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This is That: Shadows over Innistrad with Dave Humpherys


Welcome to an awesome installment of This is That! Inside this article I look at every single one of the 282 cards in Shadows over Innistrad and classify each according to how original it is. What new design veins did Wizards tap into? Which card from Magic's past looks most like each card? Rather than show you 500+ card images of each card and its companion, you'll have options to expand each group of cards.

I also had the opportunity to interview Dave Humpherys from Wizards of the Coast about some card-by-card questions, and you'll see our Q&A interspersed throughout. Let's kick it off with his introduction:

Jake: Hi Dave! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me! Tell us a little about yourself, your history with the game and with Wizards, and your role in helping create Shadows over Innistrad.

Dave: I’ve been playing Magic since the spring of 1994. Unlimited and Antiquities were some of the first products I encountered. I played in 50+ Pro Tours, and I was inducted into the Magic Pro Tour Hall of Fame in the second class. I’ve been a Design/Development Manager at Wizards of the Coast since May 2010, managing the development team. The original Innistrad was the first set development team I was on from start to finish. I led the team for the Final Game Design and Development of Shadows over Innistrad. A design team led by Mark Gottlieb handed off the design file and vision to me and my team.

Reprints

Jake: In Shadows over Innistrad, there are many great reprints such as Tormenting Voice, which ties into both the set's horror theme and mechanical function with Madness and Delirium. Do these reprints come about naturally or are designers constantly scouring Gatherer for good candidates?

Dave: There is a decent amount of searching and scouring for cards both in name and in functionality that might take a new twist within this thematic setting and new pool of mechanics.

There are 15 reprints in the set:

Catalog [SOI]Catalog [USG]
Dead Weight [SOI]Dead Weight [ISD]

 

Click to show 13 more reprints ...

Fiery Temper [SOI]Fiery Temper [TSB]
Ghostly Wings [SOI]Ghostly Wings [TOR]
Gloomwidow [SOI]Gloomwidow [AVR]
Groundskeeper [SOI]Groundskeeper [MM]
Lightning Axe [SOI]Lightning Axe [TSP]
Macabre Waltz [SOI]Macabre Waltz [ORI]
Mad Prophet [SOI]Mad Prophet [AVR]
Magmatic Chasm [SOI]Magmatic Chasm [DTK]
Puncturing Light [SOI]Puncturing Light [ROE]
Reckless Scholar [SOI]Reckless Scholar [ZEN]
Throttle [SOI]Throttle [KTK]
Tormenting Voice [SOI]Tormenting Voice [DTK]
Unruly Mob [SOI]Unruly Mob [ISD]

Functional Reprints and Subtype/Color Shifts

Jake: In this set, Sanguinary Mage is showing off the newest evergreen ability Prowess and has the same stats as Jeskai Student. What type of discussion and thought goes into what type of simple creatures fall into which area of the color pie and what things are or are not appropriate to color shift?

Dave: We are generally trying to make the right tools for the right decks. In this case, we felt this card would be most functional in the Red/Blue spells deck we were focusing on for limited and constructed. This card was a 2/1 for a couple months, with greater power than toughness as is more generally true of red creatures, but the Red/Blue deck was intended to be a more controlling deck so we realized it would be better off with a 1/3 to help protect its owner while they set up their plans. We realized the comparison to Jeskai Student but this is the sort of card that can functionally co-exist in both these colors and be deployed as needed.

There are 7 subtype shifts, 2 color shifts, and 2 functional reprints in the set:

 

Devilthorn Fox [SOI]Oreskos Swiftclaw [M15]
Hulking Devil [SOI]Cobblebrute [ORI]

 

Click to show 9 more functional reprints ...

