MTG Wiki
Ability Word
Introduced Saviors of Kamigawa
Last Used Alchemy: Kamigawa
Typical Text Channel — [cost], Discard this card: ...
37 cards
{W} 13.5% {U} 18.9% {B} 5.4% {R} 16.2% {G} 29.7% {G/U} 2.7% {land symbol} 13.5%
Scryfall Search

Channel is an ability word indicating that a card may be discarded for an effect. It was introduced in Saviors of Kamigawa.[1]


Channel was first featured only on spirit creatures, and designed to have resonance with the spirit's abilities. There are two cycles of Channels, the uncommon Ghost-Lit cycle (which had numerical effects) and the common Shinen (which granted a keyword or keyword-like ability), alongside a rare mirrored pair of Arashi, the Sky Asunder and Jiwari, the Earth Aflame.

Flavorwise, Channel represents spirits gathering all of their energy and using it for a one-time special effect. It has an interaction with Epic and Soulshift, both also in Saviors; Channel abilities are often similar to real spells, but you may play them after playing an Epic spell. Soulshift allows you to reuse Channeled cards.

Due to the generic cost and unrestrained effect, it has similarities in many future mechanics. Transmute turned spells into tutors; the Evoke ability from Lorwyn has a similar flavor and use; Reinforce turned cards into +1/+1 counters; Bloodrush turned creatures into combat tricks. Channel was later considered for Throne of Eldraine, which developed into Adventures.[2] Channel itself returned once with Modern Horizons 2 on a card design that encapsulated all three rarities.

Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty returned Channel to Standard.[3][4] In this set, the Channel ability does not always have a mechanical link to the other abilities on the card.[5] Instead of being Spirits creature that impart similar abilities, the Channel abilities now are variable effects that are available on enchantments, artifacts and a cycle of Legendary lands. Previously color-balanced for the most part, the mechanic was skewed Green by double, while Black had none. Some of the other discard mechanics are referenced through tweaked variants, such as Cycling (Reinforced Ronin, Mnemonic Sphere), Plainscycling (Sunblade Samurai, with some life gain), Bloodrush (Ironhoof Boar; different stats and can be defensive), and Reinforce (Jukai Preserver: Reinforce 1 onto two target creatures).


  • Channel cards have an activated ability that lets you discard them to get a temporary effect that's similar to the creature's normal ability.
  • The ability after "channel" is an activated ability that you can play any time the channel card is in your hand and you have priority.
  • Discarding the card is part of the cost to activate a channel ability.
  • If a channel ability requires a target, you may not activate it without a target just to discard the card.



Arashi, the Sky Asunder {3}{G}{G}
Legendary Creature — Spirit
{X}{G}, {T}: Arashi, the Sky Asunder deals X damage to target creature with flying.
Channel{X}{G}{G}, Discard Arashi: Arashi deals X damage to each creature with flying.


  1. Mark Rosewater (May 23, 2005). "Choosing a Channel". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Gottlieb (September 12, 2019). "The Adventure Adventure". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (January 31, 2022). "The Making of a Dynasty, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Wizards of the Coast (February 9, 2022). "Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Release Notes". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Matt Tabak (January 27, 2022). "Kamigawa: Neon Dynasty Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.