User:Temporarily Insane/Sandbox/MTGkeywords

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This is a glossary of commonly used terminology in the trading card game Magic: The Gathering.

A[edit]

ability word[edit]

An italicized word or phrase (usually one or two words) appearing before an ability or effect. Ability words are not true keywords (as they have no rules meaning or effect relevant to gameplay); they are used simply to tie cards with similar abilities together.[1] The first tournament-legal cards with ability words were printed in Saviors of Kamigawa, but the concept was first introduced in Unhinged with the gotcha ability word.

absorb[edit]

A creature ability that reduces the amount of damage it takes, by preventing a given amount each time it takes damage.

affinity[edit]

An ability that reduces the casting cost of a spell by 1 for each permanent with the given quality that the caster controls.

amplify[edit]

An ability that allows the controller of a creature entering the battlefield to "buff" it by revealing creature cards in his or hear hand that share a creature type with it — each card revealed this way is worth X +1/+1 counters for the creature with amplify.

annihilator[edit]

A triggered ability that causes the defending player to sacrifice a given number of permanents whenever the creature with it attacks.

attach[edit]

A keyword action that indicates an Aura (see enchant), Equipment (see equip), or Fortification (see fortify) will start providing its effect to a designated object (usually a permanent) for an indeterminate amount of time (and stop providing its effect to any object it was previously attached to). The "attachment" is usually indicated by placing one card partially under the other.

Aura[edit]

An enchantment card that attaches to another card (see enchant).

aura swap[edit]

An activated ability of an Aura that allows its controller (who must also be its owner) to replace it with an Aura card in his or her hand.

B[edit]

banding[edit]

A two-part creature ability that modifies how creatures attack, block, and deal damage.
A defending player that controls a creature with banding determines how combat damage is assigned by creatures it blocks (i.e. which creatures, planeswalkers, and/or players the attacking creatures will deal combat damage to); normally the controller of the creature dealing the damage determines this.
An attacking player may form "bands" of creatures with banding (with up to one non-banding creature per band). If one creature in the band becomes blocked, the whole band becomes blocked as well, whether or not the defender could block other creatures in the band. This can allow many small creatures to "gang up" on a single bigger creature that would survive blocking any one of these smaller creatures.

bands with other[edit]

A more limited variant of banding. A creature with this ability has banding, but can only band with creatures that have the specified quality (often a creature type or color). Unlike normal banding, in an attacking band only one creature is required to have the bands with other (quality) ability, so long as all other creatures in the band have the specified quality (or the same bands with other ability). All other banding rules apply.
A defending player that controls a creature with bands with other (quality) determines how combat damage is assigned by creatures it blocks, so long as those attacking creatures are also blocked by another creature with the given quality.

battle cry[edit]

A triggered ability that gives all other attacking creatures +1/+0 until the end of the turn whenever the creature with it attacks.

bloodthirst[edit]

An ability that gives a creature with it a number of +1/+1 counters as it enters the battlefield, if an opponent of the creature's controller was dealt damage during that turn.

bury[edit]

An outdated term which usually represented either a destroy effect (additionally preventing the permanent from regenerating) or a sacrifice effect.[2] Bury is found only on cards printed prior to Sixth Edition; all cards which contained the term have been issued new wording.

bushido[edit]

A triggered ability that increases power and toughness of a creature with it whenever the creature blocks or becomes blocked.

buyback[edit]

An ability that allows a spell's caster to return the spell to its owner's hand (instead of putting it in his or her graveyard) for an additional, optional cost.

C[edit]

cascade[edit]

A triggered ability that allows the caster of a spell to cast another card in their library for free. Upon casting a spell with cascade, its caster reveals cards from his or her library until encountering a nonland card with a lower converted mana cost, which he or she may then cast without paying its mana cost. The remaining revealed cards are put on the bottom of the caster's library in a random order.
If the card cast this way also has cascade, this process will repeat.

champion[edit]

A triggered ability that causes a permanent to replace another when it enters the battlefield, and return that replaced permanent when it leaves. This is an evolution-style mechanic that mimics a creature changing into a "new improved version."[3] When a creature with champion enters the battlefield, its controller must exile a card he or she controls of the appropriate type, or sacrifice the champion. When the creature with champion leaves the battlefield, the creature it "championed" (the exiled card) is returned to the battlefield.

changeling[edit]