Inspiring Captain [SOI]Ampryn Tactician [ORI]
Niblis of Dusk [SOI]Jeskai Windscout [KTK]
Sanguinary Mage [SOI]Jeskai Student [KTK]
Seagraf Skaab [SOI]Maritime Guard [ORI]
Silent Observer [SOI]Tormented Angel [UD]
Stormrider Spirit [SOI]Faerie Invaders [M13]
Thornhide Wolves [SOI]Blanchwood Treefolk [UZ]
Vampire Noble [SOI]Barony Vampire [M11]
Warped Landscape [SOI]Terminal Moraine [PS]

Generally Better

Jake: Sometimes a new card outclasses an old one simply because the old one wasn't very strong from the beginning. But sometimes it can indicate a purposeful decision to change a design philosophy. Falkenrath Gorger is the first one mana Red 2/1 without a downside, and in fact, has an upside! Is this part of a larger plan to better define and expand Red's design space?

Dave: Falkenrath Gorger’s power level does reflect a move to explore new spaces for Red. We’ve been looking for ways to make Red less narrow in how it excels in Standard. Part of this plan has us being more conservative about Red burn, which has generally been quite strong in recent years, and looking for opportunities to compensate in other designs like Falkenrath Gorger and as seen more recently in other cards like Chandra, Flamecaller.

There are 20 cards in the Generally Better category:

Aim High [SOI]Savage Surge [THS]
Eerie Interlude [SOI]Ghostway [GPT]

 

Click to show 18 more generally better cards ...

Falkenrath Gorger [SOI]Goblin Patrol [VMA]
Graf Mole [SOI]Colossodon Yearling [DTK]
Inner Struggle [SOI]Wrack with Madness [DKA]
Invasive Surgery [SOI]Envelop [JUD]
Kessig Forgemaster [SOI]Ashmouth Hound [ISD]
Malevolent Whispers [SOI]Traitorous Instinct [RTR]
Neglected Heirloom [SOI]Leonin Scimitar [10E]
Obsessive Skinner [SOI]Timberland Guide [AVR]
Pale Rider of Trostad [SOI]Drekavac [DIS]
Pick the Brain [SOI]Night Terrors [ISD]
Pieces of the Puzzle [SOI]Uncovered Clues [DGM]
Quilled Wolf [SOI]Kraul Warrior [DGM]
Sin Prodder [SOI]Boggart Brute [ORI]
Skin Invasion [SOI]Bloodshed Fever [SHM]
Stoic Builder [SOI]Cartographer [OD]
Structural Distortion [SOI]Victorious Destruction [NPH]
Tooth Collector [SOI]Eyeblight Assassin [ORI]
Watcher in the Web [SOI]Selesnya Sagittars [RAV]

Generally Worse

Wizards tries not to give us worse versions of cards we already have at our disposal, but sometimes we get them anyways. I imagine these cards are typically the result of balancing Limited and Standard power levels.

There are 2 cards in the Generally Worse category:

Equestrian Skill [SOI]Gaea's Embrace [VMA]
Might Beyond Reason [SOI]Hunting Triad [C14]

Generally Bigger

Jake: I love how you payed homage to older Innistrad cards in Aberrant Researcher continuing the story of Delver of Secrets and Thalia's Lieutenant being a "new" Champion of the Parish. How do you balance evoking the flavor and memories of the original Innistrad block while also delivering a fresh new limited and constructed experience?

Dave: In general, I feel like we want to try very clear and simple connections to Innistrad. Even very similar cards or callbacks are often going to create very different play experiences or deckbuilding goals in a new setting or with different mana costs or effects. We are wary about exact reprints of cards that were particularly strong since we don’t want the experience to become too much the same again.

There are 16 cards in the Generally Bigger category:

Aberrant Researcher [SOI]Delver of Secrets [ISD]
Angelic Purge [SOI]Bone Splinters [BFZ]

 

Click to show 14 more generally bigger cards ...

Creeping Dread [SOI]Necrogen Mists [MRD]
Dance with Devils [SOI]Goblin Arsonist [DDK]
Deny Existence [SOI]Horribly Awry [BFZ]
Devils' Playground [SOI]Goblin Arsonist [DDK]
Gone Missing [SOI]Temporal Eddy [TSP]
Humble the Brute [SOI]Smite the Monstrous [BFZ]
Merciless Resolve [SOI]Altar's Reap [ISD]
Open the Armory [SOI]Steelshaper's Gift [5DN]
Pore Over the Pages [SOI]Sift [TPR]
Rancid Rats [SOI]Typhoid Rats [FRF]
Solitary Hunter [SOI]Villagers of Estwald [ISD]
Spiteful Motives [SOI]Lightning Talons [M14]
Thalia's Lieutenant [SOI]Champion of the Parish [ISD]
Voldaren Duelist [SOI]Fervent Cathar [AVR]

Generally Smaller

Jake: Anguished Unmaking is a great example of flavor meeting function in that the art, flavor text, and ability tie together to help create a story. How much pressure, if any, is there to make these "story moment" cards stronger in power level so that they'll show up in constructed more and remind players about the overall theme of the current block?

