When a three-set block isn’t enough: creatures from Innistrad released in other sets and products
Odric, Master Tactician - The first denizens of the gothic-inspired world to appear elsewhere were Odric and a crusader under his command, in M13. This warrior lost a son to an werewolf attack and in his grief he dedicated his life to Avacyn’s Church, protecting humans and exterminating their dark foes. Gisa was arrested and escorted by his subordinates, Garruk was taken by him to Avacyn and he was trying to locate Ludevic, the mad alchemist.
Odric’s Crusader - This card probably represents Grete, Odric’s lieutenant and second in command, responsible for convincing Odric that Garruk wasn’t a werewolf. But the limitation of legendary creature slots in a single set may have weighted, making her a more generic cathar.
Jeleva, Nephalia’s Scourge - Most of Innistrad’s bloodsuckers are BR, but Jeleva is a vampire that includes U in her cost and craves not only for blood, but also for mages’ minds.
Angel of Finality - This member of the usually pacific flight alabaster (whose majority of angels remained active even during Avacyn’s absence) is represented carrying a glowing sword, a possible indication of a twist in their modus operandi after the Helvault was destroyed.
Avacyn, Guardian Angel - The second legendary card representing the archangel marks the succession in her church. After Mikaeus’ death, she chose Dovid of the Pale as the new Avacynian Lunarch, but he soon discovers the chocking secret of her creation by Sorin.
Soul of Innistrad - Following the cycles of impactful monocolored fatties (Titans, Primordials, Gods) M15 brought us weird “planes’ souls” presenting the five planes players visited in Duels if the Planeswalkers 2015. In “paper Magic”, Ravnica and Theros were visited recently. Zendikar and Innistrad followed, which leaves us with Shandalar (where the Chain Veil was created). Is this a hint for what awaits us after the SOI block?
Hushwing Gryff - In contrast with Innistrad’s dark horrors, white creatures normally offer a glimpse of the serenity and purity threatened by all sides. This hippogryff hails from the skies of Gavony, where humans built Thraben, the biggest city on the plane.
Ghoulcaller Gisa - Commander 2014 offered every Vorthos one of the most sought-after prizes they could imagine (illustrated by Karla Ortiz!!!). Cards for the rival siblings engaged in necrowarfares (ghouls vs. skaabs camp battles) all over Innistrad. Known as Gisa, the Mad, the black-aligned ghoulcaller (traditional necromancer) was already a fan favorite even before the release of her sweet card in which she shovels the dead in a mourning dress.
Stitcher Geralf - Gisa’s blue-aligned brother, Geralf is MTG’s Doctor Frankenstein. He created Grimgrin as a general for his skaabs, and named him after his sister’s smile. He also murdered the Lunarch Mikaeus, a distant cousin, for no motive at all. Just like Franskenstein’s monster cinematic version, however, his creations hate fire (they carry oil and drops of angel’s blood in their veins, making then exceptionally flammable).
Grave Sifter - How do you design green creatures from a plane where almost everything “wants” to be black? The use of spiders, (were)wolves, snakes and elementals proved that it’s possible to match green creatures with the role they assume in horror narratives while keeping their abilities coherent with the color pie. “Graveyard matters” effects, as this card shows us, were a big part of the answer.
Possessed Skaab -
It’s a shame Magic Origins didn’t use watermarks to indicate each card’s plane, but some of them are obvious, like this one. Skaabs are zombies created by blue-aligned necro-alchemists (Skaraben) from different body parts. These pieces are stitched together and assembled with rune-inscribed copper plates.
This specimen shows us how twisted a Skaraben’s art can be. Including a geistflame tank in a headless skaab torso is the perfectly morbid mockery of the body and soul duality.
Archangel of Tithes - Despite having her in Magic Duels: Origins as a Dominarian foe in Liliana’s campaign, this archangel is presented by the creative team as the first reaction from Avacyn’s angels to Liliana’s necromantic displays of power. In a vorthosian homerun, by the way, Unholy Hunger registers the pivotal moment where Liliana defeats this archangel and take possession of her signature headdress (Liliana’s Reaver also uses it as a collar).
Somberwald Alpha - Stencia is known as the darkest region of Innistrad. Ruled by vampires that don’t hunt animals and protected by high mountains by all sides, Stencia’s shadowy forest is a haven to wildlife, as this wolf illustrates.
Are you excited for Shadows over Innistrad? I am, and next time I’ll comment a selection of noncreature cards in the same vein! See you!
Fun fact: All sets before Innistrad blocks had a horror as one of their themes. New Phyrexia had body horror all over the place. Battle for Zendikar and Oath of Gatewatch has plenty of cosmic horror.
Conclusion: Next time there is horror side theme in a set, I am betting Innistrad is just behind the corner.