An ability that means the card has all possible creature types.

channel[edit]

An ability word that marks some activated abilities where the card can be discarded as part of a cost to yield an effect (usually a variant of other abilities on the card).

chroma[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities or effects that count specific mana symbols in mana costs.

clash[edit]

A keyword action that causes two players to compete by revealing the top cards of their libraries and comparing converted mana costs. A player "wins" the clash if their card has a converted mana cost greater than that of each other player's card (i.e. there's no winner if there's a tie). Each player puts their revealed card on either the top or bottom of their library.

conspire[edit]

An ability that allows the caster of a spell to copy it, by paying the additional cost of tapping two creatures that share a color with the spell.

convoke[edit]

An ability that allows the caster of a spell to "pay" part of the spell's cost by tapping creatures he or she controls: each creature tapped reduces the spell's mana cost by 1 colorless mana or 1 mana of the tapped creature's color. For example, a player may cast Conclave's Blessing, which costs 3 colorless and 1 white mana, without paying any mana, by tapping four creatures, at least one of which must be white.

counter[edit]

Negating a spell or ability, preventing it from resolving. The "countered" spell is usually placed in its owner's graveyward.
Alternately, a counter is a small object placed on a card or permanent that modifies its power and/or toughness or is relevant to some ability on a card (often itself) that placed the counter on it. These can be used as a fixed resource (where a card starts with a fixed number of counters on it and its abilities cost one or more of those counters), as a marker (where cards with a specific type of counter have additional abilities or effects), or as numerical data (such as cards with the keyword suspend, where the number of time counters indicate how many turns remain before the spell can be cast; or planeswalkers, where loyalty counters track a planeswalker's loyalty, an analog to a player's life total).

cumulative upkeep[edit]

A triggered ability that forces the controller of a permanent with it to pay an increasing cost to keep it each turn. At the beginning of his or her upkeep, the permanent gains an "age counter". Then its controller must pay the cumulative upkeep cost for each age counter it has. If he or she cannot (or chooses not to), then the permanent must be sacrificed.

cycling[edit]

An activated ability that allows a card with it to be discarded for a cost in order to draw a replacement card.
A variant of this keyword is typecycling.

D[edit]

deathtouch[edit]

A creature ability that turns any hit into an instant kill. Ordinarily, the amount of damage needed to kill a creature is equal to its toughness; a creature with deathtouch needs only 1 damage.

defender[edit]

A creature ability that disallows attacking.

delve[edit]

An ability that allows the caster of a spell to "pay" part of that spell's cost by exiling cards from his or her graveyard — each card exiled reduces the cost of the spell by 1 colorless mana.

devour[edit]

An ability that allows the controller of a creature entering the battlefield to "buff" it by sacrificing any number of creatures — each creature sacrificed this way is worth X +1/+1 counters for the creature with devour.

domain[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities or effects that count the number of basic land types (which are Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, and Forest) among lands a player controls.

double strike[edit]

A creature ability that allows creatures to deal combat damage twice per combat, once at the same time as creatures with first strike, then again at the same time as creatures without first strike or double strike.

dredge[edit]

An ability that allows players to "draw" certain cards out of their graveyard. Instead of drawing a card, a player may choose a card in his or her graveyard with dredge X and return it to his or her hand, at a cost of placing the top X cards of his or her library into the graveyard. The dredge ability cannot be used if the player has fewer than X cards in his or her library.

E[edit]

echo[edit]

A triggered ability that forces the controller of a permanent to pay an additional cost the turn after he or she gained control of it (i.e. by casting it). If the cost is not paid, the card is sacrificed instead.

enchant[edit]

An ability that restricts what objects an Aura may be attached to. An Aura spell can only be cast targeting an object of the given quality, and can only be attached to an object of that quality (usually a permanent). If it is ever not attached to an object of that quality (e.g. by being attached to something that isn't that quality or being attached to nothing at all), it is put into its owner's graveyard.

entwine[edit]

An ability that allows the caster of a spell to choose both options of an otherwise modal spell, for an additional cost.

epic[edit]

An ability that replicates a spell with it for free on each of its caster's turns for the rest of the game, at the cost of preventing its caster from playing any spells for the rest of the game.

equip[edit]

An ability that changes the creature an Equipment is attached to. Only the controller of an Equipment may activate this ability, and he or she may only select a creature he or she controls; however, it is not illegal for the Equipment to be attached to another player's creature (e.g. if control of the Equipment or creature changes).

