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By: CottonRhetoric, Cotton Rhetoric
Dec 22 2015 1:00pm
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In April 2013, I wrote three articles examining Magic's underrepresented tribes:

  • one about tribes with only a single creature each
  • one about tribes with 2 to 5 creatures each
  • one about tribes with 6 to 8 creatures each

I pondered the big questions, like would there ever be any more of these creatures? Would they ever expand to a full-on tribe, lords and all? Enough time has passed that we can reflect on my predictions.

Predict  Soothsaying  Glimpse the Future

First, the tribes that were unique in April 2013:

Tribe   Predicted odds of staying unique   Increase since 2013   Assessment
Cockatrice   3 / 5   +2  

I figured in 2013 that the death-gaze ability had been divided among Basilisks and Gorgons, of whom there were already 18 at the time, so I wasn't so optimistic about getting more Cockatrices anytime soon.

I was wrong. There are already two new ones. Not the best way to start an article, but the alphabet will do that to you.

Spawn   5 / 5   +0  

Rating this a 5 was one of my few "sure shot" predictions. My rationale:

"[I]f Wizards wanted to make more creatures have the spawn type, they would have given it to Deep Spawn, Pit Spawn, Isleback Spawn, Spawn of Rix Maadi, or Vertigo Spawn! But they didn't."

Mm hmm! See that, your boy Cotton can be pretty sharp on the research sometimes.

Wombat   3 / 5    +0  

I was feeling skeptical after Time Spiral's lack of wombats. It's known that Rosewater loves this card, but it's also known that Magic's flavor is getting a little less goofy over the years.

I wouldn't feel so shocked if there was another wombat 3 years from now though.

(nameless)   4 / 5   +0  

At least, I think +0. I'm not sure there is a way to search for these.

I want to say +0 is a pretty safe wager.

Ferret   3 / 5   +0  

I couldn't agree more with what I said at the time:

"There's no driving force to reprint another ferret. But there is also absolutely no reason not to."

Maybe one day. Maybe not.

Oyster   2 / 5   +0  

I predicted we would not only have more oysters, but that we would have several.

I didn't expect it to happen quickly, of course. And I'm not giving up on this prediction. This is a very flavorful tribe with a lot of potential. (The Homelands card barely scratches the surface.)

 Fleetfeather Cockatrice  Joven's Ferrets  Giant Oyster 

Tribe   Predicted odds of staying unique   Increase since 2013   Assessment
Brushwagg   4 / 5   +0   Yeah, +0. I mean, obviously +0. What else is there to say? We didn't have any new Brushwaggs in the last two years. We also didn't have any new Kookuses.
Dreadnought   2 / 5   +0  

No new dreadnoughts.


These are like a meteor striking the earth: it's not a question of whether, but when.

Hyena   1 / 5   +0  

I once again must quote myself:

"They're a well-known entity in real life, and they're carnivorous. The creepiness of their laugh is also fairly evocative. Why aren't there already more?"

Juuuust wait. There are more coming one day. I can feel it in my marrow.

Starfish   2 / 5   +1  

Knew it!

Now, I was wrong in my guess that their real life flavor of regenerating would be the basis of their resurgence—but I will still claim this victory.

Starfish are cool. I knew it, Wizards knows it, and you know it too.

Nautilus   4 / 5   +1  

What the???

Okay I have nothing to express here but my flabbergastedness. I really did not see this coming. I can only assume some impish employee of Wizards read my article and wanted to spite me.

Sponge   2 / 5   +0  

"2, Cotton? That sounds pretty optimistic. Not sure why you rated this a 2."

I agree. I'm not sure why I did that either.

Sigiled Starfish Crystalline Nautilus Walking Sponge


Tribe   Predicted odds of staying unique   Increase since 2013   Assessment
Anteater   3 / 5   –1!!!!  

Whaaaaaat? I didn't even know Wizards was still updating old creature types! Two years ago, Prowling Pangolin was an Anteater Beast. Now it's just a plain Beast!

Well then.

Weeelllll theeeeennnn.

I want to upgrade my prediction from a 3 to a 5 now.

