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A cantrip is a slang term used to refer to a spell that draws a card in addition to its other effects (usually minor) and can therefore be said to replace itself.[1][2]

The term originated from a Scottish word for a magic spell or charm. The term entered the gaming lexicon through Dungeons & Dragons as slang for a spell with a minor effect.[3] Cantrips are included in decks for varying reasons. A cantrip can effectively "thin" a deck, so more useful cards can be drawn faster, while at the same time not losing card advantage. It can also inexpensively increase the number of spells played in a turn, which is a key factor in some decks, most notably those using the Storm mechanic. Some cantrips have additional effects which can serve as an answer to an obstacle in play.

Slowtrips[edit | edit source]

Cantrips were introduced in Ice Age, where the effect read "Draw a card at the beginning of next turn's upkeep." Starting with Weatherlight, this has been shortened to "Draw a card." The Ice Age cantrips are also referred to as "slowtrips" because they are slower than drawing a card immediately.

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • These cards set up a delayed triggered ability that triggers at the beginning of the upkeep of the very next turn. It doesn't matter whose turn it is.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater. (July 31, 2006.) “Cantrip Down Memory Lane”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Aaron Forsythe. (August 4, 2006.) “Magic’s Zero-Level Spells”,, Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Devin Low. (July 13, 2004.) “Ask Wizards: "Where did the term 'cantrip' come from?"”,, Wizards of the Coast.
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