Galvanic Bombardment - Illustration by Terese Nielsen

Galvanic Bombardment | Illustration by Terese Nielsen

Greetings planeswalkers! Today I have a brief guide for Shadows over Innistrad Remastered, which was released last week. I’ll be covering the format’s mechanics, archetypes, play patterns, and best commons below.

Let’s begin!

What Is Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered?

Gnarlwood Dryad - Illustration by Raymond Swanland

Gnarlwood Dryad | Illustration by Raymond Swanland

SIR is an Arena-only set similar to Kaladesh Remastered and Amonkhet Remastered. It exists to reprint certain cards (mostly Emrakul, the Promised End) for Explorer and give players a nostalgia-charged Draft format. The set is made up of cards from:

Shadows of the Past

There will always be one card per pack from an old Innistrad set. These cards can be any rarity and vary dramatically in power level (you could open Traveler's Amulet while your neighbor opens Huntmaster of the Fells!) They’re also notable because they’re drawn from a rotating pool of cards with a digital twist. Basically, SIR will be available to draft for a month, and throughout this month there will be four thematic rotations that affect what cards appear in this slot.

The themes/schedule are as follows:

So if you want to draft SIR optimally, you could vary your approach a bit to match that week’s theme. Say you’re drafting in Week 1 and start your Draft with an Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Your odds of sticking with Ulrich and settling into Gruul () wolves should be a little higher than normal since the Shadows of the Past slot can include cards like Immerwolf and Moonmist that week.

But on the other hand, 13/14 of the cards in packs are static, so I wouldn’t force anything based on this “monster of the week” slot. Solid drafting fundamentals are the best path to success in this set, particularly given the qualities we’re about to discuss.

What Was Drafting The Old Sets Like?

SIR is mostly a mix of two old Draft sets, Shadows over Innistrad and Eldritch Moon. I drafted both sets years ago, so I can give a loose recall of what I remember them being like:

Now that we have the foundation, let’s put the sets together and see how it plays. Bear in mind that the set is not just both sets stapled together; it’s a curated mix of the two, with lots of rarity shifting to rebalance the experience. Cards like Otherworldly Outburst and Succumb to Temptation are also missing entirely.


This set keeps the mechanics from its two predecessor sets, but combines and chops them to try to fit everything.


Madness only appears in Rakdos () and is its core Draft mechanic. Madness cards can be played from exile when you discard them, mitigating the card disadvantage of discard. Some madness cards are also cheaper when cast this way.

An example of basic madness synergy would be Olivia's Dragoon/Tormenting Voice plus Alchemist's Greeting. This is a great way to grind out card advantage. Madness enablers appear mostly in blue, black, and red.


Delirium is a fun and powerful mechanic that is the basis of Golgari’s () Draft archetype. It asks you to get 4+ card types into your graveyard, after which point cards with delirium start to do powerful things.

This can be accomplished in a number of ways:


Emerge is a neat mechanic with a small presence in this set. You can sacrifice your creatures as a cost to play emerge creatures, and the sacrificed creature’s mana value will be deducted as a discount from whatever emerge cost you’d pay.

For example, sacrificing Exultant Cultist to Wretched Gryff makes the Gryff cost just . Emerge cards are modal in that they can be played cheaply with setup, or hard cast later if the game goes on long enough.


Clues are an extra type of resource introduced in the original SOI. These tokens are “IOU” card advantage that can be cashed in for two mana and are created whenever you investigate. They’re one of the set’s primary mana sinks.

Clues are also the focus for build-around cards like Fleeting Memories, Confront the Unknown, and Ulvenwald Mysteries.


There are a handful of cards in the set that use the old Innistrad transform rules (“if no spells cast” and “if two spells cast” flips), like Hinterland Logger. There are also cards like Ulvenwald Captive that can be flipped into huge Eldrazi for a big mana cost.

Transform cards appear in every color but is mostly in red/green.


Meld is a super fun mechanic with a small presence in this set. Cards with meld reference specific other cards and combine with them into a bigger card when its specifications ae met. There are three meld pairs in the set:

As you might guess you won’t be melding very often, but it’s worth trying for it when you can!


This will be a slight retread at parts. but I want to touch on the set’s archetypes. One thing to note is that SIR is a bit softer on archetypes than most sets.

The set has 10 uncommon signposts, but they’re not all truly two colors. Six of them are monocolor cards with off-color payments like Drunau Corpse Trawler and Spectral Shepherd. Regardless, there are still defined themes/synergies for you to pursue.

Azorius Spirits

Azorius () spirits is a tempo deck built around spirits. It has lots of fliers, along with good tools like Nebelgast Herald and Essence Flux to frustrate your opponent and win races.

