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Ability Word
Introduced Mirrodin
Last Used Modern Horizons 2
Typical Text Imprint — ... exile [a card] ... [do something with exiled card].
24 cards
{W} 4.2% {U} 4.2% {R} 4.2% {artifact symbol} 87.5%
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Imprint is a mechanic that was introduced in Mirrodin as a keyword ability.[1] It was updated as an ability word in Magic 2010 rules,[2] and thus then officially reintroduced in Scars of Mirrodin.[3][4]


Some abilities associated with the imprint ability word are triggered, commonly by entering the battlefield; and some are activated abilities, but both exile cards from some zone. All cards with imprint are permanents, and all have a second ability that refer to the exiled card in some respect. Prior to the introduction of exile as a term in Magic 2010, this was referred to as "imprinting" that card, so when Imprint returned in Scars of Mirrodin, the previous cards received errata to refer to the exiled card.[5]

Imprint was an artifact-centric keyword / ability word until the release of New Phyrexia where it saw use on three colored cards.[6]


  • Each permanent with an imprint ability also has an ability that refers to the "exiled card(s)." These two abilities are linked. The second ability refers only to cards exiled as a result of the imprint ability, not by any other ability.
  • If all cards exiled by an imprint ability somehow leave the exile zone, or if a card isn't exiled by an optional imprint ability, or if the ability failed to exile a card because it was countered, then it is possible for an imprint ability to have no exiled card to refer to. In this case, the linked ability associated with the imprint ability has no card values to refer to and will only do as much as possible. It may do nothing at all.
  • If a permanent with an imprint ability leaves the battlefield and then returns to the battlefield, it is a new object. It has no association with any cards it exiled during its previous existence.


From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 10, 2022—Commander Legends: Battle for Baldur's Gate)

“Imprint” used to be a keyword ability. It is now an ability word and has no rules meaning. All cards printed with the imprint keyword have received errata in the Oracle card reference.

As a keyword ability[]

From the Comprehensive Rules (February 1, 2009—Conflux)

  • 502.34. Imprint (Obsolete)
    • 502.34a Imprint is an activated or triggered ability, written “Imprint — [text],” where “[text]” is a triggered or activated ability. Cards that are in the removed-from-the-game zone because they were removed from the game by an imprint ability are imprinted on the source of that ability.
    • 502.34b The phrase “imprinted [quality] card” means the card with that quality that’s imprinted on the permanent. If a permanent has more than one card with that quality imprinted on it, each of those cards is an “imprinted [quality] card.”



Phyrexian Ingester {6}{U}
Creature — Beast
Imprint — When Phyrexian Ingester enters the battlefield, you may exile target nontoken creature.
Phyrexian Ingester gets +X/+Y, where X is the exiled creature card's power and Y is its toughness.

Notable cards with imprint[]



  1. Mark Rosewater (September 01, 2003). "Someday My Imprints Will Come". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark L. Gottlieb (July 08, 2009). "July 2009 Update Bulletin". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Mark Rosewater (September 13, 2010). "Something Wicked This Way Comes, Part 2". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. A Planeswalker's Primer for Scars of Mirrodin: Imprint
  5. Mark Rosewater (November 29, 2010). "Imprints Charming". Wizards of the Coast.
  6. Tom LaPille (December 03, 2010). "Out of Imprint". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]