Last updated on June 22, 2022

Huntmaster of the Fells and Ravager of the Fells - Illustrations by Magali Villeneuve

Huntmaster of the Fells and Ravager of the Fells | Illustrations by Magali Villeneuve

What phase is the moon in right now? Do you know? Could you confidently say that you’re in no danger of getting caught in the middle of a pack of werewolves if you went for a midnight stroll tonight?

I guess it’s a little different in Magic, since the full moon doesn’t influence a werewolf’s transformation the way it does in pop culture. We only care about day and night, phase of the moon be damned. Werewolves are much more dangerous in this world. Well, some of them are.

But which ones? Which werewolves do you need to be wary of when they show up on the other side of the field? Which ones should you pick up for your werewolf army?

Let’s talk about that.

Table of Contents

What are Werewolves in MTG?

Hollowhenge Huntmaster - Illustration by Heonhwa Choe

Hollowhenge Huntmaster | Illustration by Heonhwa Choe

Werewolves are a very special type of creature in Magic. There are a bunch of different kinds of transforming cards out there, but werewolves are by far my favorite. I remember making an absolutely unhinged werewolf deck back when the only way I knew how to build decks in MTG was by picking a theme, throwing a pile of stuff together, and hoping for the best. To be fair not a whole lot has changed, but that’s neither here nor there.

Werewolves are, unsurprisingly, creatures with the “werewolf” creature subtype. But most of them also have something special: they transform. That’s right, werewolves in Magic do exactly what werewolves in pop culture do! They’re (mostly) double-sided cards with one human side and one werewolf side. There are a handful of exceptions, but they’re the odd ones out that we don’t need to concern ourselves with. Consider them the black wolves of the pack.

There’s at least one werewolf in each color, but they’re featured almost entirely in red and green. Black claims a handful of the night prowlers while blue and white each have a single card that likes to howl at the moon, and they’re only featured on one of their two sides. Even colorless werewolves are more prominent than blue and white thanks to the Eldrazi.

Werewolves tend to be very battle-focused, which is right on track with their main colors. Gruul () is a color combo that loves terrifyingly threatening creatures that turn from simple, unassuming humans into bloodthirsty monsters. You’ll find plenty of combat tricks, counters, and just straight up beefy stats with these full-moon-loving creatures.

But that’s enough of that. It’s time for the main event: the best werewolves in Magic!

Honorable Mentions

Hound Tamer / Untamed Pup

If you thought I was going to whip up a list of best werewolves and not include the best girl, you don’t know me at all. That said, Hound Tamer is a fine card. 3/3 for with trample and the ability to put (admittedly expensive) +1/+1 counters on other creatures is a good rate. Giving your other werewolves trample when it transforms and beefing up a tiny bit is also great.

Don’t get me wrong, this is a good card. It’s just not quite good enough to be considered among the best werewolves. It gets points for running with the wolves, though.

Gatstaf Shepherd / Gatstaf Howler

Gatstaf Shepherd and its Howler transformation are okay. A 2/2 2-drop is fine and the reverse side bulks up to a 3/3 with intimidate. It’s a good curve-filler since a lot of werewolves are on the more expensive side, but there’s nothing to write home about here.

Greater Werewolf

Greater Werewolf

Remember how I said that some werewolves don’t transform? Let me introduce you to Greater Werewolf, one of the first werewolf cards ever printed. This was back when werewolves were referred to as lycanthropes.

This werewolf is really nothing special, and not in the same “it’s fine but not great” way the other two were. It’s pretty expensive at , the 2/4 stats are disappointing for the cost, and its ability is… interesting. Not necessarily good, but interesting. Greater Werewolf is here more as a relic to time’s past than anything else.

Werewolf Pack Leader

Werewolf Pack Leader

Werewolf Pack Leader was the talk of the format back when Forgotten Realms first released. And don’t get me wrong, it was well deserved. Pack Leader is a really good card. It’s respectably sized, the pack tactics ability is easy enough to achieve and offers some always-welcome card advantage, and the ability is basically R&D’s reimagining of the transform mechanic.

My problem with this werewolf is that it doesn’t actually transform. I get what they were going for, but Pack Leader loses points for not having a back side. Sorry, I don’t make the rules.

Best Pre-MID Werewolves

Ah, the old days of Magic, when mechanics were complicated and confusing and required you to keep track of a million things all at once.

These werewolves are great. Some of my favorites live here. But their transformation mechanic is clunky and can be hard to follow so they’re all docked points and get their own tier to avoid giving them a lower ranking than they deserve.

