Magic: The Gathering


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There are three main types of abilities: Activated, Triggered, and Static. Examples of Static abilities include shroud, first strike, and flying. Activated abilities include any abilities that require tapping or some sort of cost. For example, the card Royal Assassin has an activated ability that reads: "Tap: destroy target tapped creature." Triggered abilities require a specific event to happen, like paying upkeep.

Evergreen KeywordsEdit

These abilities are used in most sets and thus are the core abilities the game is built around.


Deathtouch is a static ability that means any amount of damage dealt by a source with deathtouch is enough to kill the creature receiving the damage.

Main article: Deathtouch


Defender is a static ability that means the affected permanent cannot attack. It is commonly found on creatures with low power, and high toughness, such as most walls.

Main article: Defender

Double StrikeEdit

A creature with double strike deals damage during the first combat damage step alongside creatures with first strike, then additionally deal damage during the second damage step along with regular creatures.

Main article: Double Strike


Enchant {object or player} is a static ability  found on auras which defines what they can enchant. The keyword is written with a quality after it (e.g. Enchant creature) which defines what a the aura can enchant.

Main article: Enchant


Equip is an activated ability found on equipments. By paying an equip cost, you can attach the artifact to a creature you control. Equipping can only be used at sorcery speed.

Main article: Equip

First StrikeEdit

First strike is a static ability that creates an additional combat damage step. A creature with first strike will deal its combat damage before a creature that doesn't.

Main article: First Strike


Flash is a static ability that allows the affected card to be cast at any time you could cast an instant.

Main article: Flash (keyword)


A creature with flying cannot be blocked except by other creatures with either flying or reach. Creatures with flying can block other creatures with or without flying.

Main article: Flying


Haste in a static ability that allows creatures to ignore the rules informally known as "summoning sickness". This means that they can attack, and activate tap or untap abilities on the same turn they enter the battlefield.

Main article: Haste


Hexproof is a static ability that means that the affected permanent can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control, but can still be target by spells or abilities you control.

Main article: Hexproof


Indestructible is a keyword ability that means that any permanent that has indestructible cannot be destroyed, and cannot die as a result of lethal damage.

Main article: Indestructible


Intimidate is a static ability which restricts the types of creatures that can block a creature with intimidate. A creature with intimidate can't be blocked, except by artifact creatures and by creatures that share a color with it.

Main article: Intimidate


Landwalk is a static ability that means the affected creature cannot be blocked as long as the defending player controls a land of the specified type.

Main article: Landwalk


Lifelink is a static ability that modifies the result of combat damage. When a creature with lifelink deals combat damage, the controller of that creature also gains an amount of life equal to the amount of damage dealt damage, in addition to dealing the damage as normal.

Main article: Lifelink (keyword)


Protection is a static ability which means that the affected permanent has limited protection from effects of a stated quality.

Main article: Protection


Reach is a static ability that means the affected creature can block creatures with flying.

Main article: Reach


Shroud is a static ability that means the affected permanent or player cannot be the target of any abilities.

Main article: Shroud


Trample is a static ability that allows creatures to deal extra damage to the defending player, even after being blocked.

Main article: Trample


Vigilance is a static ability that means the affected creature does not need to tap when attacking.

Main article: Vigilance

Less Common AbilitiesEdit


Devour is an ability in the Alara Block. Although the meaning is always the same, the actual ability can vary.

Say I cast a 5/5 creature with devour like Gorger Wurm. Once it resolves and starts to come into play, I can sacrifice any number of creatures. Since Gorger Wurm has Devour 1, and I sacrifice 3 creatures, it comes into play with 3 +1/+1 counters on it. If it has Devour 2, it comes into play with 6 counters. Devour works regardless of what zone the creature comes into play from, for example if Rise from the Grave was cast targeting a creature card with devour, you would still be able to sacrifice creatures to give it counters. Some creatures with devour have abilities with effects based on how many creatures they devoured.


A creature with Unearth enables it to be played from the graveyard. When you play the Unearth ability the creature will gain haste and will be exiled at the end of the turn.


Exalted is a triggered ability first introduced Shard of Alara and the ability returns in the Magic 2013 Core Set. The ability states that:

Whenever a creature you control attacks alone, that creature gets +1/+1 until the end of turn

Exalted is popular with White and Black, there is a theme deck based on the Exalted ability in the Magic 2013 Core Set, named Sole Domination.


Soulbond is an ability released in Avacyn Restored. It is very useful, and can do a variety of things.

You may pair this creature with another unpaired creature when either enter the battlefield. They remain paired for as long as you control both of them.

Creatures such as Stern Mentor or Galvanic Alchemist give both themselves and the creature they're paired with an extra ability when paired, while creatures such as Wolfir Silverheart or Druid's Familiar give themselves and the paired creature more power and toughness.

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