Cagney Carnation, like his last name implies, is a tall, sentient carnation flower. His thorn-covered stem is a dark green color, while his petals are two different shades of orange. His face is yellow, with a long, pointy nose and black eyes, and he is usually seen grinning in an evil way. He has long arms that can shift into leaves that a flower would normally have. There are small green leaves surrounding his stem as well. In his final phase, Cagney will have his hands planted into the ground, and his usually round teeth and petals will have a sharper shape.
Cagney seems to delight in catching his enemies off guard with his appearance, posing as a harmless and adorable flower before roaring loudly and showing his true colors. His constant maniacal smile during battle also implies that he's either too overconfident about winning or enjoying the fight more than he should, considering that his soul is on the line. Also, it seems Cagney is easily angered by losing and may have apoplexy, since he appears to pass out from anger in his knockout animation.
Cagney smiles at Cuphead and/or Mugman in an innocent way before suddenly roaring/yelling at them and showing his true face. He then begins his characteristic dancing idle animation as the battle begins.
"Fools who attempt to fight this will leave with allergic rhinitis!"
—Cagney Carnation, Phase 1 Death Screen
At the start of the battle, Cagney is capable of extending both his face and his arms to quickly lash out and cause damage. To avoid this attack, players must either jump on the platforms or get off of them, depending on which section Cagney is aiming for.
Another attack involves Cagney cupping his hands together and shooting either two things: sycamore seeds with eyes that will fly like a boomerang across the screen then fly back to the lower area, or three flying acorns that will be shot out from top to bottom, moving towards the player(s) at the time they're shot, he can chain three attacks at most before going back to idle animation. This attack is referred to as "Magic Hands" because the action he is doing is similar to showing a magic trick, and glitters shines when he opens his "hands". In Simple mode, he can only chain two attacks at most, and they acorns and sycamore seed fly slower. In Expert mode, there will be four acorns, and both acorns and sycamore seed fly much faster.
Cagney can also morph his face into a gatling gun to shoot different colored seeds. Each seed has different abilities:
- Blue Seed - This seed grows a vine and then releases a green Toothy Terror that acts like a homing missile. In Simple mode, they spawn slower and travel slower. In Expert mode, they spawn, turn and travel faster. Hitpoints = 4/4/10
- Purple Seed - This seed grows a Baby Toothy Terror on the ground that can damage the player. In Expert mode, Cagney will never shoot purple seeds. Hitpoints = 5/5/8
- Pink Seed - This seed grows a vine and then a Toothy Terror Floater that will fly above. It then opens its mouth and shoots a seed at either Cuphead or Mugman. Only one can be spawned at maximum and any excess pink seed will turn into a green Toothy Terror. The seed itself and the flower's bullets can be parried. In Simple mode, the pink bullet travel slower. In Expert mode, two of this kind can be spawned at maximum. Hitpoints = 3/4/4
In Simple mode, the seeds fall slower.
In Expert mode, he will only use the gatling gun attack in the first part of this phase, after the first part, he will never use the attack again, but before it ends he will use this attack very rapidly and the seeds fall faster.
The battle is very different in Simple mode, all his actions are generally predictable, he only uses the lunging attack until the damage threshold of sub-phase one is reached. After the only lunging sub-phase, he start with shooting three purple seeds every time he uses the gatling gun attack, and cycle between lunging and using the gatling gun in the second sub-phase. After the second sub-phase, he only uses the "Magic Hands" attack in sub-phase three. The final sub-phase commence with him only using the gatling gun attack, however, he won't shoot any purple seeds, just blues and pinks.
After taking enough damage, Cagney will pull on his petals in frustration. His petals will become sharp and more spread-out, his eyes become slightly yellow and his pupils intensely dilate. Then he partially buries his arms, which becomes thorny, spreading his thorny vines and making the lower ground untouchable, forcing the protagonists to stay on the three flying platforms. Hitpoints = 1000/702/810
"Extreme pollination and total domination!"
—Cagney Carnation, Final Phase Death Screen
Cagney will start releasing dandelions from his tongue that fly across the screen and when they come in contact with the player that apply a nauseous effect. At the same time, vines will grow below 1-2 of the flying platforms and then shoot upwards, briefly encasing them and making them impossible to stand on. In Expert mode, the dandelions travel slower to stay on screen longer, with combination of the vines on the flying platforms growing faster.
Once Cagney enters this phase, all Toothy Terrors will disappear beside the flying orange ones, they will continue to shoot pink bullets at the player(s), even if it creates more parry opportunity, it will be a hazard when player(s) try to jump over platforms, it will be way more apparent in Expert mode if you left two of them alive at the same time.
