Innistrad: Midnight Hunt continues the trend of printing commons with Pauper potential. While it feels like a lifetime ago, Strixhaven injected a ton of interesting options into the format and Midnight Hunt looks to do the same (now that we are out from under the thumb of all those squirrels). Now that I am writing these reviews here I figured I could do things a little differently. I am not going to be discussing every common, but I can give more time to those that are a bit more fringe. Let’s start with White!
At first glance Blessed Defiance looks like a nifty trick with potential for Heroic. It targets a creature and can give you a huge life swing and, in a pinch, can leave you with a relevant creature if things go sideways. That being said it probably does not do enough. Heroic has better options for gaining life (Seeker of the Way and Lifelink) and other ways to generate tokens to eat Edicts (Cartouche of Solidarity). In builds that are focused on Double Cleave this could see play but even then that might be a big ask.
There’s a lot to like about this Viridian Zealot knock-off. First, it can get in there for three points of damage. Second, it has a relevant creature type for Pauper in Soldier (we see you Gemplam Avenger fans). Third, it has Flash, which means Mystical Teachings can fetch this up. Did you ever expect Tron to run a Blade of the Sixth Pride, because I sure didn’t. This card is fantastic and while it will not change the format, it is almost sure to see play. The low cost and the ability to get around Negate and Dispel will come into play. And let’s not forget that this fits very nicely into everyone’s favorite Little Engine that Could in Tortured Existence.
Let’s set aside whether Day/Night will be a thing outside of this card. On its own, Celestus Sanctifier is a bit behind the curve at a three mana 3/2. The ability to curate the top of your library in White is something we have not seen that much of outside of Scry and Sanctifier’s ability is better than Scry as it can bin Battle Screech or Cenn’s Enlistment. The problem with this is Day/Night, which asks you to alternate casting two spells and then no spells on your turns to reliably trigger the change in the cycle. I am not sure there is enough incentive to have this card be “on” consistently, but that fact that it exists could prove an important piece in some undiscovered deck moving forward.
Now this is a card that Heroic can use. In an average case this is going to be four +1/+1 counters for two mana, no to mention two Prowess triggers. But that’s just the start of what this card can do. We have seen more Arcbound creatures in White as of late and pairing this with Arcbound Mouser and Arcbound Worker, and maybe some of the Proliferate cards that have been printed could be good enough to make a Porcelain Legionnaire deck a true threat in the format. Pairing these cards with Green gets you Travel Preparations and Duskshell Crawler but Red might be better thanks to Galvanic Blast and Foundry Helix.
Lunarch Veteran is not quite good enough to see play in Pauper as there are two cards – Soul’s Attendant and Soul Warden – that can gain you more life. However, given that you get an extra card out of Veteran in Luminous Phantom, and one that plays nicely with the more Aristocrat-bent Soul Sisters – and you have a potent one drop. Lunarch Veteran. has the upside of allowing you to spend mana in the late game as well, something these token strategies can often need when facing down more powerful endgame decks. If I had to pick a card that was for sure going to make a 5-0 League list as a 4-of, it would be this card.
Search Party Captain is great. It is often going to be a 2/2 for 1W that draws you a card on turn three, which puts it slightly ahead of Thraben Inspector. Of course there’s also the opportunity for this to end up as an Isamaru that draws you a card on turn four, leaving you open to cast more spells and add to your board presence. In white decks that want to build out their army the Captain is a fantastic way to keep the cards flowing. At four mana it is much harder to counter with Spellstutter Sprite, especially after being picked up by Kor Skyfisher. I cannot wait to see what this card does.
So that’s White in Midnight Hunt with regards to Pauper. What do you think? Which of these is your favorite and what decks are you eager to build? Do you think I missed on a card? Let me know!