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By: Kumagoro42, Gianluca Aicardi
Nov 05 2014 12:00pm
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I love this game. I love writing about it. Compiling lists about it. Evaluating it. Sometimes, I even play it. I'm an Accidental Player.

 Insect: one of the largest yet least considered tribes in Magic: The Gathering. Since Legends' Carrion Ants, Emerald Dragonfly and Killer Bees, the very first Insects in the game (although Ice Age's Flow of Maggots and Yavimaya Gnats are actually the first creatures to have the word "Insect" in the type line, before the older ones would be re-categorized during the Grand Creature Type Update in 2007, along with the legendary Legend Xira Arien), Magic has featured all kinds of crawling and swarming little critters, especially in green and black, as those three precursors already prove: real life insects happily dwell into forests and swamps, after all.

 Over the years, the imagination of the Magic designers has come up with 133 different creatures that today go under the Insect moniker, representing a large range of arthropods of all forms, sizes, and purposes (the phylum is also covered by their cousins the Spiders, as brilliantly reported by Adam_the_Mentat in his recent article). New Insects are printed pretty much in every block, and will certainly keep coming. That's not surprising, since, like Wikipedia teaches us, the Insects are "among the most diverse groups of animals on the planet", and represent "more than half of all known living organisms".

 Insects are also typically seen as gross, disgusting, and scary, especially when they grow too much. But also puny and expendable, which is maybe the reason why they're not so popular in the world of the Magic tribes. They're not just throwaway creature slots, though, as they can hide a few chitinous gems among their ranks. So, if you feel something creeping up your neck, don't crush it just yet: it might be your next winning play!

 To celebrate the Insects' way of life, here's a complete dissection of all the available specimens. And to keep with the subject, the entries of the Entomopedia will be alphabetical but... diminutive.


 1. Acridian
 Specimen: Acridian
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Saga
 Characteristics: Fast, resilient, a good early presence, although echo can disrupt your most immediate plan for the next turn.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 2. Ant Queen
 Specimen: Ant Queen
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Magic 2010
 Characteristics: Solid midrange beater most notable to be one of the best swarm producers in the game, of Sliver Queen level (but, you know, not requiring 5 colors).
 Food Chain Position: High

 3. Arcbound Stinger
 Specimen: Arcbound Stinger
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Darksteel
 Characteristics: Semi-irrelevant, albeit evasive modular dude.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 4. Army Ants
 Specimen: Army Ants
 Coloration: Black/Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Visions
 Characteristics: Dust Bowl on a stick, even free from nonbasic restrictions. Too slow and fragile for a Legacy environment, it would probably be too strong for Modern.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 5. Bane of the Living
 Specimen: Bane of the Living
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legions
 Characteristics: A Mutilate kind of effect that doubles as beater in a pinch; good in general, invaluable in Insect builds.
 Food Chain Position: High

 6. Barbed Shocker
 Specimen: Barbed Shocker
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Time Spiral
 Characteristics: Scientists are still unsure of the applications of a one-sided pseudo-Winds of Change, but it's something that's been in the DNA of red Insects since a while. See also: Shocker, Robber Fly. As the latest in the series, Barbed Shocker adds haste, which probably helps the plan a bit.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 7. Bayou Dragonfly
 Specimen: Bayou Dragonfly
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Tempest
 Characteristics: Insects allow for some of the rare instances of green flyers. Being also a swampwalker doesn't change the fact that you're worse than Scryb Sprites.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 8.
 Specimen: Beetleform Mage
 Coloration: Blue/Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Dragon's Maze
 Characteristics: A dual-colored Gray Ogre that can turn into an Air Elemental with a 2-mana activation. Not a terrible idea, but not really useful either.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 9. Blister Beetle
 Specimen: Blister Beetle
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Shards of Alara
 Characteristics: Simple, basic removal. Quick and clean, tiny vs. tiny. Good for recursion, too. Not as good as Necropede, though.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 10. Bond Beetle
 Specimen: Bond Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Magic 2013
 Characteristics: As fastest as an Insect can drop, giving you either a toughness of 2, that's apt to stop important early threats like Goblin Lackey, or later on, an expendable body plus a boost to a comrade that's higher on the food chain.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 11. Brain Maggot
 Specimen: Brain Maggot
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Journey into Nyx
 Characteristics: The Insect's own Tidehollow Sculler, with a reduced color requirement, to boot. Always useful to pack disruption.
 Food Chain Position: High

