MTG Wiki
Level up
Keyword Ability
Type Activated
Introduced Rise of the Eldrazi
Last Used Modern Horizons
Reminder Text Level up [cost] ([Cost]: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.)
Storm Scale 8[1]
25 cards
{W} 28% {U} 28% {B} 16% {R} 12% {G} 16%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Level up"

Level up is a mechanic used in Rise of the Eldrazi on Leveler cards[2] and in Modern Horizons[3].


The ability can only be activated anytime the player could cast a sorcery. When the ability resolves a level counter is put on the creature, and its level is considered to be the number of level counters on the card. When leveler cards enter the battlefield, they have no level counters and are therefore Level 0.

When the creature reaches a certain level, its power and toughness changes and the creature may gain additional abilities. For example, Knight of Cliffhaven starts out as a 2/2 creature for {1}{W}. When leveled up at least once for {3}, it becomes a 2/3 creature with flying. If it was leveled up at least four times, it becomes a 4/4 creature with flying and vigilance.

Creatures with level up have a different card frame in a similar manner as Flip cards and planeswalkers were printed with a different card face. The textbox is separated into the strips with the top strip showing the Level up ability with a P/T-box on the right showing the base power/toughness. On the stripes below it are arrow-like boxes on the left showing the levels a change in the creature occurs with P/T-boxes on the right. In between the box designating the level and the P/T-box is space for additional abilities if the creature gains any.

For example Knight of Cliffhaven gains Flying when she becomes level 1. Also, her power/toughness change from 2/2 to 2/3 when she becomes level 1. Not all creatures with Level up gain abilities and not all creatures' power/toughness change. Enclave Cryptologist is an example of a creature with Level up that does not have a power/toughness change.

Level up doesn't interact with the levels on Class cards.


The mechanic was inspired by Figure of Destiny in Eventide, a single-card design by Rise of the Eldrazi lead Brian Tinsman. That card itself was inspired by D&D levelling system that is reflected in the use of additional types, and the top-down design of Form of the Dragon[4]. In order to reduce complexity and power level, the sorcery and variable costs were changed for Level up. The original template was later reused with Warden of the First Tree and Ascendant Spirit.


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

Level Up
A keyword ability that can put level counters on a creature. See rule 702.87, “Level Up.” For class level abilities of Class cards, see rule 717, “Class Cards.”

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

  • 702.87. Level Up
    • 702.87a Level up is an activated ability. “Level up [cost]” means “[Cost]: Put a level counter on this permanent. Activate only as a sorcery.”
    • 702.87b Each card printed with a level up ability is known as a leveler card. It has a nonstandard layout and includes two level symbols that are themselves keyword abilities. See rule 711, “Leveler Cards.”
    • 702.87c Some enchantments have the subtype Class and associated abilities that give them a class level. These are not the same as level up abilities and class levels do not interact with level counters. See rule 717, “Class Cards.”



Beastbreaker of Bala Ged {1}{G}
Creature — Human Warrior
Level up {2}{G} ({2}{G}: Put a level counter on this. Level up only as a sorcery.)
LEVEL 1-3: 4/4
LEVEL 4+: 6/6, Trample


  • Level up was featured as rules card 1 of 5 in the Rise of the Eldrazi set.
  • Level up was received with mixed reactions. The layout confused a lot of players.[5][6] For example, on some leveler cards such as Coralhelm Commander, the first time their abilities change is at Level 2, leaving some players to mistakenly believe the card enters the battlefield beginning at Level 1.

External links[]


  1. Mark Rosewater (November 21, 2016). "Storm Scale: Zendikar and Battle for Zendikar". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Tom LaPille (May 14, 2010). "Leveling Up". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (April 5th, 2010). "On The Rise, Part II". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2015). "How was Level Up received?". Blogatog. Tumblr.
  6. Mark Rosewater (September 07, 2015). "Do you think that the mechanic has any chance of returning?". Blogatog. Tumblr.