Magic: the Gathering
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Contents Glossary

7.  Additional Rules

701.  Keyword Actions


701.1  Most actions described in a cards rules text use the standard English definitions of the verbs within, but some specialized verbs are used whose meanings may not be clear. These "keywords" are game terms; sometimes reminder text summarizes their meanings.

701.2    Activate

701.2a  To activate an activated ability is to put it onto the stack and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. Only an objects controller (or its owner, if it doesnt have a controller) can activate its activated ability unless the object specifically says otherwise. A player may activate an ability if he or she has priority. See rule 602, "Activating Activated Abilities."

701.3    Attach

701.3a  To attach an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to an object means to take it from where it currently is and put it onto that object. If something is attached to a permanent on the battlefield, its customary to place it so that its physically touching the permanent. An Aura, Equipment, or Fortification cant be attached to an object it couldnt enchant, equip, or fortify, respectively.

701.3b  If an effect tries to attach an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to an object it cant be attached to, the Aura, Equipment, or Fortification doesnt move. If an effect tries to attach an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to the object its already attached to, the effect does nothing. If an effect tries to attach an object that isnt an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to another object or player, the effect does nothing and the first object doesnt move.

701.3c  Attaching an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification on the battlefield to a different object causes the Aura, Equipment, or Fortification to receive a new timestamp.

701.3d  To "unattach" an Equipment from a creature means to move it away from that creature so the Equipment is on the battlefield but is not equipping anything. It should no longer be physically touching any creature. If an Aura, Equipment, or Fortification that was attached to an object or player ceases to be attached to it, that counts as "becoming unattached [from that object or player]"; this includes if that Aura, Equipment, or Fortification leaves the battlefield, the object leaves the zone it was in, or that player leaves the game.

701.4    Cast

701.4a  To cast a spell is to take it from the zone its in (usually the hand), put it on the stack, and pay its costs, so that it will eventually resolve and have its effect. A player may cast a spell if he or she has priority. See rule 601, "Casting Spells."

701.4b  To cast a card is to cast it as a spell.

701.5    Counter

701.5a  To counter a spell or ability means to cancel it, removing it from the stack. It doesnt resolve and none of its effects occur. A countered spell is put into its owners graveyard.

701.5b  The player who cast a countered spell or activated a countered ability doesnt get a "refund" of any costs that were paid.

701.6    Create

701.6a  To create one or more tokens with certain characteristics, put the specified number of tokens with the specified characteristics onto the battlefield.

701.6b  Previously, an effect that created tokens instructed a player to "put [those tokens] onto the battlefield." Cards that were printed with that text have received errata in the Oracle card reference so they now "create" those tokens.

701.7    Destroy

701.7a  To destroy a permanent, move it from the battlefield to its owners graveyard.

701.7b  The only ways a permanent can be destroyed are as a result of an effect that uses the word "destroy" or as a result of the state-based actions that check for lethal damage (see rule 704.5g) or damage from a source with deathtouch (see rule 704.5h). If a permanent is put into its owners graveyard for any other reason, it hasnt been "destroyed."

701.7c  A regeneration effect replaces a destruction event. See rule 701.13, "Regenerate."

701.8    Discard

701.8a  To discard a card, move it from its owners hand to that players graveyard.

701.8b  By default, effects that cause a player to discard a card allow the affected player to choose which card to discard. Some effects, however, require a random discard or allow another player to choose which card is discarded.

701.8c  If a card is discarded, but an effect causes it to be put into a hidden zone instead of into its owners graveyard without being revealed, all values of that cards characteristics are considered to be undefined. If a card is discarded this way to pay a cost that specifies a characteristic about the discarded card, that cost payment is illegal; the game returns to the moment before the cost was paid (see rule 720, "Handling Illegal Actions").

701.9    Exchange

701.9a  A spell or ability may instruct 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 the entire exchange cant be completed, no part of the exchange occurs.

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.

701.9b  When control of two permanents is exchanged, if those permanents are controlled by different players, each of those players simultaneously gains control of the permanent that was controlled by the other player. If, on the other hand, those permanents are controlled by the same player, the exchange effect does nothing.

701.9c  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. A player who cant gain life cant be given a higher life total this way, and a player who cant lose life cant be given a lower life total this way (see rules 118.78).

701.9d  Some spells or abilities may instruct a player to exchange cards in one zone with cards in a different zone (for example, exiled cards 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.