 12. Brain Weevil
 Specimen: Brain Weevil
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Innistrad
 Characteristics: Could have been interesting as a generic body with a Mind Rot grafted on it, but it's too slow and its board presence too irrelevant. And you don't really have to wait the right, late-game moment to cast Mind Rot.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 13. Brass Gnat
 Specimen: Brass Gnat
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Time Spiral
 Characteristics: Colorless Scryb Sprites with Brass Man downside. Not very compelling.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 14. Brood of Cockroaches
 Specimen: Brood of Cockroaches
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Visions
 Characteristics: A shoot at infinite recursion (or at least as long as you have life and mana) is always good for sacrifice shenanigans, or even just as a pesky roadblock, although that merely translates into "2: Regenerate Brood of Cockroaches". Perfect flavor, by the way.
 Food Chain Position: High

 15. Broodhatch Nantuko
 Specimen: Broodhatch Nantuko
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Onslaught
 Characteristics: The surprisingly scariest blocker of the Insect tribe. At least until Hornet Nest was printed.
 Food Chain Position: High

 16. Carrion Ants
 Specimen: Carrion Ants
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legends
 Characteristics: Too slow and fragile to be good, and only decent if you generate a huge quantity of colorless mana for some reason (in which case, you might want to use that mana for something that's not a 0/1 on its own).
 Food Chain Position: Low

 17. Carrion Beetles
 Specimen: Carrion Beetles
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Saga
 Characteristics: A pretty solid graveyard hater, probably not used much only because there are better, faster options like Withered Wretch and Scavenging Ooze.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 18. Caustic Crawler
 Specimen: Caustic Crawler
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Worldwake
 Characteristics: Not a bad design, but an underpowered one: casting cost too high, or toughness too low, or both.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 19. Caustic Wasps
 Specimen: Caustic Wasps
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: It's not the fastest at what it does, but what it does is repeated artifact destruction via flyer, a la Trygon Predator, which is nothing to sneeze at.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 20. Cavern Crawler
 Specimen: Cavern Crawler
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: A stricly worse Colos Yearling. 'Nuff said.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 21. Clickslither
 Specimen: Clickslither
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legions
 Characteristics: A bizarre Insect that acts like a Dragon: flies, attacks right away, eats Goblins, requires a severe amount of red mana. Not exactly bad in the right deck (it might even become a one-guy-alpha-strike out of the blue), but it's hard to see how the right deck is a deck that most people would play.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 22. Clockwork Beetle
 Specimen: Clockwork Beetle
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mirrodin
 Characteristics: A 1-drop 2/2 with a rapid expiration date. Not exactly bad, but mostly outclassed in any artifact deck, and mostly irrelevant elsewhere.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 23. Clockwork Swarm
 Specimen: Clockwork Swarm
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Homelands
 Characteristics: One of those old-time monstrosities with a ton of unnecessary rules, that in the end fail at almost everything they try to do. And the art depicts flyers, for God's sake, not "wall-walkers".
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 24. Coiling Woodworm
 Specimen: Coiling Woodworm
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Nemesis
 Characteristics: Not very appealing variant on the "forests matter" mechanic. When this was printed, Dungrove Elder didn't exist yet. Then again, now it does.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 25.
 Specimen: Deadbridge Goliath
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Return to Ravnica
 Characteristics: Back in the time, everyone was crazy for Juzam Djinn. Nowadays, a 5/5 for 4, with no downsides and a useful ability to boot, is merely good. This doesn't change that the Goliath is indeed good, though.
 Food Chain Position: High

 26. Deadly Grub
 Specimen: Deadly Grub
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Planar Chaos
 Characteristics: Mostly nice for flavor, as the larva of Deadly Insect (see right below). What makes this a failure is that you don't get to block with it, so your Deadly Insect actually arrives later than if you would just wait and hardcast it.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 27. Deadly Insect
 Specimen: Deadly Insect
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Alliances
 Characteristics: This is the living testament of why shroud was ultimately replaced by hexproof. If they can't target your midrange beater, but they can trade it away with literally anything, and you can't do nothing about it, its strengths are vastly reduced. Still, it's good in a deck that manages to keep the opponent board clean somehow.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 28. Devouring Swarm
 Specimen: Devouring Swarm
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Magic 2012
 Characteristics: This is Nantuko Husk (see below) with a Bloodthrone Vampire boost level, but as a flyer. Nantuko Husk was a star once. Someone should give this variant a chance.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 29. Dross Hopper
 Specimen: Dross Hopper
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Scars of Mirrodin
 Characteristics: Now, no, this is definitely not as interesting as Devouring Swarm.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 30. Drudge Beetle
 Specimen: Drudge Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Return to Ravnica
 Characteristics: Grizzly Bears that you can scavenge later. So strictly better Grizzly Bears. Just for that, it deserves a modicum of respect.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 31. Duct Crawler
 Specimen: Duct Crawler
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Stronghold
 Modern Habitat: Tenth Edition
 Characteristics: In order to make that ability matter, you'd need to beef Duct Crawler up a little. But that ability would still not matter enough to warrant the effort.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 32.
 Specimen: Emerald Dragonfly
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Legends (MTGO: Extraneous)
 Characteristics: One of the oldest Insects in existence is a Scryb Sprites "improvement" where you pay 1 mana more and you can actually block and kill Scryb Sprites for 2 mana. As silly as it sounds, it's still one of those elusive green flyers.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 33. Endless Cockroaches
 Specimen: Endless Cockroaches
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Portal
 Characteristics: Reprinted in Commander 2013, these cockroaches were actually a Portal card, therefore just a few months younger than the original Brood of Cockroaches from Visions. They lose the life loss but they cost 1 mana more, which makes harder to recast them multiple times per turn (the other cockroaches even costs only 1 mana under Jet Medallion; these can't even profit from the presence of multiple medallions).
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 34. Ferropede
 Specimen: Ferropede
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Fifth Dawn
 Characteristics: Very very situational creature, but what it does is more or less unique. And it's an unblockable guy for a decent cost with no color requirements.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 35. Fire Ants
 Specimen: Fire Ants
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Urza's Saga
 Characteristics: The best red Insect. Repeatable Tremor for free is a strong ability, and otherwise these ants bring 2 powers to the table, all for a reasonable 3 mana. Great interaction with Hornet Nest, too.
 Food Chain Position: High

