The Great Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Commander Deck Update

Sheldon Menery updates his Commander decks with Innistrad: Midnight Hunt’s best MTG cards. What made the cut, and where will they go?

Old Stickfingers, illustrated by Jehan Choo

Innistrad: Midnight Hunt has hit the cobblestones and forest pathways. It’s time to crawl into updating my suite of decks with some juicy new cards and lay out an idea or two for new commanders that might inspire me to add to that shelf, which now holds 61 decks.  They’ve cooked up some tasty morsels here. I’ll be taking cards not only from the main set, but the Commander decks that come along with it. 

More decks mean more opportunities for updates, but that still doesn’t make it easy.  There are times when “strictly better” works, but there aren’t that many opportunities for it to be relevant.  What’s more important to me are things working better thematically for a deck, whether that theme is mechanical or philosophical.  I also don’t want to undervalue the sheer joy of getting to play new cards.  Sometimes I’ll slot something in just to have the chance to cast it in a game.  Sometimes, Commander is just about playing cards that you find fun. 

As always, space in existing decks is precious.  You never want to build with cards that you’ll end up wanting to take out, so doing these updates means saying so long to some old friends who have served you well.  Unless the card that I take out is significantly narrow, I put it in what I call my “build box” instead of filing it back with its original set.  When I build a new deck, the build box is the first place I look for ideas.  Then, once I’ve built the deck, I go back to the build box to fill in any last holes.  It might seem like some high-minded ideal, but it’s just me being too lazy to put the cards away. 

As far as potential new decks go, there are a few ideas that excite me; I’ll likely be reserving a few cards to go with those commanders.  The daybound/nightbound mechanics aren’t particularly likely to go in existing decks, but ones built with the mechanic in mind.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who would love to build Tovolar, Dire Overlord and Werewolf tribal.  On the other side, Human tribal with Sigarda, Champion of Light could sure be a thing—but Kyler, Sigaridan Emissary might be just as good to lead that deck. 

Simic Dredge with Slogurk, the Overslime might be a neat deckbuilding challenge.  I’d certainly consider Old Stickfingers, since self-mill and reanimation are right up my alley.  I’ve talked about a third Zombie deck, so there’s Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver.  To try to get away from the tribal strategies, my first choice is Liesa, Forgotten Angel and plenty of enters-the-battlefield triggers.

Liesa may be the one I try to grab when the Commander Rules Committee (RC) does our Innistrad Constructed League.  Simply enough, we’re doing builds limited to the six sets, which are the new one, Innistrad, Dark Ascension, Avacyn Restored, Shadows over Innistrad, and Eldritch Moon. The plan is to then add cards from Innistrad: Crimson Vow to the pool.  The whole thing looks like a fun way of challenging our deckbuilding skills.  I’ll have more on this in the near future, but let’s get to these cards.


Adeline, Resplendent Cathar

Into:  Marchesa’s Knights

The best part of this card for me is that you don’t have to attack with Adeline in order to get the trigger and you get a creature for each opponent, not just the ones you’re attacking.  The tokens aren’t Knights, so I just think of them as little squires that join the battle anyway.  They can still pick up Sword of Light and Shadow, so we’re good.

Cathar Commando

Into:  Purple Hippos and Maro Sorcerers

I’ve planned this as a straight swap for Qasali Pridemage, which I’m not the biggest fan of just leaving on the battlefield in case there’s an enchantment or artifact that needs to go.  Sure, it has exalted, but that extra one damage isn’t really the thing in Commander that it was in Standard.  I like the surprise factor of flash, and then having a body to beat with.  I considered putting it into my Rith’s Soldiers deck, which I assumed has the Pridemage, but it doesn’t. 

Curse of Conformity

Into:  Rith’s Soldiers

While nominally a Soldier tribal deck, it’s about Soldiers that do stuff, not necessarily about Soldiers with additive creature type abilities.  Every nonlegendary creature in the deck save for Craterhoof Behemoth has a power of three or less already, so the upgrade makes a great deal of sense, especially for all the Saprolings that Rith, the Awakener creates. 

