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Shadows over Innistrad
Shadows over Innistrad
Set Information
Set symbol
Symbol description A shadow/reflection of Avacyn's collar, the symbol of her church.
Design Mark Gottlieb (lead)
Mark Rosewater
Ken Nagle
Gavin Verhey
Sam Stoddard
Andrew Veen
Adam Lee
Development Dave Humpherys (lead)
Tim Aten
Ethan Fleischer
Erik Lauer
Ari Levitch
Sam Stoddard
with contributions from Matt Tabak
Art direction Jeremy Jarvis
Release date April 8, 2016
Plane Innistrad
Themes and mechanics Discard, Graveyard matters, Tribal matters, Double-faced cards
Keywords/​ability words Delirium, Investigate, Madness, Skulk, Transform
Set size 297 cards
(105 commons, 100 uncommons, 59 rares, 18 mythic rares, 15 basic lands)
Expansion code SOI[1]
Development codename Tears
Shadows over Innistrad block
Shadows over Innistrad Eldritch Moon N/A
Magic: The Gathering Chronology
Welcome Deck 2016 Shadows over Innistrad Eternal Masters

Shadows over Innistrad is the seventieth Magic expansion, and the first in the Shadows over Innistrad block. It was released on April 8, 2016,[2][3] and is a large expansion.[4]

Set details[ | ]

“  Unravel the Madness  ”

Shadows over Innistrad returns to the gothic horror-themed plane of Innistrad, emphasizing a sense of mystery and creeping dread. The expansion symbol of the set is an upside-down reflection of Avacyn's symbol. The set features the same tribal components as the Innistrad block with the five main tribes each being split over an allied color pair.[5] Spirits primarily in white and blue, Zombies in blue and black, Vampires in black and red, Werewolves in red and green, and Humans primarily in green and white. For the mechanics, R&D made a conscious decision to return more to Innistrad the set than Innistrad the block.[6]

Shadows over Innistrad contains 297 cards (15 basic lands,[7] 105 commons, 100 uncommons, 59 rares, 18 mythic rares), including randomly inserted premium versions of all cards in the set. This is about 25 cards more than other large expansions in recent history. This is because Shadows over Innistrad also sees the return of double-faced cards which have a card frame printed on each side. Two different checklist cards may be used to prevent decks from becoming marked by containing them. These checklist cards replace the basic land in some boosters. Additionally, the design team embraced the idea of having a "double-faced cards matter" theme. The as-fan of the double-faced cards is about 1.125, meaning you always get at least one and sometimes get two.[6] A normal pack contains a common or uncommon double-faced card. Approximately one in every eight packs also contains a rare or mythic double-faced card in addition to a normal rare or mythic rare (the rare or mythic rare double-faced card replaces a common one). These packs will have two double-faced cards, the common/uncommon and the rare/mythic rare.[8]

SOI Checklist 1

Checklist card (uncommons and commons)

SOI Checklist 2

Checklist card (mythics and rares)

Storyline[ | ]

Innistrad is a world beset by terrible evils on all sides and betrayed by the hope it held most dear. Avacyn has finally returned, but what new evils have come with her? Madness is plaguing the inhabitants. Terror falls from the skies on blood-spattered wings and nameless horrors lurk in the shadows. Odd things are afoot: the forces that had protected the humans have been twisted into something dark and strange.[9] Jace Beleren of the Gatewatch investigates its dark mysteries. Meanwhile, Sorin is in search of the whereabouts of Nahiri.

The cards that represent the pivotal moments in the storyline are: Descend Upon the Sinful, Declaration in Stone, Epiphany at the Drownyard, Avacyn's Judgment, Anguished Unmaking [10]

Magic Story[ | ]