Equipment[edit]

An artifact card that can be attached to a creature (see equip). Unlike Auras, Equipment are normally cast without an initial target; the equip ability attaches them to a creature. Additionally, Equipment stay on the battlefield when they stop being attached to a legal object, though they will still "fall off" an illegal target.

evergreen keyword[edit]

A keyword which may appear in any Magic set, particularly the Core Sets where they are usually the only keywords (though some expert-level keywords may appear occasionally in Core Sets[4]). They are also used in many expert-level expansions, but in those sets they are printed without reminder text.

evoke[edit]

An alternate, usually lower cost for a permanent, with the additional requirement that it be sacrificed immediately upon entering the battlefield. This usually serves to trigger one or more small effects upon entering or leaving the battlefield. The permanent's controller may choose whether the sacrifice occurs before or after the additional effect(s).[5]

exalted[edit]

A triggered ability on a permanent that grants +1/+1 for the rest of the turn to any creature that attacks alone, if the permanent and creature are both controlled by the same player. This effect stacks with each permanent with exalted that a player controls.

exile[edit]

A keyword action that "removes an object from the game", putting it into the exile zone. With few exceptions, exiled cards can no longer have an effect on the game.

F[edit]

fading[edit]

An ability that counts down the number of turns a permanent remains on the battlefield. A permanent with fading enters the battlefield with a specified number of fade counters, one of which is removed at the start of each upkeep on its controller's turn. Unlike vanishing, the permanent is sacrificed when a counter cannot be removed.

fateful hour[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that only have effects if the card is controlled by a player with 5 life or less.

fateseal[edit]

A keyword action that allows a player to rearrange a given number cards on the top of an opponent's library, putting any number of them on the bottom of it.

fear[edit]

A creature ability that prevents creatures from blocking a creature with it, unless the blocker is a black creature or an artifact creature. Fear was discontinued in favor of intimidate.[6]

fight[edit]

A keyword action that causes two creatures to deal each other damage equal to their respective powers.

first strike[edit]

A creature ability that causes creatures with it to deal damage before creatures without it. See also double strike.

flanking[edit]

A creature ability that gives -1/-1 for the rest of the turn to a creature without it that blocks a creature with it. The penalty is cumulative; each instance of flanking on the attacking creature is -1/-1 for the blocking creature. However, the blocking creature only needs one instance of flanking to avoid any penalty.

flash[edit]

An ability that allows the card with it (typically a permanent) to be cast any time its caster could cast an instant.

flashback[edit]

An ability that allows a card to be cast from the graveyard, usually for a different price. A card cast this way is exiled instead of returning to the graveyard after resolution.

flip[edit]

A keyword action that switches a specially printed card to its flipped orientation. Cards that can be flipped are printed with two sets of normal card attributes (e.g. name, rules text, power and toughness): one right-side-up above the card's image and one upside-down (with no mana cost) below the image. These cards enter the battlefield unflipped, with only the former set of attributes in effect. The flip action turns the permanent into the other version by rotating it 180 degrees—the latter set of attributes are now in effect. Once flipped, a card cannot be unflipped (except by leaving the battlefield and returning), and effects that would "flip" a card that is already "flipped" do nothing.

flying[edit]

A creature ability that prevents creatures from blocking a creature with it, unless the blocker has flying and/or reach.

forecast[edit]

An activated ability that functions only when the card is in its owner's hand, may only be played during its owner's upkeep, may only be used once per turn, and requires that the card be kept revealed until the end of each upkeep in which the ability is used.

Fortification[edit]

An artifact card similar to Equipment except that it can only be attached to lands (see fortify).

fortify[edit]

An ability that changes the object a Fortification is attached to. This ability functions similar to equip except that the valid targets are lands, not creatures.

frenzy[edit]

A creature ability that boosts the power of a creature with it a given amount for the rest of the turn when the creature attacks and isn't blocked.

G[edit]

gotcha[edit]

An ability word appearing only in joke Magic sets, denoting abilities that let a player return a card from his or her graveyard to his or her hand, whenever an opponent performs some sort of action and the player says, "Gotcha."

graft[edit]

A creature ability that allows its controller to move up to one +1/+1 counter from a creature with it to a creature that just entered the battlefield. This ability also specifies the number of +1/+1 counters the creature will have when it enters the battlefield.

grandeur[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that make use of duplicate copies of legendary cards, eg. by discarding them to gain some benefit.

gravestorm[edit]

A triggered ability that, upon casting a spell with it, copies that spell once for each permanent that was put into a graveyard that turn. This ability is similar to storm.

