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The term Deciduous, as in the context of "a deciduous keyword", refers to keywords, keyword actions or other mechanics that are not evergreen, but may show up from time to time in a set that needs it.

Description[ | ]

Deciduous mechanics are a tool in R&D's toolbox that they're allowed to use, but they're not something they expect to use in every set.[1][2][3] Most of these are spell mechanics; as spells make up a much lower density of a set's file, needing certain old mechanics are less relevant. Additionally, only one fixing mechanic is usually needed per set, so if the set already has one developed, mechanics such as Clues, Blood, cycling or surveil are less necessary.

The term is derived from the botanical sense, in which deciduous is the antonym of evergreen.

As of 2022, R&D is considering making other mechanics deciduous, like they did with cycling.[4] In October 2022, surveil and landfall were promoted to deciduous status.[5] Additionally, cards from previous sets that had those mechanics written out without the keyword (i.e. Consider and Evolution Sage) had their Oracle text updated to include them.[6][7]

Current deciduous mechanics[ | ]

Mechanic Type Colors First used in First keyworded in Made deciduous in
Affinity[8][9] Keyword ability {W}{U}{R} Mirrodin Mirrodin Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Anchor word Rules text {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Fate Reforged N/A Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms
Basic landcycling Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Conflux Conflux The Lost Caverns of Ixalan[10]
Battle[11] Card type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} March of the Machine N/A March of the Machine
Blood tokens Artifact type {W}{U}{B}{R} Innistrad: Crimson Vow Innistrad: Crimson Vow Innistrad: Crimson Vow
Cantrip Rules text {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ice Age N/A Ice Age
Charge counters[12] Counter {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ice Age N/A Ice Age
Clue tokens Artifact type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Shadows over Innistrad Shadows over Innistrad Shadows over Innistrad
Colored artifacts Artifact type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Future Sight N/A Kaladesh[3]
Convoke Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ravnica: City of Guilds Ravnica: City of Guilds Duskmourn: House of Horror[13]
Curses Enchantment type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Innistrad N/A Innistrad
Cycling Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Urza's Saga Urza's Saga Streets of New Capenna
Transforming double-faced cards[14] Keyword action {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Innistrad Innistrad Innistrad
Double-faced tokens Token {C} March of the Machine N/A March of the Machine[15]
Enchantment creatures[16][17] Combined card types {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Theros N/A Theros
Finality counters Counter {U}{B}{R}{G} Innistrad: Midnight Hunt N/A The Lost Caverns of Ixalan
Flashback[9] Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Odyssey Odyssey Phyrexia: All Will Be One
Food tokens Artifact type {G}{W}{U}{B} Throne of Eldraine N/A Throne of Eldraine
Hybrid mana Mana {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ravnica: City of Guilds N/A Shadowmoor
Keyword counters[18] Counter {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths N/A Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths
Kicker[19] Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Invasion Invasion March of the Machine
Landfall[7] Ability word {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ravnica: City of Guilds Zendikar The Brothers' War
Nonartifact spells with generic mana costs[20] Spells {X} Rise of the Eldrazi N/A Rise of the Eldrazi
Phasing (Phase out)[21] Keyword action {G}{W}{U} Mirage Commander 2017 Commander 2017
Protection from [...][14] Keyword ability {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Alpha Alpha Alpha
Prowess Keyword ability {U}{R} Khans of Tarkir Khans of Tarkir Magic Origins, lost status in Hour of Devastation,
deciduous again as of Dominaria United
Sagas[22] Enchantment type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Dominaria N/A Theros Beyond Death
Split cards[14] Spells {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Invasion N/A Invasion
Stun counters Counter {W}{U} Dominaria United N/A Dominaria United
Surveil[5] Keyword action {B}{G}{U} Odyssey Guilds of Ravnica The Brothers' War
Treasure tokens Artifact type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Ixalan N/A Ravnica Allegiance
Vanilla creatures[23] Creatures {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Alpha N/A Alpha
Vehicles Artifact type {W}{U}{B}{R}{G} Kaladesh N/A Kaladesh

