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Glossary for Magic: The Gathering A - J

This glossary of Magic: The Gathering terms is a reference document to be consulted when specific words or terms need clarifying.

 

This web page contains words beginning A – J. For words beginning K – Z see our second Magic: The Gathering glossary here.

 

Note that this glossary is available within the downloadable Magic Rules Word document or PDF available from magic.wizards.com


 

Abandon

To turn a face-up ongoing scheme card face down and put it on the bottom of its owner’s scheme deck. See rule 701.26, “Abandon.”

 

Ability

1. Text on an object that explains what that object does or can do.2. An activated or triggered ability on the stack. This kind of ability is an object.See rule 113, “Abilities,” and section 6, “Spells, Abilities, and Effects.”

 

Ability Word

An italicized word with no rules meaning that ties together abilities on different cards that have similar functionality. See rule 207.2c.

 

Absorb

A keyword ability that prevents damage. See rule 702.64, “Absorb.”

 

Activate

To put an activated ability onto the stack and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. See rule 602, “Activating Activated Abilities.”

 

Activated Ability

A kind of ability. Activated abilities are written as “[Cost]: [Effect.] [Activation instructions (if any).]” See rule 113, “Abilities,” and rule 602, “Activating Activated Abilities.”

 

Activation Cost

Everything that appears before the colon in an activated ability’s text. It must be paid to activate the ability. See rule 118, “Costs,” and rule 602, “Activating Activated Abilities.”

 

Active Player

The player whose turn it is. See rule 102.1.

 

Active Player, Nonactive Player Order

A system that determines the order by which players make choices if multiple players are instructed to make choices at the same time. See rule 101.4. This rule is modified for games using the shared team turns option; see rule 805.6.

 

Active Team

The team whose turn it is in a game using the shared team turns option. See rule 805.4a.

 

Adapt

A keyword action that puts +1/+1 counters on a creature that doesn’t have any yet. See rule 701.43, “Adapt.”

 

Additional Cost

A cost a spell may have that its controller may pay (or, in some cases, must pay) in addition to its mana cost to cast that spell. See rule 118, “Costs,” and rule 601, “Casting Spells.”

 

Adventurer Card

Cards with a two-part card frame (one part of which is inset on the left) on a single card. See rule 715, “Adventurer Cards.”

 

Affinity

A keyword ability that reduces how much mana you need to spend to cast a spell. See rule 702.41, “Affinity.”

 

Afflict

A keyword ability that makes the defending player lose life for blocking. See rule 702.130, “Afflict.”

 

Afterlife

A keyword ability that leaves behind Spirit creature tokens when certain creatures die. See rule 702.135, “Afterlife.”

 

Aftermath

A keyword ability that lets a player cast one half of a split card only from their graveyard. See rule 702.127, “Aftermath.”

 

Alternating Teams Variant

A multiplayer variant played among two or more teams of equal size. See rule 811, “Alternating Teams Variant.”

 

Alternative Cost

A cost a spell may have that its controller can pay rather than paying its mana cost. See rule 118, “Costs,” and rule 601, “Casting Spells.”

 

Alternate Name

A different name used on promotional or alternate-art versions of some cards. This name has no rules meaning. See rule 201.6.

 

Amass

A keyword action that gives you a Zombie Army creature token or grows an Army you already have. See rule 701.44, “Amass.”

 

Amplify

A keyword ability than can have a creature enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters on it. See rule 702.38, “Amplify.”

 

Anchor Word

A word that precedes one of two abilities a permanent may enter the battlefield with. See rule 614.12b.

 

Annihilator

A keyword ability that can make a creature particularly brutal when it attacks. See rule 702.86, “Annihilator.”

 

Ante

1. A zone used only when playing “for keeps.”2. To put a card into the ante zone.See rule 407, “Ante.”

 

Any Target

A spell or ability may require “any target.” “Any target” is the same as “target creature, player, or planeswalker.” See rule 115.4.

 

APNAP Order

See Active Player, Nonactive Player Order.

 

Archenemy

1. A casual variant in which a team of players faces off against a single opponent strengthened with powerful scheme cards. See rule 904, “Archenemy.”2. A player in an Archenemy game who is playing with a scheme deck.

 

Artifact

A card type. An artifact is a permanent. See rule 301, “Artifacts.”

 

Artifact Creature

A combination of artifact and creature that’s subject to the rules for both. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 302, “Creatures.”

 

Artifact Land

A combination of artifact and land that’s subject to the rules for both. Artifact lands can only be played as lands, not cast as spells. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 305, “Lands.”

 

Artifact Type

A subtype that’s correlated to the artifact card type. See rule 301, “Artifacts.” See rule 205.3g for the list of artifact types.

 

As Though

Text used to indicate that the game, for some specific purpose, treats a condition as true even though it’s not. See rule 609.4.

 

Ascend

A keyword causing a player to get the designation of the city’s blessing once they control ten permanents. See rule 702.131, “Ascend.”

 

Assemble

Assemble is a keyword action in the Unstable set that puts Contraptions onto the battlefield. Cards and mechanics from the Unstable set aren’t included in these rules.

 

Assign Combat Damage

To determine how an attacking or blocking creature will deal its combat damage. See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”

 

Assist

A keyword ability that lets another player help you pay for a spell. See rule 702.132, “Assist.”

 

At End of Turn (Obsolete)

A trigger condition printed on abilities that triggered at the beginning of the end step (which is not the last thing to happen in the turn). Cards that were printed with that text have received errata in the Oracle card reference to say “at the beginning of the end step” or “at the beginning of the next end step.” See rule 513, “End Step.”

 

Attach

To take an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification from where it currently is and put it onto a specified object or player. See rule 701.3, “Attach.”

 

Attack

To send a creature into combat offensively. A creature can attack a player or a planeswalker. See rule 508, “Declare Attackers Step.”

 

Attack Alone

A creature “attacks alone” if it’s the only creature declared as an attacker during the declare attackers step. A creature “is attacking alone” if it’s attacking but no other creatures are. See rule 506.5.

