Last updated on April 30, 2024

See the Unwritten - Illustration by Ryan Barger

See the Unwritten | Illustration by Ryan Barger

Some MTG mechanics are very interesting to the point that you can build thematic decks around them. Ferocious is an MTG mechanic that works great in decks with large creatures because of the special effects you gain when you have a creature that has at least a specific power level.

Are you ready to get ferocious and find out more about this mechanic? We’re going over what it does, the best cards, and how you can take it to its limit!

Let’s get started!

What Is Ferocious In MTG?

Feed the Clan - Illustration by Winona Nelson

Feed the Clan | Illustration by Winona Nelson

Ferocious is a mechanic in MTG that triggers a special effect depending on whether you have a creature that has power 4 or greater. The mechanic has surfaced on instants, sorceries, creatures, and enchantments. However, it hasn’t been printed on battles or artifacts.

Since most ferocious cards are instants and sorceries, you get extra lifegain, more pumps for creatures, exceptional casting speeds, and other special effects. Some ferocious cards were first printed in Khans of Tarkir and others in Fate Reforged.

#19. Heir of the Wilds

Heir of the Wilds

Every member of your army needs a little support. Heir of the Wilds gets a pump in power and toughness as long as it attacks while you control another creature that’s power 4 or greater.

This card works great in decks that support small creatures. Put it into a Saryth, the Viper's Fang deck for Heir of the Wilds to gain deathtouch as it taps for your attack step, making your opponents less likely to block it. Since it’s a mono-green deck, throw in Fynn, the Fangbearer to give your opponents poison counters whenever a creature with deathtouch lands combat damage for a more expeditious win condition.

#18. Frontier Mastodon

Frontier Mastodon

Frontier Mastodon can enter the battlefield as a 4/3 if you cast it when you have another creature power of 4 or greater. Commanders with a +1/+1 counters theme would complement this card.

Hamza, Guardian of Arashin is a Selesnya commander that can come onto the battlefield for only Selesnya if you control four other creatures with at least one +1/+1 counter on them. Your future creature spells can cost 1 to 2 mana (or 0 if you have colorless artifact creatures) depending on how many creatures with +1/+1 counters you have on the battlefield altogether.

#17. Force Away

Force Away

For just 2 mana, Force Away allows you to temporarily return a problem creature to its owner’s hand. But if you have a creature with 4+ power, there’s the added perk of drawing a card and discarding a card. You never know if you can draw a removal spell that sends that creature to the graveyard or exile so that it has less chance of popping up in the game again.

#16. Feed the Clan

Feed the Clan

Ah, the sweet power of life gain. You can gain double the life with Feed the Clan, which is essential for powering up your life-gain army. Commanders like Trelasarra, Moon Dancer and Dina, Soul Steeper can benefit from this card in their build. Trelasarra gets a +1/+1 counter when you cast Feed the Clan while Dina makes an opponent lose a life when casting this spell.

#15. Barrage of Boulders

Barrage of Boulders

Barrage of Boulders shaves a bit of your opponents’ creatures’ toughness off the top while preventing them from blocking if you meet the ferocious requirement. If you do this to the right token deck player’s board, you could essentially be board-wiping them.

This card can get more value in decks that increase damage output or that have damage payoffs. Ghyrson Starn, Kelermorph deals an extra 2 damage to a player or a permanent if only 1 damage is originally dealt to them. Kazarov, Sengir Pureblood would get a +1/+1 counter for each creature dealt damage when Barrage of Boulders is cast.

#14. Wild Slash

Wild Slash

Wild Slash is a great win condition in red because opponents can’t prevent the damage that’s about to happen, plus it deals an extra 2 damage to any target. This would be epic if an opponent only has 2 life points left and you throw the 2 damage at their face. Sorry, blue players. A counterspell won’t liberate you from this one!

#13. Whisperer of the Wilds

Whisperer of the Wilds

Who doesn’t like mana dorks? Cards that can function as creatures when needed and other times as mana resources are essential when you miss land drops or can’t pull your mana rocks. Whisperer of the Wilds taps for 2 green mana as long as you control a creature with power 4 or greater. This is useful for cards with high mana costs like The Tarrasque and Kodama of the East Tree.

#12. Dragon Grip

Dragon Grip

You can kill off an attacking creature by casting Dragon Grip when you’ve hit that ferocious threshold. Add this card to a The Ur-Dragon Commander deck for textual and thematic flavor. Commanders that also have flash like Surrak Dragonclaw or Samut, Voice of Dissent could come on the battlefield then get an instant pump from Dragon Grip as long as you have the mana to cast both spells in the same turn.

#11. Crater’s Claws

Crater's Claws

Casting spells with X in the cost can be deadly. Crater's Claws, Krenko, Mob Boss, Skirk Prospector, and Goblin Warchief can combo off to create infinite red mana so you can throw enough damage at your opponent to make this a game-winning card!

