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Here’s why the latest MTG set is infested with mice

The latest Magic: The Gathering set Wilds of Eldraine has a load of woodland creatures, and it's all thanks to a release coming out in 2024.

MTG wilds of eldraine mice carrying a gauntlet

The latest MTG set Wilds of Eldraine has an abundance of cute little critters, especially mice, with four cards representing this budding MTG creature type. That’s way more squeakers than have appeared in any set before it, and plenty of other wildlife, from foxes to otters, feature in this fairy-tale themed card set too.

Why are there so many animals in the Wilds of Eldraine? According to Magic: The Gathering head designer Mark Rosewater, the answer is found in the 2024 MTG release schedule.

“One of the things we need to do when making a set is think ahead,” explains Rosewater in his latest Making Magic article, published September 11. “Are there needs for upcoming sets that we might be able to address in the current set?” For the upcoming plane Bloomburrow, a world full of walking, talking, sorcery and sword fighting animals, there was: players needed to be able to make animal-themed decks.

Since animals aren’t abundant in most MTG sets, Magic’s designers decided to ‘seed’ a few Mice in Wilds of Eldraine, since “animals are common in fairytales”. It seems Rosewater is comfortable acknowledging this was deliberately done for the mice – since key art for Bloomburrow already shows a mouse squaring off against a giant wolf monster – but not for any other animals; he cryptically says “the set also has a few other animals included with Bloomburrow in mind”.

Taking a closer look at the Wilds of Eldraine cards, we can see there are indeed plenty of animals in WOE, many at higher card rarities than you might usually expect. We count a total of two foxes – including one white rare Werefox Bodyguard; four mice, two at rare with Three Blind Mice and Raging Battle Mouse; Two otters, including Elusive Otter at rare; two rabbits, both rare; and even a rare racoon, Bramble Familiar. And of course there are plenty of rats, since that’s a Wilds of Eldraine draft archetype.

Looking more closely, cards like Elusive Otter make us wonder if otters will take the role of merfolk in Bloomburrow – an evasive tribe in the Simic MTG color combination. Mice seem pretty set in white, perhaps an aggressive Boros archetype? Pollen-Shield Hare and Regal Bunnicorn, meanwhile, seem to lay the groundwork for a go-wide Selesnya bunny deck.

Interestingly, there are no squirrels at all in Wilds of Eldraine, despite the fact that squirrels are probably the most popular ‘critter’ creature type in Magic: The Gathering (unless you count cats). That stands out a little, since we’ve already seen Bloomburrow art of a terrifying dark squirrel mage.

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on future Magic: The Gathering sets to see what other animals show up, and what we can glean from them. For more information on the last few sets of the year, check out our 2023 MTG release schedule guide. And don’t miss our picks of the best Wilds of Eldraine commanders and the best Wilds of Eldraine cards for Standard.