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Magic: The Gathering

magic_onslaught.jpg

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Magic: The Gathering® Comprehensive Rules

These rules are current as of February 20, 2002.

Introduction

This booklet is designed for people whove moved beyond the basics of the Magic: The Gathering game. If youre a beginning Magic® player, youll probably find these rules intimidating. Theyre intended to be the ultimate authority for the game, and you wont usually need to refer to them except in specific cases or during competitive games.

For casual play and most ordinary situations, youll find what you need in the general rulebook included in the Magic: The Gathering-Seventh Edition game box. (You can download a copy of that rulebook from the Wizards of the Coast® website at www.wizards.com/magic/advanced/7e/welcome.asp.) If youre sure this is where you want to be, keep reading.

This document includes a series of numbered rules followed by a glossary. Many of the numbered rules are divided into subrules, and each separate rule and subrule of the game has its own number. Words or phrases in italics are defined in the glossary, along with a few concepts that dont really fit anywhere among the numbered rules. So if you cant find what youre looking for, check the glossary.

We at Wizards of the Coast recognize that no matter how detailed the rules, situations will arise in which the interaction of specific cards requires a precise answer. If you have questions, you can get the answers from us. Contact information is on the last page of this rulebook.

 

 

In response to play issues and to keep these rules as current as possible, changes may have been made to this document since its publication. See the Wizards of the Coast website for the current version of the official rules.

www.wizards.com/magic/MTG_Rules.asp

Contents

1. The Game

100. General

101. Starting the Game

102. Winning and Losing

103. The Golden Rule

2. Cards

200. General

201. Parts of a Card

202. Name

203. Mana Cost

204. Illustration

205. Type

206. Expansion Symbol

207. Text Box

208. Power/Toughness

209. Credit

210. Legal Text

211. Collector Number

212. Card Type

213. Spell Type

214. Permanent Type

215. Legends and Legendary Types

216. Tokens

217. Zones

3. Turn Structure

300. General

301. Beginning Phase

302. Untap Step

303. Upkeep Step

304. Draw Step

305. Main Phase

306. Combat Phase

307. Beginning of Combat Step

308. Declare Attackers Step

309. Declare Blockers Step

310. Combat Damage Step

311. End of Combat Step

312. End Phase

313. End of Turn Step

314. Cleanup Step

4. Spells, Abilities, and Effects

400. General

401. Spells

402. Abilities

403. Activated Abilities

404. Triggered Abilities

405. Static Abilities

406. Ability Subtypes

407. Adding and Removing Abilities

408. Timing of Spells and Abilities

409. Playing Spells and Activated Abilities

410. Handling Triggered Abilities

411. Playing Mana Abilities

412. Handling Static Abilities

413. Resolving Spells and Abilities

414. Countering Spells and Abilities

415. Editing a Spell or Ability

416. Effects

417. One-Shot Effects

418. Continuous Effects

419. Replacement and Prevention Effects

420. State-Based Effects

421. Handling "Infinite" Loops

422. Handling Illegal Actions

5. Additional Rules

500. Legal Attacks and Blocks

501. Evasion Abilities

502. Keyword Abilities

503. Copying Spells and Abilities

504. Face-Down Creatures

505. Split Cards

Glossary

Credits

Questions?

1. The Game

100. General

100.1. These Magic rules assume a game between two players. Optional rules allow for more players but arent discussed here. These rules can be found at the Wizards of the Coast website at www.wizards.com/magic/MTG_Rules.asp.

100.2. In constructed play, each player needs his or her own deck of at least sixty cards, small objects to represent any tokens and counters, and some way to clearly track life totals. A constructed deck can have any number of basic land cards and no more than four of any card with a particular English name other than basic land cards.

100.3. For sealed deck or draft play, only forty cards are required in a deck, and a player may use as many duplicates of a card as he or she has. See the most current Magic: The Gathering DCI Floor Rules for more information. They can be found at www.wizards.com/DCI/UTR_MTG.asp <http://www.wizards.com/DCI/UTR_MTG.asp>.

100.4. There is no maximum deck size.

100.5. Most Magic tournaments have special rules (not included here) and may limit the use of some cards, including barring all cards from some older sets. See the Magic DCI Floor Rules for more information.

101. Starting the Game

101.1. At the start of a game, each player shuffles his or her own deck so that the cards are in a random order. Each player may then shuffle his or her opponents deck.

101.2. After the decks have been shuffled, the players determine who chooses which player goes first using any mutually agreeable method (flipping a coin, rolling dice, etc.). In a match of several games, the loser of the previous game decides who will take the first turn. If the previous game was a draw, the person who determined who would take the first turn in the previous game decides.

101.3. Once the starting player has been determined, each player sets his or her life total to 20 and draws a hand of seven cards.

101.4. The player who plays first skips the draw step (see rule 304, "Draw Step") of his or her first turn.

101.5. A player who is dissatisfied with his or her initial hand may mulligan. That player shuffles his or her hand back into the deck, then draws a new hand of six cards. He or she may repeat this process as many times as desired, drawing one fewer card each time, until the hand size reaches zero cards. Once the first player has decided to keep a hand, the second player may mulligan. Once both players are satisfied with their hands, the first player takes his or her turn.

102. Winning and Losing

102.1. If a players life total is 0 or less, he or she loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based effect. See rule 420.)

102.2. When a player is required to draw more cards than are left in his or her library, he or she draws the remaining cards, then loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based effect. See rule 420.)

102.3. A game immediately ends when either these rules or a card effect states that a player loses or wins.

102.4. If both players lose simultaneously, the game is a draw.

102.5. If a player would both win and lose simultaneously, he or she loses.

102.6. If the game somehow enters a "loop," repeating a sequence of events with no way to stop, the game is a draw. Loops that contain an optional action dont result in a draw.

102.7. A player may concede a game at any time.

102.8 If a player has ten or more poison counters, he or she loses the game the next time a player would receive priority. (This is a state-based effect. See rule 420.)

103. The Golden Rule

103.1. The Magic Golden Rule: Whenever a cards text directly contradicts these rules, the card takes precedence. The card overrides only the rule that applies to that specific situation. If an instruction requires taking an impossible action, its ignored. (In many cases the card will specify consequences for this; if it doesnt, theres no effect.)

103.2. When one effect says something can happen and another says it cant, the "cant" effect wins. For example, if one effect reads "You may play an additional land this turn" and another reads "You cant play land cards this turn," the effect that keeps you from playing lands wins out. Note that adding abilities to cards and removing abilities from cards dont fall under this rule. See rule 407, "Adding and Removing Abilities."

 

2. Cards

200. General

200.1. When a rule or text on a card refers to a "card," it means a Magic card with a Magic card front and the Magic card back. Tokens arent considered cards-even an Unglued card that represents a token isnt considered a card for rules purposes.

201. Parts of a Card

201.1. The parts of a card are name, mana cost, illustration, type, expansion symbol, text box, power and toughness, credit, legal text, and collector number. Some cards may have more than one of any or all of these parts.

201.2. A card, spell, or permanents characteristics are name, mana cost, color, type and subtype, expansion symbol, rules text, power, and toughness. Any other information about a card, spell, or permanent isnt a characteristic. Characteristics dont include any other information, such as whether a permanent is tapped, a spells target, a spell or permanents controller, what a local enchantment enchants, and so on.

202. Name

202.1. The name of a card is printed on its upper left corner.

202.2. Card text that refers to the card its on by name means just that particular card and not any other duplicates of it, regardless of any name changes caused by game effects. Also, if a card has an effect on or grants an ability that includes that cards name to another card, the name refers only to the card generating the effect or granting the ability, not to duplicates of cards with the same name.

202.3. Two cards have the same name if the English versions of their names are identical, regardless of anything else printed on the cards.

203. Mana Cost

203.1. The mana cost of a card is indicated by mana symbols printed on its upper right corner. Tokens and lands have a mana cost of 0. Paying a cards mana cost requires matching the color of any colored mana symbols as well as paying the generic mana cost indicated.

203.2. A card is the color or colors of the mana symbols in its mana cost, regardless of the color of its border. For example, a card with a mana cost of 2W is white, and one with a mana cost of 2WB is both white and black. Cards with no colored mana symbols in their mana costs are colorless. Cards with more than one of the five colored mana symbols in their mana costs are multicolored. Multicolored cards are printed with a gold frame, but this is not a requirement for a card to be multicolored.

203.3. The converted mana cost of a card is the total amount of mana in the mana cost, regardless of color (For example, a mana cost of 3UU translates to a converted mana cost of 5). The converted mana cost is a generic mana cost-it may be paid with any combination of colored and/or colorless mana, regardless of the colors in the spells mana cost.

203.4. Any additional cost listed in a cards rules text isnt part of the mana cost. (See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities.") Such costs are paid at the same time as the spells other costs.

204. Illustration

204.1. The illustration is printed on the upper half of a card and has no game significance. For example, a creature doesnt have the flying ability unless stated in its rules text, even if its depicted as flying.

205. Type

205.1. The type (and subtype, if applicable) of a card is printed directly below the illustration. (See rules 212-215.)

206. Expansion Symbol

206.1. The expansion symbol indicates which Magic set a card is from. Its printed below the right edge of the illustration.

206.2. The color of the expansion symbol indicates the rarity of the card within its set. A gold symbol signifies the card is rare; silver, uncommon; and black, common or basic land. (Prior to the Exodus set, all expansion symbols were black, regardless of rarity. Also, prior to the Classic (Sixth Edition) set, Magic basic sets didnt have expansion symbols at all.)

206.3. A spell or ability that affects cards from a particular set "looks" only for that sets expansion symbol. A card reprinted in the basic set receives the basic sets expansion symbol; any reprinted version of the card no longer counts as part of its original set unless it was reprinted with that sets expansion symbol. The first five editions of the basic set had no expansion symbol.

207. Text Box

207.1. The text box is printed on the lower half of the card. It usually contains rules text stating what the card does and any special requirements for playing it.

207.2. The text box may also contain italicized reminder text (in parentheses), which summarizes a rule that applies to that card, and italicized flavor text, which has no game function, but like the illustration, adds artistic appeal to the game.

208. Power/Toughness

208.1. A creature card has two numbers separated by a slash printed on its lower right corner. The first number is the creatures power (the amount of damage it deals in combat); the second is its toughness (the amount of damage needed to destroy it). For example, 2/3 means the creature has power 2 and toughness 3. Power and toughness can be modified or set to particular values by effects.

208.2. Some creature cards have power and/or toughness of *, where * is a value determined by the text in the creatures text box. As long as the creature card is in play, the value of * is treated just as if that number were actually printed on the card. The * is 0 while the card is not in play.

209. Credit

209.1. The illustration credit for a card is printed directly below the text box. The credit has no effect on game play.

210. Legal Text

210.1. Legal text (the fine print at the bottom of the card) lists the copyright information. It has no effect on game play.

211. Collector Number

211.1. Some card sets feature collector numbers. This information is printed in the form [card number]/[total cards in the set], immediately following the legal text. These numbers have no effect on game play.

212. Card Type

212.1. All cards have one or more card types: artifact, creature, enchantment, instant, land, or sorcery. Only one multiple type-artifact creature-currently exists. The artifact creature type satisfies the criteria for any effect that applies to an artifact card or a creature card. A cards type appears below its illustration.

212.2. Some card types include subtypes, printed on the same line. Creature subtypes (including those of artifact creatures) appear after a dash that follows their card type(s). Enchantment subtypes consist of the word "enchant" and the word(s) that follows it, such as "enchant creature" or "enchant artifact." Land subtypes are not printed on the card type line (see rule 212.2c).

212.2a Creature subtypes are always a single word and are listed after "Creature," separated by a long dash: "Creature - Minotaur," "Artifact Creature - Golem Legend," etc. Creature subtypes are one word each and are also called "creature types." Creature cards may have multiple creature types.

Example: "Creature - Minotaur" means the card is a creature with the Minotaur subtype. "Creature - Goblin Wizard" means the card is a creature with the creature types Goblin and Wizard.

212.2b Enchantment subtypes consist of the word "enchant" and the word(s) that follows it: "enchant creature," "enchant land," etc. ("enchant world" isnt a type or subtype, but a special category of enchantment found only in some older sets). A card with the type "enchantment" has no enchantment subtype. An enchantment subtype specifies what the enchantment can be legally attached to. "Local enchantment" and "global enchantment" arent types or subtypes; theyre categories of enchantments. (Also see rule 214.8, "Enchantments.")

212.2c Land subtypes are also called "land types" and are always the same as the name of the land card; they arent listed on the type line. A card named "Island" has land type "island"; a card named "Karplusan Forest" has land type "Karplusan Forest" (Remember that it isnt a forest or a basic land). Only lands with a basic land type get abilities just for being a given land type. (See rule 214.9e.) "Basic land" and "nonbasic land" arent types or subtypes; theyre categories of lands.

212.2d There are no subtypes for artifact cards, instant cards, or sorcery cards.

213. Spell Type

213.1. Every nonland card is a spell while its being played (see rules 409.1a-409.1f) and while its on the stack. Once its played, a card remains a spell until it resolves or is countered. For more information, see rule 401, "Spells."

213.2. A spells spell type is the same as its card type. Its subtypes are the same as its cards subtypes.

214. Permanent Type

214.1. A permanent is a card or token in play. Permanents stay in play unless moved to another zone by an effect or rule. There are four types of permanents: artifacts, creatures, enchantments, and lands. Instant and sorcery cards cant come into play.

214.2. A nontoken permanents type(s) and subtype(s) are the same as those printed on its card. A tokens type(s) and subtype(s) are set by the spell or ability that created it.

214.3. A card becomes a permanent when it comes into play and stops being a permanent when it leaves play. The term "card" is often used to refer to a card thats not in play, such as a creature card in a players hand. "Spell" is often used to refer to a card while its on the stack. "Spell card" is used to refer to cards that arent in play and arent land cards. For more information, see rule 217, "Zones."

214.4. When a permanents type or subtype changes, the new type(s) replaces any existing type(s). This changes only the permanent type-the card type doesnt change. Counters, effects, and damage affecting the permanent remain with it, even if they are meaningless to the new type.

214.4a Some effects change a permanents type or subtype but specify that the permanent retains a prior type or subtype. In such cases, the retained type isnt replaced, but any other types the permanent has are replaced.

Example: An ability reads, "All lands are 1/1 creatures that are still lands." The affected lands now have two types: creature and land. If there were any lands that also had the artifact type before the abilitys effect applied to them, those lands would become "land creatures," not "artifact land creatures." The effect allows them to retain the land type, but wipes out the artifact type.

214.4b If a permanents type changes, the subtypes of its old permanent type dont exist in any way under the new type. The subtype disappears completely for the entire time the cards permanent type is changed. This does not override the rule that a permanent retains its legendary status when its type changes (see rule 215.2).

214.5. The initial value of a permanents characteristic is the value printed on the card or specified by the spell or ability that created the token or changed the type of the permanent. A permanent-type-changing ability that changes one or more characteristics changes the initial values of those characteristics stated in the abilitys text, not the current values. Continuous effects that dont change a permanents type affect current values of characteristics and can override characteristics set by type-changing abilities.

Example: A player plays an artifacts ability that reads "2: This permanent is a 3/2 artifact creature." Later in the turn, the artifact creature is affected by an ability that reads "Target creature is 0/2." At this point, playing the ability of the artifact again wont do anything; because the type-changing ability changes characteristics at the initial level, it cant override the effect. The artifact creature remains 0/2.

214.6. Artifacts

214.6a Artifacts have no characteristics specific to their type. Because artifact spells have no colored mana in their mana costs, theyre colorless, and the permanents they create are also colorless. Effects can give artifact spells or artifacts one or more colors, however.

214.6b Artifact creatures combine the characteristics of both the creature and artifact types and are subject to spells and abilities that affect either or both types.

214.7. Creatures

214.7a If a card instruction requires choosing a creature subtype, any noun (even if that creature type doesnt exist in Magic) may be chosen, but only one. Any existing creature type is a valid choice, even if the creatures type is the same as its name. A word that has some other Magic meaning isnt a valid choice, because that would cause confusion.

Example: Merfolk or Wizard is acceptable, but not Merfolk Wizard. Words like "opponent," "swamp," or "kindle" cant be chosen because they have other meanings in the game.

214.7b Plurality and gender are ignored when determining creature types.

Example: Ogre, Ogres, Ogress, and Ogresses all count as the same creature type-Ogre.

214.7c A creatures activated ability with the tap symbol in its activation cost cant be played unless the creature has been under its controllers control since the start of his or her most recent turn. A creature cant attack unless it has been under its controllers control since the start of his or her most recent turn. Ignore this rule for creatures with haste (see rule 502.5).

214.8. Enchantments

214.8a A global enchantment simply has "enchantment" as its type. Local enchantments comprise various subtypes: enchant artifact, enchant creature, enchant enchantment, enchant land, and enchant permanent.

214.8b A global enchantment is put into play on the side of the player who controlled the spell that created it, like any other spell that creates a permanent.

214.8c A local-enchantment spell requires a target whose type is indicated by the enchantment subtype. The local-enchantment permanent the spell puts into play must enchant that type of permanent and comes into play attached to the permanent the spell targeted. Any additional targeting requirements are indicated by phrases like "[This card] can enchant only a [permanent with specified characteristics]." These restrictions apply to playing the spell, and they become restrictions on what the resulting permanent can enchant. Similar restrictions can limit what a permanent can be enchanted by. For example, a permanent might have an ability that reads "[This card] cant be enchanted by [local enchantments with specified characteristics]."

Example: An enchant creature spell requires a target creature; a creature enchantment in play must enchant a creature. (See rules 420.5d and 214.8g.)

214.8d As part of playing a local-enchantment spell, the player announces the spells target. The local enchantment comes into play attached to that target permanent. If a local enchantment is coming into play by any other means, the player putting it into play chooses a permanent for it to enchant as it comes into play. In this case, the enchantment doesnt target the permanent, but the player still must choose a permanent that the enchantment can enchant. If no legal permanent is available, the enchantment remains in the zone from which it attempted to move instead of coming into play. The same rule applies to moving a local enchantment from one permanent to another. The permanent to which the enchantment is to be moved must be able to be enchanted by it. If it isnt legal, the enchantment doesnt move.

214.8e If a local enchantment is enchanting an illegal permanent or the permanent it was attached to no longer exists, the enchantment card is put into its owners graveyard. (This is a state-based effect. See rule 420.)

214.8f A local enchantment cant be attached to itself. If this occurs somehow, the local enchantment is put into its owners graveyard as a state-based effect (see rule 420.5d).

214.8g The permanent a local enchantment is attached to is called "enchanted." The enchantment "enchants" or, in more casual terms, "is attached to" that permanent.

214.8h A local enchantments abilities dont target the permanent it enchants unless they state they can target it. Only the enchantment spell targets the permanent it will enchant; the resulting enchantment permanent doesnt continue to target the enchanted permanent after the enchantment spell resolves. If a permanent "cant be enchanted" in general or by enchantments with specified characteristics, it also cant be the target of a spell that would enchant it with such an enchantment.

214.8i A local enchantments controller is separate from the enchanted permanents controller; the two need not be the same. Changing control of the permanent doesnt change control of the enchantment, and vice versa. Only the enchantments controller can play its abilities. However, if the enchantment adds an ability to the enchanted permanent (with "gains" or "has"), that enchanted permanents controller is the only one who can play that ability.

214.8k An enchant world card is a global enchantment.

214.9. Lands

214.9a A land card isnt a spell card, and at no time is it a spell. When a player plays a land card, its simply put into play. The land card doesnt go on the stack, so players cant respond to it with instants or activated abilities.

214.9b A player may normally play only one land card during each of his or her own turns, only during a main phase, and only when the stack is empty. Spells and abilities may allow the playing of additional lands; playing an additional land in this way doesnt prevent a player from taking the normal action of playing a land. Players cant begin to play a land that an effect prohibits from being played. As a player plays a land, he or she announces whether he or she is using the once-per-turn action of playing a land. If not, he or she specifies which effect is allowing the additional land play. Spells and abilities may also allow you to "put" lands into play. This isnt the same as "playing a land" and doesnt count as the players one land played during his or her turn.

214.9c Each land card is in one of two categories: basic or nonbasic. Basic and nonbasic are not types or subtypes.

214.9d The basic land types are plains, island, swamp, mountain, and forest. A land with one of these words as its name is a basic land. Other lands can state that they are lands of one or more basic land types. A land that has one or more basic land types is not necessarily a basic land. Moreover, the name of a land with a single land type thats basic becomes that basic land-type word.

Example: Taiga is a land with the following text in its text box: "Taiga is a mountain and a forest in addition to its type." Even though Taiga has two basic land types, its not a basic land, because (a) its name doesnt match a basic land type word, and (b) it doesnt specify that its basic.

214.9e A land with a basic land type has an intrinsic ability to produce colored mana. (See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities.") The card is treated as if its text box read, "T: Add [mana symbol] to your mana pool," even if the text box doesnt actually contain text. Plains produce white mana; islands, blue; swamps, black; mountains, red; and forests, green.

