The Best Deck Nobody is Playing: When Bears Attack

when bears attack dragon scarred

The great Thomas David Baker, in his infinite wisdom, came up with the “metagame-breaking” Legacy deck he named “36 Bears” back in 2009. Exploiting the broken synergy between Forests and cards with the “Bear” subtype, he attempted to take down the 128 man “Win a Piece of Power 9” tournament at Worlds that year. Below is the list he ran.

 

[d title=”36 Bears by Thomas David Baker”]

Creatures
4 Grizzly Bears
4 Runeclaw Bear
4 Balduvian Bears
4 Bear Cub
4 Ashcoat Bear
2 Forest Bear
4 Striped Bears
4 Spectral Bears
2 Pale Bears
4 Bearscape

Lands
24 Forest

Sideboard
1 Pale Bears
3 Golden Bear
1 Razorclaw Bear
4 River Bear
4 Werebear
1 Underground Sea
1 Lion’s Eye Diamond

[/d]

Baker didn’t see much success that tournament (mainly due to mana issues and missing 2 copies of Forest Bear), and so sadly the deck failed to take off as the prominent meta force it deserved to be. I’m taking it upon myself to fix this historical error by porting the deck to Modern and eventually taking down the Pro Tour with it. I have no doubts about the strength of the deck — now that Dragon-Scarred Bear and Alpine Grizzly are in the format, we’ll have no trouble mauling opponents to death.

[d title=”When Bears Attack by Sean Ridgeley”]

Creatures
4 Alpine Grizzly
4 Runeclaw Bear
4 Dragon-Scarred Bear
4 Druid’s Familiar
4 Grizzly Bears
4 Ashcoat Bear
4 Ulvenwald Bear
4 Ulvenwald Tracker

Instants
4 Giant Growth

Land
20 Forest
4 Cavern of Souls

Sideboard
4 Favor of the Woods
3 Hibernation’s End
4 River Bear
4 Predatory Urge[/d]

Strategy

How this deck works is you play Forests then use those Forests to play bears. It’s understandable if you find it difficult at first, but I assure you that you’ll be dropping Forests and playing bears in no time with the best of them after some practice.

Card Choices

A few notes about some of the less self-explanatory cards, and one I purposely didn’t use:

Dragon-Scarred Bear: The clause on its ability might seem poor but remember we have 32 bears, all with two power or more, so we’ll be able to use it constantly. Also note the name: this thing fought a dragon and won, so it’ll have no problem fending off a wimpy Tarmogoyf turn after turn. The only thing better than a bear is a regenerating bear, as everyone knows, so this is a key card to making the deck work.

Ulvenwald Bear and Ulvenwald Tracker: While the synergy between forests and bears is the real strong point here, there’s also some good stuff going on between these two powerhouses. It plays out like this: use Tracker’s ability to kill an opposing creature that probably isn’t half as good as a bear with your bear, then play Ulvenwald Bear as a 4/4, or a 2/2 and make one of your other bears even more awesome. That’s basically a 5 for 1, probably. In the words of the famously articulate Zac “Creatures Are So Awesome” Hill: devastating!

when bears attack giant growth

Sideboard cards: River Bear and Hibernation’s End ensure blue players won’t be able to keep up with your bear assault; Urge is for creature-heavy decks like Zoo where you need a little more removal, and Favor helps you with Burn and possibly other aggressive decks. If there’s a more airtight sideboard than this, I don’t want to know about it.

Savage Punch: I left this out because it depicts bears in a bad and completely unrealistic light. In a real Magic fight, that bear would’ve ripped off both that guy’s arms before he even thought about punching it. Bear versus human fights are just too hardcore for Wizards artists to depict accurately, I guess.

Looking Forward

I know some of you still won’t believe as I do in the raw power of this deck, because it’s new and new things are probably bad and whatever. If you don’t, just wait for the results — this time next year When Bears Attack will be at the top of the meta and threatening a ban (I put bets on Dragon-Scarred Bear). See you then!

Sean is a Magic Online grinder that’s been playing Modern since 2012. His background comprises a combined 10 years of journalism study and practice. You can find him on Twitter @regalforce.

17 thoughts on “The Best Deck Nobody is Playing: When Bears Attack

  1. Having witnessed the majesty of Tom’s tournament first hand I cannot possibly condone the inclusion of Charging Badger in this list.

    You need to go away and think about what you’ve done.

    1. I see now I have brought great shame upon my family.

      Splashing for Phantasmal Bear is probably the best course of action for those unwilling to play Badger.

  2. After years in the wilderness finally my contribution to deckbuilding is being recognized. The “I Told You So”s will soon ring out.

    What is remarkable to me is that after drowning the sorrows stemming from my undiscovered genius in whiskey and hallucinogens for so many years you actually have a better recollection of my deck than I do. Although sideboard Lion’s Eye Diamond for the crazy T1 Bearscape synergy could never be forgotten it had completely slipped my mind that I was missing two Forest Bear. Where did you get the info?

    1. To be graced by the great Mr. Baker himself! A true honor! Thanks for stopping in, sir.

      I got that from your original writeup linked above. And I quote:

      “I didn’t have enough bears to fill out my deck/sideboard due to missing 2 Forest Bear so I added 1 Underground Sea and 1 Lion’s Eye Diamond to fill out the deck.”

  3. You missed one very important thing about this deck. When playing an OP bears deck, you have to make sure that all the Forests in the deck are Bear habitable forests, not something stupid like Ravnica City/Forests.
    My Playgroup has a box of Bear Habitable Forests set aside for when we make OP Bear decks- True story.

  4. I ordered all of the cards for Sean’s version of the deck. I’m looking forward to trying this out. I’m enjoying your site guys! Keep up the good work!

  5. In my testing so far, I have found these changes to be quite beneficial. I know it doesnt keep up with the true nature of this beast. But I didn’t change the core.

    -4 Ulvenwald Tracker
    -4 Giant Growth

    +3 Scavenging Ooze
    +4 Collected Company
    +1 Lead the Stampede

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