MTG Encyclopedia [Creature Types] D
Updated: Apr 6, 2021
From fire breathing lords of the skies to beings of pure hatred and malice, the multiverse is populated by many fantastic creatures and Races. You may set out to new worlds all the time adventurer but I can guess you have not encountered them all. Which is where I come in. Welcome to the Encyclopedia series, A series where we will take a closer look at each and every Race within Magic the Gathering, continuing with the letter D. In this article you will learn of beings who represent the soul of the forest, and of tormented creatures driven mad in the shadows between worlds.
The Dauthi are a race pulled from their home during the Planeshift caused by the Phyrexians, they now dwell in the space between Rath and Dominaria called the Shadows. The first Dauthi to be printed was the card Dauthi Ghoul in Tempest. It was printed in Black which would be the case for all Dauthi in the future. These twisted, jagged wretches didn't always look this way, it was the time spent in the shadows that have turned their bodies into horrific shapes and have done worse to their minds. Before the Planeshift and before their life between worlds, they did live on the plane of Dominaria for many generations, but it is said they weren't any less violent than they are now. In those lost years the Dauthi were constantly at war with the Soltari, beings of light, and were driven only by a ceaseless hatred for those benevolent beings. The years of fighting finally culminated into one large-scale battle, but during this fight, the Planeshift happened and both races were sucked away by a black hole, never to see their home again. As for the Dauthi they were stuck between worlds in what is known as the shadows, as for the Soltari, well that's a tale for another video. It has been said that sometimes the Dauthi can reach into Dominria and grab an unsuspecting victim into the Shadows to rip them apart. These tales have been told either to frighten or warn I can not tell which but they are worth heeding. There isn't much good that can be said about the Dauthi, they are pure insanity and horror given shape and I can only think of one other race that breeds more nightmares, the phyrexians.
Demigods are humans who have been bestowed power from Gods and are a recent addition to the multiverse, having only been introduced in Theros Beyond Death. The Demigods are a cycle of five cards, one for each of the colors of Magic. These half celestial half-human beings were chosen as a result of the war that broke out between the gods on the plane of Theros. Heliod, insecure about his place in the Pantheon, raised the hero Daxos so that he may destroy the temples of the other gods. As a result, each of the other Gods called upon their own champions to fight on their behalf. These five demi-gods were either brought back to life or chosen from existing heroes. The first, Anax, was once the Ruler of Akros, now he does the bidding of Perpheros. Callaphe, the great mariner and adventurer, caught the attention of Thassa long ago with her exploits, but now that war has broken out, she has been returned to life to sail once again. Daxos, once a proud warrior of Meletis, died at the hands of his lover Elspeth. But, due to a deal made, he wandered Theros as a returned until the day he was cleansed and made a demigod. Renata, the Famed Huntress gained the favor of Nissa long ago and she was her first choice going into this conflict. Tymaret, leader of the more violent returned and of the Polies of Odunos, often raids Human settlements and by his hands, many souls have been sent to Erebos. These eternal beings are a representation of the gods that chose them, with Nyx sparkling across their skin the power they hold won't go unnoticed.
Exemplifying all that is darkness and evil are the demons of Magic the gathering. The first Demons were the cards Demonic horde and Lord of the Pit which was both printed in Alpha. It may come as no surprise that most demons are Black aligned creatures, and this is no mistake. You see Demons are Black mana in its purest form coalesced on each plane. They are selfish greedy creatures who seek power in any form, whether that be land, slaves, or magical relics. They are sadistic beings of hatred, who only live to inflict suffering on those unfortunate enough to fall into their grasp. In the end, their only motivation is to consume for both pleasure and power. They are the exact antithesis of Angels, who themselves are White mana given form. This extends past the mana that makes them and into how they look, as angels are typically soft kind females while Demons are predominantly jagged violent males. There are many horrific creatures in Magic the Gathering and yet Demons are unmistakable and wholly their own. With their large wings and sharp jagged horns, the fear they sow in those that witness them will forever leave a mark. Interestingly enough there were no demons printed after 1995, due to the fearsome parents had over demonic imagery at the time, alongside other games like D&D. Even though the religious nuts tried to put a stop to the Demons of the Multiverse this creature type would eventually make a return in 2002 with the card Grinning Demon. Now that they have made a return we have seen Demons in almost every plane we have visited. So now that you are aware of their presence adventurer don't let them get a hold of you, because death will seem kinder than the suffering that they would inflict.
With Demons covered I think it's best to move onto devils, who may seem similar at first glance yet have a different purpose and composition. For one these Primarily red-aligned creatures are not nearly as powerful or large as demons, in fact, these little deviants are usually the minions of Demons. The first Devil to be printed was the card Stone Throwing Devils and would dictate their mischievous nature from then on. You see while demons wish to accrue power and control, Devils on the other hand simply live to cause hell. Only acting on whatever twisted thought comes to their vile brain. They don't have any lofty ambitions they just wish to cause as much trouble as possible. Devils are usually quite tiny with blood-red skin and an affinity for arson, so treat these little bastards like the vermin they are as they will only spread chaos wherever they go.
Even though technically the first dinosaur was the card Fungasaur in Alpha, most dinosaurs were given the type lizard or even beast up until recently when we arrived on the Plane of Ixilan. A Plane loaded to brim with dinosaur life. The Dinosaurs of Ixalan are distinct from any other dinosaurs of the multiverse as they are all covered in large colorful feathers that are vibrant reds and blue. Now due to the fact that these creatures can be found in any habitat, they don't really have a solid color identity, but we do see certain types of dinosaurs in specific colors more often. For instance, in red, you'll mostly see creatures that resemble a T-rex or a raptor. On the other hand in white, you'll see the most flying pterodactyls or Triceratops. Now It shouldn't really have to be said adventurer, but it's always better to give Dinosaurs their space and for god's sake don't put them all into one park.
