Last updated on November 23, 2021

Nirkana Revenant - Illustration by Livia Prima

Nirkana Revenant | Illustration by Livia Prima

The Commander precons that come with each new set aren’t really a novelty at this point. I don’t mean that as a bad thing; these decks help build the set’s world and they’re a great way to explore new design and gameplay alternatives for Magic’s most popular format.

I was kinda disappointed with Midnight Hunt’s precons. Not because of their quality, but because it was the best possible moment to give us a werewolf precon considering they were the set’s main focus. Instead, we got zombies and coven.

This very specific disappointment didn’t repeat itself with Crimson Vow. We’re getting a vampire tribal deck to go with the vampire-focused set. And a spirit one, which is a good thematic counterpart for the vampires.

But I may be getting ahead of myself. You may not know exactly what I’m talking about if you’re relatively new, so let’s start at the beginning!

Most Fun
Top Pick
Best for Value
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
$36.45
$37.23
Most Fun
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
$36.45
Top Pick
Best for Value
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
$37.23

What Are the Crimson Vow Commander Decks?

Hallowed Spiritkeeper - Illustration by Steve Prescott

Hallowed Spiritkeeper | Illustration by Steve Prescott

If you’ve been playing Magic for a year or so, you’ll know that what used to be planeswalker and set-related precons have been replaced with Commander precons. These work as companions to the set.

These decks have different power levels because some of them act as replacements for what used to be the annual Commander product. Some of them act as fully prepared, powerful decks. Others are more like onramp decks that allow players to get a grasp on the format and how the decks work with lower power levels and “worse” reprints or new cards. And a few fall in a more in-between area of being interesting and relatively powerful while still being pretty entry-level and easy to grasp.

The new Crimson Vow decks lean more to the entry-level side of things. They’re fun enough for experienced players who just want a more casual game while still being accessible and fun for new players.

The VOW precons are pretty similar in terms of power level and theme to the latest Midnight Hunt precons, as well as to the Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim ones. They’re all a lot simpler and a bit weaker than regular EDH precons, but also a lot more accessible.

I’m not a fan that the prices for these decks is the same as for the Forgotten Realms and Strixhaven precons. One of the most notable thing about the Zendikar Rising and Kaldheim decks was that their lower power levels also meant a lower price. Keeping the same price as more powerful decks while lowering the power level isn’t great.

Every deck comes with:

  • 1 display foil-etched Commander card
  • 2 foil legendary cards
  • 98 regular cards
  • 10 tokens for the cards in your deck
  • 1 life wheel
  • 1 cardboard deck box

Should I Buy Crimson Vow Commander?

Crimson Vow Commander precon deck bundle

Both decks come with interesting new cards and some cool reprints. Both decks can make well beyond their original price in singles if you take only the cards that are estimated to be worth more than $2.

I’ve mentioned before that I think these types of decks (with a slightly lower power level) can and should be offered for a lower price. This isn’t something I’m coming up with by myself, but something that Wizards has already done. And the decks it was done with were pretty well-liked.

I still think the decks are a considerably good investment even though the price tag is on the higher end. The precons have good reprints and new cards, and they’re overall well-built.

I’d personally go for the bundle if you can afford it. Even if you only want one of the decks. Considering the 2-pack lowers the price for each individual deck, even if only a little bit, selling the other deck later should net you a good profit. And you still get to keep the precon you want!

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck Bundle – Includes 1 Vampiric Bloodline + 1 Spirit Squadron | Minimal Packaging
  • Bundle of 2 Innistrad: Crimson Vow (VOW) Commander Decks—Vampiric Bloodline + Spirit Squadron
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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

Spirit Squadron

Millicent, Restless Revenant - Illustration by Denman Rooke

Millicent, Restless Revenant | Illustration by Denman Rooke

Decklist

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Spirit Squadron Commander precon deck
Millicent, Restless Revenant

Spirit Squadron is a pretty interesting addition to Commander. It’s the first ever spirit tribal precon and it also brings the best commander for the tribe so far. There have been tons of interesting legendary spirits out there, but none of them have been really tribal in their abilities. Millicent, Restless Revenant is a safe bet for any players that want to build a spirit tribal list.

In combination with the spirit theme, the deck has a strong focus on recursion. Plenty of spells have effects similar to the deck’s commander that allow you to recover from removal and board wipes. Field of Souls and Haunted Library make for great ways to stay one step ahead of your opponents when someone casts a sweeper.

Cards that care about tokens would be a good addition to this deck. Anointed Procession is the first card that comes to mind. Another good addition is Guardian of Faith since its phasing out ability won’t kill your tokens the way exiling and returning to the battlefield would. It’s a very effective way to protect your creatures and tokens, plus it’s considerably cheaper than Teferi’s Protection.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

In terms of value, I think this deck falls behind a little bit. Especially when it comes to reprints. A lot of the new cards have some value and they’re great for tribal spirit decks. But there’s not much of interest when it comes to reprints.

Hallowed Spiritkeeper

The most expensive reprint as of now is Hallowed Spiritkeeper at almost $3.

