Hi all! Welcome to the Micro Brewery article series on MTGCasualPlay.com. In this series I will be posting my Tiny Leader deck ideas crafted only from my leftover MTG cards found in my trade binder and shoeboxes shoved in the corner of my office. I have also refrained from “borrowing” cards from my Commander decks while assembling the core version of the little brews. I am looking to explore unique, fun, casual (semi-competitive at best) decks built around tribal, theme, or good stuff. After the initial build, and this article, I may explore adding new cards via recommendation and/or acquiring through trades so check back periodically for changes!
Hopefully you are back for the third installment of my Micro Brewery Tiny Leaders series. Yes? Awesome. Welcome Back! If this is your first time here I have good news for you. There are two other little brews you can take a look at next. Order of Orim and A Not So Mana Dorky Ezuri Tiny Leader Deck.
What can I say. I’m a sucker for tribal. In my previous posts we looked at Knight/Cleric and mono-green Elves. In this article we are going to take a look at a Green/Red Werewolf Tiny Leader deck. I will warn you in advance, however, that I highly doubt this deck will smoke the competition at your local game store. With that being said, if you play tiny leaders “just for fun, then flipping Innistrad’s townfolk into beasts of the night should prove to be delightful.
Ah, a question from the audience. Why Yasova?. For a Gruul deck my only other option is Radha, Heir to Keld. Yasova can be played with just Red and Green and I felt that her ability may come in handy should my werewolves find themselves with their tails between their legs. The ability allows me to remove a blocker or use an opponents beatstick against them. Yasova is a lot more interesting than a 2/2 mana dork as my tiny leader. Also, this deck is not commander/tiny leader reliant like a lot of other decks, therefore, Yasova is a “bonus” to the game plan.
(Noticing a hand up in the back) Yes, another question, okay, go ahead. Yasova opens this deck to blue. Where’s the blue support spells?. Great question. While there is definitely a great role for blue to add some control in the Werewolf deck, my binder has been drained of just about every RUG dual land combination. With such a putrid mana base to choose from, I have decided that my moon howlers will have to survive on Gruul alone.
However, if you would like to see what blue can do with Yasova and werewolves then I highly recommend reading Andrew Wilson’s article Werewolf Standstill on GatheringMagic.com. Andrew does a nice job including blue to limit opponents to one spell a turn. Check out his article for more werewolf goodies, after you finish reading this one, of course. 🙂
Yasova Howls at the Moon
Obviously this Gruul tribal deck is built around the werewolves of Innistrad. Innistrad was one of the first blocks I played in after my 10 year hiatus from Magic the Gathering™. In my beginning years of the game, I casually added speckles to the white border of my Fifth Edition Greater Werewolf. Werewolves were always of interest to me and Innistrad brought the dream of a Lycanthrope deck to reality. Yes, I did (and still do) have a casual 60 card werewolf deck on MTGO. Oh, and “black speckles on a white border card” might be a reference just for us old timers, laugh-out-loud.
Anyway, on with the deck tech! There really isn’t a lot of strategy behind my werewolf selection. Simple enough if they are a werewolf in Green/Red with converted mana cost 3 or less, they are in this deck. Obviously, some of the lycanthropes are a lot more valuable and relevant than others so let’s highlight a few of them.
Our most powerful moon howler is Mayor of Avabruck/Howlpack Alpha. The Mayor is the Alpha male and pack leader. In werewolf form his lord effect reaches its greatest potential and he can summon a 2/2 wolf token to join our cause at the end of our turn. The Beta wolves would include Wolfbitten Captive/Krallenhorde Killer for both it’s human and werewolf power and toughness pump ability, Kruin Outlaw’s alter ego Terror of Kruin Pass for double strike, and Daybreak Ranger/Nightfall Predator for targeted, albeit situational, removal. Honestly, the remaining werewolves signify the lower end of the wolf pack… subordinates if you will.
Our pack also includes a group of regular wolves that are licking their chops to fight alongside their lycanthrope cousins. Undying makes the Young Wolf a decent turn one play while the Wolfir Avenger provides a beefy regenerator that can use its flash ability to catch an opposing creature off guard. Creating a pseudo-unblockability effect is the Pyreheart Wolf and emulating the creature types of humans, wolves, and werewolves is the changeling Taurean Mauler. Finally we have one of the most important wolves of the pack, Immerwolf who gives all of our doggies +1/+1 and keeps our werewolves in their most powerful form. Immerwolf is so important to the deck that 9 times out of 10, it is the target of an instant speed Chord of Calling.
