Animal Sanctuary | Core Set 2021 | Art by Alayna Danner
5, Jul, 24

The Best Animal Support Cards In MTG!

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In just a few short days, previews for Bloomburrow, Magic’s latest expansion, will begin in earnest. From what we’ve seen so far, it’s set to be a breath of fresh air. As Magic’s first all-animal Plane, the typical cast of humans (in various hats) we’ve grown used to will not be showing up. Instead, a legion of cute critters will be taking their place. For this reason, now is the perfect time to stock up on some MTG animal support cards.

What exactly are animal support cards in MTG? Well, that’s a bit of a tricky question since ‘animal’ is such a broad descriptor. Instead of covering most cards in MTG, we’ll be sticking to the ten core typal themes running through Bloomburrow. These creature types are Birds, Rats, Lizards, Raccoons, Rabbits, Bats, Otters, Squirrels, Mice, and Frogs.

On their own, the majority of these creature types are rather niche with very little support available. This makes the existing cards that support one, or more, of these archetype hidden gems. Considering the typal themes of Bloomburrow, these gems are well worth paying attention to!

5 | Swarmyard

Swarmyard | Time Spiral Remastered

Though decidedly grim in tone, Swarmyard actually feels like a card right out of Bloomburrow. Based on what we’ve seen so far, anyway. Last week, a cycle of five mono-colored lands that each support four different creature types was revealed. Swarmyard looks like the secret sixth member of that cycle.

It only taps for colorless mana, which isn’t a great start for a land. Thankfully, its activated ability more than makes up for it. By tapping Swarmyard, for no mana cost, by the way, you can Regenerate an Insect, Spider, Rat, or Squirrel. Regenerate basically saves a creature from destruction one time, whether that’s in combat or otherwise.

Getting this ability for free on an untapped land is an excellent deal. The opportunity cost to include it in your deck is incredibly low, especially in Commander, where colorless lands are a lot more viable. Naturally, any deck specializing in one or more of the creature types listed here should run the card.

Since Rats and Squirrels are both getting more support in Bloomburrow, Swarmyard is a great pickup right now. If either Squirrels or Rats become meta players, the price on this will spike overnight. And if not, it’ll remain a fun Typal staple in Commander.

4 | Cadira, Caller Of The Small

Cadira, Caller of the Small | Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate

Like Swarmyard above, Cadira, Caller of the Small is giving huge Bloomburrow vibes. Orc typing aside, naturally. The card is all about creature tokens, which the set looks to be stuffed with. In addition, the flavor, of an Orc Ranger that protects tiny Rabbits from harm, is exactly the kind of wholesome content Bloomburrow is made of.

Gameplay-wise, Cadira is a 3/3 Trample for three that lets you spawn a bunch of Rabbit tokens each time she connects with a player’s face. Rabbits are one of the ten confirmed animal creature types that we’ll be seeing support for in Bloomburrow, so that’s a big plus right out the gate. While their playstyle is uncertain at present, the first Rabbit card we’ve seen, Carrot Cake, also makes 1/1 Rabbit tokens. This implies a certain level of synergy between Cadira and the Rabbits of Bloomburrow.

As does her green/white color identity, which Rabbits in Bloomburrow share. Basically, Cadira looks like an ideal fit in a future Rabbit Typal deck, be it as a Commander or in the 99. The fact that she cares about tokens also gives her potential alongside the other animal types in Bloomburrow too, since those will likely deal in tokens also. This is a very affordable card right now, and a great investment for fans of Rabbits or cute animals in general.

3 | Liberated Livestock

Liberated Livestock | Wilds of Eldraine Commander

When it comes to the best animal support cards in MTG, it’s hard to do better than Liberated Livestock. This hilariously-typed ‘Cat Bird Ox’ does exactly what it says on the tin. When it dies, you get three tokens: a Cat, a Bird, and an Ox. The stats of each add up to the original 4/6, thus maintaining your original board presence.

Of course, that’s only half the story. When you receive these animal tokens, you can attach an Aura from your graveyard to each of them. This makes Liberated Livestock a kind of triple Aura reanimation spell. There are no limits on the costs of those Auras, either, so you can have that Bird swinging in with an Eldrazi Conscription on it if you so wish. Not particularly cute, but very, very effective.

When it comes to Bloomburrow, only the Bird token here has any confirmed synergy so far. That said, I’d be surprised if there weren’t a couple of Cats slinking around there somewhere, and this card can work well with both. One could argue that this is more of an Aura support card than an animal one. However, getting four bodies with relevant creature types for just six mana is pretty good even without any Auras to revive. Keep an eye on this one: it’s sneakily one of the better entries on this list.

2 | Volo, Guide To Monsters

Animal-Support-Cards-MTG-Volo-Guide-to-Monsters

The world of Dungeons & Dragons is rich in fantastic creatures, and support cards for them. Volo, Guide to Monsters is a prime example: a legendary Human Wizard who rewards you for playing a wide range of types by copying your creatures. You don’t have to reserve him for Mimics and Mindflayers, however, as he works just fine with your garden variety creature types, too.

Bloomburrow is a set explicitly supporting a lot of different creature types. Even beyond the core 10, there are others, like Badger and Bear, that will be getting new entries in the expansion. That’s a lot of possible new creatures for a Volo Commander deck or even just one where he features in the 99. It’s less common for decks to focus on playing a lot of creature types rather than a single one, but it can work well, especially paired with a card like this.

Honestly, this entry was a close call. Volo, Itinerant Scholar is another great option that serves a very similar role, providing card draw in place of copies. Guide to Monsters just edges it out due to its additional color, however, which lets you fit in a lot more creatures, of a lot more types. If you want to enjoy the full breadth of what Bloomburrow has to offer rather than focusing on just one type, then this is the animal support card for you.

1 | Animal Sanctuary

Animal-Support-Cards-MTG-Animal-Sanctuary

If you thought Bloomburrow’s ‘Four different creature type support’ lands were wild, wait ’till you see Animal Sanctuary. This helps out no less than six creature types, specifically Bird, Cat, Dog, Goat, Ox, and Snake. That’s a good chunk of the Chinese Zodiac, and a few of them will likely be relevant in Bloomburrow. Birds at the very least.

What benefit does Sanctuary offer to this diverse cast of critters? For two mana, it lets you place a +1/+1 counter on a creature with one of those types. Nice and simple. It also taps for colorless mana and enters untapped, so it’s a serviceable land in Commander, or in low-color brews.

Paying two mana for a +1/+1 counter is pretty steep, but it’s still a handy ability to have. Especially if your deck runs a lot of creatures that can benefit. Once Bloomburrow hits, Animal Sanctuary will undoubtedly gain a lot more valid targets. Birds in particular, are the best type to target here anyway due to their natural evasion. It’s hardly a high-power haymaker, but when it comes to animal support cards in MTG, Animal Sanctuary has it in the bag.

Read More: MTG Bloomburrow: Release Date, Spoilers, Commander Decks

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