Spiritkeeper is followed by Fell the Mighty at $2.50 and Swords to Plowshares at just over $2.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

Vampiric Bloodline

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor - Illustration by Chris Rallis

Strefan, Maurer Progenitor | Illustration by Chris Rallis

Decklist

Commander, Theme, and Strategy

Vampiric Bloodline Commander precon deck

I’m kind of amazed at the huge support Rakdos () has been getting in Commander since the 2019 precons. I remember being disappointed when the Commander 2017 decks came out and the vampire precon was black, red, and white. Vampires had always been Rakdos up until that point, with some few vampires having a splash of blue. And that same year we got the Ixalan vampires which also had white. I’m honestly pretty glad that we’re getting proper support for Rakdos vampires again.

Blood Token

While Vampiric Bloodline is first and foremost a vampire tribal, it also incorporates Blood tokens into its strategy. There aren’t enough cards in the deck to claim it has a Blood token theme, but it definitely sets a base for tokens to be used. There are seven cards in the deck that either create or directly benefit from Blood tokens plus a few more that benefit from having generic artifacts they can use.

Unlike the Edgar Markov precon that cared about creating a horde of smaller vampires, this deck is more focused on bigger and stronger creatures. Strefan, Maurer Progenitor’s second ability lets you cheat bigger and more expensive vampires onto the field while also making them indestructible. Mix that with cards like Crossway Troublemakers or Markov Enforcer and you can easily see how this can become really good really fast.

Notable Cards: Reprints and $$

Nirkana Revenant

This deck’s reprint value stands way higher than it did for Spirit Squadron. The most expensive reprint in the list is Nirkana Revenant at $11. It’s also honestly a must-have in mono-black decks and decks that run a lot of Swamps.

Patron of the Vein

Right behind Nirkana is Patron of the Vein at almost $6.

And the deck also comes with some great Commander staples like Blood Artist which is over $4 plus Vandalblast, Night’s Whisper, and Blasphemous Act which all cost over $2.

All of that plus a few cards that fall just under the $2 mark and all of the new cards, some of which I can only assume will have a more interesting price tag soon.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

The Best Deck

For Value

Vampiric Bloodline Commander precon deck

The best value out of the two decks lies in Vampiric Bloodline. It has more interesting reprints not to mention the huge difference in reprint value.

I also think many of the cards from this precon will see more play than the ones from Spirit Squadron, and that’ll inevitably drive up the prices. Some Spirit Squadron cards may eventually see some price spikes as they’re amazing cards in tribal decks for a tribe that hasn’t gotten all that much support over the years, but I don’t think that’s enough to give it the title of “best value.”

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

For Competitive Play

Vampiric Bloodline Commander precon deck

I don’t think either of these decks are even close to being competitive out of the box. They could both theoretically be upgraded into stronger decks, but they wouldn’t really be anything like the original deck at that point.

But if I had to choose one from a competitive-oriented point of view, I’d definitely go for Vampiric Bloodline. It has the most valuable cards to take out and put into other more competitive decks, like an Anje Falkenrath madness deck or an Edgar Markov-led vampire tribal.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

For Fun

Spirit Squadron Commander precon deck

While I prefer vampires over spirits as a tribe, I’m gonna go ahead and give kudos to Spirit Squadron for giving some great support for the tribe. I think it has a lot of potential and some really fun cards. We’ve also already seen plenty of vampires in Commander while spirits is still pretty small.

While I think Vampiric Bloodline is the best deck overall, I’d choose Spirit Squadron if I was looking for a more fun and original deck. It definitely feels more unique.

Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
  • Packaging reduced by 45% for less waste
  • 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, 1 life tracker + 1 deck box
  • Introduces 15 MTG cards not found in the main set

Wrap Up

Night's Whisper - Illustration by John Severin Brassel

Night’s Whisper | Illustration by John Severin Brassel

I’m completely on-board with all of these Commander decks that we’ve been getting with each set. I like some more than others, but I still think they’re much better than the precons we previously got. And it’s great to have constant support with Commander being the most popular format right now.

I’m not a big fan of this particular set of decks. I think both have some really good cards for their respective tribes, but that seems to be all they’ve got going on. I would’ve really liked to see Vampiric Bloodline go deeper into the Blood tokens subtheme to make it more unique, and Spirit Squadron could’ve had better cards overall, even if the new cards bring some great support for spirit tribals.

Most Fun
Top Pick
Best for Value
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
$36.45
$37.23
Most Fun
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Spirit Squadron (White-Blue) | Minimal Packaging Version
$36.45
Top Pick
Best for Value
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
Magic: The Gathering Innistrad: Crimson Vow Commander Deck – Vampiric Bloodline (Black-Red) | Minimal Packaging Version
$37.23

But enough about what I think. What do you think? Do you like these decks? Do you think they’re worth their value? Would you have liked to see some other cards, or even other strategies and themes, printed in this set? Feel free to leave a comment below, and don’t forget to check out our blog for more content like this.

That’s all from me for now. Have a good one, and I’ll see you next time!

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