214.9f If an effect changes a permanent into a basic land, the permanent no longer has its old land type and has only the mana ability of that basic land. It is now a basic land, and its name is that basic lands name. If that land was "Legendary," it is no longer. This rule doesnt apply to effects that cause a land to gain one or more land types in addition to its own.

214.9g Any land that isnt a basic land is a nonbasic land. Basic and nonbasic are not types; theyre categories.

214.9h Unlike basic lands and lands that have one or more basic types, nonbasic lands dont necessarily have mana abilities.

215. Legends and Legendary Types

215.1. The word Legend or Legendary may appear in a cards type or subtype. The permanent created when that card enters play is subject to the Legend rule (see rule 420, "State-Based Effects") as well as the rules for its type and subtype.

215.2. "Legend" is a creature type; "legendary" is not. If a "legendary" noncreature permanent becomes a creature, it gets the creature type "Legend" for as long as its a creature. If a creature of type "Legend" becomes a noncreature permanent, its a "legendary" permanent of the new type. In other words, they mean the same thing, except that one refers to creatures and the other to noncreatures.

215.3. If an effect makes a non-Legend creature into a Legend, and the creature then becomes another permanent type, such as an enchantment, that effect may no longer apply (if the permanent is no longer a creature). If it doesnt, the resulting permanent will not be legendary.

216. Tokens

216.1. Some spells and abilities put a token creature into play. The token is controlled by whomever put it into play and owned by the controller of the spell or ability that created it. The rules text of the spell or ability may define any number of characteristics for the token. These are the token permanents initial values. A token doesnt have any characteristics not defined by the spell or ability that created it. A tokens creature type is the same as its name. A Goblin creature token, for example, is named Goblin and has the creature subtype Goblin. If a tokens name is two words or more, it has the creature subtype for each of those words. For example, a Goblin Scout token is named Goblin Scout and has two creature subtypes: Goblin and Scout. Once a token is in play, changing its name doesnt change its creature type, and vice versa.

216.2. A token is subject to anything that affects permanents in general or that affects the tokens type or subtype. A token isnt considered a card (even if represented by cards from other games or Unglued cards) and isnt subject to any effect that specifically uses the word "card."

216.3. A token in a zone other than the in-play zone ceases to exist. This is a state-based effect. (Note that a token changing zones will set off triggered abilities before the token ceases to exist.) Once a token has left play, it cant be returned to play by any means.

217. Zones

217.1. A zone is a place that Magic cards can be during a game. There are six basic zones: library, hand, graveyard, in play, stack, and removed from the game. Each player has his or her own set of zones, except for the in-play and stack zones, which are shared.

217.1a If a card would go to any library, graveyard, or hand other than its owners, it goes to the corresponding zone of its owners instead. If an instant or sorcery card would come into play, its removed from the game instead.

217.1b The order of cards in a library, a graveyard, or on the stack cant be changed except when effects allow it. Cards in other zones can be arranged however their owners wish, although who controls those cards, whether theyre tapped, and what enchants them must remain clear to both players.

217.1c A card that moves from one zone to another is treated as a new card. Effects connected with its previous location will no longer affect it. There are two exceptions to this rule: Effects that edit the characteristics of a spell on the stack will continue to apply to the permanent that spell creates, and abilities that trigger when a card moves from one zone to another (for example, "When Rancor is put into a graveyard from play") can find the card in the zone it moved to when the ability triggered.

217.1d If a card or permanent would move from one zone to another, first determine what event is moving the card. Then apply any appropriate replacement effects to that event. If an effect tries to do two or more contradictory or mutually exclusive things to a particular card or permanent, that card or permanents controller-or its owner if it has no controller-chooses what the effect does to the card or permanent. Then the event moves the card or permanent.

217.2. Library

217.2a When a game begins, each players deck becomes his or her library.

217.2b Each library must be kept in a single face-down pile. Players cant look at or change the order of cards in a library.

217.2c Any player may count the number of cards remaining in either players library at any time.

217.2d If an effect puts two or more cards on the top or bottom of a library at the same time, the owner of those cards may arrange them in any order. That librarys owner doesnt reveal the order in which the cards go into his or her library.

217.3. Hand

217.3a The hand is where a player holds cards that have been drawn but not yet played.

217.3b Each player has a maximum hand size, which is normally seven cards. A player may have any number of cards in his or her hand, but as part of his or her cleanup step, the player must discard excess cards down to the maximum hand size.

217.3c A player may arrange his or her hand in any convenient fashion and look at it as much as he or she wishes. A player cant look at the cards in another players hand but may count those cards at any time.

217.4. Graveyard

217.4a A graveyard is a discard pile. Any card thats countered, discarded, destroyed, or sacrificed is put on top of its owners graveyard, as is any instant or sorcery spell thats finished resolving. Each players graveyard starts out empty.

217.4b Each graveyard is kept in a single face-up pile. A player can examine the cards in any graveyard at any time but cant change their order.

217.4c If an effect puts two or more cards into the same graveyard at the same time, the owner of those cards may arrange them in any order.

217.5. In Play

217.5a Most of the area between the players represents the in-play zone. The in-play zone starts out empty. Permanents a player controls (other than local enchantments enchanting the other players permanents) are kept in front of him or her.

217.5b A spell or ability affects and checks only the in-play zone unless it specifically mentions a player or another zone. Permanents exist only in the in-play zone. Only permanents are legal targets for spells and abilities, unless a spell or ability (a) specifies that it can target a player or a card in another zone, or (b) affects an object that cant exist in the in-play zone, such as a spell.

217.5c Whenever a card enters the in-play zone, its considered a brand-new permanent and has no relationship to any previous permanent represented by the same card (see rule 217.8, "Phased-Out").

217.5d A card not in the in-play zone isnt "in play" and isnt considered tapped or untapped. Cards that arent either in play or on the stack arent controlled by either player.

217.6. Stack

217.6a When a spell or ability is played, it goes on top of the stack and waits to resolve. The stack keeps track of the order that spells and/or abilities were added to it. (See rule 408, "Timing of Spells and Abilities," and rule 409.1.)

217.6b When a spell is played, it goes on the stack face up. Other spells or abilities played in response go on top of it. Abilities that go on the stack are represented by imaginary cards called pseudospells. Each pseudospell from an activated or triggered ability has the text of the ability that created it. The controller of a pseudospell from an activated ability is the player who played the ability. The controller of a pseudospell from a triggered ability is the player who controlled the abilitys source when it triggered.

217.6c When both players pass in succession, the top (last-played) spell or ability resolves. If the stack is empty when both players pass, the current step or phase ends and the next begins.

217.7. Removed from the Game

217.7a Effects can remove cards from the game. Some effects may provide a way for the card to return to play and use the term "set aside." Cards that are set aside this way are still removed from the game, even though that removal may be temporary.

217.7b Cards in the removed-from-the-game zone are kept face up and may be examined by either player at any time. Cards "removed from the game face down" cant be examined by either player except when instructions allow it.

217.7c Cards that might return to play should be kept in separate piles to keep track of their respective ways of returning. Cards with no way of returning may be kept in one pile for each player, regardless of what removed them.

217.8. Phased-Out

217.8a Permanents that phase out are placed in the phased-out zone. (See rule 502.15, "Phasing.")

217.8b Cards in the phased-out zone may be examined by either player at any time.

217.8c Phased-out cards do not count as tapped or untapped, nor are they controlled by anyone. However, cards in this zone "remember" their previous state and return to play in the same state as when they left. (See rule 502.15, "Phasing.") This is an exception to rule 217.5c.

217.8d Tokens in the phased-out zone cease to exist. This is a state-based effect (see rule 420, "State-Based Effects"). Any local enchantments that were attached to those token creatures remain phased out for the rest of the game.

217.9 Ante

217.9a Earlier versions of the Magic rules included an ante rule as a way of playing "for keeps." Playing Magic for ante is now considered an optional variation on the game, and its allowed only where its not forbidden by law or by other rules. Playing for ante is strictly forbidden under the DCI Universal Tournament Rules.

217.9b When playing for ante, each player puts one random card from his or her deck into his or her ante zone at the beginning of the game. Cards in the ante zone may be examined by either player at any time. At the end of the game, the winner becomes the owner of the cards in each players ante zone.

217.9c A few cards have the text "Remove [this card] from your deck before playing if youre not playing for ante." This text isnt an ability. These are the only cards that can add or remove cards from a players ante zone, or change a cards owner.

 

3. Turn Structure

300. General

300.1. A turn consists of five phases, in this order: beginning, first main, combat, second main, and end. Each of these phases takes place every turn, even if nothing happens during the phase. The beginning, combat, and end phases are further broken down into steps, which proceed in order.

300.2. A phase or step ends when the stack is empty and both players pass in succession. No game events can occur between turns, phases, or steps. (Simply having the stack become empty doesnt cause the phase or step to end; both players have to pass with the stack empty. Because of this, each player always gets a chance to add new things to the stack before the current phase or step ends.)

300.3. When a phase or step ends, any effects scheduled to last "until end of" that phase or step expire. When a phase or step begins, any effects scheduled to last "until" that phase or step expire. Effects that last "until end of combat" expire at the end of the combat phase, not at the beginning of the end of combat step. Effects that last "until end of turn" are subject to special rules; see rule 314.1b.

300.4. When a phase ends (but not a step), any unused mana left in a players mana pool is lost. That player loses 1 life for each one mana lost this way. This is called mana burn. Note that mana burn is loss of life, not damage, so it cant be prevented or altered by effects that affect damage. (See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities.")

300.5. When a phase or step begins, any abilities that trigger "at the beginning of" that phase or step are added to the stack.

300.6. Some spells and abilities can give a player extra turns. They do this by adding the turns directly after the current turn. If a player gets multiple extra turns or if both players get extra turns during a single turn, the extra turns are added one at a time. The most recently created turn will be taken first.

301. Beginning Phase

301.1. The beginning phase consists of three steps, in this order: untap, upkeep, and draw.

302. Untap Step

302.1. First, the active player determines which permanents he or she controls will untap. (Normally they all do, but effects may modify this.) Then he or she untaps them all simultaneously. Effects can keep one or more of a players permanents from untapping normally.

302.2. No player receives priority during the untap step, so no spells or abilities can be played or resolved. Any ability that triggers during this step will be held until a player would receive priority during the upkeep step. (See rule 303, "Upkeep Step.")

302.3 Before a player untaps his or her permanents, all permanents with phasing that player controls phase out, and all permanents that player controlled when they phased out simultaneously phase in. (See rule 217.8, "Phased-Out," and rule 502.15, "Phasing.")

303. Upkeep Step

303.1. As the upkeep step begins, any abilities that trigger at the beginning of that upkeep step or that turns untap step go on the stack. (Upkeep-triggered abilities use the phrase "At the beginning of your upkeep" or a similar wording; see rule 404, "Triggered Abilities.") Once all such abilities have gone onto the stack, the active player gets priority. Then players may play spells and abilities.

304. Draw Step

304.1. As the draw step begins, any abilities that trigger at the beginning of the draw step go on the stack. (Draw-step-triggered abilities use the phrase "At the beginning of your draw step" or a similar wording; see rule 404, "Triggered Abilities.") Then the draw step action-the active player drawing a card-goes on the stack. This action is a triggered ability, but it isnt controlled by either player. It simply goes on the stack on top of all abilities players control that trigger at the beginning of the draw step. Then the active player gets priority, and players may play spells and abilities.

305. Main Phase

305.1. There are two main phases in a turn. In each turn, the first main phase, known as the precombat main phase, and second main phase, known as the postcombat main phase, are separated by the combat phase (see rule 306, "Combat Phase"). The precombat and postcombat main phases are individually and collectively known as the "main phase."

305.2. The main phase has no steps, so a main phase ends when both players pass in succession while the stack is empty.

305.3. As the main phase begins, any abilities that trigger at the beginning of that main phase go on the stack. (Main-phase-triggered abilities use the phrase "At the beginning of your main phase" or a similar wording; see rule 404, "Triggered Abilities.") Then the active player gets priority, and players may play spells and abilities. (This is the only phase in which a player can normally play artifact, creature, enchantment, and sorcery spells, and only the active player may play these spells.)

305.4. During either main phase, the active player may play one land from his or her hand if the stack is empty, the player has priority, and he or she hasnt yet taken this special action this turn. (See rule 214.9, "Lands.") This action doesnt use the stack and it isnt a spell or ability of any kind. It cant be countered, and players cant respond to it with instants or activated abilities.

306. Combat Phase

306.1. The combat phase has five steps, which proceed in order: beginning of combat, declare attackers, declare blockers, combat damage, and end of combat. The declare blockers and combat damage steps are skipped if no creatures are declared as attackers (see rule 308.4).

306.2. A creature is removed from combat if it stops being a creature (as a result of leaving play by any means, such as by being destroyed or removed from the game), if it regenerates (see rule 419.6b), or if its controller changes. "Removed from combat" means the creature stops being an attacking, blocking, blocked, and/or unblocked creature. Once a creature has been declared as an attacking or blocking creature, spells or abilities that would have kept that creature from attacking or blocking dont remove the creature from combat. Tapping or untapping a creature thats already been declared as an attacker or blocker doesnt remove it from combat and doesnt prevent its combat damage.

307. Beginning of Combat Step

307.1. As this step begins, triggered abilities (if any) are added to the stack, and then the active player gets priority to play spells and abilities.

308. Declare Attackers Step

308.1. The active player declares which, if any, creatures he or she controls will attack. Only creatures can attack, and the following creatures cant attack: tapped creatures (even those that can attack without tapping), Walls, and creatures the active player didnt control continuously since the beginning of the turn. This declaration is simultaneous, not sequential, and doesnt go on the stack. Any triggered ability generated during this action waits until a player would receive priority.

308.2. The active player determines whether the attack is legal. (See section 5, "Additional Rules.") If it is, he or she taps all creatures that will attack. Tapping a creature when it is declared as an attacker is not a cost; attacking simply causes creatures to become tapped. Then the player pays all required costs. Other costs and/or restrictions may also apply. (See rule 409.1f.) The active player may play mana abilities at this time only if an attack cost includes a mana payment.

308.3. If the proposed attack isnt legal or the active player cant pay all required costs, all actions described in rules 308.1 and 308.2 are canceled. Then the active player redeclares which creatures will attack. (See rule 422, "Handling Illegal Actions.")

308.4. If no creatures are declared as attackers, the game proceeds directly to the end of combat step, skipping the remainder of the declare attackers step as well as the entire declare blockers and combat damage steps.

308.5. A creature becomes an attacking creature when it has been declared as part of a legal attack and all attack costs have been paid, but only if its controlled by the active player. It remains an attacking creature until its removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first. The nonactive player is considered to have been attacked that turn at this time if one or more creatures are attacking.

308.5a A creature is considered attacking alone if its the sole creature declared as an attacker in a given combat phase.

308.6. After a legal attack has been declared and all required costs have been paid, the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

309. Declare Blockers Step

309.1. The defending player declares which, if any, creatures he or she controls are blocking and which attacking creature each one blocks. Tapped creatures and noncreature permanents cant be declared as blockers. Each creature may block only one attacking creature, although any number of creatures may block the same attacking creature. (Note that blocking doesnt cause a creature to tap.) This declaration is simultaneous, not sequential, and doesnt go on the stack. Any triggered ability generated during this action waits until a player would receive priority.

309.2. The defending player determines whether the block is legal. (See section 5, "Additional Rules.") If it is, he or she pays all required costs. A player may play mana abilities at this time only if a blocking cost that player could pay includes a mana payment.

309.3. If the proposed block isnt legal or the defending player cant pay all required costs, all actions described in rules 309.1 and 309.2 are canceled. Then the defending player redeclares blocking creatures. (See rule 422, "Handling Illegal Actions.")

309.4. A creature becomes a blocking creature when it has been declared as part of a legal block and all block costs have been paid, but only if its controlled by the defending player. An attacking creature with one or more creatures declared as blockers for it becomes a blocked creature; one with no blockers becomes an unblocked creature. The creatures status remains unchanged until the creature is removed from combat or the combat phase ends, whichever comes first.

309.4a A creature is considered blocking alone if its the sole creature declared as a blocker in a given combat phase.

309.5. After all legal blocks have been declared and all required costs have been paid, the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

310. Combat Damage Step

310.1. First the active player announces how each attacking creature will assign its combat damage. Then the defending player announces how each blocking creature will assign its combat damage. (See also rule 502.2, "First Strike.") A player may divide a creatures combat damage as he or she chooses among the legal recipients. Dividing combat damage is subject to the following restrictions:

310.1a Each attacking creature and each blocking creature will assign combat damage equal to its power.

310.1b An unblocked creature will assign all its combat damage to the defending player.

310.1c A blocked creature will assign combat damage, divided as its controller chooses, to the creatures blocking it. If no creatures are currently blocking it (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it will assign no combat damage.

310.1d A blocking creature will assign combat damage, divided as its controller chooses (no fractions), to the attacking creatures its blocking. If it isnt currently blocking any creatures (if, for example, they were destroyed or removed from combat), it will assign no combat damage.

310.2. All assignments of combat damage go on the stack as though they were a single pseudospell. Then the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

310.3. Although combat-damage assignments go on the stack, they arent spells or abilities, so they cant be countered.

310.4. Combat damage resolves as though it were a pseudospell. When it resolves, its dealt as originally assigned. This happens even if the creature dealing damage is no longer in play, its power has changed, or the creature receiving damage has left combat. (Note that the source of the damage is the creature as it currently exists, or as it most recently existed if it is no longer in play.) If a creature that was supposed to receive damage is no longer in play or is no longer a creature, the damage assigned to it isnt dealt. After combat damage finishes resolving, the active player gets priority.

311. End of Combat Step

311.1. All "at end of combat" abilities trigger and go on the stack. (See rule 404, "Triggered Abilities.") Then the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities.

312. End Phase

312.1. The end phase consists of two steps: end of turn and cleanup.

313. End of Turn Step

313.1. The end of turn step begins with the active player having priority. All "at end of turn"-triggered abilities trigger and go on the stack. Then players may play spells and abilities.

313.2. If "at end of turn"-triggered abilities are created or if cards with "at end of turn"-triggered abilities come into play after preexisting ones have already gone on the stack at the beginning of the end of turn step, those abilities wont go on the stack until the next turns end phase. In other words, the step doesnt "back up" so new "at end of turn"-triggered abilities can go on the stack.

314. Cleanup Step

314.1. The cleanup step proceeds in the following order.

314.1a First, if the active players hand contains more cards than his or her maximum hand size (normally seven), he or she discards enough cards to reduce the hand size to that number. This action doesnt go on the stack.

314.1b Then, simultaneously, all damage is removed from permanents and all "until end of turn" and "this turn" effects end. This action doesnt go on the stack.

314.1c Then, only if the conditions for any state-based effects exist or if any abilities have triggered, the active player receives priority to play spells and abilities. Once the stack is empty and both players pass, another cleanup step begins. Otherwise, no player receives priority and the step ends.

 

4. Spells, Abilities, and Effects

400. General

400.1. An ability is text in a cards text box that generates an effect. Reminder text, flavor text, characteristic-setting text, and spell text are not abilities. Reminder text and flavor text always appear in italics. Characteristic-setting text is any text that states that that card "is" a particular characteristic of a card or permanent. Spell text is any text thats followed as a spell is played or is resolving. Abilities generate effects only from the in-play zone unless they state otherwise. Text itself is never an effect. Spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities generate effects when they resolve. Static abilities generate continuous effects.

401. Spells

401.1. A spell is a card on the stack. As the first step of being played, the card becomes a spell and goes on the stack from the zone it was played from (usually the players hand). (See rule 217.6, "Stack.") It stops being a spell when it resolves (see rule 413.2), is countered (see rule 414, "Countering Spells and Abilities"), or leaves the stack somehow.

401.2. Each card type other than land has a corresponding spell type. For example, a played creature card is a creature spell until it resolves, is countered, or leaves the stack. An instant or sorcery spell is targeted if it uses the phrase "target [something]" in its spell text, where the "something" is a phrase that describes a permanent, spell, ability, card, or player. Also, local enchantment spells target the permanent they will enchant.

401.3. As the final part of an instant or sorcery spells resolution, the card is put into its owners graveyard. As the final part of an artifact, creature, or enchantment spells resolution, the card becomes a permanent and is put into the in-play zone under the control of the spells controller. If any spell is countered, the card is put into its owners graveyard as part of the resolution of the countering spell or ability. (See rule 413, "Resolving Spells and Abilities.")

402. Abilities

402.1. An ability is text on a card or permanent thats not reminder text, flavor text, characteristic-setting text, or spell text (see rule 400.1). The result of following such an instruction or of following a spells text is an effect. (See rule 416, "Effects.") Abilities can affect the cards or permanents theyre on; they can also affect other cards, permanents, and/or players. Abilities can grant abilities to other cards or permanents or to the cards or permanents theyre on; they do so when the words "has," "have," "gains," or "gain" are used.