H[edit]

haste[edit]

A creature ability that indicates that the creature with it can attack or activate its activated abilities with the tap symbol in them, even if it hasn't been under the same player's control since the start of the current turn.
Colloquially, haste means, "This creature is not affected by summoning sickness."

haunt[edit]

A triggered ability that causes a card with it to be exiled when put into a graveyard, either from the battlefield (if it's a permanent) or as the final part of resolving (if it's an instant or sorcery). That permanent or spell's controller chooses a creature for the card to haunt.
A card with this ability may refer to the creature it haunts as "haunted creature".

hellbent[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that grant bonuses for having no cards in hand.

hexproof[edit]

An ability of players and permanents that prevent that player's opponents (or that permanent's controller's opponents) from targeting that player or permanent. This is similar to shroud, but it does not deny the player (nor his or her allies) the ability to target his or her own hexproof permanents.

hideaway[edit]

A triggered ability that causes a player to choose one card from among the top four of his or her library and exile that card face down when the permanent with it enters the battlefield. The permanent will also have an ability that allows its controller to play that card without paying its mana cost, under certain conditions.
This ability also causes the permanent to enter the battlefield tapped.

horsemanship[edit]

A creature ability that prevents creatures from blocking a creature with it, unless the blocker also has horsemanship.
This ability parallels flying in that creatures with horsemanship can only be blocked by other creatures with horsemanship. However, no analogue to reach exists that allows creatures without horsemanship to block creatures with the ability.

I[edit]

imprint[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities of permanents that exile cards in a way that other abilities on that permanent can reference.

indestructible[edit]

A quality of a permanent (and not a true keyword) that indicates that the permanent with it cannot be destroyed by destroy effects (such as Doom Blade) or lethal damage. They can still be countered when cast, exiled, returned to their owners' hands or libraries, or reduced to 0 toughness.

infect[edit]

A creature ability that replaces damage dealt with an equal number of counters. Damage dealt to creatures results in -1/-1 counters, while damage dealt to players results in poison counters.
This is similar to wither which only replaces the damage dealt to creatures, and poisonous, which only replaces the damage dealt to players.

intimidate[edit]

A creature ability that prevents a creature from blocking a creature with it unless that creature is also an artifact or otherwise shares a color with the attacking creature.
This is similar to fear, which specifies that the blocking creature must be an artifact creature or a black creature.

J[edit]

join forces[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that allow all players to contribute to the effect (which is not necessarily mutually beneficial).

K[edit]

keyword[edit]

A word or phrase (usually one or two words) appearing on a card, used to indicate that the card possesses a certain attribute or ability. These are used in place of the full explanation of the attribute or ability, and are instead explained in detail in sections 701 and 702 of the Comprehensive Rules. However, in certain sets some keywords are immediately followed by reminder text explaining the effect of the keyword.
Keywords are typically created to summarize abilities or other attributes which are reasonably common in an individual expansion, expansion block, or in the game as a whole. Many keywords summarize abilities or attributes which are sufficiently complex such that the full explanation would fill the "rules text" area of the card; the smaller, one- or two-word keywords allow cards to be printed with a number of complex abilities, yet still be easily readable by players.

keyword action[edit]

A keyword that describes a common game action, such as sacrificing permanents.[7]

kicker[edit]

An ability that grants a bonus for paying an additional, optional cost when the card with it is cast.
A permanent or spell cast with one or more kicker costs paid is said to have been "kicked".

kinship[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities on permanents that check the top card of a player's library during their upkeep and gives a bonus if that card shares a creature type with that permanent.

