Raiders Unchained Spoilers: Harbinger of Spring and Ether Wolves

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it’s JellyPaladin here again and today I bring two fresh new Raiders Unchained cards for your perusal! Yes, we’re deep in the spoiler season now. A season of new beginnings. A season that resembles spring.

harbinger

In days past, that might have been the intro to a Spring Dryad deck, but look out: Raiders Unchained brings us a new dryad on the block who might take her spot!

The new Harbinger of Spring starts bigger and grows faster than the classic Spring Dryad, but only with non-forged creatures! As an example, Spring Dryad becomes a 6/6, 10/10, or 15/15 after two triggers, but Harbinger of Spring becomes a 9/9, 14/14, and 19/19.

But how do you get two triggers? In constructed this isn’t difficult and we’ll check out four decklists shortly, but can Harbinger of Spring become a draft powerhouse like Spring Dryad before her? She’s certainly trying, bringing a friend who’s another set 1 throwback with a new spin:

wolveswolf

The Ether Wolves spell looks to be the newest entry in the list of wildly successful Overload cards, putting down 10 attack and 12 health over two lanes, a stat total tied with Shardplate Behemoth–and it’s a common, no less!

Playing this spell instantly gives Harbinger of Spring two buffs, but be careful with the timing since it’s gone for the rest of the game. I expect Ether Wolves to be stronger than Ether Hounds for most decks, but it’s worth mentioning that Wolves are more vulnerable to Oreian Justicar. Leveling-heavy draft decks might also prefer Hounds if they’re ever in the same pool since Hounds’ weak level 1 goes away while Wolves’ overload and random placement remain.

Now that we’ve seen these cards on their own, let’s check out how they play well with others! Have a gander at Harbinger of Spring in every faction combination and Ether Wolves in three of four!

Uterra and Tempys: The Harbinger and the Hermit

New cards listed first!

1 Cauldron Mystic

3 Ether Wolves

3 Harbinger of Spring

2 Uranti Stormshaper

2 Dendrify

2 Ferocious Roar

2 Firefist Uranti

3 Malice Hermit

2 Master of Elements

1 Phytobomb

2 Stinging Invocation

3 Uranti Warlord

3 Weirwood Patriarch

1 Windspark Elemental

What’s stronger than a deck with a single quickly-growing creature like Malice Hermit? A deck with a second quickly-growing creature who has synergy with the same cards!

Harbinger and Hermit can power up fast with Phytobomb, Stinging Invocation, and Ether Wolves. Better yet, all three are spells, making them playable for free with Master of Elements starting in rank 2. Static Shock is another option, of course, if you have no concern about early Leyline Demons.

urantistormshaper

 

[Editor’s note: The card picutred above is an exclusive Alternate Art that is only available in the special pre-order sale that is happening now, here.]

The yeti package is also a natural fit, including new Raiders Unchained cards Uranti Stormshaper and Cauldron Mystic. Stormshaper pumps out Lightning Wyrms that buff Harbinger and go down fast to help Malice Hermit. Cauldron Mystic keeps up the pressure along with Uranti Warlord as needed.

Finally, every creature here is in the right attack range for Weirwood Patriarch, sometimes on-level and sometimes only underleveled.

One last word: this budget-friendly deck only features four total copies of two legendaries that come from the same preconstructed deck, Blistering Chaos. If you want to jump into fun decks fast, this could be an excellent start!

Bonus U/T combos to explore on your own:

Harbinger of Spring + Korok, Khan of Kadras + Snowdrift Alpha

Starting from this base, I’d say the best option is a more Raid-oriented deck featuring cards like Hive Empress and Relentless Wanderers. Snowdrift Alpha can create an instant board for Raid triggers while growing your Harbinger!

Ether Wolves + Harbinger of Spring + Dendrify + Static Shock + Wildwood Sower

You could go in any number of directions from here, from Nuada to Pyre Song to Stone Brand and even as wild as Slumbering Shrine, but in any case you’re making a spell-heavy deck that keeps Wildwood Sower planting more seeds, watching Harbinger grow faster than Spring Dryad would have. I believe the one must-have is a strong buff like Lysian Shard or Twinstrength (or Magmify?!) to give Wildwood Sower more relevant stats.

Ether Wolves + Harbinger of Spring + Binben, Lightning Herald + Call of Lightning + Korok, Khan of Kadras + Static Shock

Similar to the above but significantly more aggressive and legendary-heavy, here you go for early rushdown with as many powerful spells as possible, using Binben to grow Harbinger. If you’re feeling especially daring, Iztek’s alternate forms do come into play without being forged…

Alloyin and Uterra:Marty McGear Stars In “Back to the Nature” (Coming This Spring)

 

3 Harbinger of Spring

3 Batterbot

3 Bron, Wild Tamer

2 Dendrify

2 Ferocious Roar

2 Kitaru Sprite

2 Lifeblood Dryad

3 Marty McGear

2 Nova, Grove Queen

2 Spring Dryad

3 Roaming Warclaw

3 Uterradon Rex

Although this deck features all three rare and heroic dryads, Marty McGear, Nova, and Bron take center stage.

Marty’s Batterbots can seem too big to ignore, but the opponent might have to since Marty and the growing Harbinger are even more dangerous. Nova creates multiple non-forged creatures starting at level 2, which all three dryads will appreciate.

Bron’s Upgrade buffs Nova twice immediately. He also buffs Harbinger twice, but for her the second trigger only hits after Dino Knight’s steed is put out of commission. The healing effect is nice for these growing creatures, by the way!