Ready? Let’s take a look at the werewolves that transform on a whim.

#15. Reckless Waif / Merciless Predator

Okay, okay, before you get all up in arms about Reckless Waif basically just being another cheap werewolf to keep your curve intact like the honorable Gatstaf Shepherd

Fine, I have no excuse.

Waif is a vanilla (ignore the transform mechanic, you know what I mean) 1/1 for that transforms into a vanilla 3/2. It does also have the rogue creature type on its front which could enable some synergies. But I guess I don’t have any tangible reason that this makes it onto the official rankings and Gatstaf doesn’t. Other than that I like the art, name, and flavor text more.

I never said I was consistent.

#14. Lambholt Elder / Silverpelt Werewolf

Lambholt Elder holds a special place in my heart. I used to buy bulk packs of cards from the dollar store (leave me alone, I know) and I opened this werewolf in the first bundle of Magic cards I ever got. I couldn’t tell you any of my other firsts, I just really clung to Lambholt for some reason.

Sentimentality aside, this werewolf is a great addition to your green-based werewolf list. The human side might seem a bit overcosted and unimpressive, but then you take a look at Silverpelt Werewolf and it starts to get a little better. 4/5 is much better than Lambholt’s puny 1/2 and it offers one of green’s best tricks: card advantage.

#13. Scorned Villager / Moonscarred Werewolf

Little Red Riding Hood is here to do what green does best: bulk up your mana pool. Scorned Villager is a nifty little 2-drop mana dork that transforms into a 2/2 with vigilance that gives twice as much mana.

There’s not much else to say about this card. It’s a good green werewolf.

#12. Daybreak Ranger / Nightfall Predator

Daybreak Ranger is a 2-drop that basically taps to have a one-sided fight with a flier where it gets reach. It would definitely be better (and make a heck of a lot more sense considering the art) if it just, oh I don’t know, had reach. But I digress.

Its back side, Nightfall Predator, is a 4/4 that can ambush problematic creatures on your opponent’s board. Nothing ground-breaking here, but a solid werewolf for your green lists.

#11. Duskwatch Recruiter / Krallenhorde Howler

We’re getting to the really cool werewolves soon, don’t worry. In the meantime, Duskwatch Recruiter is here to ease you into things in the early game or offer some card advantage as a mana sink in the late game. Its stats aren’t particularly impressive, but Krallenhorde Howler offers a discount on your creatures when it comes out to play.

#10. Hermit of the Natterknolls / Lone Wolf of the Natterknolls

Hey, look, more green card advantage! Didn’t see that coming.

Hermit of the Natterknolls is a humble 3-drop that rewards you for your opponent’s eagerness. It’s best against blue and red decks that tend to really love those instants, and it just gets better when you flip it to Lone Wolf of the Natterknolls. Your opponent will have to really consider whether that Lightning Bolt or Counterspell is worth it.

#9. Smoldering Werewolf / Erupting Dreadwolf

You’re telling me that there are Eldrazi werewolves? Holy heck, sign me up!

Way back when my brewing skills started and ended at “card says zombie, goes in zombie deck,” I had a horror-themed deck. It was clunky, had no synergies or game plan to speak of, but oh boy was it filled to the brim with horrors. Smoldering Werewolf was one of my favorites.

We all know that the Eldrazi are kind of awesome. The legendary ones are really something, but the regular, run-of-the-mill Eldrazi creatures are nothing to scoff at. Smoldering is a bit weak as a 3/2 for , but its enters-the-battlefield ability can snipe a couple 1-drop dorks or other tiny (but annoying) threats. Erupting Dreadwolf then offers a bulkier body and the ability to snipe 2-drops every time it attacks.

Oh, and did I mention that this werewolf offers you full control over its transformation?

#8. Kruin Outlaw / Terror of Kruin Pass

Now this is a red werewolf. You want Kruin Outlaw in your red werewolf decks. The cost is feasible and a 2/2 with first strike is nice. And then Terror of Kruin Pass comes along. Suddenly you’re double striking as a 3/3 and all your werewolves have menace.

Yes please.

#7. Hanweir Watchkeep / Bane of Hanweir

Most werewolves are very aggressive and you’d think that a red lycanthrope would really push that narrative. And then there’s Hanweir Watchkeep, a 1/5 defender. But the best thing about this card is its duality.

The front side might be a tough defender that can come down on turn 3, but the transformed side is a beefy 5/5 that’s so enraged it can’t help but attack every turn. Very useful, though you need to engage some tricks to get it on the side you want in any given situation lest you end up stuck with a prepared defender on a turn when you just really need to smash your opponent’s face in.

