- List of species in Magic: The Gathering
Magic: the Gathering is a collectible card game set in a richly detailed fictional world. The Multiverse of Dominia in which it takes place is host to a vast number of individual universes known as "planes," from the varied classical environments of Dominaria to the gleaming metal landscapes of Mirrodin to the bustling, endless metropolis of Ravnica. A wide variety of different races and species are spread throughout the planes, some indigenous to single worlds and others found almost anywhere. The mechanics of the game are divided between five colors representing different abilities and strategies. These "colors of magic" are also reflected in the storyline, dictating the natures, outlooks and capabilities of entire species. Whilst the game accommodates several hundred "creature types," including mundane classifications such as "beast" and "fish," this list comprises only the most important and/or distinctive races.
Angels are native to Serra's Realm, the Alara shard of Bant, Dominaria, Ravnica, Zendikar, Innistrad and can be found on the artificial planes of Mirrodin and Rath. Angels are beautiful winged humanoids primarily aligned with white, though angels in red, black and blue are not unheard of. As a race, angels have an extremely strong sense of justice and often devote their lives - and their deaths - to its cause, whatever it may be. This has led to a general perception of angels as selfless and reliable guardians. This overriding devotion to justice, however, can lead to a fundamentalist and totalitarian instinct. They are one of Magic's species described as being composed of "pure mana" and therefore entirely magical in origin. The majority of Angels native to Rath and Dominaria are actually of Serran origin. Serra, an idealistic human planeswalker, created her own plane to reflect her strict vision of perfection, and populated it with angels. A Phyrexian invasion of that realm led to its collapse, and a mass exodus of its inhabitants to Dominaria. These angels played a vital part in repelling the eventual Phyrexian invasion of that plane, too. On Ravnica, the only original angel is Razia, Boros Archangel, the Parun (founder) of the Boros Guild. She created the other angels as images of herself.
In the game, Angels normally represent large, aggressive flyers. They tend not to work well together, instead taking the role of a deck's single finisher to complement its other, smaller creatures. Angels have almost always had a strong presence on the tournament scene, from its earliest days (The game's earliest acknowledged deck archetype, known simply as "The Deck," used a smothering control strategy and a single Serra Angel to win once the opponent was unable to do anything) to the present. Other powerful, popular angel cards that have seen considerable tournament play include Exalted Angel, Platinum Angel, Firemane Angel, Baneslayer Angel, and the iconic Akroma, Angel of Wrath.
Native to Dominaria. Anurids are large, bulky Frog-like beasts living in Otaria's forests. They have limited sentience and are slow-witted and instinct-driven.
(Anurid Brushhopper, Anurid Barkripper, Anurid Swarmsnapper)
Native to Dominaria, Rath and Mirrodin. Atogs are small imp-like creatures that consume a variety of things to gain the necessary nutrition to grow. They are voracious and relentless and have driven many unfortunate artificers and peasants to ruin.
In the game, Atog cards gain a size boost when their controller sacrifices a particular resource. The original Atog was much maligned when first released, as his resource snack of choice (an Artifact) was often more useful by itself, but as the game grew more complex the Atog's mana-free boost was seen as a powerful trick. The blue, turn eating Chronatog was used as a combo piece in Stasis decks, while the Blue/Black Psychatog (which eats both cards in a player's hand and cards previously played) dominated tournament scenes with its inclusion in slow control decks.
Atogs, with their wide, toothy grins, have traditionally been used as humor cards, with flavor text that often employs some deliberately groan-inducing pun. The word 'Atog' is an anagram of 'Goat', and the atog is a parody of a goat's tendency to eat whatever it comes across. Some say that the name actually originates from a contraction of "Artifact to graveyard", however this is more likely a backronym.
Native to Dominaria and the Alara shard of Bant. A race of bird people, Aven hail mainly from Otaria. The species is majestic and proud, and in battle, agile and fierce. Most Aven lend their services to the Order, an idealistic, intolerant society of nomads. There are two primary species of Aven, one winged and one wingless, with each line further split along distinct bird species such as owls, eagles and hawks (the most numerous). The first Aven seen was Kangee, Aerie Keeper, a hero during the Phyrexian Invasion who apparently led all birdkind into battle against the Phyrexian armies (little is known about Kangee as his card was a "filler legend" - one without a detailed background). During the Mirari Saga, the Aven were led by a succession of military leaders. It is unclear who, if anyone, leads them in the Rift-Era Dominaria of Time Spiral, as Avens play no real part in the Time Spiral story line and are featured in only a few cards. During the Mirari Saga, Lieutenant Kirtar was killed when presenting the Mirari to the Order's initial leader, the human Pianna, for destruction. Pianna's successor, Major Teroh, was killed following his efforts to lay siege to Cabal City. Commander Eesha finally bucked the trend of constant, pointless strife with the impenetrable Cabal, bringing the Order into a mutual ceasefire with the rulers of Otaria.
In the game, Avens are primarily white or blue, filling the role of medium-sized aggressive flyer when the flavor allows.
(Aven Soulgazer, Aven Fisher, Aven Riftwatcher)
Native to Dominaria. A Beeble is a magical construct similar to a homunculus used by the researchers, tutors and students of the Tolarian Academy as a convenient, easily summoned demonstration subject. They are small, slightly larger than a fist, have bare, rounded bodies ranging in color from pink to blue, and a set of feathered wings. They are permanently, even infuriatingly cheerful, mischievous but not maliciously so, and seemingly indestructible (though they can be unsummoned). Because of their irritating and bewildering nature, students loved to use Beebles in practical jokes, and Teferi once tied a pair to his feet to bounce tremendous distances.
Beebles were apparently based on artist Jeff Miracola's depiction of souls on the card Equilibrium. In the game, beebles were used as comic relief during the Artifacts Cycle of sets.
(Donate, Bouncing Beebles, Bubbling Beebles)
Native to Dominaria, Naya (one of the Shards of Alara) and Mirrodin. Cat Warriors are catlike humanoids known as an honorable and fierce but intensely private race that keep dealings with others to a minimum. This attitude was most extreme in the Dominarian forest of Efrava, a large oasis on the continent of Jamuraa surrounded by seemingly endless desert. This environment led the native cat people to develop a fanatic opposition to the notion that other races even existed. Cat Warriors (called Nacatl on Naya) have strength and speed superior to humans and a wide array of superior senses. Though they are skilled with weapons, they are also formidable barehanded. Cat Warriors have feline characteristics that can vary depending on the clan from which they came, being humanoid panthers, tigers, leopards, etc.
Despite their reclusive nature, numerous cat warriors have left their marks on Dominaria's history. Jedit Ojanen finally ended the Efravan isolation (In one alternate universe seen in the Planar Chaos expansion, Jedit instead championed the belief that outsiders were blasphemy). Mirri served with distinction on board the Weatherlight. Purraj of Urborg was the most loyal lieutenant of the evil conqueror Kaervek. Lord Windgrace, the last surviving Urborg panther warrior and a planeswalker, dedicated his life to the protection of his homeland.
(Mirri, Cat Warrior, Song of Blood, Planeswalker's Fury)
Native to Mirrodin and the Alara shard Naya. On Mirrodin, the Leonin are a proud race of Lionfolk that reside in the ancient den of Taj-Nar. The Leonin are led by the kha, a warrior king. Roles in Leonin society are strictly separated by gender: Male Leonin are generally soldiers, craftsman and priests, whereas females are generally healers, hunters and the Pteron-riding Skyhunters. The Leonin are unmatched craftsman and fighters, able to quickly adapt to the use of any kind of weapon, though they favor swords and sabers. On the Naya shard of Alara, the Leonin live in the mountainous regions and are divided into two factions: The Cloud Nacatl, who are thinkers and philosophers; and the Claws of Marisi, who rebelled against the "tame" nature of their Cloud cousins' way of life. A famous Leonin of the Claws of Marisi is the planeswalker Ajani Goldmane, also known as Ajani Vengeant.
(Ajani Goldmane, Leonin Elder, Raksha Golden Cub)
Native to Dominaria and Ravnica. A classic mythological creature that is half horse and half human. Although Ravnica does have half elk half human centaurs with antlers in the Gruul Clan. Also on Otaria of Dominaria there were antelope centaurs. Unlike classic Greek centaurs, Magic: The Gathering centaurs are not lust-mad lurkers nor merciless warriors. Instead, Centaurs are commonly forest keepers and druids sharing roles with Elves and Nantuko and can be found in forests almost everywhere on Dominaria. Like the Greek centaurs, they are extremely fast and strong warriors and wielders of many weapons, especially bows and spears. Notable centaurs include Seton, a Krosan who distinguished himself as a champion at the gladiatorial fights on the Cabal pits, and Stonebrow, another Krosan who fought for Kamahl before joining Akroma's cult. On Ravnica, the centaurs share a strong connection with nature and most are drawn to the Gruul Clans and the Selesnya Conclave.