402.2. Abilities can be beneficial or detrimental. For example, "[This creature] cant block" is an ability.

402.3. Text on a card stating that the card "is" a particular type or color isnt an ability. Such statements apply no matter what zone the card is in and arent removed by effects that cause a permanent to lose its abilities. This rule applies only to text that states a cards type or color, not to other characteristic-setting text.

402.4. An additional cost or alternative cost to play a card isnt an ability of the card. Such text is spell text.

402.5. An ability isnt a spell and therefore cant be countered by anything that counters only spells. Abilities can be countered by effects that specifically counter abilities, as well as by the rules (for example, an ability with one or more targets is countered if all its targets become illegal).

402.6. Once activated or triggered, an ability exists independently of its source (the card on which its printed) as a pseudospell on the stack. Destruction or removal of the source after that time wont affect the ability. Note that some abilities cause a source to do something (for example, "Prodigal Sorcerer deals 1 damage to target creature or player") rather than the ability doing anything directly. In these cases, any spell, activated ability, or triggered ability that references information about the source will check that information when the ability resolves, or will use the sources last known information if its no longer in play.

402.7. A card may have several abilities. Aside from certain defined abilities that may be strung together on a single line (see rule 502, "Keyword Abilities"), each paragraph break in a cards text marks a separate ability. A card may also have multiple instances of the same ability. Each instance functions independently. This may or may not produce more effects than a single instance; refer to the specific ability for more information.

402.8. Abilities function only while the permanent with the ability is in play unless the ability states otherwise or unless the ability can only work, trigger, or be played in a zone other than the in-play zone.

Example: An ability with a cost that includes "discard this card from your hand" can be played only if the card is in your hand.

402.9. Some cards have abilities that can be played when the card is not in play. These are clearly marked (for example, "Play this ability only if [this card] is in your graveyard"). These abilities arent of any particular permanent type-cards not in play arent permanents. Some cards have abilities that can trigger while the card is in a zone other than the in-play zone. Such abilities specify the zone from which they trigger. They arent abilities of any particular permanent type because cards not in play arent permanents.

402.10. There are three general types of abilities: activated, triggered, and static. Mana abilities are an ability subtype. Abilities can generate one-shot effects or continuous effects. Replacement effects and prevention effects are effect subtypes. An activated or triggered ability is targeted if it uses the phrase "target [something]" in its text, where the "something" is a phrase that describes a permanent, spell, ability, card, or player.

403. Activated Abilities

403.1. An activated ability can exist in one of two places: on a permanent or on a card outside the in-play zone with the text "Play this ability only if [this card] is in [zone]." An activated ability is written as "cost: effect." The activation cost is everything before the colon (:). The abilitys controller must pay its activation cost to play it.

403.2. Only a permanents controller can play its activated ability unless the card specifically says otherwise.

403.3. If an activated ability has a restriction on its use (for example, "Play this ability only once each turn"), the restriction continues to apply to that permanent even if its controller changes.

404. Triggered Abilities

404.1. A triggered ability begins with the word "when," "whenever," or "at." The phrase containing one of these words is the trigger condition, which defines the trigger event. A delayed triggered ability will also contain one of these three words, although that word wont usually begin the ability.

404.2. Triggered abilities arent played. Instead, a triggered ability automatically "triggers" each time its trigger event occurs. Once an ability has triggered, it goes on the stack the next time a player would receive priority.

404.3. A triggered ability may read "When/Whenever/At . . . , if [condition], [effect]." The ability checks for the stated condition to be true when the trigger event occurs. If it is, the ability triggers and goes on the stack. On resolution, the ability rechecks the condition. If the condition isnt true at either of those times, the ability does nothing. This rule is referred to as the "intervening if clause" rule. Note that the word "if" has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an "if" that immediately follows a trigger condition.

405. Static Abilities

405.1. A static ability does something all the time rather than being activated or triggered. The ability isnt played-it just "is."

406. Ability Subtypes

406.1. Mana Abilities

406.1a A mana ability is either (a) an activated ability that puts mana into a players mana pool when it resolves or (b) a triggered ability that triggers from an activated mana ability and produces additional mana. A mana ability can generate other effects at the same time it produces mana.

406.1b Spells that put mana into a players mana pool arent mana abilities. Theyre played and resolved exactly like any other spells. Triggered abilities that put mana into a players mana pool arent mana abilities if they trigger from events other than activating mana abilities. They go on the stack and resolve like any other triggered abilities.

406.1c A mana ability remains a mana ability even if the game state doesnt allow it to produce mana.

Example: A card has an ability that reads "T: Add G to your mana pool for each creature you control." This is still a mana ability even if you control no creatures, or if the card is already tapped.

406.1d A mana ability can be activated or triggered. However, the rules for playing and resolving mana abilities differ slightly from those for playing other abilities. See rule 411, "Playing Mana Abilities," for details.

406.1e Mana abilities are played and resolved like other abilities, but they dont go on the stack, so they cant be countered or responded to. (See rule 408.2, "Actions That Dont Use the Stack.") Abilities (other than mana abilities) that trigger on playing mana abilities do go on the stack, however.

406.2. Delayed Triggered Abilities

406.2a An effect may create a delayed triggered ability that can do something at a later time.

406.2b Delayed triggered abilities come from spells or other abilities that create them on resolution. That means a delayed triggered ability wont trigger until it has actually been created, even if its trigger event occurred just beforehand. Other events that happen earlier may make the trigger event impossible.

Example: Part of an effect reads "when this card leaves play," but the card in question leaves play before the spell or ability creating the effect resolves. In this case, the delayed ability never triggers. As another example, if an effect reads "when this card becomes untapped" and the named card becomes untapped before the effect resolves, the ability waits for the next time that card untaps.

406.2c A delayed ability that refers to a particular permanent still affects it even if the permanent changes characteristics.

Example: An ability reading, "At end of turn, destroy that creature" will destroy the permanent even if its no longer a creature during the end of turn step.

406.2d A delayed ability that refers to a particular permanent will fail if the permanent leaves play (even if it returns again before the specified time). Similarly, delayed triggered abilities that apply to a card in a particular zone will fail if the card leaves that zone.

Example: An ability reading, "At end of turn, remove this creature from the game" wont do anything if the creature leaves play before the end of turn step.

406.2e A delayed triggered ability will trigger only once-the next time its trigger event occurs-unless it has a stated duration, such as "this turn."

407. Adding and Removing Abilities

407.1. Effects can add or remove abilities of permanents. If two or more effects add and remove the same ability, in general the most recent one prevails. (See rule 418.5, "Interaction of Continuous Effects.")

407.2. A permanents characteristic set by an effect is different from an ability granted by an effect. When a permanent "gains" or "has" an ability, it can be removed by another effect. If an effect defines a characteristic of the permanent ("[permanent] is [characteristic]"), its not granting an ability. (See also rule 402.3.)

Example: An effect reads, "Enchanted creature has This creature is an artifact. Its still a creature." This effect grants an ability to the creature that can be removed by other effects. Another effect reads, "Enchanted creature is an artifact. Its still a creature." This effect simply defines a characteristic of the creature. It doesnt grant an ability, so effects that would cause the creature to lose its abilities wouldnt cause the enchanted creature to stop being an artifact.

407.3. Effects that remove an ability remove all instances of it.

Example: If a creature with flying is enchanted with Flight, it has two instances of the flying ability. A single effect that reads "Target creature loses flying" will remove both.

408. Timing of Spells and Abilities

408.1. Timing, Priority, and the Stack

408.1a Spells and abilities can be played only at certain times and follow a set of rules for doing so.

408.1b Spells and activated abilities are played by players (if they choose) using a system of priority, while other types of abilities and effects are automatically generated by the game rules. Each time a player would get priority, all applicable state-based effects resolve first as a single event (see rule 420, "State-Based Effects"). Then, if any new state-based effects have been generated, they resolve as a single event. This process repeats until no more applicable state-based effects are generated. Then triggered abilities are added to the stack (see rule 410, "Handling Triggered Abilities"). These steps repeat in order until no further state-based effects or triggered abilities are generated. Then the player who would have received priority does so and may play a spell, ability, or land as governed by the rules for that phase. The game also checks for state-based effects and triggered abilities during the cleanup step (see rule 314, "Cleanup Step"). If any state-based effects resolve or abilities trigger, the active player gets priority afterward.

408.1c The active player gets priority at the beginning of most phases and steps, after special actions and abilities that trigger at the beginning of that phase or step go on the stack. (The exceptions are the untap step and the cleanup step.) The active player also gets priority after combat damage resolves. The player with priority may either play a spell or ability, or pass. If he or she plays a spell or ability, the player again receives priority; otherwise, his or her opponent receives priority. If both players pass in succession, the top spell or ability on the stack resolves, then the active player receives priority. If the stack is empty when both players pass in succession, the phase or step ends and the next one begins.

408.1d A player may play a spell or activated ability only when he or she has priority. Spells other than instants can be played only during a players main phase, when that player has priority, and only when the stack is empty.

408.1e When a spell is played, it goes on top of the stack. When an activated ability is played, a pseudospell representing it goes on the stack.

408.1f Triggered abilities can trigger at any time, including during the playing or resolution of a spell or another ability. However, nothing actually happens at the time the abilities trigger. Each time a player would receive priority, a pseudospell goes on the stack for each ability that has triggered but that hasnt yet been put on the stack. Then the player gets priority and may play spells or abilities. (See rule 410, "Handling Triggered Abilities.")

408.1g Combat damage goes on the stack once its been assigned. For more information, see rule 310, "Combat Damage Step."

408.1h Static abilities arent played-they continuously affect the game. Priority doesnt apply to them. (See rule 418, "Continuous Effects," and rule 419, "Replacement and Prevention Effects.")

408.2. Actions That Dont Use the Stack

408.2a Effects dont go on the stack; theyre the result of spells and abilities resolving. Effects may create delayed triggered abilities, however, and these may go on the stack when they trigger. (See rule 406.2, "Delayed Triggered Abilities.")

408.2b Static abilities continuously generate effects and dont go on the stack.

408.2c State-based effects (see rule 420) resolve whenever a player would receive priority as long as the required game condition is true.

408.2d Playing a land is a special action consisting of putting that land into play. (See rule 214.9, "Lands.")

408.2e Mana abilities resolve immediately. If a mana ability produces both mana and another effect, both the mana and the other effect resolve immediately. (See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities.")

408.2f Characteristic-setting text, such as "[This card] is a forest," is simply read and followed as applicable. (See also rule 402.3.)

408.2g Game actions-untapping during the untap step, declaring attacking or blocking creatures, cleanup, and mana burn-dont use the stack. The two exceptions are combat damage and the draw action of the draw step.

408.2h The controller of a face-down creature or creature spell may turn it face up whenever he or she has priority. (See rule 504, "Face-Down Creatures.")

 

409. Playing Spells and Activated Abilities

409.1. Playing a spell or activated ability follows the steps listed below, in order. If at the end of playing a spell or ability a player was unable to comply with any of the steps listed below, the game returns to the moment before that spell or ability was played (see rule 422, "Handling Illegal Actions"). Players cant begin to play a spell or ability thats prohibited from being played by an effect. Announcements and payments cant be altered after theyve been made. Playing a spell or ability that alters costs wont do anything to spells and abilities that are already on the stack.
Some spells and abilities specify that their controllers opponent does something the controller would normally do while its being played, such as choose a mode, choose targets, or choose how the spell or ability will affect its targets. In these cases, the opponent does so when the spell or abilitys controller normally would do so. If the spell or ability instructs both players to do something at the same time as its being played, the spells controller goes first, then his or her opponent. This applies to all parts of rule 409.1.

409.1a The player announces that he or she is playing the spell or ability. It goes on the stack and remains there until its countered or resolves. Spell cards are physically placed on the stack. For abilities, a pseudospell with the text of the ability goes on the stack. All other characteristics of the pseudospell depend on the characteristics of the abilitys source. For example, such a pseudospells color would be continuously determined by the color of its source, not just the sources color when the pseudospell went on the stack.

409.1b If the spell or ability is modal (uses the phrase "Choose one -" or "[specified player] chooses one - "), the player announces the mode choice. If the spell or ability has a variable mana cost (indicated by "X") or some other variable cost, the player announces the value of that variable at this time. If the spell or ability has alternative, additional, or other special costs (such as buyback or kicker costs), the player announces his or her intentions to pay any or all of those costs (see rule 409.1f). Previously made choices (such as choosing to play a spell with flashback from his or her graveyard) may restrict the players options when making these choices.

409.1c If the spell or ability requires any targets, the player first announces how many targets he or she will choose (if the spell or ability has a variable number of targets), then announces the targets themselves. A spell or ability cant be played unless the required number of legal targets are chosen. The same target cant be chosen multiple times.
If the spell or ability targets one or more targets only if an alternative, additional, or special cost (such as a buyback or kicker cost) is paid for it, or if a particular mode is chosen for it, its controller chooses those targets only if he or she announced the intention to pay that cost or chose that mode. Otherwise, the spell or ability is played as though it did not have those targets.

409.1d If the spell or ability affects several targets in different ways, the player announces how it will affect each target.

409.1e If the spell or ability requires the player to divide an effect (such as damage or counters) among a variable number of targets, the player announces the division. Each of these targets must receive at least one of whatever is being divided (for example, damage or counters); this doesnt apply when the player isnt given a choice.

409.1f The player determines the total cost of the spell or ability. Usually this is just the mana cost (for spells) or activation cost (for abilities). Some cards list additional or alternative costs in their text, and some effects may increase or reduce the cost to pay. Costs may include paying mana, tapping cards, sacrificing permanents, discarding cards, and so on. The total cost is the mana or activation cost, plus all cost increases and minus all cost reductions. Once the total cost is determined, it becomes "locked in," and the player then pays all costs in any order. Partial payments are not allowed. If effects would change the total cost after this time, they have no effect. If the cost includes mana, mana abilities can be played at this time. (See rule 411, "Playing Mana Abilities.")

Example: You play Death Bomb, which costs 3B and has an additional cost of sacrificing a creature. You sacrifice Thunderscape Familiar, whose effect makes your black spells cost 1 less to play. Because a spells total cost is "locked in" before payments are actually made, Death Bomb costs 2B, not 3B, even though youre sacrificing the Familiar.

409.1g Once the steps described in 409.1a-409.1f are completed, the spell or ability becomes played. Its controller gains priority.

409.2. Activated abilities that read "Play this ability only any time you could play [spell type]" mean the player must follow the timing rules for that spell type, though the ability isnt actually of that spell type.

409.3. A creatures activated ability with the tap symbol in its activation cost cant be played unless the creature has been under its controllers control since the start of his or her most recent turn. Creatures with haste may ignore this rule (see rule 502.5).

410. Handling Triggered Abilities

410.1. Because they arent played, triggered abilities can trigger even when it isnt legal to play spells and abilities, and effects that prevent abilities from being played dont affect them.

410.2. Whenever a game event or game state matches a triggered abilitys trigger event, that ability triggers. When a phase or step begins, all abilities that trigger "at the beginning of" that phase or step trigger. The ability doesnt do anything when it triggers but automatically puts a pseudospell (see rule 217.6b) on the stack as soon as a player would receive priority. The ability (and the pseudospell) is controlled by the player who controlled its source at the time it triggered. If the ability says a player "may" do something, that player makes all choices for that instruction. If the ability says this for more than one player, each player specified makes the choices for their instructions. See also rule 410.6.

410.3. If multiple abilities have triggered since the last time a player received priority, pseudospells controlled by the active player go on the stack first, in any order he or she chooses, then those controlled by the opponent go on the stack in any order that opponent chooses. Then players once again check for and resolve state-based effects until none are generated, then abilities that triggered during this process go on the stack. This process repeats until no new state-based effects are generated and no abilities trigger. Then the appropriate player gets priority.

410.4. When a triggered ability goes on the stack, the controller of the pseudospell makes all required choices, following the rules for activated abilities (see rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities"). If no legal choice can be made (or if a rule or a continuous effect otherwise makes the ability illegal), the pseudospell is simply removed from the stack.

410.5. Some triggered abilities effects are optional (they contain "may," as in "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may draw a card"). These abilities go on the stack when they trigger, regardless of whether their controller intends to exercise the abilitys option or not. (The choice is made when the ability resolves.) Likewise, triggered abilities that have an effect "unless" something is true or a player chooses to do something will go on the stack normally; the "unless" part of the ability is dealt with when the ability resolves. Note that this rule is a reversal of rule 410.5 in the previous edition of this rulebook.

410.6. An ability triggers only once each time its trigger event occurs. However, it can trigger repeatedly if one event contains multiple occurrences. See also rule 410.9.

Example: A permanent has an ability whose trigger condition reads, "Whenever a land is put into a graveyard from play, . . . ." If someone plays a spell that destroys all lands, the ability will trigger once for each land put into the graveyard during the spells resolution.

410.7. An ability triggers only if its trigger event actually occurs. An event thats prevented or replaced wont trigger anything.

Example: An ability that triggers on damage being dealt wont trigger if all the damage is prevented.

410.8. Triggered abilities with a condition directly following the trigger event (for example, "When/Whenever/At [trigger], if [condition], [effect]"), check for the condition to be true as part of the trigger event; if it isnt, the ability doesnt trigger. The ability checks the condition again on resolution. If its not satisfied, the ability does nothing. Note that this mirrors the check for legal targets. Note that this rule doesnt apply to any triggered ability with a condition elsewhere within its text.

410.9. Some abilities trigger when creatures block or are blocked in combat. (See rules 306-311 and section 5, "Additional Rules.") They may trigger once or repeatedly, depending on the wording of the ability.

410.9a An ability that reads "Whenever [this creature] blocks" or "Whenever [this creature] becomes blocked" triggers only once each combat for that creature, even if it blocks or is blocked by multiple creatures. An effect that causes the creature to become blocked (if the creature wasnt already blocked) will also trigger such abilities.

410.9b An ability that reads "Whenever [this creature] blocks a creature" triggers once for each attacking creature the named creature blocks.

410.9c An ability that reads "Whenever a creature blocks [this creature]" triggers once for each creature that blocks the named creature. It wont trigger if the attacking creature becomes blocked by an effect rather than a blocking creature.

410.9d If an ability triggers when a creature blocks or is blocked by a particular number of creatures, the ability triggers only if the creature blocks or is blocked by that many creatures when the attack or block declaration is made. Effects that add or remove blockers can cause such abilities to trigger, but effects that switch blockers cannot. This also applies to abilities that trigger on a creature blocking or being blocked by at least a certain number of creatures.

410.10. Trigger events that involve cards or permanents changing zones are called "zone-change triggers." Many abilities with zone-change triggers attempt to do something to that card after it changes zones. During resolution, these abilities look for the card in the zone that it moved to. If the card is unable to be found in the zone it went to, the part of the ability attempting to do something to the card will fail to do anything. The ability could be unable to find the card because the card never entered the specified zone, because it left the zone before the ability resolved, or because it is in a zone that is hidden from a player, such as a library or an opponents hand. (This rule applies even if the card leaves the zone and returns again before the ability resolves.) The most common types of zone-change triggers are comes-into-play triggers and leaves-play triggers.

410.10a Comes-into-play abilities trigger when a permanent enters the in-play zone. These are written, "When [this card] comes into play, . . . " or "Whenever a [type] comes into play, . . ." Each time an event puts one or more permanents into play, all permanents in play (including the newcomers) are checked for any comes-into-play triggers that match the event.

410.10b Continuous effects that modify characteristics of a permanent do so the moment the permanent is in play (and not before then). The permanent is never in play with its unmodified characteristics. Continuous effects dont apply before the permanent is in play, however (see rule 410.10e).

Example: If an effect reads "All lands are creatures" and a land card is played, the effect makes the land card into a creature the moment it enters play, so it would trigger abilities that trigger when a creature comes into play. Conversely, if an effect reads "All creatures lose all abilities" and a creature card with a comes-into-play triggered ability enters play, that effect will cause it to lose its abilities the moment it enters play, so the comes-into-play ability wont trigger.

410.10c Leaves-play abilities trigger when a permanent leaves the in-play zone. These are written as, but arent limited to, "Whenever [this card] leaves play, . . ." or "Whenever [permanent type] is put into a graveyard from play, . . . ." An ability that attempts to do something to the card that left play checks for it only in the first zone that it went to.

410.10d Abilities that trigger on one or more permanents leaving play, or on a player losing control of a permanent, must be treated specially because the permanent with the ability may no longer be in play after the event. The game has to "look back in time" to determine what triggered. Each time an event removes from play or changes who controls one or more permanents, all the permanents in play just before the event (with continuous effects that existed at that time) are checked for trigger events that match what just left play or changed control.

Example: Two creatures are in play along with an artifact that has the ability "Whenever a creature is put into a graveyard from play, you gain 1 life." Someone plays a spell that destroys all artifacts, creatures, and enchantments. The artifacts ability triggers twice, even though the artifact goes to its owners graveyard at the same time as the creatures.

"Leaves play" triggers are zone-change triggers, even if the trigger condition doesnt care what zone the permanent is going to. If they attempt to do something to the card that left play, theyll look for it only in the first zone that it went to after leaving play.

