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Fight is a keyword action introduced in Innistrad. The word appears in a phrase like "[Cardname] fights target creature." and it means that both creatures deal damage equal to their Power to each other. Cards using fight appear primary in green and secondary in red. They carry the flavor of an altercation.
Fight is similar to the mechanic originally introduced with the Land Arena, though slightly altered. A few old cards (including Arena) with the same functionality received updated Oracle wording using the new terminology. Cards with similar, but not identical, functionality do not use the word "fight".
Cards that care about fighting
Winning a fight
The designed-for-digital card Skyshroud Ambush from Jumpstart: Historic Horizons introduced the concept of "winning a fight". The reminder claims it involves the caster's creature "surviving" the damage. However, the Comprehensive Rules currently don't define what "winning a fight" or "surviving" entails.
- When two creatures fight, each deals damage equal to its power to the other. See rule 701.12, “Fight.”
- 701.12. Fight
- 701.12a A spell or ability may instruct a creature to fight another creature or it may instruct two creatures to fight each other. Each of those creatures deals damage equal to its power to the other creature.
- 701.12b If one or both creatures instructed to fight are no longer on the battlefield or are no longer creatures, neither of them fights or deals damage. If one or both creatures are illegal targets for a resolving spell or ability that instructs them to fight, neither of them fights or deals damage.
- 701.12c If a creature fights itself, it deals damage to itself equal to twice its power.
- 701.12d The damage dealt when a creature fights isn’t combat damage.
- The damage is dealt simultaneously, and it is dealt by the creatures themselves, so abilities like deathtouch, lifelink, and infect will work as normal.
- Damage dealt while fighting is not combat damage, so abilities like first strike or Double strike won't have any effect.
- Fighting itself does not cause the creatures to become tapped.
- Only creatures can fight.
- No more than two creatures can fight.
- If a creature somehow fights itself, it will deal damage to itself equal to its power twice simultaneously. This is different from cards that cause a creature deal damage to itself, such as Solar Blaze.
Target creature fights another target creature. (Each deals damage equal to its power to the other.)
Fighting cards before the keyword action
- Arena from a special book promotion and Time Spiral
- Triangle of War from Visions
- Contested Cliffs from Onslaught
- Magus of the Arena from Planar Chaos
- Rivals' Duel from Morningtide
Some cards have abilities similar, but not identical, to fight and have not received errata:
- Cyclops Gladiator from Magic 2011
- Durkwood Tracker from Time Spiral
- Gargantuan Gorilla from Alliances
- Karplusan Yeti from Ice Age
- Predatory Urge from Zendikar
- Stalking Yeti from Coldsnap
- Tahngarth, Talruum Hero from Planeshift
- Tracker from The Dark
- Vein Drinker from Shards of Alara
A small number have a wording that work neither with fight nor bite, primarily due to the interaction with multiple targets.
- Living Infernofrom Guildpact
- Polukranos, World Eaterfrom Theros
- Master of the Wild Hunt from Magic 2010
- Ravenous Gigantotherium from Commander 2020
Green needed answers to creatures, but R&D wanted to make sure the solution to creatures involves creatures. Fight was the first step in that direction. The next step, as first seen in Oath of the Gatewatch, was one-sided fighting for green, which was later dubbed "bite" by R&D
- Wizards of the Coast (August 28, 2011). "Innistrad Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
- Mark Rosewater (January 08, 2016). "Nissa's Judgment is green, but it doesn't let the targeted creature fight back?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
- Mark Rosewater (January 30, 2016). "What's all this noise I keep hearing about fight and "deals damage equal to its power"?". Blogatog. Tumblr.