One of the most memorable parts of the original Innistrad block was its legendary creatures. The original Avacyn, Angel of Hope and Griselbrand are icons and powerhouses, of course, but so are the various other mortal or monster legends. This is only appropriate, as one of the hallmarks of Gothic literature is its larger-than-life characters. In order for Shadows over Innistrad block to be a truly great follow-up, besides referencing the planeswalkers and mechanics of the original version, it needs to have legends that are just as compelling as the ones from Innistrad, Dark Ascension, and Avacyn Restored.
First, the Angels – Avacyn’s still around, as far as anyone can tell, so she’ll inevitably get a new card. This is doubly so if the big plot twist involves her turning evil. Sure, she’s already gotten two cards to represent her, but if R&D has no problem with four Ob Nixilises (Nixiles?) then a third Avacyn card wouldn’t be too far-fetched. Avacyn also had three helpers in the form of Bruna, Gisela, and Sigarda in Avacyn Restored, but it remains a toss-up whether she’ll get a new multicolor crew this time around.
That concept remains important, though, because ever since AVR came out players have been speculating about a counterpart to Avacyn’s “Powerpuff Girls” – a cycle of three Demons to aid Griselbrand, a corrupted parody of Avacyn’s flight leaders, a gang of “Rowdyruff Boys”, if you will. R&D does know it has expectations to fulfill, so if the second set of the block doesn’t have a blue-black, black-red, and black-green Demon cycle in it, it would be a shock.
Griselbrand himself, though, is as dead as a Monty Python parrot, so he’ll inevitably be replaced – but by whom? The new big boss Demon could be Withengar, having been totally freed from Elbrus; Shilgengar, having masterminded a very long-term plan involving the Vampires and the Markov family in particular; or someone totally different.
And talking of expectations to be fulfilled, perhaps the single biggest disappointment of the original Innistrad block was the lack of a Werewolf legend. At the time, R&D cited a major flavor concern regarding the legend rule as to why Huntmaster of the Fells wasn’t legendary. But this time they’ll have failed in an important way if they don’t rectify that lack. They have three howlpack leaders to work with – The mysterious, perpetually-lupine Tovolar of Mondronen; the dynamic and mighty Ulrich of Krallenhorde; and the vengeful and murderous Skaharra of Leeraug. Tovolar is the most prominently-known of these, so he’s most likely to make a card appearance.