Support Spells for Werewolf Tribal
Unfortunately, my supply of Chaos Warps and Beast Withins are exausted, so it was time to get creative with my support spells. My current version of Yasova werewolves revolves around damage base creature removal with a small splash of land destruction. First up, my plan on wiping out elf tokens and hexproof creatures (Geist) comes to fruition with mass damage like Bonfire of the Damned or an overloaded Mizzium Mortars. I love one sided removal and came really close to including Sudden Demise in my main over Firespout. For now, I’m going with Firespout, but reserve the right to change my mind after getting a few games in. 🙂 I have also included three damage spells that target. Branching Bolt and Clan Defiance should prove quite useful alongside Tiny Leader red staple, Lightning Bolt.
Before you jump to the conclusion that the Orcish Settlers are out of place in a werewolf tribal deck, let me assure you what my Vorthos side is thinking. The wolves constantly raid the farmers fields. Eating their chickens and using their barn as a changing room. These particular Orish farmers/settlers resort to trying to burn out the creatures of the night, unsuccessfully at that.
Realistically, however, the Orcish Settlers are here to blow up a couple of my opponents lands mid-game. If we can burn down at least one or two of their resources that may be just enough to keep them from casting spells for a few turns. What happens when our opponent does not have the resources to cast spells? The werewolves transform and are allowed to stay in their aggressive wolf form. Riding on the coat tails of this explanation is my reason for including Tectonic Break. If I feel that I have advantage midgame, and my werewolves are in play, why not one-for-one our landbases for a chance to take over the game?
Alternate Ending – Aggressive Werewolves
Do you like stories with alternate endings? Well my friends, do I have a treat for you. In the decklist above I have included an Alternate Spell Base. By swapping support spells, this alternate list has a much more aggressive game plan in mind. Let me explain. For a werewolf to “flip” a player cannot cast spells in a turn. I figured the easiest way for this to happen was for me to be the one not casting spells on my turn. But if I wasn’t casting spells, what else could I do? My solution was two fold. The first, was to include all four legal creatures with the Bloodrush ability. Bloodrush is an ability (not a spell) that gives a power and toughness boost to an attacking creature, therefore allowing me to do something cool on my turn. In a pinch, I could also put the bloodrush card into play as a creature later down the line if I needed more bodies. Of the four, Wasteland Viper is my favorite simply for the addition of deathtouch.
Part two was to use other abilities that I set up earlier in the game. My line of thinking was to include fonts and seals in the first few turns as a resource I could tap into on a turn in which I did not want to cast spells. The Seal of Fire allowing for 2 points of removal, the Font of Ire to Lava Axe my opponent or Seal of Strength to utilize during combat or to dodge damage based removal.
With the bloodrush cards upping my creature count, Lead the Stampede and Domri Rade‘s +1 ability would help with card advatnatge. Rounding out the Beta Build was Gruul Charm. This spell would come in handy for flyer removal or allow the wolves to swing in unblocked.
I had also considered a dark, dark third version of support spells that was nothing but land destruction. Stone Rain, Pillage and things of that nature. But this was definitely way outside of the game’s fun zone.
The land base is a big yawn and ho-hum, but as stated before, I didn’t have a lot to choose from in my non-basic collection. You may also notice that the land count is at 20. I tried having it at 19, but during goldfishing, I simply wasn’t getting the land drops or color fixing that I needed.
Hopefully, after reading this article, you will be inclined to comment with your thoughts and suggestions. Here are some conversation starters that would help with feedback:
- Overall opinion of the deck and article series?
- My sideboard looks rather meh. What can I add?
- While staying in the Gruul color scheme, is there a piece of strategy I may have overlooked?
- Other than Beast Within and Chaos Warp, what would be the first card I should BUY or TRADE to include in this deck?
Thanx for Reading folks! Check back for another Micro Brew in the very near future! Oh hey, if you would like to write your own Tiny Leaders Deck Tech or articles email me at nick@MagicEDH.com and I’ll help you get started!
On to the Next!