The Allied-Color Archetypes Of Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered Limited

Get ready for the Arena Open! Andy “Icky” Ferguson breaks down the allied-color archetypes of Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered Limited.

Thraben Inspector
Thraben Inspector, illustrated by Matt Stewart

We’ve had a week to play with Shadows Over Innistrad Remastered, and I am really enjoying the curated set thus far. This Saturday is an Arena Open, with Day One being Sealed and Day Two being Best-of-Three Draft. Today is the beginning of a two-part series just outlining the archetypes, what cards make them tick, and pictures!

I’ll try my best not to mention any of the rotating Shadows of the Past set cards, in an attempt to keep these examples relevant throughout the month of rotations.


For the most part, Azorius functions as a traditional flyers deck, specifically with Spirit synergies. In typical Azorius Flyers fashion, you want to play a tempo game using cheap and evasive creatures like Tattered Haunter or Topplegeist, while keeping tabs on the opponent with creatures like Sigardian Priest, Fogwalker, and Nebelgast Herald (Fogwalker and Herald work well together).

You want your spells to be cheap and effective, with Essence Flux being the best trick for the deck by a solid margin. Puncturing Light plays a nice role as another cheap interaction spell, and the ultimate tempo piece Drag Under is another all-star for the deck.

This is actually a deck I’m happy to play Devilthorn Fox in, as it can trade off with any early ground threat, or, if you’re feeling spicy, throw a Lunarch Mantle on it and see what happens! Drownyard Explorers typically does a good job stabilizing, as four toughness gets around a lot of problems. 


Dimir is a graveyard-focused deck, with a subtheme of Zombies. The main problem isn’t the value, as it feels like you always have things to do – the payoffs just don’t pay off. Graf Harvest is simply too slow, and exiling Ghoulcaller’s Accomplice for a free Zombie is nice, but it’s likely not game-breaking. Having access to both Rise from the Grave and Unburial Rites (during Week Two) makes this an ideal shell if you happen to get your hands on an Emrakul, the Promised End.

Aside from having some of the dedicated bombs, like Diregraf Colossus, Gisa and Geralf, or Prized Amalgam, there’s not too much reason to limit yourself to Dimir exclusively. The most common iteration is Sultai, as the green cards can offer a lot of delirium options, big creatures, and most importantly Grapple with the Past. There are some very real mill cards that lend themselves well to Sultai in Manic Scribe and Fleeting Memories. They are both uncommons, but if you pick them up early, it can be a powerful deck.

Dimir rises in strength during Flashback Week, which gives us Silent Departure and Forbidden Alchemy.


Rakdos is home to the madness mechanic, and it can be very powerful if it lines up well. You will want to make sure you get both enough discard enablers and enough madness cards to take full advantage.

The classic enablers are Olivia’s Dragoon, Ravenous Bloodseeker, and to a lesser extent Insolent Neonate. All of these creatures will allow you to cast madness cards at instant speed (including sorceries and creatures), and aren’t very sought after outside Rakdos. In terms of madness burn spells, Alchemist’s Greeting and Fiery Temper are the classics.

Creature-wise, Gisa’s Bidding is a lot stronger than most give credit to. Bloodmad Vampire is a great creature to sneak in during an end step and kill the opposing blocker to start growing the mad lad. Weirded Vampire and Insatiable Gorgers are pretty vanilla, but have solid stats to ambush attackers or push some damage. Call the Bloodline can be a very real win condition when paired with Indulgent Aristocrat. Some forget that Macabre Waltz makes you discard after returning creatures, which you can use to madness them right back to the fray.

The deck can be a bit finicky at times, and I’m almost always happy to include a copy of Tormenting Voice to smooth things out a bit!


Just like in the original Innistrad, Gruul keeps track of all the Wolves and Werewolves. A dedicated Wolves deck is actually pretty scary, as your creatures are likely much bigger than your opponent’s, and you have access to a two-mana kill any creature spell in Moonlight Hunt. Make sure you don’t go too light on threats, as they will enable a lot of your green removal, like Rabid Bite and Clear Shot.

While small Wolves like Deranged Whelp and Hinterland Logger are important to have, the medium to large doggos make the deck howl. Conduit of Storms and Howlpack Wolf may look unexciting, but they are some key components to start mid-game aggression. Green has access to the GOAT Wolf, Pack Guardian, who can really ruin someone’s day.

If you do get a real Wolves deck with fourteen or more Wolves, Howlpack Resurgence can not only ruin combat for your opponent, it can also provide a huge amount of unexpected trample damage. Gruul is also the best home for Blood Mist and Uncaged Fury, which can change the dynamic of the game entirely. 


Green has some sick uncommons for the Selesnya deck, with Hamlet Captain, Veteran Cathar, and Duskwatch Recruiter, along with Intrepid Provisioner at common, to help push damage through. White’s got some solid creatures to add to the mix as well, with Thraben Inspector, Sigardian Priest, and Steadfast Cathar all at common, and some very strong uncommon creatures with Nearheath Chaplain, Lone Rider, and Courageous Outrider – there’s really no shortage of good creatures to choose from.

We’re losing Week One’s Butcher’s Cleaver and Avacyn’s Collar that were there to support the Humans, but we still have a personal favorite with True-Faith Censer. An often-overlooked Equipment, the Censer turns your Thraben Inspector into a 3/3, and your Steadfast Cathar into a 4/4 with vigilance! Faith Unbroken is one of the best removal spells you have access to, and it pairs very well with the Ironclad Slayer if they do kill your creature.

We also have a fantastic engine to keep us drawing cards with Ulvenwald Mysteries, all the while spitting out 1/1 Human tokens. Given that we’re going to be doing a lot of hand-to-hand combat, you will inevitably need some pump spells or tricks. Confront the Unknown is my choice for best pump spell, as it should help you win most skirmishes and draw a card to keep the threats coming!

That’s it for the allied-color pairs, but I’ll be back soon to dive into the others before the weekend!

Lose and Learn, Learn and Win!