Last updated on January 18, 2022

Sorin Markov art - Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Sorin Markov print | Illustration by Magali Villeneuve

Co-authored by Max Wu-Blouin

It’s an interesting time for Standard sets in Magic. Rotation hit us with Midnight Hunt, which means one of the most influential (and sometimes controversial) sets left us. We also got a unique treat this year: the next set after rotation has been released way sooner than normal.

That’s right, Innistrad: Crimson Vow was released on November 19, just two short months after its wolfish predecessor on September 24. I was (and still am) super excited for the Innistrad twins, so I’m more than happy to get on my soapbox about the whole thing and tell you everything you need to know about the second-born.

Let’s just dive right in!

Innistrad Crimson Vow Basic Information

Innistrad Crimson Vow art - Illustration by Lenka Šimečková

Innistrad: Crimson Vow art | Illustration by Lenka Šimečková

Set Details

Set SymbolInnistrad Crimson Vow set symbol
Set CodeVOW
Hashtag#MTGCrimson and #MTGInnistrad
Number of Cards412
Rarities100 commons, 83 uncommons, 64 rares, 20 mythic rares, 10 basic lands
MechanicsBlood tokens, Cleave, Daybound/Nightbound, Disturb, Exploit, Transform, Training, Vampires

Important Dates

EventDate
Previews startOctober 28, 2021
Available on Draftsim’s draft simulatorNovember 5, 2021
Draftsim Limited Set Review and Standard Set ReviewNovember 9, 2021
Release on MTG ArenaNovember 11, 2021
Available on Arena TutorNovember 11, 2021
Prerelease weekNovember 12 to 19, 2021
Paper release dateNovember 19, 2021
Launch partyNovember 19 to 21, 2021

About the Set: The Story

Rakish Heir - Illustration by Winona Nelson

Rakish Heir | Illustration by Winona Nelson

Together, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow revisit what we learned first about Innistrad, showing us again why the wisest humans there never stop fearing nightfall.

WotC

Crimson Vow continues the story that started in Midnight Hunt: humans battling against things that go bump in the night. An ultra-exclusive wedding, eternal night, and every spooky classic-monster-movie creature you can think of. It sounds like a grand old time, doesn’t it?

The heart-stopping event surrounds the union between the Markov and Voldaren bloodlines as they scheme to take over Innistrad, together. Olivia Voldaren is our blood-sucking bride and her husband-to-be is none other than Edgar Markov, the founder of the Markov bloodline. Since Edgar is no longer quite the vampire he used to be, Olivia is poised to become the most powerful vampire on Innistrad.

One person who isn’t too pleased about Olivia’s pursuit of power is Arlinn Kord. Helping her at the party are two planeswalkers we’ve seen before:

That’s right, both Kaya and Chandra will be attending Olivia’s wedding! Let’s just say that things aren’t expected to settle peacefully.

Getting back on track, the humans of Innistrad are turning to rituals to aid them, and there’s also a fun festival going on: Harvesttide! Olivia is known for throwing the best parties, so I’m sure the whole thing will turn out to be a biting good time.

Set Mechanics

Stormkirk Patrol - Illustration by Karl Kopinski

Stromkirk Patrol | Illustration by Karl Kopinski

All right, enough vampire puns. Let’s get to the nitty-gritty of the set: the mechanics! There’s going to be vampires. Obviously. But what else?

Let’s take a look!

Blood Tokens

Blood Token

Blood tokens are like Clue tokens, only slightly little less powerful. Rather than just drawing you a card, they also require you to discard a card.

As was the case with Clues, some cards in Crimson Vow directly benefit from owning Blood tokens. Check out Voldaren Bloodcaster / Bloodbat Summoner:

Voldaren Bloodcaster incentivizes you not to crack your Blood tokens right away. If you can accumulate enough of them, it’ll transform into the powerful Bloodbat Summoner, which turns those cycling artifacts into a powerful army of 2/2 flying Bats with haste!

