The full spoiler for Magic: The Gathering‘s latest set Core 2021 is out, and animal lovers will be delighted to discover that Cats and Dogs are two of the set’s major themes. Cats have been an established creature type for much of Magic‘s long history. But a rule change releasing with Core 2021 will finally give Dogs their time in the sun and here’s the lowdown on all the adorable Dog cards in the new set and the complicated history behind them.
Technically, this won’t be the first time in Magic: The Gathering that dog Creatures have been printed. But the various canine critters from MTG’s past have all carried the Creature type Hound. Head designer Mark Rosewater explains in his blog for the Magic website why it’s taken so long to let the Dogs out.
According to Rosewater, he first attempted to design Dog cards when he was working on Tempest set development. After a debate with then-head of R&D Bill Rose, Magic‘s designers decided to use the Hound type for all future canines, because “Hound” sounded more appropriate for the game’s high fantasy vibe. Rosewater proposed adopting the Dog creature type several times over the years. During the design of Odyssey, R&D decided that the Hound type had been around too long to change.
Eventually, however, Dogs won out during Core 2021 design. Here’s how it happened, in the words of Rosewater himself:
When Adam Prosak was putting the set together and recognized that he was going to have a small dog theme, he questioned whether we should change Hound to Dog. He had no idea of the history of the fight I’d just laid out. To him, it was just a good change that Core Set 2021 could make, so he asked around. No one seemed to care, and he changed it.
Thanks to this stroke of luck, this new tribe gets a ton of support in Core 2021. They appear in the colors White and Red and you can check out the gallery bellow for all the Dog cards in the set:
First up, the beautiful borderless Buy-a-Box card for Core 2021 features the adorable inter-species friendship of Rin and Seri. This card will surely appeal to Commander players with its flavorful take on Dog and Cat tribal.
Alpine Huntmaster lets Limited players know that the pairing of White and Red should focus on maximizing synergy between Dogs. The canines in this set are quite aggressive and cheap to cast, so it should be fairly easy to gather a large pack of dogs. The common and uncommon cards in the tribe are good at attacking or otherwise dealing damage to opponents.
The Dog tribe also gets a “lord” for the first time ever; that is, a Creature that gives others from its tribe a stats buff and sometimes boosts them in other ways, too. The loyal companion Pack Leader will make sure that its wards will come to no harm in combat. Following this trend, Selfless Savior is an aggressive Creature that can effectively protect a friend. Look out for this card to make a splash in Constructed.
Magic: The Gathering Core 2021 releases on June 25th on Arena and Magic Online, and on June 3rd on paper. And with new Planeswalkers, cool reprints, and adorable Cats and Dogs, the new set will surely become a fetching addition to the game’s history.