Sungold Sentinel

Into:  Lavinia Blinks

A little bit of graveyard control is good for everyone.  Sungold Sentinel provides it in two repeatable fashions in this deck.  I can attack with it or I can blink it.  There are enough different powers in the deck that coven will be turned on often enough to safely battle with it.  It’s not splashy but it’ll do some good work.

Vanquish the Horde

Into:  Lavinia Blinks

I’m going to call this one a straight upgrade to Day of Judgment.  The deck already has enough capability for targeted destruction/removal that I wouldn’t be playing Day of Judgment for a creature or two anyway.  I’m not quite as fond of it as Play of the Game, but that’s not really a fair comparison. 


Cleaver Skaab

Into:  Gisa and Geralf Together Forever

While I decide whether or not I want a third Zombie deck, I’ll play Cleaver Skaab in the deck that can recast creatures from the graveyard.  Zombies that I’ll enjoy getting two copies of include Dakmor Ghoul, Geralf’s Messenger, Geralf’s Mindcrusher, and Unbreathing Horde.  To be fair, it’d be fine in Zombies of Tresserhorn, copying Gray Merchant of Asphodel, but let’s not get silly. 

Hordewing Skaab

Into:  Zombies of Tresserhorn

We’ll put this one into the Lord of Tresserhorn deck so that our 10/4 regenerating commander can fly as well.  Zombies are already scary enough.  If they grow wings, get out of here.

Lier, Disciple of the Drowned

Into:  The MillMeoplasm

The calculus here was simple: which blue decks do I have that don’t have any counterspells in them?  The answer was more than one, but this is the one in which the card makes the most sense, since it has a high number of instants and sorceries (24 total, 18 of them sorceries). 


Champion of the Perished

Into:  Zombies of Tresserhorn

There are some folks that aren’t high on this card, to which I respond, “How can you not be?”  In a good tribal deck it’s going to have some legs even later in the game.  If it’s part of a Patriarch’s Bidding, watch out. 

Gisa, Glorious Resurrector

Into:  Halloween with Karador

I’m a little leery about putting anything into the Karador deck that could get cloned and exile my creatures, but this one seems pretty safe.  When operating normally, Gisa (who seems to be having a great deal of fun) is going to do reasonably well in a deck that knows how to kill a creature or two. 

The Meathook Massacre

Into:  Karazikar Goad is GOAT

I think I’m just casting this for {B}{B} most of the time and getting the triggers.  I’m sure there’ll be a time or two when I need to make it into a sweeper, but its primary use will be as a rattlesnake against killing my creatures (and some lifegain on the side).  And for some reason, considering this card for the deck made me wonder if I’m making a mistake by not playing Insurrection in it.  Funny where your brain goes sometimes. 

Ravenous Rotbelly

Into:  Gisa and Geralf Together Forever

What’s really neat in putting Ravenous Rotbelly into this deck is that I can just cast it over and over with Gisa and Geralf’s ability, assuming it’s one of the creatures I sacrifice.  It’s a little like a more flexible Fleshbag Marauder. 

Tomb Tyrant

Into:  Gisa and Geralf Together Forever

Once more, the math on which of the two Zombie decks to slip this one into goes to the one that likes graveyard shenanigans the most and is most likely to be able to fulfill the condition.  It’s clearly Gisa and Geralf.  I have a feeling that between now and when we get around to building our Innistrad Constructed decks, if we’re not playing with the upgraded Adventures in the Forgotten Realms precons, I’ll be slinging some Zombies. 


Pack’s Betrayal

Into:  The Threat of Yasova

Pack’s Betrayal is another Threaten, which fits into the deck.  The thought, however, is whether or not I could switch up the creature base and turn it into a Werewolf tribal deck with Tovolar, Dire Overlord as the secret commander.  There are times when Yasova isn’t large enough for the relevant creatures in a commander game, so shifting gears is warranted.  I’m not saying it’ll be easy, but it’s worth the thought experiment.