(Centaur Safeguard, Nessian Courser, Centaur Chieftain)
Native to Dominaria. Cephalids are octopus-like beings that live in the depths of the oceans surrounding the continent of Otaria. Being cephalopod creatures, they cannot live outside water. However, within the depths of the Otarian sea, they are quite powerful creatures who wield superior telepathic powers, giving them the power to control other marine creatures. At the time of the Odyssey-Onslaught history, Cephalids have achieved a great underwater empire ruling even over the Merfolk people. This empire was nearly ruined after the destructive demise of its Odyssey-era emperor, Aboshan, and its subsequent slide into a brief civil war.
(Cephalid Retainer, Cephalid Broker, Cephalid Pathmage)
The Demons are the largest and most vicious black-aligned creatures of Magic: the Gathering and are often cast as the symmetrical opposites to angels. Generally humanoid but with massively muscular bodies, twisted, horned faces, clawed limbs, and in many cases leathery wings, demons embody the suffering and evil desires of ordinary races. Few wizards ever gain the power needed to summon and control a demon; fewer still would want to, as they're known to exact a heavy price for their services, mechanically symbolised by heavy drawbacks, often requiring sacrifices, supplemented with cost-efficient size.
On Kamigawa, a type of spirit known as an oni embodies the same characteristics as demons of other planes. Their physical forms are marked by a distinctive third eye on the forehead. The ogre Hidetsugu, one of the most feared figures on the plane, worshiped an oni known as the All-Consuming Oni of Chaos and commanded the loyalties of many others. On Ravnica, the demon Rakdos founded and controls one of the ten Guilds that hold power on the plane. On Dominaria, the warlord Kaervek used a demon called the Spirit of the Night to terrorize the nations of Jamuraa into submission. On Alara, the demons, along with the zombies, lichs and other undead, run rampant on the Grixis shard terrorizing humans who still live in the black-aligned shard.
For a period, Wizards of the Coast wouldn't use demons in their cards, for fear of inciting protests against devil worship. This was alluded to in the parody set Unglued, which featured the creature Infernal Spawn of Evil whose "Demon" type is crossed out and replaced by the far tamer "Beast." By the time that the set's follow-up, Unhinged, was released, the no-demon policy had been removed, allowing the creature Infernal Spawn of Infernal Spawn of Evil to see print.
(Lord of the Pit, Rakdos the Defiler, Kuro, Pitlord)
Djinns are powerful but whimsical spirits that can be trapped as servants. Physically the Djinns have humanoid features but can change both form and size at will. Most Djinns can fly. Wielders of colossal strength, they would rather fight barehanded or with magic than use weapons. Djinns are very clever and find joy in deceiving or destroying lesser beings, and even on the event of a Djinn being captive it will extract heavy prices for its services (either wealth, blood or even souls). While ethereal, Djinns are among the most powerful creatures of Magic, if they only had the interest in dominating anything. They also seem to be inspired by the wish-giving theme of Djinns in stories from the real world as seen on the card Djinn of Wishes.
(Erhnam Djinn, Drifting Djinn, Mahamoti Djinn)
Giant winged reptiles of great destructive power, dragons are a staple in any fantasy genre. Many different dragons exist, along with great legendary dragons. The Elder Dragons Arcades Sabboth, Chromium, Nicol Bolas, Palladia-Mors and Vaevictis Asmadi, while not planeswalkers, did have the ability to cross the planes. They fought a large war known as the War of the Wyrms or the Elder Dragon Wars, which ended when a powerful world spell cast all other dragons to the land, creating the elder land wyrms. The fivefold council fell apart and warred against each other, finding themselves chained by planeswalkers. Nicol Bolas ascended to planeswalker status and took part in the first true planeswalker duel Dominaria had ever seen, when he battled, defeated and consumed a massive leviathan in what is modern-day Madara. Most dragons tend to be red-aligned, the color of destruction and rage, and almost all are able to fly and breathe fire. Dragons are extremely long-lived and can survive for centuries in almost any environment. On the plane of Kamigawa, dragons are spiritual beings of great power bound to a pact of loyalty. During the Kami War, the dragons Jugan, Keiga and Yosei are known to have been defeated on the human realm. On the plane of Ravnica, the last surviving true dragon is the immortal genius Niv-Mizzet, who reputedly destroyed his own race to prevent any challenge to his reign. Other, lesser dragons still exist there, many created by Niv-Mizzet as smaller clones of himself. Within the red-aligned Jund shard of Alara, dragons roam the skies freely as the ultimate predator. Some in Alara revere the dragons for their position in the food chain, but most simply try to avoid their searching, predatory eyes.
(Shivan Dragon, Two-Headed Dragon, Rorix Bladewing)
Native to Dominaria, Rath, Mercadia, Mirrodin, Ravnica, Alara and Zendikar. Drakes are quick and agile flying reptiles descended from dragons. They generally live in coastal regions and feed primarily on fish, but have been known to venture further inland to harass farm livestock. On Ravnica Drakes can be found throughout the plane and are typically kept by the secretive Dimir guild. Unlike the massive dragons, drakes tend to grow no larger than a crocodile. They lack forearms and have little intelligence or magic powers.
(Azimaet Drake), (Horizon Drake)
Native to Dominaria, Rath, Mercadia, Mirrodin, and Ravnica. Dryads are sentient vegetal life forms generated by the force of life within forests. Secretive and mysterious, they are rarely seen on most planes (though they inhabit many). They have a close mental bond with the trees and flora of their native forest, however, and cannot venture far from their homes. On Mercadia, they are the servants of Ramos. On Ravnica they are the primary power in the Selesnya Conclave, the so-called "Cult of Life." The Parun of the guild is a dryad named Mat'Selesnya, whose magic sustains the guild, the Guildpact and the plane itself.
(Rushwood Dryad, Chorus of the Conclave)
Native to Dominaria, Ulgrotha and Shadowmoor. Dwarves are short, stocky humanoids, red-aligned and possessed of a stubborn survivalist streak. They tend to live underground in mountainous areas right across Dominaria and pride themselves on their mining and metalworking skills, particularly their expertise in the crafting of weaponry and jewelry. The dwarfish love of treasure is legendary. Dwarves are fiercely territorial and constantly wage war against encroaching goblins, the semi-feral, insidious fellow mountain-tunnel dwellers. On Ulgrotha, Dwarves are widely traveled merchants and traders, and are generally seen as miserly and untrustworthy. Unusually among dwarves, some Ulgrothan clans travel by sea in small fleets of trading vessels. On Shadowmoor, the Dwarves are known as Duergar and rarely venture above their underground lairs and mines to the point that some dwarves believe the world above is a myth.
In the game, Dwarves have had a patched history. Their iconic status as a well-known fantasy race ensured their presence in Magic: the Gathering right from the beginning, but mechanically, they have very little to do that can't be done just as well by (ironically) their natural enemies, the Goblins. Both races are considered to be small-scale, red-aligned creatures, and Goblins are by far the more popular tribe. 2001's Odyssey block saw Goblins briefly replaced entirely by Dwarves as part of an experiment to "rest" several major creature types, but the Dwarves never managed to work as well as a single tribe as the goblins did. Until 2008's set Eventide which featured a few new dwarves, no Dwarf card had been printed since 2003 (Eighth Edition's Dwarven Demolition Team, itself only a reprint of one of the very first Dwarf cards). Prior to that, notable dwarves include the heavy-hitting Dwarven Bloodboiler and Dwarven Warriors.
(Balthor the Stout, Dwarven Blastminer, Dwarven Trader)
Not necessarily a distinct species by itself, an Elemental is instead a living aspect of pure magical power. Elementals take the form of whatever magical element they are derived from and can, as a result, come in an unlimited variety of shapes, from massive, lumbering rock elementals, to quick, briefly existing lightning elementals. Most elementals also combine this form with that of another living species, so that they can appear in the approximate shapes of humans or animals. Intelligence can vary from elemental to elemental, but almost all possess a feral, purely instinctive mentality. The Higher Elementals of Lorwyn are the most intelligent and elusive creatures of that plane and are seen as gods by many of the other races.
On the plane of Kamigawa, when a Kami crosses over from the Kami realm to the Mortal realm they do so in a manner that makes them appear as elementals, taking form from whatever substance they are most in tune with. However, because they have unique, pre-existing identities they are more akin to spirits, and are classed as such on this list.
(Thorn Elemental, Spark Elemental, Air Elemental, Verdant Force, Silvos, Rogue Elemental)
Native to Dominaria. A Maro is a forest elemental, given life of its own by the sheer quantity of life in the area. Pure life forces with no physical body of their own, Maros must cobble together a form from whatever plants, vines or other organic floral matter is to hand. Whilst a forest can have several Maros, a single Maro occasionally becomes the recognizably public face and emissary of the forest, speaking its wishes and enacting its plans as though they were its own. Maros also practice a unique type of life sorcery. Noted Maros from Dominaria's history include Molimo of Llanowar, and Multani of Yavimaya, the greatest forest on the plane.
