An Evergreen mechanic is any mechanic that is usable in any set. In fact, you can find a list of them here.
These are the barebones basics of the game, and I’ll be going over each of them in the order they appear in the linked list.
Deathtouch: Any amount of damage this deals to a creature is enough to destroy it.
First Key-worded: Future Sight
Deathtouch modifies what is referred to as “lethal damage,” or the damage required to kill a creature. For example, lethal damage for a 4/4 is 4 damage. What deathtouch does is make that number 1, no matter what. This creature just needs to be able to do 1 damage to the creature it’s fighting to kill it.
Defender: This creature can’t attack.
First Key-worded: Betrayers of Kamigawa
Defender is less of an ability and more of a hinderance. Creatures with Defender are completely unable to attack, but are generally limited to just Walls and other things that tend to have 0 power. Originally, Defender was not an ability – it was a side effect of being the creature type Wall. However, now it’s also on non-walls, like Pride Guardian and Wakestone Gargoyle. These creatures are generally designed to be just defensive creatures (hence the name of the ability) but is also sometimes used as a temporary limitation.
Guardian of the Ages is one of those cards – it’s a 7/7 defender until an opponent attacks you, and then it loses defender and gains trample.
Double Strike: This creature deals damage in both first strike and normal combat.
First Key-worded: Legions
This needs a little bit more explaination,
First Strike: This creature deals combat damage before creatures without first strike.
First Key-worded: Alpha
First Strike damage takes place before normal combat damage. So for example, a 7/2 blocks a 2/1 first strike. The 2/1 deals damage before the 7/2 creature, and kills it as the creature only has 2 toughness. As the 7/2 is already dead, the 2/1 survives.
Now, to explain double strike, we’ll use a very similar scenario. a 7/4 blocks a 2/1 double strike. First strike combat occurs, and the 2/1 deals two damage to the 7/4. The 7/4 now has 2 damage on it. Then, we go into regular combat. The 7/4 deals 7 damage to the 2/1, but the 2/1 deals another 2 damage to the 7/4, which kills the 7/4, and the 2/1 dies to the 7 damage from the 7/4.
Now, keep in mind that double strike does not let you hit the player after you kill their creature, unless that creature has trample. Many players think that a 2/2 double strike killing a 2/2 lets you kill the creature and then hit the player for 2 damage. This isn’t true – and a lot of people will try to trick you with this. The creature with double strike is completely safe from that 2/2, but the creature is also still blocked.
Enchant states what an Aura targets when it comes into play, and was first key-worded in Alpha.
For example, most auras have “Enchant Creature,” which allows the aura to attach itself to a creature. Fairly straight forward.
Equip N: Attach to target creature you control. Equip only as a sorcery.
First Key-worded: Mirrodin
Equip is the activated ability that appears on Equipment that allows you to attach the equipment to your creatures. (Used equip a little too much in that sentence…) Equipments give benefits to the equipped creature, much like Auras. The difference between equipments and auras, however, is that equipments stay in play after the equipped creature is destroyed.
Lightning Greaves for example is an equipment straight out of Mirrodin. A 2-drop artifact with the benefit of giving Haste and Shroud (which I’ll mention later), and has an equip cost of 0.
Fight: [Something] and target creature fight.
First key-worded: Innistrad
Fight was actually originally from Onslaught block, but took a very long time to get key-worded. It causes two creatures to literally fight. More specifically, the creatures each deal damage equal to their power to each other, just like regular combat. Personally, my favorite card that causes fights is Ulvenwald Tracker. For a cost, he forces two creatures to fight, and at only 1 green.
This is, however, only part one of the evergreen articles. There will be one more, talking about the rest of the evergreen mechanics.
Until next time,