MTG What is a Spell? (EXPLAINED)

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MTG What is a Spell

Casting spells is one of the main aspects of the captivating and addictive fantasy-based card game, MTG, but what is a spell? 

Read on and discover the answer to what an MTG spell is, and more!

In MTG, What is a Spell?

A spell, in the popular trading card game, Magic: The Gathering, is any card that has been played (“cast”) and placed on the stack. Before the spell has been played, it is simply a card, with a type, color, and class like every other card in your hand or deck.

Are All Cards Spells in MTG?

Technically speaking, not all cards are spells. But, all cards have the potential to become spells when you play them. Before you play any card, it is not considered a spell because no “magic” has yet occurred. 

Once the casting cost is paid, and it joins the stack, the card becomes a spell. However, if it doesn’t remain there, it isn’t a spell anymore. For example, once a creature card is played, the next turn it becomes a full-fledged creature (not a spell).

How Many MTG Spells Are There?

The exact number of spells in MTG is hard to put your finger on because it is always changing. With each year, four new sets and several expansions are released (all with new spells!). Right now, the MTG spell count is well into the thousands.

How Do MTG Spells Work?

MTG spells work in various ways, as the game is extremely versatile. However, in the most basic form and function, a MTG spell comes into play after you pay a certain affixed amount of “mana”, as well as paying any additional “casting” costs, such as sacrificing a permanent, creature, land, or life point.

Is an Ability a Spell MTG?

Spells and abilities are similar but not the same. Spells are technically simply cards that are on the stack (though their effects range widely). Abilities are effects that are built-in or temporarily granted to creatures and/or other cards on the field.

Does Playing Land/Mana Count as a Spell?

Playing land cards, also known as mana, in MTG, does not count as playing a spell. Land cards never “land” on the stack (haha). Rather, they land directly on the battlefield under your control. Also, tapping land cards for mana doesn’t count as a spell either. The mana granted from land cards is more like an ability.

Does Countering a Spell Destroy it?

Countering spells cancel the effects of the spell. It also removes the card from the stack as well. However, countering a spell doesn’t destroy it. A countered spell ends up in the graveyard just like all the rest of its owner’s “dead” cards. Destroyed cards are removed from all zones of play, including graveyards.