In the game, a Maro's size depends on the number of cards in players' hands (an exception is Molimo's card, which counts the number of land cards its controller has in play). The name "Maro" originated from Mark Rosewater, the current head Magic Designer. As the story goes, at the time the Maros were first printed, each employee's email address used the first two letters of the employee's first and last names. As a result, Mark Rosewater went by MaRo. When he submitted the design for the original Maro card, his email was mistaken for the name he had given the card, and it went on to be printed as a Maro.
Five legendary kami from the Saviors of Kamigawa set, dubbed 'Ancestors' but more casually referred to as 'Maros', were inspired by the original Maro. Though their mechanics are similar and their names all end with '-maro', they are not Maros.
(Maro, Molimo, Maro-Sorcerer, Soramaro, First to Dream)
Native to Ravnica. Weirds are elemental crossbreeds created by the Izzet League. They resemble blobs and bubbles molded together in a humanoid form. Weirds are composed of two opposing elements, most commonly Fire and Water. Similar to the Cytoplasts used by the Simic Guild (see above), Weirds serve as convenient subjects for any experiments that might require them, but their nature obviously lends them to security and enforcement too. They can change their material state at will, passing between solid, liquid and gas as needs require.
(Steamcore Weird, Gelectrode, Petrahydrox)
Native to Lorwyn. Flamekin are sentient, civilised, red-aligned elementals. Their bodies are smooth and black, made of a malleable stone-like substance and wreathed in flame. This flame is not hot to the touch unless the Flamekin wishes it to be. The Flamekin are highly spiritual, seeing themselves as being the most in tune with the Higher Elementals, and consider Lorwyn's haughty Elves to be their natural enemies.
The cataclysmic event known as the Aurora which transformed Lorwyn into Shadowmoor extinguished the flames and memories of the flamekin, turning them into the violent and sadistic Cinders. They hunt an entity they call the Extinguisher, who they believe stole their flame, wishing to inflict suffering upon the other inhabitants of Shadowmoor to assauge their own anguish.
Fiery elementals known as "flame-kin" are also native to Ravnica; however, these are a different species whose bodies are made almost entirely out of hot flame. During Lorwyn development, when the decision was made to include flamekin, it was decided that the hyphenated word "flame-kin" looked odd alongside "kithkin," another Lorwyn race, and the two flame races were made separate.
(Flamekin Brawler, Ashling the Pilgrim, Ashling, the Extinguisher)
Native to Dominaria, Rath, Mirrodin, Ravnica, Lorwyn/Shadowmoor, the Naya shard of Alara, and Zendikar. Elves are green-aligned, humanoid bipeds appearing in most sets. Most elfish races resemble tall humans with pointed ears, though there are exceptions. The elves of Dominaria's Llanowar Forest are known for their white complexion and vivid red hair. The elves of Skyshroud have a gray stone like complexion. The elves of Mirrodin have a green complexion and feature natural metal elements, a trait common to most races of that plane. The proud elves of Lorwyn and Shadowmoor have long deer-like horns on their foreheads and hooves instead of feet (see Lys Alana Huntmaster). Whether lone or in an army, elves are a force to be reckoned with. Their zealous protection of the forests they live in is widely known as one of the most fundamentally natural concepts, and invading a forest guarded by elves is something few non-elf powers would even consider. Elves are only marginally stronger or faster than humans, but with a life span up to seven hundred years they normally have superior skill, knowledge and guile than any other humanoid being. Elves are a widespread race but not necessarily native to all forests; the Dominarian continent of Otaria had no elves until refugees from Llanowar took up residence in its Wirewood Forest after the Invasion.
Notable elves include Rofellos of Llanowar, who was made emissary to Yavimaya to guide its defenses and later served on the Weatherlight, and Eladamri of Skyshroud, who united the Rathi elf tribes against Crovax, the evincar of Rath, and later led the elves of Llanowar during the Phyrexian Invasion of Dominaria. Skyshroud was also the birthplace of Radha, Heir to Keld three centuries after the Invasion, a half-Keldon who went on to become a great Keldon warlord. Glissa Sunseeker of Mirrodin's Tangle Forest was the first Mirrodin native born with a planeswalker's spark and was instrumental in the defeat of Memnarch.
In the game, Elves are one of the most enduring creature types and the iconic green race. Their strong abilities often work well together, and their focus on resource acceleration, swarm tactics and endurance make them appealing to a wide variety of players. Elves still see some casual play in Extended decks, as well as in the Tribal format.
A classic species that are native to many planes, Giants tend to be associated with red and often fall in the mid range or above when it comes to card costs. Most Giants are large brutish humanoids ranging in size from that of a house or barn to a large mountain. They are often shown as being stupid and randomly destructive, however not all are depicted exactly this way. (Loafing Giant, Hill Giant, Bloodfire Colossus)
The Giants on the plane of Lorwyn are particularly prevalent, and are associated with the color white as well as red. Giants in Lorwyn are said to do everything “big.” This can mean a hungry giant eating an entire field or a thoughtful giant sitting and thinking for 10 or 20 years. This results in “white” giants tending to be shown as intelligent and benevolent hermits, being the judges and adjudacator for the smaller denizen's conflicts, while “red” giants tend towards destruction, whether it be accidental or intentional. (Wandering Graybeard, Boldwyr Heavyweights)
A predominantly red-aligned race living throughout the multiverse. Typical goblins are small, with pointed ears, elongated noses, and green skin, though regional variations exist (The continent of Shiv on Dominaria, for example, has at least three dominant races with differing intelligence, stature and skin tone, whilst the Boggarts of Lorwyn/Shadowmoor can come in almost any shape or size). Goblins tend to be impulsive, greedy, and extremely dim-witted, though there are again some exceptions such as Slobad of Mirrodin and the Kyren goblins of Mercadia. Goblins are generally seen as an irritating and occasionally dangerous pest. Dwarven mythology holds that they are the only unnatural element in a multiverse created by their god, Fiers. Goblins brought down the great Dwarven empires of Sarpadia, and were essential menial workers in the Thran Empire (a tradition continued by Urza, an admirer of that lost civilization). Goblins of Ravnica's Izzet guild can be extremely intelligent and eloquent, though their status is restricted by a tradition that holds that they impeded an early agenda of the guild lord Niv-Mizzet and are "owned" by the guild as a result. In the game, Goblins are probably the most enduring single "tribe." Since goblins are so unintelligent they are often expendable in combat. Often they are used to carry explosives into a battle without the know how to get out of the way of the blast. Their flavor text is frequently humorous in nature, pointing out how stupid they are. However their strong mix of speed, swarm tactics and combat trickery means they continue to have a presence in even the toughest of competitive formats.
(Mons's Goblin Raiders, Raging Goblin, Goblin Grenade, Goblin Piker, Empty The Warrens)
Native to Kamigawa. Small, mischievous, dimwitted goblins that live in the Sokenzan mountain range. They are long-armed, shelled creatures who take glee in pulling tricks on travelers. Unfortunately, these tricks generally involve the launching of hanabi, avalanches, fire traps, or just general savage beatings. Notable Akki include the hermit Ben-Ben, who helped organize a massive march on Eiganjo, and Kiki-Jiki, a gullible akki who penetrated the Soratami city.
(Akki Raider) (Akki Underminer)
Native to Rath and, later, Dominaria, the Moggs are a vicious, strong and particularly stupid breed of Goblin. Bred to sniff out parts of the Legacy Weapon, Moggs were created by Volrath, the evincar of Rath, whom they served blindly. Moggs came to Dominaria during the overlay of Rath onto that plane and continued to eke out an existence long after the end of the Invasion.
(Mogg War Marshal), (Mogg Squad), (Mogg Flunkies)
Native to Mercadia. They are much smarter than Dominarian goblins, with a constantly questioning manner of speech, but retain the typical tendency towards cowardice. The Kyren are descended from the servants brought to the plane by the planeswalker Dyfed, during her efforts to protect the Thran civilization from Yawgmoth. The Thran nobility she rescued would have been incapable of surviving by themselves, hence the goblins. This in fact allowed the goblins to evolve into the role of puppet masters as the city of Mercadia grew. The Kyrens later became the willing servants of Phyrexia, maintaining a Phyrexian shipyard beneath the city. Their favored weapon is the blow dart.
Native to Lorwyn and Shadowmoor. Unlike most Goblins, Lorwyn Boggarts are primarily black-aligned, as opposed to red. They form large, self-contained clans that live in swamp warrens under the leadership of an Auntie. Even more mischievous than the goblins of other planes, Boggarts delight in coming up with ever more daring and ingenious tricks to play on the other races in order to acquire "treasure" - anything from a bucket to rare jewellry is considered a worthy prize for a trick well pulled. Boggarts then share the loot - and, more importantly, the story - with the rest of the clan.
In Shadowmoor, Boggarts have the same social structure with a leading Auntie, but their mindless actions are driven by only hunger and instinct, as shown in their red-green alignment.
(Facevaulter, Tattermunge Maniac)
Native to Dominaria. Homarids are lobsterlike enemies of the Vodalian Empire that began to thrive in the new climate after the Brothers' War. Young homarids are known as Camarids (crayfish). In Terisiare their descendants are known as Viscerids. Homarids are typically aligned with blue mana. Unglued had clamfolk, which were meant to be a parody of homarids.
