3, Jul, 24

MTG Bloomburrow Spoiler Showcases First Ever Badger Commander!

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Article at a Glance

This past weekend at MagicCon: Amsterdam, a preview panel revealed a handful of spoilers for Bloomburrow. Bloomburrow is our next premier set, and its release is coming up on us awfully fast. The cute animal aesthetics from the set have players hyped, and we get to see some underutilized creature types receive additional support.

While many of these animals are traditionally small, that doesn’t mean there aren’t fierce and powerful creatures in the set. Today, a Bloomburrow mythic rare was spoiled, and it very much fits this mold. His name may be Hugs, and he may be a badger, but don’t think for a second he couldn’t tear you to shreds if he wanted to.

Prior to Bloomburrow’s release, there are only nine Badgers in MTG’s existence. Hugs is the first mythic rare creature of its kind, and while his abilities aren’t overly unique, that doesn’t mean he isn’t a cool Commander card. In the right environment, Hugs could also prove to be a decent finisher for a Standard Gruul deck. Let’s take a closer look at what Hugs has to offer.

Hugs in Commander

Hugs, Grisly Guardian

At a baseline, Hugs can be cast a four-mana 5/5 with Trample. This makes him a pretty beefy threat to add to the board, even if his mana cost is a bit tricky. From there, you get to start playing additional lands on each of your turns. This ability isn’t always relevant, but in Commander, it can help you build an advantage in a ramp deck for as long as Hugs stays in play.

In a Commander setting, what’s nice about Hugs is that he is quite flexible. If you have a land heavy hand, casting him early and developing your mana is totally reasonable. Once you have a lot of mana at your disposal, though, Hugs can be used as a solid mana sink. Once Hugs dies, you can recast it, tapping a ton of lands to pay for Hugs’ X cost. This lets you exile a bunch of cards from the top of your library, and you have until the end of your next turn to play them. Much like with Escape to the Wilds, getting to play extra lands each turn helps you get additional usage out of this ability.

In this sense, Hugs is a sweet Commander payoff option for a hardcore ramp strategy. Hugs also works exceptionally well with cards that reward you for playing cards from exile. For instance, Faldorn, Dread Wolf Herald and Rocco, Street Chef Commander players are already quite excited for Hugs’ printing.

On top of that, some players have pointed out the possibility of using Hugs as the payoff for a Food Chain Commander deck. In many instances, players will pair Food Chain with Commanders like Prossh, Skyraider of Kher to help generate infinite mana (only spent on creature spells) on the spot. Then, with any Blood Artist effect or an infinite mana sink like Walking Ballista, winning becomes trivial.

Well, Hugs can fill the opposite role from Prossh as an infinite mana sink that sits in your Command Zone. If you can assemble a combo like Food Chain and Eternal Scourge to net infinite mana, you can cast Hugs, exile your whole library, and win with Walking Ballista or some other creature-based kill condition. In this sense, Hugs offers more for Commander players than may appear on the surface.

Read More: 5 Things We Want To See In MTG Foundations

Hugs in Constructed?

Llanowar Elves

While Hugs primarily looks like a sweet addition to Commander, there’s a small possibility that he will show up in Constructed, too. Once again, a 5/5 with Trample for four mana is rather beefy, and it scales well as the game goes on. As such, if there ends up being a Gruul midrange deck in Standard at some point, Hugs could be a solid inclusion.

Currently, it’s hard to imagine Hugs having an immediate impact given the Standard cards surrounding it. Not only is Hugs very tough to cast on curve, but there aren’t many efficient ramp elements in Standard that help cast it. Armored Scrapgorger could help get us in the right direction, but it would likely take more than that for Hugs to emerge as a threat. However, Llanowar Elves has been confirmed as a part of MTG Foundations, which should open the door for some hard-hitting green monsters like Hugs to see more play.

Beyond Standard, some players are interested in Hugs’ synergy with Bard Class. Unfortunately, Bard Class decks in Pioneer are nearly nonexistent at this point in a metagame dominated by Abzan Amalia combo. Not to mention, those decks usually make use of Jegantha, the Wellspring as a Companion, and giving up on Jegantha for a four-drop option is likely not worth it.

Overall, there’s a good chance Hugs doesn’t end up seeing any meaningful competitive play. Still, that doesn’t mean the card won’t have some Commander appeal. Plus, who doesn’t love a massive Badger legend named Hugs making an appearance? We certainly approve, even if Hugs isn’t the most intriguing design.

Read More: Innovative Hyperaggressive Deck Takes Combo Metagame by Surprise!

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