Augur of Autumn

Into:  Animar Do-Over

This version of Animar, Soul of Elements is green-heavy and likes to cast lots of colorless creatures, so getting extra looks at the top of the library fits right in.  The powers of the creature suite are different enough that I shouldn’t have any trouble qualifying as a coven.

Consuming Blob

Into:  Adun’s Toolbox

Consuming Blob goes right into a toolboxy deck that likes to use the graveyard.  Without some serious graveyard hate, I should be able to get an Ooze army running in short order.

Contortionist Troupe

Into:  Zegana and a Dice Bag

A card that enters with +1/+1 counters and can add some to other creatures?  Excellent.  The line of play with Contortionist Troupe will likely be to cast it for an X value that’ll get to the coven requirement, and then start shipping counters right away.  Because there are other creatures which can move counters as well, the whole setup should be easy.

Kurbis, Harvest Celebrant

Into: Zegana and a Dice Bag

The +1/+1 counter creatures keep getting better and better.  The other choice here is the Karador Do-Over deck, which also likes to do things with counters.  I suspect neither choice would be bad. 

Saryth, the Viper’s Fang

Into:  Kresh into the Red Zone

I’m not even sure this is my best deck to put the card into, but I want to play the card and this is a deck I play with some frequency.  Giving (tapped) attackers deathtouch reminds me that I need something in this deck to give all my creatures trample, like Nylea, God of the Hunt.  Kresh, the Bloodbraided will be way more dangerous that way. 

Unnatural Growth

Into:  Trostani’s Angels

Because of the four green mana requirement, I definitely want to put this one into a two-color deck.  The idea of giant battle Angels just excites me, especially in a deck that has some lifelink going on.

Wrenn and Seven

Into:  Dreaming of Intet

Strongest card in the set going into my strongest deck? While the question marks might be flying, the deck enjoys having choices and can shuffle back into the library things that get milled into the graveyard.  The other thought here is to put Wrenn and Seven into a graveyard deck, like Halloween with Karador, but the latter two abilities don’t quite resonate. 


Bladestitched Skaab

Into:  Zombies of Tresserhorn

That third Zombie deck really is looking like a stronger possibility all the time.  The buff Bladestitched Skaab offers means that Lord of Tresserhorn can be a two-shot killer now. 

Old Stickfingers

Into: Halloween with Karador

Self-mill is part of the game with Karador, so Old Stickfingers provides that while also sending out a pretty solid beater to do some work.  As I mention earlier, while it might be a build-around card by itself, it also slots very nicely into this deck as well—maybe as a “fair” replacement for Hermit Druid.   

Teferi, Who Slows the Sunset

Into:  Aminatou’s Demons

This one is more of an “I want to play this card in a fun deck” than it really fitting with a particular strategy.  I’m chomping at the bit to play Aminatou, the Fateshifter, since I haven’t brought it out much for webcam play, given its rather awkward nature for not-in-person play.  With some of the defense and protections the deck has built it, we should be getting to that emblem every now and again, which will be very cool.

Wilhelt, the Rotcleaver

Into:  Zombies of Tresserhorn

The extra tokens created by Wilhelt will fuel castings of Lord of Tresserhorn, so everyone will profit.  And by everyone, I mean mostly me. 

Double-Faced Cards

Deathbonnet Sprout

Into:  Karador, Version 3

Some nice self-mill that helps make Karador work better, then once it gets going will keep other players’ graveyards in check.  It’s not complicated, but it’s effective. 

Mysterious Tome

Into: The Altar of Thraximundar

The deck needs slightly better card draw and the ability to occasionally get creatures out of the way.  Mysterious Tome fits both of those bills in a nice, inexpensive package. 

There weren’t any artifacts that were good fits for the deck suite.  I’ll find spots somewhere for the new checklands; it just depends how many of them I end up with and when. 

I thought that the raw number of cards from the set that would make it into the suite would be relatively low because of all those that I would be reserving for building new decks.  I’ve set aside 27 cards here, which is about average for a normal set.  I suppose that’s just another way in which Innistrad: Midnight Hunt exceeds expectations. 

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