Main article: Magic Story
Title Author Release Date Setting (plane) Featuring
Under the Silver Moon Kimberly J. Kreines 2016-03-02 Innistrad Halana, Alena, Warin, Kolman, Somlon, Mary, Glather, Evelin, Shoran, Elsa, Palter, Bes Palter, Orwell, Ormendahl, Arlinn Kord
A Gaze Blank and Pitiless Ken Troop 2016-03-09 Innistrad Avacyn, Kelse, Maeli, Macher, Liont, Hilde, Nickers, Talia, Kan, Sigarda, Bruna, Gisela, Hanse
Unwelcome Kelly Digges 2016-03-16 Innistrad Jace Beleren, Liliana Vess
Sacrifice Michael Yichao 2016-03-23 Innistrad Mia, Wilbur, Veryl, Lehren, Kalim, Olgard, Sarah, Kyle, Terrance, Verna, Ethan, Gitrog monster
The Mystery of Markov Manor James Wyatt 2016-03-30 Innistrad Jace Beleren, Jenrik, Liliana Vess
Drownyard Temple Mel Li 2016-04-06 Innistrad Jace Beleren, Jenrik, Tamiyo, Liliana Vess, Emrakul
Promises Old and New Ari Levitch 2016-04-13 Innistrad Sorin Markov, Olivia Voldaren, Nahiri, Avacyn
Liliana's Indignation Kelly Digges 2016-04-20 Innistrad Liliana Vess, Raven Man, Jace Beleren, Gared, Dierk
Games Alison Luhrs 2016-04-27 Innistrad Ludevic, Geralf Cecani, Odric, Grete, Gisa Cecani, Nahiri, Liliana Vess
Lunarch Inquisition James Wyatt 2016-05-04 Innistrad Thalia, Odric, Manfried Ulmach, Grete, Jerren, Ormendahl, Quilion, Carlin, Dougan, Marta, Haral, Traft
Stories and Endings Nik Davidson 2016-05-11 Innistrad Tamiyo, Jace Beleren, Avacyn
I Am Avacyn Doug Beyer 2016-05-18 Innistrad Tamiyo, Jace Beleren, Avacyn, Sorin Markov

Tamiyo's Journal puzzle[ | ]

In the spoiler season, people[11][12] noticed that the quotes from Tamiyo's Journal on the clue tokens differed for each language. This was eventually discovered to point to a code that produced a secret message. To find the message, write down the number of words in the flavor text of each of the six clue tokens. Then, look at the entry number in the flavor text of Tamiyo's Journal. Find the clue whose flavor text has several words equal to the first digit of the entry number. On that clue, find the word whose position in the flavor text corresponds to the second digit of the entry number. The third digit indicates where that word is positioned in the secret message. If you repeat this for each other language you get a word from each language and a position in the secret message (English and German have the same word in the same position). After you arrange the words in order, the secret message is: “Remember this they came as three”, referencing Ugin's insight and hinting at the presence of the surviving Eldrazi Emrakul.[11]

Marketing[ | ]

Shadows over Innistrad is sold in 16-card boosters (one card being a marketing card), five intro packs, one fat pack, a Deck Builder's Toolkit, Booster Battle Packs and a Gift Box.[13] The boosters feature artwork from Falkenrath Gorger, Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon, Avacyn, the Purifier, Sorin, Grim Nemesis and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets. Due to the Two-Block Paradigm, the Deck Builder's Toolkit is the first of its kind to be released with an expansion instead of a core set. The Gift Box is the first of its kind to be released with a spring set.

Part of the marketing campaign for Shadows over Innistrad is the publication of The Hanweir Chronicle, an Innistrad newspaper providing clues for the storyline.[14] On March 5–6, Wizards of the Coast hosted “escape rooms” in the form of Markov Manor, Thraben Cathedral and a Stitcher's Lab at various Grand Prix events around the world, while the online audience solved a variety of puzzles to unlock cards from the set.[15][16]

Prerelease[ | ]

Prerelease Events took place on April 2–3, 2016.[17]

Promotional Cards[ | ]

Tokens and emblems[ | ]

Clue artifact token 1

Clue artifact token with the symbol of the Westvale Cult.

  1. {W} 4/4 Angel with Flying for Descend upon the Sinful and Invocation of Saint Traft[19]
  2. {W} 1/1 Human Soldier for Sigarda, Heron's Grace, Strength of Arms and Ulvenwald Mysteries
  3. {W} 1/1 Spirit with Flying for Dauntless Cathar, Drogskol Cavalry, Emissary of the Sleepless, Not Forgotten, Nearheath Chaplain, Slayer's Plate and Vessel of Ephemera
  4. {B} 1/1 Vampire Knight with Lifelink for Call the Bloodline and Sorin, Grim Nemesis
  5. {B} 2/2 Zombie for Diregraf Colossus, Drunau Corpse Trawler, From Under the Floorboards, Ghoulcaller's Accomplice, Gisa's Bidding, Rise from the Tides and Shamble Back
  6. {R} 1/1 Devil with “When this creature dies, it deals 1 damage to target creature or player.” for Dance with Devils and Devils' Playground
  7. {G} 1/1 Insect for Crawling Sensation
  8. {G} 3/3 Ooze for Inexorable Blob
  9. {G} 2/2 Wolf for Arlinn Kord, Cult of the Waxing Moon, Pack Guardian and Silverfur Partisan
  10. {W/B} 1/1 Human Cleric for Westvale Abbey and Westvale Cult Leader
  11. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.” for InvestigateBearer of Overwhelming Truths, Briarbridge Patrol, Bygone Bishop, Byway Courier, Confirm Suspicions, Confront the Unknown, Declaration in Stone, Drownyard Explorers, Erdwal Illuminator, Expose Evil, Fleeting Memories, Gone Missing, Humble the Brute, Jace's Scrutiny, Magnifying Glass, Ongoing Investigation, Press for Answers, Root Out, Survive the Night, Tamiyo's Journal, Thraben Inspector, Tireless Tracker, Trail of Evidence, Ulvenwald Mysteries, Weirding Wood
  12. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
  13. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
  14. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
  15. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
  16. {C} Clue artifact with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.”
  17. Emblem for Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon
  18. Emblem for Jace, Unraveler of Secrets

