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All the Colors of Spirit - Stephen Rogers (3/11/2012)

Last week’s article was all about the endless zombie hordes coming to eat your brain, which translated so wonderfully in flavor to milling an opponent through combat. This week is going to be all about the very colorful, malicious, and not so malicious spirits who populate Innistrad. I will be the first to admit that the spirits are the horror trope of Innistrad I know the least about, and the one whose tribal strategy I think is the least flavorful.

Spirit
Spirit
SpiritSet: Divine vs Demonic
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
s overall have been a neglected tribe, having only been a main staple of one block and one third of a set. The block was obviously Kamigawa block where they overtook all the colors and strongly reflected the Eastern idea of all inanimate objects having a spiritual representation. Most of you probably know this was not a beloved set, though as someone who both likes flavor and had only just began playing at the time, I find Kamigawa very interesting. I want to look back at it if we ever have a free week on The Show of Feast and Famine
Famine
FamineSet: Portal Three Kingdoms
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Sun Nan
Text:
Famine deals 3 damage to each creature and player. (This includes your creatures and you.)
. The geists of Innistrad sadly do not draw on the themes of Kamigawa’s kami, only their prolific nature. Instead they draw from the ideas of the spirits of Orzhov, but then again I guess Eastern religious themes would not really work in a gothic/Victorian themed set.

For those not in the know, Orzhov was one of the guilds of Ravnica and was one of the three focused on in the middle set Guildpact. Orzhov is a church/business guild that uses its religious ties to extort money. The Ghost Council of Orzhova
Ghost Council of Orzhova
Ghost Council of OrzhovaSet: Guildpact
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Lord
Rarity:
R
Number:
114
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
When Ghost Council of Orzhova comes into play, target opponent loses 1 life and you gain 1 life. 1, Sacrifice a creature: Remove Ghost Council of Orzhova from the game. Return it to play under its owner’s control at end of turn.
, a council of the most respected members of the guild who have been revived as spirits, runs the entire guild. Many members and servants of the guild are spirits or undead and are the major basis for the Western-style ghosts of Innistrad.

However there is a color difference between Innistrad geists and Orzhov ghosts. The guild, as a ruthless religion based business, fits perfectly into black and white. Black supplies mostly the non-spirit undead, the guild ability haunt – which allows cards to haunt a target when it dies to lead into another effect when the haunted creature dies – and the greed of the business. White lends the religion and unbending rules the guild follows along with the spirit-based undead, though some are black and white.

In Innistrad geists technically bleed into all the colors. As creatures they exist in White, Blue, Black, and Green, and are implied to be in red through Wrack with Madness
Wrack with Madness
Wrack with MadnessSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
107
Artist:
Todd Lockwood
Text:
Target creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.
, Burning Vengeance
Burning Vengeance
Burning VengeanceSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
133
Artist:
Raymond Swanland
Text:
Whenever you cast a spell from your graveyard, Burning Vengeance deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
, and Geistflame
Geistflame
GeistflameSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
144
Artist:
Scott Chou
Text:
Geistflame deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Flashback {3}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
. While they technically exist in all colors, this block’s spirits are focused primarily in Blue and White with a strong showing in Green as well, but I’ll cover the flavor aspects more in-depth after I go over the deck.

The focus on Blue and White leads into a likely control strategy. Most of the cards reflect this strategy fairly well, but ultimately a spirit deck does end up winning with damage and that is my problem with them, though I do understand the decision.

Spirit
Spirit
SpiritSet: Divine vs Demonic
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
s and ghosts are a constant source of terror to the human mind; see where I’m going with this? While zombies eat brains, hit someone to mill them, spirits torment the human mind and should be able to mill an opponent through non-combat, maybe through “enters the battlefield” effects or something. Obviously they don’t work like that, but the strategy probably would not function well and two possible mill decks could result in a very stagnant meta, especially in Limited.

While my preferred strategy for a spirit deck doesn’t really work, I have made a decent control style deck with them. Spirit
Spirit
SpiritSet: Divine vs Demonic
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
s as a whole have a nice ability to tap things, read as “scare the living crap out of them so bad they hide in a corner”. Now that I’m thinking about it, I guess this does kind of make sense. The player is an immensely powerful planeswalker and doesn’t care too much about an incorporeal human spirit trying to scare them so their mind is safe. The creatures we summon however are simple flesh and blood and can get scared to death by a ghost appearing and deciding to fly through them and tickle their spleen. Wow, I’ll never be able to play this spirit deck with a straight face again.