L[edit]

landfall[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that give bonuses for lands entering the battlefield.

landhome[edit]

A defunct creature ability that prevented a creature with it from attacking a player that did not control a land of the specified type, and required its controller to sacrifice it if he or she did not control a land of that type.
Landhome as a keyword no longer exists; the Oracle wordings of all cards that had it were updated to include the full rules text of the ability.

landwalk[edit]

A creature ability that makes a creature with it unblockable if it is attacking a player that controls a land that matches the specified type.

level up[edit]

An ability that improves the text and power/toughness of a creature based on the number of times the ability was activated.

lethal damage[edit]

Damage on a creature that causes it to die. This can be either an amount of damage greater than or equal to its toughness, or 1 or more damage from a source with deathtouch.
To assign lethal damage to a creature is to assign it a total amount of damage greater than or equal to its toughness minus the damage already on it, or an amount of damage from sources with deathtouch greater than or equal to 1 (minus any deathtouch damage already on it).

lifelink[edit]

An ability that causes the controller of a source with it (not necessarily a permanent) to gain life whenever it deals damage.

living weapon[edit]

An ability on Equipment that causes it to enter the battlefield attached to a 0/0 black Germ creature token (which will die when the Equipment is moved to another creature).

M[edit]

madness[edit]

An ability that allows a player to cast a card he or she just discarded, at a different cost.

metalcraft[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that grant bonuses for controlling three or more artifacts.

miracle[edit]

An ability that allows a player to cast a card he or she just drew as the first card in his or her turn, at a much lower cost.

modular[edit]

An ability on artifact creatures that allows its controller to move all its +1/+1 counters onto another artifact creature when it dies. This ability also specifies how many +1/+1 counters the creature will have when it enters the battlefield.

morbid[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that grant a bonus effect during a turn in which a creature died.

morph[edit]

An ability that allows a card with it to be cast face-down as a colorless, nameless, typeless 2/2 creature at a cost of 3 generic mana. The controller of that creature can, at any time, turn it face-up by paying its morph cost; this ability is one of the rare few that do not use the stack.

multikicker[edit]

An ability that grants a bonus for each time an additional, optional cost is paid when the card with it is cast.
Other abilities on cards with multikicker will reference how many times the spell was "kicked".
This is similar to kicker but the costs can be paid any number of times.

n[edit]

ninjutsu[edit]

A creature ability that allows a player to exchange an unblocked attacking creature he or she controls with a creature card in their hand with the ability.

O[edit]

offering[edit]

An ability that reduces the cost of a spell by the mana cost of a creature sacrificed.
Additionally, a spell can be cast in this way at instant speed, i.e. as if it had flash.

overload[edit]

An alternative cost for instants and sorceries that allows it to affect all possible targets, rather than just one.

P[edit]

persist[edit]

A creature ability that returns a creature with it to the battlefield with a -1/-1 counter when it dies, if it had no -1/-1 counters on it.

poisonous[edit]

A creature ability that replaces damage dealt to players with an equal number of poison counters.
A player with 10 or more poison counters loses the game.

proliferate[edit]

A keyword action that adds to a permanent or player one counter of a kind that permanent or player already has, for each permanent or player chosen by the player taking the action.

protection[edit]

An ability that prevents objects with the given quality from affecting the permanent or player with the ability. A permanent or player with protection cannot be enchanted, equipped, fortified, blocked, or targeted by anything with that quality, and all damage that would be dealt by a source of that quality is prevented.
A common mnemonic for which effects are prevented this way is the acronym DEBT, standing for "Damage, Enchant (or Equip), Block, Target".

provoke[edit]

A creature ability that causes a creature the defending player controls to untap and block the attacking creature that used the ability (if it can).

prowl[edit]

An ability that specifies an alternate cost for a card that is only payable if a creature the caster controls that shares a creature type with the card dealt damage to a player on that turn.

R[edit]

radiance[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that target one permanent and affect all permanents of the same type that share a color with it.

rampage[edit]

A creature ability that grants a bonus to power and toughness to an attacking creature with it, for each creature that blocks it beyond the first.

reach[edit]

A creature ability that allows a creature with it to block creatures with flying.

rebound[edit]

An ability on instants and sorceries that allow a player to cast a spell with it for free at the start of their next turn, if they cast it from their hand and it resolves.

recover[edit]

An ability that allows a player to retrieve a card with it from the graveyard. Whenever a creature dies, for each card with recover in its owner's graveyard, that player either pays its recover cost to return it to his or her hand, or exiles it.

regenerate[edit]

A keyword action that grants a permanent a temporary single-use "shield" against destroy effects and lethal damage. When a permanent with this shield would be destroyed, instead all damage is removed from it, it is removed from combat, and it is tapped. In this way, the permanent regenerates.
A destroy effect that says "[the permanent(s) being destroyed] can't be regenerated" ignores the effect these shields provide.

