So, Bubbly Mare. How weird is this card, right?
I’m not being facetious here, this card is super, super weird. I briefly mentioned that I’d been playing around with Bubbly Mare hyper-aggro in an earlier post; Airquotes also did some stuff with it. And it’s weird.
Let’s talk about that.
So, like, I think we can agree that her flipped side is theoretically powerful (how is that for a hedging my bets statement?). But the longer the game goes, the less powerful it becomes; even if you’re running bounce or removal, the later she flips, the more stuff the opponent will have on the board and the less they will care that they can’t play stuff. Of course, bounce is in your colors and even on theme with “cards with Bubbly Mare on them,” so it seems like a logical choice.
But that’s the thing about Bubbly Mare. If you load the deck up with the kinds of cards that are good once she flips, you’re unlikely to actually be able to be aggressive enough to flip her early, and possibly ever. At which point you might as well just go all-in on Fluttershy: Friend to Animals and Nurse Redheart, because they’re a better aggro/choke pairing than Bubbly Mare/Redheart and Bubbly Mare does nothing for your aggro at all.
So if you’re not interested in that, what you’ve got to work with is weirdo hyper-aggro that tries to flip Bubbly Mare as early as possible and then hopes the opponent can’t strike back because they haven’t got enough stuff on board and can’t play enough additional stuff to overcome your onslaught of terrible friends.
So, how does this work, if you’re building a deck around it? Here’s how we’ve been playing around with it (I don’t have all of our lists, but here’s a sample Yellow/Blue build that Airquotes ran for a bit before switching to Pink secondary):
- All one drops all the time. Who loves one drops? Kel loves one drops.
- Efficient one drops? Even better. The first build I tried with this was some Yellow/Pink/Blue monstrosity with Forest Owls boosting Flitters and Sweetie Sunrises to meet the requirements for Purple Waters and Orange Swirls. It did some amount of things.
- Bane of Evil and Reliable Racer are the expensive friends we’ve been most interested in. Redheart is interesting, but Airquotes found he wanted to drop her from his build; I never had her in one. I want to like her in this deck, but it’s tough, because you don’t want to slow down your own aggro too much and her requirement is high when your mane flips slowly. Bane of Evil breaks through TMs and Reliable Racer helps you win faceoffs even with your miserable, miserable flip average.
- Smile and Wave is really pretty great in these builds; most turns anything you’ve played it on will have at least +4, and can confront the opponent’s problem all by itself.
- Card draw like Pie Family Rock Farm and Let’s Get This Party Started have done good work for Airquotes; honestly, my biggest problem with my first build was keeping things in my hand, because all the cards on the board were garbage and I didn’t want to move them.
- Pink also lets you start Deep Dark Forest, which might slow down your first confront, but does help with an early troublemaker, which is not something this deck deals well with.
- This deck does not deal well with a lot of things.
The Bubbly Mare hyperaggro deck plays pretty simply:
- Confront as soon as possible.
- Double confront as soon as possible.
- Keep doing that.
- Have you won yet?
- How about now?
- How about now?
But, like–really, is it good?
That’s the real thing about Bubbly Mare. She’s got a fairly powerful flip effect. If you can get her flipped against something like Dream Quest before it can go off, you might actually cause it some genuine distress. But still, unless you’re running Redheart or other removal, even flipping on turn three, how much are you actually going to slow your opponent down? Does the opponent actually care that you flipped your mane and they can only play one card of each type per turn, or is it just kind of a personal accomplishment?
And, of course, there’s the other big, stupid thing about Bubbly Mare.
If Bubbly Mare ever seems like she’s going to be competitive, decks can just start running Biff for value. No one does it right now because the most competitive manes are the ones that don’t require you to build a deck around flipping them, and just flip quickly and easily on their own. Biffing a DJ or a Maud is pretty unlikely to do anything useful, but if you’re worried about a Bubbly Mare deck coming out of nowhere and ruining your day, you can just run a couple Biff to turn her back over and she’ll never be able to flip back.
You can also do stuff like run Finger Snap to flip faster, etc. but I haven’t been. You want to run three so you get it before you flip your mane, but it’s worthless as soon as she does flip, unless Biff is involved, in which case it’s probably not enough, and I think you’re probably happier just having more tiny friends to confront as quickly as possible. But it’s hard to say because, as I mentioned, Bubbly Mare is so weird. Maybe it’s good in the non-hyper-aggro build?
I wanted to write about Bubbly Mare because some part of me wants to believe there is good in her, just like Luke Skywalker believes in Darth Vader. I want there to be a deck for her. It’s not like she’s Cadance or the CMC or something. Let’s not get carried away. This is a card that, obviously, does a thing. But with Bubbly Mare, you get one of two choices:
- Maximize the effectiveness of her flip ability with cards that work well with it (Redheart, Critter Stampede, removal) and slow down her flip enough that it might never do anything. Maybe run Purple and try to Gyro Fingersnaps? Everything about that sentence just sounds like the worst.
- Maximize the speed of her flip with a literal critter stampede and sacrifice your ability to do anything else.
It’s a card that wants to be good at aggro until it flips, and then it wants to turn into a control card. And if it ever becomes competitive, Biff already exists and is obviously apocalyptic. But for some reason I still want to figure her out, like some terrible puzzle. What does the ideal Bubbly Mare build look like? I’m not convinced that hyper-aggro is the correct plan with her, but I’m not convinced it’s not. I just don’t know. It keeps me up at night, guys.
(It does not.)
So, yeah. I think most likely what’s up with Bubbly Mare is that she is just not very good, which is a shame, because she feels like she should at least be interesting, and instead she just doesn’t fit anywhere.
But don’t worry, Bubbly Mare. I’m rooting for you. We’re going to figure this out. Together.