#6. Instigator Gang / Wildblood Pack

I really like cards that seamlessly mix mechanics and flavor in a way that just makes sense. Instigator Gang does just that.

The front side is a gang of brawlers that boost your attacking creatures, probably through some shouting and jeering that’s as cringy as it is effective. Wildblood Pack offers an even bigger boost to your attackers, has a bigger body, and has trample.

#5. Mondronen Shaman / Tovolar’s Magehunter

You know who Tovolar is, right? No? Well, you’ll be well acquainted by the time we’re done here today.

Mondronen Shaman is another vanilla (stop typing that comment, I still know) werewolf on the front side. It’s a bit overcosted as a 3/2 that can die to Shock, but it gets a lot better if you can keep it alive long enough to transform.

The back side is a beefy 5/5 that punishes your opponent for, well, playing the game. You wanna Shock my creatures? Go ahead. You’ll take it to the face.

#4. Geier Reach Bandit / Vildin-Pack Alpha

Sometimes simpler is better. Geier Reach Bandit is similar to Mondronen Shaman in that it really shines when you get to flip it. Vildin-Pack Alpha lets you transform your werewolves the second they hit the field, but only if you want to.

This is invaluable in controlling your board, especially with these older lycanthropes. Bandit is a must-include in any red werewolf deck.

#3. Ulrich of the Krallenhorde / Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha

Looking to benefit no matter which side of your werewolf you’re stuck with? Ulrich of the Krallenhorde has you covered. Its stats alone are decent as a 4/4 on the front and a 6/6 on the back, but that extra ability is where it really shines.

Each side has an ability that offers some advantage when it transforms. The front side gives a creature a big boost with +4/+4 until the end of the turn when it enters the battlefield or reverts to human form. Ulrich, Uncontested Alpha beats your opponent’s creatures into submission (or, more accurately, punts them right into the graveyard) when the true werewolf comes out.

#2. Huntmaster of the Fells / Ravager of the Fells

Huntmaster of the Fells is probably one of my favorite werewolves here today, and it has nothing to do with nostalgia or good flavor. I’m usually a diehard Orzhov () player but Huntmaster makes me want to brew some Gruul shenanigans.

This werewolf mirrors Ulrich of the Krallenhorde in that it offers an advantage whenever it transforms, giving you a reason to not be completely dejected if Ravager of the Fells reverts to its human form. The human side gives you a 2/2 Wolf and some life while the back Shocks your opponent’s face and one of their creatures.

#1. Mayor of Avabruck / Howlpack Alpha

Allow me to reiterate a point I made just a few rankings ago: simpler is better.

Mayor of Avabruck is a dainty 1/1 for and the back side is a respectable but humble 3/3 with no keyword abilities. But each side offers +1/+1 to any other werewolves that are on the same side. The human side gives it to humans, the werewolf side gives it werewolves (and wolves).

Those tokens you get from Huntmaster of the Fells? Yeah, those are 3/3s now. And did I mention that Howlpack Alpha also makes 2/2 tokens? You’ll be swarming with modified creatures in no time.

Best Post-MID Werewolves

Okay, it’s time to move onto the post-Midnight Hunt werewolves. The ones that have the flavorful and much simpler daybound/nightbound mechanic. There are plenty of great werewolves that are new to the pack, so if you can’t be bothered to try and keep track of every single werewolf on the field one by one, these are the lycanthropes for you.

#10. Tovolar’s Huntmaster / Tovolar’s Packleader

Don’t worry, I’ll introduce you to Tovolar himself soon enough. We’re still making the rounds of his posse.

Tovolar’s Huntmaster is a beefy 6/6 that comes in with two 2/2s at its side. And the back side really capitalizes on the whole “Packleader” thing, calling more Wolf tokens when it enters the battlefield and when it attacks. And it’ll probably be doing that a lot as a 7/7. You can also sink some mana into it to take care of problematic or evasive creatures on your opponent’s board.

#9. Reckless Stormseeker / Storm-Charged Slasher

Reckless Stormseeker is a good red werewolf. It’s got a decent body for and offers a small pump to a creature’s power along with haste in each combat. If you can make it night, the back side does the same thing but better. And it throws trample in for good measure.

This werewolf is right at home in aggro strategies but can work for midrange in the right build.

#8. Brutal Cathar / Moonrage Brute

I wouldn’t usually pin white as a good color for a werewolf, but it works on Brutal Cathar. This 3-drop starts off as a white soldier werewolf that offers some temporary removal, which is right up white’s alley. Switch the game over to night and the red werewolf comes out to play. It’s nothing too impressive, but a 3/3 first striker with ward is still pretty good.