Overall I do like the deck I’ve crafted for spirits. The deck plays very much like a slow controlling white weenie deck. Whereas the zombie deck tended to balance out at about four or five mana, this spirit deck can function fairly well at only three mana, but gets much better as the late game approaches.

The first card I very much like in this deck it almost entirely just for flavor reasons, Doomed Traveler
Doomed Traveler
Doomed TravelerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
11
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Doomed Traveler dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
. He’s a guy who dies and becomes a flying spirit, what could be better?! I guess Mausoleum Guard
Mausoleum Guard
Mausoleum GuardSet: Innistrad
Cost:
4
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Scout
Rarity:
U
Number:
20
Artist:
David Palumbo
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
When Mausoleum Guard dies, put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
is better, but how does one girl become two spirits? Yeah, sorry girly you got cut because that plot hole made me a bit crazy.

Too bad though because she and the Doomed Traveler
Doomed Traveler
Doomed TravelerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
11
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Doomed Traveler dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
work great with one of my favorite enchantments, Intangible Virtue
Intangible Virtue
Intangible VirtueSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Clint Cearley
Text:
Creature tokens you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance.
. It’s great, for only a colorless and a white it gives all creature tokens you control +1/+1 and vigilance, and it’s a bloody uncommon! I really do love this card and it is going into a Ghave token deck I’m working on.

But back on topic. As a kill condition creature I really like (and apparently real deck builders do too), Drogskol Captain
Drogskol Captain
Drogskol CaptainSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
136
Artist:
Peter Mohrbacher
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Other Spirit creatures you control get +1/+1 and have hexproof. (They can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control.)
fits right in. This 2/2 spirit soldier for a white, blue, and a colorless has flying and gives most of the creatures in this deck hexproof and +1/+1. If you have seen some of the competitive spirit decks, the Captain sort of gets used as an Overrun
Overrun
OverrunSet: Tempest
Cost:
5
Color:
Green
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Jeff Miracola
Text:
All creatures you control get +3/+3 and gain trample until end of turn.
. It buffs all the already flying creatures and makes them immune to targeted removal so they can ideally swing in for the win. It’s just a great card and again, I love it. Plus it has hilarious flavor text: “Dead or alive, true leaders can inspire an entire army.” He is one of the only four four-ofs in this deck, the others being Doomed Traveler
Doomed Traveler
Doomed TravelerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
11
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Doomed Traveler dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
and the next cards I’ll talk about.

The first should be painfully obvious, Midnight Haunting
Midnight Haunting
Midnight HauntingSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
22
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
. It’s an instant that puts two 1/1 flying creature tokens into play. That’s a pretty good instant for three mana. I did consider using Lingering Souls
Lingering Souls
Lingering SoulsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
12
Artist:
Bud Cook
Text:
Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield. Flashback {1}{B} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
too, but a White Blue geist deck can’t pay the flashback and it goes off at sorcery speed instead of instant. The flavor of Midnight Haunting
Midnight Haunting
Midnight HauntingSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
22
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
also intrigues me in a way I’ll cover a little later.

The final important four-of in the deck is Moorland Haunt
Moorland Haunt
Moorland HauntSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
244
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {W}{U}, {T}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.
. It is one of the ally colored activation cost lands from Innistrad. I’ve put two of each into the other decks, Kessig Wolf Run
Kessig Wolf Run
Kessig Wolf RunSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
243
Artist:
Eytan Zana
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {X}{R}{G}, {T}: Target creature gets +X/+0 and gains trample until end of turn.
for the werewolves and Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia Drownyard
Nephalia DrownyardSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
245
Artist:
Cliff Childs
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {1}{U}{B}, {T}: Target player puts the top three cards of his or her library into his or her graveyard.
for the zombies, but only two because they were not vital to the way those decks functioned. But unlike the other ones, Haunt works great with the real strategy for this deck. For only a blue, a white, and a tap you exile a creature from your own graveyard and put a 1/1 spirit token with flying onto the battlefield. I think it is time to give you a deck list now.


Creatures (22)
4x Doomed Traveler
Doomed Traveler
Doomed TravelerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Soldier
Rarity:
C
Number:
11
Artist:
Lars Grant-West
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
When Doomed Traveler dies, put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

2x Niblis of the Urn
Niblis of the Urn
Niblis of the UrnSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
16
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Whenever Niblis of the Urn attacks, you may tap target creature.

