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Kaldheim Preview Highlight: Wolverine Riders

Wolverine Riders is a Kaldheim card that’ll be released in the Elven Empire Commander deck. It’ll be legal in Commander, Legacy and Vintage, but will bypass Standard, Pioneer and Modern. I’m only an occasional Commander player, but this card caught my eye and I felt the need to highlight it.  

But before I do that, let me introduce you to one of the scariest monsters of all time.

 

Verdant Force

 

No, this isn’t a new card from Kaldheim. Verdant Force was originally printed in Tempest, and for the first decade of Magic’s history, it was one of the most powerful creatures, bar none. There were various strategies for putting this bad boy onto the battlefield, ranging from Reanimate to Natural Order to simply spending eight mana. Once it was there, if the opponent couldn’t remove it immediately, they were done for.

 

 

Now there’s Wolverine Riders. Importantly, this is not a 7/7. Also importantly, it’s not 1998 anymore and the bar for spending six or mroe mana has increased quite a bit. However, what these creatures have in common is that they will be nightmares for any opponent trying to attack you with ground creatures. 

The key to both Verdant Force and Wolverine Riders is making a token each upkeep. This means that by the time your opponent is attacking you, you already have two blockers (one big, one small). After that, if both you and Wolverine Riders have survived, you’ll take over the game. 

This ability also scales nicely in multiplayer games, if that’s your preferred way to play. 

Wolverine Riders also has some distinct advantages over the older Verdant Force. For one, six mana is much more affordable than eight. You can realistically cast this on turn four if you’re playing some mana elves and Cultivates. Second, life gain helps you pull out of range of burn spells and evasive creatures, adding to its ability to stabilize against aggro decks. Finally, it has synergy with the Elf tribe, which is sure to benefit a lot with the release of Kaldheim.

A final point I’d like to make is that you can play Wolverine Riders with or without tribal synergies and I think it’s great as a standalone card. If you have more Elves, that’s just gravy! It’ll mean more life, more powerful tokens, and maybe the ability to find and cast Wolverine Riders more efficiently. 

 

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