Fat Stacks — Ulrich, Lord of Werewolves

Feature Article from Cassidy Silver
Cassidy Silver
6/28/2016 11:00:00 AM
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Hello! This week on Fat Stacks, I'm looking at a card that I have been waiting on for years. Ever since Innistrad, there was one glaring omission that weighed heavily on me – we need a Werewolf legend! If you have been paying attention to the spoilers for Eldritch Moon, it looks as if we will have just that in Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Will this new legend live up to the hype?

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Magic MTG Card Ulrich of the Krallenhorde Magic MTG Card
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When Ulrich of the Krallenhorde transforms, he becomes the 6/6 Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha. When he transforms into the larger Werewolf, he may fight target non-Werewolf creature that we don't control. He also has the corresponding transform mechanic where he flips back into the Human form if someone casts more than one spell on the previous turn.

My initial impressions are a bit mixed. I would have loved a tribal mechanic to him, perhaps having the other Werewolves fight when they transform as well. If that is too strong, we could just have him give all of his howlpack pals a smaller boost as a replacement for the +4/+4 ability. I get that he is the Alpha though, so it makes sense that he is more of a solo fighter.

Even though he doesn't provide any sort of tribal buff, there are enough great tribal “lords” among the non-legendary kinfolk to build a tribal Werewolf deck anyway. This decision is also fueled by the great anticipation of finally having a Werewolf legend, as well as the novelty of finally having the tribe complete.

Looking at the Werewolf tribe as a whole, most of them are a bit underwhelming. There are roughly 30 werewolves, and only a third of those have any sort of ability worth addressing. For the purpose of this build, we will include as many as we can, though future versions of the deck will probably have the worst pruned from the list.

 Geier Reach Bandit
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Magic MTG Card Geier Reach Bandit Magic MTG Card
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Why do we have so many bad creatures? Basically, the tribal buff cards make it worth testing each one out. Geier Reach Bandit and Kruin Outlaw are both good examples, and Vildin-Pack Alpha in particular is a cool addition to the team. If we play Ulrich of the Krallenhorde with Vildin-Pack Alpha, Ulrich of the Krallenhorde will come into play, trigger his +4/+4 ability, and then transform for the fight.

Mayor of Avabruck is the classic Werewolf lord. Duskwatch Recruiter is also a pretty boss card for this (or any) creature-heavy green deck.

One of the cool things about the Innistrad tribes is that they received a lot of non-creature cards that still have tribal effects. Full Moon's Rise is an example of these; we could definitely use the extra power, as well as the trample. We can also sacrifice it to regenerate all of our Werewolves, which can be pretty clutch. It won't help against Wrath of God or Damnation, but there are a lot of situations where we want to regenerate our creatures. Howlpack Resurgence is part of Shadows over Innistrad's cycle of tribal enchantments, and has the flash ability, which will help our overall strategy. Again, it is more trample and anthem buffs, but this time Wolves are also eligible. Moonmist rounds out this section of the deck, giving us a Fog and instant speed mass-transform spell that will go really well with Ulrich's fight trigger.

Ulrich Werewolves by WriterofWrong
Main Deck
1 Afflicted Deserter
1 Breakneck Rider
1 Convicted Killer
1 Cult of the Waxing Moon
1 Daybreak Ranger
1 Duskwatch Recruiter
1 Foe-Razer Regent
1 Gatstaf Arsonists
1 Gatstaf Shepherd
1 Geier Reach Bandit
1 Grizzled Outcasts
1 Hanweir Watchkeep
1 Hermit of the Natterknolls
1 Hinterland Hermit
1 Hinterland Logger
1 Huntmaster of the Fells
1 Immerwolf
1 Instigator Gang
1 Kessig Cagebreakers
1 Kessig Forgemaster
1 Kruin Outlaw
1 Lambholt Elder
1 Lambholt Pacifist
1 Master of the Hunt
1 Master of the Wild Hunt
1 Mayor of Avabruck
1 Mondronen Shaman
1 Reckless Waif
1 Sage of Ancient Lore
1 Scorned Villager
1 Silverfur Partisan
1 Solitary Hunter
1 Tormented Pariah
1 Ulrich's Kindred
1 Ulvenwald Mystics
1 Ulvenwald Tracker
1 Village Ironsmith
1 Villagers of Estwald
1 Wolfbitten Captive
1 Wolfbriar Elemental
1 Yeva, Nature's Herald
Creatures [41]
1 Arlinn Kord
1 Domri Rade
Planeswalkers [2]
1 Aluren
1 Bonds of Mortality
1 Epic Confrontation
1 Full Moon's Rise
1 Hibernation's End
1 Howlpack Resurgence
1 Moonlight Hunt
1 Moonmist
1 Pit Fight
1 Prey Upon
1 Raised by Wolves
1 Savage Punch
1 Seasons Past
1 Time to Feed
1 Unnatural Aggression
1 Vedalken Orrery
1 Wolfcaller's Howl
Spells [17]
1 Arcane Lighthouse
1 Blighted Woodland
1 Cavern of Souls
1 Cinder Glade
1 Command Tower
1 Copperline Gorge
1 Deserted Temple
1 Dust Bowl
1 Flamekin Village
7 Forest (295)
1 Gaea's Cradle
1 Game Trail
1 Homeward Path
1 Kessig Wolf Run
6 Mountain (292)
1 Myriad Landscape
1 Nykthos, Shrine to Nyx
1 Okina, Temple to the Grandfathers
1 Opal Palace
1 Rootbound Crag
1 Shinka, the Bloodsoaked Keep
1 Skarrg, the Rage Pits
1 Stomping Ground
1 Taiga
1 Temple of the False God
1 Wasteland
1 Winding Canyons
1 Yavimaya Hollow
Lands [39]
Deck Total [99]

1 Ulrich of the Krallenhorde
Sideboard [1]

Click for full deck stats & notes!