 36. Firefly
 Specimen: Firefly
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Tempest
 Characteristics: Overcosted firebreather. Or underpowered Dragon Whelp.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 37. Flameborn Viron
 Specimen: Flameborn Viron
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: New Phyrexia
 Characteristics: So, the Insects have a red Craw Wurm. Eh.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 38.
 Specimen: Flow of Maggots
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Ice Age (MTGO: Extraneous)
 Characteristics: This card teaches us that the maggots can creep under walls. But they have to constantly pay them, with an increasing interest rate, or they'll bail. Hey, they're maggots, after all, of course they're vile!
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 39. Fog of Gnats
 Specimen: Fog of Gnats
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Legacy
 Characteristics: A slightly slower Will-o'-the-Wisp. Still potentially useful, in a pinch.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 40. Giant Adephage
 Specimen: Giant Adephage
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Mythic Rare
 Original Habitat: Gatecrash
 Characteristics: One of the only two Mythic Insects. The geometric populate effect is certainly Mythic-worthy, and trample on a big body makes reasonably easy to achieve the swarming goal. The only problem is that for 7 mana you can probably find a safer finisher. But this is a fun one, and after all, they only nullify it if they have a removal right away.
 Food Chain Position: High

 41. Giant Ambush Beetle
 Specimen: Giant Ambush Beetle
 Coloration: Black/Red/Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Alara Reborn
 Characteristics: This beetle tries to function as a surrogate removal, but it's not really a guarantee, while its fragility and color requirements don't play in its favor.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 42. Giant Caterpillar
 Specimen: Giant Caterpillar
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Visions
 Characteristics: That effect would be great, other than flavorful, if it wasn't placed on a Hill Giant. Which also requires a 5th free mana if you want to do a "block and sacrifice" trick right away.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 43. Giant Cockroach
 Specimen: Giant Cockroach
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Legacy
 Modern Habitat: Eighth Edition
 Characteristics: Total filler. As appealing as a real cockroach, yet not as powerful.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 44. Giant Dustwasp
 Specimen: Giant Dustwasp
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Planar Chaos
 Characteristics: The only reason to play this thing is if you suspend it, but then I don't really know that there's value in wasting your second turn to have a 3/3 flyer on your sixth.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 45. Giant Mantis
 Specimen: Giant Mantis
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mirage
 Characteristics: The Insect's own Giant Spider. That's all this is.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 46. Giant Solifuge
 Specimen: Giant Solifuge
 Coloration: Red/Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Guildpact
 Characteristics: Did you notice how a lot of the "giant" Insects are actually more fragile than the regular ones? Has it something to do with the mass? Anyway, this is a Deadly Insect variant, with trample and haste, but reduced power, for 1 mana less. Still sort of meh.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 47. Gigapede
 Specimen: Gigapede
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Onslaught
 Characteristics: Now, Gigapede is a strictly better Deadly Insect if there's one. And despite the fact that recurring a 6-powered shroud guy may have its value, what Gigapede does best is giving you a stealth discard outlet. Sometimes, reanimator decks can use a 1-of Gigapede to fetch and solve their "fattie stuck in hand" problems.
 Food Chain Position: High

 48. Gleancrawler
 Specimen: Gleancrawler
 Coloration: Black/Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Ravnica: City of Guilds
 Characteristics: Gleancrawler is a cool creature, even if probably one that's always going to lose the comparison with other Titan-mana options. Still, it's a powerful body that enables sacrifice shenanigans. You can even fetch it via Natural Order and immediately get the sacrificed creature back!
 Food Chain Position: High

