Poisonous

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Poisonous
Keyword Ability
Type Triggered
Introduced Future Sight
Last Used Future Sight
Reminder Text Poisonous N (Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player gets N poison counters.)
Statistics 2 cards
{B} 50% {G} 50%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Poisonous"

Poisonous is a keyword ability that allows the use of multiple poison counters. It was introduced in Future Sight, though the concept of poison counters is as old as Legends (e.g. Pit Scorpion, Serpent Generator).

Description[edit | edit source]

Poisonous has only been printed on two cards so far, the timeshifted Snake Cult Initiation and Virulent Sliver.

This was Mark Rosewater planting a flag in the ground that poison was going to return one day. He basically just keyworded how poison had always been used in the past.[1] Poison would later return with Infect in Scars of Mirrodin. As Infect had its own issues, maybe one day poisonous will get another chance.[1]

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (September 25, 2020—Zendikar Rising)

Poisonous
A keyword ability that causes a player to get poison counters. See rule 702.69, “Poisonous.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (September 25, 2020—Zendikar Rising)

  • 702.69. Poisonous
    • 702.69a Poisonous is a triggered ability. “Poisonous N” means “Whenever this creature deals combat damage to a player, that player gets N poison counters.” (For information about poison counters, see rule 104.3d.)
    • 702.69b If a creature has multiple instances of poisonous, each triggers separately.

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • If all damage that a poisonous creature would deal to a player is prevented, the poisonous ability won't trigger (see rule 119.8).
  • The player will get the stated number of poison counters each time the poisonous creature deals combat damage to him or her, regardless of how much damage that creature dealt.
  • If a player has ten poison counters, that player loses the game.
  • Although several older cards give players poison counters, none of those cards have abilities that trigger on combat damage.

Examples[edit | edit source]

Example 1

Snake Cult Initiation {3}{B}
Enchantment — Aura
Enchant creature
Enchanted creature has poisonous 3. (Whenever it deals combat damage to a player, that player gets three poison counters. A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)

Example 2

Virulent Sliver {G}
Creature — Sliver
1/1
All Sliver creatures have poisonous 1. (Whenever a Sliver deals combat damage to a player, that player gets a poison counter. A player with ten or more poison counters loses the game.)

Older cards[edit | edit source]

Many older cards referencing poison counters use a wording very similar to the poisonous keyword, but trigger on any damage, rather than just combat damage. To avoid changing functionality, no errata were made for these cards when the poisonous keyword was introduced.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. a b Mark Rosewater (August 10, 2020). "Back to the Future Sight, Part 2". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.