In Magic: The Gathering, gameplay consists of players accumulating resources and using them to play cards. Some cards have an effect and instantly go to the discard pile, or graveyard; these are known as instants and sorceries. Other cards remain on the table until conditions cause them to be removed from play; these are known as permanents.

In addition to their presence on the table, permanents often have abilities, or functions that can directly affect gameplay. Abilities are often reusable and impact strategy to a significant degree.

There are three main types of abilities:

  • Activated,
  • Triggered, and
  • Static.

Activated abilities
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include any abilities that require some sort of cost. For example, the card Waker of the Wilds has an activated ability that reads: "CXColor GColor G: Put X +1/+1 counters on target land you control. That land becomes a 0/0 Elemental creature with haste. It's still a land."

Activated abilities that require Tapping
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include any abilities that require tapping. For example, the card Encampment Keeper has an activated ability that reads: "C7Color W, Mana Tap, Sacrifice Encampment Keeper: Creatures you control get +2/+2 until end of turn."

Triggered abilities
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require a specific event to happen, or by having met certain conditions. For instance, Vicious Conquistador has : Whenever Vicious Conquistador attacks, each opponent loses 1 life."

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Static abilities include keyword mechanics such as hexproof, first strike, and flying. Must Attack or Can't Block are static abilities without a keyword.

List of Abilities

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


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Turn a Vehicle Artifact into an Artifact Creature by tapping another creature. Gain additional benefits if the tapped creature has the Pilot subtype.
Main article: Crew


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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


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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 Strike

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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


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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. Technically it can attach to permanents.
Main article: Enchant


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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 Strike

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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


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


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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


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Haste is 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


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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


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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


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


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Menace is a static ability that makes a creature unblockable unless it is blocked by more than one creature.
Main article: Menace


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Prowess is a triggered ability. Creatures you control that have prowess gain +1/+1 every time you cast a non-creature spell.
Main article: Prowess


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


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Trample is a static ability that allows creatures to deal the rest of the damage not taken by target creature(s) blocking does that much damage to the defending player.
Main article: Trample


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Transform is a triggered ability that allows to turn double-faced cards upside down.
Main article: Transform


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

Abilities Evergreen Abilities: DeathtouchDefenderDouble StrikeEnchantEquipFirst StrikeFlashFlyingHasteHexproofIndestructibleLifelinkMenaceProwessReachTrampleVigilance
Other Keyword Abilities: AfflictAftermathAfterlifeAscendConvokeCrewCyclingEmbalmEternalizeFabricateImproviseJump-StartKickerMentorRiotSpectacleTransform
Ability Words  AddendumEnrageRaidRevoltUndergrowth

Actions AdaptExertExploreSurveil

Ability Words

207.2c An ability word appears in italics at the beginning of some abilities. Ability words are similar to keywords in that they tie together cards that have similar functionality, but they have no special rules meaning and no individual entries in the Comprehensive Rules. The ability words are battalion, bloodrush, channel, chroma, cohort, constellation, converge, council’s dilemma, delirium, domain, eminence, enrage, fateful hour, ferocious, formidable, grandeur, hellbent, heroic, imprint, inspired, join forces, kinship, landfall, lieutenant, metalcraft, morbid, parley, radiance, raid, rally, revolt, spell mastery, strive, sweep, tempting offer, threshold, and will of the council.


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Enrage is a triggered ability word introduced in Ixalan as the signature mechanic for the Dinosaurs of the Sun Empire. It gives an advantageous effect when the creature is dealt damage and appears in red, white and green.

Main article: Enrage


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Raid checks to see if you've attacked with a creature during that turn. It was introduced in Ixalan and can be found on Pirate and Pirate-themed cards.

Main article: Raid
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