 49. Goldenglow Moth
 Specimen: Goldenglow Moth
 Coloration: White
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Shadowmoor
 Characteristics: This moth, one of only two monowhite Insects (the other one still being a moth), is essentially a way to gain 4+ life for 1 mana, which makes it not that bad in conservative builds. And 1-drop flyers should never be underestimated, because they can become a threat later on.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 50. Golgari Longlegs
 Specimen: Golgari Longlegs
 Coloration: Black/Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Return to Ravnica
 Characteristics: The Insect's own Fire Elemental.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 51. Goliath Beetle
 Specimen: Goliath Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Destiny
 Characteristics: Filler, filler, filler.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 52. Grave-Shell Scarab
 Specimen: Grave-Shell Scarab
 Coloration: Black/Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Ravnica: City of Guilds
 Characteristics: There's definitely better dredge enablers around (1 is really a poor dredge value), which is why you don't see this one often, but within tamer, more casual dredge builds, this is actually a nice 4/4 body that draws you a card and then come back without milling too much. For the more cautious dredgers.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 53. Gust-Skimmer
 Specimen: Gust-Skimmer
 Coloration:
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mirrodin Besieged
 Characteristics: A little colorless Insect that turns into a flyer with blue mana. All in all, insignificant.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 54. Hawkeater Moth
 Specimen: Hawkeater Moth
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Urza's Saga
 Characteristics: A seriously overcosted shroud flyer.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 55. Heartstabber Mosquito
 Specimen: Heartstabber Mosquito
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Zendikar
 Characteristics: Unconditional killing in black is great, but for 7 mana, eh.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 56. Hex Parasite
 Specimen: Hex Parasite
 Coloration:
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: New Phyrexia
 Characteristics: Hex Parasite might look unassuming, but it's actually a powerhouse, capable of obliterating planeswalkers, resetting dangerous Ascensions, or enabling suicide shenanigans (since it actually inflicts any amount of damage to you for free, thanks to its Phyrexian nature and the power of X=0).
 Food Chain Position: High

 57.
 Specimen: Highspire Mantis
 Coloration: White/Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Khans of Tarkir
 Characteristics: The Insect's color-shifted Assault Zeppelid (from Simic to Boros). Not that Assault Zeppelid is this good or anything. Or at least, it sort of is in pauper, but unfortunately, this mantis is uncommon.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 58. Hornet Nest
 Specimen: Hornet Nest
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Magic 2015
 Characteristics: Chump-blocking never felt so good. Ditto for finding ways to damage your own creatures.
 Food Chain Position: High

 59. Hornet Queen
 Specimen: Hornet Queen
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Commander
 Modern Habitat: Magic 2015
 Characteristics: Hornet Queen is very likely the strongest Insect ever printed so far, just like the Hornet token is a serious contender for the title of most powerful token in the game, or at least most versatile. The queen and her court can swing for 6 in the air (and easily for another 5 via any +1/+1 enhancement, from Oran-Rief, the Vastwood to Gavony Township), trade with essentially anything, while recurring the queen is the best board refiller deal you can get. Also, Purphoros loves to be bothered by buzzing hornets, as you can see here and here. This is the kind of fattie investment that is hard to see go to waste.
 Food Chain Position: Top

 60. Invader Parasite
 Specimen: Invader Parasite
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: New Phyrexia
 Characteristics: As a land destroyer, it's slower than Avalanche Riders, and the potential damage is really unlikely (unless you used it to kill a basic land while playing against a monocolored deck). It skips the echo cost, though, and gets 1 power more. Still not as good as the Riders, but respectable.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 61. Invasive Species
 Specimen: Invasive Species
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Magic 2015
 Characteristics: A 3/3 for 3 is not a bad deal to start with, and if your deck wants to re-utilize creatures with ETB effects, there you are, a decent enough dude is born.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 62. Ironshell Beetle
 Specimen: Ironshell Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Judgment
 Characteristics: The precursor to Bond Beetle, which I guess can be seen as a Grizzly Bears in most situations. The only really interesting aspect of its descendant is the fact that it's a 1-drop, though.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 63. Jagwasp Swarm
 Specimen: Jagwasp Swarm
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Worldwake
 Characteristics: Worse than those 4-mana flyers mentioned elsewhere, and that were already bad.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 64. Jhoira's Timebug
 Specimen: Jhoira's Timebug
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Time Spiral
 Characteristics: A specialized fella, more likely meant to be used with suspended cards (as its mistress's talents suggest). If your strategy is very committed to suspend, the Timebug might have a place among your cards.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 65. Jhoira's Toolbox
 Specimen: Jhoira's Toolbox
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Urza's Legacy
 Characteristics: So, in the old days before she got her own card, Jhoira was less interested in the flux of time, and more in just creating resilient trinkets. How disappointing. Besides, this can't be really called a "toolbox": it only does ONE thing!
 Food Chain Position: Low

