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Ability Word
Introduced Innistrad
Last Used Modern Horizons 2
Typical Text Morbid — …, if a creature died this turn, …
20 cards
{B} 35% {R} 10% {G} 50% {B/G} 5%
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Morbid is an ability word introduced in Innistrad. It signals that a spell or ability has different effects, additional effects, or may only be used if a creature has died earlier in the same turn.[1]


During design, morbid was called "deathwatch".[2]

After Innistrad, morbid was also featured in Dark Ascension, Conspiracy, Commander 2014 and Modern Horizons.[3] Without the ability word, it was featured as the {B/G} draft archetype in Core Set 2021 and Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures in the Forgotten Realms, and appears occasionally on single cards.


  • Morbid abilities merely check if a creature died earlier in the turn. The creature card doesn't need to still be in the graveyard.
  • Token creatures can also die, going to their owner's graveyard before ceasing to exist.
  • Some morbid abilities that appear on instants and sorceries use the word "instead." The spells have an upgraded effect when they resolve if a creature has died earlier in the turn. You only get the upgraded effect, not both effects.
  • Some morbid abilities are activated abilities of permanents. To activate such an ability, a creature must have died earlier in the turn.
  • Triggered morbid abilities use an intervening "if" clause. A creature must have died earlier in the turn in order for these abilities to trigger; otherwise, they do nothing. In other words, there's no way to have the ability trigger if no creature has died that turn, even if you intend to have a creature die in response to the triggered ability.
  • Using Morbid allows a card to be state-based as long as conditions are met.



Hollowhenge Scavenger {3}{G}{G}
Creature — Elemental
Morbid — When Hollowhenge Scavenger enters the battlefield, if a creature died this turn, you gain 5 life.

Morbid cards without the ability word[]


  1. Zac Hill (November 11, 2011). "Morbid Thoughts". Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Mark Rosewater (August 23, 2021). "Innistrad Design Handoff Document". Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". Wizards of the Coast.

External links[]