Sheep   4 / 5   +1   Just goes to show you—you can never really predict the future. Except when it comes to Spawns. Kind of ironic, since the Theros block was all about predicting the future. Scrying, divining, Steam Augury, all of that stuff.
Lammasu   2 / 5   +1  

Yeeeeep. This didn't surprise me. Here's what I had to say in 2013:

"Lammasus are defined, they're mighty, and they're cool. We could use more of them, and very well might see some the next time our block needs meaty white fliers that aren't all angels."

Look for more still in the future. That's a Cotton Guarantee (ignore what I just said about the future being unpredictable).

Assembly-Worker   5 / 5   +0  

This 5 was an even safer wager than the Spawn one.

I mean... Assembly-Worker?? It barely even fits on the type line! Look at the picture a few rows down.

Siren   1 / 5   +7!!!  

Now this was a grand slam prediction.  1 out of 5, and we got seven of them.

Only one has that Taunting Imp ability, making the flavor feel a bit arbitrary, but whatever. Follow Cotton and know the truth.

Hippogriff   2 / 5   +1   I credit Harry Potter for this tribe's existence.
Pest   2 / 5   +0  

As I mentioned then, I never expected Pests to be printed often. But I did (and do) expect them to pop up every now and then.

Let's check back in again in Q1 2018.

Nyx-Fleece Ram  Venerable Lammasu  Assembly-Worker

That was every unique tribe. (Or in some cases, formerly unique.) Now let's look at those tribes with 2 to 5 creatures.

For some reason, I reversed the rating system here. In the previous chart, a lower number meant higher odds of more creatures; here, a lower number means lower odds. Awkward, but I'm stuck with it!

Note that my predictions here were about whether or not the type would become a supported tribe with lords and such—not whether there would just be an additional one or two entrants in the species.

Tribe    Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase since 2013   Assessment
Badgers   2 / 5   +1  

Yep, we just got one more, and he's a doofy 1/1 for 1.

I still don't see this getting the tribal treatment anytime soon. Or ever!

Beebles   1 / 5   +0  

Mm hmm.

(Cocky hand-on-hip pose) That's what I thought.

Camels   2 / 5   +0   (Makes the L sign on my forehead) Get out of here, Camel!
Carriers   1 / 5   +0  

Hey I have something for you to carry.

Why don't you carry yourself to the trashbin, where you belong!

(Starts getting very worked up, huffing and puffing and palavering.)

Elk   1 / 5   +7!!!  

Well!  Hmm! Guess I won't be needing to come up any more trash talk for the moment.

There still aren't any elks-matters cards, but seven new additions to the tribe, in addition to the existing five, means you can have a whopping 48 of them in one deck, which would be quite a bad deck, but you see what I mean.

I was wrong. Cotton was wrong. The PureMtGO readership is shaken to the core, not knowing what to believe in anymore.

Eyes   2 / 5   +0   And their faith is restored. That was short-lived but still very frightening.

Golden Hind  Wetland Sambar  Great Hart

Tribe    Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase since 2013   Assessment


  1 / 5   +0   The fact that we got Flensermite in 2011 was surprising enough! It was the first gremlin since Antiquities, and if we ever get another one, I think it will be far in the future.
Harpies   4 / 5   +3   Yep, I knew we'd get more of these. We haven't seen the last of 'em, either. 
Hippos   1 / 5   +0   If Phelddagrif itself doesn't get the hippo type, what chance does anyone else have?
Manticores   3 / 5   +1   We got one more. Still nothing tribal going on. Give these guys some time though.
Mongeese   3 / 5   +0  

A quote from Cotton Rhetoric, c. 2013:

"I was about to write this tribe off completely, for the same problem that plagues badgers and elk, until I noticed something. Out of the three mongeese in print... all three have seen tournament play. That alone means they have cachet in the Magic community, which means a tribe could possibly be well received by people. At least theoretically."

So, still kind of unlikely, but it has a chance.

Octopi   2 / 5   +2   The Theros block gave us two more, perhaps harkening back to Scylla and Charybdis. Or something. Feel free to correct me in the comments. It still seems doubtful that we'll get an octopus lord, unless you count 2010's Quest for Ula's Temple.