 66. Killer Bees
 Specimen: Killer Bees
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legends
 Characteristics: The ancient, semi-respected green boostable flyer. It's very hard to exploit, but it does what's said on the label.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 67.  
 Specimen: Kraul Warrior
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Dragon's Maze
 Characteristics: One is forced to call this a strictly better Grizzly Bears, even if the amount of improvement from that ability is really minuscule.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 68. Lithophage
 Specimen: Lithophage
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: Sure, I would happily sacrifice mountains to have a 7/7 vanilla for 5. Where do I sign?
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 69. Living Hive
 Specimen: Living Hive
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Mirrodin
 Characteristics: Living Hive is one of those powerful fatties that can achieve inevitability if let unattended, but you will always find something safer for their cost or the resources/tricks they require to reach the battlefield. It's a pity, though, because swarming the board with a ton of tiny insects is really cool.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 70. Locust Swarm
 Specimen: Locust Swarm
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Mirage
 Characteristics: You can add all the additional abilities you want: a 4-mana 1/1 will still remain overcosted.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 71. Mantis Engine
 Specimen: Mantis Engine
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Urza's Destiny
 Modern Habitat: Tenth Edition
 Characteristics: Why in the hell should a 3/3 that requires mana to do something (and doesn't do much even in that case) cost 5 freaking mana?
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 72. Marker Beetles
 Specimen: Marker Beetles
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Destiny
 Characteristics: Marker Beetles gives you a card and a +1/+1 counter for 2, which is nice, but it's originally a 2/3 for 3, which is subpar, and the whole process is a little too clunky to compare to, say, Yavimaya Elder.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 73. Mind Maggots
 Specimen: Mind Maggots
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Exodus
 Characteristics: I will go out on a limb and say that there's got to be a better way to dump your handful of creatures into the graveyard.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 74. Moldgraf Monstrosity
 Specimen: Moldgraf Monstrosity
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Innistrad
 Characteristics: Moldgraf Monstrosity is one of those fatties (like Living Hive) that you really want to like and break, but at the end of the day, as cool as their effects are (and a 8/8 trample that resurrects 2 creatures when it dies is, indeed, cool), upon closer examination, their cost/odds to deliver ratio will never warrant a serious, non-casual try.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 75. Monstrous Carabid
 Specimen: Monstrous Carabid
 Coloration: Black/Red
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Alara Reborn
 Characteristics: Monstrous Carabid would be totally irrelevant if it didn't have cycling. But having cycling is what makes it perfect for Living End decks. And pretty much nothing else.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 76. Moonwing Moth
 Specimen: Moonwing Moth
 Coloration: White
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Saviors of Kamigawa
 Characteristics: The other monowhite Insect, along with Goldenglow Moth, but not as good, because this is just a Limited fodder flyer.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 77. Mortician Beetle
 Specimen: Mortician Beetle
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Rise of the Eldrazi
 Characteristics: For just 1 mana, Mortician Beetle gives you an interesting ability, parasiting any sacrifice routine you might have going on in your deck due to fellow Insects like Brood of Cockroaches or Nantuko Husk (or much more, in non-Insect builds). That still doesn't make it an immediately useful 1-drop, though, and probably becomes worth of an inclusion only in very dedicated builds that have some nearly-infinite combo around the corner.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 78. Mortipede
 Specimen: Mortipede
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Ravnica: City of Guilds
 Characteristics: Very slow surrogate removal / alpha strike enabler.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 79. Nantuko Blightcutter
 Specimen: Nantuko Blightcutter
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Torment
 Characteristics: The humanoid Nantukos from Odyssey block became very involved in the threshold mechanic during Torment. Blightcutter is a forgettable black hater, only good at very specific board statuses, and not warranting a sideboard slot in any format where a sideboard is allowed.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 80. Nantuko Calmer
 Specimen: Nantuko Calmer
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Torment
 Characteristics: Pretty terrible, molasses-speed enchantment killer.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 81. Nantuko Cultivator
 Specimen: Nantuko Cultivator
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Torment
 Characteristics: There's a deck that fills your hand with lands where this guy is actually semi-decent. But you'll probably never bother to find out.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 82. Nantuko Disciple
 Specimen: Nantuko Disciple
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Odyssey
 Modern Habitat: Eighth Edition
 Characteristics: For some reason, most of the Nantukos do useful stuff but in the "too little, too late" range.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 83. Nantuko Elder
 Specimen: Nantuko Elder
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Odyssey
 Characteristics: The Insect's own Fyndhorn Elder, except with 1 more toughness and 1 colorless mana rather than green. It can be useful, on occasions.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 84. Nantuko Husk
 Specimen: Nantuko Husk
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Onslaught
 Modern Habitat: Ninth Edition
 Characteristics: The glory days of Nantuko Husk are gone, but a Gray Ogre that gives itself +2/+2 for each creature you sacrifice is still pretty good. Free sac outlets always need to be properly evaluated, since many are the shenanigans that require moving stuff to the graveyard, but the trick only works if you don't have to tap or pay anything to do it.
 Food Chain Position: High

