Magic is changing. It has been changing. Gone are the days of honor and courage at the FNMs that sweep across America. The complicated craft of the battling colors, the endlessly changing metas have been replaced by pathetic pandering to gimmicks and loopholes. Example: Tron. The art of head-to-head, grueling combat has died tragically.
But it can return, through the soulful eyes and adventurous soul of one beautiful animal: Bear Cub.
Flavor text creatures often get snubbed in the world of MTG. Their general lack of abilities and triggers, replaced with meaningful background and intimate detail, makes them a “disadvantage” to most players. But what they fail to see if the one element of magic that often goes overlooked: the mind game.
Intimidation can turn the tide of an entire set. Like poker, the implication of what comes next carries more weight than what’s actually on the table. Upon playing a bear cub, questions immediately pop into an opponent’s mind.
“What possible benefit does this flavor text baby animal bring? Is it bait? Is he planning to stack it with enchantments? Is he just a frustrated furry?”
Meanwhile, the bear cub player is cool and comfortable, preparing their coming moves, and watching their opponent sweat. Aside from exposing their opponent’s weaknesses and the strength of their hand, it brings immense pleasure.
Consider how the following moves will be weighed against the placement of bear cub. He becomes the focal point of the match, context by which all future plays are measured. Every move your opponent makes will be accompanied by this thought:
“How will it affect bear cub?”
That power, the ability to grip your opponent’s mind game so firmly in your palm while dangling a flavorful cub over them like a phantom vegetable, cannot be ignored. Bear Cub can add mental games to nearly any green variant deck.
Mind games have been left behind in the MTG meta. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With the help of one lovable, little baby bear, MTG can open itself back up to the passive manipulation of your friends that has long been missed in the meta. Forget your triggers and forget your burn: it’s time to agro this baby animal all the way to victory.