Please note: not all of the mentioned keywords on this page comply to the definition of abilities according to the Comprehensive Rules. This is on purpose and is supposed to help especially new players to find what they are looking for.
Abilities are from one of these four general categories:
|Spell Ability|| Spell abilities are abilities that are followed as instructions while an instant or sorcery spell is resolving.|
Secrets of the Golden City has Ascend. The game checks if the player controls ten or more permanents. If so, the player gets the City's Blessing unless not aquired before.
| Activated|| Activated abilities include any abilities that require some sort of cost. This cost can be anything from paying Mana, Tapping a Permanent to sacrificing a Creature.|
The card Waker of the Wilds has an activated ability that reads: ": 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."
| Triggered|| Triggered abilities require a specific event to happen, or by having met certain conditions.|
Vicious Conquistador has: "Whenever Vicious Conquistador attacks, each opponent loses 1 life."
| Static|| Static abilities are written as statements. They’re simply true. Static abilities create continuous effects which are active while the permanent with the ability is on the battlefield.|
Air Elemental has Flying.
Evergreen Abilities are abilities that are not unique to one or more sets and can appear in any set without special mentions in the release notes. The current Evergreen Abilities are: Deathtouch, Defender, Double Strike, Enchant, Equip, First Strike, Flash, Flying, Haste, Hexproof, Indestructible, Lifelink, Menace, Prowess, Reach, Trample and Vigilance.
List of Abilities
Adaptkeyword action that lets a player put +1/+1 counters on a creature if it there none on it yet.
- Main article: Adapt
Afflictkeyword ability that makes the defending player lose life for blocking.
- Main article: Afflict
Afterlifekeyword ability that creates an amount of white and black Spirit creature tokens with flying when a creature dies.
- Main article: Afterlife
Aftermathkeyword ability that lets a player cast one half of a Split Card only from their graveyard. All cards with aftermath were removed from the game as part of the September 27 2018 open beta game update.
- Main article: Aftermath
Ascendkeyword ability causing a player to get the designation of the City’s Blessing once he or she controls ten permanents.
- Main article: Ascend
Convokekeyword ability that lets you tap creatures rather than pay mana to cast a spell.
- Main article: Convoke
Crewkeyword ability that lets you tap creatures to turn a Vehicle into an artifact creature.
- Main article: Crew
Cyclingkeyword ability that lets a card be discarded and replaced with a new card.
- Main article: Cycling
Deathtouchkeyword ability that causes damage dealt by an object to be especially effective. Any amount of damage dealt is enough to kill the receiving creature.
- Main article: Deathtouch
Defenderkeyword ability that prohibits a creature from attacking.
- Main article: Defender
Double Strikekeyword ability that lets a creature deal its combat damage twice.
- Main article: Double Strike
Embalmability keyword that lets a player exile a creature card from their graveyard to create a mummified token version of that card.
- Main article: Embalm
Enchantkeyword ability that defines what an Aura spell can target and what an Aura permanent can be attached to.
- Main article: Enchant
Equipkeyword ability that lets a player attach an Equipment to a creature they control.
- Main article: Equip
Eternalizekeyword ability that lets a player exile a creature card from their graveyard to create an eternalized token version of that card.
- Main article: Eternalize
Exertkeyword action that stops a permanent from untapping during the next uptap step of the player who exerted it.
- Main article: Exert
Explorekeyword 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.
- Main article: Explore
Fabricatekeyword ability that lets you choose whether to create Servo tokens or put +1/+1 counters on a creature when it enters the battlefield.
- Main article: Fabricate
First Strikekeyword ability that lets a creature deal its combat damage before other creatures.
- Main article: First Strike
Flashkeyword ability that lets a player play a card any time they could cast an instant.
- Main article: Flash
Flyingkeyword ability that restricts how a creature may be blocked.
- Main article: Flying
Hastekeyword ability that lets a creature ignore the “summoning sickness” rule.