 85. Nantuko Mentor
 Specimen: Nantuko Mentor
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Odyssey
 Characteristics: Once again, a clunky, too expensive Nantuko that tries to do something good in a bad way.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 86. Nantuko Shade
 Specimen: Nantuko Shade
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Torment
 Modern Habitat: Magic 2011
 Characteristics: It's an Insect but it's also a Shade, and Shades are beaters that pumps their stats for black mana. And what do you know, Nantuko Shade is actually the first and still foremost of its genre.
 Food Chain Position: High

 87. Nantuko Shaman
 Specimen: Nantuko Shaman
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Time Spiral
 Characteristics: The idea of a 4-mana decent body that draws you a card by coming via suspend isn't bad. Unfortunately, Masked Admirers is essentially the same thing, but one turn earlier and with built-in recursion.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 88. Nantuko Tracer
 Specimen: Nantuko Tracer
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Judgment
 Characteristics: It's a not very reliable way to hose reanimation or flashback, but that's still worth something, and at least it doesn't cost much and comes with a sizeable double-point power.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 89. Nantuko Vigilante
 Specimen: Nantuko Vigilante
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Legions
 Characteristics: Nantuko Vigilante is among the most useful of the old-generation morphers; once you set him up, he'll be ready to cast a Naturalize when it's needed, and then you'll get a 3/2 body, which makes for a relevant presence on the board.
 Food Chain Position: High

 90. Necropede
 Specimen: Necropede
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Scars of Mirrodin
 Characteristics: For 2 mana, the -1/-1 counter of Necropede is surprisingly powerful, particularly because it's paired with its infect ability, that contains wither, making you able to chump-block and kill a 2-powered enemy, or cripple a larger creature, or even go 2-for-1 on occasions. And there are many ways to recur an artifact, you know.
 Food Chain Position: High

 91. Needlebug
 Specimen: Needlebug
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Mirrodin
 Characteristics: The two abilities are both cool, but for 4 mana on a 2/2 body? Eh, maybe not.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 92. Nullmage Advocate
 Specimen: Nullmage Advocate
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Judgment
 Characteristics: This has to be the most drastic way ever conceived to kill an artifact or enchantment. The comical thing is that after you kill a first target, the second target has a good chance to bring the former back into your opponent's hand. It's like digging holes to fill them back.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 93. Perilous Shadow
 Specimen: Perilous Shadow
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Return to Ravnica
 Characteristics: A worse, defensive Nantuko Shade variant.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 94. Pestilent Souleater
 Specimen: Pestilent Souleater
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: New Phyrexia
 Characteristics: Comically overcosted infect guy.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 95. Phantom Nantuko
 Specimen: Phantom Nantuko
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Judgment
 Characteristics: The Phantom family has great members like Phantom Centaur and Phantom Nishoba. The Nantuko representative is not bad itself, though, as a Gray Ogre that can buy its lost counters back. Great with Hardened Scales.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 96. Phyrexian Battleflies
 Specimen: Phyrexian Battleflies
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Invasion
 Characteristics: Puny Nantuko Shade variant.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 97. Phyrexian Swarmlord
 Specimen: Phyrexian Swarmlord
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: New Phyrexia
 Characteristics: I saw infect decks using this when they want to go overboard (or more likely in Commander). Its inevitability is, well, very scary.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 98. Pincher Beetles
 Specimen: Pincher Beetles
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Tempest
 Modern Habitat: Tenth Edition
 Characteristics: Useless filler.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 99. Plague Beetle
 Specimen: Plague Beetle
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Urza's Legacy
 Modern Habitat: Eighth Edition
 Characteristics: Even more useless filler.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 100. Plague Fiend
 Specimen: Plague Fiend
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Prophecy
 Characteristics: Bad deathtouch is bad.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 101. Plague Stinger
 Specimen: Plague Stinger
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Scars of Mirrodin
 Characteristics: The flying infectonator has seen play in infect decks, although not in the most effective ones.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 102. Plated Geopede
 Specimen: Plated Geopede
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Zendikar
 Characteristics: Good early beater for aggressive Boros-like builds, it's had a good season in Standard but it's been mostly forgotten now.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 103. Robber Fly
 Specimen: Robber Fly
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: Barbed Shocker's grandfather. I still can't figure out if what these things do makes any sense, other than trying and mess with the opponent for the sake of it. This version flies, but it only activates the Winds of Change effect if you block it, so it's like, unblockable until the opponent wants to loot some cards?
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 104. Rotfeaster Maggot
 Specimen: Rotfeaster Maggot
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Magic 2015
 Characteristics: It gives you some life and has a big butt, but it's not worth 5 mana.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 105. Rust Scarab
 Specimen: Rust Scarab
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Gatecrash
 Characteristics: The body is almost decent, the effect is situational but in those situations is good (the opponent can choose if take 4 per turn or lose their precious permanents), and most notably cover both artifacts and enchantments, which takes it closer to a vague usefulness.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 106. Rust Tick
 Specimen: Rust Tick
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Scars of Mirrodin
 Characteristics: Situational artifact hoser with some defensive value, but mostly bad.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 107. Saber Ants
 Specimen: Saber Ants
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: Broodhatch Nantuko's big brother. Too slow to be great, though, even if its enhanced body makes easier to combo it with damage-dealing spells like Pyroclasm.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 108. Scavenging Scarab
 Specimen: Scavenging Scarab
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Darksteel
 Characteristics: Waste of a scarab moniker.
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 109. Scute Mob
 Specimen: Scute Mob
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Zendikar
 Characteristics: Scute Mob is a curious case because it's a 1-drop that only becomes relevant in late game. Still, it works as an early blocker anyway, and takes removal just out of the fear of seeing it grow to gigantic proportions later.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 110. Shocker
 Specimen: Shocker
 Coloration: Red
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Tempest
 Characteristics: The original, namesake member of the perplexing Shocker family (along with Robber Fly and Barbed Shocker), it might be the one with the best chance to deliver because it can attack on turn 3 across a potentially empty board. Fortunately, they seem to have stopped doing this variety of red Insects, so I don't have to interrogate myself further on their actual potential.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 111.
 Specimen: Skylasher
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Dragon's Maze
 Characteristics: Skylasher packs a LOT of abilities, even if at the end of the day, it mostly works as a flashy Grizzly Bears. Still, it's the natural enemy of Delver of Secrets and Vendilion Clique, killing both at instant speed and surviving, and as such it has seen a surprising amount of play in Standard and Modern.
 Food Chain Position: High

