MTG Encyclopedia [Creature Types] B
There are many Planes in Magic: the Gathering and each one is populated with all sorts of creatures and races. Some of them are simple enough and not unlike the animals we may find here on earth, while others may be fantastic and unique.
In this series, I will chronicle each and every race in Magic: the Gathering, continuing with the letter B. You will come to learn of lizards whose gaze can turn you to stone, and of sentient tumbleweeds the size of rhinos.
Badgers are seldom seen in the Magic world, with a total of only four in the game. The first of these is Giant Badger, who (oddly enough) was not part of any set and actually came from an unlikely source. It was a promo for the book Shattered Chains, its first set printing finally coming in 8th edition. You can mostly see them in Green, with only one printed in Red. This is not really a surprise, as the Badgers are found primarily in the woods. Just like here on earth, Badgers are squat and angry little critters, who only get more dangerous when cornered.
The Basilisk is another fairly rare creature, one only found on a handful of Planes. In many ways, they look very similar to the Komodo Dragon found here on earth, with little variation – the difference being that the Basilisks of Magic seem to grow much larger. Basilisks also share the ability to turn your flesh into stone with nothing more than a simple gaze. This ability of the Basilisk, to turn unprepared adventurers to stone, ended up translating into the keyword Deathtouch.
The first Basilisk to be printed was Thicket Basilisk in Alpha and had an effect quite close to Deathtouch, except that it couldn't kill walls, which makes sense thematically. All Basilisks are Green, with Rock Basilisk being the only exception. You will typically encounter them in wooded areas, so if you ever find yourself walking through the forest and you start to see more and more statues, I suggest you find another route.
In every dark corner and every hidden cave, you can be sure to find Bats. This Black-aligned creature may resemble the insect-eating ones of our world, but don't kid yourselves; Magic’s Bats are much more dangerous. Sure, there are some small, cute ones like Darmor Bat, but for the most part, they are large, hideous creatures like Kelinore Bat. Worst of all is that some of them might even be something far more dangerous in disguise... a vampire. The first Bat to be printed was in fact vampire bats in Fourth Edition, These wouldn't turn into vampires, but they would certainly drink your blood if given the chance.
The Blinkmoth is an interesting case in that it doesn't have a card of its own, but is instead referenced on several other cards. The first mention of the Blinkmoth was in the set Mirrodin, on cards like Thirst for Knowledge. These tiny glowing creatures found solely on Mirodin emit a beautiful bright blue light and fly around in majestic swarms. These swarms are quite large and resemble droplets of glowing rain suspended in the air. They can often be seen hanging around openings in the world as if they ascended from the core of Mirrodin itself. They have been come to be known as the soul of Mirrodin, not just because they are a wonder to behold, but because it is believed that they were the first species of the plane.
Unfortunately for the Blinkmoth, it turns out that when isolated, they die, and from their death, a substance remains. This substance, which has come to be known simply as Serum, grants the drinker mental capacity beyond what they would naturally be capable of. This, of course, has led to the hunting and sale of this wonderful creature. If you are lucky enough to witness a swarm of Blinkmoth, be sure to leave them alone; they are the soul of Mirrodin, after all.
The early Bears of Magic were often quite typical in appearance and would be familiar to anyone from our world, starting with the first to be printed, which was Grizzly Bear in Alpha. Over time, though, the bears began to reflect the planes that they called home, such as the Dragon-Scarred Bears of Tarkir, who must be vicious enough not to eat by its dragons, or the ghostly Ursine Fylgja, bears seen during Dominaria's ice age. With only two exceptions, Bears are primarily Green creatures, as most live deep within the wooded areas of the Multiverse.
Beasts are an interesting case, in that Beast is more of a catch-all term rather than a true race, and with over 380 of them in the game, it can be hard to find any common features among them all. While some do look similar, the majority of beasts are as different as the planes that host them, with a few resembling something that you might find here on earth. The first beast to be printed was a little oddity called Clockwork Beast, and would not really be indicative of the beasts to follow, as it is mechanical and colorless. For the most part, Beasts tend to be found in Green, but they really can be found in any color, as their habitats vary wildly. When it comes to this type, I could almost spend a whole video talking about how each beast looks on each and every plane, but we would be here forever, so let’s just move on, shall we?
Beebles are an artificially created creature used by the scholars of the Tolarian academy for experiments. They were, for all intents and purposes, lab rats. Now, you don't have to feel bad for these little guys, because Beebles are seemingly indestructible and even get a kick out of the abuse. There have only been two Beeble cards printed in a black-bordered, the first being Bouncing Beebles in Urza's Legacy, and the other being Bubbling Beebles in Urza's destiny. They have found their way into silver-bordered cards though, as their goofy nature has made them endearing to Magic community. These mischievous little pink blobs may be a nuisance, but if you need to test your experiments on something, then maybe you should create one of these little buggers yourself. That is if the recipe hasn't been lost to time.
What I love most about Magic’s Birds is their diversity. Some are simple creatures who glide across the coastline, others may be majestic creatures of legend, while still others are intelligent beings with their own cultures and civilizations. While they may vary in appearance depending on their plane, color, or environment, you would never mistake them for another creature. Their winged bodies exemplify grace, always in tune with the skies of the Multiverse.
The first birds to be printed were Roc of Kher Ridges and Birds of Paradise in Alpha. Oddly enough, these first birds were printed in Green and Red, and while birds can be found in any color, they are more often associated with White or Blue. With Blue Birds living near the sea, often many of them are messengers, mage's assistants, or magic users themselves. Meanwhile, White Birds are often seen swooping across the plains and on battlefields as soldiers, scouts, and clerics. The Birds of magic are amazing creatures, and while some are quite simple, many of them are amazing, graceful creatures who populate the many skies of the worlds we visit.
Here we have another quite earthly creature in the Boar: squat, four legged beasts with large tusks, capable of tearing you apart. The first Boar to be printed was the card Durkwood Boar in Legends, which (oddly enough) used a bible verse as its flavor text – it was a different time, I guess. Now, while this first boar was a rather small beast, this wouldn't be the case for many of the Boars across the Multiverse, with many of them being the size of a man and in some cases even larger, often seen knocking over trees and carts to get to their enemy. Boars come mostly in Red and Green, which suits their savage and wild nature. I would not suggest you try and make bacon from these pigs… Well, except for maybe Zodiac pig. He's pretty plump.
Bringers are a product of the five moons of Mirrodin and represent the five colors of mana of that plane specifically. Because of this, we haven't seen them anywhere else in the Multiverse and were exclusively found in the set Fifth Dawn. Their bodies are condensed mana in crystalline form, and it’s unknown why they are this way and how they came into being. What's most odd is that Mirrodin itself is one of metal, yet these beings who seem to be a product of the plane do not share its composition. There is hardly any information on these mysterious creatures, so I don't have much to share with you, but be sure that the very sight of them is something to behold.
Now we come to perhaps the oddest creature that I have studied so far, the Brushwagg. It’s odd, among other reasons, because it's the only one of its type, having only been printed once in the set Mirage (Then later in the Plane of Ikoria, a world of fantastic creatures the Brushwagg finally made a return). Now, it wouldn't be too odd if it were the only one of its type, but what makes it so truly unique is... well, everything else about it. The Brushwagg, which originated in Jamuraa, is the size of a rhino here on earth, but that's not all. The Giant sentient tumbleweed is actually quite intelligent, and many of them can be taught human languages, spoken and written. Because of this unique feature, the Brushwagg have been used as messengers. Now, this may be the oddest thing I've covered yet in this series, but stay tuned. because things are bound to get even weirder in the future.