Spectral Shepherd

The signpost here is Spectral Shepherd, a nice Wind Drake with decent upside. Focus on having a good curve, a bit of removal and Essence Flux for success.

Simic Clues/Emerge

Simic () had two different themes in the old sets, but this time around Clues seems better supported.

Ongoing Investigation

This theme has Ongoing Investigation as its signpost, which suggests a focus on Clues and grinding out value. It has the easiest time making use of uncommon Clue build-arounds like Graf Mole. Emerge has nice synergy with Ongoing Investigation, so definitely include your Wretched Gryffs and Exultant Cultists.

Dimir Zombies

Drunau Corpse Trawler

Dimir () is another tribal strategy but with zombies. Drunau Corpse Trawler isn’t the best signpost on rate, but you could do worse.

The main reason to play Dimir zombies is its awesome higher rarity payoffs like Diregraf Colossus, Gisa and Geralf, and Dark Salvation. Without those cards the archetype lacks strong payoffs and will often feel like a midrange pile.

Izzet Spells

Izzet’s () noncreature focus is incredibly Izzet, as we’ve seen this theme at least dozens of times by now. What makes this deck interesting in the context of SIR is that it has two distinct paces:

Both decks want some similar cards (Take Inventory and Galvanic Blast, primarily), but past staples will break dramatically in what cards they should play. The aggro version doesn’t love countermagic and likes pump spells. The control variant is just fine playing Deny Existence and would find Rush of Adrenaline embarrassing.

Think carefully about which version your Izzet deck most closely resembles!

Gruul Wolves

Ulrich's Kindred

Ulrich's Kindred is as mediocre as a signpost can get. But the good news for Gruul is that it has some great uncommon creatures like Geier Reach Bandit, Duskwatch Recruiter, and Pack Guardian to choose from.

This is a strategy that firmly sits somewhere between midrange and aggro. Tribal payoffs like Moonlight Hunt and Howlpack Resurgence can be the real deal here or a trap depending on how open wolves are.

Rakdos Madness

Rakdos is a madness strategy with a small vampire tribal element. Vampire payoffs are limited (Olivia's Bloodsworn, Indulgent Aristocrat, Stensia Masquerade. and Stromkirk Condemned), so focusing on discard and madness is important.

Alchemist's Greeting and Fiery Temper should be prioritized over all but the best madness creatures. Decent enablers abound in this set, with Ravenous Bloodseeker, Olivia's Dragoon, and Tormenting Voice all appearing at common.

Boros Aggro

Ride Down

Boros’ () signpost is Ride Down, a great aggressive card that signals that the archetype is about to do what it always does: attack.

You’ll want lots of cheap dudes and some pump spells. Play them, curve out, and hope to draft a more fun deck next time. Red and white lack any particularly compelling synergies beyond this, but it’s a nice backup plan if the more involved decks aren’t coming together for you.

Orzhov Midrange

Anguished Unmaking

Orzhov’s () signpost is Anguished Unmaking, which is a strong card that doesn’t suggest any particular synergies. Orzhov is kind of like a slower Boros; you won’t have any clever synergies, just piles of good-rate creatures/removal and a balanced curve.

Card advantage seems a bit hard to come by here so take it where you can get it. Sorin, Grim Nemesis is a mega-bomb and easily the best reason to be Orzhov.

Selesnya Humans

Veteran Cathar

Selesnya () humans is an aggro deck with a tribal subtheme. Its signpost common is Veteran Cathar, a decent Grizzly Bears with useful upside.

It has a handful of other strong payoffs like Courageous Outrider and Heron's Grace Champion. A good curve along with pump spells and equipment (True-Faith Censer is nice) is the order of the day for this archetype.

Golgari Delirium

The last deck was mentioned above and is built around the delirium mechanic. Delirium is particularly notable because of some rarity downshifts, namely Gnarlwood Dryad and Obsessive Skinner. These are powerful cards on rate that provide a great creature base for a delirium deck.

The best common enablers for delirium are Dead Weight and Grapple with the Past. A good balance of card types is essential, so don’t forget to include normally forgettable cards like Explosive Apparatus and Terrarion.

Format Tips

Wrap Up

Drag Under - Illustration by Tianhua X

Drag Under | Illustration by Tianhua X

And with that we come to the conclusion of yet another guide! I didn’t want to go into excessive detail as I’m saving that for when March of the Machine drops next month.

What do you think of SIR‘s Draft format so far? Are you a fan of Shadows of the Past and the scheduled theme weeks? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, or come find us over on Twitter.

Until next time, may your P1P1s always be great!

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