Magic Duels Wikia

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: "2White, Tap: 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 Mechanics[]

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


Icon unkown.png

Split cards, that let you play one half of a split card only from your graveyard.

Main article: Aftermath


Icon unkown.png

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 Block[]

Icon cant block.png

Can't Block is a static ability found on creatures. They cannot be used as blocking creatures.

Main article: Blocking

Can't be blocked[]

Icon unblockable.png

Can't be blocked is a static ability found on creatures. They cannot be blocked.

Main article: Blocking


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon unkown.png

An ability, which let's you discard the card from your hand to draw another card.

Main article: Cycling


Icon deathtouch.png

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


Icon defender.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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 Untap[]

Icon doesnt untap.png

Sometimes a permanent gets this ability mostly from a blue source like Fogwalker or Ice Over.

Main article: Tapping

Double Strike[]

Icon double strike.png

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


Icon embalm.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon unkown.png

Gather Energy counters (Energy) and spend them on Energy abilities.

Main article: Energy


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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

Main article: Escalate


Icon exert.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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 Strike[]

Icon first strike.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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

Main article: Flash


Icon flying.png

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


Icon haste.png

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


Icon hexproof.png

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


Icon unkown.png

Improvise is a static ability that lets you tap artifacts for 1 to help casting the spell.

Main article: Improvise


Icon indestructible.png

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


Icon ingest.png

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

Main article: Ingest


Icon intimidate.png

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


Icon unkown.png

Investigate is a keyword action meaning “Put a colorless Clue artifact token onto the battlefield. It has ‘2, Sacrifice this artifact: Draw a card.’”

Main article: Investigate


Icon lifelink.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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

Main article: Meld


Icon menace.png

Menace is a static ability that makes a creature unblockable unless it is blocked by more than one creature.

Main article: Menace

Must Attack[]

Icon must attack.png

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


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon reach.png

Reach is a static ability that means the affected creature can block creatures with flying.

Main article: Reach


Icon regenerate.png

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


Icon renown.png

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


Icon skulk.png

Skulk is an evasion ability that makes a creature unblockable to creatures with greater power.

Main article: Skulk


Icon unkown.png

Support is a keyword action that lets you put +1/+1 counters on target creatures.

Main article: Support


Icon unkown.png

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


Icon token.png

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


Icon trample.png

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


Icon doublefaced.png

Transform is a triggered ability that allows to turn double-faced cards upside down.

Main article: Transform


Icon vigilance.png

Vigilance is a static ability that means the affected creature does not need to tap when attacking.

Main article: Vigilance

Magic Duels Ability Words[]

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]