MTG finally makes a classic fan term “official”

Jack Bye
MTG Yargle header vanilla creature stained glass

Vanilla has long been used within TCG circles, and MTG has finally gotten around to using it on a new creature card.

With a game with a history and fan culture as long-lived and in-depth as MTG’s it can sometimes be shocking to separate what is officially part of the game from what is wholly fan-generated.

While formats like Commander have gone from unofficial curiosities to the forefront of the game itself, other aspects of the Magic that feel official are never actually codified into the game itself.

One of MTG’s longest-running card descriptions is ‘vanilla’, used to refer to a creature without any abilities. Though vanilla creatures have become deciduous recently (not expected to be used in every set), for the majority of MTG’s lifespan they were a staple in every set.

With ‘vanilla’ being such a ubiquitous term in MTG circles, it can be a shock to learn that it is not officially used within the game at all. However, with the release of a new Secret Lair, this has finally begun to change.

Secret Lair Just Add Milk: Second Helpings brings vanilla into play

MTG Yargle cereal edition vanilla included

Just Add Milk is a fan-favorite among MTG’s Secret Lair products. This set included powerful and much-needed reprints and piqued players’ interest through transforming iconic MTG creatures into cereal mascots. Secret Lairs can often get by through crossover potential and appealing to niche fanbases, but Just Add Milk wins out through sheer creativit.

Secret Lair: Just Add Milk proved so popular that the set received a sequel in the 2024 winter Secret Lair Superdrop. Just Add Milk: Second Helpings includes a redesigned reprint of Yargle, Glutton of Urborg. It’s fitting that one of MTG’s hungriest creatures gets pride of place here.

Yargle’s Just Add Milk design includes a reference to the card’s status as a vanilla creature. Part of the card’s text reads ‘No Keywords no abilities’. Directly next to the Creature’s power and toughness ‘vanilla’ is displayed.

Flavor or fact: Vanilla has appeared before in Magic?

MTG Gingerbrute card

As MTG fans were quick to point out in a Reddit thread started by user eroomchris, Yargle is not technically the first instance of ‘vanilla’ appearing on a magic card. That honor belongs to Throne of Eldraine’s Gingerbrute and Unfinity’s Icing Manipulator

There is a catch here, however. These prior instances of ‘vanilla’ have appeared in – quite literal – flavor text, referring exclusively to the baking ingredient. It’s hard to think of these instances as any kind of reference to the fan term. While ‘vanilla’ is used within the Secret Lair Just Add Milk: Second Helpings, it pulls double-duty as a winking reference to Yargle’s vanilla creature status too.

As a result of this double-meaning, Secret Lair Just Add Milk: Second Helpings marks the first time that ‘vanilla’ has been used within MTG to signify a creature without any abilities whatsoever. While this terminology has been common within Magic and the broader TCG space for years, it’s still surprisingly satisfying to see it used officially here.

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About The Author

Ecommerce writer with an MA in Creative Writing, covering MTG, DnD, and everything tabletop for Dexerto. Previously at WePC and VideoGamer. When not rolling dice and shuffling decks, he's playing old RPGs and wishing someone would remaster Skies of Arcadia already. You can reach him at