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Drain life is a slang term used by Magic R&D to describe spells that cause an opponent to take damage or lose life, while its controller gains life.[1] This mechanic is named after the card Drain Life and is primary in black. Other colors will deal damage or gain life, but black is the color that does both at the same time. Black also will do triggered or activated effects that repeatedly drain the player, usually for 1.

White has dipped its toe into this area for the Ravnican Orzhov guild, and may be considered tertiary.


  1. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.