A creature subtype, or creature type, is any subtype used for the further classification of creatures, both cards and tokens. Historically, creature type was simply for purposes relating to flavor; however, as distant as Fallen Empires, creature types have had thematic and mechanistic purposes too.
Originally, in Limited Edition Alpha, creature types were largely for flavor-related reasons. This was continued until Fallen Empires, when creatures types had in-game mechanical implications. The first block in which creature types mattered was Tempest, particularly via the Licids and Slivers, both of which creature types shared a mechanical identity among its creature cards. Masques block revisited this, albeit with Spellshapers; Odyssey block, with its pre-tribal tribal cards; Onslaught block, with its tribal cards; Time Spiral block and Lorwyn–Shadowmoor block, with their Tribal supertype cards.
Following Lorwyn–Shadowmoor block, no other block would feature the Tribal supertype, and following expansions and non-expansion sets would continue to feature creature types for purposes other than flavor.
Grand Creature Type Update
It was concurrent with Mirrodin's design that the creative team managed to convince R&D that the race/class system needed to be adopted. Before that time, creatures had one creature type. Sometimes, it was merely a race; other times, it was merely a class. The race/class system was designed to help align Magic with many other fantasy-based games. Along with the race/class model, the Human subtype was introduced. At that time, it was an open question whether creature types on existing cards should be changed. In the end the decision was made in favor of having consistent creature types in the core set (Ninth Edition). The final step was made with the Grand Creature Type Update, as part of the regular Oracle update for Lorwyn.
Notably, Nameless Race has neither race nor class, and some creature cards, such as Nameless One, Adarkar Sentinel, and Aesthir Glider, lack one or the other. Certain Phyrexian cards from the expansion Mirrodin Besieged do not have a race either (e.g., Priests of Norn and Tormentor Exarch); the rationale for which being these creatures are so far modified and removed from any race to be identifiable. In retrospect, Mark Rosewater has stated that it would have been profitable to have introduced the Phyrexian creature type, which would encompass many creatures that are now Horrors, Zombies, Carriers.
List of creature types
List of obsolete creature types
- ↑ Aaron Forsythe. (July 16, 2004.) "Classifying Samite Healer", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Mark Gottlieb. (September 26, 2007.) "Lorwyn Update Bulletin", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- ↑ Magic: The Gathering Comprehensive Rules. July 11, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2013.
- MTG Glossary: "Creature Type"
- Mark Rosewater. (November 18, 2002.) "Beast of Show", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (September 10, 2004.) "Legendary Rules Changes", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Gottlieb. (September 26, 2007.) "The Grand Creature Type Update", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Gottlieb. (January 16, 2008.) "Morningtide Update Bulletin", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Dave Guskin. (February 19, 2008.) "The Creature Type Web", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (January 21, 2008.) "The Amazing Race/Class", Daily MTG, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
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