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The term "evergreen", as in the context of "an evergreen keyword", refers to keywords or keyword actions that can be used in any set.[1]

Primary/secondary/tertiary[edit | edit source]

When talking about which colors get which evergreen creature keywords, R&D tends to talk about a system called "primary/secondary/tertiary". In their quest to differentiate the colors in the color wheel, each should have strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, not every color gets every keyword.[2][3]

  • "Primary" color means that it is the main color for a specific keyword, where it is centered (e.g., white is the primary color for lifelink; in other words, lifelink is primary in white). When a keyword is primary in that color, it shows up more often and also may show up multiple times in common. The ability is also more likely to be granted in that color. A keyword may be primary in multiple colors (e.g., flying is primary in white and blue).
  • When the color is "secondary", the keyword shows up in almost every set, but not as often. It may show up only once in common, or only in uncommon and rare. The ability may be granted in this color, but not as regularly.
  • "Tertiary" means that the keyword shows up once in a while; not necessarily in every set. It doesn't appear at common and is seldom granted. It only appears under certain circumstances, maybe once a block.
  • "Quaternary" means that the keyword shows up once in a long while; it is only allowed in very rare circumstances. It is not impossible.
  • "Quinary" means it happens only once or twice in the history of Magic. Like Akroma, Angel of Wrath having haste.

Reminder text[edit | edit source]

As the core set has always been the place for new players to start, as of Eighth Edition it was decided to include reminder text with the evergreen creature keywords.[4]

Current evergreen keywords[edit | edit source]

Icons Keyword Type Found in First used in First keyworded in Cards with this
Activate Action All colors Alpha Sixth Edition
Attach Action All colors Mirrodin Mirrodin
Cast Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Counter Action Blue (1) Alpha Alpha
Create Action All colors Alpha Kaladesh
Duels Deathtouch symbol.png Mtga deathtouch.png Deathtouch Static ability Black (1), green (2) Future Sight Future Sight 75
Duels Defender symbol.png Mtga defender.png Defender Static ability Walls in all colors[notes 1][5] Alpha Betrayers of Kamigawa 207
Destroy Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Discard Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Duels Double Strike symbol.png Mtga double strike.png Double strike Static ability Red (1), white (1) Legions Legions 83
Enchant Static ability Auras of all colors Alpha[notes 2] Alpha 732
Equip Activated ability Equipment Mirrodin Mirrodin 174
Exchange Action All colors Alpha Sixth Edition
Exile Action All colors Alpha Magic 2010
Fight Action Green (1), red (2) Visions Innistrad 17
Duels First Strike symbol.png Mtga first strike.png First strike Static ability White (1), red (1), black (3) Alpha Alpha 374
Flash Static ability Blue (1), green-black (2), white-red (3)[3][6] Visions Time Spiral 158
Duels Flying symbol.png Mtga flying.png Flying Static ability White (1), blue (1), black (2), red (3), green (4) Alpha Alpha 1813
Duels Haste symbol.png Haste Static ability Red (1), green (2), black (3) [7] Alpha Sixth Edition 433
Duels Hexproof symbol.png Mtga hexproof.png Hexproof Static ability Blue (1), green (2), white (3), black (3)[8] Portal Three Kingdoms Duels of the
Planeswalkers 2012
Duels Indestructible symbol.png Mtga indestructible.png Indestructible Static ability Artifacts, white (1), green (2), black (2), blue (3), red (3) Alpha Darksteel 68
Duels Lifelink symbol.png Mtga lifelink.png Lifelink Static ability White (1), black (2) Mirrodin Future Sight 91
Menace.png Menace[9] Static ability Black (1), red (2), green (3) Fallen Empires Magic Origins‎ 32
Play Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Duels Protection symbol.png Protection Static ability White (1), blue (2), other colors (3) Alpha Alpha 298
Duels Reach symbol.png Mtga reach.png Reach Static ability Green (1), red (2),[10][11] white (3) Alpha Future Sight 159
Reveal Action All colors Sixth Edition Sixth Edition
Sacrifice Action All colors Alpha Revised Edition
Scry Action Blue (1), white (2), black (2), red (2), green (2) Alliances Fifth Dawn 78
Search Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Shuffle Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Tap/Untap Action All colors Alpha Alpha
Duels Trample symbol.png Mtga trample.png Trample Static ability Green (1), red (2), blue (3), black (3), white (4) Alpha Alpha 478
Duels Vigilance symbol.png Mtga vigilance.png Vigilance Static ability White (1), green (2) Alpha Champions of Kamigawa 198

