I’ve been consistently playing Magic The Gathering with my friend lately, and that’s meant plenty of playtesting for the various decks that I’ve created. We’ve stuck with “Standard” legality, meaning the cards from the current block and the last two are the only ones that we can select cards from. My friend has two decks so far and only one that is really dominant. I have been testing my decks against that one primarily and have had mixed results. One of the biggest (and most fun) parts of playing MTG is theorycrafting, which goes hand in hand with deckbuilding. For me, theorycrafting starts with a card or cards that have a large impact on a game. Building a deck around those cards or themes is more difficult than it might seem, but isn’t so difficult that it’s overwhelming.
In my time back with the game, I’ve managed to create a White/Black “Lifegain” deck that has been the most consistent. I threw together a Blue/Red control deck that has since been decommissioned in order to turn it into an energy themed deck. My Blue/Black Zombies deck has seen some iteration but feels pretty complete at this point. I’ve also slapped together a Red/Green Werewolf deck and am waiting on a shipment of singles to complete a White/Green Thopter deck. Each deck started with a handful of cards that had synergy, and was then filled with whatever sounded good. From there, playtesting occurred to the point where I could find weaknesses with my build and change the deck accordingly. This has been an ongoing process, but it has resulted in some pretty cool decks in my humble opinion.
My current labor of love is the Red/Green Werewolf deck. I saw that I had quite a few werewolf or werewolf-themed cards, and the majority of those were Red or Green. It turns out that many of the spells that would affect other werewolves affected normal wolves as well, so they were a shoo in for addition to the deck. Really, that’s all there was to it, but buying up singles to shore up a deck is definitely the way to go. I’ve had foundations for decks emerge from packs, but getting them dialed in requires particular cards, and paying $0.25 each for most singles isn’t breaking the bank.
I thought I’d take the time to break this deck down a bit, and go over the cards and my thought processes. I intend to do this for the other decks as well, but for now, let’s dive into it.
Red/Green Werewolf Deck
x1 Arlinn Kord/Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon (Planeswalker)
Planeswalkers are just plain cool. They act as more of an enchantment than anything, though they are able to utilize abilities and also take damage. The only weakness lies in their inability to attack, though their abilities tend to make up for that. Knowing I was building a R/G Werewolf deck and finding this legal Planeswalker meant including it was a gimmie. Everything on this card will interact well with other cards that have been included.
x1 Shrill Howler/Howling Chorus
Most of these cards that I only have one of were those acquired through packs. At this point, the deck theoretically works. Further playtesting will find which cards aren’t so hot and which ones I should add more of. It’s a simple process of elimination. Having a 3/1 for 3 mana isn’t great, but the fact that little weenies can’t block it is nice, and once it transforms it’s a nice token generator.
x1 Kessig Prowler/Sinuous Predator
A 2/1 for 1 mana is a decent drop. Transformation is a bit expensive, but a 4/4 with menace isn’t bad. Given the waxing moon cards that I’ve included, it might be able to transform for cheaper, and that’s always nice. I like these werewolves that transform for mana rather than other circumstances, but they tend to be on the pricey side. I’m hoping the spells included in this deck will slow the game down to give me time to get a transformed army going.
x1 Hermit of the Natterknolls/Lone Wolf of the Natterknolls
I really like the Hermit, not only because it’s a 2/3 for 3 mana, but the card draw is nice. It gets better after transformation, but this is one of the cards where I can’t control the transformation, so I’m not sure how well these will work in practice. This will be reported on later.
x2 Smoldering Werewolf/Erupting Dreadwolf
This guy feels like I should add 2 more to the deck. A 3/2 for 4 mana that also deals 2 damage on summon is great. After transforming you get the 2 direct damage every time it attacks. Good shit.
x2 Gatstaf Arsonists/Gatstaf Ravagers
Probably one of the first to go if they prove less useful, a 5/4 for 5 mana isn’t terrible, but the 6/5 with menace transformer is pretty good. We’ll see how this one pans out.