Cleave

When Mark Rosewater said there would be a new mechanic that removes something never removed before, he was talking about cleave. Cleave is an alternative cost you can pay to remove text in square brackets. That may sound confusing, so let’s just look at an example first:

Dig Up

Dig Up allows you to search for a basic land card and put it in your hand when played for its regular cost. If you pay the cleave cost, though, you can pick any card from your deck and you don’t have to reveal it.

Training

Training is another brand-new mechanic entering Crimson Vow. A creature’s training ability triggers when that creature attacks with another creature that has greater power. A creature gains a +1/+1 counter when it trains.

Some cards with training benefits from additional effects when they train, like Savior of Ollenbock:

Savior of Ollenbock

My prediction is that training will be a rather difficult ability to trigger. It looks too easy for opponents to play around, but only time will tell whether this is a good mechanic or not.

Exploit

Exploit is a returning mechanic that was first featured in Dragons of Tarkir. Whenever a creature with exploit enters the battlefield, you may sacrifice a creature. Doing so triggers a bonus ability, as you can see with Overcharged Amalgam:

Overcharged Amalgam

With all the cards in Midnight Hunt that generate zombies with decayed, creatures with exploit will often find some cheap, expendable creatures to sacrifice. Exploit could turn out to be a very powerful mechanic if we see enough token generators in this set.

Daybound/Nightbound

Daybound/nightbound was first introduced in Midnight Hunt and it’s staying for Crimson Vow. These transforming double-faced cards enter on one side or another depending on whether it’s day or night. Day becomes night if a player casts no spells during their turn and night becomes day if a player casts two or more spells during their turn.

Disturb

Just like daybound/nightbound, disturb is returning from Midnight Hunt. You can cast a creature from your graveyard for its disturb cost. If you do, that creature enters the battlefield transformed.

Notable Cards

Dracula Series

Don’t worry, this isn’t another Secret Lair. These Dracula Series cards are only aesthetically different from existing cards in Crimson Vow. They’re foil, borderless, and feature art inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. You can find them in single-card box topper boosters and collector boosters.

Voldaren Estate buy-a-box promo (Castle Dracula)

Plus, there’s this awesome alternate art for Voldaren Estate (a.k.a., Castle Dracula) that’s only available through buy-a-box promos, so make sure to grab one while supplies last.

Slow Lands Return

In Midnight Hunt, we got five dual-color lands that require you to have two or more other lands to enter untapped. Crimson Vow includes the other five lands, rounding out the cycle.

Eternal Night

The eternal night treatment for full-art basic lands continues in Crimson Vow.

Thalia, Guardian of Thraben Eternal Night

This black-and-white horror-style treatment is also available for legendary creatures. It looks awesome on this new Thalia, Guardian of Thraben reprint!

Borderless Treatment

All Crimson Vow planeswalkers and rare dual lands, along with select rare and mythic cards, are available in borderless form.

Fang Frames

Since Crimson Vow is all about vampires, it’s only fair that they get some special treatment! Some vampires (and vampire planeswalkers) have these scary-looking frames for aesthetic effect.

Crimson Vow Card Gallery

White

Blue

Black

Red

Green

Multicolor

Colorless

Double-Faced Cards

Lands

Mark Rosewater’s Teaser

As always, Magic chief designer Mark Rosewater released a list of tidbits with minor spoilers/teasers about the new set. Here’s what he revealed before we got the full thing:

New Set Features

• The following counter types: bloodline, croak, invitation, judgment, omen, slime, and suspect
• A new mechanic that removes something never removed before
• A popular and powerful creature card from an Innistrad set gets reprinted
• A new artifact token, along the lines of Clue, Food and Treasure
• A card that makes red Dragon Illusion creature tokens with flying and haste
• A mechanic that first appeared as a faction mechanic returns
• A new legendary creature card that combines two characters that previously each had their own legendary creature card
• A new card that lets you cast certain cards off the top of your library
• A new mechanic which is a mirror of an already existing mechanic
• A legendary character returns, but now as a Vampire

