Despite being the slang term for an entire class of creatures and originating all the way back from Alpha’s Grizzly Bears, Magic: The Gathering’s Bears are a woefully under-supported creature type. Players use the term ‘bear’ more often to describe a 2/2 creature than they do to refer to an actual Bear. Still, these fuzzy mammals have just enough support to pull them out of hibernation.
Thanks to a renewed interest in Bears, primarily thanks to Ayula, Queen Among Bears, finding Bears in Magic is easier than finding a cub on an Alaskan expedition these days. It’s the support that’s at a Bear minimum.
Werebear isn’t the most impressive mana dork in Commander, nor is the threshold power bump that important in the format, but when your commander wants you to commit to a typal theme, it’s best to play as many on-theme creatures of that type as you can. Werebear is a Bear that taps for mana, and Ayula approves.
One benefit of playing Bears over a more popular, heavily-supported creature type is the opportunity for great puns (ForBEAR’s Blade narrowly misses the mark). Make sure you’re playing with the original Odyssey or Dominaria Remastered Werebear for premium on-brand flavor text.
9 Ayula’s Influence
Modern Horizons sets often reference historically significant cards, as evidenced by Ayula’s Influence, a ‘color-shifted’ callback to the once-popular Seismic Assault. Appropriate, too, that Ayula’s Influence saw print in the same set as Ayula, Queen Among Bears, which put Bear typal on the map in Commander.
This enchantment keeps a steady stream of Bears coming throughout the game, so long as you keep your hand stocked with lands. You need to strike a balance between playing lands and pitching them to Influence, but Bears tend to be cheap, so you can usually make do with fewer lands in play.
8 Ruxa, Patient Professor
Ruxa, Patient Professor doesn’t explicitly mention Bears at all, at least not in its rules text. It does, however, mention vanilla creatures, or creatures with no abilities, and Bears excel at being boring, bumbling 2/2 tokens with no other text to speak of.
Ruxa’s a quirky alternative commander to Ayula, giving you a stronger incentive to run generic Bears with scrolling blocks of flavor text. For reference, there are five different variations of the generic 2/2 vanilla Bear, and plenty of token-makers to make sure Ruxa’s class always has proper attendance.
Changelings are a little cheatyface when it comes to conversations about typal support, but all’s fair in a Shapeshifter’s world. Realmwalker is an exceptional one-size-fits-all changeling for typal decks that lack card advantage. Your Merfolk, Faeries, Elves… they’re fine on card draw, but Bears? They need some help.
Realmwalker is an additional one to the Bear count, and quantity always matters in typal decks. It also provides useful card advantage, and due to the cheap nature of most Bear creatures, it’s somewhat easy to fire off a flurry of Bears from the top of your library.
6 Fade From History
Green board wipes are a bit of a rarity, at least as far as creature removal goes. It compensates with excellent artifact/enchantment removal, and if you’re already in Bear country, you can’t go wrong with Fade From History. As long as you build your deck with this in mind, it should disproportionately mess with your opponents more than you.
Leaving behind a Bear token is crucial here. It’s a consolation prize for your opponents, but a real gamepiece for you. Think of it like more of a static, ursine Bane of Progress.
Bearscape is a wonderfully goofy card and recipient of not one, but two of the best ever Magic art pieces. Realistically, it’s pretty weak and consumes resources for very little output, but why bother with a Bear deck if you’re not willing to commit with cards like Bearscape?
It at least makes sure you keep bodies on board, assuming your graveyard stays stocked and you’re not playing too much recursion. Funnily enough, it’s not even a budget option, running around $5 for either version. So why not just play something like Mother Bear instead? Commitment, that’s why.
4 Titania’s Command
Titania’s Command is a generically strong card that just so happens to make Bear tokens. It could have just as easily made Wolf tokens and your Ayula deck wouldn’t shake a claw at it. However, it does indeed create Bears, which elevates it to an actual synergy piece.
The joke with this card in The Brothers’ War Limited was that it only actually had two modes: create some tokens and distribute +1/+1 counters. That’s likely how you’ll play it in Commander too, though the graveyard-hoser mode is a powerful tool when the situation calls for it.
3 Argoth, Sanctum Of Nature
You can basically ignore the legendary creature text on Argoth, Sanctum of Nature, though if it does come in untapped, even better. It’s easy to slot into a deck and plays well with graveyard-centric Bear cards like Bearscape, Mother Bear, and Grizzly Fate.
The real nagging question is whether you play Titania, Voice of Gaea, since you’re already running half the meld pair. It’ll test your level of dedication to the Bear theme, but only so many of your Commander deck slots can go to actual Bear and Bear accessories.
2 Grizzly Fate
Now this is premium bear fodder! Grizzly Fate stands tall and proud midst a sea of unbearable puns and pawsitively terrible jokes. And it’s a half-way decent card too? What a steal!
Grizzly Fate starts off as two Bears in a can, then becomes a much larger pack of Bears in a much more expensive can once you reach seven mana for its flashback cost. You have to do some work to achieve threshold first, but you can bear down and get it done, and it benefits from incidental mill effects like Argoth, Sanctum of Nature.
1 Ayula, Queen Among Bears
Queen Among Bears, indeed. Wizards’ first attempt at a legendary bear was Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma, a great standalone card that doesn’t really incentivize you to build a deck full of Grizzly Bears and all the underwhelming variants. Ayula righted that wrong in regal fashion.
They say a bear can run up to 30-35 miles per hour, and that shows in just how quickly Ayula becomes a problem. It was probably pushed on account of how narrow the creature type it supports is, handing out Bear-buffs like honey and playing constant board control with the fight ability.
Next: Magic: The Gathering – The Best Faerie Typal Commanders