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Spirit is a creature type that represents an entity composed of energy related to a deceased person or a worshipped object or concept.

Description[edit | edit source]

A spirit's origin may be related to the way the previous being was killed- as a vengeful spirit (as featured in Shadowmoor), as a form of undead (as seen in the Orzhov Syndicate), or as an aspect of life (as the kami of Kamigawa). [1] [2]

Spirits appear in all colors. The first creatures printed with the type were Radjan Spirit and Thunder Spirit in Legends. After the Grand Creature Type Update, Spirit became a common "tribe" which incorporated several earlier creature types. Retroactively Dancing Scimitar from Arabian Nights became the first Spirit in the game.

Cards in Kamigawa block with Spiritcraft have triggered effects whenever a Spirit or Arcane spell is played. In the Innistrad block blue and white Spirits (Geists) are a supported tribe. [3] [4] [5]

Storyline[edit | edit source]

Alara[edit | edit source]

The Elves of Naya utilized spirits as protectors of their settlements.[6]

With the Conflux, it was possible for the first time to contact the Sovereigns of Lost Alara

Dominaria[edit | edit source]

Spirits found on Dominaria were often associated either with the restless ghosts of the dead or nature spirits. Several of these spirits were less ethereal than those found on other planes, instead resembling physical creatures.

Fiora[edit | edit source]

On Fiora, the Custodi are able to keep a person's soul anchored to the physical world, creating a spirit. Additionally, spirits can return from a person with unfinished business.[7] Few persons end up purposefully as a spirit. Even in their spectral existence, many retain habits of their former lives, akin to muscle memory.[8]

Notable Fioran spirits[edit | edit source]

Innistrad[edit | edit source]

Spirits on Innistrad, often called geists, come in all colors of mana. While Avacyn stood as guardian over Innistrad, she and the angels of Flight Alabaster ushered the spirits of the departed into the Æther, where they rejoined the essence of the plane. In her absence— and now her madness— many spirits cling to the world of the living, unable or unwilling to find their way to the Blessed Sleep.[9] The moon appears to govern the interaction between spirits and the world of flesh.[10] Often, chains manifest on spirits to symbolize past regrets that keep them anchored to the world.[11]

While most spirits are that of humans, animal spirits like the Moon Heron and the Pack Guardian also exist.

When Emrakul was summoned to Innistrad, several benevolent Geists bonded with Cathars to protect them from the corruption and madness the titan spread. The Order of Saint Traft was formed from this union.

Banshee[edit | edit source]

Banshees are spirits of those who died with grudges in their heart.[12]

Drogskoll[edit | edit source]

The Drogskoll are a group of spirits patrolling the moors. They were once a large militia, that fell to a horde of the unhallowed. [13]

Marei[edit | edit source]

Marei are the spirits of the drowned, in most cases sailors or shipwreck victims. They are most prominent along the coastlines of Nephalia.[14]

Niblis[edit | edit source]

Niblis are spirits of frost. They often manifest as rags filled by an unholy light that drain the environment of warmth.[15]

Skathul[edit | edit source]

The Skathul are those spirits who are consumed by revenge. The cause can be something as simple as cremating their body to something so grave as the desecration of their grave by necromancers. The ghosts of the unavenged are some of the most dangerous geists on Innistrad, sometimes appearing as living fire or as "blood mist" entities that engulf a hapless victim and inflict cuts and welts that are slow to heal.

Notabale Innistrad spirits[edit | edit source]

Ixalan[edit | edit source]

The vampiric Legion of Dusk of Ixalan are able to create revenants.

Kamigawa[edit | edit source]

Main article: Kami

Mercadia[edit | edit source]

Nether Spirits haunted Mercadia and its underworld, but were unable to find rest in either.

Mirrodin/New Phyrexia[edit | edit source]

On Mirrodin, a breed of spirits called Emissaries existed that embodied certain virtues like hope or despair .