New Rules Text

• “Choose a number between 0 and 13.”
• “with mana value less than or equal to the number of Vampires you control”
• “If it’s red, you may cast it this turn.”
• “Zombies you control have flying.”
• “At the beginning of your upkeep, any opponent may sacrifice a creature.”
• “Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent”
• “twice that many of those tokens are created instead.”
• “Whenever a Human you control dies,”
• “equal to the number of permanents you control that are Spirits and/or enchantments.”
• “Then if you control exactly thirteen permanents,”

Creature Types

• Creature – Human Ranger Werewolf
• Creature – Angel Soldier
• Creature – Zombie Scorpion
• Creature – Serpent Egg
• Creature – Eye Horror
• Legendary Creature – Human Peasant
• Legendary Creature – Spirit Warlock
• Legendary Creature – Slug Horror
• Legendary Creature – Kraken Horror
• Legendary Creature – Vampire Noble (two new ones)

Available Products

This is where you’ll find booster boxes, preconstructed Commander decks, and all that good stuff. There are plenty of products to choose from so pick whatever suits you best!

Draft Boosters

Crimson Vow Draft Booster Box

A pack of 16 cards that’s curated around Limited play. You can buy individual packs or a box of 36 boosters. Wizards usually offers buy-a-box promos with exclusive cards if you opt for the bigger purchase. The Crimson Vow draft booster packs feature art of the vampiric planeswalker Sorin Markov.

VOW draft boosters contain:

  • 1 double- or single-faced rare/mythic
  • 1 double- or single-faced uncommon
  • 1 double-faced common
  • 2 single-faced uncommons
  • 9 single-faced commons
  • 1 Eternal night basic land
  • 1 double-faced helper card
  • 1 marketing card / token card
Sale
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Draft Booster Box | 36 Packs + Dracula Box Topper (541 Magic Cards)
  • 36 Innistrad: Crimson Vow MTG Draft Boosters
  • 1 foil Dracula Series box topper card
  • 15 Magic cards per Draft Booster, including 1 Showcase Eternal Night Land
  • At least 2 double-faced cards in every pack
  • Return to the gothic horror plane of Innistrad for a sumptuous vampire wedding—as honored guest or delicious entrée

Set Boosters

Crimson Vow Set Booster Box

Set boosters are the bread-and-butter of set products, hence the name. These 14-card packs are targeted to players that aren’t particularly interested in Limited. You can also buy a box of 30 of these instead of individual packs, with their own buy-a-box promo as incentive. The Crimson Vow set boosters feature art of the legendary Olivia Voldaren as a vampiric bride.

VOW set boosters contain:

  • 1 art card (foil-stamped in 5% of packs)
  • 1 foil double- or single-faced card
  • 2 double- or single-faced cards
  • 1 double- or single-faced rare/mythic
  • 2 double- or single-faced uncommons/commons
  • 2 single-faced uncommons
  • 3 single-faced commons
  • 1 Eternal night basic land (foil in 15% of packs)
  • 1 token, marketing, helper, or The List card
Sale
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Set Booster Box | 30 Packs + Dracula Box Topper (361 Magic Cards)
  • 30 Innistrad: Crimson Vow Set Boosters
  • 1 foil Dracula Series box topper card
  • 12 Magic: The Gathering cards per booster
  • 1 foil or nonfoil Showcase Eternal Night Land in every pack
  • 1–4 Rares and/or Mythic Rares in every pack

Collector Boosters

Crimson Vow Collector Booster Box

These packs are for the collectors out there. If you’re looking for unique and aesthetic cards to add to your collection, this is the product for you. Just like the set and draft boosters, you can get a box of these instead of buying individual packs. The Crimson Vow collector boosters feature a stylized depiction of a vampiric wedding.

VOW collector boosters contain:

Quick note: “Special” cards refer to Dracula series, showcase, borderless, and extended art cards.

