The term Grizzly Bear has become a supremely well-entrenched piece of Magic slang over the years, and when Modern Horizons came along it gave us a tribute to this nomenclature with the mother of all bears (but not, importantly, Mother Bear) – Ayula, Queen Among Bears. Look at the tribal synergy! Look at the powerful, modular abilities, good on virtually any board you can think of!
The only catch is… well, Bears, generally aren’t very good. That didn’t dissuade Afifthofjack_Gaming, who determinedly built a bear tribal deck that is very nearly almost comprised of just bears. Quite a feat, you’d think, but then you kinda have to make some compromises. It’s not every EDH deck that can get away with playing, actual, factual Grizzly Bears, let alone all the functional reprints of the card – Balduvian Bears, Bear Cub, Runeclaw Bear, etc. – but this one does! …More or less, anyway.
Bear Force One by Afifthofjack_Gaming
Even if the overall power level of most Bears isn’t high, there are some standouts. Goreclaw, Terror of Qal Sisma is pretty strong, and, er… alright, well, that’s about it. One standout. Still, cards like Alpine Grizzly and River Bear hold those Ayula counters very well indeed, and Ruxa, Patient Professor juices up all those vanilla Grizzly Bears. Meanwhile, the “Bear” suite is rounded out with a sizeable host of changelings comprised of some pretty decent cards. Realmwalker, Masked Vandal, Chameleon Colossus – these are all good cards.
I mentioned it was very nearly almost comprised of just Bears, but there are some exceptions. Eternal Witness is too good to not play, Nylea gives the team trample, while Kamahl, Fist of Krosa goes one better and gives the team +3/+3 as well. Overruns like this are something of a theme in the deck, as it also plays Unnatural Growth to really pump the squad up, as well as Triumph of the Hordes for a quick infect victory.
Mono-green offers some reasonable support cards, with card advantage engines like Sylvan Library, Lifecrafter’s Bestiary and The Great Henge, and there are a couple of other ways to power up key Bears with cards like Snake Umbra, Shadowspear and – naturally – Bear Umbra. I’m not sure what the Panharmonicon and Conjurer’s Closet are doing other than enabling and doubling Ayula’s triggers, though – I suppose you can flicker Professor of Zoomancy for two Pests.
I don’t think anyone is pretending this deck is good, but it’s definitely sweet as hell, and I’m very glad it exists. Commander wouldn’t be the format it is without decks like this, and low-power EDH games can actually be really, really fun. Besides, having the opportunity to beat up a beleaguered blue player as they try to stabilize behind blockers with your islandwalking Pale Bears would be worth its weight in gold!