Last updated on August 2, 2023

Bonfire of the Damned - Illustration by James Paick

Bonfire of the Damned | Illustration by James Paick

Fear not, people of Innistrad! The big, flying, and good-aligned angels are coming to save the day, led by no one other than Avacyn herself now that she’s restored. Avacyn Restored is the set that concludes the original Innistrad block, which was probably the biggest hit outside of Ravnica that MTG’s ever had.

Like Rise of the Eldrazi before it, Avacyn Restored broke the Large Set – Small Set – Small Set format, so Innistrad block had a Large – Small – Large set model. That brought along a Limited format that was all Avacyn Restored, which is the norm nowadays but wasn’t back then (and the Draft format admittedly had some problems).

AVR was awesome aside that small detail, and the theme is spectacular. I’m here to tell you everything about it, the story of the set, the money cards, available products, and why you should care about it. With that in mind, let’s see what this set has to offer!

Avacyn Restored Basic Information

Set Details

Cavern of Souls - Illustration by Cliff Childs

Cavern of Souls | Illustration by Cliff Childs

Set Info

Set SymbolJumpstart Historic Horizons set icon
Set CodeAVR
Number of cards244
Rarities101 commons, 60 uncommons, 53 rares, 15 mythic rares, 15 basic lands
Miracle, soulbond, undying

Important Dates

Prerelease weekApril 28 to 29, 2012
Paper releaseMay 4, 2012
Launch PartyMay 4 to 6, 2012
Pro Tour Avacyn RestoredMay 11 to 13, 2012
Release on Magic OnlineMay 17 to 20, 2012
Game DayMay 25 to 26, 2012

About the Set: The Story

Terminus - Illustration by James Paick

Terminus | Illustration by James Paick

Avacyn Restored is the third set of the original Innistrad block and concludes the block’s story.

Things look dire for Innistrad’s human citizens because the monsters are stronger than ever. Liliana Vess is interested in liberating Griselbrand from the Helvault so that she can defeat him and be released from the demonic contract she once made. Liliana then forces Thalia, Guardian of Thraben to open the Helvault, liberating the creatures inside.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope, the protector of humanity, is also trapped with Griselbrand, so her liberation helps the humans to fight back and empowers other angels like Sigarda, Host of Herons and Gisela, Blade of Goldnight. The “restoration of Avacyn” ultimately helped the plane of Innistrad to restore the balance between humans and monsters until the events of Shadows over Innistrad.  

Set Mechanics


Miracle is one of the main mechanics in Avacyn Restored. When you draw your first card for the turn, if draw a miracle card, you can reveal it and cast it for the miracle cost (which is always way cheaper than the original cost).

For example, Terminus costs but has a miracle cost of . You can’t play the miracle cost from your hand or any other game zone. One typical way to abuse the mechanic in older formats is to put it on top of your deck with Brainstorm to draw the next turn and activate the miracle.

Other awesome cards with the mechanic are Bonfire of the Damned and Entreat the Angels.   


Soulbond is a mechanic that establishes a link between two different creatures. When you cast a creature with soulbond, you can pair another creature you control with it. As long as they’re paired they share an ability.

Elgaud Shieldmate gives both paired creatures hexproof while Druid's Familiar gives both creatures +2/+2. The pairing is broken if either of the paired creatures leaves the battlefield, and the creature with soulbond can only bond again when another creature ETBs. Deadeye Navigator is probably the most famous card with the mechanic since its ability allows for infinite ETB loops. Other good examples are Wolfir Silverheart and Silverblade Paladin.


Undying is a mechanic that debuted in Dark Ascension, the set before Avacyn Restored. Undying brings back a destroyed creature to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter, but only if said creature didn’t have a +1/+1 counter before. Only a creature can have undying, but some other spells can grant a creature undying.

Powerful cards with the mechanic are Vorapede, Young Wolf, and Geralf's Messenger. One of the best cards with undying from Avacyn Restored is Butcher Ghoul, a cheap creature used in zombie and aristocrats decks.

Avacyn Restored Card Gallery

White Cards

Blue Cards

Black Cards

Red Cards

Green Cards

Multicolored Cards

Colorless Cards


Notable Cards

Miracle Frame

There are 11 cards with the miracle mechanic in Avacyn Restored, and they all have the special miracle frame. It’s easier for the player to associate that frame with miracles and avoid missing the miracle trigger. Today’s sets have lots of alternate card frames, but at the time the miracle frame was noteworthy.

