Vikings: Berserkers

We’ve previously established that one of our major themes and keywords is berserkers. Berserker means the following: Whenever the creature is blocked or blocks, you can pay some mana and trigger the berserker ability (although its not worded as a trigger, but an activated ability). This gives the creature some temporary bonuses on power and toughness, as well as indestructibility. However, each of them comes with a negative consequence. Its hard to try to contain a berserker, after all.

This is actually the real challenge. The game has shied away from drawbacks since the early days. Although they have returned somewhat in the past few sets, there currently isn’t a real tradition of those. Well, gladly, finding enough flavorful ones for each color is pretty easy. So, here goes (in the priority order set previously, meaning RBGUW).

Red

Since red is the primary color for berserker, it gets a full vertical cycle of berserkers. (Vertical meaning one for each rarity.)

Landscape Destroyer 1R
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
Berserker — RR: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Sacrifice a land.

The drawback might be a bit too much for common, but on the other hand, its (almost) playable without the ability, so the ability does push it into the playable country, even if you don’t want to activate it very often.

Canut’s Berserker 1R
Creature — Human Berserker 3/2
Haste
Canut’s Berserker must attack each turn if able.
Berserker — RR: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Canut’s Berserker deals damage equal to its power to you.

Again, the drawback is huge, but the card is playable without it. Haste is very powerful, even if the ‘must attack’ clause is pretty bad. Than again, you can always just take a little damage and keep your creature alive, if you want to. Sidenote: I love it how pumping this creature with combat tricks can be very dangerous for this creatures controller.

Trouble Berserker 1R
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
First strike.
Berserker — RR: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Lose 1 life for each card in your hand.

Feels like a very red drawback. Also, being hellbent with red is generally pretty easy, so in that case, this creature will become a very dangerous beast and a great manadump. Perhaps too powerful a card, although getting rid of all your options in hand is a pretty big price for that.

Fabled Berserker 1RR
Creature — Human Berserker 3/3
Fabled Berserker can’t be blocked except by two or more creatures.
Whenever Fabled Berserker does combat damage to a player, Fabled Berserker deals 3 damage to target creature.
Berserker — RR: This creature gets +3/+3 and gains indestructibility until end of turn.

No drawback here.. but its a mythic, so this one doesn’t necessarily need one. Its much more of a problem for the opponent, who can’t really block it, but should, because otherwise it will kill both the player and his creatures. Maybe a bit too strong, but there’s always room for some broken cards.

Black

Black isn’t quite as big on berserker, but it doesn’t fall far behind. Ok, there’s one less, but that difference is in the mythics, so in a draft you want be seeing less black than red berserkers, not counting the gold cards.

Thyra’s Berserker 1R
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
Berserker — BB: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Discard a card.

Black is the easiest in this regard. Black has a great tradition of drawbacks (although some of them have since moved to red, which needs them more). Discarding cards feels like a good one.

Aimless Berserker 1B
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
Berserker — BB: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Sacrifice a creature.

Another good black staple: sacrificing creatures.

Morbid Madman 1BB
Creature — Human Berserker 3/2
Intimidate
Berserker — BB: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Until end of turn, whenever a creature dies, you lose 2 life. Destroy target creature an opponent controls. Sacrifice all other creatures you control.

Now, we’re talking. Although, in a right deck, this card can easily win the game on its own.

Green

Green gets an uncommon and a rare. Not too many drawbacks to choose from, although I left one for the future (returning creatures to hand, because it can be very powerful if built around).

Eirik’s Berserker 1G
Creature — Human Berserker 2/2
Berserker — GG: This creature gets +3/+3 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Put a land you control on top of your library.

Again, this is a basic bear, so its playable. Barely. However, again, the option of using the ability is quite good, but the drawback is very bad.

Outlawed Barbarian 1G
Creature — Human Berserker 2/2
Berserker — GG: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. During the next upkeep, any opponent may have a creature he or she controls fight Outlawed Barbarian.

Feels more green. Although its again a pretty big drawback, but it may be useful every once in a while.

Blue

Blue gets an uncommon and a rare as well, but green will be better represented in the gold cards, although those are of higher rarities and thus won’t be seen very often.

Arnulf’s Berserker 1U
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
Berserker — UU: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Pu the top seven cards of your library into his or her graveyard.

Again, an ability you might often want to use. However, in a limited game, you want have flashback or anything similar, so you can’t really use this ability very often.

Frothing Warrior UU
Creature — Human Berserker 2/2
Berserker — UU: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Tap Frothing Warrior. Frothing Warrior doesn’t untap during your next upkeep.

This, like the last ability, is pretty much (like with green, actually) the color backfiring. These are things blue mages do to others, but these berserkers cause these problems on themselves.

White

Only one white card, which will be a rare, because we don’t really want to give this to white that much. Doesn’t feel white at all.

Signy’s Martyr 1W
Creature — Human Berserker 2/1
Signy’s Berserker can block any number of creatures.
Berserker — WW: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Sacrifice Signy’s Berserker at end of turn.

One time deal, because its a martyr.

Gold

Two rares, both part red and legendary.

Burned-Beard Orvar 1BR
Legendary Creature — Human Berserker 3/3
Haste
Burned-Beard Orvar attacks each turn if able.
Berserker — 1BR: This creature gets +3/+3 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. Tap all lands and creatures you control.

Has this been used before? A kind of strange drawback. Makes certain planning more difficult and of course blocking is going to be very hard. Especially since Orvar attacks each turn.

Skullbasher Afastr BG
Legendary Creature — Human Berserker 3/3
Trample
Berserker — RG: This creature gets +2/+2 and gains indestructibility until end of turn. At the end of turn, put a -1/-1 counter on Skullbasher Afastr and all creatures blocking or blocked by Skullbasher Afastr.

If we listen to MaRo (and we probably should), this means this set will use -1/-1 counters rather than +1/+1 counters (MaRo says that in interest of simplicity, each set should only use one or the other). Not that we’re making a big commitment to either at this point.

The most astute among you probably noticed there’s another cycle of cards in there. It just happens that its not a cycle in the traditional sense, because all the cards are not in the same rarity.

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