#10. Stubborn Denial

Stubborn Denial

Stubborn Denial is an instant spell best cast when your opponent is all tapped out on mana and doesn’t have any available mana rocks. While you can’t counter creature spells, you can counter powerful enchantment or artifact spells like The Great Henge or Phyrexian Altar or any instant or sorcery spells that are going to disadvantage you.

#9. Savage Punch

Savage Punch

Green doesn’t have a lot of targeted removal as other colors. Instead, they prefer sorcery cards where one creature fights the other for removal to happen. Savage Punch can give your creature an extra pump if you meet the ferocious requirement before it fights another target creature your opponent controls. Goodbye, large, scary green creatures, like Vorinclex, Voice of Hunger, and Avenger of Zendikar!

#8. Temur Battle Rage

Temur Battle Rage

Temur Battle Rage is a powerful instant card that gives your best creature a couple of the best evergreen mechanics in MTG, double strike and trample. This can be a win condition in your deck in the right application.

Commanders that can pump themselves up like Lathliss, Dragon Queen and Inferno of the Star Mounts can benefit from Temur Battle Rage in their builds. They both pump up by +1/+0 for each 1 red mana poured into them, making it easy to get out of control in the late game.

#7. Icy Blast

Icy Blast

Icy Blast is the other ferocious spell with X in its casting cost. This is another game-winning card where you can tap down enough of your opponent’s creatures to swing in for the win.

Swing with all those serpents Koma, Cosmos Serpent created. Or swing in the air with a lethal army of Soldier tokens created from Myrel, Shield of Argive’s attack triggers.

#6. Flamewake Phoenix

Flamewake Phoenix

Flamewake Phoenix can constantly attack for potential damage because of its ability as long as your opponent doesn’t have any flying creatures or ones with reach. Plus, you can bring it back to the battlefield if you need to strengthen your army during combat as long as you have another creature with 4 or greater power levels and a red mana available. Add Flamewake Phoenix to a The Cinematic Phoenix or a Syrix, Carrier of the Flame Commander decks for thematic flavor.

#5. Shaman of the Great Hunt

Shaman of the Great Hunt

Shaman of the Great Hunt’s ferocious ability is an ongoing benefit because you can pay the mana to draw a card for every creature you control power 4 or greater. It also bulks itself up whenever your creatures land combat damage on a player.

Have Midnight Clock, Reliquary Tower, and Teferi's Tutelage in your deck to support the card draw effects. Enhance how many +1/+1 counters go on this creature with Hardened Scales.

#4. Winds of Qal Sisma

Winds of Qal Sisma

Winds of Qal Sisma is like a Fog, but with more benefits. You can prevent combat damage in general without a creature 4 or greater. But if you do have one, creatures your opponents control can’t touch you for that turn. This card comes especially in handy if you’re backed into a corner and need another turn or two to find a turnaround card!

#3. Roar of Challenge

Roar of Challenge

Maybe you are running a Voltron deck and want to kill off your opponent’s creatures even though you don’t have a board wipe. Enter Roar of Challenge! Making your target creature indestructible while forcing your opponents to have all their creatures block yours is a win-win!

Uril, the Miststalker and Akiri, Line-Slinger are great Voltron commanders that pump themselves up for each artifact or aura attached to them. Give them the protection they need from removal while making their power level work for you in.

#2. Shamanic Revelation

Shamanic Revelation

Drawing cards is essential for gaining access to your deck’s resources. Token decks would benefit from Shamanic Revelation in the build to where you can draw into your win condition faster. However, even lifegain decks or builds with naturally large creatures have a field day as long as the caster meets the ferocious requirement so you can gain 4 life points per creature with power 4 or greater.

#1. See the Unwritten

See the Unwritten

Bulk up your army with two creatures from your deck when you cast See the Unwritten. That’s a great value for placing possibly two creatures on the battlefield by spending only 6 mana. There’s a greater payoff when most of the creatures in your deck cost 4 or more mana to cast.

Mayael the Anima and Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma supports creatures with high power. See the Unwritten can be a card in their deck builds that adds value to get your key creatures out on the battlefield.

Best Ferocious Payoffs

Ferocious cards have the best payoffs in decks with +1/+1 counter builds. These types of decks always guarantee that you have at least one creature power 4 or greater on the battlefield, depending on the cards in your build and how synergistic they are with the overall deck theme.

Commanders like Yorvo, Lord of Garenbrig, Korvold, Fae-Cursed King, and Runadi, Behemoth Caller can benefit from ferocious cards being included in their deck build.

Runadi gives creatures haste as long as they have three or more +1/+1 counters. Yorvo comes in with four +1/+1 counters already and only gets bigger when you cast more green creatures or creatures in general with greater power. Korvold increases in power when you sacrifice permanents.

Wrap Up

Roar of Challenge - Illustration by Viktor Titov

Roar of Challenge | Illustration by Viktor Titov

Ferocious is a useful MTG mechanic that can benefit you if you have enough creatures with power 4 or greater in the deck. If this fits your deck build and color identity, you should try these cards out!

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I hope you found this article ferociously pleasing and that you are ready to go build your next deck. Until next time, stay ferocious!

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