Jasmine Boreal | Legends
12, May, 23

MTG Players Keep Trying To Make Vanilla Creatures Matter

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Recently, within the wide world of MTG, there has been a lot of chatter about MTG cards getting too verbose. This has supposedly caused the death of flavor text as we know it, although reality begs to differ somewhat. Despite this important detail, many MTG players have nevertheless been criticizing how complex cards have become. In turn, this seems to have brought about a wave of players requesting to return to the days of yore. To the days were vanilla creatures roamed the plains of Dominaria.

While technically having just appeared in March of the Machine, vanilla creatures are somewhat of a dying breed in MTG. Previously, these cards without any abilities at all, were a staple in old MTG sets, however, now they’re rarely ever seen. In the eyes of some players, this is an absolute travesty, and one they sorely want to correct. So much so, that players have been petitioning for an entire plane full of boring ol’ vanilla creatures! 

Beloved But Bad

Sanctuary Cat | Dark Ascension
Sanctuary Cat | Dark Ascension

Considering they have no abilities at all, there’s no question that vanilla creatures are an excellent vehicle for flavor text. The same is true of French vanilla creatures, which are creatures that only have keyword abilities and no other text. While this feature makes many of these cards beloved by the community, this doesn’t mean they’re good. In fact, the majority of vanilla creatures are the opposite of good. It would be generous to even call some of them Draft chaff

For example, just look at Eager Cadet. Literally a 1/1 for one, this card is practically as bad as it gets. Even Isamaru, Hound of Konda isn’t much better being a 2/2 for the same cost. Compared to the might of Ragavan, Nimble Pilferer… Well, there’s no competition really. On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have vanilla creatures like Ancient Brontodon. Clocking in at eight mana, Ancient Brontodon only boasts a 9/9 stat line. While this is certainly quite the bunch, compared to the likes of Griselbrand, there’s no contest.

Thankfully, as we mentioned before, there is one upside of vanilla creatures: flavor. Providing a deeper insight into the plane and the set’s story, this is an incredibly important storytelling tool for Wizards. Thanks to the removal of blocks, this has become all the more important, as without flavor text, many new planes can be left feeling unexplored. This may set them up rather nicely for a sequel, however, who would want to return to a set that wasn’t interesting the first time around? 

Vanilla Creatures Matter

Isamaru, Hound of Konda | Champions of Kamigawa
Isamaru, Hound of Konda | Champions of Kamigawa

Curiously, when requesting more vanilla creatures, MTG players haven’t just been after their fantastic flavor. Instead, it seems many players want to make vanilla tribal a viable MTG deck. Technically, this is something Wizards already released support for. Just like many vanilla creatures, however, this potential commander isn’t very good. Released in Dominaria Remastered’s Legends Retold promotion, the legendary creature in question is Jasmine Boreal of the Seven

Providing a fairly unimpressive pair of abilities, MTG players haven’t been too enthused with this niche Commander. Subsequently, in the hopes of getting their way, numerous MTG players have been petitioning MTG’s Lead Designer, Mark Rosewater, for more options. Spurring on the discussion have been the recent March of the Machine cards Yargle and Multani and Primordial Plasm. Both showing how much fun vanilla creatures can be, players understandably wanted more. So much so, in fact, that many players suggested a trip to the plane of Muraganda should feature strong vanilla matters themes. 

Unfortunately for excited players, however, Rosewater isn’t a fan. So much so, in fact, that, by their own admission, they’re starting to feel like a bit of a broken record. This was their response when Tumblr user Weebos asked for a vanilla matters theme umpteenth time. Alongside this remark, Rosewater also explained once again that “‘Vanilla matters’ is a troublesome theme to build around.” 

Despite saying this over and over again, many players kept asking for vanilla matters to become the next best thing. This left other players rather confused, after all, as we mentioned earlier, vanilla creatures are historically bad. Ultimately, this left Rosewater suggesting that players wanted it because they are “intrigued by the idea of it working more so than the component pieces of such a thing.”

Neapolitan Matters

Ancient Brontodon | Ixalan
Ancient Brontodon | Ixalan

If it wasn’t clear enough from Rosewater’s response, it seems incredibly unlikely vanilla matters will ever be a central theme in an MTG set. That being said, however, this doesn’t mean this tribe will never get support. Instead, it’ll likely just be sporadic and only on a few cards when it does appear. This was confirmed as much by Rosewater who said they “assume there would be” a few vanilla matters creatures in a Muraganda set. While this is a shred of good news, until then, it seems vanilla creatures are going to just be a novelty.

For even more good news, while vanilla matters may be off the table, chocolate matters and strawberry matters are absolutely doable. As Mark Rosewater explains “Chocolate matters is easy. : )” Now all we have to do is find out what chocolate matters actually is…

Read More: WotC Addresses Concerns About Upcoming MTG Rules Change

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