410.10e Some permanents have text that reads "[This permanent] comes into play with . . . ," "As [this permanent] comes into play . . . ," "[This permanent] comes into play as . . . ," or "[This permanent] comes into play tapped." Such text is a static ability-not a triggered ability-whose effect occurs as part of the event that puts the permanent into play.

410.11. Some triggered abilities trigger on a game state, such as a player controlling no permanents of a particular type, rather than triggering when an event occurs. These abilities trigger as soon as the game state matches the condition (even if its not legal to play a spell or ability at that time). These are called state triggers. (Note that state triggers arent the same as state-based effects.) A state-triggered ability doesnt trigger again until the pseudospell it created has resolved or been countered. Then, if the permanent with the ability is still in play and the game state still matches its trigger condition, the ability will trigger again.

Example: A permanents ability reads, "When your hand is empty, draw a card." If its controller plays the last card from his or her hand, the ability will trigger once and wont trigger again until it has resolved. If its controller plays a spell that reads "Discard your hand, then draw the same number of cards," the ability will trigger during the spells resolution because the players hand was momentarily empty.

411. Playing Mana Abilities

411.1. To play a mana ability, the player announces that he or she is playing it and pays the activation cost. It resolves immediately afterward and doesnt go on the stack. (See rule 408.2e.)

411.2. A player may play an activated mana ability whenever he or she has priority. A player may also play one whenever a rule or effect asks for a mana payment, even in the middle of playing or resolving a spell or ability.

411.3. Triggered mana abilities trigger when an activated mana ability is played. These abilities resolve immediately after the mana ability that triggered them, without waiting for priority. If an activated or triggered ability produces both mana and another effect, both the mana and the other effect resolve immediately.

Example: An enchantment reads, "Whenever a player taps a land for mana, that land produces one additional mana of the same color." If a player taps lands for mana while playing a spell, the additional mana is added to the players mana pool immediately and can be used to pay for the spell.

411.3a If a triggered mana ability adds mana "of the same type" to a players mana pool, and the mana ability that triggered it produced more than one type of mana, the player to whose mana pool the mana is being added chooses which type of mana the triggered ability adds.

412. Handling Static Abilities

412.1. A static ability may generate a continuous effect or a prevention or replacement effect. These effects last as long as the permanent with the static ability remains in play.

412.2. Many local enchantments have static abilities that modify their enchanted permanent, but those abilities dont target that permanent. If a local enchantment is moved to a different permanent, the ability stops applying to the original permanent and starts modifying the new one.

412.3. Some static abilities apply while a spell is on the stack. These are often abilities that refer to countering the spell. Also, abilities that say "As an additional cost to play . . ." and "You may pay [cost] rather than paying [this card]s mana cost" work while the card is a spell on the stack.

412.4. Some static abilities apply while a card is in any zone that you could play it from (usually your hand). These are limited to those that read, "you may play [this card] . . ." and "you cant play [this card] . . . ."

412.5. Unlike spells and other kinds of abilities, static abilities cant use a card or permanents last known information for purposes of determining how their effects are applied.

413. Resolving Spells and Abilities

413.1. Each time both players pass in succession, the spell, ability, or combat damage on top of the stack resolves. (See rule 416, "Effects.")

413.2. Resolution of a spell or ability may involve several steps but is treated by the game as a single indivisible action. These steps are followed in the order listed below.

413.2a If the spell or ability specifies targets, it checks whether the targets are still legal. A target thats removed from play, or from the zone designated by the spell or ability, is illegal. A target may also become illegal if its characteristics changed since the spell or ability was played or if an effect changed the wording of the spell or ability. If all targets are now illegal, the spell or ability is countered. If the spell or ability is not countered it will resolve normally, affecting only the targets that are still legal. If the spell or ability needs to know information about one or more targets that are now illegal, it will use the illegal targets current or last known information.

413.2b The controller of the spell or ability follows its instructions in the order written. However, replacement effects may modify these actions. In some cases, later text on the card may modify the meaning of earlier text (for example, "Destroy target creature. It cant be regenerated" or "Counter target spell. Put it on top of its owners library instead of into its owners graveyard.") Dont just apply effects step by step without thinking in these cases-read the whole card and apply the rules of English to the text.

413.2c If an effect offers any choices other than choices already made as part of playing the spell or ability, the player announces these while applying the effect. The player cant choose an option thats illegal or impossible. If the effect provides an optional action with a consequence for not doing so, the player cant choose that action unless he or she can meet all requirements.

Example: A spells instruction reads, "You may sacrifice a creature. If you dont, you lose 4 life." A player who controls no creatures cant choose the sacrifice option.

413.2d If an effect requires both players to make choices or take actions at the same time, the active player makes and announces his or her choices first, and then his or her opponent does (knowing the first players choices). Then the actions take place simultaneously. This is called the "active player rule." If a player must make more than one choice at a time, he or she makes the choices in the order written, or in the order he or she chooses if the choices arent ordered. Then, the actions are processed simultaneously.
Some spells and abilities have multiple steps or actions, denoted by separate sentences or clauses. In these cases, the active player does the first action, then the nonactive player does that action, then the active player does the second action, then the nonactive player does that action, and so on.

Example: Stronghold Gambit reads, "Each player chooses a card in his or her hand. Then each player reveals his or her chosen card. . . ." First the active player chooses a card, then the nonactive player does so, then the active player reveals his or her chosen card, and then the nonactive player does so.

413.2e If an effect gives a player the option to pay mana, he or she may play mana abilities as part of the action. No other spells or abilities can be played during resolution.

413.2f If an effect requires information from the game (such as the number of creatures in play), the answer is determined when the effect is applied. The effect uses the current information of a specific permanent if that permanent is still in play, or of a specific card in the stated zone; otherwise, the effect uses the last known information the card or permanent had before leaving that zone. The exception is that static abilities cant use last known information; see rule 412.5. If the ability text states that a permanent does something, its the permanent as it exists (or most recently existed) that does it, not the ability.

413.2g An effect that refers to characteristics of a permanent checks only for the value of the specified characteristics, regardless of any related ones the permanent may also have.

Example: An effect that reads "Destroy all black creatures" destroys a white-and-black creature, but one that reads "Destroy all nonblack creatures" doesnt.

413.2h A spell card is put into play under the control of the spells controller (for permanents) or is put into its owners graveyard (for instants and sorceries) as the final step of the spells resolution.

413.2i If an effect could result in a tie, the text of the spell or ability that created the effect will specify what to do in the event of a tie. The Magic game has no default for ties.

414. Countering Spells and Abilities

414.1. To counter a spell is to move the spell card from the stack to its owners graveyard. Countering an ability removes its pseudospell from the stack. Spells and abilities that are countered dont resolve and none of their effects occur.

414.2. The player who played the countered spell or ability doesnt get a "refund" of any costs that were paid.

415. Editing a Spell or Ability

415.1. A few effects can "edit" a spell or ability after it goes on the stack, changing its target, rules text, or other characteristics.

415.2. The target of a spell or ability can change only to another legal target. If the new target is illegal when the change resolves, the original target is unchanged.

415.2a Modal spells may have different targeting requirements for each mode. Changing a spell or abilitys target cant change its mode.

415.2b The word "you" in a cards text isnt a target. If a spell affects only its controller, its target cant be changed.

415.3. If an effect edits any characteristics of a spell that becomes a permanent, the effect continues to apply to the permanent when the spell resolves.

Example: If an effect changes a black creature spell to white, the creature is white when it comes into play and remains white for the duration of the effect changing its color.

415.4. An effect that changes the text of a spell or permanent cant change a proper noun (such as a card name or creature type), even if that proper noun contains a word or a series of letters which is the same as a Magic color word or basic land type.

416. Effects

416.1. When a spell or ability resolves, it may create one or more effects. There are three main types: one-shot effects, continuous effects, and replacement and prevention effects. Effects of a fourth category, state-based effects, are generated by specific states of the game.

416.2. Effects apply only to permanents unless the instructions text states otherwise or they clearly can apply only to cards in one or more other zones.

Example: An effect that changes all lands to creatures wont alter land cards in the players graveyards.

416.3. If an effect attempts to do something impossible, it does only as much as possible.

Example: If a player is holding only one card, an effect that reads "Discard two cards" causes him or her to discard only that card. If an effect moves cards out of the library (as opposed to drawing), it moves as many as possible.

417. One-Shot Effects

417.1. A one-shot effect does something just once and doesnt have a duration. Examples include damage dealing, destruction of permanents, and moving cards between zones.

417.2. Some one-shot effects instruct a player to do something later in the game (usually at a specific time) rather than when they resolve. This kind of effect actually creates a new ability that waits to be triggered. (See rule 406.2, "Delayed Triggered Abilities.")

418. Continuous Effects

418.1. A continuous effect modifies characteristics of cards and/or permanents or modifies the rules of the game for a fixed or indefinite period. A continuous effect may be generated by the resolution of a spell or ability or by a static ability of a permanent.

418.2. Continuous effects that modify characteristics of permanents do so simultaneously with the permanent coming into play. They dont wait until the permanent is in play and then change it. Because such effects apply as the permanent comes into play, apply them before determining whether the permanent will cause an ability to trigger when it comes into play.

418.3. Continuous Effects from Spells or Abilities

418.3a A continuous effect generated by the resolution of a spell or ability lasts as long as stated by the spell or ability creating it (such as "until end of turn"). If no duration is stated, it lasts until the end of the game.

418.3b Continuous effects from spells, activated abilities, and triggered abilities that modify the characteristics or change the controller of one or more cards and/or permanents dont affect cards and/or permanents that werent affected when the continuous effect began. Note that these work differently than continuous effects from static abilities. Continuous effects that dont modify characteristics of cards and/or permanents modify the rules of the game, so they can affect cards and/or permanents that werent affected when the continuous effect began.

Example: An effect that reads "All white creatures get +1/+1 until end of turn" gives the bonus to all permanents that are white creatures when the spell or ability resolves-even if they change color later-and doesnt affect those that come into play or turn white afterward.

Example: An effect that reads "Prevent all damage creatures would deal this turn" doesnt modify any cards or permanents characteristics, so its modifying the rules of the game. That means the effect will apply even to creatures that werent in play when the continuous effect began. It also affects permanents that become creatures later in the turn.

418.3c If the spell or ability creating a continuous effect is variable, the effect is determined only once, on resolution.

Example: A spell that reads "Target creature gets +X/+X until end of turn, where X is the number of cards in your hand" counts the number of cards in the controllers hand when the spell resolves and grants that bonus for the rest of the turn, even if the hand size changes.

418.3d Some effects from activated or triggered abilities have durations worded "as long as . . ." If the "as long as" duration ends between the end of announcing the activated ability or putting the triggered ability onto the stack and the moment when the effect would first be applied, the effect does nothing. It doesnt start and immediately stop again, and it doesnt last forever.

Example: Endoskeleton is an artifact with an activated ability that reads "2, T: Target creature gets +0/+3 as long as Endoskeleton remains tapped." If you play this ability and then Endoskeleton becomes untapped before the ability resolves, it does nothing, because its duration-remaining tapped-was over before the effect began.

418.4. Continuous Effects from Permanents

418.4a A continuous effect generated by a static ability of a permanent isnt "locked in"; it applies at any given moment to whatever its text indicates.

418.4b The effect applies at all times that the permanent generating it is in play.

Example: A permanent with the static ability "All white creatures get +1/+1" generates an effect that continuously gives +1/+1 to each white creature in play. If a creature becomes white, it gets this bonus; a creature that stops being white loses it. A creature spell that would normally create a 1/1 white creature instead creates a 2/2 white creature. The creature doesnt come into play as 1/1 and then change to 2/2.

418.5. Interaction of Continuous Effects

418.5a Sometimes the results of one effect determine whether another effect applies or what it does. For example, one effect might read, "All white creatures get +1/+1" and another, "Enchanted creature is white."

418.5b An effect is said to "depend on" another if applying the other would change the text or the existence of the first effect, what it applies to, or what it does to any of the things it applies to. Otherwise, the effect is considered to be independent of the first effect.

418.5c Whenever one effect depends on another, the independent one is applied first. If several dependent effects form a loop, or if none depends on another, theyre applied in "timestamp order." A permanents timestamp is the time it came into play, with two exceptions: (1) If two or more permanents enter play simultaneously, the active player determines their timestamp order at the time they come into play, but a local enchantment must be timestamped after what it enchants; (2) Whenever a local enchantment becomes attached to a permanent, the enchantment receives a new timestamp. Continuous effects generated by static abilities have the same timestamp as the permanent that generated them. Continuous effects generated by the resolution of a spell or ability receive a timestamp when the spell or ability creating them resolves.

418.5d A continuous effect can override another.

Example: Two enchantments are played on the same creature: "Enchanted creature gains flying" and "Enchanted creature loses flying." Neither of these depends on the other, since nothing changes what they affect or what theyre doing to it. Applying them in timestamp order means the one that was generated last "wins." Its irrelevant whether an effect is temporary (such as "Target creature loses flying until end of turn") or global (such as "All creatures lose flying").

418.5e The value of a permanents characteristic is determined by starting with the printed or token value, then applying copy effects (see rule 503, "Copying Spells and Abilities"), then applying continuous effects generated by type-changing abilities, then applying any power or toughness changes due to counters, and then applying all other continuous effects.

419. Replacement and Prevention Effects

419.1. Replacement and prevention effects are continuous effects that watch for a particular event to happen and then completely or partially replace that event. (A prevention effect replaces an event with nothing or with a lessened version of the event.) These effects act like "shields" around whatever theyre affecting. All replacement effects use the word "instead" to indicate what events will be replaced with other events, and prevention effects use "prevent" to indicate what events will not occur. Abilities that contain "instead" or "prevent" generate replacement or prevention effects, respectively.

419.2. Replacement and prevention effects apply continuously as events happen-they arent locked in ahead of time.

419.3. There are no special restrictions on playing a spell or ability that generates a replacement or prevention effect. Such effects last until theyre used up or their duration has expired.

419.4. Replacement or prevention effects must exist before the appropriate event occurs-they cant "go back in time" and change something thats already happened. Usually spells and abilities that generate these effects are played in response to whatever would produce the event and thus resolve before that event would occur.

Example: A player can play a regeneration ability in response to a spell that would destroy a creature he or she controls.

419.5. If an event is prevented or replaced, it never happens. A modified event occurs instead, which may in turn trigger abilities. Note that the modified event may contain instructions that cant be carried out, in which case the player simply ignores the impossible instruction. If a source would deal 0 damage, it does not deal damage at all. That means abilities that trigger on damage being dealt wont trigger. It also means that replacement effects that increase damage dealt have no event to replace when 0 damage is dealt, so they have no effect. Some abilities read, "Whenever [X], you may [Y]. If you do, [Z]." The "if you do" clause refers to doing any part of the event Y. If Y is replaced entirely or in part by a different event, the "if you do" clause refers to the event that replaced Y.

419.6. Replacement Effects

419.6a A replacement effect doesnt invoke itself repeatedly and gets only one opportunity for each event.

Example: A player controls two permanents, each with an ability that reads "Instead of dealing their normal damage, creatures you control deal double that damage." A creature that normally deals 1 damage will deal 4 damage-not just 2, and not an infinite amount.

419.6b Regeneration is a destruction-replacement effect. The key word "instead" doesnt appear on the card but is implicit in its definition. "Regenerate [permanent]" means "The next time [permanent] would be destroyed this turn, instead remove all damage from it, tap it, and (if its in combat) remove it from combat." Note that if destruction is caused by lethal damage, any abilities that trigger from that damage being dealt still trigger even if the permanent regenerates.

419.6c Some effects replace damage dealt to one creature or player with the same damage dealt to another creature or player; such effects are called "redirection" effects. If either creature is no longer in play or is no longer a creature when the damage would be redirected, the effect does nothing. Likewise, if either player is no longer in the game, the effect does nothing.

419.6d Some spells and abilities replace part or all of their own effect(s) when they resolve. Such effects are called "self-replacement effects." When applying replacement effects to an event, apply self-replacement effects first, then apply other replacement effects.

419.7. Prevention Effects

419.7a Prevention effects usually apply to damage that would be dealt.

419.7b Some prevention effects refer to a specific amount of damage-for example, "Prevent the next 3 damage to target creature or player this turn." These work like ablative shields. Each 1 damage that would be dealt to the "shielded" creature or player is prevented. Preventing 1 damage reduces the remaining shield by 1. If damage would be dealt to the shielded creature or player by two or more sources at the same time, the player or the controller of the creature can choose which damage the shield prevents first. Once the shield has been reduced to 0, any remaining damage is dealt normally. Such effects count only the amount of damage; the number of events or sources dealing it doesnt matter.

419.7c Some prevention effects apply to damage from a specified source-for example, "The next time a red source of your choice would deal damage to you this turn, prevent that damage." The source is chosen when the spell or ability resolves. If an effect requires a player to choose a source, he or she may choose either a permanent or a spell on the stack (including one that creates a permanent) or any card or permanent referred to by a spell or pseudospell on the stack. If the player chooses a permanent or a permanent spell, the prevention will apply to the next damage from that permanent or the permanent resulting from the spell, regardless of whether its from one of that permanents abilities or combat damage dealt by it. Its possible for the source to be out of play by the time the spell or ability resolves.
Some abilities that generate prevention effects can affect damage only from a source with certain characteristics, such as a creature or a source of a particular color. When the chosen source would deal damage, a prevention "shield" with this type of restriction rechecks the source. If the characteristics no longer match, the damage isnt prevented. If for any reason the shield prevents no damage, the shield isnt used up.

419.8. Interaction of Replacement or Prevention Effects

419.8a If two or more replacement or prevention effects are attempting to modify the way an event affects a permanent or player, the affected permanents controller or the affected player chooses one to apply to that permanent or player. Then the other applies if it is still appropriate. If one or more of the applicable replacement effects is a "self-replacement effect" (see rule 419.6d), that effect is applied before any other replacement effects.

Example: Two cards are in play. One is an enchantment that reads "If a card would be put into a graveyard, instead remove it from the game," and the other is a creature that reads "If [this card] would be put into a graveyard, instead shuffle it into its owners library." The controller of the creature that would be destroyed decides which replacement to apply first; the other does nothing.

419.8b A replacement effect can become applicable to an event as the result of another replacement effect that modifies the event.

Example: One effect reads, "For each 1 life you would gain, instead draw a card," and another reads, "Instead of drawing a card, return target card from your graveyard to your hand." Both effects combine (regardless of the order they came into play): Instead of gaining 1 life, the player puts a card from his or her graveyard into his or her hand.

420. State-Based Effects

420.1. State-based effects are a special category that applies only to those conditions listed below. Abilities that watch for a specified game state are triggered abilities. (See rule 410.8.)

420.2. State-based effects are always active and are not controlled by either player.

420.3. Whenever a player would get priority to play a spell or ability (see rule 408, "Timing of Spells and Abilities"), the game checks for any of the listed conditions for state-based effects. All applicable effects resolve as a single event, then the check is repeated. Once no more state-based effects have been generated, triggered abilities go on the stack, then the appropriate player gets priority. This check is also made during the cleanup step (see rule 314); if any of the listed conditions apply, the active player receives priority.

420.4. Unlike triggered abilities, state-based effects pay no attention to what happens during the resolution of a spell or ability.

Example: A player controls a creature with the ability "This creatures power and toughness are each equal to the number of cards in your hand" and plays a spell whose effect is "Discard your hand, then draw seven cards." The creature will temporarily have toughness 0 in the middle of the spells resolution but will be back up to toughness 7 when the spell finishes resolving. Thus the creature will survive when state-based effects are checked. In contrast, an ability that triggers when the player has no cards in hand goes on the stack after the spell resolves, because its trigger event happened during resolution.

420.5. The state-based effects are as follows:

420.5a A player with 0 life or less loses the game.

420.5b A creature with toughness 0 or less is put into its owners graveyard. Regeneration cant replace this event.

420.5c A creature with lethal damage is destroyed. Lethal damage is an amount of damage greater than 0 and greater than or equal to a creatures toughness. Regeneration does replace this event.

420.5d A local enchantment that enchants an illegal or nonexistent permanent is put into its owners graveyard.

420.5e If two or more Legends or legendary permanents with the same name are in play, all except the one that has been a Legend or legendary permanent with that name the longest are put into their owners graveyards. This is called the Legend rule. In the event of a tie, each Legend or legendary permanent with the same name is put into its owners graveyard. (If two permanents have the same name but only one is a Legend or is legendary, this rule doesnt apply.)

420.5f A token in a zone other than the in-play zone ceases to exist.

420.5g A player who was required to draw more cards than were in his or her library loses the game.

420.5h A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.

420.5i If two or more enchant worlds are in play, all except the one that has been an enchant world for the shortest amount of time are put into their owners graveyards. In the event of a tie for the shortest amount of time, all are put into their owners graveyards.

421. Handling "Infinite" Loops

421.1. Occasionally the game can get into a state where a set of actions could be repeated forever. The "infinity rule" governs how to break such loops.

421.2. If the loop contains one or more optional actions and one player controls them all, that player chooses a number. The loop is treated as repeating that many times or until the other player intervenes, whichever comes first.