4x Drogskol Captain
Drogskol Captain
Drogskol CaptainSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Soldier
Rarity:
U
Number:
136
Artist:
Peter Mohrbacher
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Other Spirit creatures you control get +1/+1 and have hexproof. (They can't be the targets of spells or abilities your opponents control.)

1x Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint TraftSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Cleric
Rarity:
M
Number:
213
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.) Whenever Geist of Saint Traft attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. Exile that token at end of combat.

3x Stormbound Geist
Stormbound Geist
Stormbound GeistSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
3
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Number:
51
Artist:
Dan Scott
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying Stormbound Geist can block only creatures with flying. Undying (When this creature dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it, return it to the battlefield under its owner's control with a +1/+1 counter on it.)

3x Dungeon Geists
Dungeon Geists
Dungeon GeistsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Nils Hamm
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Dungeon Geists enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step for as long as you control Dungeon Geists.

2x QW5nZWwgb2YgFlight
Flight
FlightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
Target creature is now a flying creature.
IEFsYWJhc3Rlcg==
2x Soul Seizer
Soul Seizer
Soul SeizerSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
50
Artist:
Lucas Graciano
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Soul Seizer deals combat damage to a player, you may transform it. If you do, attach it to target creature that player controls.
/ Ghastly Haunting
1x Drogskol Reaver
Drogskol Reaver
Drogskol ReaverSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
7
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
M
Number:
137
Artist:
Vincent Proce
Power:
3
Toughness:
5
Text:
Flying, double strike, lifelink Whenever you gain life, draw a card.


Spells (14)
2x VmFwb3IgSnag
Snag
SnagSet: Prophecy
Cost:
4
Color:
Green
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
124
Artist:
Ron Spencer
Text:
You may discard a forest from your hand instead of paying Snag's mana cost. Prevent all combat damage that would be dealt by unblocked creatures this turn.

2x Feeling of Dread
Feeling of Dread
Feeling of DreadSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
14
Artist:
John Stanko
Text:
Tap up to two target creatures. Flashback {1}{U} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)

2x Intangible Virtue
Intangible Virtue
Intangible VirtueSet: Innistrad
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
19
Artist:
Clint Cearley
Text:
Creature tokens you control get +1/+1 and have vigilance.

2x Mana Leak
Mana Leak
Mana LeakSet: Stronghold
Cost:
2
Color:
Blue
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
36
Artist:
Christopher Rush
Text:
Counter target spell unless its caster pays an additional 3.

4x Midnight Haunting
Midnight Haunting
Midnight HauntingSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
22
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.

2x Call of the Kindred

Lands (24)
13x Island
Island
IslandSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add U to your mana pool.
s
4x Moorland Haunt
Moorland Haunt
Moorland HauntSet: Innistrad
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Land
Rarity:
R
Number:
244
Artist:
James Paick
Text:
{T}: Add {1} to your mana pool. {W}{U}, {T}, Exile a creature card from your graveyard: Put a 1/1 white Spirit creature token with flying onto the battlefield.

7x Swamp
Swamp
SwampSet: Oversize Cards
Color:
Land
Type:
Land
Rarity:
X
Artist:
Tony Roberts
Text:
T: Add B to your mana pool.



There are two cards in that list that I really feel like I should talk about because they rely on the fact that the deck, save for two creatures, is made up entirely of spirits. The first is Call of the Kindred, a Dark Ascension rare I haven’t heard about anyone else using. It is essentially made for a tribal deck if that deck is willing to run blue. It is an aura, so it attaches to a creature. Each upkeep you may look at the top five cards of your library and place a card that shares a type with the enchanted creature onto the battlefield. The other four cards get placed at the bottom of your library in any order you want. So place on a spirit, and every turn probably get a free spirit.

The other card is the creature called QW5nZWwgb2YgFlight
Flight
FlightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
Target creature is now a flying creature.
IEFsYWJhc3Rlcg==. She is a super inexpensive rare from Innistrad, as little as eight cents right now, and besides being a decent beater as a 4/4 flier she also lets you return a spirit creature from your graveyard each upkeep, though only to your hand. Given some of the powerful and important creatures in this deck, the angel actually provides a very welcome bit of recursion.

