Monday, November 12, 2012

ISD Block and Magic 2013 Abilities

In this summary post I include links to posts for specific abilities or groups of abilities.

Some of these abilities are referred to as "evergreen," meaning that they are found on core sets.

I have copied here the color pairings that share the evergreen abilities from a post by Mark Rosewater.

[follow this link to Mark Rosewater's post where he lists these pairings]

Deathtouch (Black-Green)
Flash (Green-Blue)
Flying (White-Blue-Black)
First Strike/Double Strike (Red-White)
Haste (Black-Red)
Hexproof (Green-Blue)
Lifelink (White-Black)
Regeneration (Black-Green)
Trample (Red-Green)
Vigilance (Green-White)

Vanilla Creatures

No one can say that a creature without abilities should be part of the discussion on abilities, but for the sake of completion, in an abilities discussion we must mention those creatures that do not have any abilities, the vanilla creatures. Although we often associate junk commons with vanilla creatures, if a vanilla creature has a high power/toughness relative to its converted mana cost, it will be useful. These three are solidly in the junk common category. 2*CMC > P + T for all three. For Thraben Purebloods we have 10 > 8; for Fortress Crab 8 > 7; and for Rotting Fensnake 8 > 6.

[follow this link for this post]

Flying, Reach, Morbid, Deathtouch and Lifelink

It is great for a card to have multiple abilities. Vampire Nighthawk is one of those cards.

[follow this link for this post]

Vigilance, Intimidate, and "as long as"

I have come across many  instances when Vigilance has helped my opponent. With Vigilance your creature can attack when it is your turn, and then remain untap to block while it is still your turn. This is a very useful ability. Armory Guard has a condition on its ability: "as long as you control a gate."

[follow this link for this post]

Defender and Mana gain

I am still learning how to fit walls into a strategy. I have tried to use Gatecreeper Vine for more than just getting that land card, but I am not yet getting how I can use it beyond mana feed.

[follow this link for this post]


Innistrad contains many cards with this ability.  Innistrad really is a great set! Some of the Flashback cards have a different mana type than the card they are found on. This is a very interesting twist because with a guild-based block (RTR) we now can place Feeling the Dread in an Azorious deck.

[follow this link for this post]


Soulbond is yet another ability that makes the Innistrad block interesting to play, and what makes Avacyn Restored a cool set to play by itself, even if this set has not yielded that many Modern staples.

[follow this link for this post]

Haste, Undying, Flash and Combat Counters

Haste allows you to attack once the creature is played, and not the next turn. It is often found on red creatures, and rarely on other colors. Undying allow you to play the creature a second time with a +1/+1 counter after it is killed. Strangleroot Geist has both of these abilities.

[follow this link for this post]

First Strike and Double Strike

With First Strike, if your creature is evenly matched with another creature during combat, because it deals damage first, it survives.

[follow this link for this post]

Hexproof and Indestructible

Hexproof is easily one of the best abilities for a creature to have and there are even artifacts that you give you, the player, hexproof. Hexproof is better than even indestructible.

[follow this link for this post]


Trample allows you to deal damage directly to a player even when the creature with trample is blocked. If your creature with trample destroys the attacking creature, the leftover points are dealt directly to your opponent. Add vigilance and undying and you have a powerful creature such as Vorapede, a Dark Ascension Mythic Rare. Yet even after such a dizzying array of abilities this card requires three of the same mana color to cast.

[follow this link for this post]

Landwalk and Two-sided Cards

The landwalk ability (with land substituted by any one of Plains, Island, Swamp, Mountain or Forest) is found only on a handful of creatures in the current standard. Somberwald Dryad is one of a handful of cards in the current Standard format with landwalk.

[follow this link for this post]

AVR Miracle Cards

These cards are specific to the Avacyn Restored set. All of these cards have heavy casting costs, but can be played upon drawing for a single mana.

[follow this link for this post]


The protection ability can apply to a specific creature type, or from a color. My favorite protected creature is Progenitus from Conflux: "Protection from Everything."

[follow this link for this post]

Fateful Hour in DKA

This ability is specific to a small number of white and green cards in Dark Ascension.

[follow this link for this post]


This ability and Undying are similar, except with Regenate there is a mana cost involved. Some cards with this ability have it described as "The next time this creature would be destroyed this turn, it isn't. Instead tap it, remove all damage from it, and remove it from combat."

[follow this link for this post]


Recently this ability was included in white and black cards of Magic 2013. Servant of Nefarox and Duskmantle Prowler are examples. Exalted is a limited ability because it can restrict how many creatures you use to attack with.

[follow this link for this post]