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Keyword Action
Introduced Alpha
Last Used Evergreen
Reminder Text No official reminder text
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Destroy is an evergreen keyword action, introduced in Alpha.[1][2] When a permanent is destroyed, it is moved from the battlefield to its owner’s graveyard. It is also the term used for creatures going to the graveyard due to lethal damage, including the reduced lethal damage threshold caused by Deathtouch.

Destruction can happen due to the keyword or due to damage. On the other hand, it is not considered destruction to go to the graveyard due to other effects such as toughness or loyalty being reduced to 0 or being sacrificed; the broader term dies does include these cases. Removing creatures by sending them to exile or other zones is neither destruction nor death.

Indestructible and Regenerate directly prevent destruction, both from the keyword and from damage. Many effects trigger from death, although few to none trigger from destruction specifically.



Murder {1}{B}{B}
Destroy target creature.

By color[]


White is best at destroying enchantments (Demystify). Early in Magic's history, it also had artifact destruction (Disenchant) in its wheelhouse. White has a few spells that destroy attacking or tapped creatures (Vengeance), but generally prefers to exile creatures instead of destroying them. White is also willing to destroy something after it has hurt white in some way. It can also destroy tapped creatures using a similar flavor.[3] White is secondary in creature destruction, but usually at a higher cost.[4] As champion of the little guy, white will usually destroy large creatures (power 3 or greater).[3][4] Compensation removal (I kill your creature and you get something in exchange) can be found only in white.[4]

White further has board wipes that destroy all permanents of a certain type, regardless of controller (Wrath of God, Armageddon). Mass creature kill shows up on a rare or mythic rare in almost every set.[3] Flavorwise, destruction in white is portrayed as a result of magical or divine power.


Blue has the least destruction of any color, compensating for this with counterspells and spells that return permanents to owner's hands. A few spells (Rapid Hybridization) have been printed in blue that destroy a creature but reward the controller of the destroyed creature with a creature token. However, compensation removal completely has been moved to white.[4]


Since the printing of Terror in Alpha, black has been the color of creature destruction in all forms.[3] Black is secondary in destroying tapped creatures.[3] Occasionally, black also receives land destruction (Sinkhole). Black is secondary in mass creature kill, but primary in destroying all creatures controlled by one player.[3] Flavorwise, destruction in black is portrayed as a result of pollution, murder, or demonic power. Feed The Swarm is the first targeted Enchantment destruction printed, whereas the previous two enchantment interactions were forced-sacrifice effects, which started in Commander 2019.


Red has many spells which destroy lands (Stone Rain) and artifacts (Smelt). While it does have a number of cards that target many or all creatures, red spells generally do not directly destroy creatures, but instead kill them by dealing direct damage. Flavorwise, destruction in red is portrayed as a result of something being burned, electrocuted, exploded, or obliterated in a volley of rock.

Red occasionally has an effect that destroys random nonenchantment permanents (sometimes a subset).[3]


In Arabian Nights, green received Desert Twister that allowed destruction of any permanent. Since then, green has lost the ability to destroy creatures without flying, but primary retains destruction of creatures with flying (Plummet) as part of its theme of flying hate.[3] It has a number of spells to destroy artifacts or enchantments (Naturalize), and occasionally also receives land destruction. Flavorwise, destruction in green is portrayed as a result of being overwhelmed by forces of nature.


From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)

To move a permanent from the battlefield to its owner’s graveyard. See rule 701.7, “Destroy.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (April 29, 2022—Streets of New Capenna)

  • 701.7. Destroy
    • 701.7a To destroy a permanent, move it from the battlefield to its owner’s graveyard.
    • 701.7b The only ways a permanent can be destroyed are as a result of an effect that uses the word “destroy” or as a result of the state-based actions that check for lethal damage (see rule 704.5g) or damage from a source with deathtouch (see rule 704.5h). If a permanent is put into its owner’s graveyard for any other reason, it hasn’t been “destroyed.”
    • 701.7c A regeneration effect replaces a destruction event. See rule 701.15, “Regenerate.”

See also[]


  1. Mark Rosewater (August 11, 2014). "Acts of Destruction". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. a b c d e f g h Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. a b c d Mark Rosewater (October 18, 2021). "Mechanical Color Pie 2021 Changes". Wizards of the Coast.