In a less tribal and more flavorful bent I love some sweet cards from Dark Ascension. The first is the awesome card Dungeon Geists
Dungeon Geists
Dungeon GeistsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Nils Hamm
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Dungeon Geists enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step for as long as you control Dungeon Geists.
. A 3/3 with flying for four is a pretty good creature period, but adding in its ability to scare an enemy creature so bowelly vacant it can’t untap as long as the Dungeon Geists
Dungeon Geists
Dungeon GeistsSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
36
Artist:
Nils Hamm
Power:
3
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Dungeon Geists enters the battlefield, tap target creature an opponent controls. That creature doesn't untap during its controller's untap step for as long as you control Dungeon Geists.
are still on the field makes this card amazing. To achieve a similar but less impressive effect the deck also includes two Feelings of Dread
Dread
DreadSet: Lorwyn
Cost:
6
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental Incarnation
Rarity:
R
Number:
107
Artist:
Matt Cavotta
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
Text:
Fear Whenever a creature deals damage to you, destroy it. When Dread is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into its owner's library.
, a cheap instant with a cheap flashback cost that can tap down two enemy creatures, and two Niblis of the Urn
Niblis of the Urn
Niblis of the UrnSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
2
Color:
White
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
16
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying Whenever Niblis of the Urn attacks, you may tap target creature.
, who can tap down a creature every time they attack.

The next delicious spirit is one of my favorite cards from this whole block because of the amazing combination of its flavor, art, and the use of the new mechanics of the block. I’m talking about Soul Seizer
Soul Seizer
Soul SeizerSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
50
Artist:
Lucas Graciano
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Soul Seizer deals combat damage to a player, you may transform it. If you do, attach it to target creature that player controls.
. I hear it now, “A 1/3 flier for five mana, that’s ridiculous, why would I play that?” Let me stop you there and remind you about the rest of its text, when Soul Seizer
Soul Seizer
Soul SeizerSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
50
Artist:
Lucas Graciano
Power:
1
Toughness:
3
Text:
Flying When Soul Seizer deals combat damage to a player, you may transform it. If you do, attach it to target creature that player controls.
deal combat damage to a player you may transform it and attach it to a creature that player controls. At that point it becomes Ghastly Haunting and lets you take control of the enchanted creature. So basically, it is a Mind Control
Mind Control
Mind ControlSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
63
Artist:
Mark Tedin
Text:
Enchant creatureYou control enchanted creature.
that gets to swing in for a point of damage every turn till you decide you want to steal something. Muhahahaha.

So, I have sort of saved the long monologue on the flavor of the tribe for last. No real reason, mostly just to change things up. There are two major types of spirits in Innistrad. They’re divided in a way I haven’t seen before in Magic, by religion (more on this later). The spirits represented in this deck are the dead spirits of Innistrad residents who, for some unknown reason, are trapped on the plane. They all connect to the church of Avacyn, the primary and monotheistic religion on the plane. Before Avacyn’s imprisonment, some of the angels who served her, specifically those of Flight
Flight
FlightSet: Revised Edition
Cost:
1
Color:
Blue
Type:
Enchant Creature
Rarity:
C
Artist:
Anson Maddocks
Text:
Target creature is now a flying creature.
Alabaster, would guide the dead spirits to the Blessed Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
. We’ll come back to that in a bit. With Avacyn gone and her angels now in mourning, no one is guiding these spirits to the Blessed Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
. They’re trapped on the plane and they manifest in very different ways.

The ghosts of Innistrad are present in the colors of White, Blue, and Black mana. White spirits are generally members of the church; especially lower ranking clergy such as the Cathar. When they return to the plane they usually desire one of two things. Many wish to continue their lives normally, not understanding they’re dead. They try to connect with family and friends, a la the flavor text of Midnight Haunting
Midnight Haunting
Midnight HauntingSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
White
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
U
Number:
22
Artist:
Matt Stewart
Text:
Put two 1/1 white Spirit creature tokens with flying onto the battlefield.
. The other thing many try to do is continue to defend humanity. Those who retain more of their sanity often aid the church in trying to protect the city of Thraben, though some, such as the Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint TraftSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Cleric
Rarity:
M
Number:
213
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.) Whenever Geist of Saint Traft attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. Exile that token at end of combat.
, appear in even the most isolated corners of the world to lend an ethereal blade to the remaining stalwart defenders trapped in remote locations in Kessig and Stensia.