reinforce[edit]

An ability that allows a player to pay the given cost and discard a card with it to put the specified number of +1/+1 counters on a creature of his or her choosing.

reminder text[edit]

Italicized, parenthesized text appearing after an ability or effect. Reminder text usually describes what a keyword means, but it is often used to clarify other effects, such as Time Stop's "End the turn" effect.

replicate[edit]

An additional, optional, repeatable cost that copies a casted spell for each time the cost was paid.

retrace[edit]

An ability that allows a player to cast a spell with it from their graveyard, for the additional cost of discarding a land card.
Unlike flashback, a card cast this way is not exiled, and returns to the graveyard after it resolves.

ripple[edit]

An ability that allows the caster of a spell with it to reveal some cards from the top of his or her library, and any cards that share a name with that spell can then be cast for free. This triggers their ripple abilities as well.

S[edit]

sacrifice[edit]

A keyword action that puts a permanent into its owner's graveyard, usually as a cost paid by that permanent's controller.

scry[edit]

A keyword action wherein a player looks at a certain number of cards from the top of his or her library, arrange any number of them on the top, and arrange the rest on the bottom.

shadow[edit]

A creature ability that prevents creatures with this ability from blocking or being blocked by creatures without it.

shroud[edit]

An ability of permanents and players that prevents those permanents and players from being targeted.
This is similar to hexproof but prevents all spells and abilities from targeting the permanent or player, not just those opponents control.

soulbond[edit]

A creature ability that allows the creature with it to "pair" with another creature, granting both itself and that creature a bonus as long as they are paired. Creatures are paired in this way only when either the creature with soulbound or the other creature enters the battlefield, and only if both are unpaired.

soulshift[edit]

An ability that allows a player to return a Spirit card with a converted mana cost up to a given value from his or her graveyard to his or her hand, when a permanent they control with the ability is put into a graveyard.

splice[edit]

An ability that allows a player to add effects to spells he or she casts with given quality, by revealing cards in his or her hand with the ability and paying the associated cost.
Effects added to a spell this way will happen upon resolution in the order added, after the effects of the initial spell.

split second[edit]

An ability on spells that prevents players from casting spells or activating non-mana abilities while a spell with the ability is on the stack.
This doesn't prevent abilities from triggering or special actions such as un-morphing a face down permanent.

storm[edit]

An ability that copies a spell cast with it for each spell cast before it on that same turn.

substance[edit]

A defunct ability with no effect which was never printed on a Magic card. It was originally created for the Magic: The Gathering Online release of Mirage, as a cycle of cards such as Armor of Thorns did not work as originally intended under the rules established with the release of 6th Edition. These cards were all enchantments that could be played as instants, but only lasted for a turn if played as an instant. Under the newer rules, the original wording would cause the enchantment to leave the battlefield before damage was removed from creatures. The creation of substance restored the cards' intended functionality.[8] With the rules changes announced in July 2009,[9] all cards edited to use this keyword were updated to no longer use it. The official text of such cards now reads: "If you cast [this card] any time a sorcery couldn't have been cast, the controller of the permanent it becomes sacrifices it at the beginning of the next cleanup step." This maintained the same functionality as the substance keyword, but without some unintended rules quirks.

summoning sickness[edit]

An unofficial term that describes the rule that creatures can't attack or use activated abilities they have with the "tap symbol" in their cost, unless they have been under the same player's control continuously since the start of the turn. This doesn't include costs that spell out the word "tap", as in "Tap five untapped creatures you control". See also haste.

sunburst[edit]

An ability that causes permanents with it to enter the battlefield with a number of counters equal to the number of colors of mana spent to pay its mana cost. +1/+1 counters are given to creatures this way; other permanents get charge counters.

suspend[edit]

An ability that allows the owner of a card to cast it for free on a future turn for a cost paid now. The player exiles the card from his or her hand, pays the suspend cost, and puts the given number of time counters on it, removing one per turn until the last is removed, at which point the spell is cast for free.
A card is said to be suspended if it's exiled, has suspend, and has a time counter on it.
A creature spell cast in this way has haste as long as the player who cast that spell controls it.

sweep[edit]

An ability word that marks effects that can be strengthened based on the number of lands of a given type returned to their owners' hands.
Mark Rosewater has opined that labeling this mechanic with an ability word was "a mistake."[10]