421.3. If the loop contains at least one optional action controlled by each player and actions by both players are required to continue the loop, the active player chooses a number. The nonactive player then has two choices. He or she can choose a lower number, in which case the loop continues that number of times plus whatever fraction is necessary for the active player to "have the last word." Or he or she can agree to the number the active player chose, in which case the loop continues that number of times plus whatever fraction is necessary for the nonactive player to "have the last word." (Note that either fraction may be zero.)

Example: One player controls a creature with the ability "0: [This creature] gains flying." Another player controls a permanent with the ability "0: Target creature loses flying." The "infinity rule" ensures that regardless of which player initiated the gain/lose flying ability, the nonactive player will always have the final choice and therefore be able to determine whether the creature has flying. (Note that this assumes that the first player attempted to give the creature flying at least once.)

421.4. If the loop contains only mandatory actions, the game ends in a draw. (See rule 102.6.)

421.5. If the loop contains at least one optional action controlled by each player and these actions dont depend on one another, the active player chooses a number. The nonactive player can either agree to that number or choose a higher number. Note that this rule applies even if the actions could exist in separate loops rather than in a single loop.

422. Handling Illegal Actions

422.1. If a player realizes that he or she cant legally take an action after starting to do so, the entire action is reversed and any payments already made are canceled. No abilities trigger as a result of an undone action. If the action was playing a spell, the spell card returns to the zone it came from. The player may also reverse any legal mana abilities played while making the illegal play, unless mana from them or from any triggered mana abilities they triggered was spent on another mana ability that wasnt reversed. Players may not reverse actions that moved cards to or from a library or that involved a random choice or random zone change.

422.2. When reversing illegal spells and abilities, the player who had priority retains it and may take another action or pass. The player may redo the reversed action in a legal way or take any other action allowed by the rules.

 

5. Additional Rules

500. Legal Attacks and Blocks

500.1. Some abilities and continuous effects restrict declaring attackers or blockers in combat. (See rule 308, "Declare Attackers Step," and rule 309, "Declare Blockers Step.")

500.2. As part of declaring attackers, the active player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it must attack, cant attack, or has some other attacking restriction or requirement. If such a restriction or requirement conflicts with the proposed attack, the attack is illegal, and the active player must then propose another set of attacking creatures. (Tapped creatures and creatures with unpaid costs to attack are exempt from effects that would require them to attack.)

Example: A player controls two creatures, each with a restriction that states "[This creature] cant attack alone." Its legal to declare both as attackers.

Example: A player controls one creature that "attacks if able" and another creature with no abilities. An effect states "Only one creature may attack each turn." Its legal to declare either creature as an attacker but illegal to attack with both or neither.

500.3. As part of declaring blockers, the defending player checks each creature he or she controls to see whether it must block, cant block, or has some other blocking restriction or requirement. If such a restriction or requirement conflicts with the proposed set of blocking creatures, the block is illegal, and the defending player must then propose another set of blocking creatures. (Creatures with unpaid costs to block are exempt from effects that would require them to block.)

501. Evasion Abilities

501.1. Evasion abilities restrict what can block an attacking creature. These are static abilities that modify the declare blockers step of combat.

501.2. Evasion abilities are cumulative.

Example: A Wall without flying cant block a creature that can be blocked only by Walls and by creatures with flying.

501.3. Some creatures have abilities that restrict how they can block. As with evasion abilities, these modify only the rules for the declare blockers step of combat. (If a creature gains an evasion ability after a legal block has been declared, it doesnt affect that block.)

502. Keyword Abilities

502.1. Most creature abilities describe exactly what they do in the cards rules text. Some, though, are very common or would require too much space to define on the card. In these cases, the card lists only the name of the ability as a "keyword"; sometimes reminder text summarizes the game rule.

502.2. First Strike

502.2a First strike is a static ability that modifies the rules for the combat damage step.

502.2b During the combat damage step, if at least one attacking or blocking creature has first strike, creatures without first strike dont assign combat damage. Instead of proceeding to end of combat, the phase gets a second combat damage step to handle the remaining creatures.

502.2c Adding or removing first strike after the first combat damage step wont prevent a creature from dealing combat damage or allow it to deal combat damage twice.

502.2d Multiple instances of first strike on the same creature are redundant.

502.3. Flanking

502.3a Flanking is a triggered ability that triggers during the declare blockers step.

502.3b Whenever a creature with flanking is blocked by a creature without flanking, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn.

502.3c If a creature has multiple instances of flanking, each triggers separately.

502.4. Flying

502.4a Flying is an evasion ability.

502.4b A creature with flying cant be blocked by creatures without flying. A creature with flying can block a creature with or without flying.

502.4c Multiple instances of flying on the same creature are redundant.

502.5. Haste

502.5a Haste is a static ability.

502.5b A creature with haste can attack or use activated abilities whose cost includes the tap symbol even if it hasnt been controlled by its controller continuously since the beginning of his or her most recent turn.

502.5c Multiple instances of haste on the same creature are redundant.

502.6. Landwalk

502.6a Landwalk and snow-covered landwalk are generic terms; a cards rules text usually names a specific type of land (such as in "islandwalk" or "snow-covered swampwalk").

502.6b Landwalk and snow-covered landwalk are evasion abilities. A creature with landwalk is unblockable as long as the defending player controls at least one land of the specified type. A creature with snow-covered landwalk is unblockable as long as the defending player controls at least one land of the specified type that has snow-covered.

502.6c Snow-covered landwalk is a special type of landwalk. If a player is allowed to choose any landwalk ability, that player may choose a snow-covered landwalk ability. If an effect causes a permanent to lose all landwalk abilities, snow-covered landwalk abilities are removed as well.

502.6d Landwalk or snow-covered landwalk abilities dont "cancel" one another.

Example: If a player controls a snow-covered forest, that player cant block an attacking creature with snow-covered forestwalk even if he or she also controls a creature with snow-covered forestwalk.

502.6e Multiple instances of the same type of landwalk or snow-covered landwalk on the same creature are redundant.

502.7. Protection

502.7a Protection is a static ability, written "Protection from [quality]." This quality is usually a color (as in "protection from black") but can be any characteristic, such as a permanent type.

502.7b A permanent with protection cant be targeted by spells with the stated quality, cant be targeted by abilities from a source with the stated quality, and cant be enchanted by enchantments that have the stated quality. Such enchantments enchanting the permanent with protection will be put into their owners graveyards as a state-based effect. In addition, any damage that would be dealt to it from sources having that quality is prevented. If it attacks, it cant be blocked by creatures having that quality.

502.7c Multiple instances of protection from the same quality on the same permanent are redundant.

502.8. Shadow

502.8a Shadow is an evasion ability.

502.8b A creature with shadow cant be blocked by creatures without shadow, and a creature without shadow cant be blocked by creatures with shadow.

502.8c Multiple instances of shadow on the same creature are redundant.

502.9. Trample

502.9a Trample is a static ability that modifies the rules for assigning an attacking creatures combat damage. A creature with trample has no special abilities when blocking or dealing noncombat damage.

502.9b The controller of an attacking creature with trample first assigns damage to the creature(s) blocking it. If all those blocking creatures are assigned lethal damage, any remaining damage is assigned as its controller chooses among the blocking creatures and the defending player. When checking for assigned lethal damage, take into account damage already on the creature and damage from other creatures that is to be assigned at the same time (see rule 502.9f). The controller need not assign lethal damage to all blocking creatures but in that case cant assign any damage to the defending player.

502.9c If all the creatures blocking an attacking creature with trample are removed from combat before the combat damage step, all its damage is assigned to the defending player.

502.9d Ignore this rule.

502.9e Assigning damage from a creature with trample considers only the actual toughness of a blocking creature, not any abilities or effects that might change the final amount of damage dealt.

502.9f When there are several attacking creatures, its legal to assign damage from those without trample so as to maximize the damage of those with trample.

Example: A 2/2 creature with an ability that enables it to block multiple attackers blocks two attackers: a 1/1 with no special abilities a 3/3 with trample. The active player could assign 1 damage from the first attacker and 1 damage from the second to the blocking creature and 2 damage to the defending player from the creature with trample.

502.9g Multiple instances of trample on the same creature are redundant.

502.10. Banding

502.10a Banding is a static ability that modifies the rules for declaring attackers, declaring blockers, and assigning combat damage.

502.10b As a player declares attackers, he or she may declare that any number of those creatures with banding, and up to one of those creatures without banding, are all in a "band." (Defending players cant declare bands but may use banding in a different way; see rule 502.10h.)

502.10c A player may declare as many attacking bands as he or she wants, but each creature may be a member of only one of them.

502.10d Once an attacking band has been announced, it lasts for the rest of combat, even if something later removes the banding ability from one or more creatures. However, creatures in a band that are removed from combat are also removed from the band.

502.10e If an attacking creature becomes blocked by a creature, each other creature in the same band as the attacking creature becomes blocked by that same blocking creature.

Example: A player attacks with a band consisting of a creature with flying and a creature with swampwalk. The defending player, who controls a swamp, can block the flying creature if able. If he or she does, then the creature with swampwalk will also become blocked by the blocking creature(s).

502.10f Banding doesnt cause attacking creatures to share abilities, nor does it remove any abilities. The attacking creatures in a band are separate permanents.

502.10g If one member of a band would become blocked as the result of a spell or ability, the entire band becomes blocked.

502.10h A player who controls a banding creature chooses how combat damage is assigned by creatures blocking or blocked by that creature. If the creature had banding when it attacked or blocked, but the ability was removed before the combat damage step, damage is assigned normally.

502.10i Multiple instances of banding on the same creature are redundant.

502.11. Bands with Other

502.11a Bands with other is a special form of banding. If an effect causes a permanent to lose banding, the permanent loses all bands with other abilities as well.

502.11b An attacking creature with "bands with other [creature type]" can form an attacking band with other creatures that have the same "bands with other [creature type]" ability. Creatures with banding can also join this band, but creatures without banding cant. The creatures in this band dont have to have the creature type specified in the "bands with other [creature type]" ability. Blocking this band follows the same general rules as for banding.

502.11c If a creature is blocked by at least two creatures with the same "bands with other [creature type]" ability, the defending player chooses how the attacking creatures damage is assigned. Similarly, if a creature blocks at least two attacking creatures with the same "bands with other [creature type]" ability, the attacking player chooses how the blocking creatures damage is assigned.

502.12. Rampage

502.12a Rampage is a triggered ability. "Rampage [X]" means "Whenever this creature becomes blocked by two or more creatures, it gets +X/+X until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first."

502.12b The rampage bonus is calculated only once per combat, when the triggered ability resolves. Adding or removing blockers later in combat wont change the bonus.

502.12c If a creature has multiple instances of rampage, each triggers separately.

502.13. Cumulative Upkeep

502.13a Cumulative upkeep is a triggered ability that imposes an increasing cost on a permanent. The phrase "Cumulative upkeep [cost]" means "At the beginning of your upkeep, put an age counter on this permanent, then sacrifice this permanent unless you pay [cost] for each age counter on it."

502.13b If a permanent has multiple instances of cumulative upkeep, each triggers separately. However, the age counters are not linked to any particular ability; each cumulative upkeep ability will count the total number of age counters on the permanent at the time that ability resolves.

Example: A creature has two instances of "Cumulative upkeep-Pay 1 life." The creature currently has no counters but both cumulative upkeep abilities trigger. When the first ability resolves, the controller adds a counter and then chooses to pay 1 life. When the second ability resolves, the controller adds another counter and then chooses to pay an additional 2 life.

502.14. Snow-Covered

502.14a Snow-covered is an ability that doesnt do anything in its own right; its simply a keyword that other cards look for. When a card refers to a "snow-covered land," it means a land with the snow-covered ability. When a card refers to a "snow-covered forest," it means a forest with the snow-covered ability, and so on.

502.14b Five snow-covered lands were printed in the Ice Age expansion. Their names are Snow-Covered Plains, Snow-Covered Island, Snow-Covered Swamp, Snow-Covered Mountain, and Snow-Covered Forest. These lands are basic lands, even though they have a different name and they have the snow-covered ability.

502.14c Some effects can add or remove the snow-covered ability. This doesnt change the existing name of the land. For example, a card named Snow-Covered Forest is named "Snow-Covered Forest," while a forest that has been granted the snow-covered ability is still named "Forest."

502.15. Phasing

502.15a Phasing is a static ability that modifies the rules of the untap step.

502.15b During each players untap step, before that player untaps his or her permanents, all permanents with phasing the player controls phase out. Simultaneously, all permanents that had phased out under that players control phase in. (See rule 217.8, "Phased-Out," and rule 302.3.)

502.15c If a spell or ability causes a player to skip his or her untap step, the phasing event simply doesnt occur that turn.

502.15d Permanents phasing in dont trigger any comes-into-play abilities, and effects that modify how a permanent comes into play are ignored. Abilities and effects that specifically mention phasing can modify or trigger on this event, however. Permanents phasing out trigger leaves-play abilities as usual. (Because no player receives priority during the untap step, any abilities triggering off of the phasing event wont go onto the stack until the upkeep step begins.)

502.15e When a permanent phases out, all damage dealt to it is removed.

502.15f A card that returns to play from the phased-out zone is in some respects considered the same permanent it was when it left. This is an exception to rule 217.8, which stipulates that a permanent "forgets" its previous existence when it changes zones.

502.15g Effects with limited duration and delayed triggered abilities that specifically reference a permanent will be unable to further affect that permanent if it phases out. However, other effects that reference the permanent (including effects with unlimited duration) can affect the permanent when it returns to play.

Example: A creature is affected by Giant Growth and then phases out during the same turn. If the creature phases back in somehow before the turn is over, it wont get the +3/+3 bonus from the Giant Growth because its effect has a limited duration.

502.15h Phased-out cards "remember" their past histories and will return to play in the same state. They "remember" any counters they had on them, any choices made when they first came into play, and whether they were tapped or untapped when they left play. They also "remember" who controlled them when they phased out, although they may phase in under the control of a different player if a control effect with limited duration has expired.

Example: Diseased Vermin reads, in part, "At the beginning of your upkeep, Diseased Vermin deals X damage to target opponent previously dealt damage by it, where X is the number of infection counters on it." If Diseased Vermin phases out, it "remembers" how many counters it has and also which opponents it has previously damaged. When it phases back in, it will still be able to target those opponents with its upkeep-triggered ability.

502.15i When a permanent phases out, any local enchantments attached to that permanent phase out at the same time. This alternate way of phasing out is known as phasing out "indirectly." An enchantment that phased out indirectly wont phase in by itself, but instead phases in along with the card its attached to.

502.15j If a local enchantment phased out directly (rather than phasing out along with the permanent its attached to), then it "remembers" the permanent it was enchanting and returns to play attached to that permanent. If the permanent has left play or is no longer legal to enchant, the enchantment returns to play and then is placed in its owners graveyard afterwards. (This is a state-based effect. See rule 420.)

502.15k If two or more permanents phase in at the same time, the active player determines their relative timestamp order at the time they come into play. Local enchantments that phase in indirectly must always have later timestamps than the permanents they enchant, and if several enchantments phase in indirectly on the same permanent, their original relative timestamp order must be maintained. (See glossary, "Timestamp Order.") This doesnt change the fact that the permanents phase in simultaneously, however. For example, if two Legends with the same name phase in, they both go to their owners graveyards.

502.15m A permanent that phases in can attack and tap to play abilities as though it has haste. (This applies even if that permanent phased out and phased back in the turn it came into play.) The permanent remains able to attack and tap to play abilities until it changes controllers or leaves play.

502.15n A spell or ability that targets a permanent will resolve normally with respect to that permanent if the permanent phases out and back in before the spell or ability resolves.

502.15p Multiple instances of phasing on the same permanent are redundant.

502.16. Buyback

502.16a Buyback is a static ability of some instants and sorceries that functions while the card is on the stack (that is, while its a spell). The phrase "Buyback [cost]" means "You may pay an additional [cost] as you play this spell. If you do, put this card into your hand instead of into your graveyard as the spell resolves." Paying a spells buyback cost follows the rules for paying additional costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

502.17. Horsemanship

502.17a Horsemanship is an evasion ability that appeared in the Portal Three Kingdoms set.

502.17b A creature with horsemanship cant be blocked by creatures without horsemanship. A creature with horsemanship can block a creature with or without horsemanship.

502.17c Multiple instances of horsemanship on the same creature are redundant.

502.18. Cycling

502.18a Cycling is an activated ability that functions only while the card with cycling is in a players hand. The phrase "Cycling [cost]" means "[Cost], Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card. Play this ability only if this card is in your hand."

502.18b Although the cycling ability is playable only if the card is in a players hand, it continues to exist while the card is in play. Therefore cards with cycling will be affected by effects that depend on a card in a graveyard or a permanent having one or more activated abilities.

502.19. Echo

502.19a Echo is an upkeep-triggered ability. "Echo" in a permanents rules text means "At the beginning of your upkeep, if this permanent came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its mana cost."

502.20. Fading

502.20a Fading is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that puts counters onto a permanent as it comes into play. The second is a triggered ability that makes the permanents controller remove one of these counters at the beginning of each of his or her upkeeps. If the player cant remove a counter, he or she sacrifices the permanent. The phrase "Fading [X]" means "This permanent comes into play with X fade counters on it" and "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from this permanent. If you cant, sacrifice the permanent."

502.21. Kicker

502.21a Kicker is a static ability that functions while the card is on the stack (that is, while its a spell). The phrase "Kicker [cost]" means "You may pay an additional [cost] as you play this spell." The phrase "Kicker [cost 1] and/or [cost 2]" means the same thing as "Kicker [cost 1], kicker [cost 2]." Paying a spells kicker cost(s) follows the rules for paying additional costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

502.21b Cards with kicker have additional spell text or abilities that specify what happens if the kicker cost is paid. Cards with more than one kicker cost will have spell text and/or abilities that correspond to each kicker cost.

502.21c If spell text that depends on a kicker cost being paid targets one or more permanents and/or players, the spells controller chooses those targets only if he or she declared the intention to pay the appropriate kicker cost. Otherwise, the targets arent chosen at all.

502.21d A card with kicker may contain the phrases "if you paid the [A] kicker cost" and "if you paid the [B] kicker cost," where A and B are the first and second kicker costs listed on the card, respectively. This text just refers to one kicker cost or the other, regardless of what the spells controller actually spent when paying the cost. In other words, read "if you paid the [A] kicker cost" as "if you paid the first kicker cost listed," and read "if you paid the [B] kicker cost" as "if you paid the second kicker cost listed."

502.22. Flashback

502.22a Flashback is a static ability of some instant and sorcery cards that functions while the card is in a players graveyard. The phrase "Flashback [cost]" means "You may play this card from your graveyard by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. If you do, remove this card from the game instead of putting it anywhere else any time it would leave the stack." Playing a spell using its flashback ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

502.23. Threshold

502.23a Threshold is a static ability, written "Threshold - [text]." The text can be a static ability, activated ability, triggered ability, characteristic-setting text, spell text, or any combination of the five. The phrase "Threshold - [text]" means "As long as you have seven or more cards in your graveyard, this card has [text]."

502.23b Cards and permanents with threshold have the threshold text only if their controller has seven or more cards in his or her graveyard. Otherwise, the text after "Threshold -" is treated as though it did not appear on the card or permanent.

502.23c An instant or sorcery card with threshold has the threshold text only while the card is on the stack (that is, while its a spell). An artifact, creature, enchantment, or land card with threshold, or any permanent with threshold, has the threshold text only if the card or permanent is in play.

502.24. Madness

502.24a Madness is a keyword that represents two abilities. The first is a static ability that functions while the card with madness is in a players hand. The second is a triggered ability that functions when the first ability is applied. The phrase "Madness [cost]" means "If a player would discard this card from his or her hand, that player discards it, but may remove it from the game instead of putting it into his or her graveyard" and "When this card is removed from the game this way, until that player passes next, the player may play it any time he or she could play an instant as though it were in his or her hand by paying [cost] rather than paying its mana cost. When the player passes next, he or she puts it into his or her graveyard."

502.24b Playing a spell using its madness ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

503. Copying Spells and Abilities

503.1. A copy card is a card that creates or becomes a "copy" of another spell, permanent, or card. (Certain older cards were printed with the phrase "search for a copy." These arent copy cards; they have received new text in the Oracle card reference.)

503.2. When copying a permanent, the copy acquires the printed values of the name, mana cost, color, type and subtype, expansion symbol, rules text, power, and toughness of the permanent being copied. Also, if the copied permanent was printed as legendary or as an enchant world, this is copied as well. Effects (including type-changing effects) and counters are not copied. (The exception is that copy effects are themselves copied; see rule 503.3.)

Example: Chimeric Staff is an artifact that reads "X: Chimeric Staff becomes an X/X artifact creature until end of turn." Clone is a creature that reads "As Clone comes into play, you may choose a creature in play. If you do, Clone comes into play as a copy of that creature." After a Staff has become a 5/5 artifact creature, a Clone comes into play as a copy of it. The Clone is an artifact, not a 5/5 artifact creature. (The copy has the Staffs ability, however, and will become a creature if that ability is activated.)

