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. Cantrips can be found in all colors.
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. 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]
- Mark Rosewater. (July 31, 2006.) "Cantrip Down Memory Lane", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Aaron Forsythe. (August 4, 2006.) "Magic’s Zero-Level Spells", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater. (May 11, 2018.) "Im guessing since it draws a card, Explore, the card is a break too?", Blogatog, Tumblr.
- Devin Low. (July 13, 2004.) "Ask Wizards: "Where did the term 'cantrip' come from?"", magicthegathering.com, Wizards of the Coast.