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Mtga lifelink.png
Keyword Ability
Type Static
Introduced Mirrodin (mechanic)
Future Sight (keyword)
Last Used Evergreen
Reminder Text Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)
Scryfall Search

Lifelink is a keyword ability introduced in Future Sight. Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source's controller to gain that much life.

History[edit | edit source]

Before it was keyworded in Future Sight, R&D used to call this ability spirit link, after the card of the same name.[1][2] Note, however, that that card doesn't actually have the exact lifelink ability.[3]

Future Sight hinted at a lot of things from Magic's potential future on its futureshifted cards. For lifelink, that future was the very next set released, Tenth Edition. This ability can be traced back to the card El-Hajjâj in Arabian Nights.[4]

Before the rules changes in Magic 2010, lifelink was a triggered ability, and it used the stack along with combat damage. This meant that its life gain if caused by combat, would arrive too late to prevent the player from losing the game due to combat damage from the same combat. It is now a static ability that causes life gain at the same time as the damage that causes it. The ability is primary in white and secondary in black. White and black have very different flavor rationales for the abilities, but both use it almost every set.[5]

Ikoria: Lair of Behemoths introduced lifelink counters.

Knightlifelink[edit | edit source]

The silver-bordered Unsanctioned set features the variation Knightlifelink (Damage dealt by Knights you control also causes you to gain that much life.)

Rules[edit | edit source]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (June 18, 2021—Modern Horizons 2)

A keyword ability that causes a player to gain life. See rule 702.15, “Lifelink.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (June 18, 2021—Modern Horizons 2)

  • 702.15. Lifelink
    • 702.15a Lifelink is a static ability.
    • 702.15b Damage dealt by a source with lifelink causes that source’s controller, or its owner if it has no controller, to gain that much life (in addition to any other results that damage causes). See rule 120.3.
    • 702.15c If a permanent leaves the battlefield before an effect causes it to deal damage, its last known information is used to determine whether it had lifelink.
    • 702.15d The lifelink rules function no matter what zone an object with lifelink deals damage from.
    • 702.15e If multiple sources with lifelink deal damage at the same time, they cause separate life gain events (see rules 119.9–10).

      Example: A player controls Ajani’s Pridemate, which reads “Whenever you gain life, put a +1/+1 counter on Ajani’s Pridemate,” and two creatures with lifelink. The creatures with lifelink deal combat damage simultaneously. Ajani’s Pridemate’s ability triggers twice.

    • 702.15f Multiple instances of lifelink on the same object are redundant.

Rulings[edit | edit source]

  • The ability causes life gain whenever a source with lifelink deals any damage, not just combat damage.
  • All older cards with the ability "Whenever this permanent deals damage, you gain that much life." that received errata to change that ability to "lifelink" have reverted to their original wording with the exception of Loxodon Warhammer, which has been printed with the word "lifelink" in Tenth Edition and all subsequent reprintings.
  • Note that the card Spirit Link does not grant the creature it enchants lifelink. The lifelink ability has the creature's controller gain life. Spirit Link has Spirit Link's controller gain life. The same is true for Vampiric Link.

Examples[edit | edit source]


Caravan Hurda {4}{W}
Creature — Giant
Lifelink (Damage dealt by this creature also causes you to gain that much life.)

Enchantments that grant just Lifelink[edit | edit source]

One creature

Creatures that grant Lifelink to Instant and Sorcery spells[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Mark Rosewater (January 24, 2005). "A Few Words From R&D". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (May 17, 2021). "Future Sight Design Handoff Document". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Wizards of the Coast (May, 2007). "Ask Wizards - May, 2008". Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Mark Rosewater (June 8, 2015). "Evergreen Eggs & Ham". Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Mark Rosewater (June 5, 2017). "Mechanical Color Pie 2017". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[edit | edit source]