The name Homarid most likely comes from the Lobster genus Homarus.
(Homarid, Viscerid Deepwalker)
Not a distinct race by itself, 'Horror' instead refers to a wide variety of grotesque beings, ranging from the insectoid mercenaries of Mercadia's Cateran Guild to the twisted outcasts of the Urborg swamps to the abominable nightmare creatures summoned by the Dementia Casters of Otaria from the depths of their own minds. In other cases a horror is a member of another species that has become deeply corrupted by evil influences. [In the early years of Magic:The Gathering, Wizards of the Coast feared controversy over cards like "Demonic Hordes" and "Lord of the Pit" would lead to their downfall as predecessor of the genre Dungeons & Dragons temporarily discovered. So for a period of about six years Horror was used as a substitute for Demon as a creature type.]
Native to Dominaria. Whilst the Cabal of Otaria employed a wide variety of horrors to do its bidding, the nightmares created by its own clerics were the most feared. A dementia summoner would call forth the most terrible fears that lurked within the deepest recesses of their mind and through the use of black mana, grant physical form to these thoughts. The exact physical bodies varied from summoner to summoner; many summoners went on long trips into the wild to "collect" memories of terrible beasts, and the resultant nightmares would often be half-formed, tentacled hybrids of real species. The Dementia Master Chainer created some of the most terrible nightmares in history to serve the dark orders of the Cabal, some of which were even corporeal enough to survive Chainer's demise. In the game, when a Nightmare is brought into play it "replaces" another game object until it is destroyed.
Laquatus's Champion, Cateran Enforcer, Possessed Aven
Also a demonic looking horse creature with flaming mane and the ability to fly. Its power/toughness are only limited to the amount of dark energy (swamps) available to it.
By far the most numerous single species in the Multiverse, humans can be found on virtually any plane capable of supporting life. Perhaps the greatest contributor to this feat is their tolerance for almost any environment and every stripe of mana; a human can live anywhere and still be considered human, whereas most other great races thrive in only one or two colors of mana or a limited band of climates. The particular color of mana to which any given human belongs, therefore, can be difficult to tell at first glance, and normally reflects in their attitude and demeanor. A white-aligned human, for example, will typically promote the pivotal aspects of white-ness (preoccupations with justice, community and spirituality) yet aside from dress and manner may look no different than a human tied to another color. Humans are often looked down upon by other races for a variety of reasons, mostly depending on some unique aspect of that other race's own outlook. Elves may frown upon humans' seeming disregard for their environment, for example, while dwarves may ridicule their love of vast empires. On the plane of Ravnica, an extremely cosmopolitan place by any standards where races freely intermingle, humans are derided for their apparent ability to find members of any sentient race attractive. The plane of Lorwyn is almost unique for having no humans among its many races.
Humans of Mirrodin
Mirrodin is a highly structured plane, with each color of mana tied to a single, specific place on the plane's surface and separated from the others by wide, desolate stretches of "Glimmervoid." As a result, the humans of Mirrodin have evolved along five very distinct tribes: The militant, white-aligned Auriok, the intellectual, blue-aligned Neurok, the scavenging, black-aligned Moriok, the barbaric, red-aligned Vulshok and the druidic, green-aligned Sylvok. The organic-metal evolutions common to all of Mirrodin' races take on distinctive, tribe-specific forms among the humans. Unusually, Mirrodin's humans are not the dominant race in any color.
(Auriok Steelshaper, Lumengrid Warden, Moriok Rigger, Vulshok Battlemaster, Sylvok Explorer)
Part of the planeswalker Urza's plans to repel the inevitable Phyrexian Invasion involved the creation of a specially bred army of soldiers. Dubbed the "Metathran" in honor of the long-lost Thran civilization, Urza's warriors were genetically engineered to be decisive, unerring and obedient, with superhuman combat skills and tactical awareness. Though the Thran themselves were primarily Caucasian, the Metathran had a distinctive light-blue hue and a tall, gangly appearance. They appeared male, but in fact had no gender, as they would have no need to breed. Most of the Metathran were designed to blindly follow orders, however, two generals had been specifically designed to act on their own. Thaddeus and Agnate had a symbiotic, near-telepathic connection to each other and depended on each other to function. Intended to fight the Phyrexian menace and nothing else, the Metathran were freely expendable, and none survived the war. "Metathran" was not originally a supported creature type in the game, but became one with the release of the 10th Edition Core Set in July 2007.
(Metathran Soldier, Metathran Elite, Sky Weaver)
Illusions aren't born in the usual sense, instead being formed from the thoughts and dreams of wizards. These illusions may continue to persist even after the wizard ceases using them, though most are fairly ephemeral and dissipate quickly. Illusions can be created to imitate a wide variety of materials, such as water, metals, vapor, or glass, and some can even change their composition at will. (Mistform Warchief) Illusions can have a wide range of abilities, including morph, flying, phasing, and shadow. Illusions are most often blue aligned and sometimes black aligned, but they can be of any color.
(Krovikan Mist, Mistform Mutant, Glaze Fiend)
Imps are pesky, usually winged creatures resembling very small devils. Typically black, imps have been a part of the game since its inception, with Nettling Imp in Alpha. Nettling Imp lacked the ability to fly, yet flying remained common to almost all its brethren. On Ravnica, the imp bartender Pivlic played a vital role in preventing the Azorious Senate from establishing complete control over the plane. On most other planes, however, imps are barely sentient, feral pests. The Mirrodin card Chimney Imp has become a long-running joke due to its farcically high playing cost for a card of that power level.
Native to Dominaria. Kavu are enormous carnivorous lizards, apparently created by Gaea to defend the Yavimaya Forest during the Phyrexian Invasion. A Kavu is usually depicted as a large creature whose sizes can vary from that of a large hound to the size of an elephant. Their most distinctive features are their long, low heads, square jaws and third pair of legs. They have thick, hoofed fingers that allow them to be equally nimble on land or in trees.
Initially native to Yavimaya, they spread beyond the forest in the branches of Magnigoth Treefolk sent to retrieve the rogue dragon Rith. Later, a large part of the forest itself was transported to the island of Urborg, giving the Kavu a strong presence there. Since their initial appearance during the Invasion, the Kavu have become an enduring part of the natural food chain and continued to survive and prosper in Rift-Era Dominaria.
(Penumbra Kavu, Thunderscape Familiar)
Foxfolk that dwell in the plains and forests of Kamigawa, the kitsune are wise, quiet, skilled warriors and priests, the non-human race which most closely associate with the humans of Kamigawa. Skilled swordsmen, it is an honor to be selected as a pupil to a kitsune sensei to be trained as a samurai. They are depicted with long ears, pale nearly-featureless faces, and a foreboding countenance.
Their name comes from the Japanese folklore of the Kitsune, a nature spirit resembling a fox with the power to change into a human and other magical capabilities. (Sensei Golden-Tail, Kitsune Dawnblade)
Native to Dominaria and Lorwyn/Shadowmoor. Kithkin are a small-stature halfling-like species that typically grow no taller than 4'6". They are mainly white-aligned, with green (in Lorwyn) or blue (in Shadowmoor) as secondary colors, and have a strong sense of community and simplicity. On Lorwyn, this culminates in the thoughtweft, a near-psychic empathy between all kithkin on the plane. On Shadowmoor, the thoughweft enhances the race's sense of mistrust and suspicion to the level of extreme and often murderous paranoia. Lorwyn/Shadowmoor kithkin tend toward rural roles such as wheat farming, and live in small, well-protected villages known as clachans. Dominarian Kithkin tend to be lone wanderers who can trace their origins back thousands of years to the long-destroyed Amrou Haven. Kithkin can be clerics, wizards, knights, or scouts. However, the most common class is soldier.
(Amrou Scout, Brigid, Hero of Kinsbaile, Kithkin Rabble)
The Leviathan are generally the largest creatures of Magic: the Gathering, often being so big that their lengths are measured in miles, which is reflected in their high power and toughness, the sole exception being the Segovian Leviathan, which is jokingly explained as having come from a very small plane (Segovia never having been referred to before or since except on this card). Leviathans are generally solitary and normally confined to marine environments, though sky leviathans are known to exist on some planes. The Kraken is another monstrous sea species, possibly a subspecies of Leviathan. In the game, despite their considerable sizes, leviathans have never had a presence on the tournament scene as most of them feature a multitude of drawbacks. The B.F.M. (Big Furry Monster), a joke card from the Unglued expansion, wears a Kraken as an earring to demonstrate its size.
(Polar Kraken, Jokulmorder, Sky Swallower, Segovian Leviathan)
Native to Dominaria. Large, reptilian creatures, Lhurgoyf are primarily scavengers. They can come in a wide variety of shapes depending on their scavenged sustenance of choice, though all feature the species' distinctive elongated limbs and large, toothed mouths. Females lay incredibly hard eggs, which are occasionally mistaken for gemstones by unfortunate travelers.