Money Cards

Angel of Jubilation is a nice generic lord in EDH; you’re probably not putting it in an Orzhov ()-based deck. It adds devotion to your white decks if you want to and is a stax piece that prevents opponents from doing stuff like aristocrats or paying life to draw cards.

Avacyn, Angel of Hope is a big flying 8/8 creature that can be your commander or be played in angel decks or reanimator decks.

Cathars' Crusade is a nice intersection between a creature-heavy deck and a +1/+1 counter synergy EDH deck. Like Doubling Season, usually, these decks are very interested in Cathars' Crusade because it snowballs when you make lots of tokens or many creatures ETB at once.

Deadeye Navigator is a way to abuse good ETB creatures like Mulldrifter and it goes infinite with cards that generate mana on ETB like Dockside Extortionist or Peregrine Drake.

Temporal Mastery can be equivalent to a Power Nine (Time Walk) if cast for the miracle cost. Other than that, paying 7 mana for the normal spell isn’t that bad.

Griselbrand is one of the best reanimator targets because you get a big flying and lifelink body and the possibility of spending 7 life to get seven cards, even if your opponent has the removal for your huge demon.

Vexing Devil is a spell that causes four damage to your opponent’s face for a single mana, most of the time. It used to be a staple of monored aggressive and burn decks.

Craterhoof Behemoth is a well-known win condition for green creature decks, not only in EDH but also in Modern and Legacy.

Descendants' Path is a form of cheating expensive creatures in EDH. You can put a creature into play almost every turn in tribal decks that are creature-heavy decks.

Bruna, Light of Alabaster is one of the few Azorius () commanders that lets you build aura-based decks and get value based on them.

Gisela, Blade of Goldnight is a good commander or Boros () card in EDH decks that are interested in extra-attack steps.

Sigarda, Host of Herons used to be a nice sideboard creature for midrange Modern decks since it’s hard to deal with and it counters popular cards like Liliana of the Veil. It’s a nice card in an EDH Selesnya () angels deck or as a Commander.

Conjurer's Closet offers a free blink effect every turn, like Thassa, Deep-Dwelling but without color restrictions for EDH purposes.

Cavern of Souls is one of the best lands to play 5-color tribal decks like Slivers and Humans. Besides adding mana of any color, the creature spell cast with Cavern of Souls can’t be countered.

Card Cycles

Avacyn Restored finishes the cycle of 10 rare lands with activated abilities. These cards have seen Constructed play across different formats, and Slayers' Stronghold is an important part of Modern Amulet decks.

Other Notable Cards

Cloudshift is a cheap way to blink a creature, or “exile a creature card and return it to the battlefield.” This is used to protect your creatures and abuse ETB effects, and it’s a staple of EDH and Pauper decks.

Entreat the Angels was a premier finisher in white control decks, especially when miracled, and it saw extensive play in Legacy miracles decks.

Restoration Angel is also a staple in Constructed 60-card formats, going together with Thragtusk in Standard or with Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker in Modern. Restoration Angel is a Cloudshift attached to a 3/4 flying body.

Silverblade Paladin is a nice way to give a creature double-strike without the risk that a similar aura would have. Plus, it’s a knight for knights tribal decks.

Terminus is one of the cheapest ways to deal with a problematic board since its miracle cost is a single white mana. The ability to put creatures on the bottom of their owners’ decks deals with indestructible and death triggers too.

Ghostly Flicker is a staple of Pauper Constructed since it allows you to blink two creatures at once. When one of those creatures is a card like Archaeomancer, you’ll get the Ghostly Flicker back in order to loop the effect. It’s usually played heavily in EDH Azorius blink decks.

Misthollow Griffin was the first creature that you can cast from exile. This can be abused with cards like Food Chain that exile a creature to obtain a certain benefit or Manipulate Fate, which finds all your Griffins and exiles them to cast at a later time.

Blood Artist is a premium creature in aristocrats decks. It’s one of the few creatures that allow you to drain your opponents whenever a creature dies, and it doesn’t matter if it’s yours or your opponents’. Costing two mana doesn’t hurt either.

Bonfire of the Damned is a one-sided sweeper that can be extremely efficient if cast with miracle. The fact that it deals damage only to your opponents and their creatures is very noteworthy.

Tibalt, the Fiend-Blooded is the first ever planeswalker to cost two mana. It’s admittedly a little weak, but it can be a discard outlet.

Zealous Conscripts is a mix of a 3/3 haste creature and an act of treason, and it’s a Cube staple because it leads to infinite combos with cards like Kiki-Jiki, Mirror Breaker.      

Soul of the Harvest draws you a bunch of cards in green EDH creature decks.