 

Attack Left Option

An option that may be used in certain multiplayer variants. See rule 803, “Attack Left and Attack Right Options.”

 

Attack Multiple Players Option

An option that may be used in certain multiplayer variants. See rule 802, “Attack Multiple Players Option.”

 

Attack Right Option

An option that may be used in certain multiplayer variants. See rule 803, “Attack Left and Attack Right Options.”

 

Attacking Creature

A creature that has either been declared as part of a legal attack during the combat phase (once all costs to attack, if any, have been paid), or a creature that has been put onto the battlefield attacking. It remains an attacking creature until it’s removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. See rule 508, “Declare Attackers Step.”

 

Attacking Team

The team who can attack during the combat phase of a multiplayer game using the shared team turns option. See rule 805, “Shared Team Turns Option.”

 

Attacks and Isn’t Blocked

An ability that triggers when a creature “attacks and isn’t blocked” triggers when the creature becomes an unblocked attacking creature. See rule 509.1h.

 

Attraction

An artifact type seen only on nontraditional Magic cards in the Unfinity expansion. See rule 717, “Attraction Cards,” rule 701.48, “Open an Attraction,” and rule 701.49, “Roll to Visit Your Attractions.”

 

Attraction Deck

An optional deck of at least three (in limited play) or ten (in constructed play) Attraction cards that can be used to support play with some cards from the Unfinity expansion. See rule 717.2.

 

Aura

An enchantment subtype. Aura spells target objects or players, and Aura permanents are attached to objects or players. See rule 303, “Enchantments,” and rule 702.5, “Enchant.”

 

Aura Swap

A keyword ability that lets you exchange an Aura on the battlefield with one in your hand. See rule 702.65, “Aura Swap.”

 

Awaken

A keyword ability that lets you turn a land you control into a creature. See rule 702.113, “Awaken.”

 

Background

An enchantment type that, in combination with the “choose a Background” ability, may allow a legendary enchantment card to be your commander. See rule 702.124, “Partner,” and rule 903, “Commander.”

 

Backup

A keyword ability that lets a creature give +1/+1 counters to itself or another when it enters the battlefield. If a different creature is chosen, that creature also temporarily gains one or more abilities. See rule 702.165, “Backup.”

 

Banding, “Bands with Other”

Banding is a keyword ability that modifies the rules for declaring attackers and assigning combat damage. “Bands with other” is a specialized version of the ability. See rule 702.22, “Banding.”

 

Bargain

Bargain is a keyword ability that represents an optional additional cost of sacrificing an artifact, enchantment, or token. A spell has been bargained if its controller declared the intention to pay that cost. See rule 702.166, “Bargain.”

 

Base Power, Base Toughness

Effects that change the base power and/or base toughness of a creature set one or both of those values to a specific number. See rule 613, “Interaction of Continuous Effects.”

 

Basic

A supertype that’s normally relevant on lands. Any land with this supertype is a basic land. See rule 205.4, “Supertypes.”

 

Basic Landcycling

See Typecycling.

 

Basic Land Type

There are five “basic land types”: Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest. Each one has a mana ability associated with it. See rule 305, “Lands.”

 

Battle

A card type. A battle is a permanent. See rule 310, “Battles.”

 

Battle Cry

A keyword ability that makes other attacking creatures better in combat. See rule 702.91, “Battle Cry.”

 

Battlefield

A zone. The battlefield is the zone in which permanents exist. It used to be known as the “in-play” zone. See rule 403, “Battlefield.”

 

Becomes

A word used in some trigger events to indicate a change in status or characteristics. See rule 603.2f.

 

Beginning of Combat Step

Part of the turn. This step is the first step of the combat phase. See rule 507, “Beginning of Combat Step.”

 

Beginning Phase

Part of the turn. This phase is the first phase of the turn. See rule 501, “Beginning Phase.”

 

Bestow

A keyword ability that lets a creature card be cast as an Aura. See rule 702.103, “Bestow.”

 

Blitz

A keyword ability found on creature cards that allows them to be cast for an alternative cost. See rule 702.152, “Blitz.”

 

Block

To send a creature into combat defensively. A creature can block an attacking creature. See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”

 

Block Alone

A creature “blocks alone” if it’s the only creature declared as a blocker during the declare blockers step. A creature “is blocking alone” if it’s blocking but no other creatures are. See rule 506.5.

 

Blocked Creature

An attacking creature that another creature blocks or that an effect causes to become blocked. It remains a blocked creature until it’s removed from combat, an effect says that it becomes unblocked, or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”

 

Blocking Creature

A creature that has either been declared as part of a legal block during the combat phase (once all costs to block, if any, have been paid), or a creature that has been put onto the battlefield blocking. It remains a blocking creature until it’s removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”

 

Blood Token

A Blood token is a colorless artifact token with “{1}, {T}, Discard a card, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.” For more information about predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.

 

Bloodthirst

A keyword ability that can have a creature enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters on it. See rule 702.54, “Bloodthirst.”

 

Boast

A special kind of activated ability that can be activated only once each turn if the creature with the boast ability attacked that turn. See rule 702.142, “Boast.”

 

Bolster

A keyword action that puts +1/+1 counters on the weakest creature a player controls. See rule 701.33, “Bolster.”

 

Booster Pack

A group of unopened Magic cards from a particular expansion. Booster packs are used in Limited formats. See rule 100.2b.

 

Brawl

An option for the Commander casual variant. See rule 903.12, “Brawl Option.”

 

Bury (Obsolete)

A term that meant “put [a permanent] into its owner’s graveyard.” In general, cards that were printed with the term “bury” have received errata in the Oracle card reference to read, “Destroy [a permanent]. It can’t be regenerated,” or “Sacrifice [a permanent].”

 

Bushido

A keyword ability that can make a creature better in combat. See rule 702.45, “Bushido.”

 

Buyback

A keyword ability of instants and sorceries that can let the spell return to its owner’s hand as it resolves. See rule 702.27, “Buyback.”