In the game, a Lhurgoyf's size is directionally proportional the amount of a certain type of card in graveyards. The original Lhurgoyf features the game's most well known flavor text, a fact that has ensured the Lhurgoyf's endurance as a supported creature type. The last words of Saffi Eriksdotter, "Ach! Hans, Run! It's the Lhurgoyf!" have directly spawned two follow-up cards and a short story in the Monsters of Magic fiction anthology, as well as a coy reference on the card Revenant.
(Saffi Eriksdotter, "Ach! Hans, Run!", Tarmogoyf)
Native to Rath. Licids are symbiotic, beetle-like creatures capable of snapping their bodies to jump several times their own body length to land on a host organism. Once latched on, the Licid's legs dissolve into the host and the two creatures bond together. The Licid then stimulates certain parts of the host's brain to bring certain emotions or instincts to extremes, and in some Licid sub-species, engender new physical attributes and abilities. Licids do not necessarily remain attached to their hosts for long and have been known to voluntarily separate from its victim to seek out another. Licids are very similar in appearance to the Xenomorph Face Huggers from the Aliens movies.
In the game, the Licids are renowned for being simple in concept but extremely complex in execution. They enter play as Creatures, but can transform into Auras, a type of card that must be attached to another, simulating their joining to a host. They can also transform back to creatures. It's a long-running joke in Wizards of the Coast R&D to ignore the fact that Licids ever existed and therefore make life much easier.
(Convulsing Licid, Transmogrifying Licid)
Native to Ravnica and Mirrodin. Loxodon are large humanoid elephant-folk, intelligent and highly spiritual, slow but immensely powerful. They are instinctively reclusive and are viewed as mysterious by other races, which respect them even so. On Ravnica, they traditionally belong to the life-worshipping Selesnya Conclave or the militaristic Boros Legion. In either case, Loxodon prefer to avoid confrontation and often use their intimidating size and popular respect to quell violence before it begins.
On Mirrodin, the Loxodon are even more mysterious than their relatives on the far more cosmopolitan plane of Ravnica. From the Razor Fields the Loxodon maintain an introverted, inscrutable society, pregnable neither by force nor friendship. So far Loxodon have only ever been seen on Mirrodin and Ravnica, so it is reasonable to assume that Memnarch brought them from Ravnica when he was starting to populate Karn's metal plane.
The race is named after the term for the Elephant genus, Loxodonta.
(Loxodon Gatekeeper, Loxodon Stalwart)
Native to Ravnica. A mysterious, highly intelligent, shapeshifting creature made of maggot-like worms. Their natural form is as a massive, writhing mass of these purple worms, but they have the ability to disguise themselves as any other creature they see. Lupuls usually take the shape of their last humanoid meal and copy that creature's characteristics, powers and even memories to make them the perfect infiltrator. The Boros Angels thought they had killed all of these creatures, but a small colony survived and served under the House Dimir Lord, Szadek. Lupul is the Old Ravi word for "Lurker".
(Dimir Doppelganger, Mindleech Mass)
The Merfolk are humanoid aquatic creatures with fish-like characteristics. They don't have boungs salles, instead, they have long fishtails that give them stanket speed and skill in water. Whilst variations exist, Merfolk tend to be slimly built with shimmering blue scales and ornately finned skulls. Most Merfolk societies are rigid, militaristic monarchies with extensive standing armies. The signature weapon of most Merfolk soldiers is the trident, a long, three-pronged spear that's easier to use underwater than any type of swinging blade or bludgeon. Despite the size of their armed forces, few Mer civilizations are aggressive; the armies mainly serve to defend the kingdom from aggressive sea creatures such as leviathans.
In the game, Merfolk, as an iconic fantasy race, had formed the backbone of the Blue color's creature army since the game began. However, Merfolk as a creature type had for a time fallen out of favor with the game designers, who cited the difficulty of explaining how a sea-bound creature could fight on land as the main reason. Efforts to replace them resulted in a wide variety of land-compatible "blue" creature types, including the scheming megalomaniac Vedalkens and the cloud-dwelling Soratami. No Merfolk was printed between early 2002 (Ambassador Laquatus, himself an exception to this then-recent policy change) and 2006's Time Spiral block of sets, which reprinted some classic Merfolk cards and created a small number of new ones. Merfolk returned in full as a key tribe in 2007's Lorwyn expansion.
(Lord of Atlantis, Merfolk of the Pearl Trident)
Native to Dominaria. The Merfolk of the seas around the continentations ofan Otaria were survivors of the Phyrexian invasion that migrated to the southern seas. As many other Merfolk, they were skilled in battle, magic, and telepathy. They were eventually conquered and made near extinct by the Cephalid Empire (see 'Cephalid') with help from the treacherous Ambassador Laquatus.
Native to Rath. Like most Rathi races, the Rootwater Merfolk can trace their ancestry back to Dominaria, when a variety of environments and species were transplanted there in early planeshifting experiments. In the centuries since, the Mer of Rootwater (the stagnant sea out of which the Skyshroud Forest grows) have become feral and savage. They have distinctive brightly colored fins and their facial features, normally strikingly similar to those of Humans in other Mer races, have lost any semblance of humanity.
Native to Mercadia. Saprazzan merfolk have the unique ability to become legged on land. The city of Saprazzo lies far off the desert coast, barely visible from the coastal town of Rishada. The part that extends above the surface is only a fraction of the entirety, composed of buildings and quarters suitable for visiting dignitaries. Whilst they tolerate the other inhabitants of the plane they make it clear that they have no interest in having any serious dealings with them, and hold the humans and goblins of Mercadia City in particular contempt.
Native to Dominaria. The merfolk of Vodalia and Atlantis are an aquatic species who have long, almost eel-like bodies, humanoid faces and arms, and spinelike protrusions at the shoulders. Their scales form multicolored patterns and they are capable of changing colors and patterns at will. Red is a restricted color, used only by those who have gained favor with the empress Galina, and defines leadership and social status.
Native to Lorwyn/Shadowmoor. Aligned with white as well as blue in Lorwyn, the Merrow live in the many deep rivers and streams (known as Merrow Lanes) that criss-cross this oceanless plane and act as its couriers, merchants, and traveling tradesfolk. Their wide-roaming nature has left them with an innate familiarity with the plane unique among the races, and they see it as their duty to chart and record its history and layout for posterity. After the Great Aurora that transformed Lorwyn, they were aligned with black and blue, and became pirates and raiders.
Merrow Commerce, Sygg, River Guide, Sygg, River Cutthroat
The Merfolk of Zendikar have completely adapted to life on land, as they have legs instead of tails. Like the other races of Zendikar, many Merfolk are treasure hunters.
Native to Mirrodin. Myr are ant-like robotic creatures created by Memnarch, the plane's guardian. Each Myr on the plane is remotely connected to Memnarch's "Darksteel Eye," a massive, indestructible chamber that allows him to see through the eyes of any Myr he wishes. Scattered throughout the plane, the Myr are designed to be quiet and unobtrusive, and the majority of races have gotten used to their presence, viewing them as a strange but harmless background object. The majority of Myr conform to a particular standardized design composed of a slight, nimble body and a large, curved, mouthless head, though specialized models exist.
The word "myr" is derived from the Greek "myrmidon,” literally meaning “ant-people.” They were initially conceived as gnomes but the more flavorful label was later applied to these quietly busy little figures.
(Coretapper, Silver Myr, Eyes of the Watcher)
Native to Dominaria. The Nantuko are mantis-like druids from the Krosan Forest on the continent of Otaria. They are led by the Primus, Thriss, who was said to have planted the first seeds of the forest after the Phyrexian Invasion had ended. Their naturally formidable claws and mandibles, combined with an innate familiarity with Krosa gives them a fierce advantage in combat, and this has lent them a terrible reputation among outsiders. However, the Nantuko are fundamentally a peaceful society. Wise and reserved, the Nantuko are seldom seen outside the deep forest, though they did once have rare dealings with the Northern Order.
Debuting in the Odyssey block, the Nantuko filled many of the roles normally filled by elves, who were absent from the set. Wizards of the Coast had decided to temporarily retire several familiar races from the game at the time. Elves returned to the game a year later, and few Nantuko cards have been printed since.
Native to Ravnica. The Nephilim are massive monstrosities with limited intelligence that hold positions of fear and awe in Ravnican mythology. They were subdued thousands of years before the events of the Ravnica: City of Guilds block of sets and imprisoned deep below the plane's surface. Their precise origins are unknown. Once awakened by construction works in the Utvara district, five of the creatures fed on a dragon corpse and grew in size and power, showing a shared ability to absorb power from other beings. Two were defeated by the dragon Niv-Mizzet; the remaining three made it to the center of Ravnica City where they were eventually subdued.
The name "Nephilim" is taken from the biblical creature of the same name. In the game, the Nephilim were the first cards printed that needed exactly four different colors to play. None saw any tournament play, however, as their admittedly unique abilities were not seen to justify the difficulty of assembling those colors.