Finally, it’s time to experiment with Kitaru Sprite again! Let’s compare an amazing scenario for Spring Dryad to what would happen with Harbinger of Spring:

ss1

The level 2 Spring Dryad came into play last turn by replacing Kitaru Sprite, becoming a 10/10, and took 3 damage. Harbinger would be an 11/8. The play is to chase Kitaru Sprite around with Roaming Warclaw, then play Bron. The end result:

ss2

Spring Dryad got +12/+12 from a whopping 6 triggers! Harbinger of Spring would have only gotten 4 triggers since Roaming Warclaw and Bron wouldn’t count…

…but she would have gotten the same +12/+12 to become a 23/20! So even an optimal scenario for Spring Dryad can still favor Harbinger if your deck builds around her.

Of course, there’s no need to choose only one dryad; this deck runs both. Is this Kitaru Sprite’s time, considering her strong synergy with both dryads and Nova? Is there a Girl Power Uterra deck?!

We’ll find out together.

Bonus A/U combos to explore:

Harbinger of Spring + Talisin, Bard of Abundance + Marty McGear + Anvillon Arbiter

Flood that battlefield! All creatures must be answered, but which ones will the opponent let live?

Harbinger of Spring + Ironbeard, Hammer of Anvillon + Ironbeard, Ascendant + Leyline Golem + Leyline Sentry

In this throwback to early set 5, Ambush cards passively buff Harbinger of Spring while gumming up your opponent’s plans. Also, old and new Ironbeard team up! Anvilbreaker tries to maneuver enemy blockers into open lanes so the old Ironbeard can block them after combat, aiming to net you a Leyline Golem on the following turn.

Harbinger of Spring + Esperian Scarab + Esperian Sage + Weirwood Patriarch + Voltaic Prophet

Esperian Scarab and Esperian Sage only give Harbinger of Spring one trigger each, but I envision this deck as an ensemble where you play a longer game with diversified threats. Ideally Voltaic Prophet is leveled for free once, then starts to see action at level 2.

Nekrium and Uterra:Tarsus Gardener

3 Ether Wolves

3 Harbinger of Spring

1 Necroplasm

3 Dysian Siphon

2 Lysian Shard

2 Nefrax, the Soulweaver

2 Nova, Grove Queen

2 Nuada, Faith’s Flourish

3 Scatterspore Eidolon

2 Scourgeflame Sorcerer

2 Stygian Lotus

3 Tarsus Deathweaver

2 Varna, Immortal King

Do you go wide or do you go tall? Decide how to play as the game goes based on what you level, but for the most part you can go in both directions at once!

Between low-health tokens and high-health blockers like Nova, Nuada, Scatterspore Eidolon, and Nefrax, this deck should stay pretty safe from the likes of Killer Bees spawned by Living Hive. It’s a double-edged sword, though, since the normally-useful Spiritcleave would be of little value here, leaving Dysian Siphon and the underplayed Scourgeflame Sorcerer to fill the removal role.

Lastly, Necroplasm’s fully non-gated disruption might bail you out in some circumstances! The battlefield should generally be full enough to get that Formation trigger if you need it.

Bonus N/U combos to explore:

Harbinger of Spring + Dozer, the Dormant + Immortal Echoes + Scourge Hydra + Shardplate Behemoth + Varna, Immortal King

Is it back from the grave of an older metagame? We’ll find out! Now you can throw out nonstop huge creatures and grow Harbingers in the process.

Harbinger of Spring + Nethershriek

Nethershriek in a pairing where it can’t gain mobility until level 3? I say why not! Here you’ll fill the board with the small creatures that Harbinger wants, then land Netherdrake exactly where you want it on the first try.

(Almost) Mono-Uterra: Deepwood’s New Guard

3 Demara’s Pitguard

3 Ether Wolves

2 Harbinger of Spring

1 Hive Empress

2 Relentless Wanderers

3 Bramblewood Tracker

1 Call the Lightning

2 Ferocious Roar

2 Lifeblood Dryad

2 Nova, Grove Queen

3 Oros, Deepwood’s Chosen

3 Patron of Deepwood

3 Restless Wanderers

This is a straightforward deck about slamming creatures down and attacking, but let me spotlight Demara’s Pitguard, a very powerful standalone Uterra creature who works both on-level and underleveled. While she doesn’t have any direct synergy with Harbinger of Spring, “guard” is an apt part of her name. Xerxes has been the biggest obstacle to mono-Uterra decks, which have relied on non-forged creatures, but Demara’s Pitguard can block him off the board at every level.

Even a level 1 Restless Wanderers, interestingly enough, will become an 11/9 if you play the new Relentless Wanderers after it and get the Raid trigger, making it a surprisingly nice underdrop for the classic Bramblewood Tracker. Hive Empress is another creature who already has most of her value at level 1: another good underleveled play.

Finally, here Ether Wolves’ overload serves a secondary purpose of helping you find Bramblewood Tracker faster next rank! As an aside, I’d feel comfortable running any two playsets out of Bramblewood Tracker, Enduring Vitality, and Ether Wolves, but including all three would strike me as the wrong decision. For this deck I chose to avoid Enduring Vitality in favor of something fresher.

Final Wrap-Up

Well then… is all of that enough for you to digest for one day? I sure hope not! After all, you have lots more to look forward to in set 7, including around 30 cards whose details are a mystery even to me at the time of this writing.

In addition, I’m sure there’s much more still to explore with today’s spoilers alone and the ones before now. So get to it! Sound off in the comments below, join us in the forums here, or chat with fellow players on solforgeladder.com. Either way, I’ll catch you later.

 

3 Comments

  1. JellyPaladin

    Just want to let everyone know I’m also posting additional bonus combos in the forum featuring cards that hadn’t been spoiled when I wrote this article or that I just didn’t consider at the time!

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