Welcome Deck 2016 and Booster Battle Packs[ | ]

Shadows over Innistrad is accompanied with a 16-card reprint set named Welcome Deck 2016, which is Standard-legal as long as Shadows over Innistrad is legal.[20] The cards from this expansion are not found in booster packs, but are in various supplemental products like the Deck Builder's Toolkit and the new Booster Battle Packs.

Booster Battle Packs contain two of five 30-card ready-to-play decks, and two Shadows over Innistrad booster packs. The five monocolored ready-to-play decks are available as free sample decks at Wizards Play Network locations around the world.

Themes and mechanics[ | ]

Clue artifact token 2

Clue artifact token depicting a Cryptolith.

Themes from the set are tribal and graveyard matters.

The Madness mechanic returns from Torment, having last been seen in Time Spiral.[6][21] It allows you to pay an alternate cost to cast a spell if it is discarded. In the current set it is mostly associated with vampires.[22]

Transform returns from the Innistrad block. To transform means to turn over a double-faced card, changing the card face that is visible. The front or "day" side of the card has a regular card frame, a mana cost, and the sun symbol. The reverse or "night" side has the moon symbol and a slightly altered frame.

There are three new named mechanics:[6][23][24]

Card types[ | ]

Shadows over Innistrad introduces the Clue artifact subtype, the Mole creature type, and the Arlinn planeswalker subtype.

Cycles[ | ]

Shadows over Innistrad has eight cycles and a partial cycle:

Cycle name {W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Crazed creatures Topplegeist Manic Scribe Tooth Collector Gibbering Fiend Obsessive Skinner
Five uncommon creatures which repeat their ETB-ability each turn when they reach delirium.
Vessels Vessel of Ephemera Vessel of Paramnesia Vessel of Malignity Vessel of Volatility Vessel of Nascency
Five common enchantments with an activated ability that sacrifices it.[26]
Common another-tribal creatures Apothecary Geist Lamplighter of Selhoff Stromkirk Mentor Howlpack Wolf Intrepid Provisioner
Five common creatures that improve when played while another of its tribe is on the battlefield.
Enemy friendly color cards Nahiri's Machinations ({R}) Ongoing Investigation ({G}) Behind the Scenes ({W}) Geistblast ({U}) Autumnal Gloom ({B})
Five uncommon monocolored cards for 1M or 2M with an activated ability that require an enemy color.
Tiny Tribal lords Spectral Shepherd ({U}) Drunau Corpse Trawler ({B}) Olivia's Bloodsworn ({R}) Ulrich's Kindred ({G}) Veteran Cathar ({W})
Five uncommon creatures that support the deck archetype for each tribe and with an activated ability that requires an allied color.
Tribal lords Thalia's Lieutenant Rattlechains Diregraf Colossus Falkenrath Gorger Silverfur Partisan
Five rare creatures that support the deck archetype for each tribe.
Rare Transformers Hanweir Militia Captain Thing In The Ice Elusive Tormentor Geier Reach Bandit Sage of Ancient Lore
Westvale Cult Leader Awoken Horror Insidious Mist Vildin-Pack Alpha Werewolf of Ancient Hunger
Five rare transforming DFCs.
Cycle name {W}{U} {U}{B} {B}{R} {R}{G} {G}{W}
Shadow lands Port Town Choked Estuary Foreboding Ruins Game Trail Fortified Village
Five rare dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped, except if you reveal a land with the corresponding basic land type from your hand.
Cycle name {W}{B} {U}{R} {B}{G} {R}{W} {G}{U}
Enemy color taplands Forsaken Sanctuary Highland Lake Foul Orchard Stone Quarry Woodland Stream
Five uncommon dual lands that enter the battlefield tapped.

