Last updated on November 28, 2023
Sarulf, Realm Eater | Illustration by Chris Rahn
Innistrad is one of the planes that I’ve liked the most because of the terrors that inhabit it. I’m especially a fan of wolves and werewolves because their lore goes back before I even started playing the game. I’ve made some decks around werewolves in the past, but I felt a little bad that I left some wolves behind.
Which of them are the best? And did you know that there are colorless werewolves? This tribe is full of curiosities, so let's find out!
Tundra Wolves (8th Edition) | Illustration by Richard Sardinha
Wolves are a creature type called “wolf.” Their payoffs and abilities are usually shared with their fellow half-human buddies, “werewolves.” Some lords like Howlpack Alpha pump both creature types because they’re treated as part of the same, er, pack.
I’d have liked to see another white wolf in Kaldheim for the whole Nordic theme, but alas, it wasn't mean to be.
Best Black Wolves
#2. Snarling Warg
Snarling Warg is a solid creature overall as a 3/4 with menace for 4, but it doesn't have much wolf-typal interaction to benefit from. It actually works off of Goblins and Orcs, but that isn't too terribly relevant outside of LotR Draft.
These wolves are angry. Unlike other wolves, Assembled Alphas works better as an individual card instead of giving abilities to the whole pack. It can virtually trade for 8/8s while dealing damage to their controllers, something not to overlook.
Cue Duran Duran. There aren't many good 2-drop wolves, and a 3/2 trample doesn’t seem impressive at first. You can't ask for anything better in a tribal deck.
I also liked Hungry Ridgewolf when it was legal in Limited.
Here’s another wolf that impressed me when I used it in Limited. Red was known to be terrible in Midnight Hunt, but Lambholt Harrier is one of the few that actually made the cut in some decks thanks to its ability to neutralize combat.
Pyreheart Wolf reads as, “each other creature has menace when Pyreheart Wolf attacks.” A 1/1 for three mana may not seem impressive, but its undying ability makes it outstanding against any other regular wolf.
You’d have to use removal twice on it to prevent it from breaking board stalls.
I like Runebound Wolf because it can kill opponents in one activation if they get reckless by spending their life total. This card can single handedly change the outcome even if the board is stalled: it doesn't need to attack to start pinging everyone to death.
Wolf of Devil's Breach is a wolf that may require some strategic building. You can use its ability to deal reasonable amounts of damage to kill other small creatures on the board.
I remember when Witchstalker was printed as an answer to the rise of Dimir () control decks in Standard. It may not be used anymore, but it saw decent play back in the day.
The quality of wolves in green is far and beyond better than other colors, which complicates the ranking. Anara, Wolvid Familiar is among the best wolves ever printed because it works well with every other commander. It also has the upside that it can be used as a partner.
This is a card I recently started to hate because of how good it is in the right deck. It may not seem like it, but Cemetery Prowler can enable some powerful tools in dedicated combo decks.
If you manage to lower the cost of a card type, namely creatures, you’ll be able to start chaining them back-to-back until your opponent eventually folds.
Speaking of creatures with flash, Nightpack Ambusher has been a staple of Simic () decks that aim for a tempo game. This lone wolf can start its pack in a matter of turns, and it's also a lord that pumps other wolves and werewolves.
Chances are that you’ll be facing a massive threat in a few turns when left unchecked.
#8. Sarulf's Packmate
Speaking of Pauper staples, Sarulf's Packmate has been well-received by the community since its introduction.
Silverfur Partisan works as either pseudo-protection for your other wolves or as a combo enabler for decks that can exploit its ability.
You can theoretically get two cards with enough luck for five mana. This doesn’t seem like much, but Skalla Wolf is one of the few wolves that can provide card advantage if you find ways to do it continuously.
Spirit of the Hunt can make combat a nightmare for your opponents because barely anyone would expect your entire team to get pumped in defense.
I have bad memories of Wicked Wolf because it always caught me off guard when playing Standard. The fighting ability is already strong, but it also has a second ability that puts counters on it and makes it indestructible.
Wolfir Silverheart, meanwhile, brought me tons of joy in Standard Naya () zoo decks.
This is a vanilla 3/3 for two mana. There's not much to be said about Watchwolf other than it's one of the few multicolored wolves.
Immerwolf is one of the original wolf lords from the original Innistrad. It's pretty much of a staple in every Gruul () wolf tribal deck.
There’s nothing amazing to be said about Lupine Prototype. It's a fine blocker and the only colorless wolf that exists.
Aside from the lords, a few cards care about committing yourself to a wolf tribal deck. Here some standouts.
There are just a handful of planeswalkers that care about tribal decks, and Arlinn, Voice of the Pack is the one relevant for wolves. Its passive ability is a huge upside, but it can also start creating wolves on its own.
Howling Moon can slow down your opponents unless they’re willing to give you a wolf each turn. It also helps you to go on the offensive with the wolves your opponents give you or others you may have around.
Master of the Wild Hunt is a fantastic creature that saw a lot of play when the Alara block was Standard legal. It can start creating tokens at the beginning of your upkeep and hopefully clear the path for your other creatures to make a big attack.
Werewolves and wolves are two different creature types. It may feel weird because the lords usually pump both breeds, but there's a reason. Werewolves have human-like bodies, while wolves are straight canines similar to dogs.
Just like in real life, wolves and dogs are different species and creature types. There aren't even any Magic cards that pump or benefit both dogs and wolves.
Master of the Wild Hunt (Magic 2010) | Illustration by Kev Walker
Wolves have mostly stuck to red and green when they’ve appeared in Magic. The closest to a blue wolf is Ukkima, Stalking Shadow, but it’s also black. Wolves can often be paired with werewolves because the lords and other relevant cards happen to work for both tribes. I’d be curious to see how future wolves turn out.
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