 112. Sludge Strider
 Specimen: Sludge Strider
 Coloration: White/Blue/Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Conflux
 Characteristics: Three colors and a situational clause to do what any extort creature does way more simply.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 113. Spinal Parasite
 Specimen: Spinal Parasite
 Coloration: Colorless
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Fifth Dawn
 Characteristics: I know that the cost is meant to allow to take full advantage of sunburst, but c'mon, did it even have to be a -1/-1? Although that makes it the only creature in the game with toughness < 0. What an accomplishment!
 Food Chain Position: Bottom

 114. Stag Beetle
 Specimen: Stag Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Onslaught
 Characteristics: Basic "creatures matter" guy, although Doubling Season friendly.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 115. Swamp Mosquito
 Specimen: Swamp Mosquito
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Alliances
 Modern Habitat: Time Spiral "Timeshifted"
 Characteristics: Ah, the charm of the old-fashioned poison counters! This old mosquito can even kill the opponent before the combat damage step, and it's as fast as Plague Stinger.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 116.
 Specimen: Swarm of Bloodflies
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Khans of Tarkir
 Characteristics: This is an overpowered Mortician Beetle, but the midrange cost makes it a 5-mana 2/2, which is far from what you want at that point in the curve, no matter the shenanigans you might do later.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 117. Symbiotic Beast
 Specimen: Symbiotic Beast
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Onslaught
 Characteristics: Any creature that can essentially survive a sweeper is bound to be good, even more so when there's the chance for combos with other cards (Doubling Season, Purphoros, God of the Forge). But a total of 4 power for Titan-mana? That's an unfortunate ratio.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 118. Tangle Mantis
 Specimen: Tangle Mantis
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mirrodin Besieged
 Characteristics: Limited-only dude.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 119.
 Specimen: Thelonite Monk
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Fallen Empires (MTGO: Extraneous)
 Characteristics: One of the first humanoid Insects. It hoses your opponent's lands by sacrificing creatures, and the whole process is clunky, and comes as a 1/2 body for 4. Yeah, it's very old, and it shows.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 120. Thornscape Familiar
 Specimen: Thornscape Familiar
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Planeshift
 Characteristics: Nice 2/1 for 2 that accelerates some of your other colors. Nothing bad to say about it.
 Food Chain Position: High