  • 1 foil special rare/mythic
  • 1 special rare/mythic
  • 1 foil Dracula series uncommon or showcase common/uncommon
  • 1 Dracula series uncommon or showcase common/uncommon
  • 1 extended art Commander rare/mythic
  • 1 extended art rare/mythic
  • 1 showcase common/uncommon
  • 1 foil rare/mythic
  • 2 foil uncommons
  • 4 foil commons
  • 1 foil Eternal night basic land
  • 1 foil double-sided token
Sale
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Collector Booster Box | 12 Packs + 2 Dracula Box Toppers (182 Magic Cards)
  • 12 Innistrad: Crimson Vow MTG Collector Boosters
  • 2 foil Dracula Series box topper cards
  • 15 Magic cards + 1 foil token in each booster
  • Total of 8 cards with special treatments in every pack—including 1–3 Dracula Series cards
  • 5 Rare and/or Mythic Rare cards per pack

Theme Boosters

Crimson Vow theme boosters (leaked image)

Theme boosters are my personal favorite product from each set. They’re aimed towards players who value deckbuilding over all else, curating a selection of cards that follow a theme to go straight into a deck or be built around. Flavor-lovers will also appreciate these.

Each set usually comes with five different theme boosters, either by color or color pair if there’s a clear theme of the combos within the set. It seems like Crimson Vow is (unsurprisingly) going to follow in Midnight Hunt‘s footsteps and provide us with six theme boosters. We’ll get five mono-colored boosters and one 5-color pack themed around the set’s primeval monster: vampires!

Theme boosters contain 35 cards. The rarities vary between each pack with mostly commons and uncommons plus a handful of rares or mythics.

Prerelease Packs

Innistrad Crimson Vow prerelease

Prerelease packs are available during prerelease events. I know, the naming conventions for these products are so unexpected, right? The idea behind this product is to give new players a look at the set and what to expect from it, plus just giving out some goodies. The Crimson Vow prerelease packs feature art of a scene from a vampiric get-together, assumingly the set’s main event.

VOW prerelease packs contain:

Crimson Vow Bundle

Crimson Vow Bundle

Set bundles are what you want if the set really speaks to you. This has everything you need to get started in a new format, add to your collection, or enjoy a new set with your friends! The Crimson Vow bundles feature art of Olivia Voldaren in her vampiric-bride persona, same as the draft packs.

VOW bundles contain:

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Bundle | 8 Set Boosters + Accessories
  • 8 Innistrad: Crimson Vow MTG Set Boosters
  • 1 foil alt-art promo card—Sigarda’s Summons
  • 40 basic land cards (20 foil + 20 nonfoil)
  • Spindown life counter + card storage box
  • Return to the gothic horror plane of Innistrad for a sumptuous vampire wedding—as honored guest or delicious entrée

Crimson Vow Gift Bundle

Crimson Vow Gift Bundle

Gift bundles are pretty similar to set bundles, with a few minor tweaks. Obviously these are meant to be purchased as gifts for your Magic-loving friends, or if you want to treat yourself. There’s a bit more to them than the regular bundles but the thought is the same. The Crimson Vow gift bundles feature art of the lovely Olivia Voldaren looking like she’s ready to host the party of the century.

VOW gift edition bundles contain:

  • 8 set boosters
  • 1 collector booster
  • 20 basic lands
  • 20 foil basic lands
  • 1 foil alternate-art Sigarda’s Summons
  • 1 oversized spindown life counter
  • 1 card storage box
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Gift Bundle | 8 Set Boosters | 1 Collector Booster | Accessories
  • 1 Collector Booster full of the coolest cards from Crimson Vow—with rares, shining foils, and decadent alternate-art
  • 8 Innistrad: Crimson Vow Set Boosters—the best MTG packs to open just for fun
  • 1 foil alt-art promo card—Sigarda’s Summons
  • Bundle-exclusive accessories—40 basic land cards (20 foil + 20 nonfoil), 1 Spindown life counter + 1 foil card storage box
  • Invite an honored guest to a sumptuous vampire wedding on Magic: The Gathering’s gothic horror plane of Innistrad

