Ral Zarek: "Otterly" Adorable

Bloomburrow comes out Aug 2 and it has an otter and Ral Zarek. Wait... strike that. It has Ral Zarek AS an otter!

Magic: The Gathering is (admittedly) taking a bit of a leap with Bloomburrow as the expansion is going to have an all-animal lineup. And, yes, that means there will be no humans, elves, or anything like that. We're talking 100 percent anthropomorphic animals.

Not that there is anything wrong with that, of course.

In fact, some of Magic's best storylines are ones that have done something rather different. In fact, the game having a set featuring an all animal cast could be fun.

What we know now is that the creatures of Bloomburrow can do things like fight and handle magic (you know, kind of like most things in the MTG multiverse). Think Watership Down or Redwall meets Lord of the Rings or any other high fantasy inspiration you desire for that matter. 

In doing this, though, there was the possibility of a problem with the set and setting as pretty much every new storyline, location, or expansion always has some carry over characters. It's something that helps to link things together. And, in a world where every character is an animal, what named character or characters are there to link Bloomburrow to previous sets?

And, when you think of it, the mass majority of named characters that actually have some sort of storyline weight tend to be of the human variety, which makes a crossover to an animal world setting a bit odd.

Wizards of the Coast, though, had the idea to solve this by giving non-animal characters that appear on the plane an animal form. Not much is known about this yet beyond what MTG Head Designer, Mark Rosewater, told us during a recent interview, but somehow, non-animal characters seem to become one here. As of yet only one of these "visitors" have been named.

It's... Ral Zarek.

And, oh look, he's an otter:

As of June, he's the only confirmed one (the "foxy Jace" appears to be a bonus sheet card), and again, the circumstances of all this happening have not been named yet. That stated, WotC seems to have figured it out: Get some crossover and then pick a fun animal species to assign them.

Zarek is the first. He may be the only one. But knowing Magic, we may see some others joining him in the base set.

But for now, Zarek is a magical otter. Well, he will be come August 2.

Bloomburrow is currently available for preorder from various online and local retailers and game stores.

Evan Symon

Evan Symon is a graduate of The University of Akron and has been a working journalist ever since with works published by Cracked, GeekNifty, the Pasadena Independent, California Globe, and, of course, Magic Untapped.