|(Subtype for creature/tribal cards)|
5 cardsas of Guildpact
The five rare creatures of the cycle have different appearances; some are spirit-like, others beast-like. Each costs four mana of separate colors; the excluded color is the enemy color of the middle two colors.
- Yore-Tiller Nephilim ()
- Glint-Eye Nephilim ()
- Dune-Brood Nephilim ()
- Ink-Treader Nephilim ()
- Witch-Maw Nephilim ()
Nephilim were powerful monstrosities with limited intelligence that were venerated by the Cult of Yore, who saw them as the “Old Gods”. As such they were a symbol of the old Ravnica, before the time of the Guildpact. Unlike the created lords of the Guildpact, these entities did not make demands or accept sacrifices. They did not require or answer prayers. They were there only to humble; living, walking examples of the world's vastness, diversity, unpredictability, danger, wonder, horror, and complexity beyond comprehension.
The Nephilim were subdued thousands of years before the events of the Ravnica block, 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. Almost forgotten for 10,000 years, the return of the Nephilim was seen as a sign for change and indeed it coincided with the fall of the Guildpact at the Decamillennial. Though they defeated Niv-Mizzet, he managed to destroy two of them. The remaining three made it to the center of Ravnica City where they were eventually subdued: Rakdos defeated one of them and the last two were killed by mana explosions.
The Nephilim were the first cards printed that needed exactly four different colors to play. They were created because there was some concern in R&D that some players might not buy into the “guild thing” and they wanted to have some other cool cards for them. They ended up being not all that liked and none saw any tournament play, as their admittedly unique abilities were not seen to justify the difficulty of assembling those colors. However, as the nephilim were the only four-color cards in all of Magic until Commander 2016, there has been a persistent wish from some Commander players for R&D to issue errata for the Nephilim to make them into legendary creatures. Although Mark Rosewater admits that he should have made them legendary, R&D is unwilling to do a functional errata. Rosewater has cited the Nephilim as an example of creative design that didn't come together into a compelling whole.
- The name is taken from eponymous Hebrew biblical creatures. Nephilim is derived from the Hebrew נָפַל (singular: nephil), “those who cause others to fall”. It can also mean Giants.
- Dune-Brood Nephilim produces Sand creature tokens. The only other card producing Sand creature tokens is Hazezon Tamar from Legends.
- Dissension had two cards referring to the Nephilim: the aura Blessing of the Nephilim and the instant Might of the Nephilim.
- Dune-Brood Nephilim's art has a strong resemblance to one of Zdzisław Beksiński's Untitled paintings (Depicted here: https://www.wikiart.org/en/zdzislaw-beksinski/untitled-158)
- Cory Herndon (2006), Dissension. Wizards of the Coast.
- Matt Cavotta (February 22, 2006). "Wake Up Call". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Magic Arcana (April 03, 2006). "Guildpact Zoom-Ins". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (May 13, 2013). "Absence". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (October 27, 2016). "Will we ever see Nephilim again?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (August 10, 2018). "why is everyone so obsessed with the nephilim?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (January 15, 2012). "One point that always seems to pop up again is the Nephilim issue.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (February 29, 2012). "Could you explain how each of the Nephilim embodies "not the fifth colour"?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Wizards of the Coast (July, 2006). "Ask Wizards - July, 2006". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.