Commander Decks

Crimson Vow Both Commander Decks

Looking for more EDH fun? You’re in luck! Crimson Vow rounds out our Commander precon selection with two more decks, this time focusing on spirits and vampires. Let’s take a look at what we’ve got in store for us this time.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck Bundle – Includes 1 Vampiric Bloodline + 1 Spirit Squadron
  • Bundle of 2 Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Decks—Vampiric Bloodline + Spirit Squadron
  • Both ready-to-play MTG decks contain 100 Magic cards (2 traditional foil + 98 nonfoil)
  • Each deck comes with 1 foil-etched Display Commander, 10 tokens, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Decks include a total of 30 MTG cards not found in the main set—15 in each deck
  • Reduced-plastic packaging

Spirit Squadron

Geist of Saint Traft - Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

Geist of Saint Traft | Illustration by Igor Kieryluk

This almost feels too easy. I mean, obviously this deck is going to focus on flying! I’m only partially joking. Spirits are going to be at the helm for sure, and lots of spirits can fly.

Spirit Squadron is commanded by Millicent, Restless Revenant, an Azorius () creature that costs less to cast for each spirit you control. This effect becomes particularly useful as commander tax comes into play.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue)
  • 100-card ready-to-play Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander deck
  • Deck includes 2 traditional foils + 98 nonfoil cards
  • 1 foil-etched Display Commander
  • 10 double-sided tokens + life tracker and deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

Vampiric Bloodline

Olivia Voldaren - Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Olivia Voldaren | Illustration by Eric Deschamps

Vampires are everywhere in this set, so it’s no surprise that we’re getting a vampiric precon. This one is led by Strefan, Maurer Progenitor, a Rakdos () commander who cares about life loss and Blood tokens.

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor‘s ability to put vampires directly from your hand onto the battlefield makes it synergize especially well with high-cost, high-power vampires, so expect to see lots of those in Vampiric Bloodline.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red)
  • 100-card ready-to-play Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander deck
  • Deck includes 2 traditional foils + 98 nonfoil cards
  • 1 foil-etched Display Commander
  • 10 double-sided tokens + life tracker and deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

Innistrad: Double Feature

Innistrad double feature

Bryan covered this new product in his Midnight Hunt feature, but I’ve got you covered in case you missed it. The two Innistrad sets are inextricably linked in both story and in flavor, and Wizards is adding draft to that list now. These products boast a unique draft experience by mixing Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow together in one-of-a-kind draft boosters.

The Innistrad sets feature clear occult themes and a vibe reminiscent of old monster movies (which were just in time for Halloween), and the Double Feature products take that one step further. We’ll be getting unique art inspired by classic black-and-white monster movies on all of the cards selected to partake in this dangerous, gloomy product.

Combining the two sets in this way is very reminiscent of the old “block” style sets where Wizards would release several thematically and mechanically linked sets in a row. The sets would be combined for draft, often with two packs of one set and one pack of another.

The last time we saw that was Rivals of Ixalan and Ixalan.

Wrap Up

Crimson Vow art - Illustration by Justyna Gil

Innistrad: Crimson Vow art | Illustration by Justyna Gil

What are your thoughts on the Innistrad twins now that they’re both fully released? Are you more eager to get your hands on Midnight Hunt or Crimson Vow, or are neither of them your cup of tea? I’m really excited for the whole what-goes-bump-in-the-night theme we’ve got going on between the two sets. I’m especially pumped for Innistrad: Double Feature and the mixed draft that it’ll bring.

I have nothing more for you. Not here, at least. Our infamous blog is the go-to spot if you’re jonesing for more content. It’s where we store all of our set pieces! Oh, and make sure you’re prepped for our return to Innistrad on MTGA with Arena Tutor. Track your matches using Draftsim’s signature AI, check out your stats, get help with draft picks, and more.

I’ll see you all in the next set guide. Stay safe, stay healthy, and (most importantly) stay thirsty!

Note: this post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to make a purchase, you’ll help Draftsim continue to provide awesome free articles and apps.

2 Comments

  • Forger November 2, 2021 2:07 am

    “Cleave is an additional cost you may pay to remove text in square brackets.”
    It’s an alternative cost. It’s not kicker.

    • Dan Troha November 3, 2021 8:41 am

      Thanks for pointing this out, we’ll get it fixed ASAP.

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *