The best Innistrad: Crimson Vow Limited archetypes

Be on the lookout for archetypes that can challenge vampires and Lifegain.

Image via WotC

With the release of Innistrad: Crimson Vow (VOW), the Limited Magic: The Gathering meta is starting to take shape. 

The VOW Limited meta is bomb heavy, showcasing a number of Rare and Mythic Rare cards that can pull a player into a specific archetype. Color rankings have Black, Red, and White as the strongest, followed by Blue and Green. Having a board presence is essential, or you are likely to be run over by your opponent. And being on the lookout for Green mana dorks, creatures that can tap for mana of any color, can open up the opportunity to run three colors within the VOW Limited format. 

A total of four archetypes have stood out from the other 10: Red/Black, White/Black, Black/Green, and Blue/Red. Close behind them is Green and Red, with Green allowing players to splash a third color for bombs. And Blue/White spirits can pop off when the stars align.

Here are the four best MTG Limited archetypes following the release of VOW in descending ranked order.

BG toughness matters

Ancient Lumberknot is the signpost archetype Uncommon for BG, but don’t be fooled into thinking that the build revolves around the treefolk creature. The color Green has two solid mana dork creatures: Weaver of Blossoms and Reclusive Taxidermist. Grab an Evolving Wilds or a VOW Rare Dual land and running three colors becomes plausible. 

In addition to creatures having a toughness greater than power, cards like Apprentice Sharpshooter and Cloaked Cadet can provide pressure via the VOW Training mechanic. Green also has the best finishers, from Bramble Wurm to Flourishing Hunter. Dormant Grove can beef up creatures with +1/+1 counters while also being able to transform into Gnarled Grovestrider, providing all creatures on the battlefield with Vigilance. 

Apprentice Sharpshooter
Apprentice Sharpshooter

Spore Crawler can provide card advantage while Toxic Scorpion can defend during the early game while also applying pressure to your opponent by giving another creature you control Deathtouch until the end of the turn. 

Splash in solid Black removal spells like Bleed Dry, Parasitic Grasp, and Hero’s Downfall. Archghoul of Thraben can provide card advantage while Catapult Fodder is a nice, but often not used, combo with creatures that have a toughness greater than their power. And Blood Fountain is a good late pick that can provide a Blood token while also being able to return two creatures from your graveyard to hand at the cost of 3B and sacrificing the Artifact.  

UR spells matter 

With most drafters chasing the colors Red, White, and Black, Blue has been getting left wide open during the first weeks of VOW Limited Draft. Whispering Wizard is an easy top pick within UR, pumping out a 1/1 Flying token once a turn with each noncreature spell that is cast. The two other Common and Uncommon bombs to grab are Cruel Witness and Wandering Mind

Cruel Witness
Cruel Witness

Syncopate is the best counterspell to grab multiple copies of. Witness the Future can shuffle spells back into your library and Thirst for Discovery is a great way to keep your hand full while getting rid of cards you don’t need. And the color Red has an abundance of cheap removal spells like Abrade, Rendering Flame, and Flame-Blessed Bolt. 

Voldaren Epicure is a solid late pick, pinging your opponent for one damage while also creating a Blood token. The vampire can also act as sacrificial fodder to cards like Repository Skaab, who returns an Instant or Sorcery spell to your hand with the mechanic Exploit.

Rendering Flame
Rendering Flame

Mischievous Catgeist can draw a few cards and Skywarp Skaab is a solid Flying with a toughness of five, able to block most creatures. And Biolume Egg is a great option if you can pick up creatures like Stitched Assistant, Repository Skaab, and Dever Skaab.  

RB vampires

Vampires have taken over the Limited VOW meta. Blood tokens are a bomb of a mechanic, preventing players from flooding out on lands while searching for that ideal card to finish off an opponent. Bloodtithe Harvester, Archghoul of Thraben, Gluttonous Guest, and Wedding Security are all solid cards that can pull you into RB. 

Wedding Security
Wedding Security

Aggro cards like Blood Petal Celebrant and Ragged Recluse can hit an opponent for early damage. And Bloodcrazed Socialite and Falkenrath Celebrants both have Menace as late-game finishers, while also synergizing with the Blood token theme. Wedding Invitation is also a solid two-drop that adds card advantage while also providing Lifegain to a vampire when needed. 

Bloodcrazed Socialite
Bloodcrazed Socialite

Both Red and Black have a bunch of removal spells, allowing you to build around your curve with cards like Bleed Dry, Rendering Flame, Hero’s Downfall, Vampires’ Vengeance, and Flame-Blessed Bolt. Gift of fangs is a good one-off, along with Edgar’s Awakening. A trick to playing RB is to watch your curve, keeping it between Aggro and Midrange.   

BW Lifegain

Potentially one of the best VOW Limited archetypes is BW. Lifegain is always a powerful tool within the Limited format, and both colors are packed with creatures that can stack your life points while also pressuring your opponent. 

Similar to RB, Glutonous Guest can provide early protection while also producing a Blood token. And when you crack one of those tokens, Glutonous Guest gains you one life point. Markov Purifier is a solid Uncommon that can provide card draw, in conjunction with Traveling Minister. 

Panicked Bystander
Panicked Bystander

Panicked Bystander gains you life when a creature you control dies and can transform into a 3/5. Kindly Ancestory has Disturb, keeping that Lifelink train going even after it gets removed from the battlefield. And Dawnhart Geist is a solid late pick that can add extra life when you cast an Enchantment from one of your creatures with Disturb, while Courier Bat is an evasive creature that can bring back a creature from your graveyard to hand upon gaining life.

Be sure to splash White and Black removal to prevent yourself from being overrun by decks like RB, GR, and BG. Circle of Confinement is a cheap Enchantment that exiles a target creature with three or fewer mana, and can have an added bonus against RB decks that gains you life whenever an opponent casts a vampire with the same name as the vampire card exiled. Bleed Dry and Hero’s Downfall are two solid VOW Black removal options, along with Parasitic Grasp.