 

Card

The standard component of the game. Magic cards may be traditional or nontraditional. Tokens aren’t considered cards. In the text of spells or abilities, the term “card” is used only to refer to a card that’s not on the battlefield or on the stack, such as a creature card in a player’s hand. See rule 108, “Cards.”

 

Card Pool

In a Limited format, the cards a player may use, in addition to basic land cards, to build their deck.

 

Card Type

A characteristic. Except for abilities on the stack, each object has a card type, even if that object isn’t a card. Each card type has its own rules. See rule 205, “Type Line,” and section 3, “Card Types.”

 

Cascade

A keyword ability that may let a player cast a random extra spell for no cost. See rule 702.85, “Cascade.”

 

Case

An enchantment subtype. Cases have a “to solve” ability that set a condition its controller must meet in order for the “solved” ability to take effect. See rule 719, “Case Cards.”

 

Cast

To take a card from where it is (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. See rule 601, “Casting Spells.”

 

Caster (Obsolete)

An obsolete term that referred to the player who cast a spell. In general, cards that were printed with the term “caster” have received errata in the Oracle card reference to say “controller.”

 

Casting Cost (Obsolete)

An obsolete term for mana cost. Cards printed with this text have received errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Casualty

A keyword ability that allows you to sacrifice a creature to create a copy of a spell. See 702.153, “Casualty.”

 

Champion, Championed

“Champion” is a keyword ability that lets one creature temporarily replace another. A permanent is “championed” by another permanent if the latter exiles the former as the direct result of a champion ability. See rule 702.72, “Champion.”

 

Change a Target

To choose a new, legal target for a spell or ability. See rule 115.7.

 

Changeling

A characteristic-defining ability that grants the object it’s on every creature type. See rule 702.73, “Changeling.”

 

Chaos Ability

An ability of a plane card that triggers “Whenever chaos ensues” in the Planechase casual variant. See rule 311.7.

 

Chaos Symbol

The chaos symbol appears on the planar die and near some triggered abilities of plane cards in the Planechase casual variant. See rule 107.12.

 

Characteristics

Information that defines an object. See rule 109.3.

 

Characteristic-Defining Ability

A kind of static ability that conveys information about an object’s characteristics that would normally be found elsewhere on that object (such as in its mana cost, type line, or power/toughness box). See rule 604.3.

 

Choose a Background

A variant of the partner ability that lets two legendary permanent cards be your commander in the Commander variant rather than one if one of them has the “choose a Background” ability and the other is a Background enchantment card. See rule 702.124, “Partner,” and rule 903, “Commander.”

 

Cipher

A keyword ability that allows you to encode a card on a creature and cast that card whenever that creature deals combat damage to a player. See rule 702.99, “Cipher.”

 

City’s Blessing

A designation a player can have. The ascend keyword causes a player to get this designation once they control ten permanents. See rule 702.131, “Ascend.”

 

Clash

To have a mini-contest involving the top cards of players’ libraries. See rule 701.23, “Clash.”

 

Class

An enchantment subtype. Classes have a number of class level abilities that increase their level and grant them new abilities. See rule 716, “Class Cards.”

 

Cleanup Step

Part of the turn. This step is the second and final step of the ending phase. See rule 514, “Cleanup Step.”

 

Cleave

A keyword ability that allows you to pay an alternative cost to remove some of a spell’s text. See rule 702.148, “Cleave.”

 

Cloak

A keyword action that puts a card onto the battlefield face down as a 2/2 creature with ward {2}. See rule 701.56, “Cloak,” and rule 708, “Face-Down Spells and Permanents.”

 

Clue Token

A Clue token is a colorless artifact token with “{2}, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.” For more information about predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.

 

Collect Evidence

A keyword action. To “collect evidence N” means to exile any number of cards from your graveyard with total mana value N or greater. See rule 701.57, “Collect Evidence.”

 

Collector Number

A number printed on most cards that has no effect on game play. See rule 213, “Information Below the Text Box.”

 

Color

1. A characteristic of an object. See rule 105, “Colors,” and rule 202, “Mana Cost and Color.”2. An attribute mana may have. See rule 106, “Mana.”

 

Colorless

1. An object with no color is colorless. Colorless is not a color. See rule 105, “Colors,” and rule 202, “Mana Cost and Color.”2. A type of mana. See rule 106, “Mana,” and rule 107.4c.

 

Color Identity

A set of colors that determines what cards may be included in a deck for the Commander casual variant. See rule 903.4.

 

Color Indicator

A characteristic of an object. See rule 105, “Colors,” and rule 204, “Color Indicator.”

 

Combat Damage

Damage dealt during the combat damage step by attacking creatures and blocking creatures as a consequence of combat. See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”

 

Combat Damage Step

Part of the turn. This step is the fourth step of the combat phase. See rule 510, “Combat Damage Step.”

 

Combat Phase

Part of the turn. This phase is the third phase of the turn. See rule 506, “Combat Phase.”

 

Command

A zone for certain specialized objects that have an overarching effect on the game, yet are not permanents and cannot be destroyed. See rule 408, “Command.”

 

Commander

1. A casual variant in which each deck is led by a legendary creature. See rule 903, “Commander.”2. A designation given to one legendary creature card in each player’s deck in the Commander casual variant.

 

Commander Draft

A casual variant in which players participate in a booster draft and then play multiplayer games. See rule 903.13, “Commander Draft.”

 

Commander Ninjutsu

A variant of the ninjutsu ability. See rule 702.49, “Ninjutsu.”

 

Commander Tax

Informal term for the additional cost to cast a commander based on the number of times a player has cast it previously this game. See rule 903.8.

 

Companion

A keyword ability that allows a player to choose one creature card from outside the game as a companion if the restriction of that card’s companion ability is met. Once a player has chosen a companion, that player may pay {3} to put it into their hand once during the game. See rule 702.139, “Companion.”

 

Compleated

A keyword ability that causes a planeswalker to enter the battlefield with fewer loyalty counters if a player chose to pay life for Phyrexian mana symbols in its cost. See rule 702.150, “Compleated.”

 

Complete a Dungeon

To remove a dungeon card from the game after reaching that dungeon card’s bottommost room. See rule 309, “Dungeons.”

