Single-Card Spotlight: Whisperwood Elemental

Posted in GRAND PRIX SEVILLE 2015 on February 15, 2015

By Frank Karsten

One of the Fate Reforged cards that has been having quite an impact on the feature match area over the course of this weekend is Whisperwood Elemental. The 4/4 is seeing play in various decks, but most notably Antonio Del Moral León and Javier Dominguez (arguably the two most accomplished Spanish players in attendance today) played 4 copies of the five-drop in their Green Devotion builds.

The following picture says it all:

In this picture, taken when the two Spaniards faced off in a match that was covered here, you can see the madness that arose when Del Moral León got out 4 Whisperwood Elementals while Javier Dominguez had 2 copies on the battlefield. It escalated quickly, and we nearly ran out of manifest overlay cards in the feature match area.

So what makes Whisperwood Elemental so good? First of all, it's a source of green devotion that can also enable ferocious in decks designed to take advantage of that. Second, it matches up well against spot removal spells because it will at least leave a manifested 2/2 behind, provided you play it when your opponent is tapped out. Third, the manifested 2/2s are much better than they might seem because they can easily turn into something better, like Courser of Kruphix or another Whisperwood Elemental. And if you ever manage to manifest Hooded Hydra, then you can turn that face up for only two green mana! Fourth, with the rise in control decks relying on Crux of Fate, it provides a good insurance to the sweeper. Fifth, in a long game, Whisperwood Elemental provides inevitability through a steady stream of creatures. And finally, it synergizes well with Ugin, the Spirit Dragon because the planeswalker's minus ability won't touch any face-down manifested creatures.

All in all, Whisperwood Elemental is well-positioned in the format, and it fits particularly well in Green Devotion.

I would like to leave you with one interesting play involving Whisperwood Elemental. On Saturday in the feature match area, a green player was down to a precariously low life total against a burn deck, with Courser of Kruphix and Whisperwood Elemental in play and Nylea's Disciple on top of his deck. In a stroke of genius, the player in question sacrificed Whisperwood Elemental before the end of his turn because he couldn't afford to manifest Nylea's Disciple---he needed to draw it so that the trigger could get him out of burn range. It's not a sequence of actions you will often take, but I love how the card has so much play to it.