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Budget Tribal Cards: Wolves and Vampires


Welcome back for another week of budget talk! Today will be part one of tribal cards to keep an eye on in the coming months. There have been some tribal moves primarily in vampires and werewolves as of late (one guess as to why), so we are going to touch on cards that have yet to spike. The cards being discussed are primarily targeted at either Commander or Pioneer. Once we are through discussing these two tribes over the next couple articles, I'm looking forward discussing other tribal cards to keep an eye on.

First, here are some cards to consider that we might not be able to look at thoroughly.

  1. Bloodcrazed Paladin
  2. Scourge Wolf
  3. Markov Blademaster
  4. Sarulf, Realm Eater
  5. Bloodlord of Vaasgoth
  6. Irini Sengir

The first card on my docket is Witchstalker. The price is currently at $0.74 for non-foils, and $1.77 for foils (mtgstocks.com). It's a great budget addition to Werewolves, but also a solid 3-drop creature in Pioneer. Targeted removal is always a thorn in the side of creature decks, and this is, in turn, a thorn in control players' sides while on the board. They will have to think twice before removing something or countering a spell on your turn, as they will not want to buff this thing up long-term. Outside of it having hexproof, it is rather vanilla. However, even getting this thing up to a 5/5 is a feat to be happy about. Another thing to consider is being able to use aura buffs on this without worrying about the creature being removed by single-target removal.

Moving onto Commander, this thing is a great budget addition to a Werewolf/Wolf build. Being in a four-player pod, this thing can potentially beef up rather quickly depending on the game. We can also use equipment in the same way we would auras on this thing. Wolf lords, or anything else on the board that buffs your creatures are another consideration. In Commander, board wipes are the thing to watch out for as they're the only way to assuredly be rid of this creature, but that is not much downside for a 3-drop. Having a big creature with hexproof is something you definitely want.

Nightpack Ambusher
Speaking of lords, our next card is Nightpack Ambusher. The Ambusher currently sits at $0.99 for non-foils, $4.19 for foils, $4.99 for prerelease foils, $1.22 for promo pack non-foils, and $2.53 for promo pack foils (mtgstocks.com). I want to talk about this one because the price of another popular Werewolf/Wolf lord, Immerwolf, is over $5.00 for non-foils and almost $26.00 for foils (mtgstocks.com). Now, I am not suggesting Nightpack Ambusher will jump up to that range for foils considering how many different copies are available; but it does compare favorably as it has more upside than Immerwolf. For one thing, it has flash. Secondly, it does not impose a restriction on how our non-Human Werewolves transform. Third, it can produce tokens if we do not cast a spell on our turn. Lastly, it can be played in any eternal format outside of Pauper. Immerwolf isn't legal in Pioneer, so the potential demand for Nightpack Ambusher is higher. The only downside when comparing the two is the mana value. Nightpack Ambusher costs four to cast, whereas Immerwolf costs three. I would consider trading into the prerelease foils if you have the trade available!

Sanctum Seeker
Sanctum Seeker is next on the docket. The price currently comes in at $3.85 for non-foils, $6.45 for foils, $6.99 for promo pack non-foils, $8.19 for promo pack foils, and $19.89 for prerelease foils (mtgstocks.com). Regarding Pioneer, it can be a late game bomb for any vampire deck. It does not have to attack for the ability to trigger. At the very least, this should take up two slots in a sixty card deck, and maybe one in the sideboard. It also plays very well with Vito, Thorn of the Dusk Rose as a big, late-game play.

Shifting to Commander, I am shocked it has taken this long for people to drive up this thing's price. Believe me when I say this is not the ceiling. I discussed this card over a year ago as being a heavy hitter for Edgar Markov decks. The words "each player" have huge implications for the format, and we can hit even harder if we have Sanguine Bond out on the battlefield. That is not out of reach for a late game play. Trade into this one as soon as possible, as I have a feeling it is finally going to be a target among vampire players.

Soul Collector
Soul Collector is next, and this thing has a lot of potential to spike soon. The current price for this is $0.56 for non-foils, $2.05 the foils (Timeshifted), $4.11 for prerelease foils, $0.65 for non-foils (Scourge), and $8.94 for foils (Scourge) (mtgstocks.com). The Scourge foil copies have already begun spiking, but the prerelease copies have yet to budge. It will not take long for those to catch up, so keep an eye on them.

We can make use this in Commander to take control of the board over time. What we need to do is bait our opponents into thinking they can remove it after combat, and then flash something in to buff it up. It does seem rather straightforward, but having that ability to take our opponents creatures to use against them is big deal.

Drana, the Last Bloodchief
Our last card is Drana, the Last Bloodchief. The price currently comes in at $2.09 for non-foils, $2.45 for foils, $5.45 for prerelease foils, $2.97 for promo pack copies, $3.12 for promo pack foils, $3.13 for alternate art non-foils, and $4.51 for alternate art foils. This one has potential to spike even though it has several printings. My target would be prerelease foils or promo pack non-foils. Starting with Pioneer, this us a great late game play in a graveyard deck. Throw some big beefy creatures in your graveyard early, ramp, and then get this out early enough to trigger that ability. The downside is we would have to wait and hope it does not get removed until we can attack with it. With a mana value of five, it is not necessarily out of reach for a Golgari graveyard deck. In Pioneer, I would consider using a card like Savage Summoning to cast this on your opponent's end step. Make sure they are tapped down enough to where they cannot counter it while also alleviating the threat of removal on our turn. This way we can attack on our turn, get our card from the graveyard, and not risk losing Drana, the Last Bloodchief during comba,t pending damage.

In Commander it can go even wider, as our deck is larger with more creatures to choose from. Another thing to consider is the creature is "also a vampire in addition to its other types." This opens up an opportunity to throw in a few non-vampire creatures that have big upside once they are on the board, and they can benefit from anything that accommodates vampire creatures. I hammer this into the ground, but Strionic Resonator works great in situations like this!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to you coming back for the next one!

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