Innistrad: Crimson Vow Teased by Mark Rosewater

In a recent Tumblr post in his distinctly cryptic style, Mark Rosewater teases new creatures and mechanics in the upcoming Magic The Gathering set, Innistrad: Crimson Vow

Published: October 25, 2021 3:30 PM /


A vampire noble offering blood to his thralls

With the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow less than a month away, Magic The Gathering fans have gotten curious as to what will be contained within the new set. Naturally, the Head Designer of the game, Mark Rosewater, was happy to give fans a brief peek behind the curtain recently.

In an official Tumblr post, Rosewater revealed a list of creature types, card descriptions, and heavily edited game mechanics for fans to speculate over. First there is a list of things to expect:

  •  The following counter types: bloodline, croak, invitation, judgment, omen, slime, and suspect
  •  A new mechanic that removes something never removed before
  •  A popular and powerful creature card from an Innistrad set gets reprinted
  •  A new artifact token, along the lines of Clue, Food and Treasure
  •  A card that makes red Dragon Illusion creature tokens with flying and haste
  •  A mechanic that first appeared as a faction mechanic returns
  •  A new legendary creature card that combines two characters that previously each had their own legendary creature card
  •  A new card that lets you cast certain cards off the top of your library
  •  A new mechanic which is a mirror of an already existing mechanic
  •  A legendary character returns, but now as a Vampire

So let's look through the first set of bullet points. A new counter type is interesting, although the examples Rosewater cites are so broad it could mean anything. A popular and powerful creature card getting reprinted is most likely a vampire card given that Innistrad: Crimson Vow is being marketed as vampire-themed. As for a new legendary creature that combines two characters who've been legendary in the past? That just raises a lot of questions. Then there is the new mechanic that first appeared as a faction mechanic. This is interesting since faction-oriented abilities are explicitly tied to certain groups. Ravnica's Guilds, The Khans of Tarkir clans, the Scars of Mirrodin block, and the recent Strixhaven set all had abilities that were only found within their respective groups. As for which of these is returning, we'll have to see but there's a wealth of mechanics that it could be, many of which would be interesting to see explored more.

Following that is rules text that will be found on cards:

  •  “Choose a number between 0 and 13.”
  •  “with mana value less than or equal to the number of Vampires you control”
  •  “If it’s red, you may cast it this turn.”
  •  “Zombies you control have flying.”
  •  “At the beginning of your upkeep, any opponent may sacrifice a creature.”
  •  “Kraken, Leviathan, Octopus, or Serpent”
  •  “twice that many of those tokens are created instead.”
  •  “Whenever a Human you control dies,”
  •  “equal to the number of permanents you control that are Spirits and/or enchantments.”
  •  “Then if you control exactly thirteen permanents,”
A fancy formal wedding invitation covered in blood
I don't know what would be worse, refusing or going.

As for rules text, some of it is quite interesting. Much like Innistrad: Midnight Hunt, there's the continued use of the number 13, which is keeping with the horror themes of the set. The "if it's red, you may cast it this turn" text is quite telling since vampire cards in the past have mostly been Red/Black. As for "twice that many of those tokens are created instead" that can easily be read as Rosewater's love of doubling. He did create the card Doubling Cube after all, and cites it as one of his favorite cards. Then there's the "equal to the number of permanents you control that are Spirits and/or enchantments" text which seems to imply that spirits and enchantments will be co-mingling in the set - likely to be in white/blue as that's the normal color for spirits on Innistrad.

The final set of information Rosewater shared was creature type teases:

  •  Creature – Human Ranger Werewolf
  •  Creature – Angel Soldier
  •  Creature – Zombie Scorpion
  •  Creature – Serpent Egg
  •  Creature – Eye Horror
  •  Legendary Creature – Human Peasant
  •  Legendary Creature – Spirit Warlock
  •  Legendary Creature – Slug Horror
  •  Legendary Creature – Kraken Horror
  •  Legendary Creature – Vampire Noble (two new ones)

So the idea that Innistrad: Crimson Vow would include Legendary Vampire Nobles is obvious. But explicitly two brand new ones are being made does get the mind racing. The Legendary Spirit Warlock seems to reinforce the viability of spirits in this set going forward. An angel soldier card isn't unheard of for this setting given the last big Innistrad set involved the avenging angel Avacyn being destroyed, so there's plenty of rich ground there.

If you think you can puzzle out what Innistrad: Crimson Vow has in store, or just want to show off your knowledge of Magic: The Gathering, Rosewater also posted a vampire-themed quiz on the official website. Here's hoping your investigative skills pan out.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

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Ever since he was small, Tyler Chancey has had a deep, abiding love for video games and a tendency to think and overanalyze everything he enjoyed. This… More about Tyler