Overall a very solid white werewolf. I like it.

#7. Suspicious Stowaway / Seafaring Werewolf

Suspicious Stowaway would be higher on this list except it should be a pirate. I know it’s a stowaway, so it’s not actually part of the ship’s crew, but I just really wanna build a werewolf/pirate deck with this card. Leave me alone.

Disappointment in its creature type aside, Stowaway is great for aggressive blue builds. It’s another earlier creature, a little 1/1 for , but it can’t be blocked and you get to draw then discard whenever it hits a player. The back side does a little bit more damage and is just pure card advantage.

#6. Kessig Naturalist / Lord of the Ulvenwald

I’m gonna be honest, Kessig Naturalist’s art wins it so many points. Look at that little wolf pup. Tell me that you wouldn’t do anything for that cute face. Go on, lie to me.

Cuteness aside, this werewolf is another great Gruul card. A 2/2 2-drop is fair, and the ability on the front offers some extra red or green mana that carries through the steps and phases of your turn. And then it transforms into a 3/3 that boosts your other wolfy creatures while offering the same mana.

#5. Graveyard Trespasser / Graveyard Glutton

I really like Graveyard Trespasser. I’ll give you three guesses as to why, and the first two don’t count. It’s black, it’s spooky, and the art has a scary, threatening woman. It’s the perfect trifecta of “let’s make Nikki lose their mind over this card.”

Okay, but what about the actual card and its mechanics? Well, it’s a 3/3 for that forces your opponent to discard if they want to interact with it thanks to Strixhaven’s ward, it lets you exile cards from the graveyard, and it has some double life play if that card is a creature. The back side lets you do it with two cards for twice the life.

#4. Howlpack Piper / Wildsong Howler

I have a very distinct memory of reading a story about the pied piper from a children’s book I was obsessed with as a kid. I now have a weird attachment to anything that references it. Piper of the Swarm leads an absolutely ridiculous rat tribal deck somewhere at the bottom of my Magic collection.

Anyway.

Howlpack Piper is to wolves and werewolves what the pied piper is to rats. The spell also can’t be countered, which is always a nice bonus. If you run this in a dedicated wolf/werewolf tribal deck then its ability is basically just “: Play a creature card, any creature card!”

The back side enables the front a bit by letting you pull any creature card from the top six cards of your library. You just need to start playing the “should it be day or should it be night?” game a little to get the most out of this card.

#3. Volatile Arsonist / Dire-Strain Anarchist

Volatile Arsonist is a really good werewolf. It’s got great stats and pings damage around the board whenever it attacks. The full werewolf form is even better, throwing Shocks around to hit a creature, a player, and a planeswalker all at once.

Not much else to say here. Just a really solid red werewolf.

#2. Avabruck Caretaker / Hollowhenge Huntmaster

Are you tired of me fawning over art yet? Well too bad. I’m not sure what you expected; I’m all about form over function.

Avabruck Caretaker is beautiful, and the card is great too. A 4/4 for six mana is a bit steep but it’s got hexproof and doles out counters at the start of combat. Your creatures are gonna get beefy really fast.

Plus it’s green, so you can almost definitely get this on the field sooner than turn 6. And then the back side takes it to a whole new level, handing hexproof and counters out like party favors.

#1. Tovolar, Dire Overlord / Tovolar, the Midnight Scourge

It is my absolute honor and pleasure to introduce you to the werewolf, Tovolar, Dire Overlord. You get card advantage for every wolf or werewolf that connects with your opponent’s face, a decent body, and it’s not too expensive. And then there’s the really good bit.

The front side makes it night right away if you control at least three wolves/werewolves at the start of your upkeep, at which point you can transform any human werewolves you control. You’re going to want to toss some protection on this card because it spells problems for your opponent and isn’t beefy enough to be hard to deal with.

And then its back side offers a mana sink ability that can turn one of your wolves/werewolves into an absolute monster. Chuck that +X/+0 on Suspicious Stowaway in the late game and you can obliterate your opponent. Are those victory bells I hear?

Best Werewolf Payoffs and Synergies

Moonlight Hunt

Moonlight Hunt

Does your opponent have an evasive or particularly beefy creature on their board that you’d really prefer they didn’t? Maybe they’re running deathtouch and you don’t have anything you can sacrifice to take it down.

Enter Moonlight Hunt. As long as you’ve got a board full of wolves and werewolves, this card may as well read “destroy target creature.”

