Ninjutsu is a keyword ability.
It is an ability introduced in the Kamigawa Block of Magic the Gathering cards.
Ninjutsu (, Return an unblocked attacker you control to hand: Put this card into play from your hand tapped and attacking.) Whenever Ninja of the Deep Hours deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.
The card returned MUST be unblocked and the card whose Ninjutsu cost was paid MUST be in your hand for the ability to work
The cards allow you to quickly exchange an unblocked attacker during combat with the Ninjutsu card. The cards tend to give "bonuses" when they deal combat damage to a player. For example:
- When Mistblade Shinobi deals combat damage to a player, you may return a creature they control to its owner's hand.
- When Ninja of the Deep Hours deals combat damage to a player, you may draw a card.
Basic Example of How the Ability Works
- Suppose you have a creature card with the Ninjutsu ability in your hand, for example, Ninja of the Deep Hours.
- Attack with your creatures.
- If one of your creatures is unblocked, you may pay the Ninjutsu cost indicated on the card in your hand, and return the unblocked attacker to your hand.
- Then, place the card with the Ninjutsu ability into play, tapped and attacking, and it will now deal its damage to target player or planeswalker that the original card targeted instead. Since blockers were already declared, the "Ninja" will be unblocked and deal damage.
Typical Uses and Tricks
- Generally, the goal is to get the bonus effect, ex: drawing a card.
- It can also be used to return one of your creatures at split second speed once they are officially unblocked when they are attacking. (Remember, returning the attacker is part of the cost, so it doesn't go on the Stack.)
- NOTE: "It is only after blocking creatures are declared that an attacking creature is either blocked or unblocked. They will remain either blocked or unblocked until either the second main phase begins or they are removed from combat. It is in this window that an unblocked attacking creature can be returned to its controller's hand with Ninjutsu or that you can effectively use Inkfathom Witch's ability." Reference: Ask the Judge 5/19/2008 Tip of the Day
- If the unblocked creature has first strike or double strike, you can wait until after the "first strike combat step" to activate Ninjutsu - allowing both the unblocked creature and the Ninjutsu creature to deal damage.
- 702.48a Ninjutsu is an activated ability that functions only while the card with ninjutsu is in a player’s hand. “Ninjutsu [cost]” means “[Cost], Reveal this card from your hand, Return an unblocked attacking creature you control to its owner’s hand: Put this card onto the battlefield from your hand tapped and attacking.”
- 702.48b The card with ninjutsu remains revealed from the time the ability is announced until the ability leaves the stack.
- 702.48c A ninjutsu ability may be activated only while a creature on the battlefield is unblocked (see rule 509.1h). The creature with ninjutsu is put onto the battlefield unblocked. It will be attacking the same player or planeswalker as the creature that was returned to its owner’s hand.