 

Concede

To quit the game. Conceding a game immediately causes that player to leave that game and lose that game. See rule 104, “Ending the Game.”

 

Connive

A keyword action that causes a player to draw a card, discard a card, and then to put a +1/+1 counter on a creature if a nonland card was discarded this way. See rule 701.47, “Connive.”

 

Conspiracy

A card type used in Limited formats such as Conspiracy Draft. A conspiracy card is not a permanent. See rule 315, “Conspiracies.”

 

Conspiracy Draft

A casual variant in which players participate in a booster draft and then play multiplayer games. See rule 905, “Conspiracy Draft.”

 

Conspire

A keyword ability that creates a copy of a spell. See rule 702.78, “Conspire.”

 

Constructed

A way of playing in which each player creates their own deck ahead of time. See rule 100.2a.

 

Continuous Effect

An effect that modifies characteristics of objects, modifies control of objects, or affects players or the rules of the game, for a fixed or indefinite period. See rule 611, “Continuous Effects.”

 

Continuous Artifact (Obsolete)

An obsolete term that appeared on the type line of artifacts without activated abilities. Cards printed with this text have received errata in the Oracle card reference to simply say “Artifact.”

 

Control, Controller

“Control” is the system that determines who gets to use an object in the game. An object’s “controller” is the player who currently controls it. See rule 108.4.

 

Control Another Player

To make all choices and decisions that player is allowed to make, or is told to make, by rules or by any objects. See rule 720, “Controlling Another Player.”

 

Convert

To turn a double-faced card so its other face is up. See rule 701.50, “Convert.”

 

Converted Mana Cost (Obsolete)

An obsolete term for mana value. Cards printed with this term have received errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Convoke

A keyword ability that lets you tap creatures rather than pay mana to cast a spell. See rule 702.51, “Convoke.”

 

Copiable Values

Values of an object’s characteristics that are checked by copy effects. See rules 613.2, 707.2, and 707.3.

 

Copy

1. To create a new object whose copiable values have been set to those of another object.2. An object whose copiable values have been set to those of another object.See rule 707, “Copying Objects.”

 

Cost

An action or payment necessary to take another action or to stop another action from taking place. See rule 118, “Costs.”

 

Counter

1. To cancel a spell or ability so it doesn’t resolve and none of its effects occur. See rule 701.5, “Counter.”2. A marker placed on an object or player that modifies its characteristics or interacts with a rule or ability. See rule 122, “Counters.”

 

Counts As (Obsolete)

Some older cards were printed with text stating that the card “counts as” something. Cards printed with this text have received errata in the Oracle card reference to state that the card actually is that thing.

 

Craft

Craft is an activated ability that allows a player to exile cards from their graveyard and/or permanents they control to exile the permanent with the craft ability and return it onto the battlefield transformed. See rule 702.167, “Craft.”

 

Create

To create a token is to put a token onto the battlefield. See rule 701.6, “Create.”

 

Creature

A card type. A creature is a permanent. See rule 302, “Creatures.”

 

Creature Type

A subtype that’s correlated to the creature card type and the tribal card type. See rule 302, “Creatures,” and rule 308, “Tribals.” See rule 205.3m for the list of creature types.

 

Crew

A keyword ability that lets you tap creatures to turn a Vehicle into an artifact creature. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 702.122, “Crew.”

 

Crime

Targeting an opponent, anything that opponent controls, and/or any cards in an opponent’s graveyard is a crime. See rule 700.13.

 

Cumulative Upkeep

A keyword ability that imposes an increasing cost to keep a permanent on the battlefield. See rule 702.24, “Cumulative Upkeep.”

 

Cycling

A keyword ability that lets a card be discarded and replaced with a new card. See rule 702.29, “Cycling.”

 

Damage

Objects can deal “damage” to creatures, planeswalkers, and players. This is generally detrimental to the object or player that receives that damage. See rule 120, “Damage.”

 

Damage Assignment Order

The order, announced during the declare blockers step, that an attacking creature will assign its combat damage among the multiple creatures blocking it, or that a blocking creature will assign its combat damage among the multiple creatures it’s blocking. See rules 509.2 and 509.3.

 

Dash

A keyword ability found on creature cards that allows them to be cast for an alternative cost. See rule 702.109, “Dash.”

 

Day

Along with night, a designation the game can have. See rule 727, “Day and Night,” and rule 702.145, “Daybound and Nightbound.”

 

Daybound

An ability found on the front faces of some double-faced cards. Cards with daybound and nightbound are face up when it’s day and face down when it’s night. See rule 702.145, “Daybound and Nightbound,” and rule 727, “Day and Night.”

 

Deal

See Damage.

 

Deathtouch

A keyword ability that causes damage dealt by an object to be especially effective. See rule 702.2, “Deathtouch.”

 

Decayed

A keyword ability that means “This creature can’t block” and “When this creature attacks, sacrifice it at end of combat. See rule 702.147, “Decayed.”

 

Deck

The collection of cards a player starts the game with; it becomes that player’s library. See rule 100, “General,” and rule 103, “Starting the Game.”

 

Declare Attackers

To choose a set of creatures that will attack, declare whether each creature is attacking the defending player or a planeswalker that player controls, and pay any costs required to allow those creatures to attack. See rule 508.1.

 

Declare Attackers Step

Part of the turn. This step is the second step of the combat phase. See rule 508, “Declare Attackers Step.”

 

Declare Blockers

To choose a set of creatures that will block, declare which attacking creature each creature is blocking, and pay any costs required to allow those creatures to block. See rule 509.1.

 

Declare Blockers Step

Part of the turn. This step is the third step of the combat phase. See rule 509, “Declare Blockers Step.”

 

Defender

A keyword ability that prohibits a creature from attacking. See rule 702.3, “Defender.”

 

Defending Player

The player who can be attacked, and whose planeswalkers can be attacked, during the combat phase. See rule 506.2. In certain multiplayer games, there may be more than one defending player; see rule 802, “Attack Multiple Players Option,” and rule 805.10.

