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Overload
Keyword Ability
Type Static (1st ability)
Static (2nd ability)
Introduced Return to Ravnica
Last Used Modern Horizons 2
Reminder Text Overload [cost] (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of 'target' with 'each'.)
Storm Scale 6[1]
Statistics
22 cards
{W} 9.1% {U} 22.7% {B} 13.6% {R} 31.8% {G} 4.5% {U/R} 18.2%
Scryfall Search
oracle:"Overload"

Overload is a keyword ability that was introduced in Return to Ravnica as the mechanic for the Izzet guild.[2]

Description[]

Overload provides an alternate, usually more expensive, mana cost for a card which can be used when casting it, and upon doing it increases the whole effect of the card.

History[]

Overload was designed by Ken Nagle during the first Great Designer Search.[3] After Return to Ravnica, Dragon's Maze added 2 cards, and it also reappeared in Commander 2015 and Modern Horizons[4], the latter used the keyword only in colors not used in priot sets. Mind Rake in the latter set was the first card with an overload cost that is less expensive than the mana cost, mainly due to how it can also affect the player who cast the spell as well.[5]

Rules[]

From the glossary of the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

Overload
A keyword ability that allows a spell to affect either a single target or many objects. See rule 702.96, “Overload.”

From the Comprehensive Rules (July 23, 2021—Adventures in the Forgotten Realms)

  • 702.96. Overload
    • 702.96a Overload is a keyword that represents two static abilities that function while the spell with overload is on the stack. Overload [cost] means “You may choose to pay [cost] rather than pay this spell’s mana cost” and “If you chose to pay this spell’s overload cost, change its text by replacing all instances of the word ‘target’ with the word ‘each.’” Casting a spell using its overload ability follows the rules for paying alternative costs in rules 601.2b and 601.2f–h.
    • 702.96b If a player chooses to pay the overload cost of a spell, that spell won’t require any targets. It may affect objects that couldn’t be chosen as legal targets if the spell were cast without its overload cost being paid.
    • 702.96c Overload’s second ability creates a text-changing effect. See rule 612, “Text-Changing Effects.”

Rulings[]

  • If you don't pay the overload cost of a spell, that spell will have a single target. If you pay the overload cost, the spell won't have any targets.
  • Because a spell with overload doesn't target when its overload cost is paid, it may affect permanents with hexproof or with protection from the appropriate color. For example, if you cast Blustersquall and pay its overload cost, creatures you don't control with protection from blue will be tapped.
  • Note that if the spell with overload is dealing damage, protection from that spell's color will still prevent that damage.
  • Overload doesn't change when you can cast the spell.
  • Casting a spell with overload doesn't change that spell's converted mana cost. You just pay the overload cost instead.
  • Effects that cause you to pay more or less for a spell will cause you to pay that much more or less while casting it for its overload cost, too.
  • If you are instructed to cast a spell with overload “without paying its mana cost,” you can't choose to pay its overload cost instead.

Example[]

Example

Street Spasm {X}{R}
Instant
Street Spasm deals X damage to target creature without flying you don't control.
Overload {X}{X}{R}{R} (You may cast this spell for its overload cost. If you do, change its text by replacing all instances of "target" with "each".)

References[]

  1. Mark Rosewater (May 2, 2016). "Storm Scale: Ravnica and Return to Ravnica". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  2. Wizards of the Coast (September 2, 2012). "Return to Ravnica Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  3. Ken Nagle (September 3, 2012). "On the Origin of Scavenge and Overload". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  4. Matt Tabak (May 31, 2019). "Modern Horizons Mechanics". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.
  5. Adam Prosak (May 30, 2019). "What's in a Name?". magicthegathering.com. Wizards of the Coast.