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MTG: Innistrad: Crimson Vow Draft Tips and Tricks

I've been playing Magic: The Gathering for some time, and today I want to share my tricks.

Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Innistrad: Crimson Vow

About the Crimson Vow Expansion

Innistrad: Crimson Vow is the 90th Magic expansion, and, as the name implies, it is set on Innistrad. Innistrad is one of the most loved planes in all the multiverse, and it's based on Gothic horror. This expansion starts exactly after the events of Midnight Hunt, where Olivia Voldaren interrupts the festival celebration and steals the Moonsilver Key.

Old and New Mechanics

As we will see below, the two expansions are strongly connected. Some game mechanics return from Midnight Hunt, while others are new. Among the revived mechanics we find Daybound/Nightbound and Disturb. We won't talk much about these mechanics as they are already covered in my Midnight Hunt article. The only difference is that Disturb in Midnight Hunt transformed living creatures into spirits. In Crimson Vow, Disturb transforms spirits into enchantments.

We also report the return of a mechanic from the past, Exploit. (Exploit was a Dragons of Tarkir mechanic.)


Training is a revised version of a mechanic from the past called Mentor. (Mentor was the Boros mechanic in Guilds of Ravnica.) Both mechanics allow us to put + 1 / + 1 counters on an attacking creature of ours if it attacks with a creature of greater strength.

How Training Improves on Mentor

Mentor's flaw was that it was tied to the strongest creature with this ability. Thus, small creatures could not become stronger than the mentor.

However, Training applies to the smaller creature, so you can choose to train with a different creature each turn. One turn, I can train with another human; the next turn, I can train with a werewolf, the next turn with a giant, and the next turn with a dragon! Only the sky is the limit!

This mechanic can be useful for reducing stall conditions during the game. Additionally, there may be other abilities that activate whenever the creature trains—making them even more useful!


Cleave is a mechanic that allows us to pay a higher cost for a spell and enhance its effects or ignore a negative effect. By simply paying a cost, we can exclude the text in the square brackets.

Cleave is a manasink-type mechanic and is used to support the advanced stages of the game. All the other mechanics we've seen so far are for creatures, but Cleave is for spells. These types of mechanics are very useful to support the limited environment. According to MaRo himself, Cleave plays an important role in the limited economy.

Outside of limited, Cleave can be useful in midrange and Control decks—or in any deck that can afford to reach the late stages of the game.

Blood Tokens

In a vampire marriage, blood flows like a river. Literally.

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Blood tokens are the life essence of the red and black vampire archetype. Many creatures of these colors will use blood tokens to potential their abilities.

But, they may also come in handy outside that specific archetype. For example, they will allow you to throw away cards that are not useful in the later stages of the game. Like Cleave, blood tokens can also be useful as a manasink for the later stages of the game.

Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Should You Draft One-Color, Two-Color or Tricolor Decks?

Just like in Midnight Hunt, Evolving Wilds will be the only land with a lower rarity that allows a minimum of color fixes. So it will be easy to draft this expansion of Magic: The Gathering by focusing only on one-color or two-color decks at the most.

Unlike with Midnight Hunt, green will have fewer opportunities to tutor specific lands. This will make it more difficult to play tricolor. It will still be possible, but there will be a greater chance of color screw.



Disturb Enchantment matters


Exploit Sacrifice


Vampire Blood Sacrifice


Werewolf aggro-midrange


Training grounds


Bloodthirsty aristocrats


'toughness matters’


Self Mill - GY Value


Not-creature matters


Enchantment Aggro

Best Colors to Draft

In this case, the comparison with Midnight Hunt is also evident: The best colors remain white and blue, followed by black and green. Red has caught the short stick again.

The speed of the format is slightly slower than in Midnight Hunt. This is due to slightly higher average creature toughness values.

1. White and Blue

The white-blue combination, which was formerly more defensive, goes into counterattack with this expansion. Here are a few examples:

  • Creatures train and spirits return to play as auras for support.
  • Disturb is synergistic with Exploit.
  • Aura enchantments empower evasive creatures.
  • Creatures reinforce themselves by attacking.

It is also possible to play Voltron-ish by empowering a single evasive creature. In this case, we can use blue counterspells to play as an aggro-control deck.

2. Blue and Black

The black-blue combination focuses on the Exploit mechanic. Cards like Skull Skaab, Persistent Specimen and Doomed Dissenter form the basis for always having meat to sacrifice. In their absence, you can sacrifice cards with Disturb, or you can sacrifice normal creatures and retrieve them with black cards.

Additionally, there are great removal and high toughness creatures in black. Blue provides support and evasive creatures. Blood tokens help manage deck variance and improve card quality. In some cases, they can also provide other small benefits in conjunction with creatures.

3. Green and White

The green and white combination is the one most focused on the Training mechanics. There are six cards available at lower rarities.

High-strength green creatures provide ideal training partners. White provides support and evasiveness. Some white cards also provide removal and combat tricks. There is also a sub-theme based on + 1 / + 1 counters in this combination.

Last Thoughts

Depending on the card pool, there are also other decks that can be very interesting.
If you're very, very good, you can play Sultai Exploit or a Mardu Blood tokens.

The worst pair of colors seems to be the red-blue combination, in my opinion. It's not really focused in a specific direction.

© 2021 Christian Allasia

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