Insatiable Harpy  Chromanticore  Godhunter Octopus

Tribe   Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase since 2013   Assessment
Orggs   2 / 5   +0  

Not this time, Orggs.

Not on my watch.

Rabbits   1 / 5   +0   I'd say this tribe has a real Beeble's chance of ever coming back.
Riggers   1 / 5   +0  

These come from a "possible future," huh?

You expect me to believe that?

Satyrs   4 / 5   +16!!!!!!!  

I thought they'd be back—I didn't realize just how much though!

Some of these have even seen tournament play.

Squids   2 / 5   +1  

All thanks to Mike Neumann.

Chasm Skulker is a pretty clear example of power creep. Remember Lorescale Coatl?

Whales   1 / 5   +1   I just want to point out, back in 2013 I made a list of scenarios in which a whale could see print. One of them was a Jonah and the Whale reference. That's exactly what Wizards did! Cotton strikes again.
Wraiths   3 / 5   +0  

I would like this to happen. So much so that it's possibly affecting my judgment of how likely it is.

But I'm still thinking it's pretty likely.

Boon Satyr  Chasm Skulker  Colossal Whale

And finally, those tribes with 6 to 8 creatures. (Thankfully, I kept the same numbering system this time.)

Tribe   Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase Since 2013   Assessment
Antelopes   1 / 5   +1  

Totem-Guide Hartebeest is the new addition to this tribe, but it didn't have to go that way. This card could have been any creature type and the flavor would have made just as much sense. Shaman, Ape, Rogue, Eye, really anything! Maybe not Goblin or Eldrazi but almost anything.

Archons   2 / 5   +4  

As I mentioned originally, archons are too large and iconic to ever get a lord. Why, the word archon's very definition is a ruler!

"Printing eight of these in a single set would just seem strange, not to mention cumbersome. Of course, the old me would have said the same about angels, giants, and Eldrazi."

All four of the new ones were in the same block, which was already a little more than I expected, but I mostly got this one right.

Gnomes   4 / 5   +0   The gnomes tribe is just waiting for the right block. We haven't seen it yet but we will. You heard it here first. Not here as in this article, here as in this column. I said it 2 years ago.
Goats   2 / 5   +0  

I have to say, I still REALLY like my idea of Magic getting some demonic hell man-goats standing on two hooves. You know, these things.

At 9pm EST tonight, let's all close our eyes and wish for this to happen. Our thoughts may reach Renton.*

* The location of Wizards of the Coast

Gorgons   3 / 5   +6  

Who called it, Cotton called it. There's not only 6 of them, there's even one to mention "destroy all non-Gorgon creatures" (Hythonia the Cruel), so, yes, that counts as a lord!

Hags   2 / 5   +1   Still not getting a tribal vibe off of this one.

    Fate Unraveler

Tribe   Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase Since 2013   Assessment
Homarids   2 / 5   +0   If Homarids ever become a supported tribe, Wizards is in collusion with the Tide Counters industry and you should sell your stock immediately before they are busted by the feds.
Jellyfish   4 / 5   +0   Remember, like I mentioned in 2013: don't think of Man-o'-War, think of Esperzoa. This could absolutely happen. You just gotta give it time. To put it another way, this idea is still in the oven. The kind of oven that takes a few years.
Krakens   1 / 5   +4   Theros block gave us all four of these. Perhaps these are the Scylla and Charybdis reference? Um, Greek mythology had a lot of sea monsters. But like the Archons, this still isn't a tribe, it's just a handful of isolated creatures. And I still doubt Krakens will ever get their version of a Crucible of Fire.
Mystics   3 / 5   +0  

The likely route is that we'll keep getting a couple of mystics here and there without ever getting a lord. But I'm really in the middle on this one!

When I heard about the Greek mythology block, I assumed there would be more Mystics, but that role went to Shamans instead. I guess it makes just as much sense.

Oxen   1 / 5   +3   +3, a bit surprising! But like I originally said, don't hold yer breath for an "All Oxen get +2/+2 and double strike" card.
Pegasi   4 / 5   +4   This tribe is always getting more and more entrants. One day, Wizards will drop the bomb. Count on it.

