The classic horror of Magic’s Innistrad set is creeping up on us like a full moon crawling up the sky, leering through the clouds and filling us with lunacy and rage. Robot Viking’s Innistrad card does not use Insanity Wolf as the card art, but Insanity Wolf would still be a fan of Full Moon’s Rise.
In the world of Innistrad, mortals have ever been plagued by creatures of darkness. They light watchfires against the cold of night and lock their doors against the encroaching zombies, vampires, demons and werewolves. For ages their protector has been the Archangel Avacyn, but of late her voice has grown faint; prayers are now recited in quavering, cracked voices; holy lights seem faded and dim; with morning so far off, they can’t help but wonder if their angel has abandoned them. When the countryside is finally illuminated at night by the gibbous face of a full moon, the humans of Innistrad feel no relief. Only terror.
The Werewolves of Innistrad work in a way we never imagined — they’re double-sided cards! The starting side is weaker, but if your opponent casts no spells during his or her turn, on your upkeep your werewolf transforms. Flip the card over revealing the much stronger version. 1/1s become 3/3s. 4/4s become 7/7s. Creatures with first strike gain doublestrike.Â But if your opponent ever casts two or more spells in a single turn, on your upkeep your werewolf becomes human again (there are non-werewolf transforming creatures with other transform triggers, but we don’t care about those right now).
Full Moon’s Rise boosts all your werewolves, so you’ll want to do your best to keep them from transforming back to their human state. Of course, you’ll need to get them transformed in the first place — putting this in a black deck with lots of discard could be one way of going about it. It’s interesting that this is an enchantment — they’re not that difficult to get rid of, but people don’t tend to pack a lot of enchantment removal in their maindecks, so it could stick around. This enchantment has the added benefit of letting you get something out of it if it does get destroyed. Just sacrifice it in response and your werewolves will be practically invincible for a turn.
[It’s been observed that all the werewolf creatures in Innistrad carry the werewolf type even in their untransformed forms. This certainly makes Full Moon’s Rise a bit better, but of course you’ll still want to keep them as wolfy as possible for maximum aggro.]
This is a card that’s probably not going to show up in constructed formats. Tribal decks need to be really consistent to work in Standard or Modern, and the uncertainty of which side of your cards will be face up in a given turn means a werewolf deck is a shaky strategy. If it affected regular wolves as well as werewolves, perhaps…
In limited, this could give you quite an edge. Your deck doesn’t need to be 100 percent werewolves to make Full Moon’s Rise work — if you have just a few of them out in the mid to late game, you’ll have a real advantage in combat, with your opponent knowing you can attack without worrying that your werewolves will die. The +1/+0 is ok, but the trample sets up an alpha strike that will certainly win you a few games. In other words, “eat his face.”
This also strikes me as something that could be a good late pick in drafts if werewolf decks don’t turn out to be a common archetype. Grab a few werewolves along the way, then nab two or three of these in the last few cards of a pack. Having two of these out would be pretty amazing even if you only have one werewolf.
I do like the art overall (this card is destined to be called Three Wolf Moon), but if I can be an art critic for one second, imagine this: instead of three wolves, there’s just one, the one on the far right who’s sort of prancing joyfully. Imagine that wolf, alone, moved over and centered in front of the moon, in silhouette. Just that one wolf, as the flavor text says, reveling in the power of the moon.