Available Products

Draft Booster

Avacyn Restored booster box

As you’d expect from a Standard set, Avacyn Restored had draft boosters with 15 cards each, broken down into a rare or mythic rare card, three uncommons, and 10 commons alongside a basic land. You could also get your traditional booster box with 36 AVR boosters.

Fat Pack

Avacyn Restored fat pack

Avacyn Restored fat packs came with nine AVR boosters, a player guide depicting story and card arts, 80 basic lands, and a spindown life counter.

Magic: the Gathering - Avacyn Restored (AVR) Sealed Fat Pack
  • 9 Avacyn Restored booster packs
  • The Avacyn Restored Player's Guide
  • 1 pack of 80 Avacyn Restored basic land
  • 1 Avacyn Restored Life Counter
  • NOTE: This product can ONLY be shipped the United States, Puerto Rico, APO/FPOs and USVI.

Intro Packs

Avacyn Restored had five intro pack, which are 60-card decks in two colors.

Solitary Fiends

Avacyn Restored Solitary Fiends intro pack

Solitary Fiends is a Dimir () deck that represents the loner theme from AVR. There are a bunch of black cards that are stronger if you only have one creature. Demonic Rising gives you a 5/5 demon, while Havengul Skaab won’t have to return other creatures to your hand.


Avacyn Restored Slaughterhouse intro pack

Slaughterhouse is a Rakdos () deck that focuses on sacrificing creatures that have undying or creatures that want to die like Goblin Arsonist. Try using Fling on Raging Poltergeist.

Magic the Gathering: MTG: Avacyn Restored Intro Pack: Slaughterhouse Theme Deck (Black/Red)
  • The key to playing the "Slaughterhouse" deck is to kill creatures early and often.

Angelic Might

Avacyn Restored Angelic Might intro pack

Angelic Might is a Selesnya deck with an angel theme, featuring classic Serra Angel and Archangel. You’ll want to survive long enough to win with angels.

Fiery Dawn

Avacyn Restored Fiery Dawn intro pack

Fiery Dawn is a Boros deck that goes wide with humans, which is often a Boros theme. Cathars' Crusade rewards you for playing lots of tokens, while Thatcher Revolt creates them with haste.

Bound by Strength

Avacyn Restored Bound by Strength intro pack

Bound by Strength is a Simic () deck with lots of soulbond creatures. The route to victory is to pair good soulbond cards together, abuse Wolfir Silverheart, or just cast Overrun.

Event Decks

Avacyn Restored also had two event decks, which are slightly more powerful Constructed decks aimed at FNM Standard competition.

Death’s Encroach

Avacyn Restored Death’s Encroach event deck

Death’s Encroach is a mono-black zombie tribal deck with powerful and Constructed-playable zombies like Gravecrawler and Geralf's Messenger combined with black staple removal spells like Dismember and Go for the Throat. Rounding the rares are Gloom Surgeon, Lashwrithe, Surgical Extraction, and Cemetery Reaper.

You’ll win via zombie aggression, zombie recursion, and using your removal spells wisely.

MTG Magic the Gathering - Avacyn Restored Event Deck - Death's Encroach
  • Magic the Gathering - Avacyn Restored Event Decks - Death's Encroach
  • Contains a 60 card deck with a 15 card sideboard
  • Also has Spindown life counter and strategy guide
  • Death’s Encroach Time to devour the living! ....
  • NOTE: This product can ONLY be shipped the United States, Puerto Rico, APO/FPOs and USVI.

Humanity’s Vengeance

Avacyn Restored Humanity's Vengeance event deck

Humanity’s Vengeance is a Azorius deck that features humans fighting the monsters back.

You get a combination of cards with good ETB effects like Fiend Hunter and Blade Splicer along with effects like Cloudshift and Nephalia Smuggler. Lots of soulbond creatures help you on your way, like Wingcrafter and Tandem Lookout. Mirran Crusader backed up with good soulbond abilities is a nice threat, especially with flying or lifelink.

Wrap Up

Craterhoof Behemoth - Illustration by Chris Rahn

Craterhoof Behemoth | Illustration by Chris Rahn

And there we have it folks, everything to know about Avacyn Restored! Its Limited format is very much maligned because soulbond can make some games one-sided, but that Standard Constructed era is largely considered one of the best. There are a bunch of hits in AVR including the very popular angel theme and impactful card designs like Griselbrand or Craterhoof Behemoth.

What were your favorite memories of Avacyn Restored? Which AVR staples do you still play in your EDH decks? Let me know in the comments below, or over on the official Draftsim Twitter.

Stay safe and healthy folks, and until the next time!

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