Last time on the rundown, I covered a real-life creature that Magic has incorporated into the worlds its sets visit - a creepy horde of Bats, to be precise. This time is going to be similar in that respect; everyone knows what today's creature type looks and acts like. But it's less of a screeching nighttime nuisance than an actual danger that arises in the woodlands - the topic of the day is Bears. There have been seventeen Bears printed in Magic, starting with Alpha, and they're all monogreen except for two, one of which is monowhite and the other of which is monoblue. A few specific members of the type constantly appear in core sets, so they're at least reprinted every year, and Innistrad block had two new ones - but none on the city-covered location of Return to Ravnica block.
BEARS' DEAL: Usually, these are green. And the far and away most usual power and toughness ratio for Bears is 2/2, so much so that the nickname for a 2/2 creature for two mana has been "bear" since time immemorial. A staggering five different Bear cards have all been vanilla 2/2s for 1G, with Grizzly Bears being the one appearing at core from Alpha through Tenth Edition and Runeclaw Bear from Magic 2010 through Magic 2012. (Magic 2013 got the stronger non-Bear "bears" Timberpack Wolf and Flinthoof Boar).
THE STRONGEST: Odyssey block's mana dork darling was Werebear, which provided mana acceleration during the early turns when it's needed most and, later on, once its controller's graveyard filled up, pumped itself to a 4/4 to smash face (and provide mana if absolutely necessary instead of attacking). At only two mana, it was a frighteningly efficient bargain that saw play alongside Wild Mongrel and Psychatog in madness aggro decks.
THE WEAKEST: Pale Bears was just a little sad. Green ought to be getting much better abilities than heavily conditional evasion on 2/2s for 2G, even back in Ice Age. At least Spectral Bears from Homelands was considered strong for its day, even though it could only attack or block half the time against most decks. Also, I'm really unsure why Pale Bears isn't called Polar Bears.
THE WEIRDEST: This title belongs to the one white Bear, which is also a Spirit: Ursine Fylgja. Even getting beyond the strange provenance of the second word in its name (it's a Norse word for an animal spirit that follows an individual around and guards their good fortune), it has a damage prevention ability that's... well, eccentrically phrased and sometimes difficult to keep track of.
MY FAVORITE: I have a deep respect for the sole blue Bear - that's also an Illusion - Phantasmal Bear. It's the only blue 2/2 for one mana I can recall, and that counts for a lot, even if its drawback makes it supremely fragile.