Blue geists on the other hand are often the spirits of those who did not see death as an end. Blue spirits in this block are hard to understand because they are neither malevolent nor benevolent. Most are simply human spirits who did not feel a sense of duty or family bonds. Instead they only felt the basic human desire to continue to live. Those who retain sanity often seclude themselves away, like the Tower Geist
Tower Geist
Tower GeistSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
53
Artist:
Izzy
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Flying When Tower Geist enters the battlefield, look at the top two cards of your library. Put one of them into your hand and the other into your graveyard.
, to simply exist as long as they can. But, like white spirits, not all manage to retain their minds. Mindless blue geists have an odd habit of forming what can charitably be called symbiotic bonds. They don’t so much work together, but meld their incorporeal bodies with one-another. A great example of this is the card Sturmgeist
Sturmgeist
SturmgeistSet: Innistrad
Cost:
5
Color:
Blue
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
R
Number:
82
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Flying Sturmgeist's power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand. Whenever Sturmgeist deals combat damage to a player, draw a card.
, many spirits forming together for some unknowable reason.

The final color of spirit that the church has accidentally created is Black. The Morkrut Banshee
Morkrut Banshee
Morkrut BansheeSet: Innistrad
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
U
Number:
110
Artist:
Svetlin Velinov
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
Text:
Morbid — When Morkrut Banshee enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, target creature gets -4/-4 until end of turn.
’s flavor text actually explains black spirits perfectly, “Let go your grudges, or risk wandering the bogs forever in a murderous rage.” Those who hold onto the hatred, biases, or greed from their real lives return as destructive spirits who continue to pursue their basic desires.

I mentioned that the spirits of Innistrad are separated into two groups by religion so I think now is the best time to talk about that. Like I said, spirits who fall into the three Esper colors are dead who cannot reach the Blessed Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
because they have no guides. We don’t really know what the Blessed Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
is, though some believe it is actually the Blind Eternities, the empty space between planes that planewalkers travel through. What we do know is that it is one of the main hooks of the Church of Avacyn. Unlike every real world religion, which have some kind of afterlife or reincarnation idea, the Church of Avacyn is based on the elimination of any possible life after death. The Blessed Sleep
Sleep
SleepSet: Magic 2010
Color:
Blue
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Number:
71
Artist:
Chris Rahn
Text:
Tap all creatures target player controls. Those creatures don't untap during that player's next untap step.
is a place where the spirits of the dead can just rest for all eternity without the chance of returning to the world or having their bodies made into zombies. Now this idea goes against basic human instinct, we want to live more than anything, so there are some on Innistrad who only followed the church because it could also offer protection from the horrors of Innistrad. Now that those protections are fading some people are returning to their old ways, which tie into the Red and Green spirits.

These are mostly seen in the wilds of Kessig where the native’s biggest problem is evenly tied between werewolves and feeding themselves. The people of Kessig, before the Church of Avacyn really came into power, were essentially Pagan, a topic we brushed upon on the Show of Feast and Famine
Famine
FamineSet: Portal Three Kingdoms
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Sun Nan
Text:
Famine deals 3 damage to each creature and player. (This includes your creatures and you.)
episode 4. For those who don’t know, Paganism is not a bad thing, in fact, originally a pagan was just a simple country person. The term only became derogatory when, like the Church of Avacyn, Christianity became the primary religion in Europe. The simple country folk usually didn’t follow the monotheistic (single god) Christian church and instead followed one of many polytheistic (multiple gods) religions based on worshiping or praying to elements or spirits of nature. The people of Kessig were pagan and are returning to their old ways now that nature can protect them more effectively than the husk of Avacyn’s religion.

As pagans, the people of Kessig ask nature spirits like the Orchard Spirit
Orchard Spirit
Orchard SpiritSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Number:
198
Artist:
Howard Lyon
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Orchard Spirit can't be blocked except by creatures with flying or reach.
s and Somberwald Dryad
Somberwald Dryad
Somberwald DryadSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
2
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Dryad
Rarity:
C
Number:
126
Artist:
Jaime Jones
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Forestwalk (This creature is unblockable as long as defending player controls a Forest.)
to protect their crops and their bodies. While they do have to deal with Werewolves and unfriendly forest spirits, the biggest problem Kessig as a whole faces is famine. Beast
Beast
BeastSet: Garruk vs. Liliana
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Beast
Rarity:
C
Number:
1
Artist:
John Donahue
Power:
4
Toughness:
4
s slaughter their livestock, werewolves steal their farmers, and devils burn their crops. Even at the peak of its power the church has never been able to protect Kessig from all the problems it faces so its people have always relied on the green spirits of nature for protection.