x2 Convicted Killer/Branded Howler
Another common, and also one that might not make the cut. A 2/2 for 3 isn’t great, but getting that bonus from the transformation might make it worthwhile. It really depends on how the spell casting goes each turn. That’s one thing I’ll say about this deck, it should be interesting, but not necessarily the best.
x2 Ulvenwald Captive/Ulvenwald Abomination
I actually like this one quite a bit. A 1/2 for 2 mana isn’t amazing, but having a defender is sometimes useful, particularly because it can be used to generate mana. Transforming it will give you two mana per tap along with allowing it to attack, and it’s beefed up to a 4/6. Feels worth it, and I think I’ll be adding 2 more of these down the road.
x2 Tangleclaw Werewolf/Fibrous Entangler
This is another werewolf I rather enjoy. A 2/4 for 4 mana, this bad boy can block twice. Once transformed, he then has vigilance (no tapping for attacks), must be blocked, and can still block twice. Awesome.
x2 Silverfur Partisan
Not quite a werewolf, and not quite a wolf, but this 2/2 for 3 mana is pretty nice. Trample seems a little silly at first, but given some of the other spells in the deck it will come in handy. The passive is the real bonus, where any of my creatures getting targeted by a spell gives me a free 2/2 token.
x2 Deranged Whelp
A 2/1 with menace for 2 mana. Cannon fodder. Nuff said.
x2 Brazen Wolves
These guys are nice as a 2/3 for 3 mana isn’t bad, but each time it attacks, it’s instantly a 4/3.
x2 Ember-Eye Wolf
A 1/2 with haste for 2 mana is nice because that’s instant damage. Having the mana to pump him up means potential big-damage to the face, or at least the ability to kill a big creature of the opponent’s.
x2 Spirit of the Hunt
I really enjoy this card. A 3/3 for 3 mana that gives an instant health boost to the rest of my creatures for a turn. It also has flash, meaning it can be cast like an instant, even on the opposing player’s turn.
I’m sure you can see by now the sorts of interactions I’m expecting to have with these creatures, as they all have benefits for each other or at least are the same type so that all of my other spells will benefit every last one. Speaking of spells, let’s jump into those:
x2 Rabid Bite
I’m fascinated by the whole “fight” mechanic. This isn’t that exactly, but these are the types of cards I wanted to include in this deck. Basically you take the power of your creature and do that much damage to another creature. Nice way to destroy those pesky creatures with abilities that normally keep them out of reach.
x3 Prey Upon
This is the actual “fight” mechanic. It essentially forces a creature to fight your creature, so used in the right circumstance, you will live and their creature will die.
x2 Waxing Moon
This card is sort of a double whammy. Not only do I get to pick a werewolf to instantly transform, but all of the creatures on my board get trample. Good stuff.
x3 Larger Than Life
This is the mother of all pump cards. +4/+4 plus trample to any of my creatures. Not as good as giant growth from back in the day when it was an instant, but still a nice addition to this deck.
x1 Howlpack Resurgence
As enchantments go, adding a +1/+1 counter to every creature on your side of the board is nice. Getting trample in addition is also nice. What’s really great about this card though, is having flash attached to it. Between this and Spirit of the Hunt, the opponent is gonna have to watch out.
x2 Giant Spectacle
These enchants coincide with the fact that I have plenty of other cards giving menace, trample and pumps. So why not add a few more?
x2 Structural Distortion
The only real form of control that I’ve added to the deck, I thought it would be nice to not only be able to destroy those pesky artifacts and vehicles, but also to slow the game down by destroying land. The direct damage is just a bonus.
x2 Creeping Mold
Essentially the green version of the same card, it swaps the ability to do direct damage with the ability to destroy an enchantment. Still nice.
x2 Timber Gorge
x1 Cinder Glade
Lands are pretty basic. I have 3 multi-colored lands, and the rest are normal.
That’s about it for this write up. What do you think of this deck? Think it will work out? I’ll be back with more deck breakdowns soon.