I haven’t played much with him // it, but it does seem to be very good.
Two mana 2/2 isn’t much write home about these days, but gladly, it doesn’t stop there.
How about this? Play him on turn two, activate him on turn three to flip him and then threaten [card]Archangel Avacyn[/card] on turn four. Seems pretty powerful, but I don’t think that’s even close to the full potential.
Suppose you’re playing him in a pretty basic Bant Company deck. You play him on turn two, activate him on turn three and on turn four, you play two creatures, or maybe even three (okay, in Magical Christmas Wonderland, four) using the passive ability on Howler, but the point is to flip him again, so you can do the same again.
Its a one card engine and a great one at that.
The real Magical Christmas Wonderland would involve two or maybe three of these guys and you could play morphs for free. And if your opponent manages to get rid of him, you might still have gas, since you’ve been drawing cards from him.
Of course, there’s no need to play him early. He’s very good late as well. He’s the kind of card that wins those grindy attrition games, when he just keeps getting you cards for pretty cheap. And there’s even selection involved. Sure, it doesn’t always hit, but repeatable “draw a card” usually costs around four mana (although at that cost its generally unusable). This guy does it for three and again, you don’t even have to draw those pesky lands that are so poor in the late game in your aggro deck, although with Recruiter, they are actually very useful and when I’ve played this deck (not much, but some), even eight or nine mana on the table feels constrictive, because there’s just so many things you are able to do. (Of course, Recruiter doesn’t actually change your chances of drawing lands every turn, actually making the chance higher, when you’ve dug through your whole deck. Also, cards like [card]Den Protector[/card] and [card]Tireless Tracker[/card] also contribute to the pressure on your mana.)
Howler’s body isn’t anything to sneeze at either. 3/3 is pretty big in a world of white weenie and 2/3s. And its for two mana as well. Okay, sort of. To get him to that size does require some work (or actually, not working), which might put you behind, so be careful. Most of the time he isn’t brawling anyhow. He’s pretty content staying behind and shouting at people (or that’s what the art seems to be telling us.)