503.3. The copied information becomes the printed values for the copy, replacing its originally printed values. Cards that copy the copy will use the new printed values.

Example: A Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play as a copy of Grizzly Bears (a 2/2 green creature with no abilities). Vesuvan Doppelganger reads, "As Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play, you may choose a creature in play. If you do, Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play as a copy of that creature except for its color and gains At the beginning of your upkeep, you may have this creature become a copy of another creature except for its color. If you do, this creature gains this ability." Then, a Clone comes into play as a copy of the Doppelganger. The Clone is a 2/2 blue Grizzly Bears that has the Doppelgangers upkeep ability.

503.4. Some effects cause a permanent to become a copy of another permanent or card while remaining in play. The change doesnt trigger comes-into-play or leaves-play abilities. This also doesnt change any noncopy effects presently affecting the copy.

Example: Unstable Shapeshifter reads, "Whenever a creature comes into play, Unstable Shapeshifter becomes a copy of that creature and gains this ability." A Shapeshifter is affected by Giant Growth, which reads "Target creature gets +3/+3 until end of turn." If a creature comes into play later this turn, the Shapeshifter will become a copy of that creature, but it will still get +3/+3 from the Giant Growth.

503.5. A copy card that comes into play "as a copy" of another permanent will come into play with any copied abilities of that permanent. If the copy gains any abilities that modify the comes-into-play event (such as "comes into play with" or "as [this] comes into play" abilities), those abilities will take effect. Also, any comes-into-play triggered abilities of the copy will have a chance to trigger.

Example: Skyshroud Behemoth reads, "Fading 2 (This creature comes into play with two fade counters on it. At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from it. If you cant, sacrifice it.) / Skyshroud Behemoth comes into play tapped." A Clone that comes into play as a copy of a Skyshroud Behemoth will also come into play tapped with two fade counters on it.

Example: Striped Bears reads, "When Striped Bears comes into play, draw a card." A Clone comes into play as a copy of Striped Bears. The Clone has the Bears comes-into-play triggered ability, so the Clones controller draws a card.

503.6. When copying a permanent, the "choices" of the permanent arent copied. Instead, if a card comes into play as a copy of another permanent, the copys controller will get to make any "as comes into play" choices for it.

Example: A Clone comes into play as a copy of Chameleon Spirit. Chameleon Spirit reads, in part, "As Chameleon Spirit comes into play, choose a color." The Clone wont copy the color choice of the Spirit; rather, the controller of the Clone will get to make a new choice.

503.7. Because the "choices" of a permanent arent copied, sometimes a copy card will gain an ability that refers to a choice that was never made. In that case, the choice is considered to be "zero" or "undefined."

Example: Voice of All comes into play and Unstable Shapeshifter copies it. Voice of All reads, in part, "As Voice of All comes into play, choose a color. / Voice of All has protection from the chosen color." Unstable Shapeshifter never got a chance to choose a color, because it didnt come into play as a Voice of All card, so the Shapeshifters protection ability doesnt protect it from anything at all.

503.8. If an ability of a copy card causes a player to make a choice as the copy comes into play, the copy will "remember" that choice and continue to use it for its abilities if appropriate. If the choice is not appropriate, it is considered to be "zero" or "undefined."

Example: A Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play as a copy of Chameleon Spirit, and the Doppelgangers controller chooses blue. Later, the Doppelganger copies Quirion Elves. The Elves has the ability, "T: Add one mana of the chosen color to your mana pool." If the mana ability of the Doppelganger is played, it will produce blue mana.

Example: A Vesuvan Doppelganger comes into play as a copy of Caller of the Hunt. Caller of the Hunt reads, in part, "As Caller of the Hunt comes into play, choose a creature type." The Doppelgangers controller chooses Goblin. Later, the Doppelganger copies Quirion Elves. If the mana ability of the Doppelganger is played, it will fail to produce any mana. It wont produce Goblin mana.

503.9. Some copy cards give an ability to the copy as part of the copying process. This ability becomes part of the printed values for the copy, along with any other abilities that were copied. Also, some copy cards specifically state that they dont copy certain values; they retain their original values instead.

Example: Quirion Elves comes into play and an Unstable Shapeshifter copies it. The printed values of the Shapeshifter now match those of the Elves, except that the Shapeshifter also has the printed ability "Whenever a creature comes into play, Unstable Shapeshifter becomes a copy of that creature and gains this ability." Then, a Clone comes into play as a copy of the Unstable Shapeshifter. The Clone copies the new printed values of the Shapeshifter, including the ability that the Shapeshifter gave itself when it copied the Elves.

503.10. When copying a spell, all information that is normally copied from a permanent is copied. In addition, all decisions made when the spell was played are copied. These include mode, targets, the value of X, and optional additional costs such as buyback. (See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities.") Choices that are normally made on resolution are not copied.

Example: A player plays Fork, targeting an Emerald Charm. Fork reads, "Put a copy of target instant or sorcery spell onto the stack, except that it copies Forks color and you may choose new targets for the copy." Emerald Charm reads, "Choose one - Untap target permanent; or destroy target global enchantment; or target creature loses flying until end of turn." When the Fork resolves, it puts a copy of the Emerald Charm on the stack. The copy has the same mode that was chosen for the original Emerald Charm. It does not necessarily have the same target, but only because Fork allows choosing of new targets.

503.11. If an effect refers to a permanent by name, the effect still tracks that permanent even if it changes names or becomes a copy of something else.

Example: An Unstable Shapeshifter copies a Crazed Armodon. Crazed Armodon reads, "G: Crazed Armodon gets +3/+0 and gains trample until end of turn. Destroy Crazed Armodon at end of turn. Play this ability only once each turn." If this activated ability of the Shapeshifter is played, the Shapeshifter will be destroyed at end of turn, even if its no longer a copy of Crazed Armodon at that time.

504. Face-Down Creatures

504.1. Two old cards (Camouflage and Illusionary Mask) allow creatures (in play) to be face down.

504.2. Creatures that are in play face down or that come into play face down are 0/1 colorless creatures with no name, creature type, expansion symbol, or abilities, and a mana cost of 0. Creatures that come into play face down are turned face down before they come into play, so the creatures comes-into-play abilities wont trigger (if triggered) or have any effect (if static).

504.3. The controller of a face-down creature may turn it face up whenever he or she has priority. This action doesnt use the stack. (Other effects may also cause a player to turn the creature face-up.)

504.4. When a face-down creature is turned face up, its characteristics revert to the normal characteristics of the card. Any abilities relating to the creature coming into play dont trigger and dont have any effect, because the creature has already come into play.

505. Split Cards

505.1. Split cards have two card faces on a single card. The back of a split card is the normal Magic: The Gathering card back.

505.2. In every zone except the stack, split cards have two sets of characteristics. As long as a split card is on the stack, only the characteristics of the half being played exist. The other halfs characteristics are treated as though they didnt exist.

505.3. Because every split card consists of two halves with different colored mana symbols in their mana costs, each split card is a multicolored card except while its on the stack. While its on the stack, its only the color of the half being played.

505.4. Although split cards have two playable halves, each split card is only one card. For example, a player who has drawn or discarded a split card has drawn or discarded one card, not two.

505.5. Effects that ask for a particular characteristic of a split card while its in a zone other than the stack get an answer that consists of a combination of the split cards two halves.

Example: Infernal Genesis has an ability that reads "At the beginning of each players upkeep, that player puts the top card of his or her library into his or her graveyard. He or she then puts X 1/1 black Minion creature tokens into play, where X is that cards converted mana cost." If the top card of your library is Assault/Battery when this ability resolves, you get five 1/1 creature tokens because Assaults converted mana cost is 1 and Batterys is 4, for a total of 5.

505.6. Effects that ask if a split cards characteristic matches a given value get only one answer. This answer is "yes" if either side of the split card matches the given value.

Example: Void reads, "Choose a number. Destroy all artifacts and creatures with converted mana cost equal to that number. Then target player reveals his or her hand and discards from it all nonland cards with converted mana cost equal to the number." If a player plays Void and chooses 1 or 4, his or her opponent would discard Assault/Battery. If the player chooses 5, Assault/Battery would be unaffected, because neither half has a converted mana cost of 5.

505.7. If an effect instructs a player to name a card and the player wants to name a split card, the player must name both halves of the split card.

Glossary

Ability

"Ability" and "effect" are often confused with one another. An instruction in a cards or permanents text is an ability. The result of following such an instruction, or of following a spells instruction, is an effect.

A card or permanent may have one or more abilities or no abilities at all. For more information, see section 4, "Spells, Abilities, and Effects."

When an effect states that a card or permanent "gains" or "has" an ability, its granting that card or permanent an ability. If an effect defines a characteristic of a card or permanent ("[card or permanent] is [characteristic]"), its not granting an ability. For example, an enchant creature might read, "Enchanted creature is red." The enchantment isnt granting an ability of any kind; its simply changing the enchanted creatures color to red.

Activated Ability

An activated ability is written as "activation cost: effect." By paying the activation cost, a player may play such an ability whenever he or she has priority. See rule 403, "Activated Abilities."

Activation Cost

The activation cost of an activated ability is everything before the colon in "activation cost: effect." It must be paid to play the ability. For example, the activation cost of an ability that reads "2, T: Gain 1 life" is two mana of any color plus tapping the permanent. See rule 403, "Activated Abilities."

Active Player

The active player is the player whose turn it is. The active player gets priority at the start of each phase or step (except for the untap and cleanup steps), after any spell or ability (except a mana ability) resolves, and after combat damage resolves.

Whenever both players are instructed to make choices at the same time, the active player makes all his or her choices first, then the nonactive player.

Additional Cost

Some spells have additional costs listed in their text. These are paid at the same time the player pays the spells mana cost. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

Alternative Cost

The rules text of some spells reads, "You may [action] rather than pay [this cards] mana cost." These are alternative costs. Other spells and abilities that refer to a spells mana cost dont consider the alternative cost. If an effect requires paying additional costs to play a spell, it still applies to the alternative cost.

Ante (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the Magic rules included an ante rule as a way of playing "for keeps." Playing Magic for ante is now considered an optional variation on the game, and it is allowed only where its not forbidden by law or by other rules. Playing for ante is strictly forbidden under DCI tournament rules. When using the ante rule, each player puts one random card from his or her deck into his or her ante zone at the beginning of the game. At the end of the game, the winner becomes the owner of the cards in each players ante zone. See rule 217.9, "Ante."

Artifact

Artifact is both a card type and a permanent type. The active player can play artifact spells only during his or her main phase when the stack is empty.

Artifact Creature

This permanent is a combination of artifact and creature, and its subject to the rules for both. (See rule 214, "Permanent Type.") Some artifact creatures dont have a creature type. Those that do will say "Artifact Creature - [creature type]"; for example, "Artifact Creature - Golem." "Artifact" isnt a creature type.

"As though"

Text that states a player or card may do something "as though" some condition were true applies only to the stated action. For purposes of that action, treat the game exactly as if the stated condition is true. For all other purposes, treat the game normally.

Example: "Giant Spider may block as though it had flying." You may treat the Spider as a creature with flying, but only for the purpose of declaring blockers. This allows Giant Spider to block a creature with flying (and creatures that "cant be blocked except by creatures with flying"), assuming no other blocking restrictions apply. For example, Giant Spider cant normally block a creature with both flying and shadow.

Example: "You may play that card as though it were in your hand." The card may be played by the usual rules. If its a spell, its placed on the stack as the first step of playing it (see rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities"); if its a land, its put directly into play. Because the card isnt actually in your hand, it cant be discarded, removed from the game to pay a cost, cycled, or counted toward the number of cards in your hand.

Example: "Walls may attack as though they werent Walls." As long as this effect is active, Walls are treated exactly like creatures that dont have the Wall creature type. Theyre still subject to all other rules and effects that determine whether an attack is legal.

Attack

A creature attacks when it is declared as an attacker during the combat phase. (See rule 308, "Declare Attackers Step.") Playing a spell or ability (even during the combat phase) is never considered to be an attack.

Attack Alone

A creature is attacking alone when its the sole creature declared as an attacker in a given combat phase.

Attacked

Some triggered abilities trigger when a player is "attacked." At least one creature must actually be attacking that player for such abilities to trigger. Also, "attacked" means "attacked by one or more creatures," so such abilities can trigger only once each combat phase.

Attacking Creature

A creature becomes an attacking creature when (a) its declared as part of a legal attack during the combat phase and (b) all attack costs have been paid. It remains an attacking creature until its removed from combat, it stops being a creature, its controller changes, or the combat phase ends. Attacking creatures dont exist outside of the combat phase. See rule 308, "Declare Attackers Step."

Attacks and Isnt Blocked

An ability that triggers when a creature "attacks and isnt blocked" triggers when the creature becomes an unblocked attacking creature. See rule 309.3.

Banding, Bands with Other

Banding is a static ability that affects the combat phase. "Bands with other" is a specialized version of the ability. See rule 502.10, "Banding," and rule 502.11, "Bands with Other."

Basic Land

There are five basic land types: plains, island, swamp, mountain, and forest. Any land whose name is one of these five types is a basic land. Every basic land has an intrinsic mana ability. (See rule 214.9, "Lands.") Snow-covered lands are still basic lands. For example, Snow-Covered Plains is considered a plains.

Becomes

Some trigger events use the word "becomes." (For example, "becomes tapped" or "becomes blocked.") These trigger only at the time the named event happens-they dont trigger if that state already exists or retrigger if it persists. For example, "becomes tapped" triggers only once, and only when a permanents status changes from untapped to tapped.

Beginning Phase

The beginning phase is the first phase of the turn. It has three steps: untap, upkeep, and draw. See rule 301, "Beginning Phase."

Block

A creature blocks when its declared as a blocker during the combat phase. See rule 309, "Declare Blockers Step."

Block Alone

A creature is blocking alone when its the sole creature declared as a blocker in a given combat phase.

Blocked Creature

An attacking creature becomes a blocked creature when another creature blocks it or an effect causes it to become blocked during the combat phase. It remains a blocked creature until its removed from combat, it stops being a creature, its controller changes, or the combat phase ends. A blocked creature doesnt become unblocked if the blocking creature is later removed from combat. Blocked creatures dont exist outside of the combat phase. See rule 309, "Declare Blockers Step."

Blocking Creature

A creature becomes a blocking creature when (a) its declared as part of a legal block during the combat phase and (b) all block costs have been paid. It remains a blocking creature until its removed from combat, it stops being a creature, its controller changes, or the combat phase ends. Blocking creatures dont exist outside of the combat phase. See rule 309, "Declare Blockers Step."

Bury (Obsolete)

Some older cards were printed with the term "bury," which meant to put a permanent into its owners graveyard. In general, cards that were printed with the term "bury" now read "destroy [a permanent]. It cant be regenerated."

Buyback

Buyback is a replacement effect modifying rule 413.2h. When playing an instant or sorcery spell with buyback, the controller of the spell may pay an additional cost specified on the card. If he or she does, when the spell resolves, the card is put into his or her hand instead of into his or her graveyard. If the card goes to some zone other than its owners graveyard as it resolves, buybacks effect "loses track" of it, and the card isnt returned to its owners hand.

Cantrip (Informal)

This is a nickname for any spell that has "Draw a card" as part of its effect.

Card

This is specifically a Magic card, and is always considered a card regardless of which zone its in. Tokens arent cards. See section 2, "Cards."

Cast (Obsolete)

Some older cards were used the term "cast" to describe the playing of a spell. In general, cards that were printed with the term "cast" now use the term "play."

Caster (Obsolete)

Some older cards used the term "caster" to describe the player who played a spell. In general, cards that were printed with the term "caster" now refer to the spells "controller."

Casting Cost (Obsolete)

Some older cards used the term "casting cost" to describe the mana cost of a spell. In general, cards that were printed with the term "casting cost" now use the term "mana cost." Cards that used the term "total casting cost" now use the term "converted mana cost."

Characteristics

A card, spell, or permanents characteristics are name, mana cost, color, type and subtype, expansion symbol, rules text, power, and toughness. A card, spell, or permanents characteristics at any given time start with the initial values, then are adjusted by any counters (on a permanent), then by continuous effects. Characteristics dont include any other information, such as whether a permanent is tapped, a spell or permanents controller, a spells target, what a local enchantment enchants, and so on.

Cleanup

Cleanup is the second and final step of the end phase. Spells and abilities may be played during this step only if the conditions for any state-based effects exist or if any abilities have triggered. In that case, the step repeats. See rule 314, "Cleanup Step."

Color

The only colors in Magic are white, blue, black, red, and green. A permanent can be one or more of those colors or it can be colorless. "Colorless" isnt a color; neither are "artifact," "land," "brown," etc.

A cards initial color is determined by the color(s) of the mana symbols in its mana cost.

Spells and abilities may change a permanents color temporarily or permanently. If an effect gives a permanent a new color, the new color replaces all previous colors the permanent had.

Colorless

A card with no color is colorless. Lands are colorless because they have no mana cost. Artifacts are colorless because they have no colored mana in their mana costs. A land or artifact can be given a color by an effect.

Colorless mana

The numeral mana symbols, X, and Y can represent colorless mana as well as a generic mana cost.

Combat Damage

Combat damage is dealt during the combat damage step of the combat phase by attacking creatures and blocking creatures. It doesnt include damage dealt by spells and abilities during the combat phase. See rule 310, "Combat Damage Step."

Combat Phase

Combat is the third phase of the turn. The combat phase has five steps: beginning of combat, declare attackers, declare blockers, combat damage, and end of combat. See rules 306-311.

Comes into Play

A permanent comes into play when the card or token representing it is moved into the in-play zone. A permanent whose type or controller changes doesnt "come into play."

Permanents come into play untapped and under the control of whoever put them into play.

Instructions that alter permanents coming into play do so as they come into play. For example, if an instruction causes something to come into play tapped, it isnt put into play untapped and then tapped. The controller-to-be of that permanent makes any choices required by the instruction.

When a permanent comes into play, first apply any "as [this card] comes into play" text, then apply any "[this card] comes into play with" text, then apply continuous effects, then check to determine if the current form of the permanent generates any triggered abilities.

Continuous Ability (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, static abilities were known as "continuous abilities."

Continuous Effect

Continuous effects are usually active as long as the permanent with the associated static ability remains in play. A spell or ability can also create a continuous effect that doesnt depend on a permanent; these last for the specified time. See rule 418, "Continuous Effects."

Continuous Artifact (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for a "continuous artifact" card type. All continuous artifact cards are now simply artifact cards. Artifacts printed with the continuous artifact card type generally have no activated abilities.

Control, Controller

Every permanent, spell, and ability has a controller.

When a permanent comes into play, its controller is whoever put it into play unless the spell or ability that generated the permanent states otherwise. Other effects can later change a permanents controller.

Cards in zones other than in play or the stack have no controller. A spell or activated ability on the stack is controlled by whoever played it. A triggered ability is controlled by the player who controlled its source at the time it triggered.

Converted Mana Cost

The converted mana cost of a card is the total amount of mana in its mana cost, regardless of color. For example, Air Elemental has a mana cost of 3UU and a converted mana cost of 5. See rule 203, "Mana Cost."

Copy Card

A "copy card" is a card that creates or becomes a "copy" of another spell, permanent, or card. See rule 503, "Copying Spells and Abilities."

Cost

Playing spells and activated abilities requires paying a cost. Most costs are paid in mana, but they may also include paying life, tapping or sacrificing permanents, discarding cards, and so on.

Its illegal to pay a cost without having the necessary resources to pay it fully. For example, a player with only 1 life cant pay a cost of 2 life, and a permanent thats already tapped cant be tapped to pay a cost. See rule 203, "Mana Cost," and rule 403, "Activated Abilities."

Counter

Counter has two meanings in the Magic game.

1. To counter a spell or ability is to cancel it, removing it from the stack zone. It doesnt resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owners graveyard.

2. A counter is a marker placed on a permanent, either modifying its characteristics or interacting with an ability. A +X/+Y counter on a permanent, where X and Y are numbers, adds X to that permanents power and Y to that permanents toughness. These bonuses are added after permanent-type changing effects and before other power and toughness changing effects. Counters with the same name or description are interchangeable. Counters may also be given to players. For information about poison counters, see rule 102.8.

Counts As (Obsolete)

Some older cards were printed with text stating that the card "counts as" something. As far as the game rules and other cards are concerned the card is that thing. (Newer Magic cards use "is" instead.) This isnt an ability; it applies even when the cards not in play. For example, a card that "counts as a forest" can be retrieved with a spell that searches the library for a forest card, and once in play it may be tapped for green mana and allows forestwalk.

Creature

Creature is both a card type and permanent type. The active player can play creature spells only during his or her main phase when the stack is empty. See rule 214.7, "Creatures."

Cumulative Upkeep

Cumulative upkeep is an upkeep-triggered ability. "Cumulative upkeep [cost]" means "At the beginning of your upkeep, put an age counter on this permanent. You may pay [cost] for each age counter on the permanent. If you dont, sacrifice it." Note that if a permanent has more than one instance of cumulative upkeep, each creates a separate triggered ability at the beginning of upkeep that counts all the age counters on the permanent from both abilities. See rule 502.13, "Cumulative Upkeep."

