnt out on 2-sided cards.”

Of those cube curators who left comments in our survey, about half expressed some discontent or preference away from DFCs, regardless of the actual design of the card. I suspect this broad suspicion towards DFCs suppresses the ratings for this subset of our cards.


Cathar Commando
Intrepid Adversary
Falkenrath Pit Fighter
Adeline, Resplendent Cathar
Bloodthirsty Adversary

The Boros color pair had quite the productive Hunting season. Interspersed with the removal above, the most highly tested cards in the set all neatly fit into the popular Cube archetypes of mono-colored aggressive decks.

“Cards like this help archetypes like white weenie go from a necessary but unloved evil to an interesting archetype in its own right by allowing for counterplay...”
— Qualia, survey respondent

It might come as a surprise that Cube curators are so excited for effects that are already plentiful in Magic’s card pool. One perceived flaw of historical aggressive threats like Jackal Pup and Savannah Lions is that their rules text (or lack thereof) only cares about one thing: winning the game as quickly as possible. Moreover, even relevant abilities are rarely activated, since the whole purpose of an aggro deck is to end games using the bare minimum of resources.

With that context in mind, Cube curators are likely testing these Midnight Hunt cards at high rates because they offer combat-relevant stats, and novel lines of rules text that can be desirable for slower, more synergistic decks.

Cathar Commando is a perfect example of this appeal. Flash combined with a sizeable 3/1 statline is nothing too special, but the Disenchant mode allows for additional counterplay and opportunities for synergistic interactions. Combined with its popularity among rarity-restricted designers, the Commando garnered an impressive average rating of 6.85 and a 58% test rate across all respondents.

Peasant and Pauper Cubes

Ardent Elementalist
Morbid Opportunist
Search Party Captain

The Peasant and Pauper respondents for this survey made their voices known in a big way. Many of their favorite effects (including Play with Fire, Infernal Grasp, and Cathar Commando) rocketed into the winner’s circle of this survey, thanks to the support of these cube curators. Besides those effects, these cube designers are excited for the “mythic uncommon” of the set, Morbid Opportunist, and solid role-playing commons. These effects offer raw rate combined with some color-shifted effects, which is a great recipe for success in these surveys.


“This set has taught me something about where and how I value complexity: I like simple cards that give players complex decisions.”

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt is a landmark set for many cubes. The set’s reception in the Cube community is only marred by hesitations about the more complex designs and mechanics, like Daybound/Nightbound and the double-faced card design. Even so, a combination of resonant flavor and pushed designs mean that designers are testing a lot of cards from this set, and rate their tests highly.

Here are my own thoughts:

Decayed tokens are to creatures as Scry is to card draw.

Jadar is the most-tested card that mentions another of Midnight Hunt’s premier mechanics, Decayed (rating of 5.5 and 31% test rate). Many designers mentioned in their comments that Decayed creatures seemed too bad to bother including. Having seen the success of decayed hordes in MID Draft, I wonder if the community isn’t underrating this mechanic. It’s true, Decayed creatures aren’t the persistent, value-generating summons we’re used to. But just like fractional card draw doesn’t undermine the success of Scry and Surveil, the fractional value of Decayed shouldn’t sour us on this mechanic.

Strictly better cards still come with other costs.

Some designers mentioned in their responses that Play with Fire, Falkenrath Pit Fighter, and similar MID cards are less appealing than their strictly worse counterparts. After all, Cube is a very complex format. Rules text veritably overflows from many popular Cube cards, and the immense personalization of each cube means drafters won’t always know cards by heart.

“Even though I value those sorts of [strictly better] designs, I skipped a ton of it because the upsides seem real, but also pretty marginal”

Simple cards, even if they’re strictly worse, can be a great way to accommodate your newer or younger drafters. It can simplify decision trees, avoid additive distraction, and allow players to spend their mental energy on other aspects of gameplay. I’ve found that a balance between complex cards and simple ones is best for attracting new Cube drafters and keeping them interested in the long term.

Aggro decks don’t need to be defined by the monocolor paradigm.

I worry that Midnight Hunt’s popular aggressive-leaning cards may disappoint those who are testing them to diversify the play patterns of their cubes’ aggro decks. When aggro decks “do the thing”, they end the game blitzkrieg-style, so the aggro pilot typically won’t have time to cast their 6-mana Adversaries or destroy many enchantments with Cathar Commando.

Hopefully I’m wrong and the Adversaries are perfect for your aggro section. But if you do feel dissatisfied (as I’ve felt in the past) there are many examples within the Cube community for constructing aggro differently. Lucky Paper Radio co-host Anthony has spoken at length about pushing aggro towards the 2-mv slot. My own cube is based around a 3-color Zoo paradigm. And still other cubes eschew traditional aggro altogether, or build blue-based “Fish” aggro decks. Each design comes with different costs to the environment, but don’t let a little honest work get in the way of curating the aggressive decks that are most satisfying for you and your group.

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