Last month, I wrote an article about the history the Werewolf creature type in Magic the Gathering and the fact that I believed the original transformation mechanic was not impossible to play, but that it was chaotic and unmanageable. A few of you called me crazy and reassured me that TRANSFORMATION as it was in the original Innistrad set was fine the way it was. Despite this, I voiced my want for change. I suggested we should use the more recent mana triggered transformation like in Eldritch Moon or even use a few randomized triggers. I even went as far to suggest we create transform cards much like mutate cards only they work on humans only aka the opposite.
Well, it’s all according to your position on this question, but I have some good news/bad news to share. Just take it anyway you want.
As I voiced on stream for the last few weeks, Wotc’s dedication to returning to the ‘original Innistrad’ would include the original Transformation mechanic exactly as it was. And I was partially right.
The good news, if you LOVE the original Werewolf/transform mechanic, is that they are bringing that mechanic back nearly as it was. NEARLY.
It is true that the Werewolves in this Innistrad set will all be two sided transform cards. But you will not find any of the triggers for the transformation on those cards. Instead, Wotc has made it a more universal mechanic. Also coming in the Midnight Hunt packs is a flip card displaying DAY on one side and NIGHT on the other. Each transforming card has the text DAYBOUND on one side which also displays the SUN in the top right corner and NIGHTBOUND on the other side with the crescent moon in upper right.
Until a player casts a card with the Daybound/Nightbound feature, the Day/Night feature doesn’t exist. But once a player casts one, it will trigger one side and you will need to keep up with whether it’s day or night for the rest of the game.
You can see that the actual rules or triggers for transformation are provided on the DAY/NIGHT cards found in the packs. Usually, your casting such a card will trigger the day side to begin the cycle. From there the triggers are much the same only where they’re not. “If a player casts no spells during their own turn, it becomes night next turn”. This is where it varies. If it happens to be night when you cast permanents that have the daybound/nightbound feature, they enter as NIGHTBOUND!
And, as with the original mechanic, “If a player casts at least two spells on their own turn, it becomes day next turn. And always, when it becomes day, your transformation creatures will flip to the daybound and, when it becomes night, they flip to the nightbound. Pretty simple, right? Only thing is, you have the same problem with a chaotic, unpredictable mechanic which may be super flavorful, but doesn’t make it reliable in a deck for Standard 2022.
There may be answers coming and this, for me, is the good news.
Meet Tovolar, Dire Overlord. He’s one of the big-bads coming in Midnight Hunt. Not only do you get card draw here, but, IF you ‘control three or more wolves and/or werewolves, it becomes night’. THEN, you get to chose which cards you transform. I mean, that whole wording on the Daybound side leads me to believe that you don’t HAVE to transform any. But, more than likely, you will want to transform ALL of them you can.
And, the even better news is that, if your opponent keeps playing two or more spells and turning it back to day, on your upkeep, if you still command three or more werewolves and/or wolves, you can turn it back to night without holding back your spells.
And, for me, the best news is that Tovolar includes Wolves in the three needed to turn it back to night. This opens up a whole new realm of possibilities.
Now, this is one card, I know. But we’ve just begun spoiler season for Midnight Hunt. And, I believe, this is just the tip of the iceberg. My prediction is that we are about to see a decent number of cards that trigger NIGHT like TOVOLAR. This means, not only can we cast NIGHTBOUND werewolves on our turn, but we will have more than one way to trigger the descent into night. If this happens, then we may have a viable/playable tribe in the Werewolves that can stand up to the META of Standard 2022 and make their mark in Commander (With TOVOLAR at the helm) and many other formats. Fingers crossed.
LAST PREDICTION: Also, I believe we will see cards that will support the Human Tribal with triggers to transform Night into Day.