Making A Better Bear: Part I: Send in the Clones Jul 10, 2018 9:53:31 GMT
Post by Zuty on Jul 10, 2018 9:53:31 GMT
Don’t try to outrun one of Dominia’s Grizzlies; it’ll catch you, knock you down, and eat you. Of course, you could run up a tree. In that case you’ll get a nice view before it knocks the tree down and eats you. — Grizzly Bears flavor text
Grizzly Bears is probably the most iconic Magic card out there besides Black Lotus; so much so that most players refer to similar cards as Bears or will say that anything with a 2/2 body has the body of a bear. First printed in Alpha and last seen in Tenth Edition, Grizzly Bears helped set the bar for every other card out there.
Creature - Bear
Short, sweet, and too the point. It survives being pinged by Prodigal Sorcerer, can live through a Dry Spell, breaks right through Blistering Barrier, and stops any Eager Cadet from getting any closer. So how has this staple of a card evolved over the years? Its template is as old as Magic itself, so how has that been modified? And what will future bears look like? All those questions and more will be answered in due time, but for now let's start with discussing the copy cats and how we've gotten to where we are today.
August 5th, 1993.
Magic: the Gathering releases Alpha, the first of many, many sets to come. I won't go deep into the history, since I'm sure many of you are aware of it already, but did you know the original play test cards for Alpha still exist. Some lucky collector out there owns an original play test Black Lotus, which has a price tag equaling or surpassing that of an actual Black Lotus. In fact, they may own something even more valuable: the first ever Grizzly Bear!
So the original Grizzly Bears was nothing more than a Striped Bears without the cantrip. So things obviously had to change and both Richard Garfield and Barry Reich (the first play tester for Magic) realized this early enough on. The finished product has been repeated more than 120 times either being the same, having an upside, having a downside, or having both an upside and downside. The formula worked!
|Image courtesy of |
Correction: As pointed out by Gorgon the mana costs during playtesting were different. The number meant how much mana you needed to spend and any letters meant you needed to spend at least that much of that color. So Bears had a CMC of 3 and one of the three mana you used to cast it must be
So the original Bears was really a Gray Ogre, another Alpha card.
So now it's time to break down all the different bears that exist out there. Let's begin with the functional reprints first.
While these may be exactly the same, one shines above the rest: Cylian Elf
Why is that, you may be asking. It has an arguably more relevant creature type than the other cards. There's plenty of support out there for Elves and virtually no support for the other cards. So, it's possible to have a tribal relevant bear without the cost being affected at all. In fact, Deeproot Warrior is just that with an added bonus. But we will discuss bulkier bears later on.
So where else have bears made an appearance?
|Vanilla Bears||Vanilla Bears||Vanilla Bears|
|Fresh Volunteers||Cabal Evangel||Defiant Khenra|
|Glory Seeker||Gutter Skulk||Falkenrath Reaver|
|Knight Errant||Queen's Bay Soldier||Swab Goblin|
|Silvercoat Lion||Walking Corpse|
With the exception of and , each color has at least one vanilla bear. The first one being Fresh Volunteers, which also has the advantage of having two relevant creature types: Human and Rebel.
Walking Corpse was the first vanilla bear and Falkenrath Reaver was the first vanilla bear. Before that, they only had downside bears.
That covers the original card and the clones that have followed. So what have we learned?
- A Bear is a slang term for a 2/2 creature that costs .
- The original Grizzly Bear was just a Gray Ogre.
- doesn't get a vanilla bear, no sir!
- Don't try to outrun one of Dominaria’s grizzlies!
Next time we will be covering bears that have downsides, also known as Bad Bears. I hope you enjoyed this and join us next time.