The Oracle textual content of Ceta Disciple marks it as a merfolk, though the card as printed clearly would not say it is a merfolk. How come it is a merfolk?

The solely factor I can consider is there was an errata that turned all wizards into merfolk, though that’s certainly nonsense given what number of wizards there are.

During the Grand Creature Type Update, all creatures bought a race. Ceta Disciple is even talked about in that article (however no cause):

2) Creatures that lacked races bought a race. The overwhelming majority of those are creatures that ought to be Human however have been printed earlier than Mirrodin. In truth, greater than half of the playing cards concerned on this replace bought “Human” added to them. Some playing cards bought different races, like Dryad (Dawnstrider), Dauthi (Dauthi Marauder), Soltari (Soltari Crusader), Thalakos (Thalakos Sentry), Kor (Silkenfist Fighter), Merfolk (Ceta Disciple), and so forth.

I suppose it simply appears to be like like a Merfolk? And it is not the one Merfolk in that set:

Those playing cards have been all printed as Merfolks. So making Ceta Disciple a Merfolk is definitely not off-theme.

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