 

Defending Team

The team who can be attacked, and whose planeswalkers can be attacked, during the combat phase of a multiplayer game using the shared team turns option. See rule 805, “Shared Team Turns Option.”

 

Defense

1. Part of a card that only battle cards have. A battle card’s defense is printed in its lower right corner. See rule 210, “Defense.”

2. A characteristic that only battles can have. See rule 310, “Battles.”

 

Delayed Triggered Ability

An ability created by effects generated when some spells or abilities resolve, or when some replacement effects are applied, that does something later on rather than at that time. See rule 603.7.

 

Delve

A keyword ability that lets you exile cards from your graveyard rather than pay generic mana to cast a spell. See rule 702.66, “Delve.”

 

Demonstrate

A triggered ability found on some spells that let its controller copy it and choose an opponent to also copy it. See rule 702.144, “Demonstrate.”

 

Dependency

A system that may be used to determine in which order continuous effects in the same layer or sublayer are applied. See rule 613.8. See also Timestamp Order.

 

Deploy Creatures Option

An option that may be used in certain multiplayer variants to pass control of creatures between teammates. See rule 804, “Deploy Creatures Option.”

 

Destroy

To move a permanent from the battlefield to its owner’s graveyard. See rule 701.7, “Destroy.”

 

Detain

A keyword action that temporarily stops a permanent from attacking, blocking, or having its activated abilities activated. See rule 701.29, “Detain.”

 

Dethrone

A keyword ability that puts a +1/+1 counter on a creature when it attacks the player with the most life. See rule 702.105, “Dethrone.”

 

Devoid

A characteristic-defining ability that makes an object colorless. See rule 702.114, “Devoid.”

 

Devotion

A numerical value a player has, equal to the number of mana symbols of a certain color among the mana costs of permanents that player controls. See rule 700.5.

 

Devour

A keyword ability that can have a creature enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters on it. See rule 702.82, “Devour.”

 

Dies

A creature or planeswalker “dies” if it is put into a graveyard from the battlefield. See rule 700.4.

 

Discard

To move a card from its owner’s hand to that player’s graveyard. See rule 701.8, “Discard.”

 

Discover

A keyword ability that may allow a player to cast a random spell for free. See rule 701.55, “Discover.”

 

Disguise

A keyword ability that lets a card be cast face down as a 2/2 creature with ward {2}. See rule 702.168, “Disguise,” and rule 708, “Face-Down Spells and Permanents.”

 

Disturb

A keyword ability that allows a player to cast a double-faced card transformed from the graveyard. See rule 702.146, “Disturb.”

 

Doctor’s Companion

A partner ability that allows a player to play with two legendary creature cards as their commander if one of them has Doctor’s companion and the other is a Time Lord Doctor with no other creature types.

 

Double Agenda

A variant of the hidden agenda ability. See rule 702.106, “Hidden Agenda.”

 

Double Strike

A keyword ability that lets a creature deal its combat damage twice. See rule 702.4, “Double Strike.”

 

Double-Faced Cards

Cards with two faces, one on each side of the card, and no Magic card back. See rule 712, “Double-Faced Cards.”

 

Draft

1. A Limited format in which players choose cards one at a time from booster packs, then construct a deck solely from the chosen cards and basic land cards.

2. To choose a card during a draft and put it into your card pool.

 

Draft Round

Part of a draft in which each player opens an unopened booster pack and the cards in those booster packs are drafted. See rules 905.1a and 905.1b.

 

Draw

1. To put the top card of a player’s library into their hand as a turn-based action or as the result of an effect that uses the word “draw.” See rule 121, “Drawing a Card.”2. The result of a game in which neither player wins or loses. See rule 104.4.

 

Draw Step

Part of the turn. This step is the third and final step of the beginning phase. See rule 504, “Draw Step.”

 

Dredge

A keyword ability that lets a player return a card from their graveyard to their hand. See rule 702.52, “Dredge.”

 

Dungeon

A card type found on nontraditional Magic cards. A dungeon card is not a permanent. See rule 309, “Dungeons.”

 

During (Obsolete)

Some older cards used the phrase “during [phase], [action].” These abilities were called “phase abilities.” In general, cards that were printed with phase abilities have received errata in the Oracle card reference so they have abilities that trigger at the beginning of a step or phase. “During” still appears in current card text, but only in its normal English sense and not as game terminology.

 

Echo

A keyword ability that imposes a cost to keep a permanent on the battlefield. See rule 702.30, “Echo.”

 

EDH (Obsolete)

An older name for the Commander casual variant. See rule 903, “Commander.”

 

Effect

Something that happens in the game as a result of a spell or ability. See rule 609, “Effects.”

 

Embalm

A keyword ability that lets a player exile a creature card from their graveyard to create a mummified token version of that card. See rule 702.128, “Embalm.”

 

Emblem

An emblem is a marker used to represent an object that has one or more abilities, but no other characteristics. See rule 114, “Emblems.”

 

Emerge

A keyword ability that lets a player cast a spell for less by sacrificing a creature. See rule 702.119, “Emerge.”

 

Emperor

The middle player on each team in an Emperor game. See rule 809, “Emperor Variant.”

 

Emperor Variant

A multiplayer variant played among three-player teams. See rule 809, “Emperor Variant.”

 

Enchant

A keyword ability that defines what an Aura spell can target and what an Aura permanent can be attached to. See rule 303, “Enchantments,” and rule 702.5, “Enchant.”

 

Enchantment

A card type. An enchantment is a permanent. See rule 303, “Enchantments.” See also Aura.

 

Enchantment Type

A subtype that’s correlated to the enchantment card type. See rule 303, “Enchantments.” See rule 205.3h for the list of enchantment types.

 

Encoded

A term that describes the relationship between a permanent and a card exiled by a cipher ability. See rule 702.99, “Cipher.”

 

Encore

A keyword ability that lets a player exile a creature card from their graveyard to, for each opponent, create a token that’s a copy of that card to attack that opponent. See rule 702.141, “Encore”

 

Encounter

To move a phenomenon card off the top of a planar deck and turn it face up. See rule 312, “Phenomena.”