After taking enough damage, Cagney will be defeated, screaming to the sky and his eyes becomes black and hollow. Hitpoints = 598/690
In Simple mode, this phase is not playable; instead Cagney will simply pull on his petals without spreading his thorny vines when defeated.
|The noise Cagney makes before unleashing a boomerang seed.|
Cagney turning into and using a gattling gun.
|(Unused) Cagney laughing.|
|Cagney using his lunge attack.|
|Cagney transforming into a more monstrous flower.|
|Cagney spitting out pollen.|
|(Unused) Cagney angry after being defeated on simple mode.|
|(Unused) Cagney groaning in pain after being defeated.|
|Normal Mode||Expert Mode|
- Despite his name, Cagney does not fully resemble a Carnation flower, different in the fact that Cagney has a big spot for a face.
- Cagney's ability to turn into a gun and shoot seeds out is a pun on the word "pistil", a reproductive organ in the center of a flower's face, and "pistol", a type of gun.
- The original track for Floral Fury is the only soundtrack that doesn't have a '30s jazz style. Instead, it has a samba-like style. This theme can also be heard in Admission to Perdition along with many others.
- Cagney's final phase could be a reference to Audrey II from the 1986 film Little Shop of Horrors.
- Cagney's name and "Seed Gatling Gun" attack could reference James Cagney, a '30s American actor who was typecast as a thug in most movies he was in.
- Cagney's cute face in the intro along with the background may have been inspired by the 1932 Silly Symphony cartoon Flowers and Trees.
- Interestingly, when using his "Magic Hands" technique, his stem splits into a pair of legs.
- He also sounds like he's shouting "Oh my!" when using this attack also.
- Cagney's seed attack is very similar to Papaya Dance's in Gunstar Super Heroes, a franchise which is referenced numerous times in Cuphead. Additionally, the Toothy Terror Floater Cagney spawns looks like the bombs Papaya Dance drops during his fight.
- Cagney's old death phrase was "Looks like you're pushing up daisies!", a euphemism referring to someone dying.
- His first death phrase is referring to some people's common allergy to flowers.
- Cagney's final form resembles a lion, which may be a pun for his dandelion attack.
- Cagney's intro animation could be a possible reference to Necro's taunt from Street Fighter III, most notably the tongue.
- Cagney's idle animation in his first phase is a reference to the dancing style of a ghost in the 1930 Talkartoon Swing You Sinners!, who is, in turn, a reference to Monroe Silver, a popular Jewish vaudeville comedian from the 1930's who frequently incorporated a similar dance into his routines.
- In Cagney's Phase 1 death screen, his face is the same color as his petals. This appears to be an error.
- If the player dashes into Cagney's acorns right before he is about to fire them, there is a chance that he will glitch and become stuck in his firing animation, allowing the player to easily defeat him without any opposition. The same can occur with King Dice.
- Cagney Carnation originally had Shootin N' Lootin as his battle theme before this was changed to his current battle theme, Floral Fury.
- The Baby Toothy Terrors that Cagney summons resemble Munchers from the Super Mario franchise.
- The v1.1.3 patch made it where, in his final form, if his dandelion attack touches the player, the screen will now shake and get blurry and distort the music for a moment (along with the player getting hurt). This attack causing the screen to blur may be a nod to Yoshi when touching or eating the Fuzzies in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island.
- Cagney's roar in the intro appears to be a Lion's roar altered in pitch, which, much like his 2nd phase is a pun on the terms "Dandelion" and "Lion".
- Apparently, his tongue can morph, as seen in his roaring intro, his tongue is snake-like. In his Phase 2 Dandelion attack, his tongue is now a hand when throwing. In the Phase 2 Death Screen, Cagney's tongue is back to "normal".
- In the unused codes, pink seeds can spawn a blue flying Toothy Terror, when it shoots a bullet, it will aim at Cagney and deal 25 damage to him, it will show its eyes and shout "OH!". Even though the flower appears to be nice, the players will still take damage from its hitbox when they touch it or from the bullet, which is still always parryable. Hitpoints = 1
- Unused code shows that the cloud bomb attack is one of Cagney's "magic hands" attack projectile, Cagney will fire one of them each time, they aim straight at where the players are and stick to the flying platforms or the ground, having a small delay before exploding into a puff of clouds.
- According to the E3 2014 Trailer, all of the seeds would be parryable and had a white outline instead of a black one.