Cycling

Cycling is an activated ability. "Cycling [cost]" means "[Cost], Discard this card from your hand: Draw a card. Play this ability only if this card is in your hand." See rule 502.18, "Cycling."

Damage

Many spells and abilities deal damage to creatures and/or players. Creatures may also deal combat damage during the combat phase.

Damage dealt to a player is subtracted from his or her life total.

Damage dealt to a creature stays on the permanent, even if it stops being a creature. A creature with damage greater than or equal to its toughness (and greater than 0) has been dealt lethal damage and is destroyed. (See rule 420, "State-Based Effects.") Damage doesnt alter a creatures toughness. A noncreature permanent isnt affected by damage (but if it becomes a creature again before the damage is removed, the creature may be destroyed). During the cleanup step, all damage is removed from permanents.

Costs and effects that read "lose life" or "pay life" dont deal damage, and that loss of life cant be prevented or otherwise altered by damage-prevention effects.

Damage-Prevention Ability

A damage-prevention ability is a static or activated ability that generates a damage-prevention effect. See rule 419.7, "Prevention Effects."

Deck

A players deck is the collection of cards that player starts the game with. When the game begins, each players deck becomes his or her library.

Defending Player

During the combat phase, the active players opponent is the defending player. (In a multiplayer game, there may be one defending player at a time or there may be more than one, depending on which variant is being played.) Creatures can attack only the defending player; they cant attack other players or creatures. During phases other than combat, there is no defending player.

Delayed Triggered Ability

A delayed triggered ability is created by effects generated when some spells or abilities resolve. See rule 406.2, "Delayed Triggered Abilities."

Destroy

To destroy a permanent is to move it from the in-play zone to its owners graveyard. Regeneration or other destruction-replacement effects can replace this action. See rule 419, "Replacement and Prevention Effects."

Discard

A player discards a card by putting a card from his or her hand into his or her graveyard. By default, spells and abilities that cause a player to discard a card allow the affected player to choose which card to discard. Some spells and abilities, however, require a random discard or allow another player to choose which card is discarded.

Draw

Draw has two meanings in the Magic game.

1. A player draws a card by putting the top card of his or her library into his or her hand. A spell or ability may move cards from a players library to that players hand without the player "drawing" them; this makes a difference for abilities that trigger on drawing cards or that replace card draws.

2. A game ends in a draw if both players lose or win simultaneously.

Draw Step

The draw step is the third step of the beginning phase, with a triggered ability that requires the active player to draw a card at the beginning of the step. A player may play spells and abilities during this step whenever he or she has priority. See rule 304, "Draw Step."

Dual Land (Informal)

Ten "dual land" cards were printed in early Magic editions; each of these has two basic land types in addition to its inherent land type. For example, Taiga has the land types Taiga, forest, and mountain. Dual land cards have the default abilities of both basic land types and are treated as both by all spells and abilities that specifically refer to those types. However, they are not basic lands. A dual land card doesnt count as two lands while in play-its just one land with multiple land types. Changing one of the land type words on a dual land also changes which mana ability it has. Thus, if you play a spell or ability that edits Taiga to read, "Taiga is a plains and a forest in addition to its land type," it could then be tapped for white or green mana.

Duel (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, a game of Magic was known as a "duel." See also Match.

During (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for "phase abilities," which were written "During [phase], [action]" In general, cards that were printed with phase abilities now 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

Echo is an upkeep-triggered ability. "Echo" in a permanents rules text means "At the beginning of your upkeep, if this permanent came under your control since the beginning of your last upkeep, sacrifice it unless you pay its mana cost." See rule 502.19, "Echo."

Effect

"Ability" and "effect" are often confused with one another. An instruction in a permanents text is an ability. The result of carrying out such an instruction, or that of a spell, is an effect. See rule 416, "Effects."

When a spell or ability resolves, it creates an effect. There are three basic types: one-shot effects, continuous effects, and replacement or prevention effects.

Some effects may in turn create delayed triggered abilities that trigger later.

Enchant World

A card printed with the type "Enchant World" is a global enchantment. If two or more enchant worlds are in play, all except for the one that has been an enchant world for the shortest amount of time are put into their owners graveyards. This is a state-based effect; see rule 420.

Enchantment

Enchantment is both a card type and a permanent type. The active player can play enchantment spells only during his or her main phase when the stack is empty. See rule 214.8, "Enchantments." See also Global Enchantment, Local Enchantment.

End of Turn

This is the first step of the end phase. See rule 313, "End of Turn Step."

End Phase

The end phase is the fifth and final phase of the turn. It has two steps: end of turn and cleanup. See rule 312, "End Phase."

Evasion Ability

Evasion abilities restrict what creatures can block an attacking creature. These are static abilities that modify the declare blockers step of the combat phase. See rule 501, "Evasion Abilities."

Event

Anything that happens in a game is an event. Multiple events may take place during the resolution of a spell or ability. The text of triggered abilities and replacement effects defines the event theyre looking for; one "happening" may be treated as a single event by one ability and as multiple events by another. For example, if an attacking creature is blocked by two defending creatures, this is one event for a triggered ability that reads "Whenever [name] becomes blocked" but two events for a triggered ability that reads "Whenever [name] becomes blocked by a creature."

Exchange

A spell or ability may instruct two players to exchange something (for example, life totals or control of two permanents) as part of its resolution. When such a spell or ability resolves, if it cant exchange the chosen things, it has no effect on them. For example, if a spell attempts to exchange control of two target creatures but one of those creatures is destroyed before the spell resolves, the spell does nothing to the other creature. Or if a spell attempts to exchange control of two target creatures but both of those creatures are controlled by the same player, the spell does nothing to the two creatures.

When control of two permanents is exchanged, each player simultaneously gains control of the permanent that was controlled by the other player.

When life totals are exchanged, each player gains or loses the amount of life necessary to equal the other players previous life total. Replacement effects may modify these gains and losses, and triggered abilities may trigger on them.

Some spells or abilities may instruct a player to exchange cards in two different zones (for example, cards removed from the game and cards in a players hand). These spells and abilities work the same as other "exchange" spells and abilities, except they can exchange the cards only if all the cards are owned by the same player.

Expansion Symbol

The small icon printed below the right edge of the illustration on a Magic card is the expansion symbol, indicating in which set the card was published. Cards reprinted in the basic set receive its expansion symbol and no longer count as part of their original set. This is important only to spells and abilities that affect cards from a particular expansion. The first five editions of the basic set had no expansion symbol.

The expansion symbols to date are:

Expansions and Editions

Arabian Nights® [symbol]

Antiquities® [symbol]

Legends® [symbol]

The Dark® [symbol]

Fallen Empires [symbol]

Ice Age [symbol]

Homelands [symbol]

Alliances [symbol]

Mirage [symbol]

Visions [symbol]

Weatherlight [symbol]

Tempest [symbol]

Stronghold [symbol]

Exodus [symbol]

Urzas Saga [symbol]

Urzas Legacy [symbol]

Urzas Destiny [symbol]

Classic (Sixth Edition) [symbol]

Mercadian Masques [symbol]

Nemesis [symbol]

Prophecy [symbol]

Invasion [symbol]

Planeshift [symbol]

Apocalypse [symbol]

Seventh Edition [symbol]

Odyssey [symbol]

Torment [symbol]

Starter-Level Sets

Portal [symbol]

Portal Second Age [symbol]

Portal Three Kingdoms [symbol]

Starter [symbol]

Promotional Cards

DragonCon [symbol]

Magic novels [symbol]

Arena league cards [symbol]

Social-Play Sets

Unglued [symbol]

Fading

Fading is a keyword ability that causes permanents to stay in play for a limited time. Cards with fading come into play with a specified number of fade counters on them, as if the card read, "[This card] comes into play with [a number of] fade counters on it." They also have a triggered ability that reads "At the beginning of your upkeep, remove a fade counter from [this card]. If you cant, sacrifice [this card]." See rule 502.20, "Fading."

Fast Effect (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, instants and activated abilities were also known as "fast effects."

First Strike

First strike is a static ability that modifies the rules for the combat phase. Creatures with first strike assign and deal their damage first, then surviving creatures without first strike assign and deal their damage in a separate step. See rule 502.2, "First Strike."

Fizzle (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, the term "fizzle" was used when a spell or ability was countered as a result of all its targets being missing or illegal when it resolved.

Flanking

Flanking is a triggered ability that triggers during the declare blockers step of the combat phase. The word "flanking" in a creature cards rules text means "Whenever this creature becomes blocked by a creature without flanking, the blocking creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn." See rule 502.3, "Flanking."

Flashback

Flashback is a static ability of some instant and sorcery cards that functions while the card is in its owners graveyard. The cards owner can play the spell from his or her graveyard by paying its flashback cost. If a spell is played this way, its removed from the game instead of being put anywhere else any time it would leave the stack. Playing a spell using its flashback ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 409.1b and 409.1f.

Flavor Text

This is text in italics appearing below the rules text on a card. It provides a mood or gives interesting background detail for the game world but has no effect on play.

Flying

Flying is an evasion ability. A creature with flying cant be blocked by creatures without flying. A creature with flying can block a creature with or without flying. See rule 502.4, "Flying."

Forestwalk

See Landwalk.

Generic Mana Cost

A generic mana cost is represented by a number in a gray circle. Any color of mana, as well as colorless mana, may be used to pay a generic mana cost.

Global Enchantment

Global enchantments are a category of enchantments. A global enchantment is labeled "Enchantment" and isnt attached to another permanent while its in play.

Graveyard

Each players discard pile is his or her graveyard. Countered spells, destroyed or sacrificed permanents, and discarded cards are put into their owners graveyard. See rule 217, "Zones."

Hand

The hand is the zone where a player holds cards that havent been played yet. See rule 217, "Zones."

Haste

Normally a creature cant attack or use activated abilities whose cost includes tapping the creature (that is, the tap symbol) unless its been controlled by the player continuously since the beginning of that controllers most recent turn. Haste is a static ability that allows a creature to ignore this rule. See rule 502.5, "Haste."

Hidden Information (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, choices involved in playing spells and abilities were made during announcement, except sacrifices and certain categories of choices involving "hidden information" defined by complex rules. Under current Magic rules, a clearly defined set of choices is made during the announcement of a spell or ability, and all other choices are made when the spell or ability resolves. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

Horsemanship

Horsemanship is an evasion ability. A creature with horsemanship cant be blocked by creatures without horsemanship. A creature with horsemanship can block a creature with or without horsemanship. See rule 502.17, "Horsemanship."

If

A triggered ability may read "When/Whenever/At [trigger], if [condition], [effect]." The ability checks for the stated condition to be true when the trigger event occurs. If it is, the ability triggers and goes on the stack. On resolution, the ability rechecks the condition. If the condition isnt true at either of those times, the ability does nothing. This rule is referred to as the "intervening if clause" rule. Note that the word "if" has only its normal English meaning anywhere else in the text of a card; this rule only applies to an "if" that immediately follows the trigger condition.

In Play

In play is the zone in which permanents exist. When an artifact, creature, or enchantment spell resolves, the card is put into the in-play zone as a permanent. Tokens and lands also exist in this zone. See rule 217, "Zones."

Infinity Rule

Theres no such thing as "infinity" in Magic rules. Occasionally the game can get into a state where a set of actions could be repeated forever. The "infinity rule" governs how to break such loops. See rule 421, "Handling Infinite Loops."

Initial Value

The initial values of a permanents characteristics are printed on the card or in the rules text of the spell or ability that created the token.

Effects that change a permanents type change the initial values for one or more of its characteristics, not the current values. They dont override continuous effects that are changing those characteristics. See rule 214.5.

Instant

Instant is a card type. A player may play instant spells whenever he or she has priority. An instant spell is put into its owners graveyard as the last step of its resolution. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

Interrupt (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for the "interrupt" spell type. All interrupt cards are now instant cards. All abilities that were played as interrupts are now played like normal activated abilities (and mana abilities if they produce mana).

Islandwalk

See Landwalk.

Kicker

Kicker is a keyword ability with a cost and an effect. Paying a spells kicker cost causes the spell to have an additional or alternative effect. See rule 502.21, "Kicker."

A kicker cost is an additional cost to play a spell. You declare whether you intend to pay a spells kicker cost at the same time you would choose the spells mode (see rule 409.1b), and you actually pay the cost when you pay the rest of the spells costs (see rule 409.1f). Paying a kicker cost is always optional.

A spells controller chooses targets (see rule 409.1c) for a kicker effect only if he or she declared the intention to pay the kicker cost for that effect. If the spells controller declared that he or she wouldnt pay a particular kicker cost, he or she doesnt choose the targets for the effect associated with that kicker cost.

Lair

Lair is a land type. Having the type Lair does not make a land a basic land.

Land

Land is both a card type and a permanent type. Lands arent spells and dont go on the stack; they are simply put in play from the hand. The active player may play a land once each turn during his or her main phase when he or she has priority and the stack is empty. See rule 214.9, "Lands."

Land Type

A lands type is its card name. For example, a Forest is type "forest" and an Adarkar Wastes is type "Adarkar Wastes." Note that "basic" and "nonbasic" arent land types.

Landhome (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for a class of abilities called "landhome." The term itself is generic; a cards rules text usually named a specific type of land, such as "islandhome." This means, "This creature cant attack unless defending player controls an island" and "When you control no islands, sacrifice this creature." Cards that previously had landhome now simply have the two parts of landhome written out without using the keyword.

Landwalk

"Landwalk" is a generic term; a cards rules text usually names a specific type of land, such as "islandwalk."

Landwalk is an evasion ability. A creature with landwalk is unblockable as long as the defending player controls at least one land of the specified type. See rule 502.6, "Landwalk."

Leaves Play

A permanent leaves play when it moves from the in-play zone to any other zone. See rule 410.10c.

If a token leaves play, it ceases to exist. This is a state-based effect.

If a card leaves play and later returns, its treated as an entirely new permanent with no "memory" of anything from its former existence. (Phasing is an exception to this; see rule 502.15, "Phasing.")

Legend, Legendary

Legend is a special creature type. Legendary is a supertype that may apply to any type ("Legendary Land," "Legendary Artifact," etc.).

If two or more Legends or legendary permanents with the same name are in play, all except the one that has been a Legend or legendary permanent with that name the longest are put into their owners graveyards. This "Legend rule" is a state-based effect.

A Legend that stops being a creature is still legendary, and a legendary permanent that becomes a creature gets the creature type Legend in addition to any other creature type it may have.

A Legend that changes creature type to a creature type other than Legend is no longer a Legend and is no longer subject to the Legend rule. A creature that changes creature type to Legend is now a Legend, and is subject to the Legend rule.

Lethal Damage

Lethal damage is an amount of damage greater than 0 and greater than or equal to a creatures toughness. A creature with lethal damage is destroyed. This is a state-based effect.

Library

The library is the zone from which a player draws cards. When a game begins, each players deck becomes his or her library. See rule 217.2, "Library."

Life, Life Total

Life total is a sort of score. Each player starts the game with 20 life, and a player whose life total drops to 0 or less loses. This is a state-based effect.

LIFO

An acronym for "Last In, First Out," LIFO is the order in which spells and abilities resolve after going on the stack. The last played is resolved first. See rule 413, "Resolving Spells and Abilities."

Local Enchantment

Local enchantments are a category of enchantments. A local enchantment is labeled "Enchant [type]" and is attached to another permanent while in play. See rule 214.8, "Enchantments."

Main Phase

The term "main phase" comprises the first main and second main phases, also called the "precombat" and "postcombat" main phases. Artifact, creature, enchantment, and sorcery spells may be played only by the active player during his or her main phase, and only when the stack is empty. A player may also play one land each turn during his or her main phase.

Mana

Mana is the energy used to play spells and its usually produced by lands. Mana is created by mana abilities (and sometimes by spells), and it can be used to pay costs immediately or can go into the players mana pool.

Colored mana costs, represented by colored mana symbols, can be paid only with the appropriate color of mana. Generic mana costs can be paid with any color of, or with colorless, mana.

Specialized types of mana can exist. For example, an ability might produce mana that can be used only to play creature spells, or to pay activation costs.

Mana Ability

This is an ability category. A mana ability is either activated or triggered. A mana ability doesnt go on the stack-it resolves immediately.

A player may play a mana ability whenever he or she has priority and whenever a rule or effect asks for a mana payment. This is the only type of ability that can be played in the middle of playing or resolving a spell or ability. See rule 406.1, "Mana Abilities."

Mana Burn

When a phase ends, any unused mana remaining in a players mana pool is lost. The player loses 1 life for each mana lost this way. This is called "mana burn."

Mana Cost

The mana cost of a nonland card is indicated by the mana symbols printed on its upper-right corner. The mana cost of a land card or a token is 0. See rule 203, "Mana Cost."

Mana Pool

When a spell or ability creates mana thats not used immediately to pay a cost, the mana is stored in the mana pool, an imaginary area. From there, it can be used to pay for spells and abilities. The mana pool is cleared at the end of each phase. See also Mana Burn.

Mana Source (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for the "mana source" spell type. All mana source cards are now instant cards. Abilities that read, "Play this ability as a mana source" are now mana abilities.

Mana Symbol

The mana symbols are W, U, B, R, G, 0, numerals, X, and Y.

Each of the colored mana symbols represents one colored mana: W white, U blue, B black, R red, and G green.

Numeral symbols (such as 1) are generic mana costs and represent an amount of mana that can be paid with any color of, or colorless, mana.

The symbols X and Y represent unspecified amounts of mana; when playing a spell or activated ability with X or Y in its cost, its controller decides the value of that variable.

Numeral symbols, X, and Y can also represent colorless mana if they appear in the effect of a spell or of a mana ability that reads "add [mana symbol] to your mana pool" or something similar.

The symbol 0 represents zero mana and is used as a placeholder when a spell or activated ability costs nothing to play. A spell or ability whose cost is 0 must still be played the same way as one with a cost greater than zero; it wont play itself automatically.

Match

A match is a series of Magic games and is important only for tournament or league play. A match usually consists of the best two of three games, or sometimes the best three of five. For more information, consult the Magic DCI Floor Rules.

Maximum Hand Size

Each players maximum hand size is normally seven cards, though effects may modify this. As the first part of the active players cleanup step, if he or she has too many cards in his or her hand, that player chooses and discards as many cards as needed to reduce his or her hand to its maximum size (but no more than that). See rule 314, "Cleanup Step."

Modal, Mode

A spell is modal if it offers a choice of effects. Its controller must choose the mode as part of playing the spell. On current cards, modal spells are always written "Choose one - " or "[a specified player] chooses one- ."

Mono Artifact (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for the "mono artifact" card type. All mono artifact cards are now simply artifact cards. Artifacts printed with the mono artifact card type generally have the tap symbol in their activation cost. If there is none printed, "tap" must be added to the printed cost.

Mountainwalk

See Landwalk.

Move

A spell or ability may instruct a player to "move" a local enchantment or a counter from one permanent to another. If the enchantment or counter no longer exists or the new permanent is no longer in play when the spell or ability resolves, nothing happens. Similarly, an enchantment cant be moved onto a permanent it couldnt enchant; if this kind of move is attempted, the enchantment stays where it was.

A moved enchantment stops enchanting the previous permanent and starts enchanting the new one, and it receives a new timestamp. Nothing else about the enchantment changes. The enchantment never left play, so no comes-into-play or leaves-play triggered abilities will trigger. If an ability of the moved enchantment affecting "enchanted [permanent]" was on the stack when the enchantment moved, it will affect the new enchanted permanent when it resolves, not the old one.

Mulligan

A player can "mulligan" by shuffling his or her hand back into his or her library and drawing a new hand with one fewer card before taking the first turn. Any player dissatisfied with his or her starting hand may mulligan as often as he or she wishes, drawing one fewer card each time. See rule 101.5.

Multicolored

A multicolored card has two or more colors. Multicolored cards are printed with gold frames to reinforce this.

A multicolored permanent is affected by anything that singles out any of its colors. For example, a black-and-green creature is destroyed by a spell that reads "Destroy all green creatures." Something that cant affect a particular color wont affect a multicolored permanent with that color, so that same creature cant be targeted by a spell or ability that reads "Destroy target nonblack creature."

Name

The name of a card is printed on its upper-left corner. See rule 202, "Name."

Nonbasic Land

Any land with a name other than Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain, or Forest is nonbasic. A nonbasic land that is a basic land type has that lands mana ability and is subject to any spells or abilities that act on that land type, but it isnt a basic land.

Number

Magic uses only natural numbers. You may not choose a fractional number, deal fractional damage, and so on. When a spell or ability could generate a fractional number, the spell or ability will tell you whether to round up or down.

If a creatures power or toughness, a mana cost, a players life total, an amount of damage, or an amount of life loss would be less than zero, its treated as zero for all purposes except adding to or subtracting from that total.

Example: A 0/2 creature gets -1/-1 until end of turn. It is now a -1/1 creature, which acts exactly like a 0/1 creature except for things that would change its power further. If it is later given +2/+0, then it becomes a 1/1 creature, not a 2/1 creature.

