Magic: The Gathering's Crimson Vow set brings plenty of vampires with it


It’s out in November

Magic: The Gathering just got spooky recently with the Midnight Hunt set, which is one part of the Innistrad one-two-punch. The next stop? Crimson Vow. We got a chance to see the new set for ourselves with Mike Turian (product architect) and Meris Mulalley (worldbuilding design manager); and once again they blew the art direction out of the water.

As Mullaley explains it, the center of Crimson Vow is not around the harvest, but Olivia Voldaren’s wedding, as a continuation of the most recent set. We’re off werewolves: it’s a vampire-centric set y’all. Heroic planeswalkers attempt to stop the wedding and event eternal night, so the phrase “crimson vow” has an obvious meaning here in context. Sorin is back in Planeswalker form, with Kaya, Chandra, Teferi, and Arlinn: all of whom want to best Olivia.

As far as mechanics go, daybound and nightbound return, as does disturb (which has been evolved to allow, say, creatures to return to the battlefield from the graveyard as an enchantment in spirit form). Exploit returns from previous sets (when creatures with exploit enter the battlefield, you may sacrifice a creature). It’s also completing the cycle of dual lands from Midnight Hunt (tapped unless you control two or more lands).

There’s new stuff, of course. Blood tokens make an entrance in this set: tap one mana, sacrifice this artifact, discard a card: draw a card. Very fitting, thematically. Turian says that they opted not to go with the old clue mechanic because of theme considerations; and that they might come back. “They are now permanently part of Magic,” he noted.

Training is new, too (whenever this creature attacks with another creature with greater power, put a +1/+1 counter on this creature. Like many mechanics, I suspect this one could lead to a few powerful meta combos with super cheap trainees. Cleave lets you cast a spell for its cleave cost: if you do, remove the words in square brackets, such as search your library for a [basic land] card, [reveal it,] put it in your hand, then shuffle. So in other words, it can be any card, and it’s not revealed. That card, Dig Up, is one green mana by the way, and scales up just like kickers always have with that cleave effect.

As a cherry on top, Olivia and Soren will be getting Sisters of the Undead and Count Dracula alts, respectively: with Bram Stoker’s Dracula flavor text quotes. These will be done in “Dracula Series Cards” via box toppers and collector boosters (non-foil and foil). Olivia and Soren will get Magic: Arena avatars and there will be at least one new battlefield. They went all-out on the vampire theme, and I’m here for it all the way until the next rotation (Crimson Vow is in the far-future Q4 2023 rotation). Crimson Vow hits Arena on November 11, with pre-release on November 12, and tabletop to follow.

In the meantime, here’s the goods! Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty is next in a few months or so.