 

End of Combat Step

Part of the turn. This step is the fifth and final step of the combat phase. See rule 511, “End of Combat Step.”

 

End Step

Part of the turn. This step is the first step of the ending phase. See rule 513, “End Step.”

 

End the Combat Phase

To “end the combat phase” as the result of an effect is to perform an expedited process that skips everything else that would happen that phase. See rule 721, “Ending Turns and Phases.”

 

End the Turn

To “end the turn” as the result of an effect is to perform an expedited process that skips nearly everything else that would happen that turn. See rule 721, “Ending Turns and Phases.”

 

Ending Phase

Part of the turn. This phase is the fifth and final phase of the turn. See rule 512, “Ending Phase.”

 

Energy Symbol

The energy symbol {E} represents one energy counter. To pay {E}, a player removes one energy counter from themselves.

 

Enlist

A keyword ability that allows a creature that could have attacked to support another creature. See rule 702.154, “Enlist.”

 

Enters the Battlefield

A nontoken permanent “enters the battlefield” when it’s moved onto the battlefield from another zone. A token “enters the battlefield” when it’s created. See rules 403.3, 603.6a, 603.6d, and 614.12.

 

Entwine

A keyword ability that lets a player choose all modes for a spell rather than just the number specified. See rule 702.42, “Entwine.”

 

Epic

A keyword ability that lets a player copy a spell at the beginning of each of their upkeeps at the expense of casting any other spells for the rest of the game. See rule 702.50, “Epic.”

 

Equip

A keyword ability that lets a player attach an Equipment to a creature they control. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 702.6, “Equip.”

 

Equipment

An artifact subtype. Equipment can be attached to creatures. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 702.6, “Equip.”

 

Escalate

A keyword ability on some modal spells that adds a cost for choosing additional modes. See rule 702.120, “Escalate.”

 

Escape

A keyword ability that lets a player cast a card from their graveyard. See rule 702.138, “Escape.”

 

Eternalize

A keyword ability that lets a player exile a creature card from their graveyard to create an eternalized token version of that card. See rule 702.129, “Eternalize.”

 

Evasion Ability

An ability that restricts what creatures can block an attacking creature. See rules 509.1b–c.

 

Event

Anything that happens in a game. See rule 700.1.

 

Evoke

A keyword ability that causes a permanent to be sacrificed when it enters the battlefield. See rule 702.74, “Evoke.”

 

Evolve

A keyword ability that lets you put a +1/+1 counter on a creature when a larger creature enters the battlefield under your control. See rule 702.100, “Evolve.”

 

Exalted

A keyword ability that can make a creature better in combat. See rule 702.83, “Exalted.”

 

Exchange

To swap two things, such as objects, sets of objects, or life totals. See rule 701.10, “Exchange.”

 

Exert

A keyword action that stops a permanent from untapping during the next untap step of the player who exerted it. See rule 701.39, “Exert.”

 

Excess Damage

Damage dealt to a creature greater than what would be lethal damage or damage dealt to a planeswalker greater than its loyalty. See rule 120.4a.

 

Exile

1. A zone. Exile is essentially a holding area for cards. It used to be known as the “removed-from-the-game” zone.2. To put an object into the exile zone from whatever zone it’s currently in. An “exiled” card is one that’s been put into the exile zone.See rule 406, “Exile.”

 

Expansion Symbol

A card’s expansion symbol is a small icon normally printed below the right edge of the illustration that has no effect on game play. See rule 206, “Expansion Symbol.”

 

Exploit

A keyword ability that lets you sacrifice a creature for a benefit. See rule 702.110, “Exploit.”

 

Explore

A keyword action that causes a player to reveal the top card of their library and then to take different actions depending on whether a land card is revealed this way. See rule 701.40, “Explore.”

 

Extort

A keyword ability that lets you gain life and have opponents lose life whenever you cast a spell. See rule 702.101, “Extort.”

 

Extra Turn

A turn created by an effect of a spell or ability. See rule 500.7. For rules about extra turns in a multiplayer game using the shared team turns option, see 805.8. For rules about extra turns in a Grand Melee game, see rule 807.4.

 

Fabricate

A keyword ability that lets you choose whether to create Servo tokens or put +1/+1 counters on a creature. See rule 702.123, “Fabricate.”

 

Face a Villainous Choice

A keyword action that causes a player to choose one of two listed choices. See rule 701.53, “Face a Villainous Choice.”

 

Face Down

1. A card is “face down” if it’s physically positioned so the card back is showing. Cards in some zones are normally kept face down. See section 4, “Zones.”2. A status a permanent may have. See rule 110.5 and rule 702.37, “Morph.”3. Face-down spells have additional rules. See rule 708, “Face-Down Spells and Permanents,” and rule 702.37, “Morph.”

 

Face Up

1. A card is “face up” if it’s physically positioned so the card front is showing. Cards in some zones are normally kept face up. See section 4, “Zones.”2. A default status a permanent may have. See rule 110.5 and rule 702.37, “Morph.”

 

Fading

A keyword ability that limits how long a permanent remains on the battlefield. See rule 702.32, “Fading.”

 

Fateseal

To manipulate some of the cards on top of an opponent’s library. See rule 701.22, “Fateseal.”

 

Fear

A keyword ability that restricts how a creature may be blocked. See rule 702.36, “Fear.”

 

Fight

When two creatures fight, each deals damage equal to its power to the other. See rule 701.12, “Fight.”

 

Finality Counter

A counter that exiles the permanent it is on if that permanent would go to the graveyard from the battlefield. See rule 122.1h.

 

First Strike

A keyword ability that lets a creature deal its combat damage before other creatures. See rule 702.7, “First Strike.”

 

Flanking

A keyword ability that can make a creature better in combat. See rule 702.25, “Flanking.”

 

Flash

A keyword ability that lets a player play a card any time they could cast an instant. See rule 702.8, “Flash.”

 

Flashback

A keyword ability that lets a player cast a card from their graveyard. See rule 702.34, “Flashback.”

