"It is vowed that the birds are psychopomps lying in wait for the souls of the dying, and that they time their eerie cries in unison with the sufferer's struggling breath If they can catch the fleeing soul when it leaves the body"--H. P. Lovecraft. The Dunwich Horror
The Whippoorwill is a medium sized bird native to east coast of North America. It has a natural camouflage that makes it hard to see with the naked eye, and a rather distinct cry in which its named after.
Growing up in the mountains of New York, the bird was no surprise to me, but it was a surprise when I saw one in on a Magic card. Its effect (and the fact it didn't fly) perplexed the younger version of me. I eventually did some research and found that in old Indian legends, the Whippoorwill was a singing warned of imminent death. When the settlers of the New World arrived, they took this legend as something else, that Whippoorwills eat souls while singing.
This made it into the mythos of H. P. Lovecraft, with them featured into a number of stories, most infamously The Dunwich Horror. A number of other writers use it, either in horror like fashion, such as the Whip-poor-will by James Thurber, in which the distinct song of the whippoorwill drives a man to madness, in which he kills himself and his family, or to establish setting, like in Washington Irving The Legend of Sleepy Hallow.
In Magic, Whippoorwill is a small 1/1 for G with a rather pleasant (and unfortunate) piece of art and a fairly unique ability (especially in green).
Playability: At a 1/1 for 1, it's already established its baseline credibility. It's a bird which does give it tribal synergy with Soraya. Its unique ability is it exiles a creature, with no possibility of regeneration, damage prevention, or redirection. It literally eats the soul of the creature in question. I sort of wish it worked like Hurr Jackel, and was just a tap ability, but instead costs 2 green. There is a few neat applications to the ability, such as using it while chump blocking a Sengir to keep it from getting a counter, stopping a Ruhk Egg or Su-Chi from having their effects. Still, while neat, it is certainly limited. 3/5.
Art: There is nothing particularly offensive about the piece outside the art showing the bird flying in the air, with the card not having flying. The art, which was drawn by Douglass Shuler, is unlike most of his pieces, but is fine in it's own right. The contrast between light colors of the background with the darker color of the branches and the bird give it a feel as if it's from an old zoology book. It's one of the art pieces that really strive from the Darks unique tone. It's a simple piece, that looks good from a distance and leaves a distinct impression. 3/5.
Flavor: The bird doesn't have flying. Even the old Anthologies player guide makes a reference to this. This being said, the rest of its mechanics work great. Its ability guarantee with almost guaranteed success of giving the soul its reward is amazing, which is also haunting and amazing flavor text. However it doesn't fly, which gives it a 4/5.
10/15= 3/5. An average card. While its special in it's own way, its mediocre outside of some neat applications to it, in a color with many amazing 1 drops.