Top 10 Crimson Vow Cards for PDH
12 Nov 2021 - 7 min read
What’s up our fellow ghosts n goblins? New set new picks! Chev and Julian are here to tell you what they’re most excited for in PDH from Innistrad: Crimson Vow. Let’s crash a wedding!
Honored Heirloom - Chev
Probably one of THE most talked about cards of the set for PDH, but for those who might have been rock collecting during spoiler season - there are very few decks that won’t benefit from an Honored Heirloom. Coming in at Manalith with upside, having repeatable targeted graveyard removal is going to be key in matchups against PDH heavy hitters like Tatyova, Benthic Druid and any other XU deck hoping to get up to no good with Archaeomancer and the ilk. I think it’ll mostly be fighting for space against Bonder’s Ornament or Commander’s Sphere from a rock perspective, and going into unknown matchups I would take combo disruption over either of those any day.
While I see this primarily as a defensive pick, there are also some commanders that can really benefit from its inclusion and for those - this is a windmill slam. Tormod, the Desecrator is definitely picking one of these up, as are Quintorius, Field Historian and Syr Konrad, the Grim . Being able to create blockers at instant speed is going to put opponents in real tight spots, and while not AS powerful - Syr Konrad being able to slowly ping the table is certainly a useful ability when games go long.
Repository Skaab - Chev
We’ll never say no to another Archaeomancer variant, especially one coming in at four mana. Repository Skaab gives us a decent sized body and one hell of an etb getting your high tide or merchant scroll ready for another go-around. Repository Skaab also happens to be a pretty relevant creature type, especially with the amount of zombie support we’ve been seeing in Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow (looking at you Diregraf Horde and Morkrut Behemoth ) so there’s even more potential for this hunk of flesh.
While I love it for any blue deck that might have an extra 1/1 lying around, I find the Skaab especially useful for decks like Diregraf Captain or maybe even the new Skull Skaab (although with only 11 exploit creatures available, it would be hard for me to recommend Skull Skaab over Ruthless Deathfang on anything but mana cost)
Reckless Impulse - Chev
Solid. Cheap. Impulse Draw.
That’s it, that’s the rec. I think Reckless Impulse really has a place in any deck it can fit in. Two mana for two cards is incredible card advantage for something outside of blue and this will never be a dead draw. The main commander I think that truly pairs with this effect is Crackling Drake , allowing you to take advantage of cards not played that will still immediately grow its power.
Otherwise, I stand by putting this in every red deck without blue, and maybe some with depending on how fast you wanna be slinging spells.
Kessig Flamebreather - Chev
Speaking of Crackling Drake , I can almost guarantee they’ll be happy to see another copy of Firebrand Archer . Kessig Flamebreather is something you want in any spells matter deck, keeping life totals in check while you control the board hoping to build something big. I’d love to see a deck based on the new Lambholt Raconteur that really leans into the pinging elements of a spells deck, but that might be a tad too restrictive. Maybe try a Sprite Dragon or give Chakram Retriever and Chakram Slinger a shot if you want to branch away from Drizzy City
Persistent Specimen - Chev
This set for me has been alllll about the fundamentals. New Graveyard hate, new draw, and now a pauper-legal Reassembling Skeleton . Naturally, some of the same decks that care about Honored Heirloom like Tormod, the Desecrator and Syr Konrad, the Grim are going to like something that can get itself out of the graveyard, but any deck focusing on an aristocrats strategy might also want to give this skelly a peek. I’m definitely considering it for my Shirei, Shizo’s Caretaker deck as a card that can recur without the commander for use with a Bone Shards or Vermin Gorger .
Outside of those picks, I think Cruel Celebrant or a Fleshtaker might stand to benefit the most.
Lightning Wolf - Chev
My GOD what a good boy. Literally any deck should find a slot for a wolf that runs faster when struck by lightning. That’s just magic 101. I fully expect the PDH rules committee to allow Lightning Wolf outside of its colors within the next couple days so plan accordingly. Seriously, it runs on lightning. What more could you want?