- Main article: Haste
Hexproofkeyword ability that precludes a permanent or player from being targeted by an opponent.
- Main article: Hexproof
Improvisekeyword ability that lets you tap artifacts rather than pay mana to cast a spell.
- Main article: Improvise
Indestructiblekeyword ability that precludes a permanent from being destroyed.
- Main article: Indestructible
Jump-Startkeyword ability that lets you play Instants and Sorceries from your graveyard by discarding another card, paying mana and exiling the spell.
- Main article: Jump-Start
Kickerkeyword ability that represents an optional additional cost. A spell has been kicked if its controller declared the intention to pay any or all of its kicker costs.
- Main article: Kicker
keyword ability that causes a player to gain life.
- Main article: Lifelink
Menacekeyword ability that makes creatures unblockable by a single creature.
- Main article: Menace
Mentorkeyword ability that lets a player put a +1/+1 counter on another attacking creature with less power when attacking with a creature with Mentor.
- Main article: Mentor
Prowesskeyword ability that causes a creature to get +1/+1 whenever its controller casts a noncreature spell.
- Main article: Prowess
Reachkeyword ability that allows a creature to block an attacking creature with flying.
- Main article: Reach
Riotkeyword ability that lets a player chosse if a creature enters the battlefield with haste or a +1/+1 counter.
- Main article: Riot
Spectaclekeyword ability that gives a spell an alternative mana cost and/or altered effect if an opponent lost life this turn.
- Main article: Spectacle
Surveilkeyword action that means to look at the top cards of your library, put any number of them into your graveyard and the rest on top of your library.
- Main article: Surveil
Tramplekeyword ability that modifies how a creature assigns combat damage.
- Main article: Trample
Transformkeyword ability that allows to turn double-faced cards upside down.
- Main article: Transform
Vigilancekeyword ability that lets a creature attack without tapping.
- Main article: Vigilance
|Abilities|| Evergreen Abilities: Deathtouch • Defender • Double Strike • Enchant • Equip • First Strike • Flash • Flying • Haste • Hexproof • Indestructible • Lifelink • Menace • Prowess • Reach • Trample • Vigilance
| Other Keyword Abilities: Afflict • Aftermath • Afterlife • Ascend • Convoke • Crew • Cycling • Embalm • Eternalize • Fabricate • Improvise • Jump-Start • Kicker • Mentor • Riot • Spectacle • Transform
|Ability Words||Addendum • Enrage • Raid • Revolt • Undergrowth|
|Actions||Adapt • Exert • Explore • Surveil|
While being very similar to keyword abilities, Ability Words don't appear in the Comprehensive Rules. Their primary purpose is to shorten the rules text on cards which belong to the same theme. Ability Words are ordinarily being used on cards from the same set or block. For example, Raid can exclusively be found on Pirate-themed cards in Ixalan and Rivals of Ixalan (Ixalan block).
- Main article: Addendum
EnrageIxalan as the signature mechanic for the Dinosaurs of the Sun Empire. It gives an advantageous effect when the creature recieves damage.
- Main article: Enrage
Raidcreature during that turn. It was introduced in Ixalan and can be found on Pirate and Pirate-themed cards.
- Main article: Raid
Revoltpermanent you controlled left the battlefield this turn or not in order to alter a spell's effect.
- Main article: Revolt
Undergrowthcreatures in your graveyard.
- Main article: Undergrowth
Comprehensive Rules (April 17, 2020)
- 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 adamant, addendum, 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, undergrowth, and will of the council.
Comprehensive Rules (April 17, 2020)
- 113. Abilities
- 113.1. An ability can be one of three things:
- 113.2. Abilities can affect the objects they’re on. They can also affect other objects and/or players.
- 113.2a Abilities can be beneficial or detrimental.
Example: “[This creature] can’t block” is an ability.
- 113.2b An additional cost or alternative cost to cast a card is an ability of the card.
- 113.2a Abilities can be beneficial or detrimental.