 

Flavor Text

Text in italics (but not in parentheses) in the text box of a card that has no effect on play. See rule 207.2.

 

Flavor Word

An italicized word with no rules meaning that provides a flavorful description of an ability. See rule 207.2d.

 

Flip Cards

Cards with a two-part card frame (one part of which is printed upside down) on a single card. See rule 710, “Flip Cards.”

 

Flipped

A status a permanent may have. See rule 110.5 and rule 710, “Flip Cards.” See also Unflipped.

 

Flipping a Coin

A method of randomization with two possible outcomes of equal likelihood. See rule 705, “Flipping a Coin.”

 

Flying

A keyword ability that restricts how a creature may be blocked. See rule 702.9, “Flying.”

 

Food Token

A Food token is a colorless artifact token with “{2}, {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: You gain 3 life.” For more information about predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.

 

For Mirrodin!

A keyword ability that creates a 2/2 red Rebel creature token and then attaches the Equipment with the ability to that token. See rule 702.163, “For Mirrodin!”

 

Forecast

A keyword ability that allows an activated ability to be activated from a player’s hand. See rule 702.57, “Forecast.”

 

Forest

One of the five basic land types. Any land with this subtype has the ability “{T}: Add {G}.” See rule 305.6.

 

Forestcycling

See Typecycling.

 

Forestwalk

See Landwalk.

 

Foretell

A keyword ability that lets a player exile cards from their hand and cast them for an alternative cost on future turns. See rule 702.143, “Foretell.”

 

Foretold

A card exiled using the foretell special action becomes foretold. Other effects can also make an exiled card foretold. A spell was foretold if it was a foretold card in exile before it was cast.

 

Fortification

An artifact subtype. Fortifications can be attached to lands. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 702.67, “Fortify.”

 

Fortify

A keyword ability that lets a player attach a Fortification to a land they control. See rule 301, “Artifacts,” and rule 702.67, “Fortify.”

 

Frenzy

A keyword ability that can make a creature better in combat. See rule 702.68, “Frenzy.”

 

Free-for-All

A multiplayer variant in which a group of players compete as individuals against each other. See rule 806, “Free-for-All Variant.”

 

Friends Forever

A variant of the partner ability that lets two legendary creature cardss be your commander in the Commander variant rather than one if both have the “friends forever” ability. See rule 702.124, “Partner,” and rule 903, “Commander.”

 

Full Party

A player has a full party if the number of creatures in their party is four. See rule 700.8.

 

Fuse

A keyword ability that allows a player to cast both halves of a split card. See rule 702.102, “Fuse.”

 

Fused Split Spell

A split card on the stack that has been cast using the fuse ability or a copy of such a card. See rule 702.102, “Fuse.”

 

General

Any player in the Emperor multiplayer variant who isn’t an emperor. See rule 809, “Emperor Variant.”

 

Generic Mana

Mana in a cost represented by numerical symbols (such as {1}) or variable symbols (such as {X}) that can be paid with mana of any type. See rule 107.4.

 

Global Enchantment (Obsolete)

An obsolete term for a non-Aura enchantment. Cards printed with this text have received errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Goad

A keyword action that causes a creature to be goaded until a player’s next turn. See rule 701.38, “Goad.”

 

Goaded

A designation a permanent can have. Goaded creatures are forced to attack and to attack a player other than the player that caused it to be goaded. See rule 701.38, “Goad.”

 

Gold Token

A Gold token is a colorless artifact token with “Sacrifice this artifact: Add one mana of any color.” For more information on predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.

 

Graft

A keyword ability that has a permanent enter the battlefield with +1/+1 counters on it and can move those counters to other creatures. See rule 702.58, “Graft.”

 

Grand Melee

A multiplayer variant in which a large group of players (usually ten or more) compete as individuals against each other. See rule 807, “Grand Melee Variant.”

 

Gravestorm

A keyword ability that creates copies of a spell. See rule 702.69, “Gravestorm.”

 

Graveyard

1. A zone. A player’s graveyard is their discard pile.2. All the cards in a player’s graveyard.See rule 404, “Graveyard.”

 

Hand

1. A zone. A player’s hand is where that player holds cards they have drawn but not played yet.2. All the cards in a player’s hand.See rule 402, “Hand.”

 

Hand Modifier

A characteristic that only vanguards have. See rule 211, “Hand Modifier.”

 

Haste

A keyword ability that lets a creature ignore the “summoning sickness” rule. See rule 702.10, “Haste,” and rule 302.6.

 

Haunt

A keyword ability that exiles cards. A card exiled this way “haunts” a creature targeted by the haunt ability. See rule 702.55, “Haunt.”

 

Hexproof

A keyword ability that precludes a permanent or player from being targeted by an opponent. See rule 702.11, “Hexproof.”

 

Hidden Agenda

A keyword ability that allows a conspiracy card to be put into the command zone face down. See rule 702.106, “Hidden Agenda.”

 

Hidden Zone

A zone in which not all players can be expected to see the cards’ faces. See rule 400.2. See also Public Zone.

 

Hideaway

A keyword ability that lets a player store a secret card. See rule 702.75, “Hideaway.”

 

Historic

An object is historic if it has the legendary supertype, the artifact card type, or the Saga subtype. See rule 700.6.

 

Horsemanship

A keyword ability that restricts how a creature may be blocked. See rule 702.31, “Horsemanship.”

 

Hybrid Card

A card with one or more hybrid mana symbols in its mana cost. See rule 202.2f.

 

Hybrid Mana Symbols

A mana symbol that represents a cost that can be paid in one of two ways. See rule 107.4.

 

Hybrid Phyrexian Mana Symbols

A mana symbol that represents a cost that can be paid in one of three ways. See rule 107.4.

 

If

See Intervening “If” Clause.

 

Illegal Action

An action that violates the rules of the game and/or requirements or restrictions created by effects. See rule 730, “Handling Illegal Actions.”

 

Illegal Target

A target that no longer exists or no longer meets the specifications stated by the spell or ability that’s targeting it. See rule 608.2b.