(Dune-Brood Nephilim, Glint-Eye Nephilim, Ink-Treader Nephilim, Witch-Maw Nephilim, and Yore-Tiller Nephilim)
Ratfolk that dwell in the Takenuma swamp of Kamigawa, the Nezumi are greedy, treacherous thieves, mercenaries, and bandits. Often involved with the Soratami. A few Nezumi are also talented shamans, their magics learned from scrolls stolen from the Minamo academy.
Nezumi are generally split into various gangs, some more powerful than others. Like Goblin kingdoms, one can claim leadership by assassinating the head of a clan. One legendary Nezumi, known as Marrow-Gnawer, assassinated the leaders of three gangs in one night, thus becoming leader of them all. One gang of note is the Okiba gang, a clan of treacherous ninja. Nezumi females give birth to multiple offspring, leading to each Nezumi having around forty-to-sixty siblings.
Their name comes from the Japanese nezumi meaning "rat" and hito (affected by rendaku) meaning "person".
Native to Dominaria, a Nightstalker is a magically summoned minion created by powerful black-aligned wizards. Principally employed by Kaervek of the Burning Isles to subdue Jamuraa and by Queen Tojira in her attempt to conquer the island of Caliman, they can also be found in the dark, remote land of Shimia.
Nightstalkers of Caliman
Malicious, intelligent creatures created by the swamp queen Tojira, the Nightstalkers of the Dakmor swamp resembled short, wirey elves with ghostly white skin and spiked hair. They normally bore hunting rifles and rode skeletal biped beasts animated by their queen.
Raiding Nightstalker, Prowling Nightstalker
Nightstalkers of Urborg
In Urborg the Nightstalkers were a minor power, shadows and ghosts that served Kaervek the wizard as assassins or spies. He used these minions as harbingers of the Spirit of the Night during his conquest of northern Jamuraa.
(Urborg Panther, Feral Shadow, and BreathstealerSpirit of the Night)
Quick, "natural" undead found in the Mephidross Swamp of Mirrodin. The toxic necrogen mists have a zombification affect on living creatures, most specifically the Moriok tribe of humans. The Nim have cranial plating covering their faces as the necrogen causes metal buildup and loss of eyes (and therefore sight). They also expel their own necrogen from vents that erupt from their rotting skin. They are controlled by the warlord Geth and are constantly in conflict with the Auriok and Leonin of the Razor Plains as the Mephidross expands.
Native to Kamigawa. The Orochi are a race of lithe, reclusive, four-armed snakefolk from the Jukai forest. A tribal society, there are at least three major Orochi tribes in the Forest: The Matsu-tribe of highly skilled archers, the Sakura-tribe specializing in magic and led by the shaman, Sachi, and the Kashi-tribe of warriors, led by Sosuke, Sachi's brother. The three tribes are not distinct nations, but rather represent different elements of the same community. Each tribe is extremely specialized; the Kashi-tribe, for example, possess a paralyzing natural venom used to subdue trespassers within Orochi territory. The Orochi are notoriously uncompromising and any attempt by other societies of Kamigawa to establish diplomatic relations has usually ended in exasperated failure. The Orochi are a fiercely religious race devoted to the Myojin of Life's Web.
(Matsu-Tribe Sniper, Sakura-Tribe Elder, Kashi-Tribe Warriors)
Native to Mirrodin, Alara and several other places. The common tie all Phoenix creatures have is flying and some regenerative ability. For a mana cost you can return the card to your hand or field (depending on the card). Many of them also have some sort of Burn ability like the Skarrgan Firebird which has Bloodthirst 3, or Magma Phoenix which deals 3 damage to all creatures and players when it is sent to the graveyard from the battle field.
(Magma Phoenix, Skarrgan Firebird, Shard Phoenix, Worldheart Phoenix, Shivan Phoenix, Kuldotha Phoenix, Firestorm Phoenix, Bogardan Phoenix)
Native to Phyrexia, Dominaria and Rath. Invaders of Serra's Realm and Mercadia. Phyrexians are not a single creature type, but are represented in the game by a wide variety of classifications, reflecting the vast number of forms they can come in. Phyrexians are horrors created through a combination of necromancy, scruplous organic recycling, and cybernetic enhancement. Most Phyrexians are born, fully organic, from "birth vats" filled with the recycled corpses of victims. Through a process known as "compleation" they are gradually augmented with ever more grotesque mechanical upgrades. They are considered to be fully Phyrexian once their blood has been replaced with synthetic glistening oil, though the surgical enhancements continue.
The "average" Phyrexian has only the most simple mind of its own, with the majority of its intellect slaved to the will of Yawgmoth, the "Father of Machines" who founded Phyrexia. Through his limitless army of monstrosities Yawgmoth patiently sought to re-conquer Dominaria, the plane of his birth.
Yawgmoth, whilst ruler of the Thran city-state of Halcyon, created the first Phyrexians using a surgical process he called "phyresis." A keen scientist with a megalomaniacal, sadistic bent, Yawgmoth sought to improve his army to conquer the rest of the plane. To this end, he established a connection to the vacant metal plane of Phyrexia, an endless private laboratory over which he had godlike control. He was eventually defeated on Dominaria and sealed away in Phyrexia, where he continued his cybernetic experiments in preparation of his return. The seal was inadvertently reopened thousands of years later by Urza, who would later become a powerful planeswalker sworn to destroy Yawgmoth. When Phyrexia finally invaded, they merged their staging-ground plane of Rath with Dominaria and swept over the world. Urza finally sacrificed himself to destroy Yawgmoth, and this act wiped out most of the Phyrexian army. The few drones that survived persisted as confused, mindless stragglers that were eventually picked off (several became attractions in Otaria's pitfighting colliseums).
During Rift-Era Dominaria, Phyrexians are re-introduced to the plane from an alternate timeline, one in which their invasion was successful. These Phyrexians posed a threat to both Urborg and Keld, but were cut off from their master once through the rifts. This left them easy prey to the Weaver King, a psychic parasite who used them to try and conquer both islands. His death, and the sealing of the rifts, ended this anachronistic new Invasion.
(Phyrexian Negator, Phyrexian Scuta, Witch Engine, Tsabo Tavoc)
Native to Dominaria, Rabiah and Ravnica. The Rocs of Dominaria are large, ferocious birds native to the mountains of Jamuraa and the Kher Ridges. They are seen by most as untamable due to their tendency to hunt and eat anything smaller than themselves. On the desert worlds of Rabiah, Rocs are more commonly referred to as "Rukhs" or "Stonefeathers." The explorer Sindbad once rode an unwitting Roc all the way back to its nest. Years later, after accidentally causing a Roc egg to hatch, Sindbad was harassed and tormented by the vengeful Roc chick for leagues out to sea, until eventually his ship was lost. Ravnican Rocs, in contrast to the Rocs of other planes, have been tamed for centuries and are the prized mounts of the Boros Guild's Skyknight Legionnaires.
(Roc of Kher Ridges, Rukh Egg)
Native to Dominaria, Rath, Mercadia, Jund, and Ravnica. Saprolings are carnivorous, primal, fungal creatures whose form varies wildly across both the planes and the centuries. Initially created in the Havenwood of Dominaria's Sarpadia as a side-product of the Thallids, Saprolings were originally little other than small clumps of fungal matter that scurried around their larger Thallid cousins. Despite their artificial origins, they adapted quickly to the plane's ecosystem, somehow migrating from Sarpadia (without the Thallids) and becoming an established part of the ecology of the Yavimaya Forest, the largest on Dominaria. Here they evolved into greasy, ferocious worm-like creatures ranging in scale from the size of a small dog to that of a rhinoceros (This breed was also the dominant strain on Rath and also on Mercadia, where the saprolings were a major menace to outlying farmers).
After Yavimaya was decimated during the Phyrexian Invasion, the Saprolings spread further afield and continued to evolve, slowly reverting to their original ambiguous, fungal forms. The decaying nature of Dominaria led the Saprolings to evolve a tolerance for dead matter, and the considerable quantity of this resulted in a huge explosion in the Saproling population of the plane. The Saprolings started to become an ecological threat in Rift-Era Dominaria, spreading through rotting forests as a thick, squealing blanket of squirming fungal matter.
On Ravnica, Saprolings are small, non-carnivorous plant-creatures whose form depends on the guild that controls them. The vast majorities are Selesnya creations and represent young, developing plant elementals. They are grown around glowing green crystals that provide all the sustenance they need. Other guilds produce their own varieties; Golgari rot-farmers grow Saprolings from corpses, while Simic biomancers grow them from whatever tickles their fancy.
In the game, Saprolings are unique for being a long-lived and popular creature type, yet one which has no actual printed creature card. Instead, Saprolings are universally "creature tokens" - false cards created by the effect of another card. They have an ardent cult following among fans, and have frequently seen high-level tournament play due to the abilities of some cards to generate multiple Saproling tokens either at once or over several turns. With the Alara Block, many tokens cards have been printed, including Saprolings, giving an actual artistic impression of the creature.