701.9e  If a card in one zone is exchanged with a card in a different zone, and either of them is attached to an object, that card stops being attached to that object and the other card becomes attached to that object.

701.9f  If a spell or ability instructs a player to simply exchange two zones, and one of the zones is empty, the cards in the zones are still exchanged.

701.9g  A spell or ability may instruct a player to exchange two numerical values. In such an exchange, each value becomes equal to the previous value of the other. If either of those values is a life total, the affected player gains or loses the amount of life necessary to equal the other value. Replacement effects may modify this gain or loss, and triggered abilities may trigger on it. A player who cant gain life cant be given a higher life total this way, and a player who cant lose life cant be given a lower life total this way (see rules 118.78). If either of those values is a power or toughness, a continuous effect is created setting that power or toughness to the other value (see rule 613.3b). This rule does not apply to spells and abilities that switch a creatures power and toughness.

701.10    Exile

701.10a  To exile an object, move it to the exile zone from wherever it is. See rule 406, "Exile."

701.11    Fight

701.11a  A spell or ability may instruct a creature to fight another creature or it may instruct two creatures to fight each other. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other creature.

701.11b  If a creature instructed to fight is no longer on the battlefield or is no longer a creature, no damage is dealt. If a creature is an illegal target for a resolving spell or ability that instructs it to fight, no damage is dealt.

701.11c  If a creature fights itself, it deals damage equal to its power to itself twice.

701.11d  The damage dealt when a creature fights isnt combat damage.

701.12    Play

701.12a  To play a land means to put it onto the battlefield from the zone its in (usually the hand). A player may play a land if he or she has priority, its the main phase of his or her turn, the stack is empty, and he or she hasnt played a land this turn. Playing a land is a special action (see rule 115), so it doesnt use the stack; it simply happens. Putting a land onto the battlefield as the result of a spell or ability isnt the same as playing a land. See rule 305, "Lands."

701.12b  To play a card means to play that card as a land or to cast that card as a spell, whichever is appropriate.

701.12c  Some effects instruct a player to "play" with a certain aspect of the game changed, such as "Play with the top card of your library revealed." "Play" in this sense means to play the Magic game.

701.12d  Previously, the action of casting a spell, or casting a card as a spell, was referred to on cards as "playing" that spell or that card. Cards that were printed with that text have received errata in the Oracle card reference so they now refer to "casting" that spell or that card.

701.12e  Previously, the action of using an activated ability was referred to on cards as "playing" that ability. Cards that were printed with that text have received errata in the Oracle card reference so they now refer to "activating" that ability.

701.13    Regenerate

701.13a  If the effect of a resolving spell or ability regenerates a permanent, it creates a replacement effect that protects the permanent the next time it would be destroyed this turn. In this case, "Regenerate [permanent]" means "The next time [permanent] would be destroyed this turn, instead remove all damage marked on it and tap it. If its an attacking or blocking creature, remove it from combat."

701.13b  If the effect of a static ability regenerates a permanent, it replaces destruction with an alternate effect each time that permanent would be destroyed. In this case, "Regenerate [permanent]" means "Instead remove all damage marked on [permanent] and tap it. If its an attacking or blocking creature, remove it from combat."

701.13c  Neither activating an ability that creates a regeneration shield nor casting a spell that creates a regeneration shield is the same as regenerating a permanent. Effects that say that a permanent cant be regenerated dont prevent such abilities from being activated or such spells from being cast; rather, they prevent regeneration shields from having any effect.

701.14    Reveal

701.14a  To reveal a card, show that card to all players for a brief time. If an effect causes a card to be revealed, it remains revealed for as long as necessary to complete the parts of the effect that card is relevant to. If the cost to cast a spell or activate an ability includes revealing a card, the card remains revealed from the time the spell or ability is announced until the time it leaves the stack.

701.14b  Revealing a card doesnt cause it to leave the zone its in.

701.14c  If cards in a players library are shuffled or otherwise reordered, any revealed cards that are reordered stop being revealed and become new objects.

701.14d  Some effects instruct a player to look at one or more cards. Looking at a card follows the same rules as revealing a card, except that the card is shown only to the specified player.

701.15    Sacrifice

701.15a  To sacrifice a permanent, its controller moves it from the battlefield directly to its owners graveyard. A player cant sacrifice something that isnt a permanent, or something thats a permanent he or she doesnt control. Sacrificing a permanent doesnt destroy it, so regeneration or other effects that replace destruction cant affect this action.