The mystical Djinn are beings of pure and raw magic, found most in blue or red mana. Most Djinn has the unfortunate luck of being entrapped by powerful Mages into a variety of different objects. These Djinn are often used as powerful servants, so perhaps this is where the wish giving aspect of their lore has come from. Just because these Djinn have been made into servants doesn't mean they spend the rest of their existence bound to a master. The Djinn will look for any opening to escape this fate, so any mage brazen enough to keep a Djinn for themselves must always be on guard. The first Djinn to be printed was the card Mahomati Djinn in Alpha and represents the typical version of these mysterious beings. The Djinn aren't always made into slaves on every Plane. In fact, there are those that live free and even those who have never known a master and in fact are masters themselves, such as the Djinn of Tarkir. These special Djinns live in the highest mountains and because of their agile bodies and timeless age they have become martial masters and in turn, mentor those of the Jeskai way. Whether they be slaves or masters, the Djinn are not to be underestimated as their magical ability or martial prowess are beyond any humans.
Possibly the most iconic creature type across any fantasy medium is the dragon and Magic the Gathering is no different. Starting with the first Dragons to be printed, Dragon whelp and Shivan dragon in Alpha. We have seen these magnificent creatures on almost every single plane we have visited. Now while the image of a dragon is something we can call to mind, with its gargantuan lizard-like body and massive wings, they are actually quite diverse. From plane to plane and even from one dragon to another they all look and act quite different. Sure there are those with their red scaly skin and long necks who breathe fire, but this isn't the template for all dragons. Their size, temperament, intelligence, and overall design make it so no two dragons look the same or have the same ideals. Take for instance the pure evil destruction of the Hellkite overlord, the intelligence and imagination of Niv-Mizzet, or the Dark mysterious enigma of Kokusho. It starts to become evident the range and diversity that I am talking about. Even the iconic fire breathing isn't even common across all breeds, some spit lightning, acid, or even pure light itself. The Dragons of the multiverse are magnificent creatures that inspire awe and folk tales wherever they roam. Often the Dragon is the master of any Plane that they call home.
The Drake is to the Dragon as the devil is to the demon. It is far smaller, less intelligent, and far more single-minded than the dragon. These slender reptilians with leathery wings are a lot more like an animal than a dragon, in fact, most don't even have elemental breath, instead hunt with claw and fang. The first drake to be printed was the card azure drake in legends and to further drive the split between drake and dragon would be printed in blue as would be the majority of drakes printed thereafter. One of the primary ways to tell a drake from a dragon, in most cases, is the fact that drakes don't have any forearms and are a lot more similar to a bird in this way. The drake may be small but this doesn't mean they aren't dangerous. These capable hunters, with their swift bodies, can dive in and kill their prey as soon as you hear their screech on the wind.
The drone is an interesting case, in that when you picture one you don't imagine flesh. While some are fully mechanical most are either only partially so or not at all. The first Drone to be printed was a group of three cards who are all half machine and half flesh printed in the set Mirrodan. These first drones were created by the Vedalkin to serve as guards, sentries, and soldiers. While not all drones would follow their look or makeup, their role as menial workers for a more intelligent being would be a common theme. Take for instance the Eldrazi drones. These drones resemble the Eldrazi titan that spawned them and act as an extension of their master. Simply put a drone is an artificially created servant.
Elves may be close to the forests of the multiverse but it is Dryad's that are one with them. This green aligned race is said to hear the call of the woods and speak to the trees themselves, even going as far as melding with those same trees. Now while some Dryads look human or elf-like, many of them mimic the trees they call family. Many Dryads have green skin adorned with leaves, while others even resemble a tree entirely. Like the first Dryad to be printed Shanodin Dryad in Alpha. We see here a womanly figure, which is common among most dryads, that is mixed with that of a tree. Dryads are peaceful by nature but they will still go to great lengths to protect what they hold dear. So mark my words don't light a fire in any forest a Dryad calls home.
The Dwarf may be stout folk with nice beards and a pension for crafting, but the similarities between them all stop there. Just like humans Dwarfs vary depending on their home and its culture. Not all of them are the small angry little alcoholics that you might imagine, even though that's how they were first represented in Magic the Gathering. Beginning with the first two cards, the Red aligned Dwarven Demolition Team and Dwarven warriors in Alpha. I think the difference between Dwarves is best illustrated in the ones who call Kaladesh home. These White aligned Dwarves don't spend their time inside mountains digging away, instead, they craft technological marvels within grand cities. Now on the other end of the spectrum, we have a completely different Dwarf in the Duergers of Lorwyn and Shadowmore. These Dwarves are as dumb and ugly as they are Greedy. So don't make too many assumptions when encountering a Dwarf on a new Plane Adventurer. But none the less when talking about Dwarves I'm always reminded of the old proverb “A Dwarf is like a hammer they may be hard-headed but they always get the job done.”
Thanks for checking out my latest encyclopedia entry Traveler. Let me know what your favorite Race or Creature Type was or even what surprised you most about one of them. Give this article a heart if you did enjoy It and subscribe for more content just like this. With that, I'll catch you in the multiverse bye!