Monday, July 23, 2018

Howl from Beyond: The forgotten combat trick.

"A thundering howl seemed to emanate from the Brown’s hand, a loud shrieking roar that struck with such intensity that Garth staggered backward even as he raised a protective shield about himself. The sound was blocked within his circle of protection but behind him he could hear the screaming of the mob as the demon howl bowled them over. With a wave of his hand Garth extended the wall of protection to the crowd, many of whom were writhing in agony, blood pouring from ruptured eardrums, so shaterring was the scream summoned from the demon realms."--William R. Forstchen, Arena


In these days, you always see three major combat tricks, Bloodlust (in red), and Berserk/Giant Growth (green). However, a few combat tricks haven't stood the test of time like the others. Righteousness and Blaze of Glory were commonly paired cards in those days, but they are both defensive, it's understandable why they don't see play.

However, another one that use to be fairly common was Howl from Beyond. I understand Black is the strongest color, and there usually isn't room, even in black aggro, for what's essentially a minor, and occasionally expensive combat trick.

However, I feel it's best to think of it less of a combat trick, and more of a x burn spell with a creature restriction. If you get through, you can dump all your mana into an unblocked creature, potentially doing lethal, you can even the odds of a chump block, you can even kill a blocker if used on a first striker (which in old school black has no shortage of). If running dual color w/ red, it can also be forked, if you are into that sort of thing.

In all actuallity, its a fairly boring card, with even the art being lack luster at times. I also feel it really gets it's stride in the 95 format, which gives us two of the best black ritual spells, Songs of the Damned and Spoils of War. Not to say it's bad in 93/94, but it's probably a bit lack luster. I did however, long consider it in the black/red Kobold deck, combined with an Ashnods alter could make for an amazingly big Kobold that might just sneak if for that 0 damage.

Mark Poole actually drew both versions of this card. 

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