Tag Archive: games and mechanics

Games and Mechanics – Evergreen, Part 1

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,






So, for those of you who saw the old site, I had a segment called Games and Mechanics, where I talked about some of the more complicated parts of the game. Mostly talking about complicated abilities like Banding.

Well, I’m bringing it back.

Due to the fact that the game is booming, there need to be guides like this out there. Whether it be mechanics, keywords, or just slang within the community, I’ll be doing my best to have the answers to the questions like “what’s tron?” or “what’s the stack” or “why is banding so damn complicated?”

This doesn’t mean I won’t still be doing Commanding Opinion, of course – I plan on still doing 5 of those a week, and most likely 2-3 of these a week as well. Once we’re out of the M15 spoiler season, I can guarantee that.

Until next time,


Game and Mechanics – Banding

I was on r/mtg, and I stumbled upon this; a player admitting that he liked the banding mechanic.

Banding is considered a dark point in Magic’s history, mainly because of how horribly complicated the ability is.

Look at this:

From the Comprehensive Rules

  • 702.20. Banding
    • 702.20a Banding is a static ability that modifies the rules for combat.
    • 702.20b “Bands with other” is a special form of banding. If an effect causes a permanent to lose banding, the permanent loses all “bands with other” abilities as well.
    • 702.20c As a player declares attackers, he or she may declare that one or more attacking creatures with banding and up to one attacking creature without banding (even if it has “bands with other”) are all in a “band.” He or she may also declare that one or more attacking [quality] creatures with “bands with other [quality]” and any number of other attacking [quality] creatures are all in a band. A player may declare as many attacking bands as he or she wants, but each creature may be a member of only one of them. (Defending players can’t declare bands but may use banding in a different way; see rule 702.20j.)
    • 702.20d All creatures in an attacking band must attack the same player or planeswalker.
    • 702.20e Once an attacking band has been announced, it lasts for the rest of combat, even if something later removes banding or “bands with other” from one or more of the creatures in the band.
    • 702.20f An attacking creature that’s removed from combat is also removed from the band it was in.
    • 702.20g Banding doesn’t cause attacking creatures to share abilities, nor does it remove any abilities. The attacking creatures in a band are separate permanents.
    • 702.20h If an attacking creature becomes blocked by a creature, each other creature in the same band as the attacking creature becomes blocked by that same blocking creature.
      • Example
        A player attacks with a band consisting of a creature with flying and a creature with swampwalk. The defending player, who controls a Swamp, can block the flying creature if able. If he or she does, then the creature with swampwalk will also become blocked by the blocking creature(s).
    • 702.20i If one member of a band would become blocked due to an effect, the entire band becomes blocked.
    • 702.20j During the combat damage step, if an attacking creature is being blocked by a creature with banding, or by both a [quality] creature with “bands with other [quality]” and another [quality] creature, the defending player (rather than the active player) chooses how the attacking creature’s damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature’s combat damage as he or she chooses among any number of creatures blocking it. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1c.
    • 702.20k During the combat damage step, if a blocking creature is blocking a creature with banding, or both a [quality] creature with “bands with other [quality]” and another [quality] creature, the active player (rather than the defending player) chooses how the blocking creature’s damage is assigned. That player can divide that creature’s combat damage as he or she chooses among any number of creatures it’s blocking. This is an exception to the procedure described in rule 510.1d.
    • 702.20m Multiple instances of banding on the same creature are redundant. Multiple instances of bands with other of the same kind on the same creature are redundant.

That’s the comprehensive rules of Banding. No other ability (to my knowledge, correct me if I’m wrong) has nearly as many rulings on it.

But the actual “reminder text” for banding is this:

“Any creatures with banding, and up to one without, can attack in a band. Bands are blocked as a group. If any creatures with banding you control are blocking or being blocked by a creature, you divide that creature’s combat damage, not its controller, among any of the creatures it’s being blocked by or is blocking.”

So, essentially, combat damage is distributed backwards; when you attack with, say, 15 1/1 creatures all in a band, you get to distribute the blocking damage. A good player would have their 14/14 deal one damage to 14 of 15 of those creatures. But a player with banding would cause that 14 damage to be taken by a single 1/1. The same thing occurs when blocking; if your opponent attacks with a 6/6 but you block with two 3/3 creatures, usually the 6/6 would kill both 3/3 creatures; but instead, one of those 3/3 creatures would take all 6 damage for his comrade, but they would still kill that 6/6.

This ability has been admittedly removed from ever seeing play again, for essentially what this one redditor said:

“I am not a closet banding fan; I’m am open!! I emailed MaRo to ask why they got rid of it? (I stopped playing while it was still around; came back in M10). He gave me an explanation: basically it was too complicated and clunky.”

For some actual background on the mechanic, Banding began in Alpha, the first set in MTG, and was last (legally) printed in Weatherlight. If you want to understand Wizards of the Coast’s stance on Banding, take a look at Old Fogey from Unhinged. There’s a reason he has “banding with others” along with his other retired abilities.

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