Partial cycle[ | ]

Reprinted cards[ | ]

Common to Uncommon[ | ]

Functional reprints[ | ]

Colorshifted[ | ]

Card comparisons[ | ]

Notable cards[ | ]

  • Triskaidekaphobia is an alternate loss card.
  • The dual land cycle (such as Choked Estuary) saw substantial play in Standard as well as Pioneer.
  • Tireless Tracker is a powerful value engine in every format from Standard to Modern.
  • Westvale Abbey is a high upside utility land that was played in numerous aggro and control decks in Standard.
  • The Gitrog Monster is among the most heavily played green-black commanders in the casual Commander format and is notable for numerous complicated combos, such as interactions during the cleanup step with Dakmor Salvage.
  • Thalia's Lieutenant is a staple in white aggro decks built around humans from Standard to Modern.
  • Duskwatch Recruiter is a key part of creature toolbox decks in Modern, where it can help find the right creature for any given situation and provide significant card advantage.
  • Lambholt Pacifist was among the best creatures for green aggro decks in Standard which could easily enable it to attack.
  • Rattlechains has helped power Spirit-based aggro decks in Pioneer and Modern, as it provides a powerful protection ability, good aggressive stats, and a lord effect that improves many other Spirits.
  • Falkenrath Gorger is the first 2-power 1-drop in red with only upsides.
  • Prized Amalgam is a crucial part of Dredge decks in Modern and Vintage, which can return creature cards like Narcomoeba and Silversmote Ghoul from the graveyard to the battlefield without spending any mana.
  • Pieces of the Puzzle is a strong card selection and advantage spell for decks with high spell density in Pauper and Pioneer.
  • Archangel Avacyn dominated Standard and is notorious for holding an expensive price while she was legal.
  • Thraben Inspector was a staple in white aggro decks in Standard and has also seen heavy play in Pioneer and Modern. It is especially strong in Pauper, where it is one of the most played cards in the entire format.
  • Insolate Neonate is a simple discard enabler for graveyard-focused decks in Pauper and Modern.
  • Thing in the Ice is a strong card for spell-based decks in Pioneer and Modern such as those built around Arclight Phoenix.
  • Anguished Unmaking is a flexible removal spell that saw play in Standard and Modern, while Declaration in Stone was a Standard and Pioneer staple.
  • Descend Upon The Sinful suffered from a translation error in French; using the acute accent instead of the circumflex, "sinners" becomes "fishers" or "fishermen".

Preconstructed decks[ | ]

Shadows over Innistrad has five intro packs:

Intro pack name Colors Included Foil rare
{W} {U} {B} {R} {G}
Ghostly Tide W U Drogskol Cavalry
Vampiric Thirst B R Markov Dreadknight
Horrific Visions B G Soul Swallower
Angelic Fury W R Flameblade Angel
Unearthed Secrets U G Nephalia Moondrakes

References[ | ]

  1. Information below the text box
  2. Wizards of the Coast (November 2, 2015). "Announcing Shadows over Innistrad". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Shadows over Innistrad Teaser Trailer (October 31, 2015)
  4. Wizards of the Coast (March 30, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Sam Stoddard (March 18, 2016). "Revisiting Tribal". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. a b c d Mark Rosewater (March 14, 2016). "Chasing Shadows, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  7. Blake Rasmussen (March 21, 2016). "The Basic Lands of Shadows over Innistrad". Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Blake Rasmussen (March 24, 2016). "The March 24, 2016 Update". Wizards of the Coast.
  9. Chas Andres (May 30, 2016). "Something Twisted This Way Comes". Wizards of the Coast.
  10. Kelly Digges on Twitter
  11. a b SOI Puzzle Clue token flavor texts
  12. Tamiyos Journal Puzzle Solved
  13. Blake Rasmussen (March 7, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Packaging". Wizards of the Coast.
  14. Alison Luhrs (May 31, 2016). "Hanweir Chronicle Recap". Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Wizards of the Coast (March 8, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Weekend Experience Recap". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Innistrad map
  17. Gavin Verhey (March 28, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease Primer". Wizards of the Coast.
  18. Blake Rasmussen (March 14, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Intro Packs and Promo Cards". Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Blake Rasmussen (March 22, 2016). "The Tokens of Shadows over Innistrad". Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Daily Magic Update (March 25, 2016). "Announcing New Battle Booster Packs". Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Sam Stoddard (April 1, 2016). "A Fond Memory of Madness". Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Dave Humpherys (March 21, 2016). "Developing Shadows over Innistrad". Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Matt Tabak (March 7, 2016). "Shadows over Innistrad Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Mark Rosewater (March 21, 2016). "Chasing Shadows, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Sam Stoddard (March 25, 2016). "Finding Delirium". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Marshall Sutcliffe (March 23, 2016). "Empty Vessels No Longer". Wizards of the Coast.
  27. Gavin Verhey (March 22, 2016). "Facing Judgment". Wizards of the Coast.