Dragonkin Berserker is a two-mana Human Berserker creature from the Kaldheim set. At first glance, Dragonkin Berserker reminded me of a couple other creatures who create Dragon creature tokens, namely Dragon Whisperer and Dragonmaster Outcast. Neither of those creatures panned out the way many players expected them to, although the Outcast has since become a Commander favorite.
With a Dragon theme clearly hinted at between both the Berserker and Dwarf tribes in Kaldheim, even early on in the Kaldheim spoiler season, this card makes a lot of sense in the context of the set. The Dragonkin Berserker has the Boast ability, which can only be activated if the creature has attacked that turn and only once per turn. His ability costs 1 generic mana less for each Dragon you control. Otherwise it naturally costs 4R (4 generic, 1 Red) to activate to create a 5/5 Dragon creature token with flying.
The arguments against this card early on centered around not being able to produce 5 mana consistently in an aggressive deck. This would seem to push the Berserker into more of a mid-range strategy, playing for the long game than simply attacking out right. It’s notable, though, that you can activate a Boast ability after attackers have been declared, much like the Dwarf Legendary Creature Arni Brokenbow and his Boast ability to swap power with another creature you control. “Mana sinks” like this are more valuable than they often first appear.
The problem that Dragon Whisperer has is that not only did his ability cost 4RR (4 generic, 2 Red) to activate, but it also required that you controlled creatures with a total power of 8 or more. That Dragon token also was just a 4/4 creature. The Whisperer does have a “firebreathing” ability in that you can boost his power by 1 point for each 2 mana (1 generic, 1 Red) you put into him. In Dragonkin’s case, not only do you get a better token for less mana, but that activated ability has fewer restrictions. Yes, the Dragon Whisperer could have its ability activated more than once in a turn, but how often are you going to do that outside of Commander?
Dragonmaster Outcast is the best of these three cards, costing just a single mana to cast, and creating 5/5 flying Dragon tokens at the beginning of your upkeep if you control 6 or more lands. This creature was actually somewhat playable during Zendikar Standard, as well as Battle for Zendikar Standard where it was reprinted and has popped up over the years in various formats. The problem is, it’s just a 1/1 creature, making it extremely fragile. Still, that’s a ton of value for a one-mana creature in the late game.
The playability of Dragonkin Berserker seems to be even better than either the Whisperer or the Outcast. A two-mana 2/2 creature is typically only good in the early game, but since he has that Boast ability, he’s a great play as long as you can manage to attack with him. The Berserker doesn’t have to survive in order for you to activate the ability, as long as you activate the Boast ability before he’s destroyed by combat during the damage step.
Honestly, Dragonkin Berserker looks like an extremely playable card, although you’re probably going to see him more in mid-range decks than straight aggro decks. His real value lies in creating those Tokens, and you’ll want to be playing other Dragons to reduce that ability cost. No doubt he’ll find a way into Dragon Tribal Commander decks, and they don’t even have to be mono-Red. We’ll see how he shakes out in actual tournament play, but Dragonkin Berserker could surprise people if it’s played in the right deck.
How would you play Dragonkin Berserker?
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