701.16    Scry

701.16a  To "scry N" means to look at the top N cards of your library, put any number of them on the bottom of your library in any order and the rest on top of your library in any order.

701.16b  If a player is instructed to scry 0, no scry event occurs. Abilities that trigger whenever a player scries wont trigger.

701.17    Search

701.17a  To search for a card in a zone, look at all cards in that zone (even if its a hidden zone) and find a card that matches the given description.

701.17b  If a player is searching a hidden zone for cards with a stated quality, such as a card with a certain card type or color, that player isnt required to find some or all of those cards even if theyre present in that zone.

Example: Splinter says "Exile target artifact. Search its controllers graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with the same name as that artifact and exile them. That player then shuffles his or her library." A player casts Splinter targeting Howling Mine (an artifact). Howling Mines controller has another Howling Mine in her graveyard and two more in her library. Splinters controller must find the Howling Mine in the graveyard, but may choose to find zero, one, or two of the Howling Mines in the library.

701.17c  If a player is instructed to search a hidden zone for cards that match an undefined quality, that player may still search that zone but cant find any cards.

Example: Lobotomy says "Target player reveals his or her hand, then you choose a card other than a basic land card from it. Search that players graveyard, hand, and library for all cards with the same name as the chosen card and exile them. Then that player shuffles his or her library." If the target player has no cards in his or her hand when Lobotomy resolves, the player who cast Lobotomy searches the specified zones but doesnt exile any cards.

701.17d  If a player is searching a hidden zone simply for a quantity of cards, such as "a card" or "three cards," that player must find that many cards (or as many as possible, if the zone doesnt contain enough cards).

701.17e  If the effect that contains the search instruction doesnt also contain instructions to reveal the found card(s), then theyre not revealed.

701.17f  If searching a zone is replaced with searching a portion of that zone, any other instructions that refer to searching the zone still apply. Any abilities that trigger on a library being searched will trigger.

Example: Aven Mindcensor says, in part, "If an opponent would search a library, that player searches the top four cards of that library instead." Veteran Explorer says "When Veteran Explorer dies, each player may search his or her library for up to two basic land cards and put them onto the battlefield. Then each player who searched his or her library this way shuffles it." An opponent who searched the top four cards of his or her library because of Veteran Explorers ability would shuffle the entire library.


701.18    Shuffle

701.18a  To shuffle a library or a face-down pile of cards, randomize the cards within it so that no player knows their order.

701.18b  Some effects cause a player to search a library for a card or cards, shuffle that library, then put the found card or cards in a certain position in that library. Even though the found card or cards never leave that library, they arent included in the shuffle. Rather, all the cards in that library except those are shuffled. Abilities that trigger when a library is shuffled will still trigger. See also rule 401, "Library."

701.18c  If an effect would cause a player to shuffle one or more specific objects into a library, that library is shuffled even if none of those objects are in the zone theyre expected to be in or an effect causes all of those objects to be moved to another zone or remain in their current zone.

Example: Guile says, in part, "When Guile is put into a graveyard from anywhere, shuffle it into its owners library." Its put into a graveyard and its ability triggers, then a player exiles it from that graveyard in response. When the ability resolves, the library is shuffled.

Example: Black Suns Zenith says, in part, "Shuffle Black Suns Zenith into its owners library." Black Suns Zenith is in a graveyard, has gained flashback (due to Recoup, perhaps), and is cast from that graveyard. Black Suns Zenith will be exiled, and its owners library will be shuffled.

701.18d  If an effect would cause a player to shuffle a set of objects into a library, that library is shuffled even if there are no objects in that set.

Example: Loaming Shaman says "When Loaming Shaman enters the battlefield, target player shuffles any number of target cards from his or her graveyard into his or her library." It enters the battlefield, its ability triggers, and no cards are targeted. When the ability resolves, the targeted player will still have to shuffle his or her library.

701.18e  If an effect causes a player to shuffle a library containing zero or one cards, abilities that trigger when a library is shuffled will still trigger.

701.18f  If two or more effects cause a library to be shuffled multiple times simultaneously, abilities that trigger when that library is shuffled will trigger that many times.

701.19    Tap and Untap

701.19a  To tap a permanent, turn it sideways from an upright position. Only untapped permanents can be tapped.

