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Ability Icons

Ability Icons each representing a keyworded ability
created by Pamela Ansman-Wolfe for the Duels of the Planeswalkers game

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

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

There are three main types of abilities:

  • Activated,
  • Triggered, and
  • Static.


Activated abilities include any abilities that require some sort of cost. For example, the card Akroan Jailer has an activated ability that reads: "CMC2Color W, TapSymbol: Tap target creature."

Triggered abilities require a specific event to happen, or by having met certain conditions. For instance, Kytheon, Hero of Akros is able to transform into a powerful planeswalker, but only if certain conditions are met: "At end of combat, if Kytheon, Hero of Akros and at least two other creatures attacked this combat, exile Kytheon, then return him to the battlefield transformed under his owner's control."

Static abilities include keyword mechanics such as hexproof, first strike, and flying, as featured on cards like Primal Huntbeast, Akroan Sergeant, or Aspiring Aeronaut. Must Attack or Can't Block are static abilities without a keyword.

List of Magic Duels Abilities and MechanicsEdit

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

AftermathEdit

Icon unkown
Split cards, that let you play one half of a split card only from your graveyard.
Main article: Aftermath

AwakenEdit

Icon unkown
Awaken is an ability that lets you pay an alternative casting cost in order to transform a land into a creature.
Main article: Awaken

Can't BlockEdit

Icon cant block
Can't Block is a static ability found on creatures. They cannot be used as blocking creatures.
Main article: Blocking

Can't be blockedEdit

Icon unblockable
Can't be blocked is a static ability found on creatures. They cannot be blocked.
Main article: Blocking

CrewEdit

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

CyclingEdit

Icon unkown
An ability, which let's you discard the card from your hand to draw another card.
Main article: Cycling

DeathtouchEdit

Icon deathtouch
Deathtouch is a static ability that means any amount of damage dealt by a source with deathtouch is enough to kill the creature receiving the damage.
Main article: Deathtouch

DefenderEdit

Icon defender
Defender is a static ability that means the affected permanent cannot attack. It is commonly found on creatures with low power, and high toughness, such as most walls.
Main article: Defender

DevoidEdit

Icon unkown
Devoid is a static ability that makes a card colorless, no matter if it has colored mana as its casting cost.
Main article: Devoid

Doesn't UntapEdit

Icon doesnt untap
Sometimes a permanent gets this ability mostly from a blue source like Fogwalker or Ice Over.
Main article: Tapping

Double StrikeEdit

Icon double strike
A creature with double strike deals damage during the first combat damage step alongside creatures with first strike, then additionally deal damage during the second damage step along with regular creatures.
Main article: Double Strike

EmbalmEdit

Icon embalm
An activated ability that lets you exile a creature card from your graveyard to create a mummified token version of that card.
Main article: Embalm

EmergeEdit

Icon unkown
Emerge is a ability that gives an alternative way to cast colossal Eldrazi. Instead of the mana cost of a spell with emerge, you can sacrifice ONE creature and pay its emerge cost instead at a discount. The emerge cost is reduced by the converted mana cost of the creature sacrificed. 
Main article: Emerge

EnchantEdit

Icon unkown
Enchant {object or player} is a static ability found on auras which defines what they can enchant. The keyword is written with a quality after it (e.g. Enchant creature) which defines what a the aura can enchant. Technically it can attach to permanents.
Main article: Enchant

EnergyEdit

Icon unkown
Gather Energy counters (Energy) and spend them on Energy abilities.
Main article: Energy

EquipEdit

Icon unkown
Equip is an activated ability found on equipments. By paying an equip cost, you can attach the artifact to a creature you control. Equipping can only be used at sorcery speed.
Main article: Equip

EscalateEdit

Icon unkown
Escalate is a static ability, that lets you pay an additional mana cost for each mode after the first.
Main article: Escalate

ExertEdit

Icon exert
An ability, which may be used, when a creature attacks. The effect of the ability happens, but the creature won't untap during the next untap step.
Main article: Exert

FabricateEdit

Icon unkown
A triggered ability, that lets you put a number of +1/+1 counters on a creature, or create a number of 1/1 colorless Servo artifact creature tokens.
Main article: Fabricate