Tromokratis  Purphoros's Emissary  Cavalry Pegasus

Tribe   Predicted Likelihood of Expanding   Increase Since 2013   Assessment
Salamanders   1 / 5   +2  

Magic can be a pretty surprising game sometimes. We not only have two new Salamanders, but they're both in blue? They used to be red!

This redefinition of the tribe could be Wizard's precursor to their expansion of it. I doubt it, but now I want to change my prediction from 1 to 2!

Scorpions   3 / 5   +1   I probably should have rated this even lower. If they didn't come back during the poison block, I don't see a better home for them anytime soon. It is possible one day, of course.
Slugs   2 / 5   +0   Catacomb Slug did get a sweet Magic Origins reprint, but that's it for this tribe.
Turtles   1 / 5   +2   One of the new turtles is the very flavorful Meandering Towershell. Where else but Magic can a slug or a turtle be big and strong enough to kill an elephant?
Wolverines   2 / 5   +0   "All wolverines get +1/+1 and first strike." I don't think that will ever sound right.
Worms   1 / 5   +0  





Hey how did you do in the finals? "Terrible. I got my combo off in game 1 and was feeling pretty confident, but in games 2 and 3 he just overwhelmed me with worms.  He had like five out and then he dropped Worm Overlord, I mean there was nothing I could do."

  Sedge Scorpion  Meandering Towershell

To close, let's take a look at how I did. (Admittedly, whether to count some of these predictions as accurate or not really depends on your definition. But since I am the one writing this article, I will use my own.)

"This probably won't happen" predictions (rating of 4 or 5 for the top section, rating of 1 or 2 for the bottom sections)

  • of the 32 that were assigned (Spawn, Assembly-Worker, (nameless), Brushwagg, Nautilus, Sheep, Beebles, Carriers, Elk, Gremlins, Hippos, Rabbits, Riggers, Whales, Antelopes, Krakens, Oxen, Salamanders, Turtles, Worms, Badgers, Camels, Eyes, Octopi, Orggs, Squids, Archons, Goats, Hags, Homarids, Slugs, Wolverines)...
  • 26 were accurate predictions.
  • 6 were not
  • Pretty good!

"I'm not sure what to guess" predictions (rating of 3)

  • of the 10 that were assigned (Cockatrice, Wombat, Ferret, Anteater, Manticores, Mongeese, Wraiths, Gorgons, Mystics, Scorpions)
  • 4 expanded (Cockatrice, Manticores, Gorgons, Scorpions)...
  • 5 did not yet expand (Wombat, Ferret, Mongeese, Wraiths, Mystics)
  • 1 decreased somehow (Anteater!!!)
  • That half-and-half distribution is pretty much exactly what I would hope for with my fuzzy predictions.

"This will probably happen" predictions (rating of 1 or 2 for the top section, rating of 4 or 5 for the bottom sections)

  • of the 13 were assigned (Hyena, Siren, Oyster, Dreadnought, Starfish, Sponge, Lammasu, Hippogriff, Harpies, Satyrs, Gnomes, Jellyfish, Pegasi)...
  • 7 have already come true (Siren, Starfish, Lammasu, Hippogriff, Harpies, Siren, Pegasi)
  • 6 may come true in the future (Hyena, Oyster, Dreadnought, Sponge, Gnomes, Jellyfish)
  • Every year that goes by, my accuracy in this category will increase. (And it will decrease in the first category, but never mind that.)

Ta daaaa!

Crystal Ball  Fate Foretold  


Thank you, I do my best to by JXClaytor at Wed, 08/03/2016 - 18:27
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Thank you, I do my best to delete the spam as it pops up but sometimes I miss some. If you see some that I missed please send me an email!

Necroing for a thanks to by Paul Leicht at Wed, 08/03/2016 - 20:10
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Necroing for a thanks to someone invisible?

It's invisible because Cotton by JXClaytor at Wed, 08/03/2016 - 21:24
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It's invisible because Cotton replied to a spam comment and replies to comments also get deleted.