7 Takeaways from the Shadows over Innistrad Prerelease

This past weekend I played in the Shadows over Innistrad prerelease, and I learned some critical lessons about the Limited format.

1. Seasons Past is a Bomb

First things first—this card can return a land from your graveyard to your hand. That may be obvious, but it sure wasn’t for me. In my mind, I compared this to All Sun’s Dawn, which has a similar effect and clearly can’t return lands, but getting different casting costs means a land is 0, and in this format it’s somewhat common for a land to end up in the graveyard. There is a decision to make about whether you want an extra land once you already have 6, or to leave the land in the graveyard for delirium, but that’s deck-dependent.

While Seasons Past is a great rare, it is slow—if your opponent has a good aggressive black/­red Vampires deck, I would consider siding it out. It’s hard to use when you’re behind, but in games where you sit around and trade 1-for-1, it’s one of the best cards you can have.

Keep in mind that when this card resolves it goes to the bottom of your library, which means it’s a terrible way to get a sorcery for delirium. That also means that you can’t get decked if you have it. Both came up for me.

2. Lambholt Pacifist Counts Itself

If you have any card that can pump it to +1 power, it’s a 4-power attacking creature for 2 mana even without transforming.

3. Confront the Unknown Gives +1/+1 for Each Clue You Control

When I first read this card, I assumed it was just a newer, more interesting version of Aggressive Urge, which is good but not amazing. Given that it counts each Clue you control, it scales up—it can be a Giant Growth with serious upside (as it was against me, catching me by surprise). I like this card and I would be surprised to cut it from any green deck with a decent number of cheap creatures.

4. Thraben Inspector is Playable

It’s not an amazing card by any stretch of the imagination, but as my 23rd card I was pleasantly surprised. I wanted a 1­-drop for my Seasons Past and I’ve always been a fan of Elvish Visionary, so I figured, “why not?”

Here’s a tip: some of the time, if you have this card in your opening hand, you should not cast it on turn 1. Having a cheap spell to cast to prevent the cheap Werewolves from flipping can be more valuable than the 1 or 2 damage you would chip in for in the early game. There’s the occasional Clue or Human synergy too. Not an amazing card, but not embarrassing to put in your deck.

5. Skin Invasion is Great

The potential for this card is huge—you can either pair it with removal to have a 1­-mana 3/4 or you can live the dream and do what the card asks you to do: put it on their smaller creature, block with your bigger creature, and get 1-mana, destroy target creature and put a 3/4 into play. Insane.

6. Pack Guardian is the Best Uncommon in the Set

This card is completely ridiculous and quite difficult to play around. I had an opponent cast it against me and I went from having a reasonable chance of winning the game to 0%, which can happen in Sealed—but to an uncommon at 4 mana? Totally unreasonable.

7. Wicker Witch is Solid

I saw almost every Wicker Witch opened at the prerelease make its way into the owner’s deck because it’s an acceptable curve filler and it has the bonus of putting a unique card type into your graveyard for delirium. The high-power, low-toughness combination means it’s easy to block and kill, and its difficult to stomach taking 3 just to hamstring delirium. So you get to trade it for a card and get some value for delirium later in the game, which is more than your normal 3-drop would do. It’s still much worse than something like Byway Courier, but worthy of your attention.


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