Dave: We want these cards to enrich a player’s understanding of the story. We also want these cards to be notable in at least one way that will generate discussion and make them memorable. Often this leads to fun cards that we naturally want to be reasonably powerful anyway, but, in short, yes, in close calls these are likely to be a bit stronger than they would be otherwise.

There are 5 cards in the Generally Smaller category:

Anguished Unmaking [SOI]Utter End [KTK]
Convicted Killer [SOI]Tormented Pariah [ISD]
Expose Evil [SOI]Repel the Darkness [DDP]
Grotesque Mutation [SOI]Butcher's Glee [DTK]
Rush of Adrenaline [SOI]Brute Strength [OGW]

Barely Tweaked

Jake: The new Skulk mechanic found on Furtive Homunculus is a super interesting form of evasion which can incentivize having smaller blockers instead of large ones. How quickly was Skulk adopted as a mechanic in Shadows over Innistrad and did it show up in any other colors before it landed in Blue and Black?

Dave: Skulk, which was called Sneak during design, was actually created during the exploratory design phase of the process, before the design team formally meets. So, yes, Skulk was explored in the set very early on. We only explored using it in Blue and Black. I did make Skeleton Key and Behind the Scenes early in development to try to learn more about granting the mechanic to a greater variety of creatures.

There are 76 cards in the Barely Tweaked category, including the non-pictured Uncommon land cycle whose comparison point is the Oath of the Gatewatch Uncommon land cycle including lands such as Meandering River:

Alms of the Vein [SOI]Blood Tithe [M11]
Always Watching [SOI]Intangible Virtue [CNS]

 

Click to show 74 more barely tweaked cards ...