Of course where there are benevolent, even helpful, spirits, there are also cruel and destructive ones. Almost all Red spirits, though none have been creature cards yet, are destructive. Most of them seem to torment mortal minds through cards like Burning Vengeance
Burning Vengeance
Burning VengeanceSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Red
Type:
Enchantment
Rarity:
U
Number:
133
Artist:
Raymond Swanland
Text:
Whenever you cast a spell from your graveyard, Burning Vengeance deals 2 damage to target creature or player.
, where a spirit attacks a human mind as more cards return from the dead, and Wrack with Madness
Wrack with Madness
Wrack with MadnessSet: Dark Ascension
Cost:
4
Color:
Red
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
C
Number:
107
Artist:
Todd Lockwood
Text:
Target creature deals damage to itself equal to its power.
, where spirits torment a mortal mind until the mortal tries to kill itself. But some Red spirits, while still destructive, are controllable such as the Geistflame
Geistflame
GeistflameSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
Red
Type:
Instant
Rarity:
C
Number:
144
Artist:
Scott Chou
Text:
Geistflame deals 1 damage to target creature or player. Flashback {3}{R} (You may cast this card from your graveyard for its flashback cost. Then exile it.)
and the fire used by the Rage Thrower
Rage Thrower
Rage ThrowerSet: Innistrad
Cost:
6
Color:
Red
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Human Shaman
Rarity:
U
Number:
157
Artist:
Peter Mohrbacher
Power:
4
Toughness:
2
Text:
Whenever another creature dies, Rage Thrower deals 2 damage to target player.
.

And of course Green has its share of not so friendly nature beings, though most of them go straight for attacking the flesh. They also seem to reflect the cyclical nature of life. The Splinterfright
Splinterfright
SplinterfrightSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Elemental
Rarity:
R
Number:
205
Artist:
Eric Deschamps
Power:
*
Toughness:
*
Text:
Trample Splinterfright's power and toughness are each equal to the number of creature cards in your graveyard. At the beginning of your upkeep, put the top two cards of your library into your graveyard.
, while technically not a spirit, fits into a similar category. It draws power from the dead around it and to gain more power kills more things even if they’re potential allies. The Kindercatch
Kindercatch
KindercatchSet: Innistrad
Cost:
6
Color:
Green
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Number:
190
Artist:
Terese Nielsen
Power:
6
Toughness:
6
is another, reversed, example. While they don’t gain more power from death they actively seek out those who are new to life to support their own existence.

Oddly the people of Kessig don’t really fear these creatures any more. They have become scary stories to keep children in line or a natural tool to weed out those who are too weak to live in the violent wilds of Kessig.

While some spirits actively seek to kill humans, and some wish to simply remain secluded, there are still a few who remain loyal to humanity and are our last ally against the endless swarms of monsters coming to destroy us. They take many shapes, from protective enchantments like the Wreath of Geists
Wreath of Geists
Wreath of GeistsSet: Innistrad
Cost:
1
Color:
Green
Type:
Enchantment
Sub Type:
Aura
Rarity:
U
Number:
211
Artist:
Jason A. Engle
Text:
Enchant creature Enchanted creature gets +X/+X, where X is the number of creature cards in your graveyard.
, to sentient apparitions who fight single-mindedly for mankind like the Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint Traft
Geist of Saint TraftSet: Innistrad
Cost:
3
Color:
Multicolor
Type:
Legendary Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit Cleric
Rarity:
M
Number:
213
Artist:
Igor Kieryluk
Power:
2
Toughness:
2
Text:
Hexproof (This creature can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control.) Whenever Geist of Saint Traft attacks, put a 4/4 white Angel creature token with flying onto the battlefield tapped and attacking. Exile that token at end of combat.
. Spirit
Spirit
SpiritSet: Divine vs Demonic
Cost:
0
Color:
Colorless
Type:
Creature
Sub Type:
Spirit
Rarity:
C
Power:
1
Toughness:
1
Text:
Flying
s are our last hope against the darkness, but we don’t truly know why the ghosts of the dead can’t pass on from Innistrad or for how much longer we can rely on them. With Avacyn’s expected return we hope to never find out how long spirits are willing to fight by our sides, though one day maybe we will find out what keeps them tethered to the world.

The spirits of Innistrad are one of the most diverse tribes I’ve ever seen in Magic and I can’t wait to see what happens to them in Avacyn Restored. I think my flavor rant is over, so if you like flavor, please remember to come back next week for the my article on Vampires. And check out my Vorthos podcast, the Show of Feast and Famine
Famine
FamineSet: Portal Three Kingdoms
Cost:
5
Color:
Black
Type:
Sorcery
Rarity:
U
Artist:
Sun Nan
Text:
Famine deals 3 damage to each creature and player. (This includes your creatures and you.)
every week on MTGcast, usually up around Monday or Tuesday.


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