Cameo mechanics[ | ]

In 2023, R&D also started experimenting with started to do "cameos" where an old mechanic appears once in a set at a higher rarity. The rules for cameo cards require that they're relatively simple and don't have a history of balance issues.[24][25]

It is relatively easy to do more one-of existing ability words in sets, as the card text explains everything, and thus an ability word comes at less of a mental cost.[26]

Set Mechanic Cameo Card
Phyrexia: All Will Be One Battle cry Ria Ivor, Bane of Bladehold
Wilds of Eldraine Skulk Ingenious Prodigy
The Lost Caverns of Ixalan Battle cry Sanguine Evangelist
Rebound Ojer Pakpatiq, Deepest Epoch
Adventure Kellan, Daring Traveler
Murders at Karlov Manor Wither Massacre Girl, Known Killer
Adventure Kellan, Inquisitive Prodigy
Outlaws of Thunder Junction Investigate Malcolm, the Eyes
Bloomburrow Storm Ral, Crackling Wit

References[ | ]

  1. Mark Rosewater (November 7, 2016). "A Few More Words from R&D". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b Mark Rosewater (March 28, 2022). "Deciduous". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (August 24, 2022). "Surveil needs to be evergreen and errataed onto cards like Consider and the newly spoiled Uurg, Spawn of Turg.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  5. a b Mark Rosewater (October 15, 2022). "Hi Mark! I just saw that a bunch of cards in Gatherer got errata’d to use Surveil rather than the spelled out wording. Whats happening there?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (August 24, 2022). "Surveil needs to be evergreen and errataed onto cards like Consider and the newly spoiled Uurg, Spawn of Turg.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  7. a b Mark Rosewater (October 15, 2022). "Mark... gatherer had a weird update this morning. Are surveil and landfall becoming evergreen?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  8. Mark Rosewater (January 23, 2023). "Is affinity deciduous now?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  9. a b Why is There Just 1 Flashback Card in Phyrexia: All Will Be One? (Video). Good Morning Magic. YouTube (Janauary 25, 2023).
  10. Mark Rosewater (November 10, 2023). "I noticed there were a few cards in LCI with typecycling.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  11. Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2023). "With the introduction of battles, can we assume that from now on, MDFC's are now evergreen and every set will have them?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  12. Mark Rosewater (August 17, 2022). "Are charge counters evergreen?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  13. Mark Rosewater (June 29, 2024). "Is convoke now deciduous?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  14. a b c Mark Rosewater (June 30, 2017). "What mechanics and tools are currently considered Deciduous?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  15. Mark Rosewater (November 20, 2023). "Odds & Ends: 2023, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  16. Mark Rosewater (July 17, 2022). "Is there hope for Enchantment Creatures becoming deciduous?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  17. Mark Rosewater (September 8, 2022). "Enchantment creatures now being decidious. What is the color distribution for them?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  18. Mark Rosewater (March 28, 2022). "Aren't ability tokens (menace tokens, death touch tokens, etc) deciduous?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  19. Mark Rosewater (April 5, 2023). "Final Flourish is the only card in the set with Kicker?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  20. Mark Rosewater (March 29, 2022). "hen, how about Colorless Nonartifact is? Not only like Eldrazi, as small tools, like Environmental Sciences.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  21. Mark Rosewater (April 15, 2022). "You recently made an article mentioning all Deciduous mechanics. However you missed Phasing.". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  22. Mark Rosewater (January 28, 2022). "Are Sagas deciduous yet?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  23. Mark Rosewater (March 20, 2022). "Since you mentioned that vanilla creatures are printed infrequently now, where does that put them on the Storm Scale?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  24. Mark Rosewater (November 27, 2023). "Odds & Ends: 2023, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  25. Mark Rosewater (January 29, 2024). "Only Murders That We're Building, Part 1". Wizards of the Coast.
  26. Mark Rosewater (October 14, 2023). "Why did we get a single card with Battle Cry in ONE?". Blogatog. Tumblr.