Written by Kevin McCoy
With Avacyn gone, the humans of Innistrad turned to the Harvesttide Festival and its associated rituals in order to protect themselves from the plane's more monstrous denizens. However, this plan came apart when Tovolar and his pack of werewolves attacked the Festival and the ancient vampire Olivia Voldaren disrupted the Darkhart witches’ ritual by stealing the Moonsilver Key. As a result, the Eternal Night has taken hold and the number of humans remaining on Innistrad sinks ever lower. Against this backdrop, the always ambitious Olivia Voldaren hatches a plot to unite the vampire families and seize control of all of Innistrad.
Following his arduous efforts in service of other planes, the vampire planeswalker Sorin Markov returned to his home plane of Innistrad in order to rest and clear his head. Shortly after his arrival, Sorin’s thoughts went back to a mathematically inevitable problem that had often bothered him in his youth. The number of vampires on Innistrad will always slowly continue to grow due to their immortality. Their food source, humans, are finite in number and reproduce fairly slowly. Eventually, a tipping point will be reached and the number of humans would slowly dwindle to zero, causing all the vampires to starve and die out as well. Avacyn’s protection had forestalled this outcome, but now she was gone.
At a loss for answers, Sorin sought to awaken the man who had initially turned him into a vampire over six millennia ago: his grandfather and mentor, Edgar Markov. However, when he goes to the Markov mansion’s catacombs in search of his grandfather’s coffin, he finds it missing. While he was gone, someone had come into the mansion and taken it.
Before Sorin could ask himself who would do such a thing, an invitation arrived in the claws of a bat. This invitation tauntingly invited Sorin to a wedding between Olivia Voldaren and his slumbering grandfather, Edgar. It would unite the two ancient families and make Olivia the de facto ruler of the entire plane. To prevent this unacceptable outcome, Sorin will again team up with the Gatewatch, now composed of Chandra Nalaar, Teferi, Kaya, and Arlinn Kord. Together, they will try to stop Olivia, take back the Moonsilver Key, and put an end to Innistrad’s Eternal Night.
The next Magic: The Gathering expansion set, Crimson Vow, is almost here! As always, Ultra PRO will be rolling out playmats, Deck Protector sleeves, Deck Boxes, and binders featuring the latest planeswalkers and creatures from this newest release. In Crimson Vow, these products will be centered on the Markov-Voldaren wedding and the broader struggle for control of Innistrad. Of course, this means that we will see the artwork from Sorin the Mirthless by Martina Fačková and Olivia, Crimson Bride by Anna Steinbauer on many accessories, including Ultra PRO’s premium stitched edge playmats.
Plenty of other familiar characters from Innistrad and elsewhere will make an appearance on Crimson Vow playmats as well. Edgar Markov, Sorin’s grandfather and Olivia’s groom-to-be, will also be featured. Thalia, Guardian of Thraben is back with all-new artwork, too. Her cathar-turned-vampire ally is getting an update in the form of Odric, Blood-Cursed, which will appear on playmats, Deck Boxes, and sleeves. Naturally, the Gatewatch will be represented on Ultra PRO accessories as well in the form of Chandra, Dressed to Kill and Kaya, Geist Hunter.
As a party favor of sorts, one Crimson Vow-related playmat actually has little to do with the struggle for control of Innistrad at all. Following on the success of the Godzilla reskinned cards from Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths, Crimson Vow will include 18 reskinned cards featuring characters from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula. Ultra PRO is proud to support this release by celebrating the artwork of Dracula, Blood Immortal (reskinned Falkenrath Forebear) by Greg Staples, Mina Harker (reskinned Thalia, Guardian of Thraben) by Magali Villeneuve, and Abraham Van Helsing (reskinned Savior of Ollenbock) by Johannes Voss as an ensemble playmat.
Innistrad: Crimson Vow releases worldwide on November 19, and you’re invited! Use #MTGCrimson and #UPyourgame to tell us what you’re bringing to the party.