The Awakening of the Lycans

A Deck Based on the Werewolf Tribe

What is this deck?

This deck is based on the werewolf tribe and strives to keep that flavour by excluding cards that does not match with this theme. I've decided to build the deck without going overboard on the budget while still keeping it fairly competetive.

The general strategy of the deck is to flood the board with wolves and werewolves, along with boosting cards such as Immerwolf, Mayor of Avabruck  , Howlpack Resurgence, Kessig Wolf Run and/or Moonmist. The deck can often get out more creatures on the battlefield than most opponnets can, and with Moonmist the werewolves will also often be stronger than most opponents creatures.


The first werewolf in Magic was Lesser Werewolf, released in 1994 in the expansion set Legends. The following year another werewolf was released in Homelands, the Greater Werewolf. This werewolf was later reprinted in fifth Edition with a new flavor text and an updated card layout. It was around this time that creature types went from largely being used for flavor-related reasons, to introducing some mechanical identity among some creature cards, namely Slivers and Licids. Five years later, in 2002, Judgement was released and along with it another werewolf, the Treacherous Werewolf. Until this point the werewolves have had the creature type Lycanthrope. Judgement changed this by giving Treacherous Werewolf the type Wolf instead.

For a long time it seemed like no new werewolf cards would be released again. Some minor changes was made to their type when Lorwyn was released in 2007, along with the Grand Creature Type Update. All the previously printed werewolves had their creature types changed from Lycanthrope to Human Wolf. The Lesser Werewolf was later reprinted in 2009 with the release of Masters Edition III, with the creature type Human Wolf clearly printed on it.

With the increasing prints of different wolves a big change happened for the werewolf tribe with the release of Innistrad in 2011. The block not only had 19 werewolves and 21 other cards referencing werewolves, it changed the werewolf tribe altogether:

  • The werewolves prior to this set had their creature types changed from Human Wolf to Werewolf.
  • The tribe had cards printed on both sides of them (Double-faced cards), which had previously been introduced in Kamigawa in a slightly different manner. This was a radical change of the card back. Until the double-faced cards release, no legal card could have a different print on the back than the regular Magic card back.
  • On the front side the werewolves was given atleast the creature types Human and Werewolf, and on the back side they were only a Werewolf.
  • The front side was named the day side with an icon next to its name repesenting a sun, and the back side was named the night side with a crescent moon icon and a slightly altered frame, textbox and white text for card type, name and power/toughness.
  • They were given the keyword transform, which would turn them over so that its other face is up. When the permanent transforms, all counters, Auras and Equipment stay on the card, and the card neither enters nor leaves the battlefield.
  • To be allowed to play with the new werewolves, the player must either have opaque sleeves for all cards, or use a checklist card to substitute for each werewolf card in the deck. These checklists were included in some of the booster packs. The checklist cards were shuffled into the deck while the actual double-faced card were kept outside the game.
  • Because the werewolves can be transformed, some rules had to make exceptions for these double-faced cards. Some of these exceptions were; Cards such as Ixidron cannot turn a werewolf face down, and if a werewolf would be cloned, the clone cannot transform.

The most notable cards added to the werewolf tribe in the Innistrad block were Ancient Grudge, Daybreak Ranger  , Full Moon's Rise, Huntmaster of the Fells  , Immerwolf, Instigator Gang  , Kessig Wolf Run, Kruin Outlaw  , Mayor of Avabruck  , Mondronen Shaman  , Moonmist, Reckless Waif   and Wolfbitten Captive  .

The next time a werewolf were printed was in 2016 when the block Shadows over Innistrad was released. This block included 20 new werewolves (one of which was of the type Legendary - Ulrich of the Krallenhorde  ), one werewolf planeswalker (Arlinn Kord  ) and 10 other cards in some way referencing werewolves. This block also brought with it some changes to the werewolves:

  • The converted mana cost of the night side is now based on the mana cost of the day side.
  • The new Horrow/Eldrazi werewolves are not Human on the front side. Instead they have the types Werewolf Horror, indicating that their front side is their transformed state.
  • The transform effect for the new Horror/Eldrazi werewolves was changed to an activated ability, which the player has to pay mana for.
  • The new Horrow/Eldrazi werewolves were given a full moon icon on the front side, and a Emrakul icon on the back side to show that the creature has joined Emrakul's brood.

The most notable cards added to the werewolf tribe in the Innistrad block were Arlinn Kord  , Breakneck Rider  , Duskwatch Recruiter  , Geier Reach Bandit  , Howlpack Resurgence, Kessig Prowler  , Lambholt Pacifist  , Moonlight Hunt, Spirit of the Hunt, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde  , Village Messenger   and Waxing Moon.

The transform mechanic has been named Deciduous, which mean that it is not Evergreen, but may show up from time to time in a set that needs it (as seen in Ixalan). This gives hope of more werewolf cards to follow, maybe not in the near future but atleast the tribe could come back in a small or larger scale in a future set.