Howlpack Resurgence

Howlpack Resurgence

Howlpack Resurgence gives +1/+1 counters and trample to all your wolfy creatures. That’s it. Just a simple flash enchantment that boosts the tribe.

Immerwolf

Immerwolf

Immerwolf offers +1/+1 counters to the tribe just like Howlpack Resurgence except it’s also part of the tribe. It has the same mana value as Howlpack with a red pip replacing one generic, is clearly very intimidating, and it keeps your fully-transformed werewolves on their non-human side. That’s quite the ability considering most werewolves really want to stick to their back side.

Rule of Law

Rule of Law

If you want to have better control over the transformation of your werewolves, Rule of Law will help you. Pop this bad boy on the field and you’ve prevented the sun from ever rising. It’s just another way to get the same effect as Immerwolf’s “non-human werewolves can’t transform” ability.

Hollowhenge Overlord

Hollowhenge Overlord

If you’re running a wolf/werewolf hybrid tribal deck, you need Hollowhenge Overlord. Your board will be absolutely flooded with 2/2 Wolf tokens in no time and a 4/4 body with flash is nothing to scoff at. Plus that cost is more than manageable in a green deck.

Moonmist

Moonmist

Ready for an explosive turn where you just completely overrun your opponent’s board? Moonmist lets all of your rabid werewolves lose and prevents your opponents’ creatures from touching them. Assuming that you’re the only one running wolves and werewolves, of course. But even if they are, it’s really the “transform all humans” bit that you’re concerned with.

Arlinn, Voice of the Pack

Arlinn, Voice of the Pack

This planeswalker may not have any plus abilities, but you don’t even really need to use Arlinn, Voice of the Pack‘s -2 ability if you’ve got a solid build going. Arlinn’s static ability buffs your werewolves as they enter the battlefield, offering a bit of protection to weaker creatures and making the bigger ones even beefier.

Full Moon’s Rise

Full Moon's Rise

Full Moon’s Rise is another great enchantment to have on the board when you’re running with the wolves. A little boost to their power and trample is great, and you can sacrifice it to regenerate all your werewolves if you find yourself in a bind.

Are Werewolves Good?

Werewolves are definitely a very strong tribe in Magic. Midnight Hunt and Crimson Vow did a great job of clarifying the once-confusing transformation mechanic along with printing some really great werewolf and werewolf-adjacent cards, but these beasts were already a force to be reckoned with pre-MID.

What Legendary/Commander Werewolves are There?

There are precious few legendary werewolves in Magic, unfortunately. Midnight Hunt offered us a new legend, but we’re still woefully low on commander werewolves with just three available to lead your EDH builds. Those are:

Is Werewolf Considered a Wolf?

Both “werewolf” and “wolf” are creature subtypes, but they’re not interchangeable. A werewolf is not a wolf, and a wolf is not a werewolf. They’re completely separate subtypes, so cards like Raised by Wolves that specifically mentioned wolves don’t count any of your werewolves. And the previously mentioned Full Moon’s Rise regenerates werewolves only so it wouldn’t hit any of the Wolf tokens that you probably have.

A lot of wolf/werewolf synergy cards namedrop both subtypes, though, so you rarely run into this problem.

Where Can I Get More Info on the Transform Rules?

Transforming werewolves were a heck of a lot more complicated back in the day than they are now. The original lycanthropes transformed independently of each other based on how many spells were cast during the previous turn, which was a lot to keep track of and could lead to some wildly complicated board states. Midnight Hunt shredded that problem with the day/night cycle.

Wrap Up

Graveyard Trespasser - Illustration by Chris Rallis

Graveyard Trespasser | Illustration by Chris Rallis

And that’s all there is to know about werewolves in Magic! The best among them, the best payoffs and synergies, the new and old of their transformation, just absolutely everything you need to know. Well, maybe not everything. I’m not sure I wanna know the nitty-gritty details of their transformation. Pop culture has turned that into enough of a horrifying, gory mess, thank you.

Disturbing imagery aside, what do you think about Magic’s werewolves and their transformation mechanic? How about my rankings? Did I miss one of your favorite lycanthropes in the game, or was one of my selections undeserving of their title? Let me know in the comments down below. And be sure to check out our blog for more awesome card rankings.

Okay, I don’t have anything else for you. Go howl at the moon or something. And don’t get any blood or fur on the floor, I’ve got enough to clean up in here as it is. See you in the next lunar phase!

Follow Draftsim for awesome articles and set updates:

Add Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *