Ravager Wurm is a mythic rare littered with game text which allows it to do all sorts of things when it enters the battlefield, and it's one of the most exciting cards from Ravnica Allegiance for Gruul fans. There's a lot to digest here, and when I sat down and started to flesh out my review I had to go back and reread Ravager Wurm a few times to be sure it's actually as good as it looks.
Fortunately, it is.
Ravager Wurm has a major thing working in its favor and that's the printing of Rhythm of the Wild. Jokes aside about double haste, multiple instances of riot aren't completely wasted since you can pick haste once and +1/+1 for the rest and rack up extra counters. The synergy that I'm focused on most, though, is making sure Ravager Wurm can't be countered. When I see Ravager Wurm, I see a strong anti-control option, but the natural fear with six-mana spells is that they can simply be countered so it's only natural to pair Rhythm of the Wild and Ravager Wurm.
When discussing riot, one very basic but helpful way to view it is haste with upside, and I'll go on record as saying haste is one of the best keywords ever printed. One underrated aspect of haste is that we're very much living in a world where planeswalkers are dominant and often warp the format. When my opponent plays a planeswalker and my turn is a haste creature to attack and kill that planeswalker, that's a massive game-defining swing. When I add to the battlefield and attack a planeswalker to death, I get the same feeling I have when I play a Ravenous Chupacabra on turn 4. Haste can and does produce card advantage and tempo in games where planeswalkers are involved.
Ravager Wurm will often be used to fight target creature you don't control, and, in that instance, you do have the option to fight with Ravager Wurm as a 5/6, thanks to riot. Five power and six toughness are significant because Lyra Dawnbringer is potentially one of the biggest problem cards for Gruul with the arrival of Ravnica Allegiance.
If you aren't using the fight ability, the wordy and confusing second ability which basically reads "destroy target land but only if it's fancy" seems tailor-made for cards like Adanto, the First Fort, Treasure Cover, and Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin.
Turns out providing value and transforming into a land that provides repeated advantage is good, and this cycle of cards is all over the place in Standard. I have big dreams of someday resolving Ravager Wurm destroying Azcanta, the Sunken Ruin and attacking a Teferi, Hero of Dominaria down to zero loyalty in the same turn.
I like the decision to print cards which are more versatile and allow me to answer troublesome permanent types in game 1. If you're a member of the Gruul Clans and you play a Standard match which happens to be a best-of-one on Magic Arena, it might be really convenient to have an answer to Niv-Mizzet, Parun or Temple of Aclazotz without needing to play an excessive amount of creature kill or land destruction effects that have potential to be dead draws when facing a diverse metagame.
Ravager Wurm has a lot of positive things going for it, but you must always keep in mind that it's Standard and all six-mana plays need to be compared to Carnage Tyrant. I can easily envision Gruul being successful in future Standard playing a variety of different strategies from midrange to pure ramp and if ramp is best then, I don't see why Ravager Wurm and Carnage Tyrant can't coexist in the same decklist and even have positive synergy together. If you use Ravager Wurm first to destroy Detection Tower and preserve the hexproof that makes Carnage Tyrant so fearsome, that's a combo worth talking about. Llanowar Elves and Incubation Druid are extremely efficient and at a glance, it looks like ramp should have all the tools it needs to succeed.
Green has been very successful so far in Standard in the form of Golgari Midrange, but I suspect with the addition of cards like Blood Crypt, Stomping Grounds, and Bedevil, who knows - maybe we might try playing Jund again. Ravager Wurm is an attractive option for a midrange deck like Golgari or Jund because it can provide all its useful effects while being a creature which opens the door for repeatable use thanks to Memorial to Folly, Golgari Findbroker, and Find//Finality. Vivien Reid and Domri, Chaos Bringer can be used to pseudo tutor for the answers you need should they happen to be creatures.
Speaking of creature tutoring, the possibilities with Prime Speaker Vannifar are vast. Almost every time a Birthing Pod effect has been legal in a format, people try to find infinite loops, so I won't exactly be waiting for a Temur value-based deck of creatures going all the way up the chain to Ravager Wurm, but it would likely be effective. The ability to fight is a unique effect that Simic doesn't usually have access to, so being able to find it on command is worth noting.
I like Ravager Wurm a lot and expect to see it play, but I don't think it will be a defining aspect of Ravnica Allegiance Standard and will end up being more of a strong role player instead. It's clear to me that Wizards of the Coast wants Ravager Wurm to be a card that actually shows up based on its numerous abilities, rarity, and even the amazing artwork. I really like it when cards like Ravager Wurm are impactful because it can have a dramatic effect on the battlefield, and its uniqueness allows for more dynamic and interesting gameplay.
Cards with as much going on as Ravager Wurm shouldn't go overlooked. I certainly won't make the mistake of doing so.
Neither should you.