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Creature Type
(Subtype for creature/kindred cards)
Beeble Scale 8[1]
28 cards
{U} 71.4% {B} 7.1% {W/U} 3.6% {M} 17.9%
as of March of the Machine
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Cephalid is an obsolete creature type that was used for cards that depict anthropomorphic octopus-like creatures, having tentacles and a highly flexible body. With the release of Modern Horizons 3 it was consolidated into the Octopus type to be more consistent with how other humanoid animals are typed.

Description[ | ]

Cephalids were designed to replace merfolk in the Odyssey block.[2] Cephalids generally have abilities which involve the library, hand, or creatures without flying. They're generally used as utility creatures. Cephalid Illusionist was a centerpiece in an old Extended combo deck, while Llawan, Cephalid Empress saw use in blue sideboards as a solution to mirror matches. After a brief stint in Onslaught block, they were not seen for 19 years until Streets of New Capenna brought back the type.

After Naga had been incorporated into the Snake type it was discussed if Cephalids should retain their creature type or should be incorporated in the Octopus type.[3] This was realized in Modern Horizons 3 when all cephalids became octopuses.

Storyline[ | ]

Capenna[ | ]

On New Capenna, Cephalids have a more humanoid appearance, lacking beaks and having arms while the tentacles act as facial hair, but retain many cephalopod traits, including color-changing markings controlled by their emotions, three hearts, and boneless anatomy that allows them to "pour" themselves into tight spaces.[4] Some notably occur in mono-black. They are primarily associated with the Obscura, where many not only act as information seekers but enforcers as well.

Dominaria[ | ]

The Cephalids of Dominaria live in the depths of the oceans surrounding the continent of Otaria.[5] They have a more developed skeletal structure than normal octopuses possess. They can live outside water for a brief period, but they have difficulty breathing air and dry out if they stay immersed for too long without magical aid. Originally, they were a minor race below the merfolk within the Mer Empire, until a ploy by Laquatus and Aboshan enabled them to access more powerful magic.

Cephalids have a monarchic system of government ruled over by an emperor and with a strong aristocratic hierarchy.[6] They were once ruled by Emperor Aboshan, though after his demise, his estranged wife Llawan became the empress. In general, they are greedy creatures that want nothing more than power and control. Cephalids tend to be extremely cunning and manipulative, often plotting behind people's backs to climb up the social ladder. As a result, high-ranking cephalids tend to be either extremely paranoid or fall victim to assassins.

Cephalids dislike most other races, with particular hatred being reserved for air breathers, including both surface dwellers and sea mammals such as whales and seals. They also have great contempt for the sea creatures living near the bottom of the ocean. One race of creatures that do sometimes agree with them is the merfolk, though they see themselves at a higher standing after having overthrown the merfolk imperial family in the past.

Notable Cephalids[ | ]

Gallery[ | ]

Capenna[ | ]

Dominaria[ | ]

Cephalid Structures[ | ]

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (2021-01-24). "where are cephalids on the storm scale?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Mark Rosewater (February 4, 2002). "Here's Looking at You, Squid". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (November 3, 2023). "What's the likelihood of cephalids being changed to octopus?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. magic-story/what-you-expect-see-2022-03-29|What You Expect to See|Kaitlyn Zivanovich|March 29, 2022
  5. Ben Bleiweiss (February 6, 2002). "Under the Sea". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Rei Nakazawa (February 5, 2002). "Underwater and Unscrupulous". Wizards of the Coast.