T[edit]

tap[edit]

A keyword action that rotates the card 90 degrees. This indicates it is being used, often as a cost, or to indicate that a creature is attacking (except for creatures with vigilance). See also untap, #summoning sickness.

threshold[edit]

An ability word that marks abilities that grant bonuses for having seven or more cards in the graveyard, or activated abilities only usable when their controller has seven or more cards in his or her graveyard.

totem armor[edit]

An ability that replaces the destruction of a permanent with destruction of an attached Aura with it.

trample[edit]

A creature ability that allows attacking creatures to assign "excess" damage to the defending player even if they are blocked. This requires that all creatures blocking the creature with trample to have been assigned lethal damage.
Under normal circumstances, creatures can only assign damage to the defending player if they are not blocked.

transfigure[edit]

An ability on permanents that allows a player to sacrifice it to search his or her library for a creature card with the same converted mana cost.
This is a variant of transmute that functions from the battlefield rather than from the hand.

transform[edit]

A keyword action that appears only on specially printed double-faced cards, and causes one of these cards to be turned over to its other face, where a different set of attributes are printed.
Unlike flip, transforming a card a second time will return it to its original state.

transmute[edit]

An ability that allows a player to pay the given cost and discard a card with it to search his or her library for a card with the same converted mana cost as that card and put it into his or her hand.

typecycling[edit]

An ability that allows a player to pay the given cost and discard a card with it to search his or her library for a card with the given type or subtype.
This is a variant of cycling.
Typecycling a card in this manner is also considered cycling.

U[edit]

undying[edit]

A creature ability that returns a creature with it to the battlefield with a +1/+1 counter when it dies, if it had no +1/+1 counters on it.
This is similar to persist, except for the type of counter.

unearth[edit]

An ability that allows a owner of a card with it to pay a cost to return it from his or her graveyard to the battlefield, any time he or she could play a sorcery. It gains haste, is exiled at the beginning of the next end step, and is exiled if it would leave the battlefield in any other way.

untap[edit]

A keyword action that returns a permanent from a tapped state to its original orientation.
At the start of each player's turn is the untap step, during which he or she untaps each permanent he or she controls.
There is also an "untap symbol", which acts much like the "tap symbol" in that the permanent must be tapped to pay a cost with it, and abilities with the "untap symbol" in its cost cannot be activated if the permanent is summoning sick.

V[edit]

vanishing[edit]

An ability that counts down the number of turns a permanent remains on the battlefield. A permanent with vanishing enters the battlefield with a specified number of time counters, one of which is removed at the start of each upkeep on its controller's turn. Unlike fading, the permanent is sacrificed when the last counter is removed.

vigilance[edit]

A creature ability that indicates the creature doesn't tap as part of attacking.

W[edit]

wither[edit]

A creature ability that replaces damage dealt to creatures with an equal number of -1/-1 counters.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Forsythe, Aaron (2005-05-20). "The Sky is Falling". Latest Developments. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-07-22. “Why 'keyword' these abilities at all?” The answer is for ease of communication. It's easier to talk about and understand cards as a group if there is some verbal link that ties them together. 
  2. ^ Knutson, Ted (2006-09-09). "Magic Jargon". Magic Academy. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2008-08-17. 
  3. ^ Rosewater, Mark (2007-10-01). "And the Rest". Making Magic. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-10-01. 
  4. ^ Forsythe, Aaron (2010-06-28). "Magic 2011 Has Big Shoes to Fill". Feature Article. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2011-04-24. ...it's likely you'll see additional "keyword cameos" in future core sets. 
  5. ^ Karsten, Frank (2007-09-19). "Threshers and Blades". Online Tech. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  6. ^ "July 2009 Update Bulletin". Wizards of the Coast. 8 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-08. 
  7. ^ Forsythe, Aaron (2007-05-18). "Scry and Keyword Actions". Latest Developments. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-07-21. 
  8. ^ Gottlieb, Mark (2006-03-07). "Ask Wizards - March 2006". Ask Wizards. Wizards of the Coast. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 
  9. ^ Gottlieb, Mark (2009-07-08). "July 2009 Update Bulletin". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  10. ^ Rosewater, Mark (2005-06-06). "One with One With Nothing". Retrieved 2007-02-26. Sweep fails as a keyword on a number of levels... keywording sweep was a mistake. 

Additional sources[edit]