When Werewolves and other transforming cards
first made the scene, the biggest challenge was
how to transform then, and keep them from
transforming back. Huntmaster and Ravager of the
Fells challenge that thinking, as each one has a
triggered ability that rewards you for
transforming it. It wasn't the only Werewolf in
Dark Ascension that had such a triggered
ability, so you might not mind much if your
Werewolf Ransacker transformed back into
Afflicted Deserter, but it's the only one that
rewards you for transformation both ways (plus
an ETB ability). In addition, both of its
abilities are fairly easy to find targets for.
The aforementioned Ransacker might run out of
artifacts to smash, but the Huntmaster will
always be able to give you a Wolf and gain you 2
life, and if the Ravager can't find a creature
to deal 2 damage to, all those Wolf tokens
you've been making will pick up the slack.
Huntmaster of the Fells is a Werewolf you can't
"answer" by making it transform back. That's a
big part of why it's so powerful, because all
the Innistrad Werewolves were pretty debilitated
by transforming back, so that was considered the
easiest way to deal with them. The Huntmaster
defeated that strategy and thrived against
opponents who hadn't learned to abandon it. And
even if the Huntmaster is never allowed to
transform, it's still 4 power of creatures and 2
life for four mana. The fact that 2 of its power
is in a token means even a well-placed Shock
doesn't quite solve it either.
Welcome back to Pojo.com's Card of the Day
section. Over the next couple weeks we will be
counting down our Top 10 Cards of 2012. Today,
we are looking at number 9, Huntsmaster of the
Fells from Dark Ascension. Huntsmaster of the
Fells is a mythic rare red and green creature
human werewolf. Huntsmaster of the Fells costs
two generic mana, one red mana, and one green
mana and is a 2/2. Huntsmaster of the Fells says
whenever this creature enters the battlefield or
transforms into Huntsmaster of the Fells, put a
2/2 green wolf creature token onto the
battlefield and gain two life. At the beginning
of each upkeep, if no spells were cast last
turn, transform Huntsmaster of the Fells.
Huntsmaster of the Fells then becomes Ravager of
the Fells, a red and green werewolf that is a
4/4, trample that says when you transform into
Ravager of the Fells, deal 2 damage to target
opponent and 2 damage to target creature that
opponent controls. At the beginnning of each
upkeep, if two or more spells were played last
turn, transform Ravager of the Fells.
No card made such an impact, and then was simply
ignored quite like the Huntsmaster of the Fells.
Huntsmaster made an immediate impact, but then,
was gone. The main deck that people were running
the Huntsmaster in were aggro based decks using
the Primeval Titan. But honestly, I still don't
understand why he disappeared from the scene so
fast. Perhaps he is just staging another
sweeping comeback once Gatecreash comes out.
Either way, you are gaining an advantage whether you are
able to keep Huntsmaster transformed, or if he
goes back. And dropping him successfully is a
life boost and two creature advantage for just
four mana. Transform him, and it is some spot
removal and a quick damage ping. Nothing wrong
with either. And if your opponent doesn't want
to stare down a 4/4 trample, then they will
rally to quick cast some spells, only to watch
you gain another creature, plus two more life.
Of course, comboing the Huntsmaster with other cards just
makes it so much better. In Standard play,
comboing it with a Parallel Lives make two wolf
tokens, and a Curse of Bloodletting doubles the
two damage from transforming.
There really are zero drawbacks, which is why he was "the
card" back then.
The number nine card of the year is Huntmaster of
the Fells which is a four mana Red/Green 2/2
that adds a 2/2 token and increases life by two
when it enters the battlefield or transforms.
For the mana cost it is quite efficient, but the
transformation has to be triggered for this to
stand out. As a 4/4 with Trample that deals two
damage to an opponent and a creature they
control it adds potential removal and some burn
to the token and life gain. If all of the
effects are activated, preferably multiple
times, this is an excellent card for a Red/Green
Managing that is the difficulty as both colors
tend towards constantly playing cards to
maintain pressure, though a deck could be built
with Huntmaster in mind as it is a decent card
that is both efficient and effective.
For Limited either form is useful as the tokens
or life point swings it can produce are a big
advantage. It benefits from the format's
tendency to have lands topdecked preventing any
other play in a turn and controlling the
transformations should be easier as a result.
The dual color aspect is the biggest drawback,
so drafting choices after making it a first pick
in Booster are critical to have a balanced deck.
In Sealed either color can be splashed if both
aren't strong, but at least one should be solid
in and of itself before including Huntmaster.