Magic: The Gathering Modern Horizons spoilers have already brought some extremely impressive tribal lords with Morophon, the Boundless and Deep Forest Hermit. This latest spoiler from Ethan Fleischer is another great tribal lord focused on bear creatures. Let’s take a look at Ayula, Queen Among Bears.
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Ayula is very unique as a lord. Classic lords give creatures of the specified type either +1/+1 or an evergreen ability like Deathtouch. While Ayula doesn’t grant a passive buff, she does improve the impact of your bears when they enter the battlefield. Ayula states that when a bear enters the battlefield, you can either put two +1/+1 counters on a bear or make a bear fight another creature. This ability of either buffing another creature or using your bears to remove threats on the enemy field can be extraordinarily useful.
Another important stat that many will find extremely flavorful: Ayula is a 2/2 creature. This stat line is commonly known amongst the Magic community as the bear stat line, due to cards like Grizzly Bears and Runeclaw Bear. On top of this, Ayula also only costs two mana, meaning you can get her on the field early on. This way you can utilize Ayula’s effects all throughout the game.
How to utilize Ayula
Ayula, Queen Among Bears obviously works best in bear themed decks, like the one shown in Wizards’ preview article. Other things that can improve the effectiveness of Ayula are ways to give your bears extra +1/+1 counters or give your bears passive abilities. To improve the amount of +1/+1 counters, use Hardened Scales or Simic Ascendancy (if you want an alternate win condition). Furthermore, giving your bears first strike, deathtouch, or indestructible greatly boosts the fighting potential of your bears. The easiest way to work these benefits into your deck is by including Akroma’s Memorial and Archetype of Finality.
Ayula, Queen Among Bears brings forth another major focus on tribal decks. The bear creature type doesn’t have a lord currently, so creating one in Modern Horizons breathes life into the bear tribal decks. With Ayula’s low cost and major impact, she will see play as commander and as a booster to Modern bear decks. You might even call her un-bear-ably good.