Even though it’s only a day or so since the announcement at PAX, the new double-faced cards in Innistrad are nearly old news. While my initial reaction is one of annoyance or dissappointment, I suppose until I see them actually used I will have to reserve judgment.
Basically, the idea is simple, on one side of the card is a “normal” creature, whether that is a human or somesort of lab experiment or a bat, and on the other is the monster it “transforms” into, most notably werewolves or vampires. At first glance, it seems like an extension of the flip cards of the Kamigawa block, and really that is all it is, only exagerated as a gimmick to increase sales, though Wizards’ argues it allows for more text, etc., on the card as their reasoning.
Since having double-faced cards makes it impossible for you to play normally, because your opponents would know what your cards were, Wizards came up with the solution of “checklist” cards that list all of the double-faced cards possible, and you have to write on it to know which one it is supposed to be. This seems clunky, to be frank. First, that means you must have a great deal of checklist cards, and you can only get one as a filler in your booster packs. Second, it means writing on your cards. This alone seems, well, against a lot of what a large number of players would want to do. Sure, players have proxied cards forever, but there is almost something…sacrilegious? about it?
The most interesting thing to be gleamed from all of it, however, is on the checklist card itself. One of the green cards is Garruk Relentless, which leads me to believe that the planeswalker hinted at having 5 loyalty abilities will be a transforming Garruk. Odd that they would create a second new Garruk in such a short amount of time, but with Liliana appearing in Innistrad, storywise it only makes sense that he should, as well. This idea is helped by the promo image recently shown on Gathering Magic, which has been suggested is Garruk transforming into a Werewolf. My best guess is that each side will have two individual loyalty abilities, with a third being “transform Garruk” for a total of 5 distinct abilities.
The other mechanics in Innistrad, while not as flashy as Double-Faced cards, are also interesting. Flashback returns, and an old mechanic gets an actual keyword with “Fight.” Morbid is pretty cool, and makes sense for a set that deals with the graveyard, and Curses are, if not exciting, at least a cool name for something, though don’t feel quite like a curse in the way Quest” enchantment felt like quests. It would have been awesome, however, if either of the Futureshifted mechanics from Future Sight, Gravestorm or Delve, had made an appearance in Innistrad, and some of those cards had shown up. Perhaps they still might in Dark Ascension, the second set of the block, or the as-yet-unnamed third set.
For more about double-face cards and other aspects of Innistrad, follow these links.
- Every Two Sides Has a Story
- Innistrad at Pax 2011
- Double-Faced Card Rules
- Innistrad Mechanics
- Magic at PAX 2011: Innistrad Preview Cards Video
- Innistrad Spoilers at Gathering Magic