There are also a lot of non-Werewolves that help out, like Immerwolf, Ulrich's Kindred, Silverfur Partisan, and Cult of the Waxing Moon. Immerwolf is one of those cards that I've been dying to use alongside a Werewolf commander, and it will go pretty well with Vildin-Pack Alpha. It does get in the way of Ulrich's Werewolf-to-Human trigger, as well as Huntmaster of the Fells, but it's worth it here with all the generic Werewolves.

Cult of the Waxing Moon and Silverfur Partisan both create Wolf Tokens like Mayor of Avabruck. Silverfur Partisan will go well with a lot of the spells in here, as most of them target our own creatures. We also have two enchantments that will create Wolf Tokens: Raised by Wolves and Wolfcaller's Howl. Raised by Wolves will be awesome on Ulrich, as we will have plenty of Wolf Tokens.

Master of the Hunt is a decent source of Wolf Tokens, and we can upgrade to the more recent Master of the Wild Hunt as well. Kessig Cagebreaker will also yield a decent amount of tokens, especially since we have a lot of built-in removal in the fight cards. Kessig Cagebreaker is a Human, so will benefit from the few buffs in here for Humans. Wolfbriar Elemental will be a good source of Wolf Tokens, though is usually only usable once a game.

 Master of the Wild Hunt
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Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card Master of the Wild Hunt Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

Master of the Wild Hunt brings us fully into the fighting part of the deck. Ulrich has the built-in fight ability, so already I am loving Foe-Razer Regent in here. The image of Ulrich of the Krallenhorde riding Foe-Razer Regent into battle with that sweet axe is worth the price of admission. Daybreak Ranger has fight as an activated ability, and it is already in the deck. We also have Ulvenwald Tracker in here because fight-wolves get along well with fight-bears.

Fight spells are some of the best removal in Gruul colors because it scales with the size of our creatures. Lightning Bolt is arguably better for taking out small creatures or dealing damage to the face or Planeswalkers, but something like Pit Fight will let us take down larger creatures. Moonlight Hunt is probably our best fight spell, even though it's completely one-sided, so it's not much of a fight. We also have Time to Feed, Prey Upon, Epic Confrontation, Savage Punch, and Unnatural Aggression. Most of these cards will also trigger that Silverfur Partisan, making more Wolf Tokens!

We need ways to deal with creatures that are immune to the fight, and Arcane Lighthouse is in here to help deal with hexproof and shroud creatures, as does Bonds of Mortality. Bonds of Mortality also helps out with indestructible creatures, though we still have no real good answer for creatures with protection from green or red.

 Arlinn Kord
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Magic MTG Card Arlinn Kord Magic MTG Card
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The fight club ends with the Planeswalkers, starting with Domri Rade. Not only is he great for fighting, he also has the ability to draw one of our many creatures in here. We can't mention red/green Planeswalkers without addressing the Werewolf-Walker herself, Arlinn Kord. She makes Wolf Tokens, and her emblem will turn all of our creatures into one-sided Ulvenwald Trackers. I am still getting used to her, as she has a ton of different abilities, but she keeps coming up as one of the better Planeswalkers in the color identity.

We've loaded the deck with fighting Wolves, but now we need to be a bit more subtle with our strategy. The thing about Werewolves is that we are constantly at the whim of a table full of players, so it is tough to keep them transformed without the Immerwolf or Vildin-Pack Alpha. Ideally, we will try not to play anything during our turn to transform them, so we will want ways to play spells during our opponents' turns. The Werewolf side of these cards only flip to human if a single player casts two spells in the previous turn, so if we play one spell a turn, we can cheat the system a bit.

Vedalken Orrery is the basic flash enabler available to Gruul colors, and we also have Winding Canyon, and Yeva, Nature's Herald. Yeva, Nature's Herald will only help our green creatures, but that will include Ulrich of the Krallenhorde, Immerwolf, Foe-Razer Regent, etc. I also put Aluren in here, which will give a lot of creatures flash as well as making them free to cast. This gives our opponents the ability to cast spells during other players' turns, so it very well might make it harder to get the initial transformation turn. Overall, I think that we will get a huge benefit from Aluren, but it may require proper timing.

We come back around to the actual Werewolves again, as some of them have abilities that will punish opponents who play spells out of turn. Hermit of the Natterknolls is a good example, as we will get to draw cards if someone is messing with our empty turn strategy. We also have Mondronen Shaman to Deal Damage to opponents for casting any spells at all.

 Sage of Ancient Lore
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Magic MTG Card Sage of Ancient Lore Magic MTG Card
Magic MTG Card

The last Werewolf that I want to mention in here is one that kind of flies under the radar – Sage of Ancient Lore. This thing can be huge on its Human side, as it is as big as our hand. It comes into play and draws us a card, which is actually really nice, and on the flip side... it is as big as everyone's hand! Since it already has vigilance and trample built-in, this thing can be a table killer by itself.

Once Eldritch Moon is fully spoiled and I've had some time to play the deck, I will take another look at Ulrich of the Krallenhorde. Until then, I think this covers the tribal Werewolf deck that I've wanted to build for years. Feels real good.

Thanks for reading!

- Cassidy Silver

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