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A bounce effect or spell is one that returns a card that is on the battlefield to its owner's hand. It is unknown where the slang term originated.[1] The term predates the card Waterfront Bouncer by years.[2][3]

Bounce effects can remove an opponent's blockers or save one's own permanents from destruction, among other uses. The primary color blue can bounce any type of permanent. It also will often bounce a creature via an Enters the battlefield effect. (R&D refers to these as Man-o'-Wars based on the first card that did it.) The secondary color white can only bounce its own permanents to protect them or combine effects. Green (also secondary) bounces creatures as a cost for playing bigger creatures, often as an upkeep cost.[4] Per 2017, R&D is considering giving red the ability to bounce creatures controlled by the opponent.[5][6]

Famous bounce spells

See also: Bounce land.

Bounce to the library

"Bounce" to the library (Put a creature/permanent on top of its owner's library or some number of cards down.) is also primary in blue and secondary in white.[4] Blue does this as a super unsummoning, while white tends to do it flavored as a delaying tactic.


  1. Mark Rosewater (July 23, 2017). "Where does bounce come from?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  2. Mark Rosewater (July 26, 2017). "To answer an ask from a day or so ago.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  3. Mark Rosewater (July 28, 2017). "I always assumed that the term "bounce" came from Waterfront Bouncer?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  4. a b Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (August 5, 2017). "How do you feel about bounce in red?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (August 9, 2017). "The prospect of giving red bounce.". Blogatog. Tumblr.