- 113.3. There are four general categories of abilities:
- 113.4. Some activated abilities and some triggered abilities are mana abilities. Mana abilities follow special rules: They don’t use the stack, and, under certain circumstances, a player can activate mana abilities even if they don’t have priority. See rule 605, “Mana Abilities.”
- 113.5. Some activated abilities are loyalty abilities. Loyalty abilities follow special rules: A player may activate a loyalty ability of a permanent they control any time they have priority and the stack is empty during a main phase of their turn, but only if no player has previously activated a loyalty ability of that permanent that turn. See rule 606, “Loyalty Abilities.”
- 113.6. Abilities of an instant or sorcery spell usually function only while that object is on the stack. Abilities of all other objects usually function only while that object is on the battlefield. The exceptions are as follows:
- 113.6b An ability that states which zones it functions in functions only from those zones.
- 113.6f An object’s ability that states it can’t be countered functions on the stack.
- 113.6j A trigger condition that can’t trigger from the battlefield functions in all zones it can trigger from. Other trigger conditions of the same triggered ability may function in different zones.
- 113.6k An ability whose cost or effect specifies that it moves the object it’s on out of a particular zone functions only in that zone, unless its trigger condition or a previous part of its cost or effect specifies that the object is put into that zone or, if the object is an Aura, that the object it enchants leaves the battlefield. The same is true if the effect of that ability creates a delayed triggered ability whose effect moves the object out of a particular zone.
- 113.7. The source of an ability is the object that generated it. The source of an activated ability on the stack is the object whose ability was activated. The source of a triggered ability (other than a delayed triggered ability) on the stack, or one that has triggered and is waiting to be put on the stack, is the object whose ability triggered. To determine the source of a delayed triggered ability, see rules 603.7d–f.
- 113.8. The controller of an activated ability on the stack is the player who activated it. The controller of a triggered ability on the stack (other than a delayed triggered ability) is the player who controlled the ability’s source when it triggered, or, if it had no controller, the player who owned the ability’s source when it triggered. To determine the controller of a delayed triggered ability, see rules 603.7d–f.
- 113.9. Activated and triggered abilities on the stack aren’t spells, and therefore can’t be countered by anything that counters only spells. Activated and triggered abilities on the stack can be countered by effects that specifically counter abilities. Static abilities don’t use the stack and thus can’t be countered at all.
- 113.10. Effects can add or remove abilities of objects. An effect that adds an ability will state that the object “gains” or “has” that ability, or similar. An effect that removes an ability will state that the object “loses” that ability.
- 113.10b Effects that remove an ability remove all instances of it.
- 113.11. Effects can stop an object from having a specified ability. These effects say that the object “can’t have” that ability. If the object has that ability, it loses it. It’s also impossible for an effect to add that ability to the object. If a resolving spell or ability creates a continuous effect that would add the specified ability to such an object, that part of that continuous effect does not apply; however, other parts of that continuous effect will still apply, and that resolving spell or ability can still create other continuous effects. Continuous effects created by static abilities that would add the specified ability won’t apply to that object.
- 113.12. An effect that sets an object’s characteristic, or simply states a quality of that object, is different from an ability granted by an effect. When an object “gains” or “has” an ability, that ability can be removed by another effect. If an effect defines a characteristic of the object (“[permanent] is [characteristic value]”), it’s not granting an ability. (See rule 604.3.) Similarly, if an effect states a quality of that object (“[creature] can’t be blocked,” for example), it’s neither granting an ability nor setting a characteristic.
Example: Muraganda Petroglyphs reads, “Creatures with no abilities get +2/+2.” A Runeclaw Bear (a creature with no abilities) enchanted by an Aura that says “Enchanted creature has flying” would not get +2/+2. A Runeclaw Bear enchanted by an Aura that says “Enchanted creature is red” or “Enchanted creature can’t be blocked” would get +2/+2.
- 113.1. An ability can be one of three things: