Today marks the first day of a new week of spoilers, featuring class allies. Today in particular starts with the first unique ally in Dark Prophecies, and it is indeed a beast. Or, at least a wolf.
Dark Prophecies 90/150: Howlfang: Terror of the Vale
Spoiled by Kyle on 1/7/2012
This is a two-part card. And by that, I mean two bodies, not two effects. The first thing you have to remember when looking at this card is that the +1 attack bonus is just that; a bonus. The real reason you play this card is for the two bodies.
Now, the two bodies ARE good... but remember, this card falls into the same trap as Baduruu. You have to have the second ally with low cost in hand in order to benefit from the effect. And while it is a good one, and while 3cc allies are pretty abundant, you are taking that risk.
Another problem with this card is that it sets you up pretty badly for boardwipes. This card can't survive a Supernova, unlike its brethren Ogloth and the cheaper Brutal Minotaur. Play a Shadow Knight into a wipe and you gain a card, not lose one. Plasma Behemoth can take down two targets with one card, not two with two. There's lots of bombs to choose from. While Howlfang excels against single-target removal such as Mind Control, it struggles to compare with some of the other options out there already.
In fact, is this that much better than just playing a pair of 3cc allies? While one individual body may be smaller, you have more control over how to spend your resources, can decide whether or not to extend, and are that much more likely to get that key third turn ally play.
All that said, I have to reiterate that the two bodies are good. In the right meta, one without Tidal Wave and Supernova running rampant but plenty of Infernal Gargoyles and other cards you need a bigger damage source to take out, Howlfang could be an all-star. If in the right deck, where the damage pump could function as an extra Death Mage Thaddeus, Howlfang could also provide a nice win condition.
Rating: 6.5/10. In the right meta, this card could really shine. However, because of these easily playable wipes that shut down a card advantage hose like Howlfang, it'll never quite be able to dominate as the meta would shift around it. There's also a lot of options for big threats in Shadow that can all perform well already. I personally find it rather questionable if this card would make a worthy replacement.