Former evergreen keywords[edit | edit source]

Icon Keyword Type Found in First used in First keyworded in Last used in Supplanted by Cards with this
Ante Action Artifacts, black, red, green Alpha Alpha Homelands Nothing 9
Banding Static ability White Alpha Alpha Weatherlight Nothing 41
Bury Action All colors Revised Edition Revised Edition Fifth Edition Destroy [something]. It can't be regenerated.
Duels Fear symbol.png Fear Static ability Black (1) Alpha Onslaught Alara Reborn Intimidate 77
Duels Shroud symbol.png Shroud Static ability Green (1), blue (2) Legends Future Sight Mirrodin Besieged Hexproof 116
Duels Intimidate symbol.png Intimidate Static ability Black, red Zendikar Zendikar Commander 2014 Menace 31
Duels Landwalk symbol.png Landwalk Static ability Blue (islandwalk), black (swampwalk), red (mountainwalk), green (forestwalk), white (plainswalk) Alpha Alpha Khans of Tarkir Nothing 186
Prowess Triggered ability Blue, red, white Khans of Tarkir Khans of Tarkir Unstable (Hour of Devastation if only black-bordered sets are included) Nothing 38
Regenerate Action Green (1), black (2) Alpha Alpha Oath of the Gatewatch Indestructible (until end of turn)[12] 251

Most these have been obsoleted, but protection was considered to be deciduous. It is a tool in R&D's toolbox that they're allowed to use, but it's not something they expect to use in every set.[9]

However, protection was reinstated as Evergreen in Core Set 2020.

Evergreen keywords by color[edit | edit source]

Color Primary Secondary Tertiary Obsolete
{W} White Defender, double strike, first strike, flying, indestructible, lifelink, vigilance Scry Flash, hexproof, reach, trample Banding
{U} Blue Counter, flash, flying, hexproof, scry Defender Indestructible, trample Landwalk, shroud
{B} Black Deathtouch, menace Defender, flash, flying, indestructible, lifelink, scry First strike, haste, hexproof, trample Fear, intimidate, regenerate
{R} Red Double strike, first strike, haste Defender, fight,[13] menace, reach,[10][11] scry, trample Flash, flying, indestructible Intimidate
{G} Green Fight, reach, trample Deathtouch, defender, flash, haste, hexproof, indestructible, scry, vigilance Flying, menace Regenerate, shroud
{C} Colorless Equip, indestructible

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Originally the creature type "Wall" carried the special rule that the creature couldn't attack. This was removed with the release of Champions of Kamigawa. Walls printed prior to that set have received errata giving them defender. Additionally, Wall of Junk, which used to be able to attack, was given defender and the Wall subtype.
  2. By errata as of Ninth Edition. Originally cards that now have the subtype Aura were "local enchantments", with a type including what it could enchant, such as "enchant creature" or "enchant land".

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (June 18, 2007). "Keyword Play". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (November 6, 2015) "Primary/Secondary/Tertiary". Drive to Work # 276
  3. a b Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (August 05, 2013). "Twenty Things That Were Going To Kill Magic". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (October 04, 2004). "Change For the Better". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Mark Rosewater (January 14, 2018). "Flash has been upgraded to secondary in black.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. Mark Rosewater (December 09, 2018). "Is vengvine a bend in green having haste and all?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (April 03, 2016). "What was the thought process behind not giving Elusive Tormentor a blue activation cost?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. a b Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  10. a b Mark Rosewater (2015-07-05). "How do you feel about the red Giant in orgins having reach?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. a b Mark Rosewater (2017-04-14). "Is Reach in Red's pie now?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (2016-09-16). "Rush of Vitality?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (2015-09-10). "Could colours other than green have fight effects?". Blogatog. Tumblr.