 

Illustration

A picture printed on the upper half of a card that has no effect on game play. See rule 203, “Illustration.”

 

Illustration Credit

Information printed directly below the text box that has no effect on game play. See rule 213, “Information Below the Text Box.”

 

Imprint

“Imprint” used to be a keyword ability. It is now an ability word and has no rules meaning. All cards printed with the imprint keyword have received errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Improvise

A keyword ability that lets you tap artifacts rather than pay mana to cast a spell. See rule 702.126, “Improvise.”

 

In Play (Obsolete)

An obsolete term for the battlefield. Cards that were printed with text that contain the phrases “in play,” “from play,” “into play,” or the like are referring to the battlefield and have received errata in the Oracle card reference. See Battlefield.

 

In Response To

An instant spell that’s been cast, or an activated ability that’s been activated, while another spell or ability is on the stack has been cast or activated “in response to” the earlier spell or ability. See rule 117.7.

 

Incubate

A keyword action that creates an Incubator token with a specified number of +1/+1 counters on it. See rule 701.51, “Incubate.”

 

Incubator Token

An Incubator token is a transforming double-faced token. Its front face is a colorless Incubator artifact with “{2}: Transform this artifact.” Its back face is a 0/0 colorless Phyrexian artifact creature named “Phyrexian Token.” For more information about predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.

 

Independent

See Dependency.

 

Indestructible

A keyword ability that precludes a permanent from being destroyed. See rule 702.12.

 

Infect

A keyword ability that affects how an object deals damage to creatures and players. See rule 702.90, “Infect.”

 

Ingest

A keyword ability that can exile the top card of a player’s library. See rule 702.115, “Ingest.”

 

Initiative

A designation a player can have. Some effects instruct a player to take the initiative. The player with the initiative ventures into Undercity whenever they take the initiative and at the beginning of their upkeep. See rule 723, “The Initiative.”

 

Instant

A card type. An instant is not a permanent. See rule 304, “Instants.”

 

Instead

Effects that use the word “instead” are replacement effects. The word “instead” indicates what an event will be replaced with. See rule 614, “Replacement Effects.”

 

Interrupt (Obsolete)

An obsolete card type. All cards printed with this card type are now instants. All abilities that, as printed, said a player could “play as an interrupt” can now be activated like any other activated abilities (unless they’re mana abilities, in which case they follow those rules instead). All relevant cards have been given errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Intervening “If” Clause

A specially worded condition checked as a triggered ability would trigger and again as it would resolve. See rule 603.4.

 

Intimidate

A keyword ability that restricts how a creature may be blocked. See rule 702.13, “Intimidate.”

 

Investigate

A keyword action that creates a Clue artifact token. See rule 701.36, “Investigate.”

 

Island

One of the five basic land types. Any land with this subtype has the ability “{T}: Add {U}.” See rule 305.6.

 

Islandcycling

See Typecycling.

 

Islandhome (Obsolete)

An obsolete keyword ability that meant “This creature can’t attack unless defending player controls an Island” and “When you control no Islands, sacrifice this creature.” Cards printed with this ability have been given errata in the Oracle card reference.

 

Islandwalk

See Landwalk.

 

Jump-Start

A keyword ability that lets a player cast a card from their graveyard by discarding a card. See rule 702.133, “Jump-Start.”

 

Junk Token

A Junk token is a colorless artifact token with {T}, Sacrifice this artifact: Exile the top card of your library. You may play that card this turn. Activate only as a sorcery.” For more information about predefined tokens, see rule 111.10.




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Credits


Magic: The Gathering Original Game Design: Richard Garfield

Comprehensive Rules Design and Development: Paul Barclay, Mark L. Gottlieb, Beth Moursund, Bill Rose, Eli Shiffrin, and Matt Tabak, with contributions from Charlie Cátinò, John Carter, Elaine Chase, Laurie Cheers, Stephen D’Angelo, Dave DeLaney, Brady Dommermuth, Mike Donais, Skaff Elias, Mike Elliott, Richard Garfield, Dan Gray, Robert Gutschera, Collin Jackson, William Jockusch, Jeff Jordan, Yonemura Kaoru, Russell Linnemann, Jim Lin, Steve Lord, Sheldon Menery, Michael Phoenix, Mark Rosewater, David Sachs, Lee Sharpe, Henry Stern, Donald X. Vaccarino, Thijs van Ommen, Ingo Warnke, Tom Wylie, and Bryan Zembruski

Editing: Del Laugel (principal), Matt Tabak (principal), Gregg Luben, Nat Moes, Samantha Phelan, Michael Zhang, and Hans Ziegler

Magic Rules Management: Jess Dunks, Eric Levine, and Eliana Rabinowitz


The Magic: The Gathering game was designed by Richard Garfield, with contributions from Charlie Cátinò, Skaff Elias, Don Felice, Tom Fontaine, Jim Lin, Joel Mick, Chris Page, Dave Pettey, Barry “Bit” Reich, Bill Rose, and Elliott Segal. The mana symbols were designed by Christopher Rush.

Originally published by Wizards of the Coast LLC, PO Box 707, Renton, WA 98057-0707, USA. Wizards of the Coast, Magic: The Gathering, Magic, their respective logos, Mirrodin, Kamigawa, Lorwyn, Zendikar, Innistrad, Ravnica, Khans of Tarkir, Magic Origins, Magic: The Gathering—Conspiracy, Ixalan, Unfinity, Dominaria, Ikoria, Kaldheim, Baldur’s Gate, The Brothers’ War, and Planeswalker Decks are trademarks of Wizards of the Coast LLC in the USA and other countries. ©2024 Wizards. U.S. Pat. No. RE 37,957.


Astartes, C’tan, Custodes, Necron, Primarch, and Tyranid ® & © Games Workshop Limited 2022. All Rights Reserved.


© 2023 Middle-earth Enterprises. Tales of Middle-earth and The Lord of the Rings and the names of the characters, events, items and places therein, are trademarks of Middle-earth Enterprises, LLC used under license by Wizards of the Coast LLC. All rights reserved.


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