Is it a flavor fail that the first strike can only be activated at sorcery speed? Probably. But shut up. It’s a lightning wolf. He’s gotta give everyone else a chance you know?
Blood Fountain - Julian
Do your creatures ever die? Whether it be in combat or from a removal spell, there’s guaranteed to be some creatures that fell too soon. Enter Blood Fountain ! Now, for the low price of 1 mana and then 4 (yes we have layaway plans!) you can have your 2 favorite creatures back. The ability to recur in a grindy format like PDH is primo. Add in synergies like this is tutorable from Trinket Mage and commanders like Syr Konrad, the Grim and Tormod, the Desecrator , and this Blood Fountain should go in basically every black deck that has creatures.
Bleed Dry - Julian
Want to make sure that your opponent can never get their pesky beater back, even if they have a Blood Fountain ? Bleed Dry that son of a gun! No special synergies or anything insightful to say here, this card is just raw, unadulterated POWER. Instant kill anything, get around indestructible, and exile so it’ll never come back, ever.
Ceremonial Knife - Julian
In our Top 5 Unappreciated Equipments article, I championed Goldvein Pick and Prying Blade . Ceremonial Knife falls in a similar vein (see what I did there? Vein, vampires suck blood, ah whatever…). Coming in at just 1 mana to play and 2 mana to equip, this is just about the best deal you’re going to get for an equipment in PDH. A single point boost in power isn’t that exciting (unless it bumps your Dargo from a 3 hit to 2 hit kill), but creating a blood token every time you hit? Now that’s value. Put the knife on a flyer and go to town, you’ll be ripping (again, pun intended) through your deck in no time and filling your graveyard while you’re at it, if that’s something you care about. Never underestimate any way to get card advantage or filtering in PDH, and never underestimate anything with a big ol’ knife.
Scattered Thoughts - Julian
I’m going to avoid going into how amazing this card is flavor-wise from the name to the art to the flavor text and the reference to Young Frankenstein. Instead, I’m just going to tell you that this is an instant speed draw 4 for 4 mana… Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration. But, this is an instant speed draw two, which is already powerful and sees play even in EDH. Not only that, but this is better than your standard Chemister’s Insight because you get to see 4 cards and pick the best ones. Then you bin the other 2, but do you really believe that we’ll never see those again? Bin cards with flashback, bin creatures to get back with Blood Fountain , bin things that can get exiled for (I mention them again) Syr Konrad, Tormod, and whatever your favorite graveyard commander is that I’m missing. The versatility and utility is endless. Just play this card and appreciate my homunculus friend who’s just trying to do his job.
This pick is more speculative than definitive (as if our list is even close to that, but I’m confident in most of the other picks). Pyre Spawn is a big boy. He blocks well, attacks even better. He’ll be a problem for your opponents on and off the field, because when he leaves, he’s taking someone with him (or eliminating an opponent if they let their life total slip dangerously low). Pitchburn Devils is a personal favorite of mine and I’ll never say no to a second copy of it. These cards make combat so difficult. They can punch way up on a block or force you to block carefully (or not at all) when they swing in lest you get totally blown out. I’m excited to see Pyre Spawn make board states all the more difficult to navigate in the coming months.
It might be blasphemous to make any sort of comparison to limited when discussing PDH, but here I go. I love big, beefy bois who gain life when they enter. In Ikoria, I drafted Honey Mammoth s over everything, and in Kaldheim Ravenous Lindwurm s alway topped my curves. Heck, I still tried to force Arborback Stomper midrange when Kaladesh Remastered came to Arena, just like I did, all those years ago. Anyway, before I reminisce too much, Flourishing Hunter is just as good as all these other favorites. Sometimes a bit of lifegain to stabilize and sheer power is all you need to dominate a boardstate. Plus, look how good of a boy this (admittedly, frighteningly huge) doggo is! But seriously, a deck with all this beef and the lifegain to get out of reach of aggro decks sounds like it could really work…. Uh, the article is basically over anyway… I’ll be back!
That’s what we got! Let us know what you think in the comments below! (Oh and uhh don’t forget to check out those reprints, there’s a few fancy ones that got snuck in between VOW and VOC)
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