Apothecary Geist [SOI]Courier Griffin [BFZ]
Behold the Beyond [SOI]Diabolic Revelation [M13]
Biting Rain [SOI]Rising Miasma [BFZ]
Breakneck Rider [SOI]Instigator Gang [ISD]
Burn from Within [SOI]Disintegrate [TSB]
Cathar's Companion [SOI]Fiddlehead Kami [SOK]
Chaplain's Blessing [SOI]Whitesun's Passage [SOM]
Compelling Deterrence [SOI]Disperse [ORI]Recoil [DDH]
Confirm Suspicions [SOI]Dismiss [TPR]Spell Contortion [WWK]
Descend upon the Sinful [SOI]Kirtar's Wrath [C13]
Drownyard Explorers [SOI]Sea Gate Oracle [C14]
Dual Shot [SOI]Electrickery [RTR]
Ember-Eye Wolf [SOI]Pyre Charger [DD2]
Emissary of the Sleepless [SOI]Wakedancer [DKA]
Engulf the Shore [SOI]Scourge of Fleets [JOU]
Epiphany at the Drownyard [SOI]Steam Augury [C15]
Epitaph Golem [SOI]Junktroller [RAV]
Essence Flux [SOI]Momentary Blink [DDQ]
Ethereal Guidance [SOI]Inspired Charge [BFZ]
Explosive Apparatus [SOI]Aeolipile [ME2]
Fork in the Road [SOI]Jarad's Orders [RTR]
Furtive Homunculus [SOI]Sneaky Homunculus [8ED]Silumgar Assassin [DTK]
Gisa's Bidding [SOI]Moan of the Unhallowed [ISD]
Haunted Cloak [SOI]Chariot of Victory [JOU]
Hope Against Hope [SOI]Sigil of the Nayan Gods [ARB]
Howlpack Wolf [SOI]Blind-Spot Giant [MMA]
Incorrigible Youths [SOI]Reckless Wurm [PLC]
Inquisitor's Ox [SOI]Armory Guard [RTR]
Insolent Neonate [SOI]Hapless Researcher [JUD]Drowned Rusalka [GPT]
Jace's Scrutiny [SOI]Bewilder [TSP]
Just the Wind [SOI]Unsummon [M13]
Kindly Stranger [SOI]Keepsake Gorgon [THS]
Militant Inquisitor [SOI]Loxodon Punisher [MRD]
Moldgraf Scavenger [SOI]Tarmogoyf [MM2]
Moonlight Hunt [SOI]Crush Underfoot [MMA]
Moorland Drifter [SOI]Mystic Visionary [OD]
Murderous Compulsion [SOI]Death Stroke [TPR]Dark Withering [TSP]
Nagging Thoughts [SOI]Sleight of Hand [ME4]Obsessive Search [VMA]
Nearheath Chaplain [SOI]Elgaud Inquisitor [DKA]
Odric, Lunarch Marshal [SOI]Concerted Effort [RAV]
Pious Evangel [SOI]Soul Warden [MD1]Zulaport Cutthroat [BFZ]
Press for Answers [SOI]Crippling Chill [KTK]
Pyre Hound [SOI]Blessed Spirits [ORI]
Rabid Bite [SOI]Fall of the Hammer [C15]
Rattlechains [SOI]Void Grafter [OGW]Yeva, Nature's Herald [M13]
Reaper of Flight Moonsilver [SOI]Fallen Angel [CMD]
Reduce to Ashes [SOI]Turn to Slag [M13]
Root Out [SOI]Slice in Twain [C13]
Rottenheart Ghoul [SOI]Deadbridge Shaman [ORI]
Runaway Carriage [SOI]Crumbling Colossus [M12]
Second Harvest [SOI]Parallel Lives [ISD]
Senseless Rage [SOI]Giant Strength [VMA]Strength of Lunacy [TOR]
Shamble Back [SOI]Vile Rebirth [M14]
Silburlind Snapper [SOI]Deep-Sea Terror [ORI]Mogg Conscripts [TPR]
Silverstrike [SOI]Chastise [9ED]
Sleep Paralysis [SOI]Claustrophobia [ORI]
Stallion of Ashmouth [SOI]Ghostly Changeling [MM2]
Stitched Mangler [SOI]Frost Lynx [M15]
Survive the Night [SOI]Mortal's Resolve [BNG]
Tenacity [SOI]Roar of the Kha [MRD]
Thraben Gargoyle [SOI]Gargoyle Sentinel [M15]
Twins of Maurer Estate [SOI]Gorgon Recluse [TSP]
Uncaged Fury [SOI]Armed // Dangerous [DGM]
Vessel of Ephemera [SOI]Midnight Haunting [ISD]
Vessel of Paramnesia [SOI]Thought Scour [DDM]
Village Messenger [SOI]Goblin Glory Chaser [ORI]
Weirding Wood [SOI]Abundant Growth [AVR]
Wicker Witch [SOI]Stonework Puma [ZEN]
Wild-Field Scarecrow [SOI]Armillary Sphere [C13]

Somewhat Changed

Jake: According to Mark Rosewater, Planeswalkers have the least design space of any card type, and Jace, Unraveler of Secrets has drawn some attention for having abilities similar to Ob Nixilis Reignited. What techniques do you use to keep each Planeswalker feeling unique while still being able to add exciting, new ones each year like Arlinn Kord?

Dave: We spend a lot of time working on our Planeswalkers. They are definitely the most challenging cards to create each set both with an eye towards design and development. It does help that they have several abilities that we can weave together mechanically to create a sequential experience that cards typically can’t do themselves. Each new Planeswalker we introduce also gives us an opportunity to explore how to best represent that character which then often then leads to some fun and novel design space. We do know what suite of abilities have generally worked best in the past, such as including some combination of card advantage and/or protecting themselves via creating tokens or creature removal. This can certainly lead to some characters appearing similar to some of players, even if the Planeswalkers are doing this with different effects and flavor.