  • In order to transform our werewolves no cards must have been played in a single turn. This can either be achieved by not casting something on your turn or get lucky that our opponent can't cast something on their turn.
  • With this in mind we can either choose to play as many wolves as we can and then cast Moonmist, or we can choose to cast nothing on our turn and instead cast Howlpack Resurgence or Lightning Bolt on our opponents turn. If we want our wolves to perform optimally then we need to get lucky that our opponent is missing some land drops or spells to cast.
  • One strategy is to focus on producing a lot of wolves with cards such as Mayor of Avabruck  , Huntmaster of the Fells   and Arlinn Kord   together with Immerwolf and Howlpack Resurgence. This way we can rather quickly overwhelm our opponents.
  • Another strategy is to get early board presence with the haste wolves Village Messenger   and Geier Reach Bandit  . If the bandit then flips we can cast Huntmaster of the Fells   and transform him directly. With multiple bandits we can transform him even more times and this way get a lot of enter the battlefield triggers. This won't work if we have Immerwolf in play.
  • We can also make Kruin Outlaw   stronger with our tribal lords and then give her trample with Howlpack Resurgence or Kessig Wolf Run as she can very quick deal a lot of damage. With a flipped Mayor of Avabruck   and Howlpack Resurgence we suddenly have a 5/5 with double strike and trample. By now targeting her with Kessig Wolf Run the damage will quickly add up.
  • With the new planeswalker rule we can have both Arlinn Kord   and Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon in play, as long as we don't transform any of them. This way we can increase the loyalty on Arlinn Kord   while our opponent try to focus Arlinn, Embraced by the Moon and then when the latter dies we can transform and next turn hopefully use the -6 on the former. Of course you should transform one of them if it would otherwise be advantageous.
  • This deck can have trouble in dealing with creatures with flying. I've because of this included Daybreak Ranger   specifically for these encounters. If they should not be enough we can add some more removal to the deck such as Beast Within and Moonlight Hunt.


  • Village Messenger   - 1/1 for with haste is great to deal some early damage. On his night side he has menace instead which makes him a bigger threat once he gets some buffs from the other wolves.
  • Duskwatch Recruiter   - On it's human side the recruiter can help us get more creatures to our hand while also bringing a solid body to the battlefield for 2 mana - I'm looking at you Mayor of Avabruck  . When it flips it instead reduces the cost for our creatures by . This speeds up the deck so that we can get our wolfpack on the field much faster.
  • Mayor of Avabruck   - On his human side he also gives +1/+1, but only to humans. As he flips he instead gives +1/+1 to our wolves and werewolves while also generating a 2/2 wolves at our every end step. Get him out early and start generating some wolves!
  • Geier Reach Bandit   - The bandit has haste on it human side, which is great. It's true power is on its back side as she allows us to transform our other werewolf as soon as they hit the battlefield. So if you have trouble flipping your wolves, this is the card for you!
  • Immerwolf - He is the decks pack leader and makes sure the our werewolves won't become human again. Though he is not a werewolf himself he still gives all our werewolves and wolves a +1/+1 boost.
  • Kruin Outlaw   - On it's own this card might not pack so much of a punch. Though together with other wolves and anthems this card will be a game finisher on it's night side.
  • Huntmaster of the Fells   - On it's own the huntsmaster works wonders. As a human it gives us a 2/2 wolf and 2 life. As he transforms he deals 2 damage to an opponent and 2 on one of his creatures and gains trample. By alrady having a flipped Geier Reach Bandit   on the field we can trigger both of the huntmaster's abilities. Immerwolf sadly will not let him flip to his human side again, once in the pack you're not going back. Though he still gives us good value for only .

Noncreature Spells

  • Lightning Bolt - 3 damage for is superb. While Moonlight Hunt suits the theme more it is included in the sideboard instead for extra removal.
  • Moonmist - Are your werewolves underperforming? Is your opponent constantly attacking with everything? Fear not, Moonmist is here! Simply cast it, block some of their creatures to kill them off and later, on your turn, you have strong creatures and they have no blockers! It can be used on your offensive as well, you control the fight! Also, using Moonmist on planeswalkers like Jace, Vryn's Prodigy   kills them instantly because they never get any loyalty counters.
  • Howlpack Resurgence - While costing more than Full Moon's Rise it instead has flash (!) and gives +1/+1 and trample to wolves and werewolves instead of +1/+0 and trample to only werewolves. We won't have the regeneration effect but we can more easily flip some werewolves by casting Howlpack Resurgence on our opponents turn instead.
  • Arlinn Kord   - She generates 2/2 wolves, casts Lightning Bolt, buffs our creatures and her ultimate gives all our creatures a stronger Lightning Bolt. She is also a werewolf planeswalker. What is not to like?