Since the Vanishing, no spirits have been observed. It is likely that they were sendt back to whatever plane they originated from.

Rath[edit | edit source]

Entropic Spectres were active on Rath, resembling the hooded forms of wraiths but lacking the mount. Rath's cloudscape was inhabited by nature spirits that were revered by the Kor, along with the spirits of their own ancestors. Spirits also inhabited the Furnace of Rath.

Ravnica[edit | edit source]

Ravnican spirits come in several variants, some mirroring the species they were in life, others twisted into near animalistic forms. Since the spirits of the departed usually stay active on the plane, the denizens have learned to cope with their existence, usually by leaving them small offerings to avoid their wrath. Others find themselves molested by goblins. Ways to ensure a spirit does not rise is to pay the exorbitant fee for a Proper Burial conducted by the guilds.

Among the guilds, the Azorius, Orzhov and Dimir dealt with spirits. The Azorius utilize spirits as untiring bureacrats and protectors of the laws of the Guildpact. The Orzhov are ruled by an aristrocracy of undead ghosts that form the highest council of the guild, the Deathless. Being raised as a spirit is a high honor for guildmembers, while it is unfortunate fate for those unable to pay their debts in life to the lesser ranks. The Dimir use them as spies and infiltrators, often turning to those spirits that are so ancient that their names are all but forgotten.

Agyrem acted as the quarter for the ghosts of the departed. Even after the Guildpact broke, its laws still held sway there.

Caryatid[edit | edit source]

Caryatids are the last remnants of the original forests on Ravnica. Most survive in the form of carved woodwork under the protection of powerful individuals.

Ephemera[edit | edit source]

Ephemerae are spirits bound to continued existence by an oath or similar vow that prohibits them from rest.

Rusalka[edit | edit source]

Rusalkas are spirits of those who died a violent or otherwise wrongful death. Their motivation to remain behind determines their color affiliation, with some staying behind to ensure that no other dies the death they died, while others reenact their own deaths on unwitting passangers to understand why they died.

Notable Ravnican spirits[edit | edit source]

Shadowmoor[edit | edit source]

While spirits are dormant in daylit Lorwyn, they emerge with might during the dark Shadowmoor phase. These spirits range from the ghosts of the deceased, like Bloodied Ghost, to entities more akin to Lorwyns Elementals. Some, like the Suture Spirit, are benevolent, while others are explicitly malevolent and take great pleasure from tormenting others.

Notable Shadowmoor spirits[edit | edit source]

Tarkir[edit | edit source]

On Tarkir, spirits are utilized by the Abzan Houses. Each family kin-tree is a hub for its ancestors' spirits. Some among the Abzan have learned to communicate with these spirits, and even call them forth to either protect their descendants or harm their enemies. The Abzan have discovered that amber, tree resin, and sap aid in spirit magic. Amber wards are found in Abzan homes and Abzan soldiers carry amber with them to war. Spirit speakers consume distilled tree resin to help them connect to spirits. Weapons made from the wood of fallen kin trees are said to be blessed. When disowned Abzan die, their spirits have no place to go. Some Abzan mages seek out these lost spirits. This is a taxing feat because these spirits are vengeful and malicious. However, in times of war, the malevolent spirits are channeled by Abzan mages to be unleashed against the enemy.[16]

In the new timeline, trafficking with spirits has been outlawed as necromancy by the Dromoka. Anyone who acts against this edict is destroyed as a heretic. Persons killed by the breath of a dragon do not leave a spirit behind.[17]

Notable Tarkiran spirits[edit | edit source]

Theros[edit | edit source]

Theran spirits are called Eidolons. When a dead person escapes the Underworld, they lose their identity and become one of the faceless Returned. But in this process of severing the physical body from the "soul," an eidolon is also created. An eidolon is the spectral embodiment of the lost identity, but without its body, it has no agency. Unlike the Returned, it has no sense of what it lost. The Returned and its severed eidolon are never reunited, nor are they aware of one another's existence.