There are 61 cards in the Somewhat Changed category, including the non-pictured Rare land cycle whose comparison point is the original Innistrad land cycle including lands such as Isolated Chapel:

Asylum Visitor [SOI]Blood Scrivener [DGM]
Avacyn's Judgment [SOI]Forked Bolt [DDP]Rolling Thunder [BFZ]

 

Click to show 59 more somewhat changed cards ...

Bloodmad Vampire [SOI]Bloodcrazed Neonate [ISD]
Bound by Moonsilver [SOI]Detainment Spell [TSP]Prison Term [CMD]
Broken Concentration [SOI]Circular Logic [TOR]
Bygone Bishop [SOI]Mentor of the Meek [C14]
Call the Bloodline [SOI]Saproling Cluster [NE]
Clip Wings [SOI]Tribute to the Wild [C15]Plummet [BFZ]
Confront the Unknown [SOI]Aggressive Urge [10E]
Crow of Dark Tidings [SOI]Necromancer's Assistant [M15]
Cryptolith Rite [SOI]Birchlore Rangers [ONS]
Daring Sleuth [SOI]Jhessian Thief [ORI]
Dauntless Cathar [SOI]Doomed Traveler [ISD]
Deathcap Cultivator [SOI]Urborg Elf [AP]
Diregraf Colossus [SOI]Unbreathing Horde [ISD]Lys Alana Huntmaster [C14]
Dissension in the Ranks [SOI]Blood Feud [DKA]
Erdwal Illuminator [SOI]Thought Reflection [C15]
Farbog Revenant [SOI]Markov Patrician [ISD]
Fevered Visions [SOI]Nekusar, the Mindrazer [C13]
Forgotten Creation [SOI]Arjun, the Shifting Flame [C15]
Ghoulcaller's Accomplice [SOI]Null Caller [OGW]
Gryff's Boon [SOI]Dragon Wings [SCG]
Hinterland Logger [SOI]Gatstaf Shepherd [ISD]
Hound of the Farbogs [SOI]Summit Apes [WWK]
Howlpack Resurgence [SOI]Full Moon's Rise [ISD]
Indulgent Aristocrat [SOI]Carrion Feeder [DDE]
Intrepid Provisioner [SOI]Briarpack Alpha [M14]
Jace, Unraveler of Secrets [SOI]Ob Nixilis Reignited [BFZ]
Kessig Dire Swine [SOI]Pathbreaker Wurm [AVR]
Lambholt Pacifist [SOI]Glade Watcher [DTK]
Lamplighter of Selhoff [SOI]Sky-Eel School [SOM]
Loam Dryad [SOI]Birchlore Rangers [ONS]
Magnifying Glass [SOI]Seer's Lantern [OGW]
Markov Dreadknight [SOI]Flowstone Sculpture [VMA]
Morkrut Necropod [SOI]Lesser Gargadon [8ED]
Not Forgotten [SOI]Beckon Apparition [GTC]
Olivia's Bloodsworn [SOI]Forerunner of Slaughter [BFZ]
Paranoid Parish-Blade [SOI]Mystic Zealot [VMA]
Skeleton Key [SOI]Mask of Riddles [ARB]
Slayer's Plate [SOI]Avacyn's Collar [DKA]
Soul Swallower [SOI]Chlorophant [OD]
Spectral Shepherd [SOI]Walker of Secret Ways [PC2]
Stern Constable [SOI]Trickster Mage [NE]
Stromkirk Mentor [SOI]Timberland Guide [AVR]
Thraben Inspector [SOI]Elvish Visionary [C15]
To the Slaughter [SOI]Diabolic Edict [TPR]
Topplegeist [SOI]Niblis of the Mist [DKA]Sentinel of the Eternal Watch [ORI]
Trail of Evidence [SOI]Lunar Mystic [AVR]
True-Faith Censer [SOI]Avacyn's Collar [DKA]
Ulvenwald Hydra [SOI]Sylvan Primordial [GTC]
Uninvited Geist [SOI]Hada Spy Patrol [ROE]
Vessel of Malignity [SOI]Necrogen Spellbomb [MRD]Augur of Skulls [FUT]
Vessel of Nascency [SOI]Scout the Borders [KTK]
Vessel of Volatility [SOI]Generator Servant [M15]Satyr Hedonist [THS]
Veteran Cathar [SOI]Ohran Yeti [CSP]
Westvale Abbey [SOI]Springjack Pasture [C13]Myr Turbine [MBS]

Original

Jake: While previous, conditional Mind Controls have referenced power, Welcome to the Fold checks the target's toughness, and I can't figure out why! Is this an example of a power level change, a new shard of Blue's design space being unlocked, or just a designer trying out something new?

