Card type

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Card type is a characteristic found on every Magic: the Gathering card. It appears in the type line, between any supertypes and subtypes that card might have.

Other objects, such as tokens and some non-traditional Magic cards, also have card types.

Card type dictates many of the general rules regarding when and how a card may be played.

Current types[edit | edit source]

Standard Magic cards typically have one or more of either the permanent types land, creature, artifact, enchantment, and planeswalker, or of the non-permanent spell types instant and sorcery.

Cards may have more than one card type, such as artifact land or enchantment creature, and types may be changed during gameplay. A card may possess any supertype, regardless of its type, and can gain any subtype that corresponds to a type on that card.

Starting with Magic 2015, tokens printed on the reverse side of marketing cards are printed with a type line. This type line appears to depict the card type "Token" for creature tokens, or the card type "Emblem" and the corresponding Planeswalker subtype for emblem tokens. However, neither token nor emblem are card types, and these labels are included solely to help identify the tokens.[1] Additionally, while the creature subtype on such token cards is correct, emblems are neither cards nor permanents, and have no types or subtypes.

Casual formats[edit | edit source]

Most of the other currently supported card types are exclusive to casual variants and the supplemental products that support those formats. Phenomenon and plane cards are exclusive to the Planechase format. Scheme cards are used by the player designated as the archenemy in the Archenemy format. Vanguard cards are used by the format of the same name. The conspiracy type has appeared only in the Conspiracy product.

While most casual play-oriented card types have appeared only on oversized cards, cards with the conspiracy type are printed at the normal size, to allow them to fit into booster packs. Because this would allow those cards to be mixed into a normal deck, cards with the conspiracy type are explicitly banned outside of the Conspiracy format.[2]

Deprecated types[edit | edit source]

The tribal type, which appeared in Future Sight and the Lorwyn block, is still supported under the current Comprehensive Rules. However, it is unlikely to be reprinted on new cards.[3]

Obsolete types[edit | edit source]

Some older cards were printed with card types which have since been rendered obsolete by rules updates. Those cards have received errata and are still playable according to their Oracle text.

Interrupt and mana source were created for older versions of the game's timing system, under which spells were played in a batch and interrupts functioned similarly to the split second keyword. When the batch was replaced by the stack in Sixth Edition, those types became obsolete, and cards that had those types became instants.

The summon type was replaced by creature in order to remove any confusion resulting from the lack of the word "creature" on cards representing that type.[4]

Old enchant cards, then known as local enchantments, now use the aura subtype and enchant keyword to differentiate themselves from global enchantments.

Type icons[edit | edit source]

The Future Sight futureshifted card frame supported type icons for each card type then in the game. These icons were a set of claw marks for creature, a flame for sorcery, a lightning bolt for instant, a sunrise for enchantment, a chalice for artifact, and a pair of mountain peaks for land. Cards with multiple card types were indicated by a black and white cross.[5] There was no type icon for the planeswalker type, as it did not yet exist.

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the Comprehensive Rules (Aether Revolt (January 20, 2017))

  • 205.2. Card Types
    • 205.2a The card types are artifact, conspiracy, creature, enchantment, instant, land, phenomenon, plane, planeswalker, scheme, sorcery, tribal, and vanguard. See section 3, “Card Types.”
    • 205.2b Some objects have more than one card type (for example, an artifact creature). Such objects satisfy the criteria for any effect that applies to any of their card types.
    • 205.2c Tokens have card types even though they aren’t cards. The same is true of copies of spells and copies of cards.

From the Comprehensive Rules (Aether Revolt (January 20, 2017))

  • 300. General
    • 300.1. The card types are artifact, conspiracy, creature, enchantment, instant, land, phenomenon, plane, planeswalker, scheme, sorcery, tribal, and vanguard.
    • 300.2. Some objects have more than one card type (for example, an artifact creature). Such objects combine the aspects of each of those card types, and are subject to spells and abilities that affect either or all of those card types.
      • 300.2a An object that’s both a land and another card type (for example, an artifact land) can only be played as a land. It can’t be cast as a spell.
      • 300.2b Each tribal card has another card type. Casting and resolving a tribal card follow the rules for casting and resolving a card of the other card type.

Nonstandard cards[edit | edit source]

Some cards printed for special purposes are not supported in the Comprehensive Rules, and may have card types defined elsewhere. For example, the Hero's Path event run during Theros block used hero cards, which are unplayable outside of that event.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Blake Rasmussen. (July 2, 2014.) “Magic 2015 tokens”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Trick Jarrett. (May 26 2014.) “No Conspiracies Allowed”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater. (September 19, 2011.) “Scary Stories, Part 1”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater. (October 4 2004.) “Change For the Better”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Magic Arcana. (May 24, 2007.) “Future Sight’s Card Type Symbols”, magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.