Low Budget

  • Reckless Waif   - Previously occupied the mana creature slot which is now replaced by Village Messenger  . While the waif has a stronger night side she lacks haste and menace which makes the messenger a stronger pick.
  • Wolfbitten Captive   - This is a green alternative to Reckless Waif  . It is not as strong, and you should mainly consider this card if you want to use his ability early (instead of casting a creature), or late as a mana sink. Using Duskwatch Recruiter   as a mana sink would often be better because he makes sure you have more werewolves in hand. Otherwise the captives ability could be used as a combat trick for more favourable blocks.
  • Lambholt Pacifist   - As a 3/3 for on its human side this card brings alot of value to the board. It won't be that hard to get a 4/4 werewolf in play.
  • Scorned Villager   - If this was a wolf for then it would be great in this deck. Because we would rather cast other wolves on turn 2 this card is not as good as other ramp cards.
  • Breakneck Rider   - A front side 3/3 for is not great but alright. It's as he transforms that he starts to shine. He then becomes a combination between Full Moon's Rise and Instigator Gang  .
  • Hermit of the Natterknolls   - If you are facing a control heavy meta this card can help you by drawing new cards.
  • Wolfir Avenger - If you would like a wolf with a regeneration ability, then the avenger is a good pick.
  • Instigator Gang   - The gang is rather weak in its human form but can win us games when he is transformed. He does not give trample to all creature in the way Neck Breaker does but he is much better at boosting our wolves.
  • Mondronen Shaman   - Used for it's night side to punish decks that play many spell in a single turn.
  • Wolfir Silverheart - As long as it is soulbonded it brings much power to the board. If you aim for a midrange deck then this wolf does a good job for .
  • Neglected Heirloom   - Because it only costs to cast and to equip we can, hopefully, equip this on a human before he flips. While flipped it gives +3/+3 to equipped creature, by giving the heirloom to Terror of Kruin Pass you truly have a beastly lycan in play. It could also just be a bad top deck because we want to transform it.
  • Full Moon's Rise - Does not give wolves the buff and cannot be flashed in as Howlpack Resurgence can but it can regenerate all werewolves. What effect is more preferable depends on the meta the deck is played in.

Mid Budget

  • Birds of Paradise - A good mana ramp if you would like to cast some wolves a turn earlier. It's not a wolf but works well with Collected Company.
  • Metallic Mimic - This card has gone up in price recently with the release of Ixalan and the tribal commander decks from Commander 2017. Early on in the game it is a good lord in this deck but late game I would not like to dopdeck it because it does not buff the wolves already in play.
  • Utopia Sprawl - Another good mana ramp if you would like to cast some wolves a turn earlier.
  • Isochron Scepter - I've tried the Isochron Scepter + Moonmist combo, which can be very strong, but I did not find it much to my liking. This is because my playgroup already finds Moonmist to be too strong and I would like to keep this deck on a more casual level. If you like the idea of casting Moonmist on almost every single turn then you should try it out.
  • Garruk Relentless - A planeswalker that not only can transform but can also create deathtouch wolves. If you want more planseswalkers in the deck then you should consider him.
  • Domri Rade - When we start increasing the number of creatures in the deck this planeswalker really starts to shine. Unfortunately he does not fit the werewolf theme.

High Budget

  • Wooded Foothills - If you want to play with fetchlands then add these.
  • Copperline Gorge - A good land early on if we don't want to use Stomping Ground.
  • Mutavault - Lets you get an extra creature out, which also will be buffed. It dies more easily in the meta after Fatal Push was released.
  • Cavern of Souls - Great land for mana fixing and against control metas.
  • Aether Vial - If you add these then you should use a full playset. Playing them mid/late game is not something we would like to do. If we get to play them turn 1 they are great though.
  • Blood Moon - Helps alot against stronger decks that use few basic lands. If you use these, make sure that your manabase is not too heavily focused on nonbasic lands. Otherwise you need a way to consistently be able to get the basic land you need, cards such as Utopia Sprawl and Wooded Foothills helps with this.
  • Collected Company - This card is great in this deck if we increase the number of creatures to around 28. We can play it on our opponents turn in order to flip our werewolves on our turn.

While it is possible to add some white hate cards to make the deck a more mid-range focused naya deck, that is not the main focus. This is meant mainly be a werewolf focused deck, which now only exists in gruul. The deck is also not optimised to be competetive because of some budget constraints. The cards I have chosen might also not suit your playstyle or your local meta, in which case i encourage inventive ideas to make the deck fit you. If you would like to make the deck more (or less) competetive, check out the card alternatives section above.

The cards from the block Shadows over Innistrad improved the deck quite a bit. Unfortunately most of the werewolves from Eldritch Moon were unusable because of their new transform ability. Hopefully we will get new werewolf cards in future sets which we can improve the deck with, or atleast get more card choices for an Ulrich of the Krallenhorde   EDH deck!

If you have any suggestions of how the deck could look like, feel free to comment. Thanks!


Updates Add

Additions: Howlpack Resurgence , Lightning Bolt

Subtractions: Neglected Heirloom  Flip

I added 1x more Lightning Bolt to the deck because the card performs so well. 1x more Howlpack Resurgence was also added because it is great at boosting the wolves and werewolves and giving them all trample.

I removed all Neglected Heirloom  Flip. They could perform well if we could get in play and attach it to a human before it transforms. Often times than not it was instead a bad top deck because we already had flipped all our werewolves and maybe even had an Immerwolf in play. If it had first strike on its first side it would have performed better.

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11 months ago)

-2 Neglected Heirloom  Flip main
+1 Lightning Bolt main
+1 Howlpack Resurgence main