Innistrad: Midnight Hunt Set Review: Colorless & Lands

Welcome back to our Gladiator Innistrad: Midnight Hunt set review! This set is more about scary big creatures and graveyard shenanigans than lands and colorless cards, but I still have some thoughts to share with you.

Land Cycle

MTG Wiki calls this land cycle “hunt lands.” It resembles the one from Battle for Zendikar, e.g. Cinder Glade, but now the condition for entering untapped is more liberal at the cost of no basic land supertypes. Every land that produces more than one color of mana and can enter conditionally untapped is a treasure for Gladiator and those lands will see wide play in different deck archetypes. The condition of entering untapped only after the first two lands isn’t that bad, as Fabled Passage already sees wide play in Gladiator while being a turn slower. Obviously, the worst-case scenario will be using them in two-color low-curve Aggro decks that want to start playing cards from turn one, but they also play some important three- and four-drops that those lands will help cast. Aggro struggles a bit with the consistency of playing double-pip spells or sometimes mulligans hands with good spells but only one color of mana and these lands are another step into fixing those issues, without slowing the tempo as much as regular taplands, so I think they are worth including also there.

Hostile Hostel

You Come to a Suspicious-looking Inn… Oh, wait, we’re no longer in Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. Aristocrats decks might be interested in an additional sacrifice outlet tied to a land, but this card has several issues:

  • It allows you to sacrifice creatures only at sorcery speed, so you won’t be able to activate it in response to removal.
  • Aristocrats decks tend to be two or three colors and use cards like Cruel Celebrant along with Kroxa, Titan of Death’s Hunger in the same deck. This means you want to be careful with adding colorless lands, as they can really hurt your mana base and playing Hostile Hostel isn’t “free.”
  • The transformed creature has very defensive stats, no relevant keywords, and only a conditional ping ability. Evading any removal by phasing out is nice, but holding up four mana to do so is a huge ask.
  • It can’t exile cards from the opponent’s graveyard to deal with their spells with Escape or Flashback.
  • It’s an artifact. Have you ever traded four permanents for half a card? Opponents playing Kolaghan’s Command or Prismari Command can provide you with this experience.

It feels like this card has been preemptively scaled down in power and I don’t like it enough to play it. Does anybody remember what transformed Westvale Abbey looks like? I’ll remind you: Ormendahl, Profane Prince. Just look and compare.

Moonsilver Key

This is a potent tutor for Eggs or Academy style decks that focus on playing many noncreature artifacts. Searching for lands is a nice benefit if you’re short on them, but not the main reason to play this, since we already have Renegade Map. You can potentially fetch mana rocks like Gilded Lotus, Chromatic Orrery, Midnight Clock, or even Forsaken Monument. The former doesn’t have an activated mana ability, but a triggered one, that still makes it an eligible target. With Emry, Lurker of the Loch you’re able to return the Key and combined with other mana rocks and Paradox Engine you can loop and search for as many cards as you like. Another possible target is The Great Henge, although mana rocks and big creatures rarely go in pairs.

Pithing Needle

Needles tend to be very narrow, and this one is no exception. Gladiator needs answers with a wider spectrum of usage in order to make the main deck. Sorcerous Spyglass doesn’t see play here and Pithing Needle will likely share its fate.

The Celestus

Yet another iteration of Manalith. There aren’t enough good playables with Daybound / Nightbound to justify this as a way to pump our creatures by turning them to the night-side in 100-card singleton, especially for a cost of six mana. The day-night cycle will go on even without any creatures that care about it, so this might be relevant for decks that want more draw-discard effects. Although I still think that we have better tools to do that and mana rocks that are either cheaper, like Coldsteel Heart or have more relevant upsides, like Chromatic Lantern that fixes all mana, or Heraldic Banner for mono-colored Aggro.

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