(Sprout Swarm, Golgari Germination, Spontaneous Generation, Selesnya Evangel)
The Slith are mysterious creatures from Mirrodin. They are born within Kuldotha, the Great Furnace, and only emerge when one of Mirrodin's suns are aligned overhead. As they emerge, the Slith's attributes are set according to whatever sun was overhead. Afterwards they continually follow the motion of their aligned sun. They resemble hunched human forms with skull-like faces. Unlike other Living things on Mirrodin, Slith have no metal on their bodies, implying that they are resistant to Mycosynth. The Slith cards were all based on a card with a similar effect called Whirling Dervish (Whirling Dervish).
"Native" to Dominaria and Rath, slivers are insectoid mesomorphs that live in huge hive colonies. Their precise origins are unknown. They were indigenous to Rath, an artificial plane made up of stolen sections of other planes. Slivers may have originally been genetically engineered by one of the rulers ("evincars") of Rath, or have developed naturally there.
Slivers are feral, territorial and vicious. Ruled by the Sliver Queen until the Rathi overlay onto Dominaria, the slivers possess a hive mind, where each individual sliver thinks the thoughts of the entire collective. What makes Slivers particularly unusual is that, as well as thoughts, they also share physical attributes with other members of the hive. Each sliver is born with its own native ability, be it enhanced strength, increased speed, or special natural defenses or weaponry and will automatically pass those abilities on to all other slivers nearby.
On Rath, the slivers had been contained entirely within the Stronghold's vast lower echelons, rarely interacting with other species, most of whom possessed the wits to keep away. A network of Hivestones kept the hive in check. The slivers fascinated Volrath, the plane's penultimate evincar, who worked to exert some influence over the hive. To this end, he created the Metallic Sliver, which could join the hive but remain under his control. When Rath finally overlaid onto Dominaria, the Stronghold was transplanted to the inside of a dormant volcano. Coalition forces later reignited the volcano, destroying most of the lower Stronghold, including the Sliver-infested areas.
The species was made effectively extinct for a century until foolishly revived by the wizard researchers of Riptide Isle, who quickly lost control of their latest pet. Without either the Hivestones or a Queen to control them, the slivers bred and spread at a frantic rate, overrunning the island and spreading out across Dominaria itself. During Rift-Era Dominaria, two centuries later, the Slivers had become a genuine ecological menace, wiping out entire species and threatening many weary established civilizations, including the humans of Benalia and the elves of Skyshroud. By now, the slivers had adapted to existence without a queen-figure, though the planeswalker Freyalise did attempt to fill that role shortly before her death. Now conglomerate independent rulers of themselves, the slivers have become the ultimate manifestation of the hive mind - the Sliver Legion.
The Future Sight expansion hints that slivers may eventually encounter such non-Dominarian races as the Vedalken and the currently unknown Arturans, though these storylines have yet to be revealed.
In the game, the Slivers (Known as "Shyfts" in Tempest design) are one of the most popular and notorious creature types Magic: the Gathering has produced. Each individual sliver card possesses its own ability but also grants that ability to every other sliver-type creature in play. Because this mechanic demands a wide variety of interlocking abilities and therefore a sizable number of slivers per set, slivers tend to be printed in single, large "generations." Three generations have been made to date. The original slivers of Tempest Block are the most enduring, having been popular with all types of players, from the most determined tournament contestants to the more casual custom deck builders. With their reputation as a fun yet challenging creature type to play with firmly established, the slivers were retired for a number of years, before returning in Onslaught Block courtesy of the Riptide biologists. However, these slivers had very little impact on the tournament scene, with Wizards of the Coast perhaps wary of the predictable, relentless forms previous top-tier sliver decks had taken. The slivers returned again in the Time Spiral block, more powerful than the Onslaught generation (with success in Limited/Block formats of tournament play) but were not as prevalent, overall, as the originals.
Many Sliver cards were also reprinted in foil version in Premium Deck Slivers.
(Uncontrolled Infestation, Visual list of Sliver Cards at gatherer.wizards.com)
Native to Kamigawa. The Moonfolk, a beautiful, cloud-dwelling race of long-eared, blue-skinned humanoids, are one of the most hermetic and mysterious races on the plane. They are highly manipulative, and detest the other races to the point that if an outsider were even to set foot in one of their sky palaces it would be taken as an insult. The Soratami are accomplished telepaths and mirror-mages whose patron Kami is Mochi, the Kami of the Crescent Moon. Despite their seclusion, the Soratami are allies of both the Minamo school and Eiganjo Castle. The Soratami had a hand in the sparking of the Kami War, by helping the human Lord of Eiganjo, Konda, kidnap a vital spirit from the Kami realm. In reality, they hoped to bring the wrath of the Kami world against Konda, thus eliminating the most powerful nation on Kamigawa and allowing them to rule in its place. Two decades into the war their plans started to unravel, with Mochi failing to manipulate the ronin Toshiro Umezawa as needed. Toshiro stole the captive Kami from Eiganjo, forcing the Soratami to mount a disastrous invasion of the Jukai Forest. The captive Kami was soon freed and the war ended without the Soratami succeeding.
The word "Soratami" comes from the Japanese 'sora' meaning 'sky' and 'tami' meaning 'race' or 'society'. The Soratami's long ears are an allusion to the Japanese children's myth of the rabbit in the moon. In the game, the Moonfolk all have the ability to fly, and also generally require their controller to return land cards to hand in exchange for different effects. As this is typically a costly demand, few moonfolk were featured in high-level tournament decks. An exception was Meloku the Clouded Mirror, whose ability to exchange lands for a small army proved to be extremely potent.
(Soratami Rainshaper, Erayo, Soratami Ascendant)
Specters are aggressive, malevolent ghosts with tremendous abilities to disrupt the psyches of living creatures. Whilst the game's original specter, Hypnotic Specter, appeared as a wraith-like, free-floating knight, subsequent Specters have normally been depicted as commanding massive, winged mounts similar to Tolkien's fell beasts (Later printings of Hypnotic Specter featured updated art that also depicted this mount). Specters tend to be free-willed beings serving no master.
In the game, Specters normally have abilities that force the opponent to discard cards from hand once damaged, simulating the Specter's psychic interference. This disruption, combined with the Specter's ability to fly and therefore evade most blocking creatures, means that they have often seen heavy tournament play. Due to the prominence given to the mount in most Specter card illustrations, many players wrongly believe that the mount itself is the specter.
(Abyssal Specter, Shimian Specter)
Native to Rath. Spikes are Leech-like creatures, parasites who drain nutrients from plants or other animals. They are capable of then transferring the collected nutrients to other creatures. In the game, Spikes come into play as creatures with zero power and toughness, which normally destroys that creature, but also with a certain quantity of size-boosting counters. These can be transferred to other creatures, or spent to activate abilities on some variants.
(Spike Drone, Spike Worker. Spike Tiller, Spike Breeder)
Native to Dominaria. Living fungal creatures bred in the Havenwood Forest by the elf Thelon (who had borrowed some ideas from Thrull creator Endrek Sahr; see Thrull), Thallids were to be used as a food source by the elves when the slowly chilling climate killed off many of their traditional sources in the lead-up to the Ice Age. Initially kept successfully in check, the Thallids eventually grew in numbers too large to control. Their unique ability to increase their population through fungal means - principally the creation of spore clouds - and the incredible rate at which they produced Saprolings meant that after a long and desperate struggle, the elves of Havenwood finally fell to their own creations. Thallids never spread far beyond the continent of Sarpadia, though some do wander Rift-Era Dominaria. Unlike the Saprolings, Thallids have changed little in the intervening millennia and remain a disparate, colorful horde of shambling, fungal mutants.
In the game, Thallids were unique to the Fallen Empires expansion, the only set of cards based on Sarpadia, until the release of the Time Spiral set. "Thallid" itself is not a creature type, and all Thallids instead have the "Fungus" classification. The unique theme of the Thallids was their ability to produce free Saproling creature tokens, typically at the rate of one every three turns, and in some cases to turn these tokens into a resource to spend on other abilities. Unfortunately, the slow speed at which they operate has restricted their value in organised play.
Native to Dominaria, Rath and Ravnica. Created by the necromantic biologist Endrek Sahr, the Thrulls were bred by the cabalistic Order of the Ebon Hand on Sarpadia in the decades before Dominaria's Ice Age. Intended as ritual fodder and slave labor, Thrulls were created by mixing necromancy with living alchemy and could be shaped to perform any function. Encouraged by early, basic successes, the Ebon Hand grew bolder with the breeds of Thrull produced until they finally lost control. The Thrulls rebelled, bringing the Ebon Hand down and going on to wage ecological war on the other races of Sarpadia. It was a war they eventually won, and the isolated continent fell fully under Thrull domination. Fortunately for the rest of the plane, they do not have the wits to imagine other lands over the horizon.
Millennia later, successive evincars (tyrannical rulers) of Rath experimented with the creation of life from leftover dead organisms. The Thrulls of Rath were a pathetic breed, created only to suffer at the sadistic whims of their creators. Even those bred for a purpose were twisted and mutilated so that every moment of life was torture.
