Jeremy casts spells in between his careers as a chemical analyst and campus manager.
Berserk Attackers in Magic
While not all carry the berserker subtype, many Magic creatures are consumed with fury, forced to attack whenever possible. Of course, this occasionally lands these units in trouble, blindly swinging at stronger foes or ones with deathtouch, but to compensate, they offer impressive stats and powerful secondary effects.
Mostly aligned with the red faction, these warriors occasionally dip into other colors. Carefully time their arrival, or they'll get themselves killed, but these risky maniacs can win games with their offensive prowess. Yet with dozens of berserkers available, which champions reign supreme? These are the ten best constantly attacking creatures in Magic: The Gathering!
10. Dauthi Slayer
CMC (Converted Mana Cost): 2
Like today's other cards, Slayer is forced into combat whenever able (untapped at the start of your combat), but he carries a fair 2/2 stats for his price. More than that, he offers the rare shadow ability, meaning he can only block and be blocked by other units with shadow.
Since very few decks incorporate the trait, Slayer is usually unblockable, continuously chipping away at your opponent's life and easily landing direct-damage effects.
9. Relentless Raptor
Raptor specifically needs a red and white red mana, but for his low price, he offers an amazing 3/3 stats. He also carries vigilance, letting him attack without tapping, and has synergies with the mighty dinosaur faction.
However, he's what I call a super-berserker, as he's forced to attack and block! With vigilance, he'll be available for (and must participate in) every combat, and while his power offers a layer of protection, sometimes Raptor will blindly chase his own demise.
8. Goblin Rabblemaster
Rabblemaster himself isn't berserk, but he forces your other goblins to attack whenever able. Sadly, his 2/2 stats aren't great for a three-cost creature, but he crafts a 1/1 goblin token with haste at the start of your combat, and whenever Rabblemaster attacks, he gains +1/+0 for the turn for each other attacking goblin.
Thus, he shines in devoted goblin decks, rapidly creating tokens and strengthening as your army invades. Just remember he'll force your other imps into battle, so be sure you're ready when you cast him.
7. Darksteel Juggernaut
A member of the formidable Darksteel clan, Juggernaut carries their trademark indestructible, a prime defense for a berserk unit. He must attack when able, and his power and toughness each equal the number of artifacts you control.
Counting himself, that's at least one, and in artifact-heavy decks (like ones that swarm thopter tokens), Juggernaut's stats often enter double digits. Try giving him trample to ensure his bulk can't be properly guarded.
6. Thantis, the Warweaver
In some ways, Thantis is the ultimate berserker, making all creatures (including himself and enemies) attack when able. Thankfully, this legendary spider is one of the game's strongest arachnids, carrying 5/5, vigilance, and reach (letting him guard flying creatures).
More than that, whenever a creature attacks you or a planeswalker you control, Thantis gains a +1/+1 counter, capitalizing on the forced mayhem with ever-increasing power.
5. Xantcha, Sleeper Agent
Xantcha is an oddball, as you actually surrender control of her to an opponent. She must attack each turn, but she can't strike her owner (remember you still own her even when not under your command) or their planeswalkers, meaning she's forced to target other players. Not only will she assault them with an impressive 5/5 stats, but she also lets any player utilize her three-cost ability, granting that player a draw and draining two life from her controller.
She's tricky, sure, but Xantcha offers a variety of handy effects and works particularly well in multiplayer. Plus, if you can gain infinite mana, you can spam her ability to repeatedly sap her controller's life, knocking them out of the game in one fell swoop.
4. Ulamog's Crusher
Want an Eldrazi with the powerful annihilator trait (forcing foes to sacrifice permanents when attacked), but not one as expensive (in terms of both mana and real money) as their legendary members?
Try Ulamog's Crusher, who needs a hefty eight mana, but is actually one of the cheapest and best annihilators in the game. He blindly swings each turn, but considering his great 8/8 stats and annihilator 2, you'll want him attacking anyway, making his victim to immediately forfeit two permanents when he strikes.
3. Tattermunge Maniac
Maniac compensates for his bloodlust with several nifty benefits. First, considering his low cost, he carries a strong 2/1, and you can cast him with either red or green mana. Then, he possesses the useful goblin subtype (plus warrior for good measure), offering nice synergies with red's most abundant faction.
Thus, despite occasionally getting himself killed, Maniac is easy to cast and works well alongside his impish allies.
2. Ruric Thar, the Unbowed
In addition to powerful 6/6 stats, Ruric has both vigilance and reach, making him a great blocker against aerial units. He also inflicts six damage to any player who casts a non-creature spell, a heavy penalty that can trigger multiple times each round.
This applies to you as well, so only use Ruric in creature-centered decks (which red and green fortunately emphasize), but it's a powerful defense against counterspells or other indirect traps your foes employ.
1. Zurgo Helmsmasher
Legendary Zurgo's 7/2 stats give him excellent power if shaky defenses, but he's indestructible on your turn, letting him attack without fear of repercussion. Additionally, the crazed orc has haste, letting him swing immediately, and whenever a creature dealt damage by him that turn dies, he gains a +1/+1 counter. Given trample and/or double strike in EDH format, Zurgo can score a commander damage win with one or two attacks, making him one of the best leaders in Magic.
Alongside "Kaalia of the Vast," Zurgo is perhaps my favorite red/white/black commander and offers a fun and aggressive strategy. Best of all, he's surprisingly cheap for such a competitive legendary, costing just a single dollar!
Supporting Berserk Creatures in Magic
Since they're always in the midst of battle, anything that raises a berserker's stats is useful, and trample lets them bleed excess damage through blockers. Indestructible also protects them from counterattacks, and I highly recommend the artifact "Dolmen Gate" to defend your units as they strike.
While risky, forced-combat creatures offer powerful effects and accelerate the speed of your matches (for better or for worse), preventing things from growing stale. But for now, as we eagerly await Wizards of the Coast's next expansion of fury-consumed monsters, vote for your favorite card, and I'll see you at our next MTG countdown!
© 2019 Jeremy Gill