 121. Thriss, Nantuko Primus
 Specimen: Thriss, Nantuko Primus
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Judgment
 Characteristics: Just one of the least interesting high-mana legendary guys ever printed. He even has to pay 1 to add his power to an attacker. Extreme meh.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 122. Twigwalker
 Specimen: Twigwalker
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Odyssey
 Characteristics: This has some potential, since it can swings along the rest of your team, then sacrifice to essentially double its damage. As a combat trick the opponent will obviously see it coming, but it still disrupts the combat phase enough.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 123. Unyaro Bees
 Specimen: Unyaro Bees
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Time Spiral
 Characteristics: Killer Bees are back with a vengeance. The "sac to deal 2" ability costs too much to be something you can activate in answer to removal , especially since the bees already ask for you to tap your mana in order to boost them. But unconditional damage is very rare for green, after all. And these modern bees help devotion more than their progenitors.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 124. Venomous Dragonfly
 Specimen: Venomous Dragonfly
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Mercadian Masques
 Characteristics: 4 mana is definitely too much for a 1/1 with bad deathtouch, evasive or not.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 125. Vexing Beetle
 Specimen: Vexing Beetle
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legions
 Characteristics: Vexing Beetle tries to be a blue hoser by banking on blue decks not having creatures. But times have changed, my dear beetle.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 126. Vorapede
 Specimen: Vorapede
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Mythic Rare
 Original Habitat: Dark Ascension
 Characteristics: Vorapede might be the best 5-mana creature that's not played. It does so many great things, like being simultaneously a fierce attacker and a powerful defender, and resisting almost all removal thanks to undying. But at the 5 mana, most decks have flyer at their disposal, from Baneslayer Angel to Bloodgift Demon. And poor Vorapede just can't compare. Even in monogreen build, you'd probably rather play Acidic Slime, if not just go with (Nissa Worldwaker). It's still a great Insect, though, and the only Mythic Rare in the tribe other than Giant Adephage.
 Food Chain Position: High

 127. Wirewood Symbiote
 Specimen: Wirewood Symbiote
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Scourge
 Characteristics: Wirewood Symbiote is a very, very powerful card. But very, very specialized, too: it only works in Elf decks. Elsewhere, it might well not exist at all. (Honestly, most players would say they'd be happier if Wirewood Symbiote didn't exist in Elf decks, too, because the tricks it does there are very annoying).
 Food Chain Position: High

 128.
 Specimen: Woodlot Crawler
 Coloration: Blue/Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Dragon's Maze
 Characteristics: The anti-green Insect. That's the only positive description you can give of Woodlot Crawler.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 129. Xantid Swarm
 Specimen: Xantid Swarm
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Scourge
 Characteristics: It looks like nothing, but Xantid Swarm is the most subtle way to stop countermagic, or even just ensure what you'll do in your turn wouldn't be instantly disrupted. Its cost makes it a perfect 1-drop, and while frail, it swings in the air, so it has some guarantee of survival. All reason why it's currently highly valued on the online Vintage market.
 Food Chain Position: High

 130. Xira Arien
 Specimen: Xira Arien
 Coloration: Black/Red/Green
 Diffusion: Rare
 Original Habitat: Legends
 Characteristics: The first legendary Insect, which is also one of the original Insects from Legends. When Mark Gottlieb assigned creature types to the old "summon legend" cards during the Grand Creature Type Update, Xira was established as an Insect, despite a flavor text that seems to allude at the fact that she might be a regular lady in an insect costume. The Wikia at MTG Salvation describes her as an Eumidian, an humanoid wasp, and that information has to come from somewhere, I guess, even if it might well come from after Gottlieb's decision. Anyway, she flies and draws you card, but she's a bit slow at all that, and requires 3 colors. Still, if we have to judge her with the standards of the gold cards from Legends, she's pretty good.
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 131. Yavimaya Ants
 Specimen: Yavimaya Ants
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Alliances
 Characteristics: Green Ball Lightning, with a chance at sticking for a couple turns more, but for 4 mana rather than 3. Saw some play. 
 Food Chain Position: Medium

 132.
 Specimen: Yavimaya Gnats
 Coloration: Green
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Ice Age (MTGO: Extraneous)
 Characteristics: Extremely overcosted Will-o'-the-Wisp.
 Food Chain Position: Low

 133. Zanikev Locust
 Specimen: Zanikev Locust
 Coloration: Black
 Diffusion: Uncommon
 Original Habitat: Return to Ravnica
 Characteristics: Extremely overcosted flying scavenger.
 Food Chain Position: Low


MAD SCIENCE: THE ABOMINABLE DR. DELVER

 

 Specimen: Insectile Aberration
 Coloration: Blue
 Diffusion: Common
 Original Habitat: Innistrad
 Characteristics: The most annoying 1-drop you can put in a control deck. It frustrates its owner when it doesn't transform for 5 turns, and it frustrates its opponent when it transforms right at turn 2. But yeah, it's a powerhouse and the namesake of an archetype that runs across the eternal formats.
 Food Chain Position: Top