You may have heard the term “forcing” a draft. What does it mean? Generally, it’s a negative term, as it suggests you’re pushing too hard for a certain type of deck to work instead of following the signals given to you by what is being passed. It doesn’t have to be negative though. Forcing an archetype can be fun! More than that, it can teach some valuable lessons on what types of decks or archetypes work in drafts, which is very important if you’re going to big tournament and want to know what to look for or avoid. In the Full Force series I want to force these archetypes for you, to learn with you what archetypes work (and what don’t!) in the latest limited formats.
As I’ve delved deeper into Shadows over Innistrad in this series, I feel like I’ve learned a lot about the set that I hadn’t really thought about. One of those is just the way the different archetypes work out. I like to draft UG clue decks, or other high-payoff strategies. It’s fun and it fits my playstyle. Going into this draft I realized that decks like Werewolves, Humans, and possibly Delirium are a nice middle ground. They don’t get to do crazy things like casting a Geistblasted Statled Awake or using Tamiyo’s Journal and Fleeting Memories to mill half your opponent’s library. What you get in exchange is a deck that is much, much more consistent.
Playing Werewolves is not nearly as all-in a proposition as the previous videos have been. A lot of the cards that you’re looking for are just generally good creatures or removal spells. This increases the competition for them, but there’s a lot of good Green and Red Werewolves lying around. Kessig Forgemaster, Duskwatch Recruiter, and Solitary Hunter are all excellent cards and at uncommon and common you’re likely to see a couple. Howlpack Wolf and Hinterland Logger are not quite as good, but as commons they make up a lot of the main force of your Werewolf decks and they’re definitely solid.
One of the big upsides of playing Red and Green is you have the chance to get the two best commons in the set with Rabid Bite and Fiery Temper. Getting in on the best common removal in the set is great, but you also get to take Moonlight Hunt, which operates a lot like an upgraded Rabid Bite if you have enough puppies in your deck. The one really big payoff card you do get in the set is Howlpack Resurgence. You need a fair number of wolves to have it really shine, but if you can hit 8+, it becomes an absolute house. Always Watching is one of the best rares in the set and you get an Always Watching that is easier to play, can be put in at instant speed and gives evasion with Trample. It’s really that good. I used to think you could wheel it if you had enough werewolves and it looked like it was open, but at this point I think people have learned to either hate it or take it in case they get enough wolves so I’d recommend taking it very highly if you think you can hit 7 or more wolves by the end iof the draft.
The last card that has a payoff for being in werewolves is Ulrich’s Kindred, the wolf “lord”. Unlike Veteran Cathar for humans, I wouldn’t be too upset passing this. It’s not bad by any means, but I found that the cost of activating the ability is high enough and not relevant enough in a lot of board stalls that it’s not a big loss if you skip it. It’s also somewhat likely to wheel as it’s not particularly powerful on it’s own.
I wish you luck getting some puppy love!