Fear not, good people of Innistrad! Though the night is full of terrors, you are safe here under the protection of the Cathars. Let us all take shelter in the light of Sigarda, as I tell you about the new white cards from Innistrad: Midnight Hu— Brother? Are you growling?
Adeline, Splendid Cathar
A very apt name, as this Cathar is splendid in a variety of white decks looking to generate as many bodies as possible. She will always attack as at least a 2/4, but more often she’ll have three or four power. Four toughness is also a big deal, making red opponents shake their fist as they stare at a handful of three damage burn spells. And if all that weren’t enough, she triggers off of any of your creatures attacking, so she can generate immediate value if you play her before combat. Expect to see her pop up in White Aggro, Tokens, Soul Sisters, and a variety of other decks looking to make an army of tiny idiots.
Why is she bereaved before anything dies? Who knows! But at least it doesn’t take much for her to realize the solution to her problem is resurrecting the dead. This card is at its best in Aristocrats, where transforming it is trivial. Similar to Lurrus of the Dream-Den, this can get back anything from Blood Artist to Selfless Savior. The only issue is how vulnerable it is. Both sides die to Shock, and needing to attack makes it hard to get back multiple creatures with it for extra value. As much as I like this card, I’m going to have to mourn the fact that it asks too much for what it does.
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Banishing Light? Did you get a new haircut? Other than the name, Banishing Light and Borrowed Time are completely identical. The advantage of this kind of removal has always been its flexibility and the fact that it exiles. On the other hand, it’s also expensive, at sorcery speed and can be removed with cards like Gemrazer. White has gotten a few new removal options in this set, but if you want another copy of this classic then you’re in luck.
Brutal Cathar // Moonrage Brute
I’ve tried to justify playing Fairgrounds Warden for longer than I probably should have. Now I can play a good card instead! This has a lot of the same advantages and disadvantages as the Warden. Being a creature means it dies to lots of spot removal, but also means it can be protected with cards like Fight as One or Restoration Angel. The two toughness on the front does mean it dies to Shock, but that’s the only downside compared to Fairgrounds Warden.
White is a color that can make great use of the day/night mechanic. Whether with flash threats like Guardian of Faith or mana sinks like Paladin Class, flipping this to be a 3/3 first striker that bolts your opponent if they try to kill it isn’t too hard.
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Then, if you flip it again you can exile a second creature, and that can be truly brutal. Cards that reward you for constantly cycling day and night like this and Gavony Dawnguard also force your opponent into what can be an awkward play pattern for them. If it’s day then they’re pressured to cast a spell on their turn, which if they would rather play at instant speed or use mana sinks is annoying, and likewise at night they’re disincentivized from casting multiple spells.
With this and Demotion, you can build your own Pacifism! Demotion has seen some play in Mono-White Aggro, since that deck cares more about removing blockers than attackers. Likewise, Candletrap is a potential pick for Control decks that don’t care about blockers. One mana removal spells are fairly rare, especially in white. Against most Aggro threats this is extremely efficient, since their cards mostly just ram into you as quickly as possible. Even against certain midrange staples, like Elder Gargaroth, this humble enchantment will do a lot of work. In the decks that want this effect the Coven ability will rarely be active, so it’s not worth considering. There are of course still downsides, whether it’s the fact that it doesn’t deal with something like Luminarch Aspirant or Blood Artist, or that it can be removed with blink effects like Ephemerate. That said, the cheap cost makes those disadvantages reasonable in Control or Enchantress decks, so expect to see it there.
Gone are the days of Oketra’s Avenger, now people want their two mana 3/1s to have “keywords” and “flexibility”. Thrashing Brontodon has been a long time favorite of green decks in Gladiator, and now white has its own version. Similar to the Brontodon, Cathar Commando offers a solid but unexciting body on its own. A 3/1 with flash can kill people pretty quickly while playing around wraths or counterspells, but it also gets blocked by a measly Goblin token. The added flexibility of using it as a Disenchant is this card’s real strength. Dedicating a slot to a card that only removes artifacts and enchantments is never worth it in Gladiator, but letting your opponent draw a million cards off of The Great Henge is an easy way to lose a game. If you’re in an aggressive white deck and want a way to deal with pesky high impact artifacts and enchantments, this is a solid pick.
Chaplain of Alms // Chaplain of Shieldgeist
Nothing says White Weenie like a one mana 1/1 with two keyword abilities. First strike is nice to block a variety of X/1 creatures, while ward means your opponent’s removal will always trade down in terms of mana spent. Throw a Bonesplitter or some +1/+1 counters on this and suddenly your opponent will be sweating while they eye their life total. Later, if you haven’t turned your opponent into a ghost, you can turn Chaplain of Alms into one by casting it from your graveyard. Four mana for a 2/1 flier is steep, but first strike and giving all your other creatures ward 1 is pretty strong, especially since you already got to use this as an early threat. In a white deck looking for a high density of one drops, this fills that role pretty well.
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Enduring Angel // Angelic Enforcer
“I spend five mana to cast my Enduring Angel, you’ll never kill me now Mono-Red player!”
“Lightning Bolt, attack for lethal.”
This card’s low toughness and high pip density are pretty shaky ground to start on, especially for a five drop. The transformation can only happen if you’re close to losing, and since it’s so easy to remove you probably still won’t get to see the back half of this card. The flip side does spiral out of control very quickly, but since you can’t transform it reliably that’s not enough. Most of the time you’ll be better sticking to the classic white five drops like Baneslayer Angel and Lyra Dawnbringer, which are easier to cast, harder to kill, and more consistent.
