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Magic: The Gathering returns to gothic horror with back-to-back Innistrad sets

Check out the first preview cards revealed by Wizards of the Coast

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A werewolf bursts through an iron portcullis.
Alternate art for Moonrise Intruder, from the Shadows over Innistrad set.
Image: Daarken/Wizards of the Coast
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Magic: The Gathering returns to its gothic horror setting Innistrad with two back-to-back sets this fall. Innistrad: Midnight Hunt arrives in September, while Innistrad: Crimson Vow lands in November. The timeline firmed up on Thursday with a livestream and a blog post, which also included the first batch of preview cards.

The Innistrad setting was first introduced in 2011 with three sets of cards: Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored. The setting is known for its powerful vampires and werewolves, which should help it pair nicely with the recently released Adventures in the Forgotten Realms. The Dungeons & Dragons crossover set came out just last month to rave reviews.

According to developer and publisher Wizards of the Coast, Midnight Hunt begins with a troubling, endless night. “With the sun rising later and setting sooner each day,” Wizards’ official description reads, “[Innistrad’s populace] turn to the hope of the Harvesttide festival and a ritual with warlocks to maintain the balance.” Expect this set to include plenty of werewolves, but so far the publisher is keeping quiet on exactly how they’ll manifest themselves at the table. Meanwhile, Crimson Vow will be a playground for vampires.

“Why would every vampire that one can imagine unite for an ultra-exclusive wedding and reception everyone is dying to attend?” Wizards teased Thursday. “Innistrad: Crimson Vow will answer that — and more.”

While it’s nice to know what’s on the darkening horizon for Magic, don’t expect to learn anything more for a while. During a special Twitch stream, Magic: The Gathering developers said fans will need to wait about a month before any more preview cards get revealed.

Innistrad returns to Magic: The Gathering Arena and Magic Online first on Sept. 16 when Innistrad: Midnight Hunt arrives online. Prerelease of the physical cards kicks off Sept. 17, with a full physical release on Sept. 24. That set will include Draft, Set, Collector, and Theme Boosters as well as two Commander decks: Undead Unleashed and Coven Counters.

Innistrad: Crimson Vow goes live digitally on Nov. 11, while prerelease begins on Nov. 12. The full physical release comes Nov. 19. That set will include Draft, Set, Collector, and Theme Boosters as well as two Commander decks — Spirit Squadron and Vampiric Bloodline.