The original Innistrad is the 56th Magic expansion and the first one to take on the plane of the same name. It was released on September 30, 2011 with 264 cards and has spawned various other sets and blocks on the same plane.
The plane was developed with top-down design in mind and is heavily themed on horror tropes. As such, the plane is filled with Zombies, Werewolves, Spirits and other classic references to the horror genre. Since the original block’s printing, which included Dark Ascension and Avacyn Restored, the plane has been revisited with four additional sits – Shadows over Innistrad, Eldritch Moon, Innistrad: Midnight Hunt and Innistrad: Crimson Vow.
Many popular emerged from the original set, many of which have gone to see success in eternal formats. Liliana of the Veil was a key part of Modern Jund decks as a cheap, difficult to answer threat. Delver of Secrets helped create an entire archetype by its name, called “Delver,” which has become one of the most prominent decks in Legacy. Finally, Snapcaster Mage has been a Modern mainstay. Snapcaster also features the likeness of Magic Invitational winner Thiago Chan.
Being a horror-themed set, Innistrad revolves heavily around using the graveyard. Flashback, a mechanic originally from Odyssey, returns as a way to capitalize on it. In particular, the Limited format was well-received for its use of graveyard mechanics, notably decks built around Spider Spawning and Burning Vengeance.
Several other cards have gone on to be format mainstays or key inclusions in archetypes. Champion of the Parish provides a cheap threat that grows with Magic’s most populous tribe, making it key to Humans decks in Modern and beyond. Blasphemous Act has the ability to function as a one-mana board wipe that can hit most creatures, especially with the larger board states of Commander games. Laboratory Maniac provided the first way to win with an empty library, an effect that’s been replicated on notably Thassa’s Oracle as well as Jace, Wielder of Mysteries.