Obsolete

Terms marked "(Obsolete)" in this glossary were used on older cards or in older editions of the rules. Updated wordings for all cards using these terms are available in the Oracle card reference.

One-Shot Effect

One-shot effects are effects that do something only once and then end. See also Continuous Effects.

Opponent

The word "opponent" in a spell or abilitys rules text always refers to the opponent of the player controlling the spell or ability.

In a team game, only members of the opposing team are opponents; teammates arent opponents. In a free-for-all, all other players are a players opponents.

Owner

The owner of a card is the player who started the game with that card in his or her deck. (Legal ownership is irrelevant to the game rules.) The owner of a token is the controller of the spell or ability that created it.

A spell or ability can change a permanents controller but never its owner.

A card is always put into its owners library, hand, or graveyard, regardless of who controlled the card in its previous zone.

Pass

To pass is to decline to play a spell or ability. When a player passes, his or her opponent receives priority. If both players pass in succession, the spell, ability, or combat damage on top of the stack resolves. If the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.

Pay

Playing most spells and activated abilities requires paying costs.

Paying mana is done by removing the indicated amount of mana from the players mana pool. Any time a player is asked to pay mana, mana abilities may be played. Paying life subtracts the indicated amount of life from the players life total. A player cant pay a nonzero mana cost greater than the amount of mana in his or her mana pool or a life cost greater than his or her life total. Costs of zero can always be paid.

To pay any other cost, the player carries out the instructions specified in the cards rules text. Its illegal to attempt paying a cost when unable to successfully follow the instructions. For example, a player cant pay a cost that requires tapping a creature if that creature is already tapped.

Each payment applies to only one spell or ability. For example, a player cant sacrifice just one creature to play the activated abilities of two permanents that require sacrificing a creature as a cost. Also, the resolution of a spell or ability doesnt pay another spell or abilitys cost, even if part of its effect is doing the same thing the other cost asks for.

Permanent

A permanent is any card or token in the in-play zone. See rule 214, "Permanent Type."

Permanently (Obsolete)

Certain older cards were printed with the term "permanently" to indicate effects with no expiration. In general, cards that were printed with the term "permanently" now instead use reminder text to indicate that the effect lasts past the end of the turn.

Example: An ability that originally had the text "Gain control of target creature permanently" would now have the following text: "Gain control of target creature. (This effect doesnt end at end of turn.)" This effect grants control of the permanent until something else changes the controller or it leaves play. It doesnt make the permanent immune to other control effects.

Phase

Each turn is divided into five phases: beginning, first main, combat, second main, and end. See section 3, "Turn Structure."

Phase Ability (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for "phase abilities," which were written "During [phase], . . . ." In general, cards that were printed with phase abilities now have abilities that trigger at the beginning of a step or phase.

Phased-Out

The phased-out zone is a special zone for permanents with phasing that are temporarily out of play. See rule 502.15, "Phasing."

Phasing

Phasing is a static ability that causes a permanent to leave play and later return, without losing its "memory." See rule 502.15, "Phasing."

Plainswalk

See Landwalk.

Play

The act of playing a spell, land, or ability involves announcing the action and taking the necessary steps to complete it.

Playing a spell or activated ability requires paying any costs and choosing any required modes and/or targets. See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Activated Abilities."

Playing a land simply requires choosing a land card from the hand and putting it into play.

Playing a mana ability requires paying any costs, then immediately resolving the ability. See rule 411, "Playing Mana Abilities."

Triggered abilities and static abilities arent played-they happen automatically.

Play/Draw

At the start of a game, one player gets to choose the order of play. Whoever plays first skips his or her first draw step. This is referred to as the play/draw rule. See rule 101, "Starting the Game."

Poly Artifact (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for the "poly artifact" card type. All poly artifact cards are now artifact cards. Artifacts printed with the poly artifact card type generally have an activated ability that doesnt require tapping the artifact as part of the activation cost.

Postcombat

The second main phase in each turn is called the postcombat main phase. If an effect causes a turn to have an extra combat phase and another main phase, the additional one is also a postcombat main phase.

Power

The number before the slash printed on the lower-right corner of a creature card is the creatures power. A creatures current power is the initial value (the printed number), modified by any counters that adjust power and then by any continuous effects.

Creatures that attack or block assign combat damage equal to their power. See rule 310, "Combat Damage Step."

A few creature cards have power represented by * instead of a number. This signifies that the creature has a static ability that sets its power according to some stated condition. If a spell or ability attempts to read the power when the creature card isnt in play, the * is equal to 0.

Precombat

The first main phase in each turn is called the precombat main phase.

Prevention

Effects that prevent something from happening replace it with "do nothing." (See rule 419, "Replacement and Prevention Effects.") A prevention effect must be active before the event its intended to prevent.

Effects that prevent a specific amount of damage act as "shields" and stay active until that amount of damage has been prevented or the turn ends. The damage doesnt have to be dealt by a single source or all at once.

Effects that prevent all damage from a specific source apply to the next damage dealt by that source, regardless of the amount. These effects expire when the turn ends.

Priority

The player who has the option to play a spell or ability at any given time has priority.

Each time a spell, an ability (other than a mana ability), or combat damage resolves, and at the beginning of most phases or steps, the active player receives priority. After a player plays a spell, ability, or land, he or she again receives priority. When a player passes, his or her opponent receives priority. (If both players pass in succession, the spell, ability, or combat damage on top of the stack resolves or, if the stack is empty, the phase or step ends.)

Each time a player would get priority, all applicable state-based effects resolve first as a single event (see rule 420). Then, if any new state-based effects have been generated, they resolve as a single event. This process repeats until no more applicable state-based effects are generated. Then triggered abilities are added to the stack (see rule 410). These steps repeat in order until no further state-based effects or triggered abilities are generated.

Protection

Protection is a static ability. A permanent with protection from [quality] cant be targeted by [quality] spells, targeted by abilities from a [quality] source, or enchanted by [quality] enchantments. Such enchantments enchanting the permanent with protection will be put into their owners graveyards as a state-based effect. If a creature with protection attacks, it cant be blocked by [quality] creatures. In addition, all damage dealt to it from [quality] sources is prevented. See rule 502.7, "Protection."

Pseudospell

A pseudospell is an activated or triggered ability that goes on the stack like a spell. See rule 217.6b.

Rampage

Rampage is a triggered ability. "Rampage X" means "When this creature becomes blocked by two or more creatures, it gets +X/+X until end of turn for each creature blocking it beyond the first." See rule 502.12, "Rampage."

Redirect (Obsolete)

Some older cards were printed with the term "redirect" to describe the act of dealing damage to a different player or creature than originally specified by a spell, ability, or combat-damage assignment, without changing the source or type of damage. In general, cards that were printed with the term "redirect" now have abilities that generate replacement effects which modify where the damage will be dealt. "Redirect" is still used informally to describe what these replacement effects do.

Regenerate

Regeneration is a destruction-replacement effect. "Regenerate [permanent]" means "The next time [permanent] would be destroyed this turn, instead remove all damage from it, tap it, and (if its in combat) remove it from combat." Because its a replacement effect, it must be active before the attempted destruction event. Note that if destruction is caused by lethal damage, any abilities that trigger from that damage being dealt still trigger even if the permanent regenerates.

Reminder Text

Reminder text appears after a keyword ability printed on a card or on cards that might otherwise be commonly misunderstood. Reminder text is italicized and in parentheses. This text provides a summary of the game rule but isnt itself considered rules text.

Removed from Combat

An attacking or blocking creature that is removed from combat stops being an attacking or blocking creature and can no longer assign combat damage or have combat damage assigned to it. Any combat damage thats already on the stack assigned to or by the creature will still resolve normally.

Removed from the Game

A card removed from the game is out of play and cant be affected by spells or abilities. However, the spell or ability that removed the card may specify a way for it to return. Some cards use the expression "set aside" for situations in which a card removed from the game can return to play. See rule 217.7, "Removed from the Game."

Replacement Effect

A replacement effect is a type of continuous effect that "watches" for a specified event and replaces it with a different one. See rule 419, "Replacement and Prevention Effects."

Resolve

When a spell or ability on top of the stack resolves, its controller carries out the instructions printed on the card, in the order written. When combat damage resolves, its dealt as previously assigned to the fullest extent possible. See rule 413, "Resolving Spells and Abilities."

Respond, Response (Informal)

A player can choose to play an instant spell or activated ability when something else is already on the stack, rather than waiting for the earlier spell or ability to resolve first. The spell or ability is said to be played "in response to" the earlier spell or ability.

Reveal

To reveal a card is to show that card to all players. This is a one-shot effect; after all players have seen the card, its returned to its former state.

Sacrifice

To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the in-play zone directly to its owners graveyard. If an effect instructs a player to sacrifice a permanent that he or she doesnt control, nothing happens. Sacrificing a permanent doesnt destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction cant affect it.

Search

If youre required to search a zone not revealed to all players for cards matching some criteria, you arent required to find those cards even if theyre present. Even if you dont find any cards, you are still considered to have searched the zone. If youre simply searching for "any card," however, you must find a card (if possible). If youre required to search for a specific number of cards, you must choose that many cards (or as many as possible.) For example, if an effect causes you to search a players library for all duplicates of a particular card and remove them from the game, you may choose to leave some of them alone, but if an effect causes you to search your library for three cards and it contains at least three, you cant choose less than three.

Separating Cards into Piles

If a player is asked to separate a group of cards into two or more piles, the cards do not leave the zone theyre currently in. If cards in a graveyard are split into piles, the order of the graveyard must be maintained as much as possible.

Set Aside

To set aside a card is to remove it from the game; however, the effect will specify some condition that allows the set-aside card to return to the game. See also Removed from the Game.

Shadow

Shadow is an evasion ability. Attacking creatures with shadow cant be blocked by creatures without shadow, and attacking creatures without shadow cant be blocked by creatures with shadow. See rule 502.8, "Shadow."

Skip

To skip a step, phase, or turn is to proceed past it as though it didnt exist. Skipping is a replacement effect. "Skip [something]" is the same as "Instead of doing [something], do nothing."

Once a step, phase, or turn has started, it can no longer be skipped-any skip effects will wait until the next occurrence.

Anything scheduled for a skipped step, phase, or turn wont happen. Anything scheduled for the "next" occurrence of something waits for the first occurrence that isnt skipped. If two effects each cause a player to skip his or her next occurrence, that player must skip the next two; one effect will be satisfied in skipping the first occurrence, while the other will remain until another occurrence can be skipped

Snow-Covered

Snow-covered is an ability that doesnt do anything in its own right; its simply a keyword that other cards look for. When a card refers to a "snow-covered land," it means a land with the snow-covered ability. When a card refers to a "snow-covered forest," it means a forest with the snow-covered ability, and so on. See rule 502.14, "Snow-Covered."

Snow-Covered Landwalk

Snow-covered landwalk is a special form of landwalk. A creature with snow-covered landwalk is unblockable as long as the defending player controls at least one land of the specified type that has the snow-covered ability. See rule 502.6, "Landwalk."

Sorcery

Sorcery is a card type. The active player can play sorcery spells only during his or her main phase when the stack is empty. A sorcery spell is put into its owners graveyard as part of its resolution. See rule 408.1d.

Source

The source of an ability or of damage is the card or token that generated it. If an effect requires a player to choose a source, he or she may choose either a permanent or a spell on the stack (including one that creates a permanent) or any card or permanent referred to by a spell or pseudospell on the stack. The effect will apply in the way specified to the damage dealt by that spell or by that permanent (in combat or by one of its abilities). A source doesnt need to be capable of dealing damage to be a legal choice.

Spell

A nonland card becomes a spell when its played and remains a spell until its countered or it resolves. Nonland cards can also be referred to as "spell cards." See rule 213, "Spell Type."

Split Cards

Split cards have two card faces on a single card. The back of a split card is the normal, full-size Magic card back. Split cards have two sets of characteristics: two names, two mana costs, and so on. They always have both sets, except when theyre on the stack. When you play a split card, you announce which side of the card youre playing. While its on the stack, the other side of the card is ignored completely.

Split cards have two mana costs with different colors of mana in them. That means they are multicolored cards, except while theyre on the stack. If an effect tells you to name a card, you must name all of a split cards names.

Effects that ask for a split cards characteristic get both answers. Effects that ask if a split cards characteristic matches a given value get only one answer. This answer is "yes" if either side of the split card matches the given value. See rule 505, "Split Cards."

Stack

A spell or ability goes on top of the stack when its played or triggered. Combat-damage assignments also go on top of the stack as though they were a single pseudospell. Whenever both players pass in succession, the spell, ability, or combat damage on top of the stack resolves and the active player receives priority again. See rule 217.6, "Stack," and rule 408.1, "Timing, Priority, and the Stack."

State-Based Effects

State-based effects continually "watch" the game for a particular state. Whenever a player would receive priority, state-based effects are checked and applied. See rule 420, "State-Based Effects."

State Triggers

State triggers are triggered abilities that watch for a game state rather than an event and trigger as soon as the game state matches the condition. Once a state trigger has triggered, it wont trigger again until the pseudospell it created has resolved or been countered. See rule 410.11.

Static Ability

Static abilities do something all the time rather than being played at specific times. Static abilities create continuous effects, which are active as long as the permanent with the ability remains in play and has the ability. A spell or ability can also create a continuous effect that doesnt depend on a permanent; these may last a specified length of time or for the rest of the game. See rule 412, "Handling Static Abilities."

Step

Some phases of the turn are further subdivided into steps. See section 3, "Turn Structure."

Successfully Cast (Obsolete)

Earlier versions of the rules provided support for "successfully cast" as a step in the announcement and resolution of a spell or ability. In general, any ability thats written as triggering when a spell is "successfully cast" should be read as triggering when the spell is played.

Summon (Obsolete)

Older creature cards were printed with the type "Summon [creature subtype]." All "Summon [creature subtype]" cards should be read as "Creature - [creature subtype]."

Summoning Sickness (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, the term "summoning sickness" was used to describe a creatures inability to attack or to use activated abilities which include the tap symbol when it has come under a players control since the beginning of that players most recent turn. See also Haste.

Swampwalk

See Landwalk.

Tap

To tap a permanent is to turn it sideways. The tap symbol (T in these rules) in an activation cost means "Tap this permanent"-a permanent thats already tapped cant be tapped again to pay the cost. Creatures that havent been under a players control continuously since the beginning of his or her most recent turn cant use any ability with the tap symbol in the cost.

Target

Whenever the word target appears in the rules text of a spell or ability, the controller of the spell or ability chooses something that matches whatever follows that word. This may be as simple as "target land" or as complex as "target tapped creature an opponent controls." The choice of a spell or abilitys targets is made when the spell or ability is played.

A spell or pseudospell on the stack cant target itself.

Text Box

The text box is printed below the illustration on a Magic card and contains rules, reminder text, and flavor text.

Threshold

Threshold is a static ability. A card with threshold has the text after "Threshold -" if its controller has seven or more cards in his or her graveyard. Otherwise, the text after "Threshold -" is treated as though it did not appear on the card. An instant or sorcery card with threshold has the threshold text only if the card is on the stack. An artifact, creature, enchantment, or land card with threshold, or any permanent with threshold, has the threshold text only if the card or permanent is in play.

Tie

If an effect could result in a tie, the text of the spell or ability that created the effect will specify what to do in the event of a tie. The Magic game has no default for ties.

Timestamp Order

A permanents timestamp is the time it came into play, with two exceptions: (1) If two or more permanents enter play simultaneously, the active player determines their timestamp order at the time they come into play, but a local enchantment must be timestamped after what it enchants; (2) Whenever a local enchantment becomes attached to a permanent, the enchantment receives a new timestamp.

Continuous effects generated by static abilities have the same timestamp as the permanent that generated them. Continuous effects generated by the resolution of a spell or ability receive a timestamp when the spell or ability creating them resolves.

Token

A token is an object in play representing a noncard permanent created by a spell or ability. Tokens can be tapped and untapped just like cards, though an alternative to rotation might be needed to distinguish their status. See rule 216, "Tokens."

Tombstone Icon

Starting with the Odyssey set, a tombstone icon appears to the left of the name of any card with an ability thats relevant in a players graveyard. The purpose of the icon is to make those cards stand out when theyre in a graveyard. This icon has no effect on game play.

Total Casting Cost (Obsolete)

Some older cards were printed with the term "total casting cost" to describe the converted mana cost of a spell. In general, cards that were printed with the term "total casting cost" now use the term "converted mana cost."

Toughness

The number after the slash printed on the lower-right corner of a creature card is the creatures toughness. A creatures current toughness is the initial value (the printed number), modified by any counters that adjust toughness and then by any continuous effects.

A creature thats been dealt damage greater than or equal to its toughness (and greater than 0) has lethal damage and will be destroyed the next time any player would receive priority. This is a state-based effect.

A few creature cards have toughness represented by * instead of a number. This signifies that the creature has a static ability that sets its toughness according to some stated condition. If a spell or ability attempts to read the toughness when the creature card isnt in play, the * is equal to 0.

Trample

Trample is a static ability modifying the combat damage step of the combat phase. It lets an attacking creature "trample over" blocking creatures and assign part of its combat damage to the defending player. See rule 502.9, "Trample."

Trigger, Triggered Ability

A triggered ability begins with the word "when," "whenever," or "at." Whenever the trigger event occurs, the ability goes on top of the stack the next time a player would receive priority. See rule 404, "Triggered Abilities."

Type

The word type by itself is ambiguous-it may mean the basic type of a card, spell, and so on, or the subtype of a creature, enchantment, or land. See rules 212-215.

A cards type (and subtype, if applicable) is printed directly below the illustration on the card. The spell type for a nonland card is the same as its card type, even if its rules text states it can be played "as" some other type (that is, following the timing rules for playing that other type). The permanent type for a card in play is the same as its card type. Tokens have no card or spell type but do have a permanent type.

When a spell or ability changes a permanents type, the new type replaces all previous types. If the spell or ability is adding a type, it will say so.

A creatures type is printed after the word "creature" below the illustration on the card or defined by the spell or ability that created a token. A creature may have multiple types. A noncreature card thats changed into a creature by a spell or ability has no creature type unless the spell or ability gives it one.

A lands type is the same as its name.

A local enchantments type is printed after the word "Enchant" on the cards type line.

Categories of cards, such as basic land or local enchantment, arent types or subtypes and cant be named when a type must be chosen.

The "type" of mana includes both its color and any restrictions placed upon it (for example, mana that can be used only to play artifact spells).

Unblockable

If an attacking creature "is unblockable," no creature can legally block it. Spells or abilities may still cause it to become blocked.

Unblocked Creature

An attacking creature becomes an unblocked creature during the declare blockers step of the combat phase if no creature blocks it. It remains an unblocked creature until a spell or ability causes it to become blocked, its removed from combat, it stops being a creature, its controller changes, or the combat phase ends. Unblocked creatures dont exist outside of the combat phase or before the declare blockers step. See rule 309, "Declare Blockers Step."

Unless

Some cards use the phrase "[Do something] unless you [do something else]." This means the same thing as "You may [do something else]. If you dont, [do something]."

Untap

1. To untap a tapped card, rotate it back to the upright position. See also Tap.

2. Untap is the first step of the beginning phase of the turn. All permanents controlled by the active player normally untap at this time. See rule 302, "Untap Step."

Upkeep

Upkeep is the second step of the beginning phase of the turn. Some cards have abilities that trigger at the beginning of the upkeep step; such an ability is called an "upkeep cost" or an "upkeep effect." An upkeep cost is usually written in the form "At the beginning of your upkeep, you may [pay cost]. If you dont, sacrifice [this card]." See rule 303, "Upkeep Step."

Vanguard Card

The Vanguard supplements consist of oversized cards that modify the game. A Vanguard card is selected before the game begins, adjusting a players starting and maximum hand size and starting life total. Any abilities printed on a Vanguard card are played exactly like those of an in-play Magic card; however, these abilities have no color, and damage from them isnt damage from a permanent of any type or a source of any color. A Vanguard card isnt a Magic card, so it cant be affected by spells or abilities.

Wall

A Wall is a type of creature that cant be declared as an attacker. In all other respects, a Wall is the same as any other creature.

X

If a cost has an "X" in it, the value of X must be announced as part of playing the spell or ability. (See rule 409, "Playing Spells and Abilities.") While the spell or ability is on the stack, the X in its mana cost equals that amount of generic mana. If a card in any other zone has X in its mana cost, the amount is treated as 0. In other cases, X will be defined by the text of a spell or ability. If X isnt defined, the controller of the spell or ability chooses the value of X. All Xs on a card have the same value.

Y, Z

See X.

Yield Priority (Obsolete)

In earlier versions of the rules, the term "yield priority" was used instead of "pass."

You, Your

The words "you" and "your" in on a card or permanent refer to the spell or abilitys controller. For static abilities, this is the current controller of the card or permanent (or the cards owner if it isnt in play). For activated abilities, this is the player who played the ability For triggered abilities, this is the controller of the card when the ability triggered (or the cards owner if it wasnt in play).

Zone

A zone is any place that Magic cards can be during a game. See rule 217, "Zones."

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