701.19b  To untap a permanent, rotate it back to the upright position from a sideways position. Only tapped permanents can be untapped.

701.20    Fateseal

701.20a  To "fateseal N" means to look at the top N cards of an opponents library, put any number of them on the bottom of that library in any order and the rest on top of that library in any order.

701.21    Clash

701.21a  To clash, a player reveals the top card of his or her library. That player may then put that card on the bottom of his or her library.

701.21b  "Clash with an opponent" means "Choose an opponent. You and that opponent each clash."

701.21c  A player wins a clash if that player revealed a card with a higher converted mana cost than all other cards revealed in that clash.

701.22    Planeswalk

701.22a  A player may planeswalk only during a Planechase game. Only the planar controller may planeswalk. See rule 901, "Planechase."

701.22b  To planeswalk is to put each face-up plane card and phenomenon card on the bottom of its owners planar deck face down, then move the top card of your planar deck off that planar deck and turn it face up.

701.22c  A player may planeswalk as the result of the "planeswalking ability" (see rule 901.8), because the owner of a face-up plane card or phenomenon card leaves the game (see rule 901.10), or because a phenomenons triggered ability leaves the stack (see rule 704.5x). Abilities may also instruct a player to planeswalk.

701.22d  The plane card thats turned face up is the plane the player planeswalks to. The plane card thats turned face down or that leaves the game is the plane the player planeswalks away from. The same is true with respect to phenomena.

701.23    Set in Motion

701.23a  Only a scheme card may be set in motion, and only during an Archenemy game. Only the archenemy may set a scheme card in motion. See rule 312, "Schemes," and rule 904, "Archenemy."

701.23b  To set a scheme in motion, move it off the top of your scheme deck and turn it face up.

701.23c  Schemes may only be set in motion one at a time. If a player is instructed to set multiple schemes in motion, that player sets a scheme in motion that many times.

701.24    Abandon

701.24a  Only a face-up ongoing scheme card may be abandoned, and only during an Archenemy game. See rule 312, "Schemes," and rule 904, "Archenemy."

701.24b  To abandon a scheme, turn it face down and put it on the bottom of its owners scheme deck.

701.25    Proliferate

701.25a  To proliferate means to choose any number of permanents and/or players that have a counter, then give each exactly one additional counter of a kind that permanent or player already has.

701.25b  If a permanent or player chosen this way has more than one kind of counter, the player who is proliferating chooses which kind of counter to add.

701.25c  In a Two-Headed Giant game, poison counters are shared by the team. If more than one player on a team is chosen this way, only one of those players can be given an additional poison counter. See rule 810, "Two-Headed Giant Variant."

701.26    Transform

701.26a  To transform a permanent, turn it over so that its other face is up. Only permanents represented by double-faced cards can transform. (See rule 711, "Double-Faced Cards.")

701.26b  Although transforming a permanent uses the same physical action as turning a permanent face up or face down, they are different game actions. Abilities that trigger when a permanent is turned face down wont trigger when that permanent transforms, and so on.

701.26c  If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent that isnt represented by a double-faced card, nothing happens.

701.26d  If a spell or ability instructs a player to transform a permanent, and the face that permanent would transform into is represented by an instant or sorcery card face, nothing happens.

701.26e  Some triggered abilities trigger when an object "transforms into" an object with a specified characteristic. Such an ability triggers if the object transforms and has the specified characteristic immediately after it transforms.

701.26f  If an activated or triggered ability of a permanent that isnt a delayed triggered ability of that permanent tries to transform it, the permanent transforms only if it hasnt transformed since the ability was put onto the stack. If a delayed triggered ability of a permanent tries to transform that permanent, the permanent transforms only if it hasnt transformed since that delayed triggered ability was created. In either case, if the permanent has already transformed, the instruction to transform is ignored. This is a change from previous rules.

701.27    Detain

701.27a  Certain spells and abilities can detain a permanent. Until the next turn of the controller of that spell or ability, that permanent cant attack or block and its activated abilities cant be activated.

701.28    Populate

701.28a  To populate means to choose a creature token you control and create a token thats a copy of that creature token.

701.28b  If you control no creature tokens when instructed to populate, you wont create a token.

701.29    Monstrosity

701.29a  "Monstrosity N" means "If this permanent isnt monstrous, put N +1/+1 counters on it and it becomes monstrous."