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This card is going to be a white staple for a long time. I’m so confident I’d carve that Declaration in Stone. Compared to Declaration this is instant speed and hits planeswalkers, but destroys instead of exiling. Declaration in Stone also has the ability to remove multiple tokens without giving your opponent any Clues, which can save you from something like a Starnheim Unleashed. The two have enough differences in their uses that it’s hard to make a definitive statement on which is better. Fortunately, that doesn’t matter since you’ll just end up playing both.
When day becomes night and night becomes day, Militia Bugler becomes obsolete. As mentioned before, white is one of the best colors for making use of the day/night cycle, so an on-rate creature that can draw multiple cards with that mechanic is pretty enticing. In a purely aggressive deck it is a bit too slow though, since the enter-the-battlefield trigger doesn’t trigger the card draw ability. There is a deck that can be grindy while playing an abundance of cheap creatures, however. No, not Aristocrats. It might be alright there, but the double white pips are a bit awkward since that deck’s mainly black. I’m talking about Soul Sisters. Whether you’re equipping your creatures or activating Heliod, Sun-Crowned, you have a variety of ways to get the first trigger off of this without wasting your turn. Any more triggers past that are just icing on the cake. Whether this is reliable enough or not will require testing, but I think the potential of this card is too high to ignore.
A 3/1 lifelinker for two mana isn’t bad, but I think it’s a little late for a card like this. There’s just too many ways for this to die, from a random 1/1 token to a Spikefield Hazard. Maybe a few months ago this would see play, but— Huh? There’s more text? Oh, oh my.
So this card is incredible for Mono-White. As I said earlier, a 3/1 lifelinker is decent already, but the flexibility here is the real selling point. Playing this as a four drop gets you a 4/2 lifelinker that pumps all your other creatures, and anything beyond that is just excessive. It’s also an enter-the-battlefield trigger, so you can do things like cast Ephemerate and pump mana into it after playing it as a two drop early on. This card is an easy pickup for Mono-White, and worth considering in any other white Aggro decks as well.
Lunarch Veteran // Luminous Phantom
An Impassioned Orator style of card that turns into a Spirit? This really puts the soul in Soul Sisters! This is only the second for this type of effect at one mana in Gladiator, the other being the deck’s namesake, Soul Warden. On its own this is enough for this card to be a staple in this deck, even if it doesn’t trigger off of your opponent’s creatures. If that weren’t enough, you can even recast it as a cheap 1/1 flier after it dies. The flip side isn’t as potent, since triggering off of leaving the battlefield isn’t really what the deck is looking for, but it’s a nice bonus for an already great card. This is yet another upgrade for the deck hot off the heels of cards like Ranger-Captain of Eos and Trelasarra, Moon Dancer, so keep an eye on this archetype.
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Will you at some point end up paying four mana for this and then immediately die to a Hellrider? Probably. Is that okay? Maybe. The best place for this is Mono-White Soul Sisters, where the large amount of lifegain can put you in a position to not be punished for taking a turn to play it. Once you untap with it you can start gaining life off of every spell you cast, which is great in this kind of deck. And if you start drawing cards off it then it does a solid job of letting you grind out your opponent. Even here though, it’s still pretty slow. It will take a bit for it to start drawing cards, and that card draw isn’t reliable. Even a Control deck can send half of an Electrolyze at your face to prevent that extra value. Cosmos Elixir has seen some niche play though, and this is usually an upgrade over that, so it might make an appearance now and then.
No, you can’t get Reveillark. We already have Reveillark at home. Unfortunately Reveillark at home cares about mana value rather than power, so no shenanigans with Body Double or Agent of Treachery. There are some potential combo applications, but the requirement to cast the card means this doesn’t work for something like a Prime Speaker Vannifar Combo deck. In a more value oriented application there are a variety of powerful two drops this could retrieve, such as Luminarch Aspirant or Scavenging Ooze. Still, for a five drop it seems unreliable, so until we have a good combo that makes use of this I don’t expect it to see much play.
Two mana for a three power creature that doesn’t trade with a Squirrel token? With incidental graveyard hate and a way to protect itself? And absolutely gorgeous art to boot? I think I’m in love. The stats and graveyard hate are already enough for me to want to play this card in white Aggro decks, but the Coven ability really pushes it over the edge. White has an easy time getting the ability going, as it has a large number of one and two power creatures. Even a good number of three drops have two power, so curving a Healer’s Hawk, into Sungold Sentinel, into Reidane, God of the Worthy is smooth as can be. Once you have Coven online you can protect the Sentinel from removal or get around big blockers, plus you don’t have the awkward interaction of giving something Protection from White when it has a Maul of the Skyclaves equipped. This is a strong contender for the two drop slot in any aggressive deck that includes white.
Aww, it’s a little baby Timely Reinforcements. This adorable two mana sorcery exactly matches the rate of its older sibling, giving two life and one token per mana spent. This serves as another anti-aggro card in Control decks, which can almost always expect to have fewer creatures and lower life than their opponents. The final ability is not that relevant, since a Control deck usually has more cards than their opponent, but it does mean you can effectively cycle it in a Control mirror if you’re behind on card advantage. The cheaper cost makes it easier to hold up instant speed interaction after playing it, so I think this might be slightly better than Timely Reinforcements, though many Control players will be happy to play both.
Vanquish the Horde
Nothing makes me more excited as an Aggro player than seeing a new wrath, more specifically, a bad one. But wait, you say, I can cast it for two mana! True, this is technically possible, but more often a wrath gets used to kill two or three creatures, which will cost a whopping five or six mana with Vanquish the Horde. With the abundance of good four mana wraths like Wrath of God and Day of Judgement, this card is easily outclassed. Don’t play this unless you’re looking to make your Aggro opponents very happy.
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Long before Elle tapped her first plains, a teacher made the mistake of telling her she could write. Now you must bear witness to the consequences.