On Ravnica, Thrulls are created from the "earthly slag" of Orzhov Guild patricians who ascend to the guild's ruling Ghost Council. These Thrulls are used as aides to important Orzhov officials and live easy lives by Dominarian and Rathi standards.
(Thrull Wizard, Blood Vassal, Mourning Thrull, Armor Thrull)
Native to Dominaria, Rath, and Lorwyn. Treefolk are sentient creatures which resemble trees both physically and biologically. They are normally quiet, and slow and lumbering if they move at all, but are quick and relentless in the defense of their forests. They are most often cast as the guardians of a forest's ecology and harmony. In Lorwyn, treefolk start as regular trees, while a few of these will undergo an event called "The Rising," which will transform them into a treefolk. Because of their hermetic nature, few Treefolk have had any major impact on Dominaria's history. Yavimaya's Nemata, Grove Guardian led an army of Magnigoth Treefolk after the escaped dragon, Rith, during the Phyrexian Invasion and later joined the war when Yavimaya itself transplanted to the Phyrexian stronghold on Urborg. The treefolk of Lorwyn take a more active role in society, seeing themselves as defenders of the status quo. In Shadowmoor, many treefolk are infected with an orange-colored fungus called the Canker.
(Weatherseed Treefolk, Heartwood Treefolk, Dauntless Dourbark)
vampires are native to many of the planes in Magic, although they are of particular prevalence in the plane of Ulgrotha where the Homelands expansion takes place, Innistrad, Zendikar, and Mirrodin post-Fifth Dawn Era. Vampires are often depicted as humanoids with gaunt features and a sallow complexion, sometimes show fangs and tend to wear some form of black robes. Two effects that unite most of the vampires in Magic: the Gathering is that they can usually fly in some form, and when they damage or kill something else they get stronger. This is traditionally done by giving them an permanent attack and defense increase when they kill a creature in combat. These abilities were first shown on the now iconic Sengir Vampire which was printed in the first release of Magic. Other abilities are also used, but most still have the flavor of feasting on someone else's strength for the creatures benefit. There have been a few important Vampires in the Magic story to date. They are mainly Baron Sengir who is a main villain during the Homelands set and the man whom the card Sengir Vampire is supposed to be named after, Crovax the Cursed, an important character during the Weatherlight saga and a rare example of a benevolent vampire, and Szadek, Lord of Secrets the founder of the secretive Dimir guild during the Ravnica block. On Zendikar, Vampires appear as a complex, more civilized and humanoid culture, contrasting the appearance of the "classic" solitary undead they have on other planes. On innistrad they are aristocratic and very wealthy, also in this plane vampires can be seen in the mana color red.
Native to Mirrodin, Ravnica and the Alara shard of Esper. The Vedalken are bald, blue-skinned humanoids with strictly structured minds and a tendency towards logic, research, politics and rule of law. They tend to have a certain private disdain for other races, instinctively viewing them as somewhat inferior. On Ravnica, Vedalken are primarily drawn to the bureaucratic Azorius Senate or the freely scientific The Simic Combine. In Esper, on Alara they are one of the two most common beings, the other being humans, and are all infused with the magical alloy etherium, making them colored artifacts.
The Vedalken were one of several races brought to Mirrodin by Memnarch in his efforts to populate the barren metal plane. Of those races, the Vedalken have evolved more than any other thanks to their extensive use of "Blinkmoth Serum," a substance that expands the user's mind and expedites their evolution. On this plane, the Vedalken have evolved a second set of arms (a mutation occasionally seen among some particularly successful Simic graftmages on Ravnica), as well as amphibious tolerances and the need for mechanized "serum suits" which constantly infuse them with the drug. They are also the only race on the plane with long-term knowledge of Memnarch and his agendas, a reward Memnarch grants them for their usefulness as puppet masters among the various races. Based in Lumengrid, an artificial island far out on the Quicksilver Sea, Mirrodin's Vedalkens have a strict democratic government with blue-aligned humans (the "Neurok") kept as a slave class.
In the set Shards of Alara, the vedalken populate the shard of Esper, sharing the shard with humans and sphinxes. Eventually, the vedalken formed the Ethersworn, a group dedicated to infusing all life on Esper with a material called Etherium. They do the bidding of the sphinxes, who use the vedalken as a puppet regime in ruling Esper.
(Vigean Graftmage, Vedalken Mastermind, Azorius Guildmage)
Native to Dominaria, Ravnica, and the Alara shards of Jund and Grixis (through reanimation of corpses left from old Alara). The Viashino are intelligent humanoids with lean, muscular builds. These Lizard-Folk are descended from dragons. Quick, agile, and vicious when required, they are the main civilization on the sands of Dominaria's Shiv and can be found throughout the Burning Isles and even as far west as Jamuraa. They are constantly skirmishing with the Goblins, also native to Shiv, the Ghitu tribe of humans, and even the great Shivan Dragons themselves. Despite their warrior codes, the Viashino are renowned metalsmiths and craftsfolk, and become staunch allies of both the goblins and the Ghitu in the face of any outside threat. They live in clan communities, each led by a bey. On Ravnica, Viashino are not quite as civilized as their Dominarian brethren, with most belonging to either the wild Gruul Clans or the savage Cult of Rakdos, if they belong to any guild at all. On the Jund shard of Alara, the Viashino live in tribes and are generally reminiscent of their Ravnican brethren in terms of savagery. However, as stated on the card Viashino Skeleton, the Viashino are extinct on the Grixis shard of Alara, and the only ones that exist there are undead. The extinction of the Viashino on the Grixis shard may date back to when the plane was split into the five shards, as the Grixis and Jund shards border to each other.
Viashino were first seen not on cards, but in the Magic: the Gathering novel, The Prodigal Sorcerer. The creative directors at Wizards of the Coast liked the concept enough to introduce them into the game, making them servants of the invader Kaervek as he tried to conquer Jamuraa. An interesting fact about the Viashino presented in the book is that it is impossible for a Viashino's sex to be identified until he or she reaches adulthood. Young Viashino choose to be called "he" or "she" according to personal preference, as even they cannot determine their own genders.
Gigantic, limbless, ground-dwelling green-mana creatures (exceptions do occur), wurms are related to dragons. According to legend, the ancestors of the wurm rebelled against their fellow dragons. After losing, they were thrown to the ground, beaten and stripped of their wings. They generally dwell in forests, convenient for satisfying their mammoth appetites. There are two kinds of wurms, the Worm-like and the serpent-like. The worm-like wurms are almost like annelids and have four huge incisors in their huge circular mouths. Their shape is largely cylindrical and they are great burrowers. This kind of wurm is common on the Krosan forest. The Serpent-like wurms are much more reptilian; they have jagged mouths, two eyes, and normally an array of horns and spikes along their scaled body. Serpent-like wurms rarely dig tunnels, for they are active predators and can ambush uncautious prey. A skilled wizard can summon or tame any of both kind of wurm at will. The great amount of mana is an issue to reckon with when summoning wurms however. All the wurms are huge creatures that measures around a hundred feet long and are among the biggest forest creatures.
Wurms are also found in the urban Ravnica, but usually under abnormal circumstances. The Selesnya Conclave use specially tamed and trained wurms for offensive maneuvers. The Golgari carnomancers are sometimes hired by the Orzhov to call forth the wurms from the underground. It would appear that the Gruul Clans have a close association to the wurms.
- Magic the Gathering, Judgment Rules Insert, Wizards of the Coast, October 2000, Informative Flyer, 2 Pages, a Guide to the basic rules of the Judgment set.
- Magic the Gathering, Portal Second Age Precontructed Decks Strategy Guide, Jhonatan Tweet, June 1998, Wizards of the Coast, Softcover Manual, 22 pages, A player guide of the Portal Second Age game rules and introduction to the Kalima world and history arc.
- The Moons of Mirrodin, Mirrodin Cycle Book I Will McDermott, 2004, Wizards of the Coast, Soft back, 310 pages, A history of an heroic quest across the strange metallic world of Mirrodin, contains detailed description of its inhabitants and creatures.
- The Darksteel Eye, Mirrodin Cycle Book II2004, Jess Lebow, Wizards of the Coast, Soft back, 310 pages, ISBN 0-7869-3140-X, A history of an heroic quest across the strange metallic world of Mirrodin, contains detailed description of its inhabitants and creatures and deep description of its artificial creatures.
- Judgment, Odyssey Cycle Book III Will Mcdermont, 2002, Wizards of the Coast, Soft back, 312 pages, ISBN 0-7869-2743-7, Concludes the history of the Mirari's war and includes detailed description of the Cabal and Order forces of Otaria and of the Krosan forest inhabitants, also takes deep analisys of the nature and form of the "Nigthmare creatures".
- ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/db3 Taste the Magic - September 27, 2007
- ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/askwizards/0307 Ask Wizards - March 8, 2007
- ^ http://www.wizards.com/default.asp?x=mtgcom/daily/mc93 Taste the Magic, June 7th 2007
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