While some eidolons forever wander, others linger in a certain place. This "haunt" isn't chosen because of a connection to its former life. More often, it's near a place where a nymph lives. It's believed that eidolons are instinctually drawn to nymphs' magic, like a cub is drawn to the warmth of its mother. The nymphs are usually sympathetic to these creatures.[18]

Zendikar[edit | edit source]

On Zendikar, the flow of mana can trap the soul of a deceased in the physical world.[19]

Elves and Kor are known to practice ancestor worship, and in return, these spirits remain in the world to protect their descendants. Sometimes, such a spirit is separated from its community and transformed into a Forsaken One. Vampires are able to call on spirits to become possessed by them, transforming into a Bloodghast.

Creature Update[edit | edit source]

Creature types changed into Spirit include:

Spirit tokens[edit | edit source]

Token Color Type P/T Additional Rules Source Printings
Spirit Black Creature — Spirit */*
Blue Creature — Spirit 1/1 Flying
Colorless Creature — Spirit 1/1
White Creature — Spirit 1/1 Flying
White Creature — Spirit 3/3 Flying
White/Black Creature — Spirit 1/1 Flying
White/Black Enchantment Creature — Spirit */* This creature's power and toughness are each equal to the number of experience counters you have.
Spirit Warrior Black/Green Creature — Spirit Warrior X/X
Demon Spirit
named Urami
Black Legendary Creature — Demon Spirit 5/5 Flying
Dragon Spirit Blue Creature — Dragon Spirit 5/5 Flying
named Banshee of the Dread Choir
Black Creature — Spirit 4/4 Myriad
Whenever Banshee of the Dread Choir deals combat damage to a player, that player discards a card.

Spirit manlands and artifacts[edit | edit source]

Spirits are also created by:

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (October 11, 2004.) “That’s the Spirit”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Doug Beyer. (December 12, 2007.) “Goodies from the Mailbag”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 05, 2011.) “C'mon Innistrad, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Monty Ashley. ( April 05, 2012.) “Look Out! A Ghost!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Magic Creative Team. (October 19, 2011.) “A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Nephalia and the Undead”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Flavor text of Wall of Reverence
  7. Kelly Digges. (August 3, 2016.) “Laid to Rest”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  8. Alison Luhrs. (August 10, 2016.) “Tyrants”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  9. James Wyatt 2016, "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Innistrad".
  10. Magic Creative Team. (October 19, 2011.) “A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Nephalia and the Undead”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  11. Flavor text of Chapel Geist
  12. Flavor text of Mokrut Banshee
  13. James Wyatt 2016, "The Art of Magic: The Gathering - Innistrad".
  14. Magic Creative Team. (October 19, 2011.) “A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Nephalia and the Undead”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  15. Magic Creative Team. (October 19, 2011.) “A Planeswalker's Guide to Innistrad: Nephalia and the Undead”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Magic Creative Team. (September 3, 2014.) “Planeswalker's Guide to Khans of Tarkir, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  17. Ari Levitch. (April 2, 2015.) “The Guardian”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  18. The Magic Creative Team. (September 04, 2013.) “Planeswalker's Guide to Theros, Part 3”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  19. Wizards of the Coast. (April 27, 2016.) “Plane Shift: Zendikar”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  20. Magic Arcana. (October 31, 2005.) “Sketches: Keening Banshee”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  21. Mark Rosewater. (November 10, 2003.) “Make No Mistake”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  22. Magic Arcana. (May 06, 2003.) “Hyalopterous Wha..?!”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  23. Magic Arcana. (July 21, 2005.) “What's a Bunrei?”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  24. Magic Arcana. (December 01, 2005.) “Ravnica Hunted Tokens 2”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Magic Arcana. (May 03, 2005.) “Oyobi Spirit Token Art”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Magic Arcana. (June 14, 2005.) “Urami token art”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
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