Dave: This deviation from the norm is more to the specifics of an environment and cards we expected to interact with Welcome to the Fold. We knew our Madness cards would be seeing a lot of play with Jace, Vryn’s Prodigy. In those decks we tested, when he transforms to Jace, Telepath Unbound, we found his +1 ability to give a creature -2/-0 was stronger in conjunction with Welcome to the Fold than we wanted. So to best preserve the general design we changed [it] to toughness which we felt would also give it some other different roles than similar cards like Exert Influence.

There are 76 cards in the Original category:

Accursed Witch [SOI]Spellwild Ouphe [FUT]Subversion [BRB]
Altered Ego [SOI]Dack's Duplicate [VMA]

 

Click to show 74 more original cards ...

Angel of Deliverance [SOI]High Priest of Penance [GTC]
Archangel Avacyn [SOI]Angel of Salvation [DDF]
Arlinn Kord [SOI]Huntmaster of the Fells [DKA]
Autumnal Gloom [SOI]Saprazzan Breaker [MM]
Avacynian Missionaries [SOI]Krond the Dawn-Clad [PC2]Banisher Priest [DDO]
Behind the Scenes [SOI]Korozda Guildmage [C15]
Brain in a Jar [SOI]Aether Vial [MMA]
Briarbridge Patrol [SOI]Elvish Piper [M10]
Byway Courier [SOI]Pelakka Wurm [MM2]
Corrupted Grafstone [SOI]Coldsteel Heart [C15]
Crawling Sensation [SOI]Splinterfright [ISD]
Cult of the Waxing Moon [SOI]Huntmaster of the Fells [DKA]
Declaration in Stone [SOI]Path to Exile [MMA]Sever the Bloodline [ISD]
Drogskol Cavalry [SOI]Trostani, Selesnya's Voice [RTR]
Drownyard Temple [SOI]Dakmor Salvage [MMA]
Drunau Corpse Trawler [SOI]Paragon of Open Graves [M15]
Duskwatch Recruiter [SOI]Stoneforge Acolyte [OGW]Cloud Key [FUT]
Elusive Tormentor [SOI]Screeching Bat [ISD]Invisible Stalker [ISD]
Ever After [SOI]Victimize [C15]
Flameblade Angel [SOI]Deflecting Palm [KTK]
Fleeting Memories [SOI]Sphinx's Tutelage [ORI]
From Under the Floorboards [SOI]Army of the Damned [C13]
Gatstaf Arsonists [SOI]Kruin Outlaw [ISD]
Geier Reach Bandit [SOI]Immerwolf [DKA]
Geistblast [SOI]Twincast [M10]
Geralf's Masterpiece [SOI]Dread Slag [DIS]
Ghoulsteed [SOI]Undead Gladiator [ONS]
Gibbering Fiend [SOI]Blisterstick Shaman [MBS]Kyren Sniper [MM]
Goldnight Castigator [SOI]Gisela, Blade of Goldnight [C15]
Hanweir Militia Captain [SOI]Crusader of Odric [M13]Wayfaring Temple [RTR]
Harness the Storm [SOI]Pyromancer Ascension [ZEN]
Harvest Hand [SOI]Elbrus, the Binding Blade [DKA]
Heir of Falkenrath [SOI]Oona's Prowler [LRW]
Hermit of the Natterknolls [SOI]Eyes of the Wisent [LRW]
Inexorable Blob [SOI]Mardu Strike Leader [FRF]
Invocation of Saint Traft [SOI]Curse of Shallow Graves [C13]
Liliana's Indignation [SOI]Psychic Drain [RAV]
Manic Scribe [SOI]Hedron Crab [ZEN]
Mindwrack Demon [SOI]Herald of Torment [BNG]
Murderer's Axe [SOI]Demonmail Hauberk [ISD]
Nahiri, the Harbinger [SOI]Ob Nixilis Reignited [BFZ]
Nahiri's Machinations [SOI]Crimson Manticore [ME3]