First StrikeEdit

Icon first strike
First strike is a static ability that creates an additional combat damage step. A creature with first strike will deal its combat damage before a creature that doesn't.
Main article: First strike

FlashEdit

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

FlyingEdit

Icon flying
A creature with flying cannot be blocked except by other creatures with either flying or reach. Creatures with flying can block other creatures with or without flying.
Main article: Flying

HasteEdit

Icon haste
Haste is a static ability that allows creatures to ignore the rules informally known as "summoning sickness". This means that they can attack, and activate tap or untap abilities on the same turn they enter the battlefield.
Main article: Haste

HexproofEdit

Icon hexproof
Hexproof is a static ability that means that the affected permanent can't be the target of spells or abilities your opponents control, but can still be target by spells or abilities you control.
Main article: Hexproof

ImproviseEdit

Icon unkown
Improvise is a static ability that lets you tap artifacts for CMC1 to help casting the spell.
Main article: Improvise

IndestructibleEdit

Icon indestructible
Indestructible is a keyword ability that means that any permanent that has indestructible cannot be destroyed, and cannot die as a result of lethal damage.
Main article: Indestructible

IngestEdit

Icon ingest
Ingest is a triggered ability that exiles an opponent's top card of the library, when damage is dealt.
Main article: Ingest

IntimidateEdit

Icon intimidate
Intimidate is a static ability which restricts the types of creatures that can block a creature with intimidate. A creature with intimidate can't be blocked, except by artifact creatures and by creatures that share a color with it.
Main article: Intimidate

InvestigateEdit

Icon unkown
Investigate is a keyword action meaning “Put a colorless Clue artifact token onto the battlefield. It has ‘CMC2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.’”
Main article: Investigate

LifelinkEdit

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

MadnessEdit

Icon unkown
Madness is a static/triggered ability that lets you cast a spell for an alternative mana cost, if the card is discarded.
Main article: Madness

MeldEdit

Icon unkown
Meld exiles two cards of a meld pair, combines them into one and then returnes it to the battlefield.
Main article: Meld

MenaceEdit

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

Must AttackEdit

Icon must attack
Must Attack is a static ability found on creatures. They must attack if possible. If you tap your creature before the declaring attacker phase with some other effect, like crew a vehicle, your creature don't need to attack.
Main article: Attacking

ProwessEdit

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

ReachEdit

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

RegenerateEdit

Icon regenerate
Regenerate is an activated ability. When you regenerate a creature, this means that the next time this turn that it would be destroyed, instead it becomes tapped, all damage marked on it is removed, and if it's in combat, it is removed from combat.
Main article: Regenerate

RenownEdit

Icon renown
Renown is a triggered ability. “Renown N” means “When this creature deals combat damage to a player, if it isn’t renowned, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes renowned.”

Certain cards, often the ones that have Renown on them, care about creatures becoming renowned to trigger their own abilities.

Main article: Renown

SkulkEdit

Icon skulk
Skulk is an evasion ability that makes a creature unblockable to creatures with greater power.
Main article: Skulk

SupportEdit

Icon unkown
Support is a keyword action that lets you put +1/+1 counters on target creatures.
Main article: Support

SurgeEdit

Icon unkown
Surge is a static ability that lets you pay an alternative mana cost, if you or a teammate (e.g. in Two-Headed Giant) casted a spell before in the same turn.
Main article: Surge

TokenEdit

Icon token
A Token is a marker for a permanent that is not represented by a card. Tokens don't have a casting cost. In Magic Duels Copies of Cards get this Icon.
Main article: Token

TrampleEdit

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

TransformEdit

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

VigilanceEdit

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

Magic Duels Ability WordsEdit

207.2c An ability word appears in italics at the beginning of some abilities. Ability words are similar to keywords in that they tie together cards that have similar functionality, but they have no special rules meaning and no individual entries in the Comprehensive Rules. The ability words are battalion, bloodrush, channel, chroma, cohort, constellation, converge, council’s dilemma, delirium, domain, fateful hour, ferocious, formidable, grandeur, hellbent, heroic, imprint, inspired, join forces, kinship, landfall, lieutenant, metalcraft, morbid, parley, radiance, raid, rally, revolt, spell mastery, strive, sweep, tempting offer, threshold, and will of the council.[1]

ReferencesEdit

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