701.29b  Monstrous is a designation that has no rules meaning other than to act as a marker that the monstrosity action and other spells and abilities can identify. Only permanents can be or become monstrous. Once a permanent becomes monstrous, it stays monstrous until it leaves the battlefield. Monstrous is neither an ability nor part of the permanents copiable values.

701.29c  If a permanents ability instructs a player to "monstrosity X," other abilities of that permanent may also refer to X. The value of X in those abilities is equal to the value of X as that permanent became monstrous.

701.30    Vote

701.30a  Some spells and abilities instruct players to vote for one choice from a list of options to determine some aspect of the effect of that spell or ability. To vote, each player, starting with a specified player and proceeding in turn order, chooses one of those choices.

701.30b  The listed choices may be objects, words with no rules meaning that are each connected to a different effect, or other variables relevant to the resolution of the spell or ability.

701.30c  If the text of a spell or ability refers to "voting," it refers only to an actual vote, not to any spell or ability that involves the players making choices or decisions without using the word "vote."

701.30d  If an effect gives a player multiple votes, those votes all happen at the same time the player would otherwise have voted.

701.31    Bolster

701.31a  "Bolster N" means "Choose a creature you control with the least toughness or tied for least toughness among creatures you control. Put N +1/+1 counters on that creature."

701.32    Manifest

701.32a  To manifest a card, turn it face down. It becomes a 2/2 face-down creature card with no text, no name, no subtypes, and no mana cost. Put that card onto the battlefield face down. That permanent is a manifested permanent as long as it remains face down. The effect defining its characteristics works while the card is face down and ends when its turned face up.

701.32b  Any time you have priority, you may turn a manifested permanent you control face up. This is a special action that doesnt use the stack (see rule 115.2b). To do this, show all players that the card representing that permanent is a creature card and what that cards mana cost is, pay that cost, then turn the permanent face up. The effect defining its characteristics while it was face down ends, and it regains its normal characteristics. (If the card representing that permanent isnt a creature card or it doesnt have a mana cost, it cant be turned face up this way.)

701.32c  If a card with morph is manifested, its controller may turn that card face up using either the procedure described in rule 702.36e to turn a face-down permanent with morph face up or the procedure described above to turn a manifested permanent face up.

701.32d  If an effect instructs a player to manifest multiple cards from his or her library, those cards are manifested one at a time.

701.32e  If a manifested permanent thats represented by an instant or sorcery card would turn face up, its controller reveals it and leaves it face down. Abilities that trigger whenever a permanent is turned face up wont trigger.

701.32f  See rule 707, "Face-Down Spells and Permanents," for more information.

701.33    Support

701.33a  "Support N" on a permanent means "Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to N other target creatures." "Support N" on an instant or sorcery spell means "Put a +1/+1 counter on each of up to N target creatures."

701.34    Investigate

701.34a  "Investigate" means "Create a colorless Clue artifact token with 2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card."

701.35    Meld

701.35a  Meld is a keyword action that appears in an ability on one card in a meld pair. (See rule 712, "Meld Cards.") To meld the two cards in a meld pair, put them onto the battlefield with their back faces up and combined. The resulting permanent is a single object represented by two cards.

701.35b  Only two cards belonging to the same meld pair can be melded. Tokens, cards that arent meld cards, or meld cards that dont form a meld pair cant be melded.

701.35c  If an effect instructs a player to meld cards that cant be melded, they stay in their current zone.

Example: A player owns and controls Midnight Scavengers and a token thats a copy of Graf Rats. At the beginning of combat, both are exiled but cant be melded. Midnight Scavengers remains exiled and the exiled token ceases to exist.

701.36    Goad

701.36a  Certain spells and abilities can goad a creature. Until the next turn of the controller of that spell or ability, that creature attacks each combat if able and attacks a player other than that player if able.

701.37    Exert

701.37a  To exert a permanent, you choose to have it not untap during your next untap step.

701.37b  A permanent can be exerted even if its not tapped or has already been exerted in a turn. If you exert a permanent more than once before your next untap step, each effect causing it not to untap expires during the same untap step.

701.37c  An object that isnt on the battlefield cant be exerted.

701.37d  "You may exert [this creature] as it attacks" is an optional cost to attack (see rule 508.1g). Some objects with this static ability have a triggered ability that triggers "when you do" printed in the same paragraph. These abilities are linked. (See rule 607.2g.)



       7.  Additional Rules
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7.  Additional Rules       
702. Keyword Abilities  >>
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