Nephalia Moondrakes [SOI]Voyager Drake [WWK]
Olivia, Mobilized for War [SOI]Flowstone Channeler [TSP]
Ongoing Investigation [SOI]Thopter Spy Network [ORI]Soul Shepherd [WL]
Pack Guardian [SOI]Caller of the Claw [C15]
Prized Amalgam [SOI]Ichorid [VMA]
Ravenous Bloodseeker [SOI]Frostburn Weird [RTR]
Relentless Dead [SOI]Endless Cockroaches [C13]Dutiful Attendant [DTK]
Rise from the Tides [SOI]Dread Summons [C15]
Sage of Ancient Lore [SOI]Overbeing of Myth [EVE]
Sanitarium Skeleton [SOI]Endless Cockroaches [C13]Reassembling Skeleton [MM2]
Scourge Wolf [SOI]Kruin Outlaw [ISD]
Seasons Past [SOI]All Suns' Dawn [5DN]
Shard of Broken Glass [SOI]Bone Saw [OGW]
Sigarda, Heron's Grace [SOI]Spirit of the Hearth [EVE]
Silverfur Partisan [SOI]Ajani's Chosen [C15]
Sinister Concoction [SOI]Seal of Doom [C15]
Sorin, Grim Nemesis [SOI]Sorin Markov [M12]
Startled Awake [SOI]Archive Trap [ZEN]Paranoid Delusions [GTC]
Stensia Masquerade [SOI]Akki Coalflinger [EVG]Rakish Heir [ISD]
Stitchwing Skaab [SOI]Despoiler of Souls [ORI]
Strength of Arms [SOI]Vitality Charm [ONS]
Tamiyo's Journal [SOI]Mind's Eye [MRD]
The Gitrog Monster [SOI]Smothering Abomination [BFZ]
Thing in the Ice [SOI]Dark Depths [CSP]Kederekt Leviathan [ALA]
Tireless Tracker [SOI]Seer's Sundial [C15]
Town Gossipmonger [SOI]Chosen of Markov [DKA]Phyrexian Snowcrusher [CSP]
Traverse the Ulvenwald [SOI]Caravan Vigil [ISD]
Triskaidekaphobia [SOI]Hidetsugu's Second Rite [SOK]
Ulrich's Kindred [SOI]Rageblood Shaman [THS]
Ulvenwald Mysteries [SOI]Inheritance [ME2]
Welcome to the Fold [SOI]Exert Influence [BFZ]
Wolf of Devil's Breach [SOI]Mercurial Chemister [RTR]

Conclusion and Final Tally

Reprints 15
Functional Reprints and Shifts 11
Generally Better 20
Generally Worse 2
Generally Bigger 16
Generally Smaller 5
Barely Tweaked 76
Somewhat Changed 61
Original 76
Total 282

If you have any comments or want to suggest a card comparison I missed, reach out to me in the comments below or on Twitter @JakeStilesMTG. If you want to hear more from Dave, you can find him on Twitter @Grumpherys and read his article archive here.

Jake: In closing, are there any special Shadows over Innistrad design or playtest stories you wish to share? Alternatively, what's your favorite card in the new set and why?

Dave: It’s too hard to choose a favorite. Relentless Dead, Ever After, Declaration in Stone, Drownyard Temple, Duskwatch Recruiter were some cards I personally had a big hand in designing that I’m quite happy with. As far as limited, I designed and was well known for loving to play Epitaph Golem as a Laboratory Maniac of sorts.

Jake: Thanks again for your time, Dave!


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Welcome to MTGGoldfish. We display prices for both ONLINE and PAPER magic. By default, what prices would you like to see?   

Paper Magic Online Magic Arena